2013 Town Meetings
By Brenda Seekins, Correspondent
CAMBRIDGE — Voters approved several ordinances Saturday as part of the town’s “be prepared” policy, establishing guidelines for potential development of wind power facilities, cellphone towers, marijuana dispensaries and cultivation, and adult entertainment businesses, according to Town Clerk Carol Laplant.
To date, there have been no proposals to develop any such structures or operations but the new guidelines will be in place in the event something develops, Laplant said. The votes took place during the annual Town Meeting, attended by 57 voters, who took about three hours to approve a $147,029 municipal budget, she said. The sum is 4 percent less than that of last year’s budget. The decrease was helped along by the selectmen’s decision not to replenish a dam restoration fund after money was spent from it last year. Also, the board plans to tap the fund’s remaining balance of $13,000 to pay for a $4,500 project planned for this year. The $6,629 decrease in the budget was not expected to significantly affect the tax rate, now $18.70 per $1,000 of valuation. The final rate depends on the effect of changes in state revenue sharing, the school assessment and the county tax. There were no increases in salaries for town officials. While voters adopted most proposed ordinances left over from last year’s Town Meeting, conflicting language and definitions in a proposed cemetery ordinance caused voters to delay a decision on it until the next Town Meeting, Laplant said. The proposed ordinance would be the first of its kind in the community to define cemetery development and lot and stone sizes. There was a brief discussion about a proposal to charge 7 percent on unpaid taxes, the same amount charged for the past two years. It is also the maximum allowed by state law˙ and “should be incentive to at least try to pay taxes,” according to one selectman. All incumbents were re-elected; however, for the first time selectmen were elected to staggered terms, as was decided at the last Town Meeting. The selectmen are Ronald Strouse, elected for one year; William Digby, two years; and Ronald Watson, three years. Laplant was re-elected as town clerk; Holly Gifford, as a member of the School Administrative District 4 board; and Evelyn Farrar, as member of the Hospital Administrative District board.