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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Annual Town Meeting, May 2011

The Annual Town Meeting was tonight -- you may have seen the signs today along the streets of Hadley, or you may have seen my blog post or tweets.  I'll give a basic recap from my notes:

The meeting actually started at 7:16 in the cafetorium of Hopkins Academy; it was opened by the Town Moderator Kirk Whatley.  He introduced members of the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee(the Finance Committee currently has an opening, if you're interested; Moderator Whatley recommended speaking with members of the committee to see just what you would be getting into....) , Town Administrator, Town Clerk, and John Scibak (State Representative, in the audience). 
The pledge was said before kicking off the meeting, which was run according to Town Meeting Time.
The first four articles were housekeeping articles and all passed unanimously (fund appropriations and such).The fifth article dealt with town budget by department.  It passed, with a recommended total budget of $13,736,511 -- $406,016 more than was appropriated for FY2011, but $80,000 less than was requested.
Article 6 (water reserves) passed unanimously.
Article 7 (out-of-district tuition) was passed over in order to give time to research specifics and answers to probably questions -- it will be back in the fall.
Articles 8 & 9 (free cash) passed unanimously; 10 (collective bargaining) was passed over.
Articles 11-14 (community preservation) passed unanimously, and included giving monies to the Goodwin Memorial Library to fund a structural engineering study and to create a space usage plan.
Articles 15 & 16 passed.  Article 17 passed unanimously.  All three dealt with community preservation.  (Apparently we're working towards 4000 acres of protected farmland.  I really need to get my hands on a copy of the long-range plan for the town, ...which I now see is available online on the town website.)

Article 18 was a return to an article tabled in the fall; it required a 2/3 vote to adopt linguistic changes to the zoning bylaw in order to keep it consistent with Massachusetts laws and also to keep wording consistent within the bylaw itself.  Numbers 11, 12, 22, 25, 31, 33 were excluded.  It passed 135-1.

The real excitement came with Article 19 -- Open Space Preservation.  There was much discussion over this bylaw.  Questions, comments, answers, pleas.  After all the back-and-forth, tabling the article was brought to vote and passed 103-39, giving committees and townsfolk time to study it, discuss it, and think about it some more before it is presented again at the fall meeting (there were extra handouts for this one).
The meeting was adjourned around 9pm.
If you haven't been to a town meeting yet, it's well worth missing a night of TV to attend -- it's very entertaining and informative; a bit dry at times, perhaps, but there are moments of downright hilarity and enlightenment.  Thank you to the 173 people who showed up tonight.  Everyone was very excited about the large turnout, and the meeting didn't have to be rescheduled!

For more information find a copy of the warrant or watch Channel 5.

And some side notes: the Hadley Mothers Club was there building their funds with cookies and coffee and other goodies, there were two sign-language interpreters at the front of the room,and those chairs are super uncomfortable to sit in for an extended period of time -- I was so happy to get out of them.

Now it's past by bedtime.  Good night!
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1 comment:

LarryK4 said...

BIG refreshing difference between Hadley and immediate neighbor Amherst: Your Town Meeting starts with the Pledge of Allegiance, and it finishes up in just one night.