Nashoba Publishing Online, Posted: 02/03/2014 02:38:52 PM EST
By: M.E. Jones, Correspondent
SHIRLEY — Selectman Robert Prescott, who represents the board on the Joint Boards of Selectmen, asked his colleagues Jan. 27 to vote on a sticky issue JBOS is grappling with: Whether Devens residents should get first crack at a straw poll ton a JBOS joint governance proposal before taking the question to voters in Ayer, Harvard and Shirley via nonbinding referenda at the three Town Meetings.
The details haven’t been worked out in the JBOS proposal championed by Harvard representative Leo Blair. But the gist is that government and municipal operations in the Devens community would shift from MassDevelopment to the towns whose historic boundaries were disrupted when the sprawling former Army base was created over a century ago. Meanwhile, MassDevelopment would continue its mission to redevelop Devens.
Discussion on the polling issue waxed hot at last week’s JBOS meeting, which ended abruptly, leaving the question up in the air. But at a previous session, Blair took a stand against polling Devens residents separately, thus giving their opinion added weight versus voters in the other three communities. Devens residents, most of whom live within Harvard’s historic boundaries, vote in that town, he said, so they already have a voice.