Rowe OKs all articles at Town Meeting

  • Rowe voters approved all articles at the Annual Town Meeting on Monday night.  FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/14/2019 5:57:22 PM

ROWE — The town with the county’s lowest tax rate had a breezy Annual Meeting Monday, with voters passing all 32 articles in less than two hours. It came as a contrast to neighboring towns, like Shelburne, Buckland and Heath, whose meetings each spanned more than four hours.

Rowe’s property taxes are $5.19 per $1,000 of valuation in fiscal 2020. In comparison, Buckland’s tax rate is $19.34 per $1,000 of valuation, while Heath’s is $22.31. 

Education is the town’s largest expense, costing $1.56 million, though it dropped 1.8 percent for fiscal 2020. This includes an operating budget of $1.04 million for kindergarten to grade six education, a drop of 11.4 percent. Meanwhile secondary school costs rose 25.5 percent to $515,344. According to North Berkshire School Union Superintendent John Franzoni, this jump was the a result of Mohawk Trail Regional School’s tuition increases plus some additional students moving to town. 

The town passed all town expenses on the warrant: $437,313 in government costs; $585,932 for the Highway Department; $615,432 for public works and facilities; $142,123 to maintain town highways; $147,015 to fund public safety; $140,241 on public health and sanitation; $70,365 for library costs; $114,454 for Pelham Lake Park operation and maintenance; $5,000 for culture and recreation; $5,000 for Old Home Day fireworks; $821,922 for pensions and insurance $12,167 or interest for a loan to fund Broadband construction; $99,246 for free cash projects; $3,063 to match a conservation grant. 

Rowe also OK’d transferring $20,000 to its savings fund for unforeseen expenses in fiscal 2020. 

Voters approved all capital expenses, used to improve facilities or purchase new equipment for Rowe. They are $49,000 for a police cruiser; $8,695 for a new physical server; $72,000 for a Fire Engine from Charlemont; $75,016 for fire department breathing apparatus equipment; $10,000 for a handicapped ramp for the library; $12,000 to repair drainage at the transfer station; $10,000 to buy technical equipment for the school; $5,000 for school parking lot improvements.

Other articles

■The town approved an article to establish the powers and duties of the fir chief.

■The town approved an article to establish the powers and duties of the police chief.

■The town approved an article to allow the Selectboard to enter into a 10-year contract starting July 1, 2020 with a qualified vendor selected by Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. 

■The town approved an article that allowed the town to “make available” annual reports rather than deliver them to save money. Reports cost $7.35 each to mail.  

Citizens petitions

■Voters approved the only citizens petition on the warrant, 28 in support and 21 opposed, which supports a state bill to create a special commission to examine the depiction of Native Americans on the Massachusetts seal and motto. The article describes ways in which the Native American population has been oppressed from colonization to today. Petitioners ask citizens to reflect on the “long chain of genocidal wars and deliberate policies of cultural destruction against Native Nations of this continent” in time for the 400th anniversary of European Colonists in 2020. 

Special Town Meeting 

The Special Town Meeting, held just before the Annual Meeting at 6:30 p.m., concerned transferring left-over town money or “free cash” to fund various municipal projects: $25,000 for the Board of Assessors’ consulting/legal support; $7,306 for fire/rescue lighting radio installation and emergency striping; $6,500 to remove an existing oil tank at Town Hall; $7,000 to fund emergency action plans for town-owned dams; $5,300 in free cash to the Fire Department to buy radio equipment and hose testing.

Reach Grace Bird at gbird@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280. 


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy