Will marijuana be the subject that finally draws a sizable crowd to Mashpee Town Meeting?
That will be known when the gavel drops at 7 PM Monday evening at Mashpee High School.
Recent attendance at Town Meeting has been anemic, with 192 residents, or less than 2 percent of the town’s registered voters attending the May Town Meeting. Voter participation at last October’s Town Meeting was not much better, with only 245 voters taking the time to have their voices heard as the legislative branch of town government.
The 22-article warrant that will be presented Monday evening runs the gamut from approving union collective bargaining wage increases for town workers, authorizing funding for the appointment of a school resource officer, repairing the South Cape Beach parking lot damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and amending town zoning bylaws to enable the development of an assisted living facility in town, and limiting the areas where a potential medical marijuana dispensary could open shop in Mashpee.
In addition, voters will be asked to approve or deny more than $1.2 million in projects funded by the Community Preservation Act. These projects include a major renovation of the Great River boat ramp, another phase of the Mashpee Community Park redevelopment project, improvement of recreational facilities at the Johns Pond beach, rebuilding the outdoor basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod, and continuation of the shellfish propagation project to help reduce nitrogen pollution in the town’s waterways.
Mashpee Town Clerk Deborah F. Dami is not holding out hope that any attendance records will be set on Monday evening. “I am not expecting a huge turnout, but I consider every article to be important, or it would not be on the warrant,” she said, guessing that the meeting will be adjourned by 8:15 PM.
Mashpee Board of Selectmen Chairman John J. Cahalane said that he expects that the request for $650,000 in CPA funds to improve the Great River boat ramp may trump the marijuana dispensary article as the most contentious vote of the evening.
“Typically CPA articles tend to sail through, but since the board of selectmen and finance committee do not recommend passage of the article, voters may take a more in-depth look at the project,” he said.