Wayland Voters Network
March 28, 2005
Dear Wayland Voter,
Upcoming meetings of interest:
Mon., March 28 - Public hearing on April 26 $2.3 million tax override
ballot question, 6:00pm, Board of Selectmen's meeting room, first
floor, Town Building.
Mon., March 28 School Committee meets with High School Building
Committee to discuss conducting a survey of voters regarding the
failed high school project, 7:30pm, second floor, Town Building.
Extended public comment at beginning and end of meeting. Written
Tues., April 5 - The Finance Committee has scheduled a public
information forum on the budget and override, 7:30pm, Town Building.
Information on the meeting and budget can be found at
Mon., April 11 School Committee public hearing on FY06 budget,
Middle School Auditorium, 7:30pm.
Wed., April 13 - League of Women Voters Candidates' Night, Wayland
Middle School. Start time hasn't been determined, either 7:00 or 7:30.
Two reports follow, one on the March 19 hearing on town-owned land,
the other on the March 21 meeting of the Finance Committee. Both
were prepared by WVN subscriber Molly Upton.
Saturday, March 19, the Board of Selectmen held a hearing to discuss
the approximately 330 pieces of land the town owns and to stimulate
discussion among citizens and various boards about possible uses of
these lands. Diagrams of the parcel locations can be viewed on the
Wayland Web site. http://www.wayland.ma.us/surveying/disclaimer.htm
thanks to the hard work of the surveyor's office. Land is owned by
many different town departments as well as tax title lots that have
either been given to or taken by the town in lieu of tax payments.
The town surveyor delineated plots of land by department, as well as
those that are tax title holdings. The total amount of taxes owed by
these tax title holdings exceeds $800,000.
While the theme of the meeting was to get boards to plan together
regarding their various land parcels, to this observer the meeting
appeared to be directed at increasing efforts to sell parcels to
defray operating expenses. However, there was not a clear answer as
to whether a particular board owning a parcel of land or the general
fund would receive income from any potential sale of land.
As an example of "out of the box" thinking that might turn less
desirable parcels into more desirable parcels for resale, Selectman
Brian O'Herlihy mentioned a tax title lot where the owner has not
been able to install a septic system. Question: if a single owner
bought that parcel as well as the town land across the street, might
that owner then be able to use the second lot for a septic system?
This would take two lots that individually aren't good for
development, and make a potentially saleable lot.
Another instance was a house with town-owned land on either side.
Question: could the town approach the owner for right of first
refusal, and if the town bought that middle piece, there is potential
for more than one building lot on the combined property.
Citizens can express interest in parcels in writing to the selectmen
and should include the parcel id (available on the surveyor's web
Many factors were mentioned but not discussed in detail regarding
possible uses of land. These include deed restrictions; wetlands
restrictions; whether the land is suitable for community purposes
such as an area septic system; is the land designated "park" land by
the state; is the land desired by other committees such as open space
Someone asked if it makes sense to intensify development in areas
covered by the aquifer protection district (which covers about 60% of
It's clear that selling town-owned land is a cumbersome process. As
many as 70 deeds have to be cleared, and any proposed sale needs to
be approved by town meeting,
The big parcels are owned by the school department -- Orchard Lane
and Alpine Road (approx. 15 acres each) -- as well as by conservation
and park and recreation departments (Greenways/aka Paine Estate).
There are also 25 acres of the Paine Estate marked as "municipal"
which falls under the Board of Selectmen.
FY 06 BUDGET
The Finance Committee will meet with department heads at 6 P.M.
Monday, March 28 to discuss the cuts that will occur if the override
and/or the transfer of water reserve funds don't pass.
Fincom said it had already made cuts to the departments' proposed
budgets, and now is facing a funding gap of $2.8 million if the water
reserve transfer isn't approved. (Actually, the total budget gap is
$ 3.2 million, but Fincom is transferring $400,000 from ambulance and
real estate accounts to help balance the budget. Fincom said it
regularly applies these funds to help balance the budget.)
The percentage cuts Fincom is asking are based on next year's budget
of $39 million; this excludes items that cannot be cut: debt&
interest, unclassified (health, pension). The total town budget is
Fincom is asking for the following:
5% cuts from departments
$300,000 additional in cuts of $150,000 each from school and town
and 1.3% of additional cuts from departments in case the water
reserve transfer fails
The committee will consult with the personnel director to get the
cost figures for potential unemployment and severance. It is
preparing a sheet detailing the possible cuts and the impact on
services to the town (e.g. reduced library hours).
Fincom voted to not recommend the assessor's request for $250,000 for
a one-time update of all property values in town. The article for a
salt shed has been moved to special town meeting so it wasn't
discussed at this meeting.
At public comment, a resident suggested more openness would be
helpful so the public could provide informed suggestions, and Fincom
discussed with him how it can be more open. One suggestion was
posting events, decisions, topics on the town Web site; another
suggestion was to be filmed by Waycam.
Yours truly asked about the capital items in the budget. Fincom is
planning to have the town vote on these as part of the regular
omnibus budget process, and not as a debt exclusion. Fincom said the
capital number is built into recurring capital expenses.
One item in the current year transfer covers existing (i.e. this
year) severance and unemployment that exceeds the budgeted $25,000.
There was some discussion that in the future the school department
should budget for and cover its share of such personnel expenses.
Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
copy, they can send an email to waylandvoters@...
and they will
be signed up for the listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by
sending a blank email to:waylandvotersnetwork-
. Click reply and send after receiving an e-
mail confirming the subscription.
Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove, Chair
Michael Short, Treasurer