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Leyden Selectboard backs 3 percent budget hike at TM


Staff Writer
Published: 5/16/2019 5:28:29 PM
Modified: 5/16/2019 5:28:19 PM

LEYDEN — Annual Town Meeting is Saturday, 9 a.m. at Town Hall.

■The Selectboard recommends a budget of $1,785,749, which would be a 3-percent increase over this year’s $1,733,053. The budget includes no major capital expenses, Town Administrator Michelle Giarusso said.

■Not included in that number are costs for the Pioneer Valley Regional School District. Like the other three towns of the district, Leyden’s Selectboard and Finance Committee expect to skip the Pioneer budget for now, and come back to it at a Special Town Meeting in June, tentatively planned for June 17.

Because of the recent decision to close Pearl Rhodes Elementary School, Pioneer’s financial plan was still changing by the time a budget proposal had to be submitted to the towns. The School Committee has since readied a budget nearly $50,000 less than it originally proposed, which will go before the towns in their June town meetings.

Pioneer’s budget won’t have to change significantly if Warwick Community School closes this spring, as the School Committee is now considering. Closing Warwick would cut about $200,000 from the 2019-2020 budget. Of that, about $30,000 would go to Warwick to defray building maintenance costs, and the rest would go to decrease the towns’ education costs, said School Budget Subcommittee Chairman Mike Townsley.

■Selectman Jeff Neipp said $25,000 is requested for the Fire Department, to bring the equipment up to code. The money would come from the town’s stabilization fund.

■In addition, $25,000 is requested to repurpose the Pearl Rhodes building, so that town departments can begin using the building.

■Leyden’s broadband internet is expected to be up and running this spring, said Broadband Committee Chairman Bob Ryan. Telephone poles are now being wired for internet, and “drops” to individual houses could be done as soon as March, weather permitting, Ryan said.

Town Meeting has regularly paid $62,911 to the broadband project in recent years. This year, with the system expected to be up and running, that money will be used for any unexpected repairs, Ryan said.

■Like many other Franklin County towns, Leyden’s Town Meeting will consider a resolution on changing the state’s flag and seal The resolution would formally state Leyden’s support for the formation of a special commission to review the flag and seal; and would request that State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, and State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, advocate and vote accordingly.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-772-0261 ex 261.

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