$2.2M high school field project goes to voters Tuesday.

AuthorLaPlaca, Debbie

Byline: Debbie LaPlaca

Dudley and Charlton voters will decide at a special election Tuesday whether the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District may borrow $2.22 million to renovate a high school athletic field and how the two towns would pay their share of the debt.

"Two Ballots -- Two Votes -- Two Bucks'' is the campaign tagline that has cropped up on posters and social media throughout Dudley and Charlton.

The first ballot, a district-wide election called by the Dudley-Charlton Regional School Committee, seeks voter approval to borrow $2.22 million over 15 years to renovate the 41-year-old athletic field at Shepherd Hill Regional High School.

The second election and ballot asks whether to fund the project through a debt exclusion. If approved, the debt would be paid by raising taxes during the 15-year life of the school district's loan. Otherwise, town officials said, the money would come from the town's operating funds; adversely affecting municipal services.

Officials said the simplified catchall statement, "Two Ballots -- Two Votes -- Two Bucks,'' is intended to help voters navigate a complex election in which $1.2 million in donations hinge on the outcome.

Technically, both towns will hold two elections Tuesday, thus voters will sign in, vote, and sign out, twice.

A study by independent consultant Gale Associates last year reported all six of the school's athletic fields are in unsafe and declining condition.

Gale recommended redevelopment plans comprising all six fields at costs up to $5.1 million. But school officials decided to first remedy what they called the most urgent needs on the Carmignani Memorial Field at a cost of $2.22 million.

The votes...

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