Last night a handful of neighbors attended the BOS meeting to express varied concerns regarding the aftermath of what has transpired with Flannagan Pond as a result of the mysterious beaver dam collapse.
This portion of the meeting focused on the report from Lycott Environmental and their assessment of the low chances of successful treatment in light of the present condition of the pond (higher than normal water, increased chemical dilution, increased turbidity, impact downstream etc.). All these factors suggest that there is no chance for treatment in Calendar 2011.
John Delcore expressed concerns about how our swamp-front property value is adversely affected at a more dramatic rate than homes that are on properly maintained waterfront. This assumption was challenged by Home & Garden Poster-Child, Selectman Maxant.
Tom Poole encouraged Conservation to give consideration to a drawdown and a hard freeze. This would give homeowners the opportunity to remove a great deal of shoreline refuse during fall cleanup. In so doing, this would minimize decomposition of even larger volumes of vegetation next year, stating that the decomp process consumes a great deal of oxygen and adversely affects the fish population.
I raised a concern about funding crossing fiscal year boundaries. UDAG funding is clearly not affected, but Operating Budgets end on June 30th. So my question was whether Article 38 at Town Meeting was considered a Capital Expense, which can cross fiscal years, or whether it was an Operating Expense, which cannot. I have since verified that Article 38 is a Special Article and that it DOES roll over to the next fiscal year!
Now the confusion, Ms. Conley suggests I come before the October Town Meeting and do it all again, Mr. Luca suggests doing it through Community Preservation, and Ms. McCreary is still chastising me for having the audacity to use a Citizen’s Petition in the first place. I don’t even remember what Mr. Maxant contributed at this point.
I am still confused by the gross disparity of opinions at last night’s meeting regarding the funding of Article 38 at ATM. I understand that the Town Meeting passed a budget that is out of balance. That does not make Article 38 less likely to be funded than any other article that was voted on, simply because it was the last one on the agenda.
I certainly understand that Article 38 will be viewed less favorably because it was a Citizen’s Petition and therefore was not sanctioned or endorsed with any legitimacy throughout the budgeting process; however it attained legitimacy on the floor of the assembly when it prevailed by a single vote.
I am perplexed that the BOS continues to state that the article is unfunded, when it carries the same weight as every other article that was voted in the affirmative. If there is a need to revisit this in the Fall Town Meeting, will every other article that was voted on be brought back for discussion?
What I do know is this, if we, as a community, cannot or will not commit to an ongoing, systematic management of our ponds, we will continue to deal with these issues in a crisis mode, with parties frustrated and distrustful of one another’s motives. We are at a crossroads. As a Town, we have a momentum that is placing a spotlight on these issues (that cannot be allowed to die in committee), we have a synergy that is emerging between Citizens and Conservation. We must not allow this opportunity to pass through our fingers as bureaucracy places more value on process, than progress.