Becket voters to consider 2.6 percent budget hike


BECKET -- Residents on Saturday at will vote on a fiscal 2015 budget of $4.98 million -- a 2.6 percent increase over the current budget.

The budget will be among 28 articles on the warrant at Annual Town Meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Becket Washington School.

Board of Health expenses will increase from $6,000 to $19,500 in the coming year. Much of the increase is to cover the cost of contracting with the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to perform some licensed services.

The alliance will ensure Title V compliance, which covers septic systems. They will also oversee restaurants, campsites, and pool inspections, according to Town Administrator Edward Gibson.

"The harder more difficult inspections are being done by trained and certified professionals in the area," Gibson said.

Some of the increase also will cover training of the town's three-person Board of Health, all in their first term. The new members were elected to address frustration about lengthy delays in offering services by members who had been appointed, Select Board Chairwoman Jeanne Pryor said.

The legal budget will not receive any funding after $100,000 was allocated last year. The towns of Becket and Blandford have a lawsuit against tree-removing company BRD, LLC., and the case remains in the discovery phase.

The warrant also includes $20,000 to improve access to the Becket Athenaeum. There would be improvements to the front entranceway, steps, and doors. Department purchases include a $385,000 grader for the Highway Department and a new sander, cruiser, and town hall improvements that include new carpeting, front and back doors, and improved entrance ways.

A citizen-petitioned article from Meredyth Babcock requests banning a natural gas pipeline from coming through town. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has proposed a pipeline that will carry natural gas through to Dracut.

No pipeline has been proposed in Becket, but the resolution would ensure that remains the case.


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