Selectmen discuss new unfunded mandate for carbon monoxide detection systems
By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – At the beginning of the regularly scheduled June 24 meeting of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Daniel J. Morgado took the time to comment upon the difficulty in paying for what seems like an endless stream of unfunded mandates imposed upon Massachusetts towns and cities by both the state legislature and the federal government.
Of specific concern at this meeting was a law just passed by the Massachusetts Senate and now pending in the House that would mandate new carbon monoxide (CO) detection systems for all state schools and restaurants. The bill would also mandate that no private homes in the state could be sold unless a prior inspection certified that the homes had working smoke alarms placed where mandated. Schools would have up to five years to combine the systems. Until then, they would be required to have battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms.
This action was reportedly taken after a CO leak in a Douglas municipal building/school resulted in some hospitalizations and public concern.
While the bill sets up a $7.5 million taxpayer-paid Carbon Monoxide Trust Fund to help pay for the cost, selectmen scoffed at the idea that this would even partially approach the cost of providing CO detection systems to the state's 1,888 public schools alone, let alone the additional private schools and restaurants.
“When are these unfunded mandates going to stop?” asked Morgado, rhetorically. Chair James F. Kane agreed with the sentiment, as did the other selectmen.
Selectman Moira Miller then suggested that the board send to the legislature a letter expressing their dismay at the seemingly endless series of unfunded mandates and urging the town's state representative and senator to work toward stemming the flood.
In other business, the board unanimously approved a common victualler license for the Edgemere Diner, 51 Hartford Turnpike, to be run by Michael Novick and Stephen Colangelo after they take possession of the property in the near future. The board also approved an underground gasoline storage tank license for three storage tanks for Colbea Enterprises, 2050 Plainfield Pike, Cranston, R.I., for property at 604 Hartford Turnpike. The business plan calls for a quick-mart type of gas station and snack store, with a possible hot food bar added sometime in the future.
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