WESTPORT – The Town Hall windmill may not be a done deal, despite Town Meeting approval this week.
Board of Selectmen Chairperson Veronica F. Beaulieu said this morning that she and other members have unanswered questions about the project, which Town Meeting voters on Tuesday approved with a $63,400 appropriation from the town’s stabilization fund.
Selectmen have requested that the Alternative Energy Committee, sponsors of the Town Meeting article, attend Monday’s board meeting, Mrs. Beaulieu said Thursday morning.
“I need some more answers,” she said. “I have questions that have tried to get answers for from that committee. I’ve asked for the minutes of their meetings, so I can learn the background. I have never received them.
“How will they pay back the stabilization fund? The article says this is for Town Hall. Where? How do they plan to connect the wind turbine to Town Hall? They can’t dig up the parking lot, because their are storage tanks under that. Several of us have a number of questions.”
Selectman Gary Earle Mauk was ruled out of order at Tuesday’s meeting when he moved for reconsideration of the article, within the required 20 minutes time frame, after most of its supporters left the session.
Moderator Steven Fors said this afternoon that he ruled Mr. Mauk out of order “because he waited for the room to empty of the supporters and he moved to reconsider to take advantage of that. That’s why I ruled him out of order.”
Mr. Mauk did not return a phone call to his home this morning.
Selectman Steven J. Ouellette this morning was wary of potential ulterior motives by his fellow and sister board members at the upcoming Monday meeting.
“I am deeply disappointed if we aren’t going to carry through on what the people of Westport want,” Mr. Ouellette said.
Some people in town on Thursday morning speculated that Mr. Mauk, known over the years for his strategic skills at thwarting initiatives he opposes, would parse the language of the wind turbine article, which does not specify that selectmen must act.
Mr. Fors explained that as the town’s legislative body, the Town Meeting provides the money for projects and spending.
“But the selectmen are the executive branch of town government,” Mr. Fors said. “They operate the town and they sign contracts. Town Meeting appropriated a sum of money for the construction of a windmill. Town Meeting cannot order the selectmen to construct the windmill.”
Wind turbine supporters today are contacting each other to raise a group to attend Monday’s meeting in support of the Alternative Energy Committee.
By Joseph R. LaPlante
3 May 2007
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