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Leyden puts off budget, other votes

Annual town meeting set to continue June 24

LEYDEN — Voters tabled votes on the town’s budget and several capital expenditures at Saturday’s annual town meeting.

With member towns’ shares of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District budget still subject to change, Leyden decided to hold off on several money articles until more concrete numbers come out.

Leyden’s share of the PVRSD budget will be the least of the four member towns, because it has the lowest enrollment. Early numbers had the town’s assessment at $100,000 less than last year’s $775,407, but numbers have changed with each state budget proposal.

Working with a level-funded $775,407, the overall budget proposed at Saturday’s meeting was $1.56 million, expected to change once the state issues final figures for local aid.

The annual town meeting will resume at 7 p.m., June 24, in Town Hall.

Also tabled until that meeting were requests to put $20,000 into a stabilization account for the Highway Department, $20,000 for an account to save toward a Historical Commission museum, $20,000 for a town building stabilization fund, $10,000 for the general stabilization fund, $3,285 for capital projects at Pioneer and $4,500 for projects at the district’s central office, and an article to use an unspecified amount of leftover fiscal year 2013 money to lower the amount to be raised from taxes.

One large expenditure was approved at Saturday’s meeting, because it will use available funds rather than taxes.

The Highway Department got the green light to buy a new dump truck, with $150,000 from its stabilization fund, and up to $98,000 of $227,000 in Chapter 90 state road money expected for fiscal year 2014.

An animal control bylaw was the subject of much debate Saturday, and passed with an amendment. The amendment provides for an option for officers to issue a warning for a first offense, instead of the $50 fine for a roaming dog or $25 fine for wandering livestock.

Police Chief Dan Galvis told the meeting that officers would use their discretion to decide if a violation warrants a warning or a fine, and that fines would not be levied in extenuating circumstances, for example, a fence breached by a falling tree or livestock who leave their pens after the electric fence has been shut down from a power outage.

The total budget and, therefore, tax rate will not be known until the tabled articles are voted upon. However, Robert Snedecker, of the Finance Committee, said that if all warrant articles, and the budget as proposed Saturday pass, the tax rate would go from $16.11 per thousand to about $17.50.

Voters Saturday also decided to change the tax collector from an elected to appointed position, and accepted a gift of almost 8 acres of land behind the elementary school.

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

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