Hinsdale: Transportation question will be addressed

Tuesday, May 26
HINSDALE — Voters will consider 33 articles at Wednesday's annual town meeting including a proposal to amend the transportation agreement for the seven member towns of the Central Berkshire Regional School District.

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m., at the Kittredge School at 80 Maple St.

Voters will be asked to consider whether the regional school district can apportion the cost of providing student transportation based on the actual cost of transporting pupils in each of its seven member towns. The current agreement allows the school district to assess student transportation costs to its member towns as an "operating expense."

The amended measure has not been recommended by either the Select Board or the Finance Committee.

Six of the district's seven members towns are required to approve the amended agreement in order for it to go into effect, according to School Committee Chairman Susan Carroll Lombardi.

Dalton has approved the amendment, but it has been rejected in both Becket and Cummington, she said. The regional school agreement, however, requires each town to consider the proposal regardless of how the other members have voted, Carroll Lombardi added.

In other measures, voters will be asked to consider Hinsdale's $2.1 million share of the regional school district's operating budget, and its $120,439 portion of the district's capital spending plan.

A $234,969 appropriation for vocational schools, which includes both tuition and transportation for fiscal 2010, is also on the warrant. The cost has increased by $14,000 from the current fiscal year. The article has been endorsed by both the Selectmen and the Finance Committee.

Voters will also consider several fiscal 2010 budget items, including $274,086 for town highways, an item that has been level-funded. The $154,192 budgeted for general government expenses represents a decrease of $4,000 from the current fiscal year.

Other fiscal 2010 budget items include salaries for eight government officials, including the three Select Board members, the approval of 10 revolving accounts for town services, and appropriations of $47,700 for the Fire Department and $132,205 for the Police Department. The Fire Department's budget has been level funded, while the Police Department's spending plan has decreased $3,000 from fiscal 2009. The budget for unclassified expenses have increased by $7,000 to $340,206.

A proposal that asks voters to allow the town to remove snow and perform temporary repairs to South Shore Road has not been recommended by either the Select Board of the Finance Committee.

Voters will also be asked to consider transfers from the free cash account to pay for various town projects, including a $12,000 appropriation for repairs to the Youth Center and Kiddee Park.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com (413) 496-6224


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