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A rundown on this coming week's annual town meetings in the Berkshires

Lee School Committee, Select Board fill two committee vacancies (copy)

The Lee Middle and High School is the scene of Thursday's annual town meeting. 

Capsule reports on what residents will be asked to decide in town meetings from Tuesday, May 10, through Saturday, May 14.


Alford

Town meeting: Tuesday, May 10, 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 5 Alford Center Road.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING: In addition to setting a new budget, residents will be asked to consider:

– Amending an existing town bylaw so that anyone planning to hunt on either town owned or private property cannot do so without written permission of the owner obtained in advance.

– To raise, appropriate or transfer $25,000 for the purpose of researching, accumulating, preserving and digitizing the records of the town of Alford.

– Transferring $29,000 from the retained earnings of the Alford Link Enterprise Fund to pay the cost of debt service on Alford Link Broadband borrowing.

– To raise, appropriate or transfer of $9,500 for a new 52-inch commercial, walk-behind lawn mower.


Becket

Town meeting: Saturday, May 14, 7 p.m., Becket Washington School, 12 Maple St.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING:

– Approving a general government budget of $964,308, up $26,372, or 2.7 percent.

– Approving an education budget of $2,785,651, up $127,809, or 4.6 percent.

– Considering a plan to have the Select Board file a home rule petition with the state Legislature that would enable the town to shift away from use of a town caucus to identify candidates for office. Instead, Becket would require candidates to file nomination papers, a widely used practice.

– Shifting from an elected to an appointed town clerk.

– Transferring $60,000 from free cash for a police cruiser.

– Borrowing $295,000 for a Highway Department truck.


Hinsdale

Town meeting: Wednesday, May 11, 7 p.m., Kittredge School auditorium, 80 Maple St.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING: In addition to setting a new budget, voters will be asked to consider:

— Funding projects such as $11,300 to restore the Maple Street Cemetery Mausoleum, $4,600 for new town website, $15,000 for dead tree removal.

— Buying a new tanker truck for the fire department.

— Continuing Police Chief Susan Rathbun’s employment past the mandatory retirement age of 65.

— A citizens' petition seeking to fund “long-overdue road improvements” to major streets.


Lee

Town meeting: Thursday May 12, 7 p.m. Lee Middle and High School.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING:

– Approving a $10.1 million school budget, a 3.9 percent increase.

– Borrowing $12.5 million toward building a community center; requires two-third approval.

– $835,000 in capital improvements totaling 15 items or projects.

– Revision of the town’s political sign bylaw.

– Citizens; petition establishing a bylaw to recall an elected municipal official.


Sandisfield

Town meeting: Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to noon, DPW Garage, 5 Silverbrook Road.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING:

– Residents will be asked to OK a $3,663,879 general government budget, up $71,881, or 2 percent.

– Consideration of a proposed zoning bylaw change would allow accessory dwelling units in an effort to build the town’s housing stock and provide an income source for homeowners, among other perceived benefits.

– Approving a new overlay district would specify where types of cannabis businesses can operate.

– To ease the bite of property taxes, the town seeks to transfer $198,114 from free cash.

– To propel road work, residents will be asked to use $397,000 from free cash for a grader and $84,756 from free cash to provide engineering services for road repairs.

– A warrant article would tap an executive recruitment firm, at a cost of around $9,500, to help the Town Manager Search Committee.


Tyringham (copy)

Annual town meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Tyringham Town Hall, at 116 Main Road.

Tyringham

Town meeting: Tuesday, May 10, 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 116 Main Road.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING: In addition to setting a new budget, residents will be asked to consider:

– Making the town clerk, town treasurer and town tax collector positions appointed rather than elected.

– Using $210,000 from free cash to lower the impact of spending on tax rates for the coming fiscal year.

– Spending $50,000 on road improvements and allocating $55,000 for a new Highway Department pickup truck.

– Closing portions of Webster, Fenn, Brace and Breakneck roads at certain times, with the precise locations identified on the meeting warrant. For example, Fenn Road would be closed “after Yo-Yo Ma’s garage driveway,” the document says, referring to the famed cellist.


Washington

Town meeting: Wednesday, May 11, 7 p.m., Town Hall, 8 Summit Hill Road.

TOP ISSUES AT TOWN MEETING: In addition to setting a new budget, voters (masks required) will be asked to consider:

— Funding projects such as $19,500 for St. Andrews Chapel masonry repairs; $40,000 for Town Hall roof work; $14,160 to remove dead ash trees; $8,000 for tires for the grader.

— A part-time town administrator position at $20,000 annually.

— Creating revolving funds for tax title and Becket Beach fees.

Managing editor for innovation

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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