Pittsfield voters to see first SB 2 ballot with special town meeting vote Tuesday

Monitor staff
Published: 9/7/2018 5:14:13 PM

When Pittsfield voters head to the primaries on Tuesday, they’ll be in for a first.

Going before voters will be a collective bargaining agreement for 11 town employees – a routine aspect of town business, but notable because it will be the first time Pittsfield votes on town business under the SB 2 format.

The town voted during regular town meeting in March to move to an SB 2 format, a process involving a deliberative session in which residents discuss issues and then a vote by ballot at a later date. SB 2 differs from the traditional town meeting format in which townspeople crowd into a meeting place and discuss issues and vote, often by hand-raising, in a single session.

The single issue before voters Tuesday is a collective bargaining agreement with a town employees’ union that plots raises through 2020 for 11 town employees – six with the fire department, three with administration and two police sergeants. It is a renegotiated version of an agreement that voters rejected earlier this year, select board Chairman J.C. Allard said.

The net cost of the agreement would be $18,659 in 2018, $33,559 next year and $29,335 the year after that, according to town documents. The estimated tax impact is 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of $17.50 on a $250,000 home.

While this will be the first time Pittsfield uses SB 2 format for municipal business, it’s not entirely new to the town. The school district went to SB 2 last year. And while the primaries have town voters dipping their toes in the format Tuesday, they’ll be jumping right in when town meeting season returns.

“Come March, we’ll be fully into it,” Allard said.

(Nick Upton can be reached at 369-3315 or at nupton@cmonitor.com.)

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