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Cheshire Annual Town Meeting Monday Night

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The annual town meeting will vote on 14 articles Monday night.
Town meeting will be held at Cheshire School beginning at 7 p.m.
The first few articles town meeting will take action on are annual procedural articles.
Article 2 is the budget article and approval will set a the fiscal 2020 spending plan of $6.2 million.
Article 3 is also a budget article and asks town meeting to allocate $140,000 from free cash to offset the tax rate.
Article 4 will allow the town to borrow additional funds for roads and bridges to be reimbursed with Chapter 90 funds.
Article 5 will see if town meeting will spend $17,800 from free cash for the Board of Assessors' recertification and Article 6 will pull $60,000 from the stabilization account to repair a portion of the heating system in the school building. Article 6 needs a two-thirds vote.
The next few articles represent zoning bylaw changes and Article 7 will ask town meeting to adopt amendments that will allow accessory agricultural uses to provide additional economic opportunities for farmers.
Article 8 will create a light industrial district in town.
Both Articles 7 and 8 require a two-thirds vote to pass.
Article 9 will see of the town will adopt the state's "stretch energy code" that will slightly alter the town's building codes toward energy efficiency. This must be adopted if the town wants to take advantage of the state's Green Communities program. Many surrounding communities have already adopted this code.
Article 10 is the amendments made to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District agreement. This includes changing the district's name to Hoosac Valley Regional School District.
Article 11 asks town meeting to allow the town to borrow $95,000 to purchase a used road grader and dispose of the old grader. This article also requires a two-thirds vote and a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion vote to be held at a later date.
Article 12 is a citizens petition article to enact a marijuana bylaw that would put restrictions on cultivation for the purpose of reducing the conditions that create "public nuisances." This article is in response to a proposed cultivation operation on Stafford Hill.
Article 13 will authorize the transfer of $10,280 from the Water Department surplus account to pay bills owed from this fiscal year.

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Cheshire Highway Foreman Advocates for New Grader

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
CHESHIRE, Mass. — New Highway Superintendent Bob Navin wants the town to take better care of its dirt roads. 
He has asked the board to propose at town meeting buying a grader as opposed to continuing to rent one as they currently do. He has other ideas as well.
"The procedures here weren't to do them how I would do a dirt road," Navin said. "They don't rake them all the time because they didn't have a rake that worked all that great. After grading it needs to be raked out well ... compacted by a roller ... putting a dust control agent on it. That's the direction I want to head in with our gravel roads. A road done right will last a lot longer."
As for the grader purchase, that will be taken up by the town at next Tuesday's special town meeting. Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV prepared numbers for the board that weren't shared publicly but most members agreed that buying might be the best option.
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