Foxboro public safety building

The Foxboro Public Safety building.

Demonstrating a civic zeal for taking care of business, a core of committed voters attending Monday night’s special town meeting made swift work of a 13-item agenda that featured an historic vote to sever the police department’s 90-year affiliation with the Civil Service merit system.

The Civil Service proposal, which elicited no debate among those present, authorizes selectmen to petition the state Legislature to exempt local police personnel from the Civil Service law.

Adopted virtually without dissent, it was backed unanimously by selectmen and had the overwhelming support of Foxboro Police Local #379.

In return for support from police rank-and-file, officers continuing their education will receive percentage increases to their base pay depending on the degree earned -- 10 percent for an associate’s degree, 20 percent for a bachelor’s degree and 25 percent for a master’s or law degree.

Officials said this benefit is expected to cost taxpayers $125,000 annually, but which supporters claim will be offset by lower overtime costs.

According to Assistant Town Clerk Claudine Gover, 111 registered voters turned out at the Foxboro High School auditorium for the autumn session, barely surpassing the 100 needed for a quorum under town bylaws.

But Town Clerk Robert Cutler, filling in for Town Moderator Frank Spillane, kept things moving, wrapping up Monday’s 13-article warrant in just under 90 minutes. All but two of the 13 proposals were adopted, some with no discussion.

One, a request to accept Garrett Spillane Road as a town-owned street, was rejected on the advice of public works officials who said the roadway had not been completed to town standards.

But the second, a proposal to allow accessory apartments in the R-40 zoning district, failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority for approval, with opponents arguing that it could change the town’s character over time.

Similar to so-called “in-law” apartments, accessory apartments were viewed as a way to expand lower-cost, single-bedroom housing options to empty-nesters and others looking to downsize, but could be rented to non-family members.

The measure had the overwhelming support of advisory committee members and was endorsed by the planning board by a 3-0-1 margin.

Other zoning amendments adopted by voters included making permanent outdoor dining options at local restaurants, as well as to clarify the definitions of building height and habitable floor area.

Voters also agreed to appropriate $40,000 to supplement the Southeastern Regional School District budget.