Marion's priorities are in order

Apr 21, 2018

To the Editor:

Every year the Capital Improvement Planning Committee sits down with the town departments to review their 10-year capital plans, focusing on those projects for the next fiscal year. The Committee rates all of next year's proposed projects and presents the prioritized list of capital projects to the selectmen and the Finance Committee.

For the next fiscal year the top five of the 22 proposed capital projects are:

  • 1. NPDES/AOC Permit Compliance
  • 2. Phase 2 Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrades
  • 3. County Rd. Water Main Replacement
  • 4. Mill St. Water Main Replacement
  • 5. Town House Preservation Project

Clearly the water and sewer projects are higher on the priority list. These and other capital projects will be voted on at Town Meeting; approving one capital item does not exclude another capital item.

The Board of Selectmen are a public body and have to comply with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, the same as other committees, boards and subcommittees. The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based. The sub-committee to the Town House Building Committee was constituted by the selectmen for a specific purpose and required to report to the Board. When that sub-committee was ready to report, a special public hearing was scheduled and advertised so that both of the full reports could be presented to all voters and the Selectmen.

The specific purpose of a hearing is to allow residents to provide comments and recommendations for the record. The selectmen listened to both presentations, all of the resident’s comments, and noted the reactions of the voters. At the subsequent public meeting, the selectmen deliberated with respect to which articles would be presented at Town Meeting, a sole responsibility of the selectmen.

At no time has there been a violation of the Open Meeting Law that would reduce transparency to the voters. This is how democracy works.

Norman Hills