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Prop 2 1/2 Meetings Come To a Close
Andy McKeever,
10:17PM / Friday, June 17, 2011

The final of six public information meetings about Tuesday's vote on proposition 2 1/2 drew a small crowd.

Editor's Note: Mayor Alcombright has informed us that NBCTV encountered difficulties taping Friday night's override session. It was discovered this morning that the audio did not tape. The station will instead rebroadcast just the override presentation the mayor gave at the City Council meeting several weeks ago. The air times are Sunday, June 19, at  9 a.m., and 3 and 7 p.m., and Monday at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., all on Channel 17.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The proposition 2 1/2 public information meetings came to a close Friday night at Greylock School and the decision is now in the hands of the voters.

"I thought the process went very, very well," Mayor Richard Alcombright said of the meeting. "At the first meeting there was this aura of skepticism...Now I see people and they have a focused questions and that's what we're trying to do. People began to understand."

Alcombright hosted six meetings across the city to discuss the override vote on Tuesday. Friday's meeting was the most sparsely attended - drawing a crowd of only a few dozen. Alcombright said he hopes the meetings encouraged residents to vote in favor of the proposition. However, he said he tried to remain relatively neutral – only slightly nudging in favor of the vote – during the meetings to encourage dialogue.

"I really would like people to know that I am available, that the city counselors are available. I wanted people to come out and share their opinions and not be judged," Alcombright said. "I think people, hopefully, see the need for this."

About a dozen people spoke at Greylock School and they were all in favor of the proposition except for Robert Cardimino, who continued his campaign advocating for additional cuts rather than raising taxes. Most who spoke centered around funding for the schools.

"Something has to be done for the long-term goals," Drury High School teacher Melissa Quirk said. "If we continue to think short-term, we will never be able to grow to the potential that this community has to offer. We need to be thinking long-term and in order to do that we all need to make as much as an investment as we can in this community."

City councilor Michael Bloom said that this budget was "unlike" any budget he has seen before and encouraged people to vote in favor of the override.

"There is too much negativity. There are no hidden accounts. There is no hidden agenda," Bloom said. "If you want to make further cuts and take step backwards, you can vote no on this. If you are look to build the community you will vote yes."

Cardimino, however, said the schools will survive without the override vote and said Alcombright had not made enough cuts.

"Let the mayor get out his scalpel and make some cuts," Cardimino said.

Now there is nothing left for the city to do to inform residents about the vote and the city's next steps lay in the hands of the voters.

"I'm hopefully optimistic. I'm hoping, beyond hope, that people rally around this," Alcombright said. "Whether you are for it or against it, vote."

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