By Doug Ireland
---- — NEWTON — Voters have decided they don’t want to spend an additional $4,500 on the town’s fire wells, dry hydrants and cisterns this year.
Residents amended few of the 23 proposed warrant articles during the three-hour deliberative session Saturday, according to Selectman Raymond Thayer.
But they did approve an amendment that would have provided $4,500 for the maintenance, repair or installation of the wells, hydrants and cisterns, deciding to only spend $1, Thayer said.
A resident asked what would happen if the money was not allocated, Thayer said. He was told selectmen would take the $4,500 from the town’s operating budget, the selectman said.
There were no major modifications to other articles before voters approved them for placement on the March 12, Thayer said.
Among the articles are a proposed $2.9 million budget and a request, through a citizen petition, to increase the Board of Selectmen from three members to five.
The article was proposed by former selectman Lawrence Foote, Thayer said. Foote failed to win re-election to the board in March 2012 and is not running this year.
Selectmen have pushed for a larger board in the past few years, saying more members were needed to handle an increasing number of tasks. Two years ago, an article put forth by selectmen was determined to be invalid because it had to be proposed through a citizen petition, according to Selectmen’s Chairman Trisha McCarthy.
Other articles on this year’s warrant include proposals to make the highway foreman’s job full time, spend $35,000 for a hazardous waste day, build a $52,500 fence at the transfer station, and contribute to community service organizations.
Only 30 of the town’s 3,180 voters attended the deliberative session, less than 1 percent.
“We have to find a way to get the residents out,” Thayer said.