3% increase to be considered at Great Barrington annual town meeting
GREAT BARRINGTON - Residents at Annual Town Meeting will be asked to approve a town and school district budget that are both expected to increase by more than 3 percent.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Castle Street.
The town's operating budget is proposed to increase 3.7 percent to $10.7 million in fiscal 2015.
Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin said the budget was carefully reviewed so any expenses would contribute to long- term savings. Tabakin identified investments proposed for an online building permit system and a library position that will seek federal and state grant funding.
The budget was cut $300,000 by eliminating the purchase of a cemetery truck and part-time employee who handles cemeteries and parks. And there is a review of fees to ensure they are paying for department services, she said.
The town's share of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District budget is $12.6 million, or a 4.65 percent increase.
The Finance Committee voted 3- 2 to recommend against supporting the budget, urging further cutting - which was the only recommendation that differed from the Select Board.
If both budgets are approved, the town's tax rate would increase by 66 cents, or to $ 14.22 per $ 1,000 of assessed property value.
The 25-article warrant also includes zoning bylaw revisions to conform to the town's newly adopted master plan and other routine maintenance purchases.
Public Works Director Joe Sokul said a $370,000 request for the wastewater enterprise fund capital would go toward re- lining old pipes, a new mobile sewer inspection camera, and other projects.
Residents also will vote on a bylaw regulating where registered marijuana dispensary could locate. A dispensary could not come within 200 feet of a school, day care, or other facility where minors may commonly convene - unless a special permit is received.