Cheshire annual town meeting preview

Posted

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Cheshire Elementary School, 191 Church St.

Voters will consider a $6.26 million operating budget, nearly $171,000 more than the current spending plan. The increase is coming from the municipal side of the ledger, as the town's share of public education dropped by 3.3 percent in the fiscal year starting July 1.

School upgrade: The Select Board is seeking $60,000 to replace the heating pipes in the 1962 wing of the former Cheshire Elementary School that dates back to circa 1923. The upgrade is necessary to better serve the current tenants renting space and hopefully draw new ones, possibly the town itself, to occupy a building that was closed as a school two years ago. The funding is part of a developing "mini master plan" for reuse of the wing.

Name change: Both Cheshire's and Adams' annual town meetings are being asked to rename the two-town regional school district the Hoosac Valley Regional School District. In addition to the name change, the updated 1965 district agreement would give each town more of an equal voice on the School Committee; clarify language regarding operation, capital and transportation costs; and reflect current state education regulations. Adams' town meeting is June 24.

Outdoor pot: A citizens petition article on the warrant calls for a ban of open-air marijuana cultivation. The proposed general bylaw cites "the strong distinctive malodorous marijuana plant" as one reason to outlaw outdoor commercial pot-growing facilities in town. Bylaw proponents say they are protecting the health and safety of residents. Based on legal advice, town officials believe the state Attorney General's Office won't approve the bylaw because Cheshire currently relies on zoning to regulate marijuana projects.

BUDGET

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Fiscal 2020: $6.26 million

Increase: 2.8 percent

LINE ITEMS

$140,00: From surplus cash to reduce the budget impact on the tax rate.

$95,000: Loan to buy a secondhand road grader; approval also required at Aug. 13 special election

$17,800: To fund state-required property revaluation for tax purposes

— Dick Lindsay


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