Trucks, tractors triumph at Rochester Fall Town Meeting

Nov 16, 2020

ROCHESTER — With little discussion on any of the issues, Rochester residents passed every item on the Nov. 16 Town Meeting agenda. 

The Town Meeting threshold was lowered to 30 participants from its usual 50 in accordance with an option given by the state. And after a five minute wait for more voters to file in to meet the requirement, the meeting was called to order.

The first four issues presented to voters were all vehicle and equipment purchases for town departments. 

Voters decided to let the town spend $90,000 for a used truck for the Highway Department, an additional $69,000 for a truck and plow for the Highway Department, $35,000 for a Highway Department tractor, and $51,000 for a truck and plow for the Facilities Department.

The fifth Town Meeting item was the allocation of $8,000 to pay the town’s outgoing Principal Assessor during a transition period as he trains the incoming Principal Assessor. It passed with no discussion.

Next up was a $15,000 allocation to have a consultant codify, or organize, the town’s bylaws. 

Planning Board Member Ben Bailey addressed the Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar and others, asking why the town needed to allocate the money when it had recently set aside $8,000 for codification.

Town Clerk Paul Dawson clarified that the $8,000 was set aside to codify zoning bylaws, a separate process from codifying general bylaws. 

“No wholesale changes will necessarily be made to bylaws,” Dawson said.

Voters passed the seventh, eighth and ninth agenda items with no discussion. 

The seventh item allowed the town to enter into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with a solar photovoltaic facility on 139 Sarah Sherman Road to establish a steady income for the town, as well as a fixed yearly tax amount for the property.

The final two issues were the allocation of $100,000 for the Public Safety Capital Fund and allocation of $200,000 for the Capital Improvements Fund. Both passed with no discussion.