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Wenham Approves Budget, Mullen Zoning Changes and Election Date Change

Wenham Town Meeting voters approved the proposed fiscal 2013 budget on Saturday, while later approving moving the date of the annual town election and giving the OK to change the zoning on the Mullen property.

The 2013 Wenham town budget of $16.1 million was approved at Wenham’s Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, including the school budget as proposed by the School Committee.

Voters overwhelming backed the rest of the town meeting warrant articles, including using $50,000 from the water surplus fund to pay for required improvements to the Pleasant Street pump station. The l was approved as part of the town budget. A motion to drop funding from the four cruisers – to the outright purchase of two cruisers – was voted down.

The approved budget also includes a new police patrolman, laborer and librarian, which would be partially funded by Hamilton.

If property values were to stay the same, the approved budget would result in a reduction of the tax rate from $17.89 per $1,000 value to $17.88.

A total of 185 voters checked in at Town Meeting, exceeding the quorum of 139. A total of 352 voters came to the polls during the town election in the morning.

In all, it took voters three and a half business to work through all 18 articles, including several that were passed over and five artciles that were handled together in a consent calendar.

Voters also approved . The move would make the election of officers coincide with any ballot vote required as a follow-up to town meeting and increase the amount of the time that the polls are open from four hours to 13 hours.

The was approved overwhelmingly and – with only a few voters in opposition – applied to the Mullen property on Essex Street. The approval paves the way for a project on the property to push forward.

Hamilton-Wenham Patch provided live updates from the meeting and to get a complete recap of all of the meeting debate and votes,

The only contested race on the ballot was for three, three-year terms on the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee. Those results will be sealed until May 24, after Hamilton votes. The top three vote getters from the field of five candidates will be elected. Votes for Trustee will also be sealed until after Hamilton votes.

John Clemenzi’s name was still on the ballot but he announced last month he was withdrawing himself from the race and endorsed his opponent, Ken Whittaker, who was elected.

Town Election Results

Moderator

Paul Weaver 301

Blanks 50

Town Clerk

Trudy Reid 312

Blanks 40

Selectmen

John Clemenzi 67 (withdrew)

Kenneth Whittaker 266

Blanks 18

Assessor

Richard Fleming (write-in) 15

Blanks 330

Planning Board

Virginia Rogers 264

Blanks 88

Tree Warden

Pierre Erhard 274

Blanks 72

Write-In 6

Board of Health

Gerald Donnellan 270

Blanks 82

Cemetery Commissioner

Bryant Barnard 266

Blanks 86

Housing Authority (One-year term)

Donald Luxton 286

Blanks 66

Housing Authority (Five-year term)

Bruce Blanchard 289

Blanks 63

Water Commissioner

Paul Mendonca 275

Blanks 77

Don Luxton May 06, 2012 at 10:46 AM
May I take this opportunity to say "THANK YOU" to the voters of Wenham for their support. This election for one year is to fill out the term of Housing Commissioner Jim Stelline, a great man / veteran and friend. I will attempt to live up to his high standards.
Trudy May 07, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Jim, we have 2,780 registered voters in Wenham, out of a population of about 5,000 counting Gordon College. Very low turnout indeed. Next year we are moving the Annual Town Meeting to April where hopefully we will not be competing with Spring Sports.
Anne Sweeney May 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Abandon town meetings ! Jim is right, Do everything on line, by having a dynamic web site which communicates both ways. New technology means a new way of governance. If you want to include everyone, than follow the technology and have our town meetings as I do at my work in Boston, having video-teleconference calls, or just a conference call where all the voters can listen in on line. Town meetings don't work, are a waste or time and the towns resources. This is so, 1800's ! It's time to join the 21st century and get with it ! Also we need a vote to impose full taxes on all churches and schools, no exceptions this is where the country is going. As a secular nation, no entity should be allowed to escape their fiduciary duties in paying taxes to our community.
Anne Sweeney May 12, 2012 at 06:49 PM
@Trudy is Gordon College and Gordon Conwell Seminary and other private schools and institutions within our communities represent one third of the vote, then they should pay one third of their share of property taxes back to the community, Fair is fair and enough is enough of this juggling act with the budget. I spend in one week what takes you people a year to come up with. I would rather pay and outsource what takes you people forever to in receiving a consensus and acting upon it !

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