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Long meeting in Newfane, but all articles pass

NEWFANE—Moderator Deborah Lee Luskin said that while it was a longer Town Meeting than last year, mostly because of “the long conversation about school consolidation,” all the articles on the warrant passed.

Neil Pelsue, Jr., who serves on the Act 46 Study Committee, “very patiently and calmly answered [residents’] questions,” Luskin said.

Luskin said she was happy that after 10 years of asking, she finally got a parliamentarian to assist her at Town Meeting. Gary Delius, who also serves on the Selectboard, “was very helpful” as parliamentarian.

Voters approved of $381,638 for capital fund expenditures outlined in the Capital Needs Plan; appropriated $206,400 for fiscal year 2018 capital needs; and authorized the Selectboard to borrow up to $30,000 for capital needs.

For future capital needs, voters allowed the Selectboard to raise $100,000 for the Capital Reserve Fund. The total town and highway operational expenditures budget was amended to include the SeVEDS funding, bringing the amount to $1,384,086. Voters approved this budget.

Voters expressed their desire for the town to keep its recycling “rollover bins” after the Windham Solid Waste Management District closes the Materials Recovery Facility at the end of June, Luskin said. A committee to research this option will form soon, she said.

Resident Ken Estey proposed making Newfane a sanctuary town to welcome refugees and immigrants, and this nonbinding article passed, Luskin said.

In what Luskin described as a nearly unanimous vote, the town granted SeVEDS $5,178 for economic development in the Windham County region. BDCC staff member Alex Beck “spoke and answered people’s questions and answered concerns,” Luskin said.

Luskin said 110 voters were at Town Meeting at 9:30 a.m.

The Town Report this year was dedicated to Laura and Fred Bacon, longtime gardeners, historians, and public servants, and Luskin said the Selectboard asked her to write the dedication.

“I’ve never had a writing assignment I liked so much,” she said.

Gloria Cristelli, who retired as town clerk after serving for eight years, including four on the Selectboard, received a standing ovation.

In town elections, Carol Hesselbach ran unopposed for town clerk, while Melissa Brown was the only candidate for treasurer. Roads Commissioner Chris Williams ran unopposed for the one-year Selectboard seat.

Selectboard members Michael Fitzpatrick and Marion Dowling were respectively up for re-election to the three- and one-year seats, and were unopposed.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #398 (Wednesday, March 8, 2017).

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