Voters table Lake Garfield Preservation District; fear of herbicides a sticking point


MONTEREY >> Following a good hour of debate, a controversial warrant article to create a Lake Garfield Preservation District was tabled by voters.

The remaining 11 articles on Thursday's warrant passed, all overwhelmingly.

This being Monterey, every article was accompanied by lively discussion before passage. The Lake Garfield article generated the most talk.

Proponents of the article sought to create a district that would tax residents of the 280-acre lake. That, in turn, would enable the Friends of Lake Garfield, who have been the stewards of the lake for 40-plus years, to raise money for maintenance. More importantly, the funds would address the growing problem of Eurasian Milfoil infesting that lake that has grown exponentially on Garfield in the past several years.

That, however, was the rub with a number of opponents. In addition to fears that the Friends of Lake Garfield would use chemical herbicides to control the weed problem, others in the room were uncomfortable with the concept of a handful of residents around the lake controlling it.

Michael Germain, speaking for the Friends, explained that the intent was to determine the safest way to deal with the weeds and expressed doubt that a chemical avenue would be pursued. That was, apparently, not assurance enough. Many spoke out against herbicides.

In the end, voters opined that there were too many unanswered questions and voted to table the article to an unspecified later date.

Voters did approve, overwhelmingly, $6,700 for a water quality study of the lake. In addition, another lake-related article was approved: A total of $5,000 to study the weed problem in the lake.

Resident Ty Rosa reported to the audience that three years ago, the amount of measurable milfoil on the lake covered about five acres; two years ago it had expanded to 13 acres and last year to 27 acres.

Voters also approved:

• Making the town treasurer's post an appointed, rather than an elected post. This, town officials reported, would enable the town to seek outside professionals to handle town finances.

• Spending $40,000 for a broadband consultant.

• Allowing the town to apply for grants for the library renovation project.

• Spending $18,000 to hire a grants writer for the town.

•Appropriating $3,600 to pay the Town of Great Barrington to use their jail, which includes a juvenile lockup.

• Spending a total of $120 for unpaid bills from the previous fiscal year.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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