Lanesborough voters OK spending for Mount Greylock feasibility study, $10 million budget
Photo Gallery | Mount Greylock High School to undergo feasibility study
LANESBOROUGH -- Town meeting signed off on a study that could determine the future of Mount Greylock Regional High School and approved a $10 million fiscal 2015 budget on Tuesday.
Of 2,095 registered voters, 174, or 8 percent turned out to vote on 33 warrant articles.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a request from the district to borrow $98,000 to cover the town's share of an $850,000 feasibility study on the school serving 580 students from Grades 7 to 12.
Williamstown voters last month approved spending for its portion of the study, to be done through the state School Building Authority (MSBA). Both member towns needed affirmative votes for the study to continue.
The town's $98,000 share of the study would be payable over several years; Williamstown and the district kicking in $148,000 and $150,000 respectively. The state would reimburse roughly 53 percent of the cost.
Several residents raised concerns over the study's impact on taxpayers.
Finance Committee member Ronald Tinkham cited studies which project declining populations and school enrollment in the Berkshires, and noted issues with the building were already well-documented in previous studies. He added that "$850,000 would go a long way at fixing the school."
The Finance Committee itself recommended the passage of the study, but town selectmen made no recommendation.
Selectman Chairman John Goerlach said he had "mixed feelings" over the study and felt it should be up to voters.
Selectman Robert Ericson, who also serves on the Mount Greylock School Committee, said he would support the study.
"Without the MSBA support, we will go nowhere," he said.
Other proponents for the study argued the window for working with the MSBA was narrow and the entity has other districts it could work with.
On other school-related issues, voters approved $2.6 million for the town's assessment to Mount Greylock Regional High School, a $71,317 increase over the current year; and $250,106 to McCann Technical High School, a $32,923 decrease.
A motion made on the floor by Tinkham to reduce the elementary school budget by $50,000 was ultimately shot down, with residents opting to fund the full $2.5 million line item.
An article proposing to change the town's bylaws to raise the limit on bond issues that require a paper ballot, from $200,000 to $500,000, ultimately passed 31-27.
Voters overwhelmingly decided to not take up an article which proposed changes to bylaws relating to the use of rafts, floats, moorings, buoys and private and neighborhood right-of-ways on Pontoosuc Lake.
Residents appeared to be in agreement the discussion was better suited for a special town meeting -- which will be held on a date to be determined -- as opposed to the end of a three-and-a-half-hour annual town meeting.
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