Article to approve study on MGRHS's future on top for WIlliamstown voters

Editor's note: This article was modified on May 19 to correct the location of the annual town meeting, which will be held at Williamstown Elementary School, not Mount Greylock High School as originally stated. The amount of anticipated MSBA reimbursement also was incorrect - the anticipated rate is 53 percent, not 55 percent.

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Voters at the annual town meeting on Tuesday will be asked to fund a study to determine the future of the Mount Greylock Regional High School.

The meeting, which will feature 37 warrant articles, will be held at 7 p.m. at Williamstown Elementary School

Article 20 asks residents to authorize the school district to borrow $850,000 for the study with the state's School Building Authority (MSBA). It would include hiring an owners project manager and an architect and would determine multiple options the district could take, such as a renovation or building a new school.

District officials anticipate a reimbursement rate of 53 percent from the MSBA and have stated the district would contribute $150,000 toward the study. Williamstown would ultimately be responsible for roughly $139,000 over two years beginning in fiscal 2017, and Lanesborough, $93,000.

The district also needs a "yes" vote from Lanesborough residents at the annual town meeting on June 10 for the study to go forward.

School and town officials have long expressed concern over the aging campus that serves roughly 580 students from member towns Lanesborough and Williamstown, as well as choice students from 10 towns in the area. Built in 1960 and added to in 1968, officials have cited failing HVAC systems, outdated science labs, a sprawling campus built for nearly twice the students and ADA non-compliance as issues.

Attendees will also take action on a proposed $6.9 million fiscal 2015 town budget, a 2.57 percent increase over the current year. The town's assessment of $4.72 million to Mount Greylock High School would represent a 3.6 percent increase; $292,610 toward the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District, a 9.4 percent increase; and the Williamstown Elementary School's proposed $5.63 million budget, a 2.5 percent increase.

Two articles would lead the way for a ground-mounted solar project on the capped landfill at the transfer station on Simonds Road. The articles would authorize Town Manager Peter Fohlin to execute a lease for the 13 acres of land for up to 25 years and a power purchase/net metering agreement.

The selected developer would be required to pay property taxes for the leased land, the warrant states.

Other articles would:

n Raise and appropriate $801,980 to the capital improvement program, including $281,980 for Gale Road construction, $125,000 for the Milne Public Library parking lot and sidewalks, and $62,000 for a new highway truck.

n Create a Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-off program that would allow taxpayers to earn up to $1,000 per year toward their real property taxes in employment by the town.

n Amend the town's zoning to allow self-storage units in the limited industrial zone and to expand the planned business district north on Route 7.

n Amend the bylaws to allow sandwich board signs on Spring Street.


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