Warrant articles to be voted on at Southwick Annual Town Meeting

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield New) – It will certainly be a busy night in Southwick on Tuesday night with the school committee meeting at 5:30 p.m., the Finance Committee meeting at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. the Special Town Meeting will take place in the auditorium of the Southwick Regional High School.

According to Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart, the Annual Town Meeting will have a total of 28 warrant articles to be voted on with only a few that are expected to stand out more than others.

Article 7 determines if the town will appropriate $238,000 in order to get a full size and multi-use dump truck for the DPW (Department of Public Works).

“We’re replacing a dump truck that is 20 years old and we need to make sure that we have proper equipment for snow removal,” said Stinehart.

For Article 8, residents will vote whether to appropriate $400,000 towards upgrading and rehabilitating the pump stations on College Hwy and North Longyard Road.

Since both pump stations are over 20 years old, costs will include the replacement of the pumps as well as the utility expenses.

Article 10 features the re-authorization of the town budget. Townspeople will vote on whether to adjust the compensation of elected officers and town employee salaries while providing a sum of money for certain town departments.

Although most of the items include personnel expenses, contractual issues, and utilities, Stinehart said that the continuation of trying to establish an ALS (Advanced Life Support) paramedic service in town will be the most important aspect of Article 10.

For nearly a year people throughout the community, along with Franklin Land Trust, have been attempting to raise $5 million in order to preserve open space on North Pond but another opportunity to secure money will happen at the town meeting.

In Article 17, the town will seek a vote to appropriate and transfer $1,000,000 from the undesignated Community Preservation Fund.

“That’s a very important piece of the overall acquisition costs,” said Stinehart. “Those funds are going to leverage a much higher dollar amount.”

The town vote is even more important since the Finance Committee voted 4-1 to not recommend the article during their meeting on May 4.

Franklin Land Trust is hoping that the result of the vote on Tuesday night will overcome the vote from the Finance Committee.

“We’re hoping that their recommendation is not going to carry,” said Mary Lynn Sabourin, the Director of Philanthropy at Franklin Land Trust.

Article 18 entails a transfer of $30,000 from the Water Department in order to have a water line easement along the South Longyard Road that is part of the North Pond property.

“The water department has long had a desire to construct a water main loop in that section of town,” said DPW Director Randy Brown.

Alain Peteroy, the Director of Land Conservation at Franklin Land Trust, sees a benefit to help the North Pond property.

“That will basically allow them to have a water pipe,” said Peteroy. “We’ll use that boundary.”

Stinehart also noted the two marijuana moratoriums that will be voted on, Article 26 and Article 27 respectively.

Both votes are to amend the bylaws that the Planning Board has created in order to accommodate the commonwealth of Massachusett’s regulations.

If anyone wants to find out more about the Annual Town Meeting or the warrant articles, go to www.southwickma.org.

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