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Montague to vote on sewer spending Thursday

Pay raises also on 7 p.m. agenda

MONTAGUE — Pay raises for town employees and money for the Millers Falls Road sewer failure are among the items on the agenda for a special town meeting this week.

The meeting, set for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Turners Falls High School on Turnpike Road, will address the recommendations of a pay study commissioned by the town with town meeting authorization in 2012, proposing about $140,000 in raises for town employees this fiscal year.

A pretown meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall, 1 Avenue A, will discuss the articles to be voted Thursday.

Requested raises for nonunion employees, including the town administrator, police chief, accountant and department heads total $17,962 and range from $181 to $5,599.

Union negotiations were not yet complete when the agenda was set, but place-holder figures in the amount recommended by the study are included in the amount of $55,550 for employees represented by the Town of Montague Employee Association, $23,420 for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and $43,320 for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

Leading the sewer appropriations is a $1 million appropriation to replace sewer lines on Industrial Boulevard and Millers Falls Road, but Town Administrator Frank Abbondanzio said bids for the project have come in below expectations, with $750,000 the high end.

The proposed project follows the emergency work already completed to address sewer line blockages and apparent collapses near the intersection of the two roads at the mouth of the Industrial Park.

The state authorized the town to spend money without the usual advertising and bid process for emergency work to correct the problem, then a second time to correct a mistake in laying the new lines.

The $1 million appropriation is for work not considered an emergency need, but that Abbondanzio said still has to be done.

Also on the agenda are three appropriations totalling $961,926 to fill deficits and shore up budgets drained by the earlier emergency work.

Also among the items on the agenda:

∎ $110,000 to replace a boiler at the Sheffield building of the Montague Elementary School.

■ $14,070 for Montague’s 25 percent contribution to the funding of an animal control officer position, to be filled by Greenfield’s current animal control officer and shared between Greenfield, Montague and Deerfield.

∎ $18,015 to increase the debt budget.

∎ $120,000 to reduce sewer rates this year.

∎ $31,220 for an additional groundskeeper position at the Department of Public Works.

∎ $200,000 for the town savings fund.

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

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