Hamilton Town Meeting voters approved a school budget with a “giveback” to taxpayers of $420,000 on Saturday morning.
Hamilton’s share of that “giveback” is $286,000 and that was part of the budget number that voters supported while approving its $15.1 million share of the fiscal 2013 school budget.
School Committee Vice-Chairman Roger Kuebel said the “giveback” number has the OK from three of the School Committee members – Chairman Alexa McCloughan and Larry Swartz in addition to him. The full committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the .
Finance Committee Chairman John McWane said he brought the number to Town Meeting after "11th hour" negotiations with some members of the School Committee.
If approved by the School Committee, it would mean a reduction of Wenham’s share of the school budget by $134,000. Wenham Town Meeting of the of the School Committee’s budget.
The School Committee has also said that it will return to the towns any amount of money over 3 percent of the budget in its “excess and deficiency” account after state officials certify the money later this year.
Voters at Hamilton Town Meeting on Saturday in the auditorium at also approved using $350,000 of free cash – essentially a savings account that is a compilation of fund balance from the previous year – to go towards the fiscal 2013 budget, up from the original request for $300,000.
All of the other articles passed as proposed, including a measure to reverse a 2006 Town Meeting vote to sell
Voters also . For a complete wrapup of all the decisions and discussions during the four-hour long meeting, .
Transfers to cover the cost of the new trash and organics bins was approved without any discussion about the new trash program, .
A total of 286 voters checked in, according to Town Clerk Jane Wetson, which is 5.2 percent of the towns’ registered voters.
None of the votes were close enough to require a card count by the tellers. Moderator Bruce Ramsay was able to declare each vote final based on the audible “yeas” and “neas.”
A citizen’s petition to spend $19,000 on a study to create a bicycle and pedestrian path along Essex Street was also approved.
Other articles given voter approval included bonding $5 million to make water infrastructure improvements over the next few years and using $140,000 from the water fund to buy a new dumptruck and utility truck.
One of the most debated items was whether to spend $23,000 on aesthetic improvements in the downtown area, including new trees and planters. It was approved. Also, $50,000 was also approved to go towards sidewalk improvements.
The town election is May 25 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at . The only contested race of the ballot is for School Committee, where five candidates are seeking three open positions.