Hawley residents approve budget, sign up for emergency alerts

HAWLEY — In a 90-minute town meeting Monday, Hawley residents approved a $226,388 town government budget and signed up for a notification system for townwide emergency alerts.

Town Clerk Pamela Shrimpton said that 25 to 30 residents showed Monday and approved nearly all of the articles unanimously. Two articles related to reviews of town positions were tabled for a later date.

The town government budget represents a $9,000, or 4 percent, increase over this year’s budget. And the allocation of $1,500 for the Blackboard Connect Notification System will allow for the town to alert residents of emergencies, such as a future flooding danger.

The residents approved a $396,734 allocation for school spending and transportation costs, compared to $429,881 this year — a decrease largely due to reduced costs for sending students to vocational schools.

The town’s Mohawk school district assessment rose from $122,350 to $138,833 for the coming school year. Also, the town’s share of Mohawk capital costs, for the Green Repair roof and window replacement projects, increased from $1,800 to $4,480.

Several articles will improve functioning in the Town Office. The town will add $2,000 to the Town Computer Account to cover upgrades and repairs and will use $1,000 to cover continuing education and conference expenses for town officers.

Residents also approved a resolution that asks the Baystate Health medical system “to commit all necessary resources to ensure the provision of all needed services” for Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. The petition argues that there is a lack of public transportation and that some services that used to be available at Baystate Franklin are now only available at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Two local articles were tabled for the next town meeting: a request to hear and act on the recommendations of the Job Description Review Committee regarding the town clerk salary and a request to combine the jobs of treasurer and tax collector into one position. Shrimpton said the review committee just formed last month and needs more time to come up with concrete suggestions.

The residents also tabled a vote of support for a potential constitutional amendment that argues that corporations do not have the same rights as people. Some residents argued corporations should have a right to due process, said Shrimpton, and wanted to see the language reworded before casting a vote.

No date has been set for Hawley’s next special town meeting, she said.

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