Voters soundly rejected a question on Tuesday’s ballot that would have funded the removal of two town-owned wind turbines.
Forty-one percent of registered voters – 9,873 out of 24,158 – turned out to cast ballots on 18 questions, including Question 2, which would have authorized the decommissioning, dismantling and removal of the turbines and the repayment of grants, prepaid renewable energy credits and other costs associated with removal.
The question was rejected 6,001 to 2,940, with 67 percent voting against it.
The two 1.65-megawatt turbines, known as Wind 1 and Wind 2, are located at the town’s wastewater facility on Blacksmith Shop Road, and have captivated the town’s attention for the past few years, with many residents of the area saying they are too noisy and disruptive. Last month, town meeting members rejected a funding plan to take the turbines down after contentious debate over the issue.
The selectmen, who support removing the turbines, will now have to find another way to deal with the ongoing dispute, board Chairman Kevin Murphy said.
The board will have to meet to discuss the next steps, he said.
Debt that would be incurred to remove the turbines, which could reach as much as $14 million, would have been exempt from the limits of Proposition 2½, which caps property tax increases at 2.5 percent.
“The only way we can fix damage we’ve already done is with renewable energy,” said Kim Deisher, 29, who showed up at Falmouth Town Hall to vote against Question 2.
The question was one on a two-sided ballot that had voters looking like they were taking an MCAS exam. The majority of the questions dealt with tweaks to the town’s charter – the document that guides local government.
Voters approved a $3.4 million Proposition 2½ debt exclusion to fund a water filtration plant for the town’s main water source at Long Pond and an additional $5.6 million to begin implementation of the town’s comprehensive wastewater treatment plan. That question passed 5,094 to 3,646, with 58 percent voting in favor.
Fifty-nine percent of voters supported a nonbinding advisory question requesting that Gov. Deval Patrick call upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to uphold its mandate to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.
“I have mixed feelings about closing Pilgrim,” said Mary Kavanagh, 54, who voted to pass Question 18. “I want electricity … but I think it’s dangerous.”
There were also two contested races on the ballot.
A total of 15,323 votes were cast to elect two selectmen. Incumbent Mary Pat Flynn and former school committee member Rebecca Moffitt were the winners, garnering 29 percent and 23 percent of the vote, respectively. They defeated Marc Finneran, Sheryl Kozens-Long and David Moriarty. Moffitt was the only candidate who voted against funding the removal of the wind turbines.
Selectman David Braga decided not to run for re-election.
In the four-way race for three seats on the school committee, 18,655 votes were cast. Incumbents Judith Fenwick and Samuel Patterson were re-elected to the board, with 27 percent and 26 percent of the vote, respectively. Political newcomer Leah Palmer took the third spot that was up for grabs with 31 percent of the vote, the highest of any candidate.
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