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The Select Board welcomes new reserve officers Jeffrey Mullens and Aaron Goodell.

Clarksburg Property Owners Will Feel Impact of Debt Exclusion

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Homeowners will see their property tax rise an average of $350 in fiscal 2020.
The Select Board on Wednesday approved a single tax rate of $17.89 per $1,000 valuation, up nearly $2 over last year's rate of $15.99.
The 11 percent jump in the tax rate is largely because of the $1 million borrowing approved at town meeting in May. The borrowing to address a number of capital projects is excluded from Proposition 2 1/2 but the tax impact will only last five years.
Assessor Ross Vivori has calculated that the average tax bill will rise $354.53 based on a comparison of last year's and this year's tax rate and house values. The value of the average single-family home increased slightly from $166,606.54 to $168,635.94, a difference of about $2,000. 
Overall, the town's residential value has risen almost $1.7 million, to $103,711,100 and the number of parcels from 612 to 615. Commercial values have grown less, about $20,000, while industrial has actually decreased $382,000 to $1,276,300.
In contrast, personal property has nearly doubled from $2,642,631 to $4,888,560, or close to $2.3 million more. That makes up much of the increase in the town's assessed value, which is up $3,574,310 to $123,947,338.
Despite the new growth, the town is skating just below it's levy limit by about $27,000. That's because the Clarksburg needs to raise $2.2 million to cover its budget and borrowing. 
The $1 million is being split evenly between the town and the school to address some significant infrastructure issues. While the school anticipates tapping into the money to cover the balance of a new security entrance, officials haven't yet planned out a priority list or project costs. 
On the town side, Highway Foreman Kyle Hurlbut was ready with a list of project under his purview, including road repairs and an addition to the town garage, that officials signed off on in August. 
One bid has already been awarded to Warner Brothers LLC of Sunderland for Henderson Road, School Street and Gleason Street.
Select Board Chairman Ronald Boucher said the bid came in at $252,000, well below the estimate of $321,000.
In other business, the board welcomed new intermittent reserve police officers Aaron Goodell and Jeffrey Mullens. Chief Michael Williams said Mullens is a machinist who has completed the reserve academy and that Goodell has worked in emergency services and is a dispatcher in North Adams. He also worked as an officer for a short time in Plainfield and has been interested in working for Clarksburg. 
The board also appointed a new Council on Aging board. The board had been ready to dissolve because of a lack of participation but it has taken several months for the veteran board members to become comfortable with handing over the reins to the newer contingent. The Select Board is trying to create a board that better reflects a cross section of the senior community. 
The new members are Mary Ann Maroni and Lauren Norcross, both appointed to three-year terms; Irene Shea to a two-year term; and Eunice Boulger to a one-year term. The board also reappointed the current board members all to one-year terms to reflect the required term limits (that have been largely ignored) and to provide a transitional period. They are Lily Kuzia, Shirley Therrien, Barbara King, Debra Lefave and Iris DiLorenzo.

Tags: fiscal 2020,   tax classification,   

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Clarksburg School Reopening Plans Affected by HVAC Issues

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Results from a survey of parents last month. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — School officials' plans for reopening this fall are being complicated by the condition of Clarksburg School. 
The administration is recommending a hybrid plan of in-school and remote because of issues with the ventilation system.
"Ventilation as a very key piece in keeping our schools safe," Principal Tara Barnes told the School Committee on Thursday. "We have some preliminary results that are telling us that many of our classrooms are not up to code to be able to handle COVID. In particular, they're not exchanging air."
Barnes said the building is being evaluated as part of the plans being developed to deliver education during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is requiring schools to submit plans for in-person teaching, remote or a hybrid model of both by Thursday.
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