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Town Council and School Committee terms could change after this year’s vote

GREENFIELD — The five Town Council and two School Committee candidates who win this year’s local elections won’t know whether they are serving three-year terms or just half that until the polls close on Tuesday.

The town has placed a binding question on the ballot that asks voters whether they’d like to see their town councilors and School Committee members, as well as the mayor, serve four-year terms beginning in January 2016 or continue serving three-year terms.

If voters choose to switch to a four-year term of office for those seats, this year’s winners will serve only until December 2015 to facilitate the transition.

Currently, the town holds its elections every year in June, but a change would mean it would hold them every other year in November, on odd-numbered years. Winners would take their seats the following January.

The change was originally suggested by former Town Clerk Maureen Winseck, who said at the time that it would save the town money. Each annual election costs the town about $12,000.

Town Council President Mark Wisnewski worked with Winseck to craft the charter amendment.

A change would also mean that instead of four to five of the 13 councilors being up for re-election each year, six councilors would be up for re-election one year and seven would be up for re-election two years later.

A change would also mean Mayor William Martin’s three-year term, which is slated to end in 2015, would be extended to January 2016.

The question reads: “The proposed Greenfield Town Charter amendment would extend the terms of office for elected officials, including proposed four-year terms for the Mayor, Town Councilors and School Committee. The date of the regular elections would be moved to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in all years ending in an odd number and the administration of the oaths of offices to elected officials would occur on the first business day of January. Following acceptance, current elected office holders’ terms of office would expire in December 2015 and a transitional election would be held for elected officials in November 2015.”

In 2016, six new or re-elected councilors would take their seats on the Town Council and in 2018, the remaining seven would do the same.

For more information, call the town clerk at 413-772-1555.

The town elections will be held Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Guiding Star Grange Hall, 401 Chapman St.

Also, there will be public transportation to and from the polls provided by Franklin Regional Transit Authority on Tuesday.

From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., FRTA will pick up voters on the following schedule:

∎  Weldon: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

∎  High-Rise: 10:02 a.m., 12:02 p.m. and 2:02 p.m.

∎  Court Square: 10:03 a.m., 12:03 p.m. and 2:03 p.m.

∎  Mill House south entrance: 10:05 a.m., 12:05 p.m. and 2:05 p.m.

∎  Greenfield Gardens rental office: 10:10 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.

∎  Elm Terrace Community Center: 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

∎  Leyden Woods: 10:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 2:25 p.m.

The free bus will return for voters after they vote at the Guiding Star Grange at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

People who do not live near the shuttle stops may call FRTA at 413-774-2262 to arrange transportation. Those arrangements must be made by Monday.

For more information, call FRTA or visit: www.frta.org.

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