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Residents Approve Purchase of Sander at Town Meeting

Thanks to the 50 voters who turned out for Mendon's Special Town Meeting on February 28, the Highway Department has been granted funding to purchase a new sander for the town. The purchase was part of five articles on the warrant all of which passed.

Article 1 transferred $122,000 from stabilization to purchase a new fully loaded demo sander. The town's current vehicle is 25 years old and has needed costly repairs. According to Finance Committee member Rich Schofield, the vehicle was a good value for the dollar.

Prior the article passing, resident Sharon Cutler stated she was concerned with using 20 percent of stabilization funds and with the fact that the money may not be placed back into the fund. Cutler stated the Long Range Financial Planning Committee recommended that any article over $100,000 should come forward as a debt exclusion article and be voted on during the Annual Town Meeting in May.

Article 2 passed unanimously which transferred $16,000 from the Finance Committee's Reserve fund to pay for the annual rental cost of the Police Department's temporary trailer. When resident Dick Skinner inquired how long does the town plan to continue to rent the trailer, Selectman Chair Lawney Tinio stated until a new Police Station is built.

Article 3, which asked voters to transfer $10,000 from free cash to Police Department Wages-Overtime as a result of several police officers out of work due to injuries sustained, passed unanimously

Article 4 transferred $2,276 from free cash for an independent wetlands study on George St. that was completed. According to Conservation Commission Administrative Clerk Diane Willoughby, the costs have already been paid by the applicant and will go back into free cash when certified in the next budget year.

The final article on the warrant, Article 5, generated the most discussion during the meeting and concerned funding a wind study that could eventually place wind turbines in the community to defray costs.

Article 5 transferred $3,000 from free cash to Engineering Consulting Services, which will place small-scale wind turbines at the town's fire tower off Millville Road, which is the highest point in the community. The study is needed to prove that Mendon has substantial wind power in order to make certain the turbines will be effective.

The cost of the yearlong study totals $12,000. According to Tinio, another $3,000 will be requested at May's Annual Town Meeting. The remaining $6,000 is being funded by an unidentified party from Blackstone, who is also interested in constructing wind turbines and therefore would benefit from the study.

Should the wind study be successful, Inman Hill on Blackstone St. and Mendon Hill, across the street from the Mendon Drive In on Rt. 16, would be the probable sites where the turbines could be constructed. A number of residents voiced concerns regarding the affect the wind turbines might have on their neighborhoods if they come to fruition, including noise and size. Officials also noted that the town's bylaws prohibit wind turbines and therefore would have to be amended.

Tinio reiterated for now all that is being done is the study and promised that all concerns will be addressed at public hearings should the project go forward.


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