Colrain voters OK debt exclusion; funds to support school repairs

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2021 3:29:12 PM

COLRAIN — Voters ratified by ballot Tuesday evening support for repair work at Mohawk Trail Regional School, and to avoid a permanent tax increase for Colrain’s portion of $119,102, out of the total $665,000 borrowed by the school district, by exemption from Proposition 2½.

The vote passed with 57 votes in favor and 18 votes against, according to Town Clerk Eileen Sauvageau. Seventy-five residents voted out of a possible 1,040 registered voters, making for a 7.2 percent voter turnout.

According to the ballot question, which was posed to voters in a special election on Tuesday, repair work covered includes replacement of the heating boiler control system; resealing of parking lots; replacement of the fire alarm control panel and related sensors; replacement of and/or upgrades to hot water heaters, condenser units, hot water control valves and the freeze prevention system; and installation of additional safety railings to sections of the outside bleachers, for example.

“The whole vote is so we don’t have a permanent increase in our taxes, which the Proposition 2½ would create,” Sauvageau previously explained. “It’s a temporary increase for the time we need to pay whatever’s borrowed to do the repairs, and then it would go back down.”

In June, voters gave approval at Annual Town Meeting for the Mohawk Trail Regional School District to borrow up to $665,000 for repairs. Per the regional agreement, the cost of capital projects is shared by all eight district towns. Colrain’s estimated share of the $665,000 debt authorization is $119,102.

According to Mohawk Trail School Committee Chair Martha Thurber, Ashfield had its debt-exclusion election the same day as its Annual Town Meeting on June 5, and the debt exclusions for both Sanderson Academy and Mohawk Trail Regional School passed. During Heath’s Annual Town Meeting on May 8, voters approved their portion for district borrowing. Thurber also said Buckland “overwhelmingly” passed debt exclusions for both Buckland-Shelburne Elementary and Mohawk Trail Regional School at its Aug. 24 election.

Thurber noted none of the other four Mohawk Trail school district towns — Plainfield, Shelburne, Hawley and Charlemont — made the authorizations subject to a debt exclusion when they were passed at their respective Town Meetings.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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