Annual town meeting allocates money to town departments

Anushka Patil, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Saturday, June 20, the Westford legislative government held its annual town meeting on the Trustees’ Field at Westford Academy, discussing specifically the balance of the budget.

On the field, seats were arranged so the Westford community could attend the event while still adhering to the Massachusetts’ safety There were areas for residents to register to vote, get complimentary water bottles, and sit under shaded tents. Residents attended the meeting and voiced their opinions on each of the eighteen articles.

The meeting started off by addressing the recent national issues regarding racism and xenophobia. Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet made a statement on behalf of members of the Westford government, law enforcement, and education department.

“The Westford Select Board, Town Manager Jodie Ross, Police Chief Tom McInerney, Deputy Police Chief Mark Chambers, Fire Chief Joe Targ, Westford School Committee, and Superintendent Bill Olson condemn the actions of the Minneapolis police officers, which resulted in the death of George Floyd, we wish to take appropriate steps to share current policy and engage in a broad community discussion in this important area. We are deeply troubled by witnessing the atrocious acts of those officers involved in George Floyd’s death. We continue to work hard to make Westford a welcoming place of inclusion and safety, and this work remains the highest priority, and should reflect who we are as a community. It is our responsibility to continue to speak out against discrimination, racism, xenophobia bullying and hatred. It is our responsibility to foster a community that is inclusive and anti-racist, where all voices are heard protected and respected,” Peraner-Sweet said.

The articles for the town meeting touch upon budget concerns. (provided by Westford Government)

Of all the articles, the only article that didn’t completely pass was article five. The second motion of article five addressed the appropriation of $1,344,152 to construct new amenities at Westford Academy. However, despite being recommended by the Westford Community Preservation Committee, voters believed that building new recreational resources at Westford Academy is unnecessary.

After voting, a count was held to make sure two-thirds of the voters were in favor of the second motion of article five. The count ended up with 62% of the votes for the construction of new amenities and 38% not in favor.

At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Bill Olsen presented the Gordon B. Seavey Award to resident Nancy Cook. The award, inspired by a local former journalists, commends community members for their involvement and passion for their town. He remarked that the kindness and empathy she showed while organizing funds and support for Robinson Elementary School principal Kevin Lacoste were ‘outstanding’.

“We had one of our beloved principals involved in a very serious accident last year, and this community stepped forward to help, financially and in kind services. I present the Gordon B. Seavey award to the Westford caring community, all of you, and all of the citizens in this town. To the person spearheaded the modifications to Kevin house, I’d like to have Nancy Cook come up and accept this on behalf of everyone in the town,” Olsen said.

For a list of the articles passed and their specific motions, visit this document: