Sandisfield annual town meeting preview

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Where: Fire Station No. 2, 207 Sandisfield Road (Route 57)

Voters will decide on a school budget with a significant proposed increase over the current year. They will also consider paying for a public safety officer, a new position that will ensure that the town's ambulance always has adequate staffing to respond to calls. Voters will also be asked to decide whether the town should purchase a new pickup truck and a loader backhoe. Officials note that the proposed $3.6 million operating budget is reduced by state and other revenue to $3.4 million.

School budget: Sandisfield's school budget costs would hit $1.6 million for the 2020 fiscal year, an 8.4 percent hike over this year, for its contribution to the Farmington River Regional School District. The $122,000 increase is due to a jump in the number of students from Sandisfield. At issue is the district's use of the state's formula to calculate the town's share of school costs, instead of the formula agreed upon by towns when the district was formed, which Sandisfield officials contend is a fairer way. District officials, however, say the state's formula has saved the town $86,000 since 2007. Voters will have to decide whether to approve the town's share of the school budget under the current state formula.

Public safety officer: Due to an insufficient emergency services volunteer pool, voters will decide whether the town should hire a public safety officer to ensure full-time coverage of emergency calls so that an ambulance can be staffed with two people, as required by law. The officer's salary would be $57,000. The staffer would also respond to fire and police calls. The total budget includes an increase in benefits for this position, and a decrease in police and fire pay.

Budget

Fiscal 2020: $3.6 million

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Increase: 13.5 percent

Line items

$60,000: Used loader backhoe

$45,000: New F-350 pickup truck with plow package

$20,000: Software upgrades to connect the tax collector/treasurer and assessors offices

— Heather Bellow


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