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Wendell residents oppose fracking, approve vehicle and kitchen purchases

WENDELL — Opposition to a natural gas mining practice and a natural gas pipeline whose proposed route passes through neighboring towns, a number of large vehicle purchases and Town Hall kitchen remodeling all met with voter approval at Saturday’s annual town meeting.

Town meeting Moderator Kathleen Nolan said all items on the agenda passed, with several amendments and one item tabled for possible future consideration.

The two gas articles banned the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in town and called on the Selectboard not to allow the proposed Kinder Morgan gas pipeline to pass through Wendell, and called on legislators to “disallow such projects that go against our commitments to life, the environment, our economic well-being and our bodily safety.”

As currently proposed, the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Wright, N.Y., to Dracut would not pass through Wendell, but would cut through several other nearby county towns.

In major vehicle expenditures, residents approved $75,00 for a new or used Fire Department brush truck, $50,000 as a grant match to be spent if the town is successful in obtaining a grant for a new Fire Department tanker, and $120,000 for a Highway Department road grader.

Two items totalling $10,900 will buy a gas stove, gas connection, hood and fire suppression system for the Town Hall kitchen.

Three articles passed with amendments. The first changed increased the sum requested for loan payments $13,500 to $103,045 and the second decreased the appropriation for the town capital projects savings fund by $10,000 to $25,000. The last changed a spending article to a resolution supporting a wetlands study for a walking path between the Highway Garage and Wendell Country Store, but putting off the $14,000 for that study.

At the request of the town lawyer and accountant, who Nolan said had concerns there might be legal impediments, voters tabled a $7,500 article hiring former Fire Chief Everett Ricketts as a consultant to the new chief.

Also among the 39 articles approved:

∎ A general budget of $2,058,976, up 1.2 percent.

∎ $15,000 to pay for replacement of the senior center roof.

∎ $59,080 for group health insurance.

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