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Debt exclusions on Bernardston ballot

BERNARDSTON — Two local questions on the Nov. 6 ballot will ask voters to approve debt exclusions for project and equipment loans.

Both items were approved at June’s annual town meeting, and one is nearly complete.

Question 4 seeks approval to borrow $137,000 for a new dump truck for the Highway Department. The truck has been ordered, and will include a dump body and snow plow with wing. The total price is about $182,000, of which $45,000 will come from surplus prior year funds.

Question 5 asks voters to borrow up to $200,000 to pay for the Bernardston Elementary School roof.

The roof has been replaced, but the town still needs to borrow to pay the bill. The June town meeting approved a maximum $400,000 for the project, which came in at less than half that amount.

“We did rather well bidding the project. We don’t expect the final price to exceed the low $190,000s,” said Hugh Campbell, administrative assistant. The project was done by RCI Roofing of Southampton. Campbell said the town awaits RCI’s final bill for the repairs.

Both questions need a majority vote to pass. By treating the projects as debt exclusions, the town can avoid an override vote, which would permanently raise property taxes.

Both the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee approve the passage of both ballot questions.

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