Westport says no to solar rules, yes to spending questions

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WESTPORT — Voters made relatively quick work of most  items  on the Special Town Meeting warrant Tuesday until the last one — a proposed by-law meant to provide zoning regulation to solar energy installations.

That question eventually received a majority of votes (68 for, 49 opposed) but failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to become part of the town code.

Earlier, voters passed ten questions  that involve funding — most got unanimous approval. These issue include $110,000 to boost the town's veterans' fund, $70,000 for a new math teacher and reading materials, $500,000 to start a loan program for septic system improvements, and $610,000 for costs related to storms over the last three years.

Also approved quickly were Articles 4 and 5 that create a Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund. Established by state legislation in reaction to fears that funds to pay for municipal retirees are woefully underfunded in many places, the fund creates an account specifically earmarked for promised retiree benefits. The town treasurer and administrator have said that having such an account will help the town's bond rating.

Meeting attendance was announced as 171.

More details to follow.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.