Residents to consider budget, land acquisition at Heath Annual Town Meeting

Staff Writer
Published: 7/30/2020 12:42:15 PM

HEATH — Residents will be asked to approve 24 articles on Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting warrant, including a town operating budget of roughly $1.4 million.

Annual Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at 18 Jacobs Road. The meeting will be held outdoors under a tent, and all attendees will be expected to wear a mask.

Town Coordinator Hilma Sumner said there are differences in opinion over a line item in the general operating budget, which is detailed in Article 3, for “Heath School Maintenance and Utilities.”

Sumner explained that the Finance Committee is recommending the amount of $16,000 be reduced to zero, as there is an account with money paid to Heath by the Mohawk Trail Regional School District as part of an agreement from when Heath Elementary School closed in 2018. The money was intended to help with maintenance costs for the first few years.

Article 19, meanwhile, seeks voters’ approval to establish a five-member Municipal Light Board. Currently, the Selectboard also serves as the Municipal Light Board, as it has since the broadband process began several years ago.

The article was submitted by the Selectboard upon recommendation from Heath’s legal counsel.

“It’s time to go ahead and establish an elected board,” Sumner said.

Another article on the warrant asks voters to approve an amendment to the town’s general bylaws, which would require that anyone who is appointed to a town board, commission or committee to have been a full-time resident of Heath for at least six months prior to appointment.

One of the last articles on the warrant seeks voter approval to appropriate $20,000 to provide interim financing — subject to receiving the Mohawk Woodlands Partnership implementation grant — for the acquisition of a roughly 11.2-acre parcel of land along an abandoned portion of Flagg Hill Road Extension.

If acquired, the land will be used for hiking trails. If the grant is not awarded, however, the land will not be purchased.

Sumner said the warrant is relatively “low key” overall.

“Sometimes,” she said, “we get surprised what people might object to, or raise questions about.”

To view the full warrant, visit bit.ly/30bdVK4.

Reach Mary Byrne at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbyrne@recorder.com.




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