Selectmen did not support Article 19 in which Rowley proposes to amend the town’s general bylaws pertaining to the town’s annual report.
Rowley seeks to have the annual town report published on a calendar year instead of a fiscal year, which it was changed to during town meeting 2002. The town’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30.
Rowley wants the town report to include fiscal reports within 90 days of the close of the fiscal year.
Her reason behind the article is the following: “When the town report is on a calendar year, the selectmen and all other boards, committees and commissions, can report to the inhabitants on the accomplishments of the past fiscal year, the status of the work of the current fiscal year, and provide a base for understanding the work to be done under the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. In this manner, the voter is provided with a broader understanding of the services accomplished with the funds appropriated by action at town meetings.”
Selectmen favored the way the annual report is published now. The reports of the committees are due in October. Selectmen felt that if they were due at the end of the year during the busy holiday season, then they may not get done. The report, which is available now, was printed before Christmas.
“I think the fiscal year serves the town better,” said Selectman Andre Martecchini.
“I’m in favor of it being on a fiscal year,” said Selectman John Tuffy.
Selectmen wanted more information on Rowley’s other proposal, which was to have voters adopt a state law that provides guidance for a senior tax relief program.
Since 1995, Duxbury has run a senior tax relief program, which allows up to 10 seniors to volunteer their time to earn up to $500 off their tax bills. The program is administered by the Council on Aging. Duxbury’s program was in place before the state law was enacted.
Rowley’s proposal is almost exactly the same as the town’s and it would allow seniors age 60 and older to receive up to a $500 abatement on their taxes in exchange for their volunteer services to the town.
“This formalizes it,” said Rowley. “I can’t think of any reason not to accept it.”
Selectmen were skeptical of adopting the state law when Duxbury’s program was working fine.
“We’re being asked to accomplish the same goal as we’re doing now,” Sullivan said. “We have a program that exists and it’s workingÖif it’s not broken, why are we trying to fix it?”
Selectman John Tuffy wanted to hear from other communities that have adopted the state law “to see if there are any unintended consequences.”
Selectmen also wanted a recommendation from the Council on Aging before they voted on Rowley’s proposal.