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When: 7 p.m. Oct. 1

Where: Lee Middle and High School, 300 Greylock St.

Highlights: Only town meeting representatives and key town officials will be allowed in the auditorium for the meeting, to comply with COVID-19 safety regulations. Others wishing to attend can do so by watching the meeting in the gymnasium via a video/audio connection from the auditorium. Face masks and social distancing are a must.

Registered voters of Lee in the gym will be allowed to ask questions with the help of a deputy moderator. People also can watch from home via Community Television for the Southern Berkshires' website or on Spectrum cable television Channel 1303. Any questions/comments from home viewers must be submitted 24 hours before the meeting by emailing townmeeting@town.lee.ma.us. The Select Board will ask the town representatives to limit all debate to one speech of one minute per person, per motion.

Shared boss: Article 11 of the 20-article warrant calls for a new, three-year contract for Lee and Lenox to share a chief administrative officer. Christopher Ketchen has filled that role the past three years.

Tax break: Town meeting will consider a tax increment financing agreement with the ever-expanding Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing on Route 102. The agreement would provide $1.5 million in local and state tax incentives for the company's $20 million expansion within its manufacturing facility and for increasing its payroll.

Boost board membership: Article 17 is a citizens petition seeking, through special state legislation, the addition of two new elected members to the three-person Select Board. Similar requests have failed at previous town meetings.

PCB issues: Articles 16, 18, 19 are citizens petitions dealing with the Rest of River cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Housatonic River. The most notable article comes from residents seeking a ballot question at the next annual town election, calling on the Select Board to rescind its Rest of River settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric, which allows local burial of the PCB-laden sediment. Supporters want the board to renegotiate a deal devoid of a local dumpsite.

Preservation tax: Article 20 is a citizens petition to adopt the state Community Preservation Act. If approved, property owners would be assessed a 1 to 3 percent surcharge on their real estate tax bills, the money set aside for preserving open space, historic resources and developing affordable housing. If approved, the surcharge would be assessed starting in fiscal 2022.

*The Select Board will ask the town representatives to adjourn the meeting to a future date to allow more time for debate on articles 16 to 20, as they do not involve pressing expenditure requests for fiscal 2021.

Budget:

Fiscal 2021: $20,349,441

Increase: 1.1 percent

— Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle


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