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Disclosure: Waylandenews Executive Director Kim Reichelt is a member of the Wayland School Committee

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Wayland Weekly Flower

A cluster of Daffodils growing at a house on Stonebridge Rd. 

Non-Profit Spotlight:
Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable

Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization of men and women incorporated in 1999. The goal of the Roundtable is to raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence through community education and networking and to improve the coordination between public and private services for victims and families touched by domestic violence.

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Board of Public Works urges support for Automatic Meter Read (AMR) at 2019 Annual Town Meeting

The following was submitted by the Board of Public Works:

Do you care about conserving natural resources and promoting energy efficiency? Are you concerned about changes in the climate where weather patterns have become more severe and unpredictable? Do you want to live in a town that complies with newly enacted requirements and best practices as set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you can help Wayland join a growing list of cities and towns in the Commonwealth that have adopted a better way to read, measure, and prevent waste in water supply and distribution systems. To support this important initiative, please come to annual town meeting starting on April 29th and vote in favor of the Auomatic Meter Reading article, sponsored by the Board of Public Works.

The cost to implement this new system, to replace our current inefficient, labor-intensive and sometimes inaccurate means of measuring water consumption, is $1.3 million which will be entirely paid for from the water enterprise fund. This means there will not be any borrowing or any impact on your taxes. It is debt neutral.

What is Automatic Meter Reading (AMR)? An AMR end-point device (a small sealed plastic box) is added to the outside of your residence near the existing water meter and uses radio communications to send encrypted data on water consumption, eliminating the need to physically read your water meter by a Department of Public Works employee. Usage data will be relayed from the endpoints to the DPW utilizing two or three data collectors across town located on existing telephone poles. Transmissions will take place in a fraction of a second which will contain no personal information. The digital transmissions are at a very low power, equivalent to that of a cell phone text message, an EZ Pass transponder or garage door opener. Since the DPW will also be replacing aging water meters in town based on funding approved at the 2018 annual town meeting in April, there will be a real savings and added efficiencies by installing the AMR end-point devices at the same time as replacing the water meters, totaling $330,000 in labor savings.

The benefits to pass AMR now can be summarized as follows:

  • Water conservation – Wayland currently loses 1.4 million gallons a year to undetected water leaks and the town does not meet the Massachusetts DEP standard of less than 10 percent of unaccounted for water. Moreover, Wayland currently exceeds the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection standard of 65 gallons per person per day. The newly enacted state environmental guidelines in July 2018 recommend all municipalities adopt AMR to improve water use management and better conserve this vital natural resource.
  • Compliance and Automation – The town will achieve labor cost savings by eliminating our current manual read system, which requires a DPW employee to physically read every water meter in town (over 5,000 meters in total) two times a year. The recently enacted state environmental guidelines now mandate quarterly billing frequency – for Wayland to comply with this new billing frequency requirement without AMR, then additional labor costs will be incurred by the DPW.
  • Early leak detection – More frequent, uniform and consistent reads of water usage will help homeowners and the DPW identify leaks immediately and avoid unnecessary water loss, high bills for unintended water consumption, and related costs and administrative burdens to homeowners and the town.
  • Property protection – Wayland homes have sustained significant property damage from flooded basements and other water losses while residents were away and unaware of leaking and broken pipes.
  • Improved customer service – Under the current system, the DPW and Board of Public Works process numerous water abatement requests from homeowners from undetected water leaks. The bills for which residents seek abatements are in the thousands of dollars. This involves a cumbersome, timely and inconvenient process for residents, town staff and volunteer board members to review these abatement requests and grant relief. Abatements granted for late-detected leaks totals the tens of thousands of dollars each year and is born by all ratepayers in town.
  • Cost savings – By passing the AMR article now, the water meter replacement project which was already approved by voters at the April 2018 annual town meeting, will allow the town to save $330,000 in installation costs by replacing water meters and the AMR end-point devices at the same time. This is a prudent way for the town to manage costs.
  • Funding is available – Funding for this article will come from the water enterprise fund, which will not involve borrowing or result in any increase in taxes to Wayland residents.

