Erving voters approve all 29 Town Meeting articles, including $4.8M budget

  • Voters approved all 29 articles at Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting outside Erving Elementary School. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

  • Erving Town Clerk Richard Newton addresses voters at Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting outside Erving Elementary School. Seated beside him is Selectboard Chair Jacob Smith. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2020 11:02:51 AM

ERVING — Residents passed all articles, after incorporating some amendments, at Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting, including a general operating budget of roughly $4.8 million.

Selectboard Chair Jacob Smith explained the budget was amended twice to reflect a math error in the Culture and Recreation budget and to cover an amendment to the library trustee stipend.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. beneath a tent outside Erving Elementary School. The 29-article warrant passed successfully after nearly three hours of debate and discussion over a handful of articles.

Much of the discussion on Saturday, according to Smith, came from Article 20. However, the discussion was largely about having an electric vehicle charging station, and about having them on municipal parking lots, as opposed to the vote, which was: Does the money go into a revolving account or does it end up in the general fund?

He explained that the plan is to install, “at very little cost to the town” three stations, with six electric vehicle chargers at the municipal parking lot in Erving Center.

As outlined in the warrant, the article itself approved establishing a new revolving fund to hold the money paid for use of the publicly available charging stations and other related fees. This would help ensure the town had resources to cover the cost of administrative fees, staffing, and maintenance and repairs of the stations.

Smith said town officials also told residents that the project aligns with other green initiatives in Erving.

“The state is supporting and trying to help build out this (green) infrastructure,” he said.

Article 8 also generated a brief discussion among voters, who questioned whether the school budget as presented would be sufficient when considering potential COVID-19-related costs and guidelines for the fall. The total budget for Erving Elementary School came to roughly $3.3 million.

School and town officials, however, agreed it would be best addressed “once we know the facts,” Smith explained, acknowledging the lack of a state budget.

In other business, residents approved changing the name of the “Board of Selectmen” to “Selectboard,” and allowing the town moderator to continue a Town Meeting that begins with a quorum — regardless of whether a quorum remains throughout the duration of the meeting.

Article 26, which asked to change the dates of the Annual Town Meeting and election, followed the voters’ decision in Article 25 to rescind an order adopted in 2016 pertaining to those dates.

The vote on Saturday amended the date of Annual Town Meeting from the first Monday in May to the first Wednesday in May, and the date of the annual town election from the first Wednesday in May to the Monday following Town Meeting.

On a related note, Article 26 asked voters to approve changing the date an elected official takes office to July 1.

“This would allow some time in between … to pass on info to the new official,” said Town Clerk Richard Newton.

Other officials pointed out the new date would ensure the officials who wrote the articles on the warrant would be at Annual Town Meeting to answer questions.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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