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ABOUT TOWN: April

About-Town-Margaret-WirtenbergApril is a very important month in Weston. This is “green” time in a number of ways.

The first, for me, is knowing that Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day comes around on Saturday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Department of Public Works headquarters on Old Hyde Road.

What is “Good Riddance Day”? It is your opportunity to safely dispose of chemicals and other hazardous household products. If these were to be poured on the ground “out back,” or otherwise improperly disposed of, they might very well end up finding their way into your well water some day!

Between now and Saturday, April 27, collect items having skull and crossbones labels that may be lying around in your basement or garage. Do the same with many other kinds of hazardous materials that will be listed in the “poison green” Good Riddance Day flyer you will receive in the mail. Pack them safely in a box or two and plan to take them to DPW for safe disposal.

Earth Day, occurring on April 22, seems tailor-made for Weston. Where else but in our perennially green and environmentally conscious town does this political invention seem so applicable?

Some recent developments in the environmental department are efforts by the town and some young Westonites to ban the use of plastic bags here, as has been done in Westport. Should there be a law or ordinance declaring that plastic bags may no longer be used at the stores, businesses and shops in Weston Center?

If there ever was a time to bring this matter to a head, April would seem to be it!

ATBM

What with the latest nuclear saber-rattling from North Korea, “ATBM” may sound like a threatening thing.

However, not so in Weston. The Annual Town Budget Meeting, which is no longer the final step in the budget process, comes on April 24 at 8 p.m. in the Weston High School auditorium. There are some new rules, thanks to charter revision, concerning what ATBM does and does not have the power to do, and the procedures by which it is conducted.

Principal among these new rules is the guarantee that ATBM is not the last stop. It used to be that in order to conduct a subsequent referendum on the budget, it was necessary for a petition to be created, and for signatures to be gained on it. No longer.

What, then, is the role of ATBM? While it no longer has the final say on the budget process, it still has the power to cut the proposed budgets, before they are voted on at referendum. But only if enough eligible Town Meeting voters show up — the requirement being 2% of those eligible — and then only if a majority of these voters approves the cuts. This is new. There is now a quorum requirement for ATBM to be able to take action to reduce the amounts recommended by the Board of Finance.

So what constitutes 2% of qualified voters? The number of registered voters in Weston is around 6,300. The number of “qualified” Town Meeting voters is a somewhat larger number than that, as it includes nonresidents who own property in town valued at $1,000 or more.

This will be the first ATBM held under the new Charter provisions, and there really is no way of predicting exactly how some of these and other details of the new Charter will play out. If there is no quorum at ATBM, the Board of Finance numbers will go to referendum.

Less than enthusiastic support for the budget or just plain old ennui could conceivably have that result. Or perhaps those seeking cuts in the finance board’s numbers might show up in force, leading to reductions in the numbers submitted to referendum.

So no matter how you may feel about the proposed budgets, it would be a good idea to show up on April 24 at 8 p.m. at the high school. See you there!

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Check out Margaret Wirtenberg's website: http://www.aboutweston.com/

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