Capital projects may send Northfield to polls for override vote
NORTHFIELD — Despite warnings from the Finance Committee that it would necessitate a proposition 21∕2 override vote, residents approved a $26,000 capital school project.
The project, if approved in all four Pioneer Valley Regional School District towns, would repair the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and install fire and burglar alarms in the district’s central offices.
Finance Committee Chairwoman Lois Stearns told the meeting that the committee recommended all other capital requests on the warrant. Some requests that had been made didn’t make it onto the warrant, she said. Though the committee did not support the central office project, Stearns said it was put on the warrant because all four district towns needed to vote on it.
Though the town sees a 4 percent increase in its share of the Pioneer budget, the $3.76 million was passed as part of the omnibus budget without a word of discussion.
The town operating budget passed was $6.85 million, up $315,707 from this year’s.
Voters approved $100,000 toward the purchase of a new fire truck, and $36,000 to replace a 2006 Chevrolet Impala police cruiser.
The town will use $5,000 to provide more opportunities for public presentation in the ongoing master plan process. Voters approved $60,000 in two articles that will provide equipment and a generator for the wastewater treatment plant.
Voters also approved $10,000 to calibrate the elementary school’s heating system, and $18,980 for an alarm system, faucet hydrant, well pump and equipment air conditioning at Pioneer.
The town voted to allow the Selectboard to enter a long-term contract to buy renewable energy credits. The town had been approached by Hampshire Solar, part of the Hampshire Council of Governments, to receive a 21 percent discount on electricity through solar electricity credits. If the Selectboard decides to join, the town would have to enter a 20-year contract with solar electricity provider Nexamp.
Voters approved a one-year bylaw limiting residential growth. Once the bylaw goes into effect, a maximum of six new dwellings may be built in one year, and no one individual or entity will be able to build more than two dwellings per year. The bylaw considers a dwelling to be any building or separate part of a building that has sleeping, kitchen, and sanitary facilities. It will expire after one year, and the Planning Board plans to present a revised version of the bylaw at next year’s annual town meeting.
An article that would have delayed the demolition of historic buildings was defeated. Residents who spoke out against it said they agreed with the intent of the measure, but thought it took too many rights away from property owners.