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Williamstown Fire District Clerk Sarah Currie and Prudential Committee members, from left, David Moresi, Richard Reynolds and Edward Briggs participate in Tuesday's district meeting.

Williamstown Fire District Voters OK Purchase of Tanker Truck

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Voters on Tuesday unanimously approved the Williamstown Fire District's budget in a brief annual meeting at Williamstown Elementary School.
The Prudential Committee, which governs the district, had asked voters to OK a spending plan that calls for slightly less revenue to be raised from taxes in fiscal year 2021 than the district sought for the current year.
The largest of nine articles on the warrant, Article 5, covers the district's operating expenses for the year ahead. It was up by $7,714, or 1.6 percent, to $495,865.
The second largest appropriation came from the district's stabilization fund, which will pay the $380,000 approved on Tuesday to acquire a 2,600-gallon tanker truck.
As noted in a memo to voters accompanying the warrant for Tuesday's meeting, the tanker will fill a long-standing need for the call-volunteer fire department.
The memo noted that more than 89 percent of the town's 47 square miles is not covered by the town's water district and, therefore, does not have fire hydrants.
Although neighboring town's departments have tankers and do provide mutual aid to the Williamstown firefighters, a truck at the Williamstown fire station will potentially get to the scene of fires faster, the Prudential Committee argued.
"The fire district cannot stress enough the importance of getting as much water to the fire scene as quickly as possible, especially to those residents currently living and building homes in that 89.4 percent unprotected by the water district," the memo read.
Prior to Tuesday's 15-minute meeting, the district conducted its annual election.
Current Prudential Committee Chair John Notsley, the only member of the five-member panel up for re-election, was returned to his seat with all 30 of the votes cast. Moderator Paul Harsch, the only other official up for election, received 25 of 30 votes.
About a dozen voters participated in the meeting, and just one took advantage of the opportunity to ask for more information about the articles.
Jeffrey Thomas asked whether the Prudential Committee felt the $20,000 sought in Article 6 for the district's "Design Fund" for a new fire station was sufficient.
Notsley and Treasurer Corydon Thurston confirmed that the district is carrying about $25,000 in the fund from previous years' appropriations, and the committee feels that $45,000 is sufficient to continue the work of planning for a new station at 562 Main St.
In his opening remarks on Tuesday, Notsley said the station project remains a priority for his committee.
"The district is moving forward at a slow and steady pace to be able to present to the town the district's plan for a new station," Notsley said. "Our current station, built in 1949, has served the town well but is totally inadequate. We will propose a facility that will last for many years into the future.
"Since there may be opportunity to obtain federal funding for a new building, the district must pursue a plan for the project. We will be soliciting proposals for the new station, and a building committee will be selected to provide input before a proposal is presented to the town."

Tags: annual meeting,   fire district,   town elections,   

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Williamstown Planning Board Appoints Master Plan Steering Committee

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Tuesday appointed nine residents to serve on the steering committee to draft the town's updated master plan.
By a unanimous vote, the board approved a slate of nine candidates selected by members Peter Beck and Stephanie Boyd, who will represent the elected board on the steering committee. That panel is expected to work over the next 18 months to update the planning document last drafted in 2002.
Approved for inclusion on the Master Plan Steering Committee on Tuesday were: Justin Adkins, Susan Briggs, Melissa Cragg, Don Dubendorf, Sarah Gardner, Daniel Gura, Susan Puddester, Tanja Srebotnjak and Huff Templeton.
"With Peter and I, that makes 11 members," Boyd said. In a meeting telecast on the town's community access television station, Willinet. "A couple of months ago, we said we'd aim for eight to 12. This is on the higher end of that.
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