Museum, Town Hall repairs on Leyden meeting warrant

LEYDEN — A town museum could become a reality if voters approve a Historical Commission request at the May 17 annual town meeting.

The meeting will begin directly after a brief 9 a.m. special town meeting in Town Hall.

The Historical Commission has requested $80,000 toward founding a town museum, though the Selectboard and Finance Committee do not recommend its approval. Last year, voters set aside $2,000 toward a future home for the museum, and this year another article asks an additional $2,000 for the account.

Several Town Hall projects are also up for votes.

The building could get a new roof for $20,000, kitchen repairs and upgrades for $20,000, and 20 new windows for $12,000. All three articles seek money from the town’s stabilization account rather than taxes, and all are recommended by the Finance Committee and Selectboard.

Selectboard member William Glabach said the Town Hall repairs would be a community asset.

“It’s a hard situation. When we put on things like Sugar on Snow, or our annual blueberry supper, we have 150 to 200 people and need a good, large kitchen, but the rest of the year we don’t use it for anything that large,” said Glabach. “If we don’t have the kitchen, though, we lose a part of our community.”

Glabach pointed out that the small town doesn’t have many places for the community to gather and said it would be a shame not to be able to feed big crowds at Town Hall functions.

Several school requests will also be decided at the meeting.

The biggest is the Pioneer Valley Regional School District budget, with Leyden’s share at $749,415.

Leyden will be the third of four towns to vote on the budget. Northfield and Warwick have approved the district’s requested amount, despite each town’s Finance Committee’s requests to fund a lower amount.

It only takes three towns to approve a budget, and Leyden’s Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen both back the district’s requested amount. It represents an increase of $24,232, or 3.34 percent from this year’s budget.

Bernardston’s Finance Committee has recommended that voters fund a lower amount than the district requested.

Towns are also being asked to approve a $400,000 districtwide computer hardware and software replacement plan. The district would borrow the money for five years, with repayments to start in fiscal year 2016. Northfield voters approved the borrowing, and Warwick decided to pass over the matter.

Leyden’s Finance Committee and Selectboard have yet to issue a recommendation on the borrowing.

One article seeks the repurposing of money from prior town meeting-approved school projects.

A $4,500 appropriation for a heating system project at the district’s central offices could instead be used to conduct a feasibility study for the repair or replacement of the three modular buildings that house the district’s administrative offices. Northfield and Warwick have approved their shares, and the project requires all four towns’ approval.

Carpet replacement, painting and paving repairs at the Pioneer Valley Regional School are together in a $5,100 article. The money would come from an overlay surplus account.

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