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Williamstown Fire District Election, Meeting Set for Tuesday

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Fire District will hold its annual election and annual meeting on Tuesday in the Williamstown Elementary School gymnasium.
 
The polls will open at 4 p.m. and will stay open until at least 7 p.m. for the election, in which John Notsley, the chair of the five-person Prudential Committee, is one of several candidates on the ballot running without opposition.
 
At 7:30, the annual district meeting will commence with eight warrant articles to be decided by voters in the district.
 
The largest single expenditure on the agenda is a $495,865 request for the district's operational expenses for fiscal year 2021.
 
Although that number is up slightly from the $488,151 voters approved for FY20, the entire spending plan is down slightly from the current fiscal year because of reductions in other warrant articles.
 
Voters and attendees on Tuesday evening are asked to wear face coverings and observe social distancing. The meeting has been moved from the elementary school's cafeteria to its gymnasium to promote social distancing, a move that was easier because the school's maintenance personnel were able to leave the mat that covers the gym floor in place after last week's town election.
 
Generally speaking, the Fire District's annual meeting attracts a couple of dozen voters or fewer. Last year, a larger than average number of district residents attended, and the main topic of conversation was a plan to replace the town's street lights with LED fixtures.
 
In response to concerns raised at the meeting that the new fixtures, while more energy efficient, would create increased light pollution, the Prudential Committee ultimately pulled out of an agreement with National Grid to change the lights.
 
The district's annual meeting was postponed from its traditional May date due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. As is not uncommon in Massachusetts, the town's fire district operates as a separate municipal entity apart from town government.
 
Williamstown's annual town meeting, which normally precedes the Williamstown Fire District meeting, also has been postponed to a date to be determined.
 
The town meeting normally is conducted in the gymnasium but attracts a much larger crowd — last year more than 250, in 2017 as many as 280. The Select Board last week asked the town manager to develop plans for an outdoor town meeting to be held some time this summer. 

Tags: annual meeting,   fire district,   

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Mount Greylock Interim Superintendent: Health Plays 'Highest Role' in Reopening Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Amie Hane, chair of the school district's special Parent Advisory Council, addresses the School Committee on Thursday evening.
 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School District officials Thursday sought to allay fears that the district's schools will reopen under any scenario where safety is not the first priority.
 
Interim Superintendent Robert Putnam walked the School Committee through the administration's planning process for the start of school in September during the body's Zoom-based meeting.
 
"First off, we want to make sure that medical and health play the highest role in our decisions," Putnam said. "We are committed to protecting anyone with comorbidities. We are committed to, basically, creating the conditions for and ensuring that there is social distancing that protects staff and students alike. We are committed to creating a norm of mask-wearing and hand-washing.
 
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