Falmouth Town Meeting Wraps Up, Spends $121 Million

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Virginia Valiela, co-chair of Falmouth's Water Quality Management Committee, urges Town Meeting members not to approve a petitioner's article by Mark Finneran, standing at left.

Virginia Valiela, vice chair of Falmouth’s Water Quality Management Committee, urges Town Meeting members not to approve a petitioner’s article by Mark Finneran, standing at left.

FALMOUTH – Falmouth Town Meeting wrapped up its business last night on the third night and, once more, wastewater planning was a focus of debate.

Final calculations from Falmouth Finance Committee Chairman Judith Magnani were that Town Meeting spent $121 million during the meeting. In addition, a $3.9 million debt exclusion to repair windows at the Lawrence School will be sent on to voters at the May 19 town election.

The town’s wastewater plan, in particular the elements voted at last year’s Spring Annual Town Meeting to widen the Bourne’s Pond inlet, received discussion because of a petitioner’s article to undo that vote from a year ago.

East Falmouth resident Mark Finneran, who is running for a seat on the Falmouth Board of Selectmen, submitted a petitioner’s article that asked Town Meeting to rescind last year’s vote for the Bourne’s Pond widening and instead use the money to widen Little Pond.

Finneran said widening Little Pond, where the homes are being sewered, would save the town significant money on sewering and save the neighbors money because fewer homes would need to be sewered.

But Virginia Valiela, vice chair of Falmouth’s Water Quality Committee, disputed Finneran’s contentions in a number of areas. She also said that some contracts have also been secured based on last year’s vote, so rescinding it would create legal issues. Falmouth Town Attorney Frank Duffy agreed.

Valiela also said that early in the process, a meeting was held with neighbors in Little Pond asking if they wanted the pond inlet widened and they said they did not.

Finneran said he owns a home in the area and never heard about any such meeting.

The article was defeated soundly in a voice vote.

Finneran also submitted a petitioner’s article requiring that Town Meeting be given more than one “legitimate” estimate on any capital project. The article received debate about Finneran’s intention with the word “legitimate.”

Both the town’s facilities director Shardell Newton and the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee Nicholas Lowell said they felt the article was criticizing them.

But other Town Meeting members said they did not interpret the article as criticism and felt it had merit.

When it came time to vote, there were people on both sides of the question, but Town Moderator David Vieira determined the “no” votes were in the majority.

By LAURA M. RECKFORD, CapeCod.com News Editor

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