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Leyden town meeting set for Saturday

Voters to decide on dump truck money, animal bylaw

LEYDEN — Voters will decide whether to spend $248,000 on a new dump truck, start saving for building projects, and institute a bylaw regulating dogs and other animals at Saturday’s annual town meeting.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in Town Hall.

If all expenditures and transfers are passed, the town will seek to raise and appropriate $1.49 million, 4.98 percent less than this year’s $1.56 million.

Residents will be asked to use $150,000 from a Highway Department stabilization account toward the purchase of a new dump truck. The balance of up to $98,000 would come from state Chapter 90 funds given to the town.

The town could start saving for town building projects by establishing a stabilization account for capital building improvements. Voters will also be asked to put $20,000 into that account.

Voters could also establish a similar account for the Historical Commission, to be used to find a home for the town’s historical artifacts and resources. Residents will be asked to set aside $2,000 for that account.

A proposed animal control bylaw would levy fines against those who allow their dogs or livestock to roam free or otherwise become a nuisance.

Roaming dogs would result in a fine of $50 for a first offense, $75 for a second, $100 for a third and $200 for fourth or subsequent offenses. Stray dogs would also be impounded.

A stray dog deemed vicious would net the owner a $200 fine. A $25 surfine would be added to each dog offense if the animal is unlicensed.

Unrestrained livestock on public land or ways would result in a $25 first-offense fine, and $50 fines for each offense thereafter.

The total operating budget requested by the Board of Selectmen is $1.6 million, a 4.9 percent increase from this year’s. The Finance Committee, however, recommends a budget of $1.55 million, an increase of 1.9 percent.

The town’s assessment of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District budget is $775,407, the same as this year’s. Other district towns saw an increase in their assessments for the coming year, but Leyden’s initial assessment dropped due to lowered enrollment.

Warwick and Northfield have both approved assessments increased by about 4 percent, after the School Committee said it would not request that any town pay more than 4 percent more than this year’s budget.

The School Committee and Superintendent Dayle Doiron said the proposed budget would result in cuts, but they could not ask the towns for a higher increase. Leyden representatives at school budget hearings told the committee the town would be willing to pay more than it was assessed, to ease the burden on member towns. Bernardston will be the last to vote on the school budget at its May 29 annual town meeting.

The town’s shares of a handful of capital school projects are also on the warrant. Voters will be asked to spend $4,500 for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work at the central offices. Another $3,285 will be asked for projects at Pioneer including a front door alarm and buzzer system, a state-mandated faucet hydrant, a replacement well water pump, and air conditioning backup for the school’s technology head-end room.

In anticipation of the fiber-optic broadband infrastructure being laid by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, voters will be asked to pay $1,200 for wiring and equipment to make Town Hall fiber-ready.

Another article asks that the town treasurer be allowed to borrow $8,000 to draft an open space design or natural resources protective zoning bylaw. The $8,000 would be reimbursed by the state’s Landscape Partnership Program.

The town election is also being held in Town Hall Saturday, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The only race on the ballot is for a five-year Planning Board seat. Incumbent Warren Facey Jr. is challenged by Clifford Spatcher for the position.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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