Friday, May 30
RICHMOND — In a mere 53 minutes, Richmond town voters approved the upcoming fiscal year's town operating and school budgets of slightly more than $5 million.

The spending plan will be just 0.7 percent more than the current one; school spending will rise by 2 percent, to $2.76 million. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

The modest hike reflects a School Department plan to apply next year's school-choice money to offset school operating costs.

Town Administrator Bruce Garlow said that 73 of the town's 1,093 voters attended the meeting at Richmond Consolidated School.

Nearly all articles on the meeting warrant passed unanimously, although there was some discussion about the school budget and a $60,000 expenditure for a new Highway Department backhoe, he said.

Running the town's routine operations will cost $1.3 million next year.

Besides town government and school spending, voters approved a number of special spending articles, including:

  • $10,000 for weed control at Richmond Pond.

  • $15,000 for repairs at Town Hall.

  • $10,000 for conservation land purchases.

  • $40,000 to refill the town's winter roads budget, which was overspent this year.

  • $4,000 for the town's food and fuel emergency assistance program, which aids local residents during emergencies.

    The town anticipates raising $3.


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    08 million through property taxes, but Garlow said yesterday that the tax rate has not yet been set for fiscal 2009.

    Voters now are asked to show up tomorrow at Town Hall to vote in the annual town election.

    The polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are no contests in this year's election.

    The following candidates are seeking re-election: Selectman Roger Manzolini, a three-year term; Board of Health member Oscar Frank, a three-year term; School Committee member Lauren Broussal, a three-year term; Finance Committee member Robert Gniadek, a three-year term; Planning Board member Ann Larkin, a five-year term; and Town Moderator John Whitney, a one-year term.

    New candidates seeking election are Peter Cohen, for a three-year term as assessor, and Theodore Potter, for a one-year term as assessor; Andrew Fisher, for a one-year term on the Board of Health; and Cynthia S. Morrison, for a three-year term as library trustee.

    To reach Ellen G. Lahr: elahr@berkshireeagle.com, (413) 496-6240.