2012-09-20 / News

Council to cancel upcoming meetings

BY MARGO SULLIVAN

The Town Council has revised its meeting schedule to reflect the results of the Democratic primary. The sitting council’s final meeting will come on Oct. 15, the councilors agreed at their Sept. 17 meeting. The panel decided to cancel the Oct. 1 and Nov. 5 regular meetings and convene only one more time before the Nov. 6 general election.

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser suggested the panel should wrap up its business and cancel the other previously scheduled meetings.

“It sounds like you’re trying to get rid of us early,” said Councilor Bob Bowen.

But Schnack agreed with Keiser’s proposal to drop the two meetings.

“Nov. 5 was to be the liquor license hearings,” Schnack said, “and that’s probably an action best left for the next council.” He went on to add there was not a lot of new business to be accomplished over the next six weeks. “We’re wrapping up any of our old business.”

Bowen disagreed and pointed out the councilors had directed the town staff to review the Fort Getty design and report back at the Oct. 1 meeting.

“I don’t think it’s fair to give up on that work,” Bowen said. The councilors had invested “time, effort and consulting work” in developing those designs, he said, and he wanted to pass that work on to the next council, even though he realized the new councilors would likely make changes.

“Certainly, it’s obvious there would be some reworking,” he said, “but they need to start with something.”

Schnack said the councilors were on the record with their Fort Getty plan, and the new council would have that information.

“We reduced the campground,” he said, but added he felt it was pointless to continue with any plans.

“Anything we do can be immediately undone by the next council,” said Schnack. Moreover, one of the next steps would have been hiring an engineer to do engineering work for state coastal permits. “We won’t be around to award that permit, so it’s kind of an exercise in futility,” said Schnack.

Winsor – the lone incumbent still in the race for one of five Town Council seats – asked about the upcoming joint meeting with the School Committee to discuss health care.

Keiser said he spoke to School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser, and she agreed to postpone that session until late November or early December.

“Again, that is an issue that has substantial budget ramifications,” Keiser said. “The future council and the School Committee will be making the budgetary decision.” Keiser said it would be a “futile effort for this council to hear from the actuary,” especially considering the town would have to pay for the actuary to attend the meeting.

White said he could see both points of view about the Town Council schedule.

“I don’t see a whole bunch of hope to get anything done. I’m pretty much done here.”

White said he would favor just one additional meeting to cover water and sewer commitments. He said he didn’t want to be criticized for leaving all the work to the next council, but added the critics would probably say this council opted to “dump it on the next council” no matter what they did.

The four incumbents – Schnack, Bowen, White and Bill Murphy – were defeated in the Sept. 11 primary. The five Democrats that will appear on November’s ballot are George Levesque, Mary Meagher, Gene Mihaly, Kristine Trocki and Tom Tighe. Only one incumbent, Winsor, an Independent, will remain among 11 candidates running for five council seats on Nov. 6. The other candidates include Republicans Blake Dickinson and Paul Sprague, and Independents Evan Katz, Dan Capuano and William Harsch.

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