PLYMPTON — Selectmen on Monday Feb. 2 voted 3-0 to call for a Special Town Meeting, to be held on Friday, Feb. 20 at the Plympton Town House at 7 p.m.
Voters will consider one warrant article, to affirm or deny a $619,000 capital needs package requested by the Silver Lake regional school district.
On Jan. 8, the regional school committee approved the measure, an amendment to this fiscal year’s budget that draws from the district’s $1.1-million in excess and deficiency or free cash funds in order to pay for long-term security, building, grounds and equipment needs.
The budget amendment does not affect assessments to the three towns. However, voters at Town Meeting sessions may vote to affirm or deny the measure. If Town Meeting in two of the three towns affirms the measure, it is passed. If Town Meeting takes no action within 45 days of the Jan. 8 School Committee vote, the budget amendment is deemed passed.
Special Town Meeting in Halifax will consider the measure on Tuesday Feb. 17.
Last July, Pembroke paid Silver Lake $917,000 to settle a dispute over retiree health care costs.
Plympton Selectman John Henry said Plympton, Halifax and Kingston paid to cover those costs, and the towns should be reimbursed now that Pembroke has settled.
“The controversy is over whose money it is, what should be done with the money we got from Pembroke for the settlement. We feel it should be the taxpayers who decide, not the School Committee,” he said.
Henry said there are other needs in Plympton that need funding.
“It’s our public safety building or buildings,” he said.
Henry said the Silver Lake school district is proposing a draft budget that would increase spending by 5.29-percent in the fiscal year that will start on July 1.
The Plympton School Committee has a draft budget that would increase spending by 8.4-percent, which includes increases in special education spending, he said.
“There’s a lot going on with the towns. We just can’t spend willy-nilly,” he said.
Town Coordinator Dale Pleau said selectmen had no choice but to schedule a Friday night Town Meeting session in order to satisfy the 45-day action deadline after the Jan. 8 School Committee vote, and a 14-day warrant posting limit before Town Meeting convenes.
“You really don’t have any alternative,” he said.