On May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Hopkinton Middle School auditorium, residents will have the chance to attend another Annual Town Meeting, which has been described by Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin as the purest form of democratic governing.
From his “Citizen’s Guide to Town Meetings,” Galvin writes, “In use for over 300 years and still today, it has proven to be a valuable means for many Massachusetts taxpayers to voice their opinions and directly effect change in their communities. Here in this ancient American assembly, you can make your voice heard as you and your neighbors decide the course of the government closest to you.”
There are a total of 55 articles on the warrant this year. The town’s fiscal 2020 operating budget totals $92,698,222.88 and represents a tax impact of 2.5 percent. Articles are broken down by categories that include Capital Expenses and Projects, Community Preservation Funds, Zoning Bylaw Amendments, General Bylaw Amendments, Land Acquisitions and Dispositions and Administrative. Some of the key articles include:
Article 10: Fiscal 2020 operating budget
Article 25: Purchase of ladder truck, $1,200,000 — approval at ballot also required
Article 42: One-year growth restriction — citizens’ petition
Articles 43 and 44: Change Board of Selectmen to Select Board in general and zoning bylaws — citizens’ petition
Article 45: Kennel licensing bylaw
Article 46: 76 Main St. historic district
Article 51: Municipal parking — approval at ballot also required
Four of the warrant articles also require a ballot vote. There are four ballot questions to be voted at the Annual Town Election on May 20. The first ballot question is for an underride that would reduce Hopkinton’s excess tax levy capacity. The three remaining questions are to approve debt exclusions for capital projects.
Question 1: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be required to reduce the amount of real estate and personal property taxes to be assessed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, by an amount equal to $1,180,568?
Question 2: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition 2 1/2, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to purchase a ladder truck for the Fire Department?
Question 3: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of 2 1/2, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to purchase an interest in land contiguous with the Town Hall property for the purpose of providing Town Hall parking?
Question 4: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of 2 1/2, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to purchase an interest in one or more parcels of land for the purpose of providing municipal parking in the downtown area?
Town Meeting documents can be viewed online at: drive.google.com/drive/folders/10jA1tiiwcSKxMTVBmSxf4XWdTClaxr4I