Chatham Voters Ban Pot Shops, Balloons

CHATHAM – Chatham became the latest town on Cape Cod to ban recreational marijuana shops as voters tackled a series of municipal items at Town Meeting Monday.

More than 80 percent of Chatham voted against the ballot initiative that legalized pot in Massachusetts in 2016.

Residents supported a ban on the sale and release of balloons, except for research purposes. Proponents argued the balloons create a hazard for marine life and the environment.

Voters approved an operating budget of $30.5 million, marking an increase of $267,000 from last year.

“The budget as presented considers the total financial impact which provides for a balanced budget well within the allowable growth of Massachusetts Proposition 2 1/2 and provides for excess lending capacity,” said Town Manager Jill Goldsmith

“The town’s finances are in a very good state, but we are not without our challenges. We have observed for the last couple of years now that there is a substantial amount of capital spending proposals in the pipeline,” said Finance Committee Chairman Stephen Daniel.

One of those capital projects could be a new senior center. Residents voted to spend $100,000 on a feasibility study on the matter.

It’s been estimated a new center could cost anywhere from $7 to $10 million.

Voters approved $483,000 in repairs and upgrades to the Eldredge Library.

Town Meeting also passed a plan to take half of the money raised each year from the Land Bank to pay for Chatham’s $16.8 million municipal employee post-employment benefits liability. The proposal would need to be approved by the state legislature.

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