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Monroe OKs budget, says ‘no’ on land buy

MONROE — Town meeting voters have approved the town’s overall spending plan for the new fiscal year, but vetoed a request to spend $25,000 of the town’s “free cash” reserves on clearing the remainder of the Monroe Cemetery, according to Town Clerk Marcella Stafford-Gore.

Voters also said “no” to acquiring land for wastewater treatment facility purposes, which led to the tabling of two more articles, seeking to acquire land for a wastewater treatment plant in this small town of 121 residents. All three articles asked residents to acquire “by gift, deed or eminent domain” two parcels of land formerly owned by the Monroe Bridge Holding Corp./Jeffery Philips and one parcel owned by TransCanada Hydro N.E., Inc. The prices proposed for the first two parcels were $200 and $750, while the proposed cost for the TransCanada land was $50.

Voters agreed to spend $48,000 to buy a new 2013 Ford 550 chassis cab for a town Highway Department truck and to spend another $17,000 to equip it. Both expenditures are to be taken from the town’s “free cash” reserves.

The approved operating budget is for $247,345, about $12,000 more than last fiscal year’s budget request.

School assessments for elementary and high school education decreased, from $195,483 to $185,454; also the town’s assessment from the Northern Berkshire Vocational School District dropped from $37,258 to $13,636.

Other approved expenditures were:

∎ $2,000 for maintenance and upgrade of office equipment.

∎ $32,000 for maintenance and repair of town roads.

∎ $20,000 for Highway Department fuel.

∎  $17,250 to pay for the Readsboro Road Culvert Repair.

“Free cash” revenue transfers were for the following spending requests:

∎ $25,000 for improvements at the Monroe Cemetery.

∎ $10,000 to go into the Highway Department Vehicles Stabilization Account.

∎ $30,000 to be placed into a Fire/Highway Department Municipal Building Stabilization Account, which is to be used for a future town garage/fire station.

They also agreed to let the town acquire land near the Monroe Bridge, between Rowe and Monroe, for temporary construction easements and for permanent easements within 200 feet of the bridge reconstruction project.

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