LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town is going ahead with its annual town meeting on Tuesday but with plenty of precautions in place.
The meeting is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the elementary school and doors will open at 5 to allow everyone to be safely seated.
Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there will be a line to register with everyone standing 6-feet apart and masks should be worn in line and when social distancing is not possible. Emergency medical technicians will taking temperatures with a noninvasive device and town officials are encouraging everyone attending to have their temperature taken.
Those who can't wear a mask for medical reasons will use a designated area to keep them away from others to prevent infection from COVID-19.
Attendees will arrive, those in the same households will keep 6 feet apart from others in line; have temperatures taken prior to entering the school, if they so wish; have access to hand sanitizer on entering and exiting; will proceed to the gym after registering and take a seat. At the end of the meeting, they will leave single file and place their voting device in a designated box and throw away any disposable protective gear.
In between, Lanesborough will be voting on an operating budget of $10,250,186, down $1,163,203.79 from this year or 10 percent. The budget recommended by the Finance Committee and Select Board is slightly higher than that initially requested by the town manager.
The spending plan is seeing an significant drop in borrowing debt, down $472,184, and $563,093.79 in general government. There are also reductions in Berkshire County Retirement ($30,083), Health Department ($31,600), Public Works ($82,000), and town treasurer ($53,230).
The town's assessment to the Mount Greylock Regional School District is $5,761,836, down $7,413 from this year. The McCann Technical School assessment is $284,968, down $69,279 from this year.
Most increases were minor, with the larger lines being an increase of $12,500 in the Baker Road District, town collector ($52,812), technology services ($5,600), and town clerk ($5,089).
Also on the warrant is a request to vote to transfer $225,000 for a rescue vehicle for the Fire Department; the funds would come from three stabilization accounts. The article, No. 3, requires a two-thirds vote. Article 4 asks for authorization to appropriate $25,432.46 and transfer a similar sum from the Baker Hill Road District Fund for the purpose of purchasing a new police vehicle.
Article 5 and 6 refer to a piece of donated land and purchased land, respectively. The first parcel, 5.1 acres, is being donated; the second, 4.988 acres, would require a vote to authorize a transfer of free cash of $75,000. The purchased piece is on Orebed Road below the landfill. Purchasing it would prevent anyone from building there and would provide a new gravel bed for the Department of Public Works.
Article 13 asks to appropriate $58,000 for the repair of sidewalks at Lanesborough Elementary School;
A number of articles deal with regular transfers from enterprise and other accounts for operations, salaries and matching grants and the use of $276,000 from free cash to reduce the tax rate.
Article 19 deals with adopting a provision of state law that would allow the member of a town panel to vote during an adjudicatory hearing even if they had missed one hearing on the matter, as long as the member certifies in writing they have reviewed any testimony.
Articles 20-22 deal with marijuana, including limiting the number of cultivators, adopting a 3 percent sales tax, and amending the uses.
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Lanesborough Hoping to Reopen Recycling Process Soon
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
Newly elected Selectman Michael Murphy, center, participates in his first meeting on Thursday night.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Selectman welcomed new member Michael Murphy, elected last week, to the board with a fairly light load Thursday evening.
Cable TV contracts, Gulf Road and recycling were on the agenda among other items.
At their last meeting, the board had decided to keep Gulf Road closed until Dalton was comfortable opening the seasonal dirt byway. It serves as a shortcut between Lanesborough and Dalton and allows drivers to avoid shopping related traffic at Allendale Plaza and Berkshire Crossing in Pittsfield. It also could serve as an emergency detour should Route 8 be closed for any reason.
On Thursday, the board again voted but this time to reopen the road. But Murphy said he had spoken to a resident of Gulf Road who had wanted to advocate for the road to stay closed. This led into a discussion of why there is no public comment portion of the meeting since participation is now limited because of Town Hall being closed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former Finance Committee member Michael P. Murphy easily ousted incumbent Hank Sayers, 295-156. Sayers has served on the board since winning a special election in 2013 to fill a vacant seat.
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Town Moderator Chris Dodig kicked off the meeting by explaining the town's thought process in deciding to have the meeting at all despite the novel cooronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the municipal budget process across the state and forced many towns to postpone meetings and even some... click for more