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TOWNSEND — Selectmen reluctantly allowed a $72,000 warrant article proposed by the Water Department to go on the fall Special Town Meeting warrant, despite the article coming in past the deadline.

“There’s no point in having a deadline (if it’s not going to be enforced),” Selectman Robert Plamondon said.

Department heads were informed by e-mail last month they had until Oct. 6 to submit any proposed articles for the Nov. 18 meeting, according to town administrator Greg Barnes.

Barnes said Water Department employees told him the department’s e-mail system has not been working and they did not see his e-mail stipulating the Oct. 6 deadline.

Plamondon did not accept that as an excuse, saying the department should have known in advance about the money it would need and it should have made a better effort to get the warrant article to Barnes.

“In the real world there are deadlines and there are consequences for not meeting those deadlines,” Plamondon said.

The $72,000 is to cover an unforeseen rise in the price of chemicals used to treat the town’s water, Barnes said.

Selectman David Chenelle said the department should have known about the rise in the cost of chemicals well before the article was submitted.

“We’re talking about three months into the new fiscal year, and this (amount) is based on last year’s usage,” Chenelle said.

Plamondon and Chenelle said they would allow the article rather than force the department to seek another Special Town Meeting, in case it ran out of budgeted money before the regular Town Meeting in May.

Contact Damien Fisher at dfisher@sentinelandenterprise.com.