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Community briefing

Berlin

FINANCE COMMITTEE MAKES BUDGET PLAN -- The Finance Committee is recommending an $8.06 million town budget for fiscal 2006, a 6 percent increase from the current year. The figure is $32,000 above Berlin's tax levy limit; the difference either must be cut or funded through a Proposition 2½ override. Selectmen expect to make a decision on the budget and any override by April 4. The Finance Committee cut $109,000 from the Berlin Memorial School request and $13,000 for Fire Department training. The budget figures are subject to change, based on health insurance increases that the town treasurer has pegged at $150,000, and funds coming from the state. -- Donna Goodison

Bolton

MEETING SET ON CHANGE REQUESTS -- Nashoba Regional High School has rescheduled its "parent override" night to March 29. The meeting is for parents of entering and returning Nashoba students who disagree with teachers' course recommendations and want their children moved into other courses. In the next school year, students won't be able to change course levels after the first progress report, which is issued seven weeks after school starts. The meeting will give parents and students overviews of course-level expectations. It will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. -- Donna Goodison

Framingham

CANDIDATE FORUMS THIS WEEK -- Two candidates' forums are coming up this week. On Tuesday, the Framingham League of Women Voters is hosting a debate at 7 p.m. at the Framingham Civic League at 214 Concord St. On Wednesday, the activist group Framingham Is My Back Yard will hold its forum at the Hemenway Elementary School cafeteria, at 729 Water St., at 7:30 p.m. Elections are April 5, and feature a hotly contested, six-way race for two Board of Selectmen seats. -- Lisa Kocian

Hudson

REFUSAL RIGHT ON LAND TRANSFERRED -- Eight acres of open land off Main Street will not be under the town's domain, now that selectmen have voted to give up their right to buy it. The board decided to relinquish the right of first refusal on the $850,000 property owned by the Kane estate and transfer the right to the Sudbury Valley Trustees. The town must hold a public hearing to finalize the transfer, according to Paul Blazar, executive administrator. Blazar said the town does not have the money to buy the land. -- Connie Paige

Lincoln

TRAIN WHISTLES TO BE DISCUSSED -- Selectmen plan to discuss tomorrow night whether the town should petition the Federal Railway Administration to continue the local ban on train whistles. Selectmen expect to hear information from the town's engineering consultant, Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin , headquartered in Watertown. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the town offices building on Lincoln Road.-- Matt McDonald

OPENINGS ON BOARDS, COMMITTEES -- Eager to fill vacancies on close to 20 boards and committees, the selectmen are asking residents to consider applying for the seats. Town officials are asking residents to respond by April 4. For more information, call Donna Adam in the selectmen's office at 781-259-2600 or send an e-mail to adamd@lincolntown.org. Applications are available at the town's website, www.lincoltown.org. -- Matt McDonald

Marlborough

CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATIONS EXCEED PROJECTIONS -- The Advanced Math and Science Charter School has said it exceeded enrollment projections, but critics of the proposed school say the numbers may be premature. A total of 283 students applied for 276 sixth- and seventh-grade openings at the school next fall, according to school founder Julia Sigalovsky. On Tuesday, the school held a lottery and selected 138 students for each grade. Eighty-seven students residing in Marlborough, Maynard, Hudson, and Clinton -- the towns closest to the school -- were enrolled automatically. The rest were placed on a waiting list. Sheldon Berman, superintendent of the Hudson public schools, said the enrollment figures only represented parents of students who were interested in attending the school. The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, which opposes charter schools on the grounds that they drain funding from public schools, will issue a report next week asking the state to require official enrollment registration before funding the schools, Berman said.

-- Megan Woolhouse

Maynard

TOWN MEETING GETS 3 CHOICES -- Voters will face a choice of three alternative town budgets. At Town Meeting, they will be asked to approve a balanced budget of about $26.4 million, which represents cuts of 7 percent in town services, or to accept or reject one of two Proposition 2½ overrides. One for $1 million would fund services at about the same level as this year but still require some belt tightening. A second for $2 million would allow the same level of services as now. Health insurance costs are a major culprit in the shortfall, according to Robert Nadeau, selectman chairman.-- Connie Paige

Northborough

EX-PLANNING BOARD MEMBER MAY RUN -- David Sargent, a former member of the Planning Board, has taken nomination papers for the Board of Selectmen. If he runs, it would become a four-way race for two slots on the board. The election is May 9. Sargent has until tomorrow to file. -- Matt Gunderson

