Road repairs and tax break top Lee's 46-article town meeting warrant


LEE -- The first step toward possible multimillion dollar road repairs and luring 60 new jobs to town highlight Lee's Annual Town Meeting next month.

Town meeting representatives have a 46-article warrant to consider on May 8 that includes asking the Board of Selectmen to gauge voter sentiment on borrowing $5 million to get caught up on repair and paving of municipal streets.

If approved, the board would strongly consider a non-binding referendum likely to be placed on the 2015 town election ballot.

Town meeting also will weigh the options of borrowing $700,000 to fully fund the estimated $800,000 design cost toward the reconstruction of Main Street, or add another $100,000 from available funds to the same amount at last year's town meeting.

Since the reconstruction is several years away, the Lee Finance Committee supports the second option of gradually saving money toward the planning process.

"It seems crazy to borrow this money when it's not going to be used right away," said committee member Todd Morin.

The final article calls for awarding Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing a tax break if the startup company buys the Lee Corporate center on Route 102. BSM is currently negotiating with the Lee Board of Assessors the proposed terms of the Tax Increment Finance plan that would affect any new property taxes generated by the $9 million project.

Company principal owner, Shawn Kinney, of Lenox, has said the firm will hire up to 60 people the first five years and use available vacant space in the center, without displacing any of the current tenants.

Town meeting also will act on a proposed fiscal 2015 operating budget of $20.8 million, up 2 percent from the current $20.4 million spending plan. If approved, the average property tax bill for a single-family home valued at $25,000 will jump $78 to $3,548.

Other articles include:

n $175,000 toward a replacement dump truck with sander and snow plow for the DPW.

n $145,000 to buy an ambulance to replace one of the two operated by the Lee Ambulance Service.

n $55,000 for converting the heating system at Lee Library from oil to natural gas.

n Revision of the street address numbering bylaw, reg-
arding placement, maintenance and size of numbers on homes and businesses. Street numbers are not being changed under the revised bylaw.

n Sign bylaw changes that include the allowance for sandwich board and "open" flag signs, clarifying definitions of roof signs, parapet, dormer and business centers and providing the right to appeal for relief from strict compliance to the sign bylaw.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233


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