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Williamstown Fire District Election, Meeting Tuesday

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Fire District will hold its annual election and meeting on Tuesday at Williamstown Elementary School.
The polls will open at 6 p.m. for the annual election of officers and close at 8 p.m., to be followed by the meeting, where voters will be asked to approve, among other things, the district's nearly half-million dollar operating budget for fiscal year 2020.
One item on the meeting warrant is a complement to an article that passed without commen at last week's annual town meeting.
Without debate, town voters on a voice vote authorized the Select Board to seek a permanent easement on a Main Street parcel that the fire district purchased with the intention of building a new fire station.
Article 2 on the fire district warrant would authorize the Prudential Committee to convey said easement.
The Prudential Committee, members of which will be elected in Tuesday's balloting, oversees the fire district, a separate municipal entity with its own taxing authority, like the Select Board oversees the town.
Another non-routine item on Tuesday's meeting warrant also relates to 562 Main St., which district voters decided to purchase in 2017.
Article 10, the final item on Tuesday's agenda, will ask district voters whether to spend $30,000 for "study, engineering, maintenance, permitting, clearing, filling, grading or other costs" related to property, "in preparation for future construction."
As for the operating budget, Article 5 on Tuesday's agenda, the Prudential Committee is proposing a budget of $488,151, an increase of $7,400, or 1.5 percent, from the budget approved for FY19.

Tags: fire district,   prudential committee,   town elections,   

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State Education Commissioner to School Districts: Go In-Person or Face Audit

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
BOSTON. — Continuing a pressure campaign against local school districts that began over the summer, the commissioner of education this week sent multiple districts a letter requesting "further information" of those who are beginning the school year with remote instruction.
In a letter dated Friday, Jeffrey C. Riley told more than a dozen districts, including Pittsfield Public Schools, Hoosac Valley Regional and the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, that they have "very low COVID-19 transmission" and that he is "concerned" that their school committees have elected to keep most students remote to start the academic year.
Riley's letter cites the fall reopening plan issued by the commonwealth in June, which, he notes, was endorsed by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He also refers to a July missive from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled "Importance of Reopening Schools."
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