Wendell voters OK $3.1M budget, extra police patrols

  • A sign informs drivers-by of the Wendell Annual Town Meeting on the town common on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

  • Leverett Police Chief Scott Minckler addresses voters at Saturday’s Wendell Annual Town Meeting, which was held on the town common. Wendell last year entered into an inter-municipal agreement with Leverett for that town to provide its policing services. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/13/2021 12:43:49 PM

WENDELL — Residents convened on the town common on Saturday for Annual Town Meeting, where they approved a roughly $3.1 million budget for fiscal year 2022 after deliberation.

Sixty-six voters sat on metal folding chairs inside a section of the common cordoned off with yellow caution tape. The voter checklist consists of 741 people.

Anna Seeger, chair of the Board of Assessors, took to the microphone to make a motion to amend the figures of a couple of line items pertaining to her department. She moved to increase to $40,600 the amount to be raised and appropriated for assessor expenses and to decrease to $4,825 the amount raised and appropriated for revaluation.

“We would rather be conservative now and go up later,” Seeger explained.

Voters adopted an article to raise and appropriate $12,000 for extra police patrols. Last year, Wendell entered into an inter-municipal agreement with Leverett for that town to provide its policing services. Leverett Police Chief Scott Minckler said his department bills Wendell for one additional shift per week. On Saturday, he explained his department receives about 32 calls from Wendell each month, and Selectboard Chair Dan Keller said there are ever-increasing complaints of speeding on Wendell’s roads.

Resident Morgan Mead said he is concerned with over-policing in Wendell. He said he was disheartened to see an armed police officer at the polls when he voted, and he was shocked to find Minckler and another officer at Annual Town Meeting. But Minckler said he was present only to answer to this particular article, and the officer is new and was there to introduce himself to townspeople.

Voters also adopted an article to transfer $5,000 from the Stabilization Fund to buy turnout gear for the Fire Department. Fire Capt. Asa de Roode explained turnout gear, fitted to each firefighter, is what they wear to enter a structure fire. The cost is roughly $2,700 per firefighter.

De Roode mentioned he was joined on Saturday by new firefighter Matthew Regnier, who recently turned 18 and was attending his first Annual Town Meeting.

Voters rejected an article that asked if they wished for the three-member Municipal Light Board to be elected, as opposed to appointed. The Municipal Light Board governs the fiber-optic broadband network the town built.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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