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Voter majority passes each article at Special Town Meeting

Date: 10/25/2011

Oct. 24, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — Wilbraham residents had few objections to the three warrant articles brought before them at the Special Town Meeting on Oct. 18.

All three of the articles passed by majority vote with only cursory oppositions heard in regards to Article 3.

Article 3 called for the town to appropriate $500,000 to pay for the construction and renovation of the Spec Pond Recreational Complex, a move that is contingent on the town receiving a $500,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant.

Walter Clark, a resident of 469 Dipping Hole Road, balked at the portion of the article that stated that if passed, the measure would allow the treasurer to borrow the $500,000.

He asserted the article asked residents to approve an unknown amount of money, not knowing what interest and fees would be associated with selling bonds to borrow the money.

Bryan Litz, director of parks and recreation, assured residents that no borrowing would be necessary for the project and that the state was simply looking for a show of commitment from the town, should Wilbraham be awarded the grant.

The $500,000 appropriated by the town to be spent on the construction and renovation of the facility would come out of existing town money if the state committed to reimburse those funds through the grant.

Being a contingent article, the town would not spend any of the $500,000 if the grant was awarded to another community and was approved by majority vote.

The town also passed Article 1, which called for residents to allow asking the state legislature to enact a special act enabling the town to pursue an extended lease with the Country Club of Wilbraham. Under the current Uniform Procurement Act, the town cannot have a lease with the golf course of longer than 30 years.

Currently in its 10th year of a 25-year lease, Dean Helm, general manager of the Country Club of Wilbraham, said “with record low interest rates, the country club is looking to refinance our note” and wished to extend the lease longer than an additional five years.

The motion passed by majority vote.

Article 2, which passed unanimously, asked the town to add a section to the general laws that would allow the removal of headstones and other memorials at town cemeteries for the purpose of repair or reproduction.

Under the previous law, anyone who removed a headstone for any reason could be charged with a crime.

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