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Deerfield spends $578,255 at town meeting

Covers EMS service, new police cruiser, Highway Dept. truck

SOUTH DEERFIELD — After about three hours, the town authorized a total of $578,255 in free cash to be spent for a regional ambulance service, a police cruiser, animal control services and a highway pickup among other bills at Monday’s special town meeting.

In September, the town had a total $1.49 million in certified free cash.

While the town authorized $679,403 to be used for different accounts and new purchases, only $578,255 will be spent from free cash. A total $100,000 was taken from free cash and moved to the stabilization account.

The special town meeting resembled an annual meeting, with about 208 residents filing into the Frontier Regional School auditorium for several hours.

The biggest ticket item was the regional paramedic ambulance service the town agreed to sign up for with Whately and Sunderland. It cost the town $255,488 for the first six months of the new 24/7 EMS service.

For $42,500, the townspeople authorized the town to replace a Police Department’s 10-year-old rotting cruiser. The cruiser is a nonpolice-rated vehicle with no heavy duty brakes, suspension or cooling system used to keep police officers safe. In addition, the department’s new radios cost $21,850 and will allow officers to communicate with state police.

The town also approved the purchase of a 2014 Ford F-350 pickup for $40,000 for the Highway Department. The truck would replace one of two older vehicles.

The truck would be set for the coming winter with a 4x4 with a 9-foot plow, new snow tires and a two-way radio.

The town also agreed to pay $10,554 for animal control officer services, $4,629 for software for the town clerk/treasurer/collector’s office, and $52,456 for unemployment compensation charges due to the state and $50,000 for future preventive work on the Deerfield Elementary School roof.

In a nonbinding vote, the town also voted to direct the Board of Assessors to use the state Chapter 61A land value rates for assessing the agricultural and open space lands in Deerfield.

For 2014, the town proposed much higher rates to assess the value of farmland.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

This story was updated from its original version. The amount of free cash spent was changed.

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