Town clerk petition fails, other articles passed in Pelham


Staff Writer
Published: 6/29/2020 3:37:54 PM

PELHAM — Pelham’s town clerk will remain an appointed position after residents at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting voted down a petition article, upholding a decision made at the 2019 session.

In a Town Meeting that lasted a little more than three hours, residents approved the remaining 28 articles, which included adopting the $4.65 million town budget, formally changing the name of the top policy board to the gender-neutral Select Board and streamlining participation in an energy aggregation program the town has joined with Amherst and Northampton.

Though residents petitioned to have the town clerk return to an elected position, the Select Board opposed the measure and asked that it remain appointed, which can yield a wider field of candidates, including people who don’t live in Pelham.

The $4.65 million spending plan is $23,014, or 0.5 % higher, than the current year’s $4.62 million budget. It was adopted along with a series of one-time expenditures using $141,559 in free cash.

Community Preservation Act money included $70,000 for repainting the old Town Hall and $11,500 to pay for the town’s share of designing a new track and field complex at Amherst Regional High School.

The capital stabilization account is being used for improvements that include $41,300 for purchasing and installing replacement windows and painting the exterior of the highway garage, and $5,600 for washing and painting Community Hall.

Town Meeting granted the Select Board the authority to make decisions regarding community choice energy, rather than having these come back to Town Meeting. The idea is this will make it quicker to arrive at decisions related to the aggregation program and to figure out means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

With Town Meeting concluded, residents will head to the polls for town election Tuesday. Polls are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ramsdell Room at the Library Complex.

There are no contested races, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented people from returning nomination papers, several write-in candidates are actively campaigning, including Sarahbess Kenney, Meetinghouse Road, for a three-year term on the School Committee; John Trickey, Daniel Shays Highway, for a one-year term as auditor; Chris Rice, Butter Hill Road, for a three-year term on the Board of Health; Anne Stoddard, Butter Hill Road, for a five-year term on the Planning Board; and Dan Robb, Amherst Road, for a one-year term as moderator.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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