Budget, state flag resolution pass at Town Meeting

Recorder Staff
Published: 6/5/2018 11:06:02 PM

WENDELL — The budget was passed and Wendell residents have lent their voices to larger discussions about nuclear weapons and the Massachusetts state flag and seal.

At a peaceful Annual Town Meeting Tuesday, around 50 people voted and passed 23 articles — one article was withdrawn by the Board of Health which would have moved a sum of money to a different account.

Budget

Unanimously, the town passed its fiscal year 2019 budget of $2,623,756, a roughly 6 percent increase over this year’s $2,468,273.

The majority of line-item increases from this year’s budget were small, accounting for predicted rises in costs for things like insurance and legal fees.

The biggest increase was the town’s school funding, which increased from $1,351,735 to $1,472,228, accounting for increased contributions like those to the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School — an increase of 8 percent to $342,425 — and Franklin County Technical School — an increase of 35 percent to $78,470.

Rising costs of education in the North Quabbin region have broadly been related to small amounts of state aid, low incomes and increasing costs for things like health care and special education, according to Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District Superintendent Tari Thomas, who attended the meeting.

Wendell’s contribution to its elementary school, the Swift River School, also increased from $772,013 to $854,340, and Principal Kelley Sullivan noted school enrollment has increased at the school in recent years.

Nuclear weapons

Also voted unanimously was a resolution taking a stand on nuclear arms, which states, “We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war,” and asserts that the U.S. should not use nuclear weapons as a first option, and that nuclear weapons should be taken off of “hair-trigger alert.”

“Ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack,” and opposing the upgrading of current nuclear arms were also part of the resolution.

State flag

Wendell’s final resolution of the evening supports a bill introduced by state Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Suffolk, which would see the creation of a special commission to investigate and recommend changes to the state flag and seal.

Members of the Council on Aging and Energy Commission recommended the resolution be passed due to what they said was the “outdated” and “white supremacy” symbolism of the flag and seal, which depict a Native American man holding a bow and a bodiless arm holding a sword.

The article cited that “Native Americans have long suffered the abuse of racism,” and states the sword is modeled after the sword of a 17th century colonist, Myles Standish, who led a raid killing several Native Americans.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.


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