Cheshire to Vote on School Funding and More at Town Meeting

By Daniel MatziBerkshires correspondent
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Voters will gather on Monday, June 10, to address the annual town budget and several key issues during the town meeting in the Cheshire Community House cafeteria (The former Cheshire Elementary School) at 7 p.m., with voter check-in starting at 6:30 p.m.
The warrant can be found here.
The proposed budget for fiscal 2025 includes various departmental funding requests, reflecting necessary increases due to inflation and rising costs of materials and services, according to the Cheshire Annual Town Meeting Voter Information Packet.
The town's operating budget highlights an allocation of $1,509,096 for general government operations, with a notable portion dedicated to legal services reflecting ongoing litigation. That amount would increase from $12,500 in FY24 to $20,000 in FY25.
Two articles in the warrant directly relate to funding for the Hoosac Valley Regional School District. Article 9 would pass the district's $3,098,996 budget as submitted. If that passes, Article 25 would determine if the town would pay for the budget by transferring funds from free cash and the general stabilization fund.
If the HVRSD budget does not pass, the town would move to vote on a Proposition 2.5 override, effectively raising the tax rate for the town. Adams town meeting approved the school budget last week. 
Voters will also decide on compensation for elected officials, disposal of surplus property, and authorization for balance agreements. Significant spending articles include:
Public Safety: $468,052 for police and fire services, with the introduction of a full-time School Resource Officer at Hoosac Valley Regional Middle and High School.
 Highway Operations and Tree Warden: $1,046,092, covering increased wages and increased rates and the usage of streetlights.
Additionally, the meeting will address several capital expenditures, including:
 Debt Service: $168,817 to cover various town debts, mostly covering Highway and Fire Department vehicles.
 Water Projects: $167,118 for Phase 2 of the North State Water Main Replacement.
Other noteworthy articles include adopting a meals tax for local restaurants, expanding the authority of the collector office, and establishing standards for short-term rentals.
Voters will also consider separating the Treasurer/Tax Collector position into two positions, and changing the Town Clerk's position from elected to appointed, effective May 2027.
The Board of Selectmen has recommended all warrant articles, indicating a broad support for the proposed changes and appropriations.

Tags: cheshire_budget,   fiscal 2025,   

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Cheshire Goes for Prop 2 1/2 Override to Fund School District

By Daniel MatziBerkshires correspondent

Recently retired Town Clerk Christine Emerson was recognized for her 30 years of service.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town will have to vote on a Proposition 2 1/2 override to raise taxes in order to fund its portion of the budget for the Hoosac Valley Regional School District.
That outcome was reached at town meeting on Monday only after nearly an hour of discussion among more than 100 voters, the Selectmen, Finance Committee and school officials. 
The first eight of 30 articles the annual town meeting warrant passed relatively quickly and unanimously at the start of the three-hour meeting. But with Article 9, the assessment to the regional school district, the meeting became more of an information session and sounding board for many in the town.
The town's assessment for the $23 million regional budget is $3,098,996, an additional $150,534 over this year's $2,948,462. Adams town meeting approved its assessment of $6,345,380 last week. 
The motion for an override was put forth by Selectmen Chair Shawn McGrath as an alternative to using free cash and stabilization funds to pay for the budget.
If the Proposition 2 1/2 override is rejected, the school district's budget would have to be amended and approved by the town.
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