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Leverett residents table library sale, approve all other articles at Town Meeting

  • Residents approved all but one article at Leverett’s annual Town Meeting Saturday, held at Leverett Elementary School. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • From left, Leverett Town Administrator Marjorie McGinnis, Select Board Chairwoman Julie Shively, and Select Board members Melissa Colbert and Tom Hankinson at Leverett’s annual Town Meeting Saturday, held at Leverett Elementary School. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE



Staff Writer
Monday, May 09, 2022

LEVERETT — Residents approved 28 of the 29 articles on the annual Town Meeting warrant on Saturday, opting to table Article 22, which would have given the Select Board authority to sell the former Bradford M. Field Memorial Library later this year.

Several residents spoke up in favor of tabling the article, claiming a greater need of community input in the process. If approved, the Select Board would have had the authority to sell the building, located at 1 Shutesbury Road, to a non-profit educational or historical organization that would use the site to display Leverett’s historical artifacts. “I think the process … has not been transparent,” commented resident Ann Ferguson. “It seems to me that the town needs to go through this process.”

Select Board member Tom Hankinson pushed back on the claim of a lack of transparency, as the decision was made to support the Historical Commission in a grant application to secure money to restore the building during a Selectboard meeting that was properly posted and conformed to the Open Meeting Law. Hankinson added, however, that town officials learned about the grant just days before the application deadline and they wanted to try to secure the funding, then have the discussion with residents, which contributed to a lack of community feedback.

Ultimately, residents decided to table the matter.

Besides Article 22, residents approved the rest of the warrant, which included a $6.83 million town budget for fiscal year 2023, the purchase of a hybrid cruiser for the Police Department and the purchase of a new medium-size dump truck for the Highway Department.

Residents also approved renaming the Transfer Station’s entrance road to Drury Lane, which honors longtime employee Richard Drury, who went missing in December 2020 and has yet to be found.

Elections

In a tradition unique to Leverett, elections were held on the floor of Town Meeting. Residents elected the following people to these positions:

■Patricia Duffy was elected to the Select Board for a three-year term. She will replace longtime Select Board member Julie Shively.

■Cat Ford and Sam Black were re-elected to the Board of Assessors for a one-year term and a three-year term. The two will decide who takes which seat.

■Barbara Kline-Seaman was elected to the Board of Health for a three-year term.

■Phil Carter and Bethany Seeger were both elected to the Finance Committee for three-year terms.

■Swan Keyes was elected to a five-year term on the Planning Board.

■Thomas Masterson was elected as constable.

■Judith Davidov and Seth Seeger were elected to the Board of Library Trustees for three-year terms.

■Jya Plavin and Tilman Wolf were both elected to the School Committee for five-year terms.