What concerns have been raised when this article has come before town meeting in the past? A small group of residents have raised health concerns related to the potentially harmful effects of the radio transmissions. There is no basis to this concern. Transmissions will occur only a few times a day (for approximately six one-hundredths of a second!) using a radio wave commonly used in cell phones, transponders, and Wi-Fi networks. Each transmission would be the equivalent of sending a text message but for shorter duration and from the exterior of the home.

AMR was implemented in the city of Boston with a total of 88,000 endpoints in 2004. Area communities that have also implemented AMI include Weston, Lincoln, Sudbury, Framingham, Natick, Hopkinton, N. Reading, Westwood, Westford, Acton, Newton, Needham, among other communities. Electric and natural gas utilities have converted customer meters to remote radio read systems.

We have the opportunity now as a town to replace an outdated and antiquated method of reading water usage which, under our current system, leads to millions of gallons of water loss, a costly and cumbersome water abatement process, and inconsistent billing practices. By passing AMR, we will greatly improve customer service with early leak detection, improved water conservation, more timely and frequent billing with residents able to monitor their water usage, and bring Wayland in conformity with new state requirements.

Thank you for your support for the Automatic Meter Reading article and we look forward to seeing you at annual town meeting starting on April 29th.

[For a more detailed presentation on the benefits of AMR, please go to https://goo.gl/7APqd2.]

Wayland Board of Public Works

How a Verizon cell tower began a furious debate in Wayland

Boston Magazine How a Verizon cell tower began a furious debate in Wayland. A shooting range, a 141-foot cell tower, and a mob of angry neighbors in one of Boston’s toniest suburbs.

Drug Take Back Day, Saturday April 27

The Wayland Police Department will be a collection site on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10am-2pm.

Please bring your unused, unwanted prescription drugs to the Wayland Police Department, located at 38 Cochituate Road, Wayland from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 27, 2019.

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/

Meet the new Wellington Elementary principal

Wicked Local Belmont 4/16/19: Meet the new Wellington Elementary principal. Dr. Heidi Paisner-Roffman has accepted the position as principal of the Wellington Elementary School, beginning July 1, 2019. Paisner-Roffman is an assistant principal and English learners program coordinator in the Wayland Public Schools.

Verizon to weigh cell tower at Wayland High School

Wayland Town Crier 4/12/19: Verizon to weigh cell tower at Wayland High School. When it comes to possible landing spots for a Verizon cell tower, Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian wants to leave no stone unturned. Sarkisian plans to speak with the School Department about turning one of the light poles at the Wayland High School football field into a type of cell tower called a “monopole.”

Wayland alum presents King Philip’s War Wayland Documentary

Written, produced, directed, and presented by Andrew Rakich, class of 2009 WHS, BA Fine Arts 2013 University of North Carolina School of the Arts.  His film chronicles the local events of King Philip’s War (1675): The Most Important American War You’ve Never Heard Of.

Debt Exclusion Explained

This post submitted by The Board of Selectmen:

The Board of Selectmen placed two debt exclusion questions on the April 23rd Town Election ballot: Wayland High School (WHS) athletic complex renovation and Loker turf field construction. Voters passed debt exclusion funding a year ago on these projects, but no action was taken at Town Meeting, so residents need to vote again. On April 23rd, voters will see three questions on the ballot, two of which are the debt exclusions addressed here. We thought it would be helpful to answer some common questions on the process.

What is a debt exclusion? A debt exclusion vote allows a town to raise tax revenue in addition to that generated under the Proposition 21⁄2 levy. (The levy limit is the total overall amount any community is allowed to raise through taxation. Proposition 21⁄2 limits the annual increase to 2.5% plus new growth plus increases in assessed value of property.) These additional tax revenues pay for debt (principal and interest) borrowed for a specific purpose. In this way, a town can build a school or other building and not fund it from its existing revenues. In other words, a debt exclusion is a means of funding a particular project(s) with a temporary increase in the levy limit. The debt is excluded from (that is, exempt from) the levy limitations of Proposition 21⁄2. Debt exclusion is a tool that towns use to show voter commitment for projects and willingness to support them financially.

