Moderator Asks for Straw Vote

by | Dec 19, 2014

By John Anderson

When town meeting members voted 98-2 to borrow funds for the purchase of former agricultural land on Southold Rd. during the November 18th Special Town Meeting, the specific method was not defined. Ultimately, the Board of Selectmen will decide what monies need to be borrowed and whether of not to accept an anonymous gift of $1 million which restricts the land to open space.

In a letter by Town Moderator Charlie Baker, dated December 15th, 2014 and mailed to all town meeting members, he wrote, “It has long been the tradition on important matters for the Moderator to call for a non-binding straw vote to give the Selectmen a sense of what Town Meeting thinks.”

Baker goes on, “At the Town Meeting on purchasing the land I didn’t call for a straw vote because I didn’t think it was necessary. Since then it has become clear that such a straw vote may well be helpful to the Selectmen.”

Baker is referring to the $1 million donation, and members were asked to report their desire to accept or not accept the gift to the Town Clerk. At Town Hall yesterday, Baker said the Town Clerk is the keeper of the records for the community, and she is the appropriate person to tally the results, which will be reported at Monday’s Selectmen’s Meeting.

Acceptance of this gift is generating nearly as much controversy as the land purchase itself, and in the end, some people will not be happy. When asked, CFO Ed Kazanovicz said a purchase and sale agreement has been sent to the Sylvia C. Post Limited Partnerships, but it has not been signed and returned. Another twist in this long road.