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Thread: Topics for the State Of Wayland Meeting in November

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  1. #1
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    Default Topics for the State Of Wayland Meeting in November

    The selectmen were discussing the upcoming state of Wayland meeting and were trying to decide upon topics. I thought this might be a good forum to collect the community's thoughts for the selectmen. Do you have any topics you would like to see covered? If so please post.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default After all the Hub Bub

    About the SOS meeting I would have thought many folks would have had topics of interest. Anyone, anyone, anyone (channel Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

  3. #3
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Moving Right Along

    BT, please be patient with us all. To me, the DF is like a slow discussion. That’s a good thing, where if you’re busy, away, or need time to decide what to say, there’s no rush to respond. But it does seem we have a participation problem. My latest theory is that people are happy/satisfied with the status quo in town. Taxes are not a burden, good value for money, excellent services, competently delivered by an honest and straightforward leadership, in a unified community, etc. Maybe there are no issues people are concerned about?

    While you wait, tell us about the SOS meeting. Oddly, I did’t get invited, so I know nothing. I do wish that that “awards committee” had been more imaginative and given half of the awards to those “watchdogs” (think I’d like to be a watch chihuahua), and half to some SOS members (they do a service also). It certainly would have been a more unifying gesture and not opened the door to people being rude.

    Since I’m crazy, I can think of all sorts of issues that need to be addressed in town. Let’s start with the biggest. Money. Looking at the 5-year Capital Investment Plan (which includes new high school, library, DPW building, maintenance of other buildings, etc.) it appears that our debt will increase to approx. 150M from the current 32M. That’s a big increase. Servicing this debt, plus employee contract negotiations going on (i.e., raises), upgrade to sewer treatment plant, better educational services, more technology, new web site, subsidized affordable housing, tax breaks for seniors, etc. and all the usual operating expenses continuously going up – additionally no longer able to pretend that the “at best” 750K tax revenues from the “Town Center”, or sharing the new Park & Rec Director will pay for all this, perhaps the selectmen might explain the probable effect of all these spending increases on our taxes. Or where additional revenues might come from?

    If I thought the town leadership or administration were doing their job, I’d hope they’d provide us with some data on the effect of taxes on people of more fixed or “diminished” income. And their thoughts on how ever-increasing town taxes burden them.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  4. #4
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    Default

    I have no children in school, so I don't know, but it seems some people think the elementary schools are too crowded. Is that an issue/topic?

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quick pass on things I'd like to see discussed:

    • building town spirit and unity;
    • a thorough review of the capital plan and what we can and should realistically do in the near future
    • transportation - making it easier for people to get out of their cars, particular on bikes and walking (via sidewalks, bike paths and road improvements), and improving traffic flow in town
    • the greening of Wayland, and efforts to improve both the Town's carbon footprint, and also to encourage the same for individuals within the Town
    • finding ways to lessen the tax burden on those less able to afford it, whether by shifting the tax burden where possible to those more able to afford it, or by finding ways to reduce costs generally

  6. #6
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    Default

    I think that I read that the BOS plans to tackle on the order of a half dozen topics. That doesn't mean that others aren't important, nor that public comment can't include others, just that those are the ones that fit the timing for the evening.

    FYI, on June 15, the School Committee held its annual "retreat" at the Public Safety Building. After hearing some year-end reports, a moderator talked the Committee through six main topics. That number seemed to work well--too many more might well have "swamped the boat." As it was, the Committee didn't really reach resolution on specific answers/actions, but got close enough that I'm optimistic that these can be arrived at as part of the 7/27 meeting.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Since I’m crazy, I can think of all sorts of issues that need to be addressed in town. Let’s start with the biggest. Money.
    "Town finance" should certainly be one of the BOS topics.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    I have no children in school, so I don't know, but it seems some people think the elementary schools are too crowded. Is that an issue/topic?
    I suspect that the BOS will rightly say that this topic is the province of the School Committee. The broad topic of the quality of the elementary school program, which includes the question of crowding, was one suggested to the Committee but not one that received air time on 6/15. To be sure, though, it's one that's on the Administration's radar screen as well.

    The numbers this year were below that of all-time highs in the recent past, and enrollment at the elementary level is expected to decline next year. That said, numbers were up from 2007-2008, and any time there's a change in that direction, there will be an impact of some sort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    • building town spirit and unity;
    • a thorough review of the capital plan and what we can and should realistically do in the near future
    • transportation - making it easier for people to get out of their cars, particular on bikes and walking (via sidewalks, bike paths and road improvements), and improving traffic flow in town
    • the greening of Wayland, and efforts to improve both the Town's carbon footprint, and also to encourage the same for individuals within the Town
    • finding ways to lessen the tax burden on those less able to afford it, whether by shifting the tax burden where possible to those more able to afford it, or by finding ways to reduce costs generally
    All of these are great candidates for discussion. Regarding Kim's last point, I'd love to explore income tax as a replacement for real estate tax at the local level. Doing so would take legislation at the state level, however, and prospects don't seem all that promising.

    A few more possible topics:

    • Status of the Town Center. However, there may not be enough new information to warrant more than a few minutes of time.
    • Report on and discussion of the Electronic Communications Committee work
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 06-25-2009 at 01:46 PM. Reason: Addition of ECC topic

  7. #7
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Don is Right-On

    I'll chime in here and echo Don's thoughts about Wayland's fiscal future. We were all told by the powers that be that increasing Wayland's commercial tax base was "critical". The Town Center project seems to be stopped in its' tracks, and whatever income we would have received from Stop & Shop and other "national stores" is stopped as well. So...what's that mean to our town? Any new and improved ideas for developing Town Center (hopefully something that won't turn Wayland into another strip mall), any plans to cut (gasp) budgets, or will it just be status quo and demand another override?

  8. #8
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    Exclamation Its possible to project the town budget going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Camp View Post
    ...any plans to cut (gasp) budgets, or will it just be status quo and demand another override?
    A topic that would serve Wayland and its citizens well would be for the BoS, the SC and the FinCom to provide a thought out model of what the future tax requirements would be under the following conditions:

    1. A new High School in the range of $80M (as an example) given a 60% town funding requirement plus...

    2. What the 2010 override request might look like in terms of existing obligations and were we think we are in approaching new contracts.

    The plan of record seems to be an override every other year and a cash transfer every other year with the two meshed.

    A model could be created which would project the town budget going forward 5 years or even 10 years with both of these factors in play.

    Do you think we could get to that level of detail?

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