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Landfill may be contentious issue at South Hadley Town Meeting Saturday

SOUTH HADLEY — Saturday’s annual Town Meeting is expected to be a contentious one as residents take up the controversial matter of the town’s landfill which is scheduled to close in March of 2014.

Also on the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 9:15 a.m. in the Town Hall auditorium, is the proposed $40,193,185 town operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. T hat is slightly less than the current year’s budget of $40.5 million. The landfill debate has been going on since the town was notified of its closure in March. It will continue at the meeting because residents have petitioned in warrant article 43 to have the landfill classified as conservation land. The petition asks that the 40 acres designated for the landfill be claimed as part of the 162 acre Bynan Conservation area, and that its care, custody, and management be placed under the control of the South Hadley Conservation Commission and used for conservation purposes.

“I think article 43 is going to be contentious,” said Town Administrator Mike Sullivan. “It was an issue put forth by individuals, not the town.”

As for other items on the meeting agenda, Sullivan said the bulk of the financial matters were worked out amicably with the Select Board and various town committees prior to the meeting. The proposed budget for the school department is $19,959,936, up from $19,636,976 for the current year. The proposed budget for general government is $ 1,763,038, down from $1,828,486 this year.

The town meeting will be preceded by a special town meeting that will debate the transfer of funds to various town committees and the funding of a capital plan for school projects for the current fiscal year.

The special town meeting will be held at 9 a.m., also in the auditorium.

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