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Clarksburg Town Meeting to Decide Budget, Truck Purchase

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Voters will be asked to approve a $4.6 million fiscal 2021 budget at the annual town meeting. 
 
Town meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center at 712 West Cross Road. The meeting will be set up in the parking lot and there will be provisions for keep people separate because of the pandemic; voters are encouraged to bring their own chairs and umbrellas.
 
The warrant is posted in the rear entry to Town Hall and on the town website here.
 
The $4,618,835 spending plan for fiscal 2021 includes an operating budget of $1,740,022, a school budget of $2,507,086, and a McCann Technical School assessment of $371,727. The budget is up overall by 8 percent, or $371,965 over this year and will be offset by $98,000 in free cash. 
 
Article 15 will ask to use $98,000 from free cash to reduce the tax rate and Article 16 asks to transfer $250,000 in free cash to the stabilization account. 
 
Article 9 will ask voters if they want to authorize a borrowing of up to $250,000 for a new Department of Public Works truck. The truck, and a wing plow, would replace a 2002 dump truck. 
 
The Select Board has had some debate on whether to place the article on the town warrant over concerns that the state's uncertain financial situation will be detrimental to the town's spending ability. The truck has been discussed for a couple years 
as a capital purchase. Voters last year approved a borrowing for infrastructure and the school that included monies for expanding the town garage to accommodate a large truck. 
 
The board voted to let town meeting decide the direction it wanted to take in regard to the truck. 
 
Voters will be asked to pay off the town library construction loan (Article 14) with a transfer of $64,138.20 from free cash. The board has tried to get the debt off the books three years ago until an calculation error caused a shortfall in the budget. 
 
Article 17 requires a two-thirds vote to use $10,000 from the Sale of Lots & Burials Trust for maintenance and repairs at the cemetery.
 
There are also two transfers from the sewer enterprise fund for improvements, operations and compliance with regulations. These monies are paid by the users of the sewer line that connects through North Adams to the Hoosac Water Quality District and have no affect on property taxes.
 
Article 18 is dog control bylaw that may also refer to other domestic animals. It sets out definitions for abusive conditions and public nuisance; requirements for licensing, vaccinations, restraint and housing; authority for the impounding of animals; and setting of fees and fines.

Tags: clarksburg_budget,   fiscal 2021,   town meeting 2020,   

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Clarksburg School Preparing for Reopening Scenarios

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The new security doors can be seen in the school lobby. The doors are one of several updates at the school, including a public address system and an accessible bathroom. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Principal Tara Barnes is working on a "nice puzzle challenge" in figuring how students will be situated within the elementary school come fall to comply with public health guidelines for the pandemic.
 
The state guidelines, so far, are requiring social distancing as well as masking for students in Grades 2 and up. Schools will also require a separated space for children who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19.
 
"I feel from most of our classrooms, about 15 students is the max of what we're able to get in there," she told the School Committee on Thursday. Further guidance from the state in regard to desks and dividers could mean a few more, but, she said, "I don't want at any point to compromise the safety of students or staff when I'm looking at these spaces."
 
Barnes said she's reviewing the use of "overflow" spaces such as the gym and rethinking uses of non-classroom areas and how that might affect special education teaching and splitting up classes to keep the numbers down. 
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