How does a debt exclusion differ from an override? Both are Proposition 21⁄2 questions and, in municipal finance language, both are technically overrides. However, there are some basic differences. While both will increase your property taxes, a debt exclusion is a temporary increase while an operating override is a permanent increase in the town’s tax levy limit. A debt exclusion finances a particular project(s) and your taxes increase for a period of time, usually 10-20 years, to cover the cost of the project. When the financing bond is paid off, your tax increase for that project
goes away.

Why are there two votes – one at the polls and one at Town Meeting? A debt exclusion is required to pass two thresholds: a simple majority at the polls and a two-thirds majority at Town Meeting. This year, Town Meeting will vote on two articles related to the debt exclusion: Article 13 – High School Athletic Complex Renovation and Article 15 – Loker Turf Field Construction.

What does voting “yes” on a debt exclusion question at the ballot mean? A “yes” vote only allows the Town to use excluded debt to fund a project. A “yes” vote does not mean approval of the project; that only happens at Town Meeting with the appropriation. There is no dollar amount shown in the ballot question(s). The project still needs to pass at Town Meeting with a two-thirds majority vote for borrowing, and the articles at Town Meeting ask for a specific dollar amount in the appropriation.

What does voting “no” on a debt exclusion question at the ballot mean? A “no” vote means the Town cannot exclude or exempt the debt from the levy. The project/article can still be considered at Town Meeting even if it does not achieve a majority at the ballot, but the debt would be “regular” or non-exempt debt. A two-thirds majority is still needed to pass the article at Town Meeting if it is funded with borrowing. The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee both recommend funding these projects with excluded debt.

What happens if a “no” vote prevails at the ballot, but Town Meeting passes the article WITH debt exclusion funding? The Board of Selectmen would need to decide whether to call another special election/ballot. The decision to use excluded debt must pass at the ballot, but this vote can happen after the vote on the article at Town Meeting.

What does the Town’s financial advisor and Moody’s think of debt exclusions? Both the Town’s financial advisor (Unibank) and the Town’s credit rating service (Moody’s) state that large capital projects are better funded with debt exclusions (excluded debt). This is not support for any particular project, but rather a preference for the funding mechanism for any one of the large capital projects.

What are the questions on the April 23rd ballot? This year the Town is being asked to consider three ballot questions. Question 1 relates to the prohibition of recreational marijuana establishments in the Town of Wayland, which is not a debt exclusion question and therefore is not being addressed in this article. Questions 2 and 3 are debt exclusion questions

Ballot Question 2: Shall the Town of Wayland be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-
half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to pay for the design, permitting, engineering, reconstruction and construction of the Wayland High School Stadium Complex Renovation and Tennis Court and Softball Field Reconstruction, including the replacement of bleachers and lighting, as described in Parts 1 and 2 of the Wayland High School Facility Strategic Master Plan (High School Athletic Preferred Improvement Plan), including any and all other costs incidental or related thereto?

Ballot Question 3: Shall the Town of Wayland be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-
half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to pay for designing, permitting, engineering and constructing a multi-purpose synthetic turf athletic playing field at the Loker Conservation & Recreation Area, including playing surfaces, lighting, drainage, landscaping, recreational amenities, access and parking areas; and any and all other costs incidental or related thereto?

Where can I find more information on the upcoming votes? The 2019 Annual Town Meeting Warrant should have arrived in your mailbox. It is also available on the Town of Wayland’s website. For more information you are welcome to attend the Warrant Hearing on Monday, April 22 at 7:30 pm in the Wayland Town Building.

Wayland Board of Selectmen
Lea Anderson
Mary Antes
Louis Jurist
Cherry Karlson
Doug Levine