West Stockbridge voters OK $5.9M town budget at annual town meeting

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WEST STOCKBRIDGE Voters passed 44 articles and the town's $5.9 million fiscal 2021 spending plan June 22 at the annual town meeting, which took just over an hour to complete, according to Town Administrator Marie Ryan.

"There were not many questions," Ryan said.

Among the measures approved were the town's $3.2 million assessment to the three-town Berkshire Hills Regional School District's $17.6 million operating budget, a 5.3 percent increase from the town's current assessment. Great Barrington also approved its assessment of the regional school budget the same night.

Voters also approved a measure that asks the town to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, or borrow $426,000 to complete the West Center Road reconstruction and resurfacing budget. That measure was approved by a two-thirds vote.

The town will also be able to craft a bylaw to implement a state requirement that would allow the tax collector to annually and periodically furnish a list of any person, corporation or business enterprise that has neglected or refused to pay local taxes, fees, assessments or other municipal charges to any town department, board, commission or division that issues licenses or permits, including renewals and transfers.

Also approved were a $58,494 appropriation from the town's free-cash account for a new police department vehicle; an $18,500 appropriation to purchase all the software and hardware needed to update the computers and computer programs in Town Hall; $18,000 to purchase security cameras for Town Hall; and $6,000 to purchase new gear racks for the Fire Department, which are required under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

A total of 53 registered voters participated in town meeting. The attendees all wore masks, and maintained proper social distancing procedures, Ryan said.

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