South County EMS

Regional EMS tops Whately meeting warrant

WHATELY — On Tuesday, townspeople will be asked to consider a regional ambulance partnership with Deerfield and Sunderland, a year-long medical marijuana moratorium and several other financial matters at a special town meeting.

The special town meeting is planned for Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Whately Elementary School.

There are 15 articles on the warrant.

The first article is expected to garner the most attention.

The town will be asked to authorize the selectmen to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the towns of Deerfield and Sunderland to establish and operate a 24/7 regional paramedic ambulance service starting Jan. 1.

The proposed service would have a full-time force based out of the South Deerfield Fire Station with a backup ambulance at the Sunderland Public Safety Complex.

While the selectmen have supported the ambulance proposal, the Whately EMTs have questioned its necessity.

Immediately following, townspeople will be asked to add $54,665 to the ambulance fund account approved at last spring’s annual town meeting. The fund already has $56,143. The money would cover the town’s portion of the regional EMS service for the remaining six months of the fiscal year.

Whately’s portion is $82,735. Sunderland’s contribution is $155,366 and Deerfield’s is $255,488.

The article is contingent on the first question and approval by all three towns of the regional ambulance.

The second big decision townspeople will have to make is whether to have a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation centers in town to give the Planning Board time to research and develop zoning rules. The moratorium would expire Sept. 30, 2014.

In November 2012, 70 percent of Whately voters supported the state ballot question to legalize marijuana for medical use.

The townspeople’s decision could impact the proposal of Whately potato farmer James Pasiecnik, who has received selectmen support to open a dispensary in Whately if he receives one of the 35 available state licenses. Pasiecnik’s group is called JM Farm’s Patient Group.

Though the selectmen agreed to endorse Pasiecnik’s proposal, it endorsed the Planning Board’s recommendation for a moratorium as well.

Other articles:

∎ $3,325 for the treasurer/collector budget to pay for three additional hours per week of work.

∎ $18,000 from Community Preservation Fund reserves for the rehabilitation of baseball and softball fields at Herlihy Field at 219 Christian Lane.

∎ $12,165 for site work for the Town Hall renovation project.

∎ $58,000 from the Community Preservation Fund for the purchase of land on State Road to create affordable housing.

∎ A total $20,000 from various funds to the Mill River Stabilization account.

∎ $3,800 from the town’s general surplus to the water department’s reserve account.

∎ $5,000 from the current year’s water department surplus to the water department operations account to reimburse the account for expenses.

∎ $2,400 for an advanced habitat and endangered species study along the Mill River.

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