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Colrain to ask voters for 2 trucks

Annual town meeting set for Tuesday at 7

COLRAIN — Annual town meeting voters will be asked to buy a pumper truck for the Fire Department, a dump truck body for the Highway Department and to spend $70,000 from old Community Development Block Grant loan repayments to cover demolition costs of town-owned buildings.

The meeting begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Colrain Central School on Jacksonville Road.

The town got rid of its old pumper truck a few years ago and had to do without it, said Town Coordinator Kevin Fox. If purchased, the new pumper would give the department three vehicles. The town hopes to borrow up to $405,000 to pay for the truck, while spending $50,000 from the Fire Department Stabilization Account for it. The $405,000 would be repaid through a debt exclusion, temporarily raising the tax rate until the pumper truck is paid for.

According to selectmen’s meeting minutes, Fire Chief Nicholas Anzuoni said the town does not have a truck that can carry enough firefighters to a fire, and that many are driving their own vehicles to respond. He said inadequate fire protection could result in higher insurance rates for homeowners. Anzuoni said he had been looking for a demo truck for the past three years, but has not been able to find one to purchase. He said a conventional truck would not meet the department’s water requirements. The new truck would seat six firefighters. The Finance Committee unanimously recommends this action, and a two-thirds majority vote is required for the article to pass. During Tuesday’s annual election, voters approved the exemption from Proposition 21∕2 by a vote of 178 to 88.

Next year’s town government budget request is within 2 percent of this year’s spending plan. The town is requesting $1,226,055, which is about $22,000 more than fiscal year 2013’s operating budget.

The assessment for the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s operating expenses is $1,668,571, which is a $75,537 increase over this year’s assessment — a 4.7 percent increase.

The $70,000 in town-owned building demolition funds would come from loan repayments made by residents for housing rehabilitation grants that came through the 1985 and 1986 Community Development Block Grants. Town-owned buildings under consideration for demolition include 1890-built Memorial Hall, which has been offered for sale for many years, and dilapidated properties that were taken for nonpayment of back taxes.

Other spending requests:

∎ $51,000 for a new highway dump truck body.

∎ $30,000 for computer networking costs for Town Office.

∎ $12,227 to replace windows at the town Highway Garage.

Also on the warrant is an article to change the composition of the Finance Committee from seven members to five, so that a quorum of members would be three members, instead of four.

A citizens’ petition article calls on town officials to send Baystate Health Systems a resolution that asks its executives to “commit to the long-term viability of a full-service community hospital at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.”

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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