$40K approved for library upgrades

Voters support Teen Center with $12K

  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.
  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.
  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.
  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.
  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.
  • The 2014 Antrim town meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 13.

ANTRIM — The Antrim wind farm issue was blown away at the polls on March 11, removing the town’s most talked-about subject leading up to Town Meeting on Thursday . With the wind farm ordinance defeated and off the table, the focus of the meeting was on the remaining articles on the warrant, almost all of which were approved.

Voters passed the $4 million operating budget with little discussion.

Article 3 asked the town to raise $26,478 for the first year of a five-year lease on a front-end loader, with a total cost of $132,390.

“Our current sidewalk tracker has had problems during recent storms,” said Road Agent Chip Craig.

The article was passed in a voice vote.

Article 4 was another request from the Highway Department, for $43,000 to erect a salt shed to store salt and sand for the town, which voters overwhelmingly approved. “The current salt shed is inadequate,” Craig said.

Kristen Vance, head of the Grapevine, spoke in favor of Article 7, requesting $6,000 for the support of the nonprofit organization. She said the money would help support the teen center in town.

“This is the same amount we have requested every year since 2007,” she said. “Friday nights are a big draw for Antrim teens.”

Dave Kirkpatrick, founder of the teen center, stood and proposed an amendment to the article. “I think the amount should be $12,000; I offer an amendment to change it.” The amendment was voted on and approved, followed by the approval of the article itself.

The Tuttle Library garnered a lot of discussion at the meeting, with two articles on the warrant. Articles 11 and 12 asked the town for $40,000 to repair the library’s heating system and south chimney, respectively, with money from the Tuttle Library capital reserve fund. Library trustee Ron Haggett said, “The furnace was installed in the mid-’70s. It’s failing and replacement parts are becoming harder and harder to come by.”

Resident Todd Bryer felt that the money would be well spent.

“It is important to maintain town buildings, we need to do a better job down the road,” he said. “ We have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to building maintenance.”

Selectman Gordon Webber, who also works as a mason, pointed out that the library’s south chimney is “deteriorating, and needs to be replaced.” Webber offered an alternate plan, saying that the town could “tear [the chimney] down and cap it off, which would be less expensive.”

Dawne Hugron felt that the buildings in town need to remain “architecturally correct.” “We should rebuild the chimney,” she said.

Elsa Volcker agreed, saying, “I would like to see estimates on maintenance.”

John Kendall offered yet another concern with the proposal, saying, “The building should stay historically correct, but we should evaluate the slate roof condition before repairing the chimney. We could be jumping the gun, spending $20,000 on a chimney that may not last.”

Library Director Kathryn Chisholm stood and rebutted this claim, saying, “The roof is inspected every year. It is fine and we do not need to spend money on things that are not broke.”

After the back and forth debate on what to do regarding repairing the Tuttle Library, both articles passed, meaning the library is due for many improvements in the coming years.

Another hot topic during the meeting stemmed from article 14, which asked the town to raise $13,000 for improvements to Memorial Park. The improvements include changes to the drainage system, fencing and cracks in the tennis court. Parks and Recreation Director Celeste Lunetta told the townspeople, “We are working with the Police Department trying to improve the safety of the park. The fencing is meant to cut off access to neighboring yards.”

Resident Jeana White was skeptical of putting up a new fence: “What kind of fencing? Chain link fences have been ripped to shreds quickly in the past.”

Lunetta said the tennis court is in poor condition. “People are afraid of tripping,” she said. “We surveyed the town and people want the courts, as long as they are safe.”

As the debate went on, Tim Smith stood said, “This is a stop-gap solution for our parks,” referring to the $13,000 proposal to fix the fencing, the cracks in the tennis court and the drainage system.

Lunetta agreed, arguing that a long-term plan needs to be put in place. The townspeople supported the park in the end, passing the article.

The lone article that failed to pass was number 18, a petition from Peter Graziano requesting that the town change Gibson Mountain Road from class VI to class V so that the town could maintain it.

Resident Rick Edmunds successfully moved to amend the article to state that the homeowners on the road would first pay for the class V upgrade, as others have been required to do in the past. Edmunds’ amendment passed, but the article failed in a vote, drawing the meeting to a close in a controversial manner.

Voters also approved $80,000 for updating and reconstructing Highland Avenue and Pleasant Street; $35,000 for a new police cruiser; and $35,000 to replace the valve in the Gregg Lake Dam.

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