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Special Town Meeting

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Members vote to indefinitely postpone a nonbinding resolution opposing expansion of WIN Waste Innovations’ ash landfill

  Over the years, the Annual Town Meeting has had several symbolic votes opposing expansion of the ash landfill near the trash-to-energy incinerator on Route 107. But during Monday night’s Special Town Meeting, members voted by a slim majority (21-15) vote with 13 members absent to postpone indefinitely a nonbinding resolution that opposed further extension of WIN Waste Innovations’ ash landfill and also took a stand against any effort to modify the law or regulations relative to the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Had the resolution passed, it would have been circulated to the entire state legislative delegation for Saugus in addition to the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

  Speakers opposing the resolution – including Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano – argued that passage of the resolution might jeopardize a pending Host Community Agreement (HCA) being negotiated with WIN Waste Innovations that would extend the ash landfill 20 more years in return for tipping fees being waived over the life of the agreement. After more than an hour of discussion, Town Meeting members voted 25-12 with 12 absences to call the question, effectively ending the debate.

  “By deciding not to oppose the continued use of our monofill, Town Meeting has joined the Landfill Committee and Board of Selectmen in advancing an idea that would provide significant environmental and economic benefits to the Town for years to come,” said Jim Connolly, WIN Waste Innovations Vice President Environmental. “A proposed Host Community Agreement (HCA) between Saugus and WIN Waste would formalize these benefits if we are able to obtain the necessary permits to continue operating the monofill. We look forward to working with the Town to finalize the HCA, engaging in a rigorous, transparent and fact-based environmental review process, and making our case to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Saugus Board of Health.”

  The resolution was initiated by four of the five Precinct 10 Town Meeting Members: Martin Costello, Peter Manoogian, Darren Ring and Carla Scuzzarella.

  Selectmen, by a 3-2 margin, voted last month to support the HCA.

  However, DEP officials have already said current state environmental regulations do not allow expansion of the ash landfill. WIN would have to influence lawmakers to change existing environmental law and regulations in order to continue using the landfill for two decades after its capacity runs out.

  In other Town Meeting business on Monday night, members voted unanimously to create a Supplemental Student Support Reserve Fund that would aid the School Department in reaching students whose education was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree proposed the fund with the intention of making use of an extra $3 million that Gov. Charlie Baker added to Chapter 70 funds. A provision of the special fund provides that “In order for the Saugus Public Schools to access these funds the Superintendent and School Committee must submit a detailed plan to the Saugus Finance Committee who will determine that such plans are supplementing current educational programming and not supplanting it.”

  The Supplemental Student Support Reserve Fund was created to raise and appropriate a sum of money for deposit into such fund for the following purpose(s):

  –To develop and provide enrichment programs outside of the school day, including summer school, evening school, and before and after school programs not currently existing in the school budget

  –To deliver at home tutoring for students who have been identified as needing one on one support from a qualified educator

  –To procure and administer norm referenced student assessments to identify individual student deficiencies in mathematics and reading

  –To develop and implement parent/guardian communication and training programs that will help facilitate student learning and success

  –To supplement existing ESL / ELL learners including, but not limited to, materials and properly credentialed staff to support these learners

  –To ensure access to technology for students who have been identified as not having such at home

  –To develop and implement extended day programs for students as needed

  –To develop any program deemed appropriate and proven effective with the goal of bringing about student academic and social recovery from two years of remote learning

  Crabtree proposed creating the fund with an additional $3 million Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration put into Chapter 70, which provides state aid to public elementary and secondary schools, this year. Now that the fund is approved by Town Meeting, the School Committee and Superintendent Erin McMahon are now responsible for proposing a plan for how to spend the funds, which will go before the Finance Committee

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