RICHMOND — Town voters easily approved the second and final step to finance a new town hall, community center and library off State Road (Route 41). The project, costing up to $6.8 million, is on town-owned land adjoining the Richmond Consolidated School.
The “yes” vote on a debt-exclusion ballot question at Saturday’s annual town election was a landslide 260 to 22, said Town Accountant/Town Clerk Angela Garrity. The turnout was nearly 23 percent of Richmond’s 1,245 registered voters.
As was the case in most years, there were no contested races for town positions. Last year, with all candidates unopposed, only 51 registered voters turned out, about 4 percent.
“The vote demonstrates the very strong support for the town center among the voters,” Selectman Neal Pilson said, minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Saturday and the ballots were tallied.
At the annual town meeting last Wednesday, a near-record crowd of 306 voters cheered the approval of the town center project, with 270 voting in favor. That was well above the 203-vote supermajority of two-thirds needed for the 30-year bond, to be financed at an estimated 2.5 percent interest rate.
Saturday’s vote exempts the debt service on the community’s borrowing for the capital project from the provisions of Proposition 21⁄2, which limits to 2.5 percent the amount of additional revenue a city or town can raise from local property taxes each year to fund municipal operations unless residents approve an override.
The ballot question stated: “Shall the Town of Richmond be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued in order to pay costs of designing, engineering, development, construction, originally equipping and furnishing a new Town Hall, Library and Community Center, and for the payment of all costs incidental and related thereto?”
Voters gave Selectman Alan Hanson another three-year term. He has served on the Select Board since 1993.
Town Moderator William E. Martin won another year, also with no opposition.
Other unopposed candidates elected were Kimmie Leeco to the School Committee (three years) and Anthony Segal to the Board of Health (three years). Reelected were incumbent Peter Lopez to the Planning Board (five years), Stevan Patterson and Robert Youdelman to the Finance Committee (three year terms), and Katherine Keenum as library trustee (three years).