Charlemont voters to consider recall bylaw, tax exemption changes

Staff Writer
Published: 5/21/2023 2:03:50 PM
Modified: 5/21/2023 2:03:32 PM

CHARLEMONT — Residents will decide if the town should add a recall bylaw, change tax exemptions for seniors, and purchase a police cruiser and fire truck at this year’s Annual Town Meeting.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Hawlemont Regional School.

Residents will vote on 31 warrant articles.

Recall provision

The article that is expected to draw the most attention is Article 24, which seeks to add a bylaw to recall town officials. Although the proposal, originally pitched through a citizen’s petition, came before voters at last year’s Annual Town Meeting, voters ultimately tabled the article and decided to create a committee to draft the proposed bylaw.

The Charlemont Recall Provision Committee added the article to this year’s warrant after modeling the bylaw after a similar provision from Colrain.

The recall process would begin after 50 signatures are collected from registered voters, the town clerk will create forms to distribute.

Once 10% of registered voters have signed these forms, the recall request will be brought to the Selectboard. Then an election process will ensue between 64 and 90 days later.

Tax exemptions

Also on the warrant are three articles brought forward by the Board of Assessors that would alter tax exemptions.

Article 18 ties a senior tax exemption to a percent increase determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Currently, the exemption is a flat $175 off the tax bill.

Article 19 would lower the minimum personal property value eligible for exemption from $2,500 to $1,000.

Article 20 increases the yearly income and asset limits to qualify for the senior real estate exemption.

This article increases the receipt limit and the estate limit, and varies for single and married people.

“Our tax rate is high,” said Selectboard Chair Valentine Reid. “Any mechanism we can take to help seniors, I support personally.”

Adopt private roads

Voters will also be asked to accept two currently private roads, Mountain View Drive and Potter Road Extension, as public ways.

The town received grant money to bring these two roads up to standards, but would need to approve them becoming public ways before construction work can commence.

Bringing the roads up to standards could make them more attractive for builders, and could add fewer than a dozen buildable lots, according to Reid.

“The challenges in Franklin County all start with housing,” Reid said. “This wouldn’t make a big impact … but adding building lots is notable.”

Other articles

Articles 29 to 31 on the Town Meeting warrant ask voters to approve changing the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s regional agreement that outlines the funding formula for town assessments.

These articles came to the town last minute, and are several pages long. They have already been voted down by some member towns, and need unanimous approval from all towns in the district for the changes to take effect.

Should the town assessment formula change, it would better align with the state’s funding formula by factoring in School Choice students and residents who opt to attend a charter school.

The town will also vote on a budget for fiscal year 2024, which had yet to be finalized as of Thursday, according to Town Administrator Sarah Reynolds.

Other votes involving money include choosing to put the town’s extra free cash toward lowering the tax levy or stabilization. The Finance Committee recommends a transfer to stabilization.

The town will also vote on using $37,500 to buy a fire truck, using a matching grant to cover additional costs, and using $58,210 to replace the town’s 2008 police cruiser.

Visit to see the full 31-article warrant.

Reach Bella Levavi
at 413-930-4579 or


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