Windsor officials turn upcoming special town meeting into multi-topic summit
On Monday, residents of Windsor will be summoned to a special town meeting to deal with minor financial issues, including paying an electric bill from last winter that somehow went AWOL.
Not wanting to waste the moment, town leaders kept patching on issues.
As of now, the gathering will start before the scheduled 7 p.m. special town meeting and continue after it, giving residents a chance to talk about the coming digital age and the reality of aging.
At 6:30 p.m. volunteers and members of committees will be briefed on procedures spelled out in a new Windsor handbook. And if that wasn't enough to pack in to one night at Town Hall, people who come can get free flu shots.
After dispensing with articles on the meeting warrant, members of the Select Board will speak with residents about a survey on aging that the town circulated while gathering census data. The questionnaire was designed to identify priorities as Windsor prepares to join other area communities in signing on to the Age Friendly Berkshires program overseen by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.
"We found some things that were kind of surprising," said Town Clerk Madeline Scully.
For instance, most who responded said they hope to be able to stay in their homes as they age, rather than relocate. As Scully notes, that view raises questions about zoning in a town where many homes date to the 19th century.
Officials will provide a full summary of the survey results at Monday's gathering. They declined to release it ahead of time. The response to the survey was strong, Scully said, hitting 90 percent.
On another topic, Select Board member Doug McNally will brief residents on progress toward building a fiber-optic network providing high-speed access to the internet. The town is one of about 20 working with Westfield Gas & Electric to create a municipally owned network.
One of the first signs of progress will be installation of a "hut" near the town offices to house telecommunications equipment.
The utility says customer accounts in the new Windsor network are tentatively scheduled to be activated in the last three months of 2019.
When the moderator gets the actual special town meeting started at 7 p.m., residents will tackle the following warrant articles:
- Take steps to pull $409.98 from free cash to pay an Eversource bill for the highway department from February. The action is needed because the bill is related to spending in the previous fiscal year.
- Appropriate $1,087 to pay for insurance, making up for a financial gap that opened because the list of insured municipal vehicles wasn't up to date.
- Add $200 to expenses related to the town's electronic system for building permits.
- Appropriate $33,646 to cover the tuition for a Windsor student at Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School in Northampton, as well as $7,200 for transportation. Scully said the student's tuition had not been included in the current year's school budget due to a late arrival.
Larry Parnass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.
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