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Town meeting vote a 'wasted opportunity'

2 Main St. purchase vote fails at special session

February 10, 2011
WALES — The majority of voters at a special Town Meeting Tuesday, Feb. 8, supported the proposal to approve $1.1 million to purchase and renovate the 2 Main St. property, but there weren't enough votes to reach the two-thirds majority required to pass the proposal.

According to Assistant Town Clerk Leis Phinney, 268 out of Wales' 1,286 registered voters turned out for the meeting, one of the best showings the town has seen for a meeting in the last five years. However, town officials were disappointed by the outcome, which means a large amount of money will likely need to be spent on renovations they hoped wouldn't be necessary.

"We know that we are not going to be able to stay in the current town office building for much longer without making some serious improvements," said Board of Selectmen Chairman Michael Valanzola. "The building is sinking and falling backwards. This is a true calamity, and the problem isn't going away."

During a meeting on Jan. 11, residents delivered a traditional majority vote to allow its leaders to conceptually debt exclude outside the limits of Proposition 2 1/2. Valanzola and other officials were hopeful that voters would show up for Tuesday's special Town Meeting and elect to appropriate the $1.1 million figure. The purchase and renovation of the 2 Main St. property would have allowed the town offices, police department, and library to be housed in one complex.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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