PERU -- Voters at the annual town meeting have approved $1.73 million in spending for fiscal 2013 that includes the purchase of a new police cruiser and new equipment for the highway department.
At the Saturday meeting, voters passed the entire 37-article warrant, primarily endorsing expenditures for the new fiscal year starting July 1.
The new budget is $70,000, or 4 percent, above the current spending plan.
The two-hour gathering at Town Hall proved to be a low-key but informative question and answer session between residents and town officials, according to Selectman Edward Richards.
"People asked a lot of intelligent questions," Richards said. "It was one of the most cordial [town] meetings I’ve been to in a long, long time."
Peru voters agreed to use the town’s free cash account to pay for the two new municipal vehicles. They approved spending $41,000 in surplus funds for a 2012 Ford Explorer police cruiser, which will replace a worn out Chevy Impala, town officials have said.
The town will also set aside $100,000 from free cash for an 18,000-lb. excavator and 10-ton trailer, machinery the highway department has leased for the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, Peru will spend 2 percent more on education in fiscal 2013 as assessment for the Central Berkshire Regional School District budget rose to $845,906.
Voters also approved five separate requests to utilize free cash to pay for its
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