With a small warrant and a just as small crowd in attendance, last night’s Special Town Meeting quickly went by with only Article 4 being withdrawn and the remaining articles passing with no resistance.
The most discussed item on the agenda was Article 7, which created a 20-acre adult entertainment zone near the Shire Industrial Park.
After multiple attempts over the years to create the zone for adult businesses, the town voted to approve Article 7 at last night’s Special Town Meeting to create one that cannot even be accessed through Wrentham. To get near it, one has to drive though the industrial park in Norfolk.
Under the new law, any business falling under the town’s definition of an adult business has to open in the area zoned for that use. Currently, the zoned area is not developed with no road leading into the area.
While there are no plans for an adult business to come to Wrentham, nor is the town attempting to bring in any adult businesses, the proposal was made in order to protect the town in the event that a business does try to come to Wrentham.
The land, which recently went though foreclosure, is owned by a group named Wrentham Reality L.L.C.
There were minor concerns about the effect the zoning would have with Wrentham's relationship with Norfolk, but Town Planner Paige Duncan noted that Norfolk also put their adult entertainment zone near the Wrentham/Norfolk town line.
Other articles approved include Article 11, which allows the Wrentham Police Department to conduct fingerprint checks for door-to-door salesmen, managers of alcoholic beverage licenses, owner or operators of public conveyance, pawn dealers, dealers of second-hard articles, hackney drivers, ice cream truck drivers, tattoo parlors, and carnival workers.
When one resident asked if the definition of dealers of second-hard articles included those holding yard sales, Chief James Anderson responded that it would not and the article would only apply to those who would need a permit to sell second hand goods.
Article 3 will give non-union personnel a 2% raise for fiscal year. According to finance committee member Jerry McGovern, the actual raises are so small that most of the departments that the raises would effect already have the money needed in their budget.
Dealing with some expenses, Article 5 used $68,446 in unappropriated funds in the treasury to supplement the fiscal year 2013 budget.
Requests granted with the approval of the article include $1,100 for the Board of Selectmen to provide unexpected funding for postage and printing for the Town Government Study Committee Citizen Survey, $25,000 for the Wrentham Police to help pay for a detective that has been helping in investigations, $10,000 for maintenance fees for Lake Pearl, $5,000 to support the 2% union salary increase in the Communications Department, $20,000 for salaries in the Inspector’s Department, and $7,346 to replace the radios used by the DPW on remote job sites.
Article 6 saw the town approve $265,000 for fiscal year 2013, mainly for items and equipment in need of replacing.
Unappropriated funds in the treasury will pay for $78,000 in new server equipment in Town Hall, $35,000 to replace the DPW’s antiquated fueling station, and $12,000 to replace a vehicle used by the council of aging.
The town will use $500,000 replace Engine #1 at the Wrentham Fire Department. The current Engine #1 was made in 1995, has over 100,000 miles on it, and is expected to be unserviceable by the summer. The cost listed by the Finance Committee of $78,000 is the amount annually needed to buy a new engine on a seven year lease.
The DPW will also get $30,000 for a new 4x4 pickup truck. $15,000 will come from unappropriated funds in the treasury with the other $15,000 coming from Water Enterprise Retained Earnings.
$32,000 will be taken from the Police Vehicle Revolving Fund for the schedule replacement of a police vehicle.
The final article of the night, Article 12, moved $50,000 in unappropriated funds to the Town Stabilization Fund and another $150,000 to the Municipal Capital Stabilization Fund.
The next town meeting is not scheduled until June 2013.