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School spending tops Warwick warrant

Town meeting set for Monday

WARWICK — Voters will have the option to pay extra for education at Monday’s annual town meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

The town’s proposed operating budget for the coming fiscal year stands at $1.93 million, up $71,753, or 3.8 percent, from this year’s.

That budget includes $693,023 for the town’s share of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District budget. In February, the School Committee presented a $14.3 million budget request, up 5.79 percent from this year.

The committee, still waiting to hear how much aid it would receive from the state, has yet to set town assessments, but voted last week that no town would see more than a 4 percent increase in its assessment.

With the latest, yet far from final, state figures, the district will still be more than $600,000 short of its proposed budget, if member towns each approve 4 percent assessments.

However, one article gives voters a chance to go above and beyond the town’s $26,665 increase, by voting in an additional sum to be proposed at the meeting.

Capital requests for the schools include $4,500 for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work at the PVRSD central offices; $3,285 for projects at Pioneer including a front door alarm system, a hydrant, well water pump, and air conditioning for the computer equipment, head-end room; and $18,000 in projects at the Warwick Community School.

Another article asks the town whether to use an unnamed amount from the capital stabilization fund to insulate the Highway Department garage.

One article asks for $25,778 to recoup investment losses from the library, scholarship, and cemetery trust fund accounts.

The town also seeks $5,000 for an audit of municipal accounts.

Bylaws

There are a handful of bylaw changes to be voted at the meeting.

A mud season bylaw would authorize the Highway Department superintendent to order town roads closed to vehicles rated at more than five tons, to prevent road damage, from Feb. 1 to May 15 every year. Violators would be subject to a $300 fine. Exemptions would be provided to school buses and emergency and fuel delivery vehicles. Additional exemptions would need Selectboard approval and an agreement by the driver to pay for any damages caused by the exempted vehicle.

One would make having an open container of alcohol in public an arrestable offense. Currently, an open container will net someone a $25 fine for the first offense, and $50 every time thereafter.

Another bylaw would allow selectmen to appoint a police chief and officers for a period of one to three years. Now, the police chief must be appointed every year, as well as eight officers. The new bylaw also strikes the number of officers that may be appointed, leaving that to the board’s discretion.

The Planning Board could receive two alternate members to supplement its current five, if another article is approved. The two new members would be appointed by the moderator for five- and four-year first terms, with both becoming five-year positions in subsequent terms.

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