Whately Town Meeting to vote on regional ambulance service, medical marijuana moratorium
WHATELY — Residents will be asked to consider a regional ambulance partnership with Deerfield and Sunderland, a year-long medical marijuana moratorium and several financial matters at a special Town Meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Whately Elementary School.
There are 15 articles on the warrant, and the first is expected to get the most attention.
The town will be asked to authorize the Select Board to join an inter-municipal agreement with Deerfield and Sunderland to establish and operate an around-the-clock regional paramedic ambulance service starting Jan. 1.
The proposed service would have a full-time force based at the South Deerfield Fire Station with a backup ambulance at the Sunderland Public Safety Complex.
While the Select Board supports the ambulance proposal, the Whately EMTs have questioned its necessity.
Immediately following, residents will be asked to add $54,665 to the ambulance fund account approved at last spring’s annual Town Meeting. The fund already has $56,143. The money would cover the town’s portion of the regional EMS service for the six months of the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1.
Whately’s portion is $82,735. Sunderland’s contribution is $155,366 and Deerfield’s is $255,488.
The article is contingent on the first question and approval by all three towns of the regional ambulance service.
A second major decision for residents is whether to have a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation centers in town to give the Planning Board time to research and develop zoning rules. The moratorium would expire Sept. 30, 2014.
In November 2012, 70 percent of Whately voters supported the state ballot question to legalize marijuana for medical use.
The decision could affect the proposal of Whately potato farmer James Pasiecnik, who has support from the Select Board to open a dispensary in Whately if he receives one of the 35 available state licenses. Pasiecnik’s group is called JM Farm’s Patient Group.
Though the Select Board supported Pasiecnik’s proposal, it also endorsed the Planning Board’s recommendation for a moratorium.
∎ $3,325 for the treasurer/collector budget to pay for three additional hours per week of work.
∎ $18,000 from Community Preservation Fund reserves for the improvement of baseball and softball fields at Herlihy Field at 219 Christian Lane.
∎ $12,165 for site work for the Town Hall renovation project.
∎ $58,000 from the Community Preservation Fund for the purchase of land on State Road to create affordable housing.
∎ A total of $20,000 from various funds to the Mill River Stabilization account.
∎ $3,800 from the town’s general surplus to the Water Department’s reserve account.
∎ $5,000 from the current year’s Water Department surplus to its operations account to reimburse for expenses.
∎ $2,400 for an advanced habitat and endangered species study along the Mill River.