Southampton Town Meeting set for Tuesday 

  • The William E. Norris School in Southampton.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2022 9:20:51 PM
Modified: 6/4/2022 9:19:25 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — The Ad Hoc Technology Committee has been looking into how to bring high-speed fiber services to Southampton.

In researching what other neighboring communities like South Hadley and Westfield are doing, the committee learned that the town needs to establish a municipal light plant, or town-owned utilities, in order to continue that exploratory work. 

Voters will decide at Southampton’s annual Town Meeting on Tuesday whether that work can continue. 

Results gathered from a town survey related to American Rescue Plan Act funding released earlier this year shows that residents have listed access to broadband and affordability of services as its top priority.

“The number one complaint from residents is their internet service,” said Town Administrator Ed Gibson.

If voters approve an article Tuesday, it would authorize the town to continue exploring the possibility. It does not require the town to establish a municipal light plant, he said. This vote is the first requirement of a multi-year process. The article is one of 33 others on the Town Meeting warrant.

Residents also will vote on the town’s $19 million annual operating budget for fiscal year 2023, an increase of about $800,000 from the previous fiscal year, according to Gibson. 

In addition, voters also will be asked to approve a Proposition 2½ debt-exclusion override to pay for the purchase of a new loader for $231,000 for the highway department. Residents supported the measure by a vote of 155-148 at the May 17 election, according to Town Clerk Luci Dalton. The ballot question failed in Precinct 1 but was supported by Precinct 2.

If the article is approved, Gibson estimates that the average single-family homeowner will pay a little less than $12 annually.

Several articles on the warrant have been brought forward by the Bylaw Review Advisory Committee to amend the language in some of the town’s existing bylaws. 

Among them are two articles that, if approved, would delete two bylaws related to solid waste and the town’s landfill, which closed in 1997. The Highway Department operates the Moose Brook Road Transfer Station, which is located on the site of the former town landfill.

“The committee’s charge is to go through existing bylaws and modernize or bring them up to today's standards,” said Gibson. 

The Town Meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at William E. Norris School, 34 Pomeroy Meadow Road in Southampton. Masks are not required, but are recommended by town officials.  

Staff Writer Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.

 


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