Egremont annual town meeting preview
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Mount Everett Regional High School, 491 Berkshire School Road, Sheffield
The meeting warrant includes 28 articles that seek to set an approximately $4.5 million town operating budget, make repairs to Town Hall, purchase equipment for the highway department and ban all marijuana businesses, except retail, from Egremont. Much of the budget hike reflects an increase in Egremont's Southern Berkshire Regional School District assessment — it went up by more than $187,000 over this year. The annual town meeting will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a special town meeting to address negotiations with Charter/Spectrum, reformatting the town's bylaws and water department wages. The meetings could not be combined due to state and local regulations that dictate the scheduling of town meeting votes.
Recreational marijuana: Egremont is considering a bylaw to ban all nonretail recreational marijuana establishments. If approved, establishments for the cultivation, manufacturing, transportation and/or testing of recreational marijuana would be prohibited. A "no" vote would mean all marijuana business types would be allowed in Egremont. In both scenarios, Egremont officials would then have the opportunity to come up with local marijuana regulations that set hours of operation, location and number of retail licenses, among other things.
Prospect Lake: There will be two votes on Prospect Lake: one to make the town's annual $5,000 donation to the Friends of Prospect Lake to support weed control, and another that asks voters to prohibit the use of algaecides, herbicides and pesticides in the lake. The friends group treats the 55-acre lake with about 80 gallons of diquat dibromide every year.
Council on Aging: The budget would provide a small boost to increase the director's hours, and funds for the town's monthly, free newsletter would be doubled to $6,000 to cover the cost of printing every issue in color.
Fiscal 2020: $4.49 million
Increase: 5.4 percent
$1.79 million for public schools
$280,000 for a new dump truck for the highway department
$200,000 for a second phase of engineering and construction expenses for Mount Washington Road reconstruction
$90,000 for accessibility improvements to the South Egremont School
$57,000 for a new emergency generator for the Town Hall
$48,000 to blacktop a portion of the Town Hall driveway and parking lot
— Kristin Palpini
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