Hudson selectman, candidate get snippy at session

HUDSON – A brief go-around between Selectman Shawn Jasper and selectman candidate Marilyn McGrath punctuated an otherwise uneventful town Deliberative Session at the Lions Community Center on Saturday.

Residents amended just one of the 10 warrant articles presented for discussion, while the agenda’s largest money article, the 2009-10 town operating budget, drew only one comment from the gathering of roughly 70 townspeople.

Should the proposed operating budget, which is set at $26,935,059, be voted down, the $26,886,556 default budget would go into effect.

The articles, along with seven proposed zoning amendments – four of which are by petition – now go on the ballot tion, when voters will decide their fate.

Voting will also take place that day for several town offices. The polls, at the Community Center on Lions Avenue, will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

>>Town Meeting ‘09<< The amendment to Article 16, which calls for $50,000 to establish a future Senior Center Capital Reserve Fund, added the word "purchasing" to the sentence that asks voters if the town should establish the fund "for the purposes of building, leasing or renting a facility for a senior center." The amendment was proposed by resident Ted Trost and approved unanimously. Jasper, a veteran selectman and former firefighter, and McGrath, a former Planning Board member, exchanged words during the discussion on Article 17, which calls for the town to appropriate $25,000 to study land for a possible new fire station along Route 102. McGrath said she supports the article, but also voiced her concern that selectmen don't have a plan in place for the current Central Station should a new station be built. Jasper responded that such an exercise "is very premature . . ." and "makes no sense" for selectmen to discuss the issue "this early in the process." McGrath, who is challenging Jasper and Selectman Ben Nadeau for one of the two three-year selectman seats coming open in March, returned to the microphone. "It's my opinion that this board wastes a lot of time on nonsense as it is," she said, drawing a few groans and chuckles from the assemblage. "I understand that some people think we waste a lot of time on nonsense," Jasper countered. "I see you're running for the board. . . . I applaud you for that." Selectmen and the Budget Committee are recommending Article 17, but it wasn't without some dissension - selectmen voted 4-1 and the Budget Committee 6-4 to recommend.