With more votes counted, support grows for Amherst school building override

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    Ken LeBlond, with the "Yes on 5" steering commitee, updates a vote tally board at The Pub in Amherst at 9 p.m. Tuesday noting that results from four precincts were still delayed.

Published: 11/9/2016 11:34:38 PM

AMHERST — The margin of victory for a $33 million school building override in Amherst widened Wednesday following the counting of additional ballots.

As of the end of the day Wednesday, 6,753 voted in favor of the override and 6,651 voted against, a difference of 102 votes. On Wednesday morning, the margin of victory stood at just 23 votes.

The earlier numbers did not reflect some ballots, including some overseas ballots that have yet to be received by the town clerk’s office. Overseas ballots can be counted up to 10 days after the election.

The office also is researching some provisional ballots that require confirmation of voting eligibility, as well as some hand-written ballots, according to the town clerk’s management assistant, Athena O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe said she could not provide an estimate of how many ballots remain outstanding.

Meanwhile, the Select Board is expected to meet at Town Hall on Thursday, either at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m., to discuss a warrant article scheduled to be presented at Town Meeting that begins Monday at 7 p.m. at Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium. 

A two-thirds vote is needed by the town’s legislative body to borrow around $33 million, with the state picking up the remaining $34 million of the project cost. For a home assessed at $300,000, the Finance Committee estimates that property taxes will rise an average of $318 for over 25 years. 

The proposal calls for construction of two co-located elementary schools that would house all Amherst students in Grades 2 through 6 on the current Wildwood Elementary School site on Strong Street. That school, as well as Fort River Elementary School, would be closed, while Crocker Farm Elementary School would be turned into an early education center housing younger grades.

Chris Lindahl can be reached at clindahl@gazettenet.com


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