“What I wanted to say at the meeting, if I had the opportunity, was that Paul [Salafia] had some negotiations, and he reported on a regular basis to the building committee and in executive session meetings,” Deso said after the meeting. “All of those meetings were held, and the minutes of all the executive session meetings were released.”
AMENDMENT PROPOSED, WITHDRAWN
Rattlesnake Hill Road resident Greg Rigby proposed an amendment to the article midway through the meeting. His amendment aimed to specify how much of the money raised by the article “will be funded within the levy limit of the town,” meaning it will be paid for within the limits of state law, without increasing taxes beyond 2.5 percent over the prior year.
“It’s a simple way to put a control in, so that the number is specific, we know what it is, and the taxpayers can deal with it,” he said.
While officials said they weren’t opposed to the intent of the article, Deso cautioned that amending the article in such a way could jeopardize reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which has committed to give the town $16.7 million back to cover construction costs.
After Deso weighed in on the amendment, Rigby withdrew it. It never went to a vote.
MEETING HELD DESPITE ROAD CONDITIONS
Just days before the meeting, a severe blizzard dumped around two feet of snow in Andover. As residents gathered at the meeting, roads throughout town were freezing over and accident reports were growing more frequent, according to police reports.
Cyr Circle resident Mary Carbone called for the meeting to be rescheduled “so the people have a true consensus of the residents.”
“There are many people that would like to have been here but, because of weather conditions and emergencies both at the state level and local level, I believe that it’s not appropriate for the town to have called this Special Town Meeting tonight,” she said at the meeting. “I ask it to be continued to another date at a better time, when the senior citizens who have a great deal to say to the town of Andover are able to get here and voice their opinion.”
While saying the meeting was “duly-posted” and scheduled weeks ahead of the storm, Doherty said “we are here tonight. Everybody has the opportunity to be here tonight, albeit some people with hardship — all of us with hardship.”