Newton introduces budget, passes three measures during meeting

Includes more than $12 million for municipal spending


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— The Newton Town Council introduced the 2014 budget at its March 10 meeting, appropriating $12,075,000 for municipal spending, including more than $4 million for the water and utility budget, according to Town Manager Thomas Russo, Jr.

Although the appropriations have been approved by the council, a formal presentation of the budget will be open to the public at the April 14 meeting, Russo said.

The council passed an ordinance appropriating $135,000 for pool improvements, authorizing the issuance of $128,250 in bonds or notes to finance part of the cost.

A resolution was passed to award a $75,000 bid to renovate the main pool filtration system at Memory Park Swimming Pool. A bid provided to the council for a lesser amount had to be rejected because the plumbing licensing requirements by the municipality were not met, according to Mayor Joseph Ricciardo.

The council also passed an ordinance funding water-sewer capital improvements and modifications, including the replacement of the clarifier drive and the tank covers.

The $281,851 appropriation was fully funded by municipal tax revenues and did not require the issuance of bonds, according to the council.

In other business, the council passed an ordinance requested by the planning board to allow a longer timeline for construction to begin after variance and site plan applications have been approved.

Dubbed as the “Sunsetting Ordinance,” Newton Town Council’s attorney Ursula Leo said the planning board currently allows a timeline of one year with the ability to apply for an extension. With the passing of the March 10 ordinance, an approved application for a preliminary variance or site plan will remain active for three years before construction has to start.

Approved applications for final variance or site plans will now remain active for two years, Leo said.

“You have to give the planning board credit for realizing the need to make this change,” Mayor Joseph Ricciardo said.

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