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Gill-Montague assessment increases cut in half

TURNERS FALLS — The current projected Gill-Montague Regional School District budget halves the substantial assessment increases foreseen in the preliminary budget approved by the School Committee in January.

Interim Superintendent Mark Prince presented the latest numbers to Gill and Montague town and school district officials at a joint meeting Wednesday in the Montague Town Hall.

Prince said the 4.7 percent increase to the total town assessment represented the districts’ best thinking at the time, and with new numbers that increase now looks to be about 2.1 percent.

Under this version of the preliminary figures — not final until the School Committee votes to accept a final budget — Montague’s assessment would come to $8,012,702, an increase of $162,098 ,or 2.1 percent, over the budget approved last year. Gill’s share of the cost would come to $1,442,465, a $34,407, or 2.4 percent, increase.

John Hanold, chairman of the Montague Finance Committee, called the figures heartening.

Montague Town Accountant Carolyn Olsen said Montague’s assessment is about $60,000 shy of her calculation for an affordable assessment, $7,956,781.

“So we’re in the $50,000 gap range, things are headed in the right direction,” Hanold said.

Olsen thanked the district for the almost $200,000 decrease in Montague’s projected assessment.

“I cannot tell you how much as a town accountant I appreciate that,” Olsen said.

The decreased assessment increase also brings the assessments within the 2.5 percent increase attached to the budget compact agreed to by the towns and district in 2010.

Prince and Mark Chapulis of the district’s business office contractor, The Management Solution, said the budget may still change before the final version is put forward and continues to represent a level services approach. Prince said no staff cuts are anticipated.

School Committee chairwoman Joyce Phillips said the committee will have a final vote March 27.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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