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Cheshire Voters to Decide on Road Grader Debt Exclusion

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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Voters will decide Tuesday on whether to exclude a $195,000 borrowing for a road grader from Proposition 2 1/2. 
A special town meeting in October approved the five-year borrowing but Tuesday's vote also is required to prevent the payments from pushing the town close to or over the levy limit. Instead, the borrowing would be separate from the levy and not permanently affect the town's Prop 2 1/2 calculations. It would, however, be included in the tax rate.
Cheshire is already paying on another debt exclusion for the renovation of Hoosac Valley High School.
The October meeting passed the exclusion with a two-thirds vote; a simple majority is required for the election.
Town officials have been grappling with the need for a new road grader for some time. Town meeting rejected a request for $95,000 toward a grader at the annual town meeting in June, asking officials to find another solution such as renting. 
But Highway Superintendent Bob Navin has advocated strongly since then to replace the town's defunct 1986 Dresser grader, arguing that renting has not worked out well because that machine, too, has frequently been out of service and, during the spring, will be difficult to obtain. 
In October, town meeting was provided with information that estimated that the $195,000 debt plus expected operating and maintenance costs over the next 20 years would come in at around $450,000; continuing to rent at the current rate would be slightly over $500,000. 
The special election is being held Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Community/Senior Center. Because of the election, the Board of Selectmen not meet on Tuesday as usual; the next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tags: debt exclusion,   DPW equipment,   special election,   

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Hoosac Elementary Principal Invites Selectmen to Be Guests for a Day

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Principal Becky Sawyer invites the Selectmen to see a day in the life of students and faculty at Hoosac Valley Elementary.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen were invited to spend some time at Hoosac Valley Elementary School in Adams. 
Principal Becky Sawyer attended the board's Tuesday's meeting to issue the invitation to spend a day with the staff and students. Sawyer sees it as a way to not only get to familiarize themselves with the staff but also to see how the town's largest expenditure is being utilized.
"I know the school district occupies such a large percentage of your budget and I feel like it's only fair to let you come see what we're spending it on. What good work is being done with what we are getting [from the town]," Sawyer told the board. "We'd like to have our third-graders give a public tour of the building, and then ... have you shadow a teacher, and then we would invite you to have lunch and recess with our  children. 
"Which I can tell you is the best part of the day. It's the most fun that I have."
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