NORTH ADAMS - A petition requesting the City Council rescind the approval of a $29.7 million borrowing order for an addition and renovation of Silvio O. Conte Middle School was submitted to the City Clerk's office on Monday.
Registered city voters had until 5 p.m. to submit a petition challenging the appropriation. According to state law, the petition had to be submitted by three registered voters, along with signatures from at least 12 percent of the city's registered voters.
City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau confirmed that a petition was dropped off at 4 p.m. Monday by former City Councilor Robert Moulton Jr. The petition was also signed by Katherine Montgomery and Hulda Hardman Jowett. It was accompanied by a list of signatures.
"The process now is that we have five days to certify that there are enough signatures and those signatures are from registered voters in the city," Gomeau said. "The Board of Registrars will review the list and put their approval on it. Then it will be submitted to the council."
The petition states, "We the undersigned ask the City Council to rescind council paper 10990-2, the borrowing of $29,692,594 for the purpose of paying the costs for an addition and renovation of Silvio O. Conte Middle School."
It further states, that should the council not rescind council paper 10990-2, that the resulting special ballot question should read: "Do you approve of the borrowing of $29,692,594 to pay the costs for an addition and renovation of Silvio O. Conte Middle School? Yes or No?"
Gomeau said she has been informed that should a special election be called, the wording of the question cannot be changed and must go on the ballot as written.
The council approved paper 10990-2 on Feb. 5, with 7 councilors voting in favor of the appropriation. Although the city will borrow the $29.7 million for the renovation project, it would only be responsible for $6.5 million, as the state School Building Authority has agreed to pay for 80 percent of the project.
City officials declined to immediately comment on the petition.
Gomeau said she did not have a date for a special election, should the Board of Registrars certify the petition and the council decline to rescind the appropriation.
"Right now, I'm waiting to hear from City Solicitor John DeRosa," she said. "We have a special state primary election coming up at the end of April. He's checking to see if we could include it as part of that election. We just don't know how it will fall right now."
A more in-depth article will appear in Wednesday's print edition.