IMAGE GALLERY: Wenham Rebuffs School Budget 'Giveback,' Elects Wilson Selectman
Town Meeting voters supported the School Committee's 2012 budget on Saturday, rejecting a budget supported by Selectman and the Finance Committee that included a $500,000 "giveback." Patrick Wilson was elected to his first term as a selectman.
Wenham Town Meeting voters on Saturday backed the School Committee’s budget, rebuffing the “giveback” supported by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, at the polls, Patrick Wilson was elected to the Board of Selectmen for the first time, ousting incumbent Harriet Davis. Wilson, chairman of the Conservation Commission, received 412 votes to Davis’ 327 votes. Davis was first elected to the Board of Selectmen three years ago and was seeking reelection.
The School Committee’s budget received the support of voters by a teller count of 127-86. The school budget now moves on to Hamilton Town Meeting on May 14, where it will also require approval to become final. Without approval there, the budget process goes into a multi-step process outlined earlier this spring by school and town attorneys.
The approved school budget increased Wenham's share of school funding by $154,660, or 22 cents on the tax rate.
Voters also approved spending another $35,000 to continue curbside loose-leaf pickup each fall. The vote tally was 79-49, one of two votes of the afternoon that required tellers to move around the room and count each voter card individually.
The car barn lot was also designated as the site for a new war memorial after former Selectman Larry Swartz proposed what he said was a compromise that would allow the War Memorial Committee to move ahead with a design on the downtown lot, at the corner of Main and Arbor streets.
More than two thirds of Town Meeting voters also backed a $160,000 debt exclusion override to buy a new trackless machine for the Department of Public Works. That measure now goes to ballot vote on May 19. The vote will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Town Hall.
The only citizens' petition on the warrant, Article 16, asked voters if they wanted to pull out of involvement in the planned regional dispatch center in Middleton and continue as part of the combined Hamilton-Wenham Emergency Center after 2012. That measure was defeated, with a few votes in support.
Article 5, asking voters to transfer $4,000 from the cemetery perpetual care fund to the town’s general fund, was defeated. The defeat came after Cemetery Commissioner Bryant Barnard said the cemetery fund had $2,981 in it. Plus, he said, the article was placed on the Town Meeting warrant without anyone talking to the Cemetery Commission.
Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren said the transfer was intended to cover for some of the costs of the Department of Public Works to maintain the cemeteries and has occurred for the past five years.
Two Community Preservation Act projects were also approved, spending $177,765 to pay the debt service for the renovation work to the Town Hall and $18,000 for the 1.1-mile portion of the Border-to-Boston rail trail.
For a more detailed recap of the four hour and 15 minute meeting, check out our meeting live blog.
Full Election Results
Paul Weaver, 609
Trudy Reid, 634
Patrick Wilson, 412
Harriet Davis, 327
Lisa Craig, 561
Planning Board, five year term
Minot Frye, 555
Planning Board, to fill a vacancy
Stephen Kavanagh, 573
Pierre Erhard, 564
Board of Health
Don Costin, 540
Dorothy Maciejowski, 575
Richard Quatman, 540
Wenham Housing Authority (write in)
Hamilton-Wenham Library Trustee (write-in)