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Milton Town Meeting passes medical fund, Master Plan; withholds money for housing plan

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  May 8, 2013 04:03 PM

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Milton’s Town Meeting voters looked to the future Tuesday, approving money for creating a Master Plan, setting up a revolving fund to deal with future medical expenses of an injured safety worker, and allowing selectmen to expand a town cemetery.

Members voted not to spend additional money on creating an affordable-housing plan, which could protect the town from future 40B developments, but selectmen will put together the Housing Production Plan using money from this year’s operating budget.

Selectman Thomas Hurley said town officials found a specialist who could put the Housing Production Plan together at $5,000, rather than the $30,000 originally estimated.

“The Housing Production Plan can be useful in that it identifies what the town feels is appropriate affordable housing and what types of affordable housing would be appropriate for the town,” Hurley said Tuesday. “It gives developers a feel for what the town is looking for and sets a good standard.”

The plan also can give the town a one-year waiver in a year it meets the goal of constructing one-half percent of the town’s housing stock in affordable housing – 48 units in Milton’s case – according to Hurley.

Using the $5,000 option will require the town’s planning department to do more work internally, but Hurley said it could be done.

Town Meeting approved two articles related to an injury of a town safety official in the line of duty. The town has already spent about $3 million on the injury, which took place about six years ago, and expects to pay about $500,000 each year moving forward.

Selectmen put forward an article for a special fund that would allow the town to raise revenue above the state-allowed maximum for the purpose of paying the medical bills. Another article raised $1 million to pay the bills while state legislators determine whether creating the fund is allowed, which could take as long as two years.

Both articles passed.

Town Meeting members also passed articles allowing the town to purchase an approximately 86,000-square-foot lot off of Pleasant Street and Deer Run Lane to be given to the cemetery.

The purchase of the land for $175,000 will be paid for by the Copeland Foundation, according to selectmen Chairman Denis Keohane. He said the land could keep the cemetery from getting full for an additional 10 years.

The last vote of the night was the only standing vote taken. It was over the issue of funding the town’s Master Plan at $100,000. Preliminary work had been done by 75 participants of planning sessions that were open to all residents.

“I’m all for planning, but we could do a lot of other things with $100,000,” one member said.

The motion passed in a standing vote of 149 to 45.

Town Meeting will continue Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Milton High School.

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