Clarksburg Sets Budget, Warrant Articles for Town Meeting
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Voters on May 24 will be asked to approve a bare-bones budget for fiscal 2018 budget that's been slashed by more than $124,000.
The budget approved for the closing of the town meeting warrant on Wednesday is $4,224,710.81, a 3 percent reduction over this year. Some $43,534.23 was trimmed from the town side and $80,882 from the school side.
The dire cuts led the Select Board on Wednesday to cut two articles that would have appropriated account funds for the cemetery restoration ($4,900) and a forest management plan ($3,900).
"This bothers me a little bit and [Article] 12 bothers me," board Chairman Jeffrey Levanos said. With the budget running so lean, do we need to pull the $3,900 at this point ...
"I know how important the restoration project is to the cemetery but with so many drastic cuts ... It is very important but it is years down the road, maybe this isn't the year to do it."
The cemetery funds would the third round in the 10-year restoration project and the forest management program was seen as a way to generate revenue from the town's woodlands while creating a healthier forest and making way for pedestrian and bicycle trails. It also would have looked at options for installing a solar array at the capped landfill with the goal of reducing electrical costs for residents.
Town Administrator Carl McKinney lobbied for both articles but the board felt that this budget was going to be difficult to defend.
"I think he's right," board member Linda Reardon said, agreeing with Levanos. "This is going to be a hard enough thing to sell.
Reardon also asked about the possibility of rejecting the McCann budget, which is up 2.7 percent overall but Clarksburg's share is up 7 percent.
Next year's assessment is $341,939 up from $319,275.
McKinney said four towns in the regional vocational district would have to vote no and he didn't see that happening. Only Adams has indicated its displeasure with the budget, with that town's Finance Committee recommending rejection at town meeting because its assessment is up by nearly a third.
Clarksburg has been working to trim items on both the town and school sides to offset rising costs including some $32,000 in insurance, an extra $62,000 in charges against the cherry sheet and $23,000 in increases from the McCann
Revenues are based on the governor's budget, which shows receipts of $2.449 million, up $100,000 and largely Chapter 70 school aid, and charges of $242,699, up $62,000 over this year.
Chapter 70 aid is $1.79 million with another $269,598 for school choice, up $66,000 over this year. School choice goes directly to the school.
On the other hand, the town side is being charged $227,176 for school-choice and charter-school sending, up $53,000 over this year.
Reductions on the town side are largely cuts in supplies, training and a drop in long-term debt with the payoff of a truck. The school reductions are being paid down through the use of school choice funds and, said Levanos, possible cuts in paraprofessional positions.
The 18-article warrant also includes requests to appropriate $26,500 from the Department of Pubic Works stabilization account to fix one-half the roof on the town garage and $25,000 from the same account to purchase an asphalt hot box.
The box is considered a money saver because the DPW currently has to drive to Lenox to get hot asphalt and has to use it immediately. The box will allow it to keep asphalt over several days.
Article 14 asks to appropriate $38,000 from reserves to stabilize the tax rate and Article 17 to appropriate $52,000 from the stabilization to cover a defict in the snow and ice account.
McKinney said there is $250,000 in the stabilization fund so even taking out $90,000, "we're still in pretty decent shape."
Town meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Clarksburg School.
The board also voted to award the contract for Horrigan Road to DelSignore Blacktop Paving of Troy, N.Y. DelSignore was the lowest of five bids for the mile-long reconstruction at $209,987.
Foresight Land Services, the town's engineering firm, recommended going with DelSignore and stated it had "worked successfully with DelSignore Blacktop Paving Inc. on many projects in the past."
The board also appointed Louise Sherman to the Board of Registrars for a term ending in 2020.
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