PEPPERELL-- The School Committee and the Massachusetts School Building Authority are in the midst of discussions regarding the grant assigned to the Peter Fitzpatrick property. Selectman Joseph Sergi made an announcement at Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting that through the recent discussions of rezoning the property, the MSBA was made aware that the school property had changed functions; it remains uncertain whether this will affect the grant.

"They (the MSBA) were not aware that the school was in reuse mode, so right now John (Town Administrator John Moak) is working closely with Superintendent Landers to navigate this and address the concerns of the (MSBA)," said Sergi, "and hopefully we'll have an outcome that is in the best interest of the Commonwealth as well as the residents of Pepperell."

The grant helps to pay for debt service, but before the MSBA makes the payment, said Sergi, they are looking for more information on what has happened and the intent for the property. The amount in question is over $200,000, said Selectman Stephen Themelis.

According to the selectmen, the issue in question was under the jurisdiction of the School Committee.

"The superintendent did not notify MSPA back a few years ago when the original action taken," said Sergi.

Since the process has taken longer than anticipated, "It behooves us to notify people that there is an issue with the grant," said Selectman Michael Green. "And that could potentially, if this goes long term, it could mean an expense to the town.


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In other business, selectmen voted to postpone a Town Meeting vote to allow the Water Department to use $180,000 in retained earnings as part of their $1.5 million budget until 2013 annual Town Meeting. The budget had passed as $1.5 million at this year's Town Meeting, but the wording did not specifically include the need for the amount from retained earnings. Although the article requires a town vote and would otherwise have to go before a Special Town Meeting, with the votes of all three selectmen, the state DOR is allowing a postponement of the vote.