HALIFAX — Voters at a Special Town Meeting to be held Tuesday, Feb. 17 will be asked to affirm or deny a capital improvements package for the Silver Lake regional school district, and to purchase farmland at Hayward and Franklin streets to use as a cemetery.
Selectmen on Wednesday Jan. 28 voted 3-0 to call for Feb. 17 the Special Town Meeting, which will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Halifax Elementary School, insert five articles into the meeting warrant, and close the warrant.
On Jan. 8, the Silver Lake School Committee approved a $619,000 capital needs package, funding it in this year’s budget by drawing from the district’s $1.1-million in excess and deficiency or free cash funds.
“Perfectly legal,” said Town Administrator Charlie Seelig of the school board’s vote.
However, Seelig said, voters acting at Town Meeting sessions in Halifax, Kingston and Plympton may vote to affirm or deny the measure, under a state law that governs Town Meeting reatification of school board amendments made to current year budgets.
If two out of three towns vote to affirm the budget amendment, then it will stand. If two towns vote no, it will fail. If a town does not schedule a Town Meeting to take place within 45 days of a school board vote to amend a current year budget, the amendment is deemed to be approved, he said.
Selectman Kim Roy said voters at Town Meeting should get the opportunity to act on the amendment, which is just like any other appropriation.
“I feel like we’re obligated to do it,” she said.
Voters on Feb. 17 will also be asked to raise some $120,000 to purchase 10 acres of farmland at Hayward and Franklin streets.
There is a purchase and sale agreement for the property, which has been exempted from paying property taxes under a state law for agricultural use. Under the law, the town gets the first right of refusal to purchase the property.
Seelig said half of the property’s 10 acres are wetlands or in a wetlands buffer zone.
Halifax could draw from $114,000 in funds from the sale of lots and graves, he said.
Voters will also be asked to accept an additional $135,469 in state Chapter 90 highway aid, after Gov. Charlie Baker indicated he would release an additional $100-million in Chapter 90 aid that had been approved by the state Legislature but withheld by former governor Deval Patrick.
Special Town Meeting will also consider an article to approve a police patrolmen’s contract, which includes new provisions and an amount of money to be funded.
Voters will also be asked to consider using an administrative fee to fund a police detail account to avoid payment delays to detail officers.
Seelig said the measure would put money in the pot and establish a base. The practice now is for detail officers to be paid when the town gets paid by whoever orders a police detail.
Haliifax could put some $8,000 up front into the account to get it started, or let the administrative fees accumulate, he said.
“We’re going to have to prime the pump to do that,” he said.