Norfolk Getting New Well

Residents can look forward to a new town well that will ease the local water situation. Besides passing a $38 million budget, voters at last week’s town meeting unanimously backed $2.6 million for the water system, mostly for the new well and pumping station, which will be located on land off Holbrook Street. The money is coming from water revenue. “The existing two wells are aging, and have decreased output,” advisory board member Jonathan Hurwitz said, adding the planned well will provide increased water supply to meet growing demand. Some of the funds will be used for changes in water treatment at the Gold Street and Spruce Road wells, Public Works Director Robert McGhee said. Other money is intended for monitoring the water system. The town has been searching for a suitable well site for a few years. Two articles placed on the warrant by petition of residents generated debate on town meeting floor as expected. One called for town hall to be open Fridays, the other to allow for the recall of elected officials. Former town official Peter Chipman proposed both. Town hall is open four days a week, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. “It doesn’t fit the schedules of many people who work outside the area,” Chipman said. “Many people are not even getting off the train until 6 or 7 at night.” Area towns such as Wrentham and Foxboro have Friday hours, though their town halls and many others open that day close around noon. Most other area town halls have at least one day with night hours, Chipman noted. “The six other towns that touch us seem to have better work schedules for residents,” Chipman said. Town Administrator Jack Hathaway said employees go out of their way to offer flexible hours if a resident can’t make the set hours. “We do think we get a lot of people in the late afternoon,” Hathaway said, noting hours had been changed over the years but standard hours have led to less confusion. Advisory board members successfully opposed any change, with Hurwitz saying the four-day work week and a three-day weekend helps attract and retain employees, and opening town hall another day would reduce daily hours and increase utility and other costs. It was also pointed out more business can be done online now. The measure for recalling elected officials, which would have required the signatures of 200 residents to force a special election, also wasn’t approved. “We think the ultimate checks and balance system should also exist at the town level,” Chipman said. Hathaway countered: “This is a small town. It’s hard to get people to run for elected boards.” He added he didn’t think three-year terms were that long to elect someone else. State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, backed requiring a 90-day cooling off period from an election and only requesting such a recall once in a term. Advisory board members successfully persuaded residents, at a vote of 64-30, to forward the proposal to the bylaw study committee. “Personally I think this is something that would be helpful for accountability,” board member Art Frontczak said. The only building and equipment expense not being put off to the fall town meeting was nearly $300,000 for a new ambulance. Residents also agreed to create a tow

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