WATER, SEWER RATES JUMP -- The Department of Public Works has raised water by about 50 percent and sewer rates by about 30 percent. An average household's water bill will increase from approximately $250 to $382. The average annual sewer bill per household will go from $313 to $401. In a press release, the department said the town will still have the lowest water rate among surrounding towns. It has the second-highest sewer rate among the same group of towns, it said. A major reason for the water bill hikes is the town's contribution to a new treatment facility in Marlborough. Water rates have also not been adjusted in three years. Sewer rates have not been adjusted in six years. -- Matthew Gunderson

Shrewsbury

POLICE SEEK INFORMATION ON PURSE SNATCHING -- Police are hoping that information from witnesses will help them catch a purse snatcher. A woman's purse was stolen as she loaded groceries into her car in the parking lot of the White City Shopping Center Wednesday at 2 p.m. A man ripped it away from her and fled in a beige Ford Winstar van. Another man who witnessed the scuffle tried to stop the van unsuccessfully. Anyone with information is asked to call the detective bureau at 508-841-8577. A $250 reward has been offered. -- Megan Woolhouse

Southborough

CHIEF WANTS NEW SOLICITATION RULES -- Police Chief William Webber is proposing new rules for solicitors who want to go door-to-door in Southborough. Hours would be limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. if the proposed bylaw is approved at the April 11 Town Meeting. Solicitors would be required to register seven days in advance with police, who would conduct criminal background checks and issue photo IDs for a $25 fee. The police also would maintain a ''do not solicit" list for residents who don't want solicitors visiting their homes. The regulations would not apply to government employees conducting their business, solicitors with religious affiliations, or minors under age 18. --Donna Goodison

Stow

SUSPECT PAYS BANK DEBT -- Michael Deppe, the Hudson 20-year-old under federal indictment for mail and wire fraud, has paid his debt to a Stow bank in a separate criminal case. After Deppe was indicted by the US attorney in an alleged Internet scam, Stow police arrested him on March 3 on larceny charges for allegedly reneging on a $5,500 debt to Citizens Bank. Deppe was released on bail of $7,500 and repaid the bank the next day, according to Stow police officer Timothy Lima. The case has been continued for six months. If Deppe stays out of trouble during that time, the charge would be dismissed, Lima said.

-- Connie Paige

Sudbury

GENERATOR ESTIMATES SOUGHT -- The town's building department is looking for quotes from licensed electrical contractors to replace a natural gas emergency generator at the police station at 415 Boston Post Road. The project is estimated to cost less than $20,000. Quotes are due by 3 p.m. March 31 at the town's building office at 275 Old Lancaster Road in Sudbury. For more information, call 978-443-2209 ext. 1361.-- Matt McDonald

WARRANT ON WEBSITE -- The 50-article warrant for annual Town Meeting is on the town's website. The warrant, which can be seen at www.town.sudbury.ma.us, includes the text of proposed measures. Town Meeting is scheduled to begin April 4.

-- Matt McDonald

Wayland

OVERRIDE ON BALLOT -- Selectmen voted Monday to put a $2.3 million Proposition 2½ operating budget override on the annual town election ballot April 26, said Bob Lentz, chairman of the Finance Committee. Proposition 2½ limits increases in a town's tax levy to 2.5 percent plus allowances for new growth, unless voters approve a further increase. -- Matt McDonald

ENGINEER MAY CHECK ROAD PLAN -- The road commissioners are considering hiring an independent engineer to evaluate a tricky intersection where a developer wants to put another road, said Joseph Nolan, board chairman. The developer, Terra Holdings Inc., which is planning to build a subdivision, wants to bring a new road to the intersection of Plain Road, Claypit Hill Road, and Decatur Lane to gain access to the house lots. The oddly shaped confluence of roads already has four spokes coming together. The board rejected an application for a physical alteration permit that would allow the road, on a 3-2 vote Feb. 22. Nolan, who voted to grant the permit, said the three majority members worry about the impact the new road might have on safety.

-- Matt McDonald

Westborough

TRAFFIC LIGHT VOTE EXPECTED -- The selectmen's vote on the proposed traffic light at East Main and Lyman streets was postponed until Tuesday after a snowstorm forced cancellation of their last meeting. The board also will review the fiscal 2006 budgets requested by the Department of Public Works and the Police and Fire departments. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.-- Donna Goodison

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