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Voters approve spending, nix green energy code

October 23, 2011
CHARLTON — Fewer than 100 residents, a mere 1 percent of the town's 9,263 registered voters, came out for the special town meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18, where spending more than $600,000 of the town's $815,962 in free cash was approved, and a clean energy building code was shot down.

Voters decided to transfer the difference in free cash, more than $200,000, into the town's stabilization fund. All together, more than $820,000 in spending from various sources was approved.

Free cash, as Finance Committee Chairman Dr. Robert Hartwig explained at the beginning of the meeting, comes from money allotted for but not spent in the previous year's budget or from "unanticipated revenue." He said this year's free cash was "a little higher than it has been in the past, but it fluctuates."

Still, residents questioned the excess. Speaking of conservative budgeting to town departments, Charlton Library Trustee Chair Stefan Sage said, "It seems like if we have this kind of money, give them the money they need."

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

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