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Town offices renovation, What-Not-Sale will go on after Canterbury town meeting

  • Debra Folsom places her ballot in a box carried around by supervisor of the checklist Brenda Murray at Canterbury Town Meeting Friday. Voters approved a $400,000 renovation to the town offices 116-24. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Sam Lake House Renovation Committee member Mark Hopkins presents a $400,000 renovation project for the Canterbury town offices Friday night during town meeting. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Canterbury voters unanimously approve the 10th and final warrant article at town meeting Friday to coordinate future elections with Shaker Regional School District. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Rooty the Carrot (Ruth Smith) applauds at the end of Canterbury Town Meeting. Rooty is the Canterbury Community Farmers Market mascot, and she handed out apples at the meeting Friday.  Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 3/17/2017 11:22:01 PM

Canterbury voters’ biggest objection to renovating the Sam Lake House was the effect the construction could have on the Canterbury Fair’s What-Not-Sale.

The $400,000 proposal was the first warrant article to be taken up at Friday’s town meeting. While residents ultimately approved the article 116-24 via secret ballot, there was much discussion prior to the vote about the beloved sale – it raises money for the Canterbury Fund for residents in need

“That would interrupt the fair and the What-Not-Sale,” Mindy Beltramo said. Both take place each summer on the last Saturday in July, and the What-Not-Sale is usually held in the town hall itself.

“Why can’t you start August 1?” Beltramo asked.

Local officials told residents that construction on the town offices building – needed due to space, insulation, and raccoon problems – would likely begin in April and be completed for a Nov. 1 move-in date.

In the meantime, those who work in the Sam Lake House now would be temporarily re-located to Canterbury Town Hall.

Town administrator Ken Folsom explained that in addition to wanting construction done during the optimal season, 2017 would be the unique year where there would be no more elections (held in town hall). 

“We haven’t looked at the option of getting some temporary offices,” Folsom said, though he added that preliminary estimates show that could cost an extra $20,000.

“We’re trying to keep the budget down on this,” he said. The project would already require $218,000 in bonds or notes, $161,000 from the Sam Lake Capital Reserve and $21,000 from the Sam Lake Trust.

Deputy town clerk and tax collector Lisa Carlson assured the audience at the end of the meeting that even with the town offices project going on, the What-Not-Sale would happen.

“This is a community that loves to gather,” she said to a mostly filled gymnasium at Canterbury Elementary School on Friday. “We will figure it out.”

Everyone applauded.

Every other warrant article was approved in relatively quick fashion. Resident Jim Miller requested one amendment on the proposed $2.6 million Canterbury budget: money for fireworks.

When the crowd held up their cards to vote on adding $4,750 for fireworks, they all flashed the green “yes” ones.

“Great to see green on St. Patty’s day,” moderator Ken Jordan commented.

Before voting on the overall budget, Judith Nelson wanted to know why the line item for healthcare under the library budget jumped from $2,500 to $29,000.

“Is that a typo?” she asked.

Folsom explained that the library hired someone full-time, and that person planned to use a family plan for health insurance.

Residents unanimously approved the budget after that. Among the other items passed Friday was $168,000 for the replacement of a red-listed bridge on Randall Road; funds for fire and rescue gear; the transfer of funds from the Cemetery Improvement Account to the Cemetery Perpetual Care Accounts to correct a 1975 error that technically has Canterbury breaking the law; and a provision authorizing coordination of future elections between Canterbury and Shaker Regional School District.

Due to the snowstorm, Canterbury voters went to their town polls Tuesday and then to the school district’s ballot voting in Belmont on Thursday.

Another item approved Friday was funding to install security cameras in the municipal building. Nelson suggested the town look into dash cams for police officers, too.

“Given the number of incidents that we see, wouldn’t that also be something to consider if you’re upgrading security?” she asked.

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