TEMPLE – With quick approval, about 45 residents breezily passed a six-month moratorium on building commercial wind mills at tonight’s annual town meeting. Voters also cut a total of $8,000 in proposed spending and gave the green light for plans to build an additional bay to the fire station and a bridge over Henry Mitchell Brook.
With no discussion and a quick unanimous vote, residents approved a moratorium of 180 days on wind energy facility development to give time for a committee and selectmen to draft an ordinance to regulate commercial wind power development. Currently, no plans for development have been submitted, but a company from Chicago, Ill. has been looking at the surrounding hills in Temple which prompted some residents to move forward on drafting an ordinance. The town could later vote to extend the moratorium another six months if necessary.
Residents voted to cut $5,000 from a total request of $50,000 for the needs of the town office. Selectman Kathleen Lynch explained that the town’s office computer was out of date and new equipment was needed for uploading big files, such as the town’s accessed properties list. Some residents argued there was enough in the town’s surplus account to cover those needs and a motion to raise $45,000, the same amount as year’s budget, was approved by the majority.
Another motion to raise $3,000 for General Assistance instead of the $6,000 recommended was passed by voters following a discussion. Each year $500 has been raised for General Assistance, which is emergency aid given to residents with costs traditionally shared by the state. But, due to increased requests for help this year that already total $3,000, selectmen recommended more money is needed.
“Times are hard for people,” Selectman George Blodgett said and he added, “it’s been so hard so early.” Toni Andrews, who has served as the town’s treasurer, recommended a $3,000 total noting, as others did, “we have enough in our surplus account,” to cover if more aid is needed.
Voters approved construction funding for an additional bay to the fire station for storage of the department’s pickup truck. Last year, $10,000 was raised and another $10,000 to $20,000 will be needed to complete the addition.
“We have a $15,000 Ford pickup that needs to be in a dry environment,” said Assistant Fire Chief David True. Voters agreed and passed the authorization to build the addition. Voters also approved spending the balance of $80,000 to $90,000 and another $30,000 to $40,000 from the road construction reserve account to build a bridge over the Henry Mitchell Brook this summer.
With the permits and other paper work completed for the project, the purchase of the precast concrete bridge expanse and installation is expected to total $120,000. The work will go out to bid, but it was noted the logistics of building a temporary, alternate route to use for the expected three days of bridge construction will need to be considered carefully.
Selectman Austin Ross said the work will be completed in the summer so school buses won’t be a concern crossing the temporary route built for lighter weight vehicles and a pumper tanker will need to be stationed across the brook in case of fire. In addition, heavy equipment to build the bridge will need to be duplicated to work on both banks at once because of weight concerns.
Selectman Lynch was reelected to another term, as was Raymond Nile as road commissioner. Sue Cantrell was elected to her first, two-year term as treasurer and tax collector. Cantrell is replacing Toni Andrews who decided not to run for another term after serving 20 years in office.
The total preliminary budget total passed was $312,072.36, up about 4 percent from the $298,000 budget approved at town meeting last year.