By now many of you have heard that there is a flaw on the process for obtaining approval of Town funding for the Elementary School Project.
Ballot Question: The Ballot vote on Monday, December 9, 2013 is valid and legal, and does not need to be revisited. It stands as is.
Town Meeting: There is a flaw on the Warrant Article passed at Athol Town Meeting on October 21, 2013. The language for the ballot question is given to us by MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority.) It must be used verbatim with no changes whatsoever. The only thing added is the name of the Town, and the full cost of the Elementary School Project. That was known by the District. There was no need to review the wording because it cannot be changed. It is simply fill-in-the blank with the proper amount.
The full cost of the Project is $43,931,363. We are receiving a grant from MSBA for $27,651,620. Therefore the cost to the Town of Athol, which must be funded by borrowing, is $16,279,743.
Mistakenly, the amount of the Town’s share of the project, $16,279,743, was written in the blank. It should have been the total cost of the project: $43,931,363.
There is no excuse for this mistake. It should have been caught and remedied back in October.
We apologize for this error to all who were involved in the voting process in October and this week.
Because of this mistake, and to make things legal, the Article must be re-voted with the correct amount. Just to clarify, there is no change in any way as to the amount of money the Town of Athol will pay to fund this project. It is exactly the same as it was voted in October and December. The Town’s share remains the same at $16,279,743. There is also no change in the projected increase in the tax rate for the Town based upon that number.
The School Department will pick up the costs necessary in holding this Town meeting.
The Athol Town Meeting to remedy the Warrant Article will take place:
Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 7:00 p.m.
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