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Peru to vote on wind moratorium, old school

PERU – Voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to adopt a wind power development moratorium and whether to raze the old elementary school or lease it to a group for a community center.

The Board of Selectmen signed the warrant Monday night. The first article calls for a 180-day moratorium on industrial wind power projects.

A committee is working on drafting a wind power ordinance, and the moratorium is intended to give it time to finish its work and have the town adopt it before any proposals are presented to the town.

The second article on the ballot would give voters the choice of having the old elementary school at 30 Main St. torn down or leased to Friends of the Peru Elementary School to be run as a community center at no cost to taxpayers.

Rick Wilson submitted a petition with 100 signatures to selectmen Monday night, insisting the wording on the petition be used on the ballot.

Selectmen accepted the petition and agreed to keep the wording.

Choice 1 of the school article states: “Shall the voters of Peru authorize the selectmen to receive bids to raze (tear down) and landscape the old Peru school building.”

Board Chairman Tim Holland pointed out the article doesn’t authorize any money for the town to pay those expenses.

Wilson said people didn’t sign the petition with costs attached and none should be added.

If voters approve tearing it down, Holland said Tuesday, the issue will be brought back for a vote next June on how to pay for it.

A member of the board presented an article Monday night calling for the project to be put to bid and paid for from the town’s surplus account.

It was not accepted for the warrant for several reasons, Holland said Tuesday. They include that the town budget is set for this year and last week voters approved spending $7,000 to drill a well to supply the town office and $100,000 to replace a bridge on Dickvale Road that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene. The bridge is expected to be done before winter, he said.

Town Clerk Vera Parent said the surplus account is not a slush fund; it’s for emergencies such as the bridge.

Choice 2 of the school article states: “Shall the voters of Peru authorize the selectmen to lease the old Peru school building to the Friends of the Peru Elementary School with the intent to make a community center with the terms of the agreement being written to protect the town. This choice would involve no taxpayer funding.”

Chairman of the Friends group, Nick Waugh, said he will put up $10,000 as a loan to maintain the building until fundraising picks up.