Monterey Annual Town Meeting calls for level budget, new equipment


MONTEREY -- Residents at Annual Town Meeting will vote on a $3.72 million town budget that is 0.1 percent less than the current budget.

The 22-article warrant will be voted on at the Monterey firehouse at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The largest purchase request is $117,000 for a Ford F-550 truck for the Highway Department. Other department purchases include a request for a salt storage shed, the purchase of a new grader and a fire department rescue vehicle and hydraulic tools.

"It's stuff all towns go through," said town Assessor Donald Clawson,who also serves on the Finance Committee. "There are no bombshells."

There could be some debate over a citizen petition, filed by Jonathan Sylbert, that would prevent the Friends of Wilson McLaughlin House from receiving town funds.

The group, which is raising money to turn the town-owned Wilson McLaughlin House into a community center, has raised $110,000 toward a goal of $225,000 -- with $55,000 coming from the town, according to Joe Baker, president of the all-volunteer nonprofit.

"This community center we are building is for the town and in a building owned by the town and it will be taken over by the town," Baker said. "This will be a town facility, and town-operated. Many people feel why shouldn't the town be involved in building it."

Opponents argue that affiliation with the town is causing the project costs to be substantially higher because the nonprofit must hire contractors at prevailing wage and follow other government procedures. Sylbert did not return a call for comment.

Prior to the meeting, there will be a special town meeting to approve the transfer of funds from the current fiscal year. The five-article warrant also includes a tax exemption for retiring firefighters older than 60 years old and who have served at least 15 years of service. These firefighters will receive a tax exemption between $1,050 a year to $1,350, depending on years of service.

To reach John Sakata:

or (413) 496-6240.

On Twitter: @jsakata

2014 Monterey Annual Town Meeting Warrant by The Berkshire Eagle


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