Lanesborough Suggests School Look Elsewhere for Boiler Funds
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town's American Rescue Plan Act Committee has discussed a $50,000 request from Lanesborough Elementary School for a boiler replacement, suggesting the school consider looking for another funding source from the town.
Jason McCandless, the school's superintendent, attended the committee's Monday meeting via phone after working with Town Administrator Joshua Lang to get the request on the agenda. Last week, McCandless shared the boiler issue with the School Committee, which will need repairs to work through the winter.
"It was one of those things that somebody could have foreseen it, maybe, but not necessarily ... We do have a plan that looks at all of our equipment, all of our facilities and all of our physical plans, [the boiler] was not a part of that." he told the ARPA Committee.
Multiple committee members asked McCandless why the school did not ask for money sooner in the ARPA process, at the annual town meeting, or in the school's own budget. The boiler cost would use most, if not all, of the town's remaining non-appropriated ARPA funds.
"Our committee has met, and we've pretty much earmarked most of the money now," said committee member and Department of Public Works Director William Decelles. "And we've been modifying it here, so there isn't a lot of access at this point."
McCandless apologized for not coming to the town sooner and said nobody involved with the school had anticipated the problem before now. A replacement boiler, he told the School Committee last week, would likely not be ready until February.
"This is something that should have been planned for," he said. "I think we've got the right team in place to work to make sure these things don't happen again in the future."
Lang suggested free cash as another potential funding option for the boiler. A special town meeting, where the request is on the warrant, would be needed to approve the use of the free cash.
"It seems to me that's where something like this should come from," said committee member and Fire Chief Jeffery DeChaine said. "It's a last minute thing; we didn't plan for it for whatever reason. But that's what that money should be for."
In other business, an all-terrain vehicle that was to be paid for with ARPA money will be purchased and donated to the Fire Department by the Fireman's Association. DeChaine said he was also able to lower the cost of several other budgeted items.
"I think the idea [of the committee] was to take these things as they come and then reshuffle the list and come up with a new bottom line," he said. "And then, as we move forward through the months, as things come up, we adjust."
Tags: ARPA, LES,