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Northern Pass, marking of police cruisers dominate Deerfield deliberation

Last modified: 1/31/2015 11:59:02 PM
Deerfield’s deliberative session yesterday went long but didn’t result in any significant changes to the budget or moneyed warrant articles, Selectman Andrew Robertson said.

Robertson said he expected the session, with its 9 a.m. start, to be completed before noon, but it ran until after 1 p.m. The $3.8 million operating budget came and went without change in a few minutes, he said, while petitioned warrant articles regarding the marking of police cruisers, Northern Pass and Class VI roads inspired more vigorous discussions.

Residents will be asked whether to appropriate $10,000 to be put in a fund for the selectmen to use to seek legal counsel regarding any Northern Pass proposal that might affect the town. Northern Pass is a controversial proposal to run an electric transmission line from Canada, eventually ending in Deerfield. Robertson said townspeople voted two years ago by a two-thirds margin to direct the selectmen to oppose the plan as it’s presently designed.

The warrant article, which came with much discussion about whether it was properly worded and how the money should best be stored, seeks to empower the selectmen with funding to oppose the project.

Another petitioned warrant article asked whether residents will mandate that all police cruisers be marked with the word “POLICE,” with the town name and seal accompanying, and to have the standard municipal police registration and license plates. Robertson said that article was the subject of a lengthy discussion, and in the end the language was changed. On voting day, rather than mandating that all cars be marked thusly, it’ll specify only “most cars,” he said, to leave some discretion to the selectmen and police chief.

“That actually took a lot of the meeting,” he said.

A third petitioned article requested to discontinue a portion of Lang Road and relinquish it to the nearby property owners. That was amended to have the selectmen instead investigate the benefits of discontinuing it or not.

“We spent – I don’t know, maybe 10 to 15 minutes talking about the actual operating budget, and spent a lot of time talking about Northern Pass, Class VI roads and whether to mark police cars or not,” Robertson said.

Deerfield’s school district deliberative session will be Saturday at 9 a.m., and ballot voting will be March 10, both at 10 Church St.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325 or nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickBReid.)


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