WILMINGTON, MA – During Monday night’s dramatic meeting, it turns out Selectman Mike McCoy had an ace up his sleeve all along.
McCoy’s motion – to call a Special Town Meeting within the Annual Town Meeting for the purpose of seeking authorization to acquire Sciarappa Farm – failed.
The vote was 2-2-1, with McCoy & Kevin Caira in favor, Mike Champoux and Ed Loud against, and Greg Bendel abstaining. Loud had previously supported the measure a week prior, but changed his vote, citing concerns surrounding eminent domain.
Wilmington Apple has learned that several days before Monday night’s vote, McCoy had secured a Plan B – he collected enough voters’ signatures on a petition to call for a Special Town Meeting to acquire Sciarappa Farm.
“I collected those signatures this past Thursday and Friday because I knew Ed Loud was going to flip, so I prepared for it,” McCoy told Wilmington Apple. “It would have been nice if [my colleagues] voted the way they did last Monday, but again, experience gave me the foresight to see he’d flip.”
McCoy had strong words for Loud and his reversal.
“For Ed Loud to give the excuse of eminent domain, I don’t buy that for a moment. Someone got to him,” claimed McCoy. “The article was a simple three lines. He knew what what he was voting for. He didn’t change his mind on his own — someone convinced him.”
McCoy submitted his citizen-driven petition to the Town Clerk’s Office on Tuesday morning around 9:30am, approximately 13 hours after the Selectmen’s Meeting ended.
The Town Clerk’s Office confirmed McCoy’s submission. While the petition’s signatures haven’t been certified yet, the office felt confident the petition would contain more that enough valid signatures. While McCoy needed just 100 signatures; he collected 400.
McCoy noted that the language in the petition is the same language in his motion from the past two Selectmen’s meeting. The petition reads: “To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, or borrow pursuant to any applicable statue, a sum of money for the Board of Selectmen to acquire by purchase, gift or eminent domain the following real estate commonly known as Sciarappa Farm.”
The Special Town Meeting warrant is set to close this Friday at 4:30pm. Selectmen are then scheduled to sign the warrant on Monday night during its 7pm meeting. Regardless of their personal feelings on the issue, Selectmen are expected to vote to include McCoy’s petitioned article on the warrant, as it does all other valid petitioned articles. .
Articles on the Special Town Meeting warrant are expected to be taken up near the beginning of Annual Town Meeting, immediately after Article 2, at which time the Town Moderator will suspend the Annual Town Meeting and commence the Special Town Meeting.
The Annual and Special Town Meetings take place on Saturday, May 5 at 10:30am in the Wilmington High School Auditorium. A quorum of 150 registered voters is needed to start both meetings.
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