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Whately to discuss Frontier budget Tuesday

WHATELY — For a second time, the town budget-makers will discuss the Frontier Regional School budget and capital requests on Tuesday.

The town’s Capital Planning Committee has already recommended that townspeople fund Whately’s share of the first year capital costs request, excluding a $30,000 pickup. But that was before Frontier Regional School District revised its 5-year capital plan in April. The Finance Committee, Board of Selectmen, and Capital Planning Committee will meet once more to review the updated $133,250 Frontier capital projects.

The original request was $183,250 until the school district dropped a $50,000 request for HVAC improvements. It also eliminated a separate article request for $119,000 for track and tennis court repairs.

The three groups will also discuss the $9,545,088 school operating budget. But because the town’s share of the operating budget is projected to decrease in the coming school year, the budget talks will likely go smoothly.

“Whately didn’t have any problems with the operating budget because our assessment went down,” said Town Administrator Lynn Sibley.

Whately’s payment to the school is slated to drop 1 percent from last year to $925,545.

Other Frontier member towns, however, are facing increases and calling for cutbacks in the budget. The Deerfield Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen, along with their Conway counterparts, demanded the Frontier not increase its budget by more than 3 percent.

It is the capital requests, however, that have caused the most contention between the Frontier towns and the school. The first year of the 5-year plan calls for $133,250 in projects, which includes $67,500 for safety and security updates, $5,750 for electrical improvements, $30,000 for the replacement of a maintenance pickup and $30,000 for a student transport van.

The school district is asking Conway to pay $17,242, Deerfield to pay $60,295, Sunderland to pay $35,058 and Whately to pay $20,653.

This is the first year Frontier has requested money for building maintenance improvements. And it has gotten the cash-strapped farm towns spinning. The Sunderland Board of Selectmen recently voted to recommend only its $17,759 share of the $67,500 building safety and security updates. While the Deerfield selectmen decided they will only recommend to the townspeople $14,819 of its $60,295 share of Frontier capital improvements.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Center School. The Board of Selectmen meeting will immediately follow.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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Frontier, 4 towns agree to work on budget

Monday, September 2, 2013

DEERFIELD — The four southern Franklin County towns and the Frontier Regional School Committee have agreed to work together to iron out differences over next school year’s budget. The Frontier feeder towns — Deerfield, Conway, Whately and Sunderland — met jointly for three hours with the School Committee Thursday night to hash out the next year’s $9,545,088 proposed budget. “I … 0

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