Busy Warrant Awaits Dracut Town Meeting
DRACUT - Several marijuana- related articles and one article that would raise property taxes to finance a new fire station and added school security are among the major articles on the warrant for annual Town Meeting, which begins Monday.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Lester G. Richardson Center for the Performing Arts at the high school.
Town Manager Jim Duggan said Thursday that there are four separate articles related to marijuana. Article 32, which spans several pages in the Town Meeting warrant, looks to outline marijuana establishment boundaries and expectations within the town’s bylaws. Article 33 looks to impose a 3 percent excise tax on retail sales of marijuana for adult use. Duggan said he and staff do not yet know how much money this could potentially bring the town of Dracut.
“We’re doing the research now in regards to the expectations of a retail environment compared to a medicinal environment - what anticipated sales are,” Duggan said.
Duggan said Dracut is a “yes” community and that the Board of Selectmen provided him with some direction that these types of establishments would be eligible in the town’s industrial areas.
Article 22, which was recommended by Duggan, looks to appropriate a sum of money for constructing, equipping, and furnishing a new fire station to be located at 539 Nashua Rd., Dracut, as well as for the implementation of security equipment at various school buildings.
“It’s the authorization to put it on for a ballot at the September primary,” Duggan said. “It’s clearly another hurdle to go at the ballot box, but this is the first step for us to get there for the debt exclusion.”
The amount in question is $4 million for the new fire station and $950,000 for Dracut Public Schools security, said Duggan.
The new fire station would replace the current one at 1990 Lakeview Ave., Dracut. Duggan said the condition of the original station is “terrible.”
“With the advances of fire sciences and fighting fires, we have additional equipment,” he said. “The station is not conducive for the environment to fight fires in today’s world.”
Another notable article is one that looks to fully pay public employees while they are serving in the military reserves. Article 45 is sponsored by Dracut firefighter Justin George, who also serves as a medic for the National Guard. George came before the Board of Selectmen earlier this month for the opportunity to speak in favor of the adoption of Mass. General Laws Section 33, Chapter 59.
If Town Meeting needs another day, it will resume at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday at the same location.