North County Notebook: Aug. 21, 2023

Warwick Town Clerk John Paganetti, left, speaks with the Warwick Selectboard and Town Coordinator David Young last week about scheduling a special election for Oct. 23.

Warwick Town Clerk John Paganetti, left, speaks with the Warwick Selectboard and Town Coordinator David Young last week about scheduling a special election for Oct. 23. FOR THE RECORDER/AALIANNA MARIETTA

Published: 08-21-2023 7:00 AM

School Committee to hold elections for two new seats

WARWICK — An election is planned for Monday, Oct. 23, for voters to choose two additional members of the Warwick School Committee, raising the total membership to five.

The election will be held at Town Hall starting at noon.

According to Town Clerk John Paganetti, residents can return nomination papers until Monday, Sept. 4.

Paganetti also said he expects those who enter the race to seek terms lasting either two or three years, but Town Coordinator David Young emphasized that the Selectboard will ultimately determine the terms of the positions.

According to Young, the terms for School Committee members must be as “equally scattered to the best extent possible, but with five [positions] and three terms, you’re going to have the odd one out.”

Selectboard talks fixing Town Meeting revenue error

WARWICK — The Selectboard must correct a revenue error that was included in an article from May’s Annual Town Meeting.

According to Town Coordinator David Young, attendees voted to transfer loan proceeds in the amount of $31,102 to reduce the tax levy for fiscal year 2024. However, the actual amount of loan proceeds available is $19,381.17.

To correct the mistake, Young said the Selectboard must either allow residents to first rescind the vote on the specific article in a Special Town Meeting and revote on transferring the correct amount, or simply refrain from any action.

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Leaving the error as is will recalculate the tax rate based on the $31,102 amount, Young said.

“But the money that is available will not be lost, it will be picked up the next year,” he clarified. “The $30,000 was fictional, but the $19,000 that it should have been is real money and it’s still available for appropriation.”

The Selectboard did not decide on any course of action during last week’s meeting.

Young described the money as a revenue “cushion” for the town’s budget.

“We take our free cash and put it into other available funds like this and we apply them to reduce tax levy,” he said. “We’ve not gotten into any trouble because we run a pretty sound ship, but if we were getting tighter and tighter and tighter at the end of every year, that revenue disappears and the cushion that you feel like you have goes away.”

Over the last three years, Young said the town transferred these safety net funds to stabilization accounts for major purchases.

Selectboard expresses its frustration with Highway Dept.

WARWICK — Town Coordinator David Young and Selectboard Chair Alan Genovese expressed frustration with Highway Superintendent Larry Delaney’s absence and failure to share the credentials of his recent temporary hires, an agenda item for the board’s meeting last week.

According to Genovese, the highway superintendent must share the credentials and licenses of any hires with the Selectboard within two weeks. Next, the Selectboard must discuss the credentials with the Highway Commission before the commission can recommend the Selectboard finally appoint the hires.

Referring to Delaney, Genovese said, “If he’s hired people in this emergency status, and we still haven’t done that, it’s problematic. And we’re doing this in a vacuum because he’s not here to talk about it. The commission is not here to comment on it.”

Young also expressed concern that Delaney lacks a license for hoisting equipment. According to Selectboard member Keith Ross, Delaney is in the later stages of earning the license.

The Selectboard agreed to give Delaney until the end of the week to send Young the documentation and credentials for himself and all Highway Department employees.

When reached by phone on Friday, Delaney declined to comment before speaking with the commission.

Selectboard allocates $2K to install water bottle filling station

WARWICK — The Selectboard unanimously approved spending $2,000 from the Warwick Community School Improvement Account to purchase and install a new water fountain and water bottle filling station in the school, per Superintendent Carol Learned-Miller’s request.

According to Selectboard member Brian Snell, the touch-free water bottle filling station and small fountain will include a filter system, replacing the existing water fountain “that we know is probably going to need work.”

Snell said the town will buy and install the water station, but the school will maintain it.

“If we buy it, they’ve got to fix it and keep the filters up,” Snell explained.

The Selectboard hopes to install the station by the start of the upcoming school year.

Powers Institute Museum will open Sunday, Sept. 3

BERNARDSTON — The Powers Institute Museum at 20 Church St. will be open Sunday, Sept. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Attendees will be assisted. Ample parking is behind the building off Library Street.

An elevator is available to access the second floor, as well as stairs. Admission is free.

“We are looking for photos of the Perry Farm picnic grounds across from the farm on Brattleboro Road,” a notice from Bernardston Historical Society President Louella Atherton mentions. “It was once a flourishing gathering spot for family reunions and the like. We would also appreciate photos of the Kiwanis Park and pavilion in North Bernardston. Scenic shots are hard to come by.”