Alford voters to weigh slight spending hike, new fire truck

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ALFORD — Voters will be asked to consider 10 articles, including the purchase of a new fire truck, along with Alford's $1.3 million fiscal 2017 spending plan at the annual town meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 5 Alford Center Road.

The fiscal 2017 budget represents a $147,421 increase over the town's current $1.2 million spending plan, which is less than 1 percent.

The biggest single item is a $496,521 appropriation for the purchase and equipping of the new fire truck. The funding can either be raised by taxation, transferred from available funds, borrowed, or secured by other means, according to the article.

The new vehicle will replace the town's main fire truck, which is over 20 years old, according to Select Board Chairman Timothy E. Drumm.

"It has some mechanical issues," Drumm said of the current truck. "We're bringing it up to date."

The town also has a smaller fire truck and a rescue vehicle, Drumm said.

Voters will also be asked to consider Alford's $405,295 share of the five-town Southern Berkshire Regional School District's operating and transportation budgets, which is some $7,000 less than current school spending.

The town's share of the regional school district's capital budget is $16,214, some $3,000 more than fiscal 2016.

Most town salaries and general government expenses for fiscal 2017 contain either slight increases or are level funded. The exception is a $45,000 appropriation for a Municipal Lighting Program, which is connected to the high-speed broadband initiative the town approved last June. No money was budgeted for that item in fiscal 2016.

The appropriation will provide the town with funds that could be used to pay for any broadband initiative expenses outside of capital expenses that are not covered by either bonds or loans, Drumm said.

"It doesn't mean that we're going to spend it all," he said.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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