Rowe voters make quick work of Annual Town Meeting articles

  • Voters, who gathered outdoors at Rowe Elementary School, approved all articles on the Annual Town Meeting warrant Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/16/2021 4:17:20 PM

ROWE — All 27 articles on the warrant were approved at Annual Town Meeting on Saturday morning, including a fiscal year 2022 operating budget of $4.1 million.

The meeting, which took place outdoors at the Rowe Elementary School, was brief, with few articles generating comment or discussion.

Other articles on the warrant included approving buying and equipping a new utility vehicle, at a cost of $300,000, for the Fire Department.

“After a two-year review of what we really need in this town, we came up with selling one of the big trucks — one of the 2003s — and buying this new vehicle, which will respond on all calls,” said Fire Chief Dennis Annear. “It will be equipped to handle the medical calls; it will handle your carbon monoxide calls, it will handle chimney fires.”

The vehicle will have a 500-gallon-per-minute pump with compressed air foam and 400 gallons of water, according to Annear. The truck will also be easier to maneuver and get up steep driveways.

“The compressed air foam is a technology this town hasn’t seen yet, but it pretty much doubles the effective value of that water,” he said.

Resident James Lively asked for the trade-in value of the 2003 truck, which Annear estimated to be about $75,000.

Voters also approved establishing a new highway stabilization fund for the purpose of funding repairs and improvements, including paved roads, bridges, culverts and drains.

“In some cases, we’re able to get grant or special funding from the state to pay for some of these things,” said Selectboard Chair Charles “Chuck” Sokol. “But long term, we worked with the (Department of Public Works) and administrative offices in Town Hall to figure out how much money the town, on average, puts into road repairs each year. … It’s about $450,000 that we’d be expecting to incur as costs … which greatly exceeds the Chapter 90.”

The article, however, did not appropriate any money into the account.

For Article 16, Park Commissioner Laurie Pike explained that with the cancellation of the Grasshopper Program this summer due to COVID-19 protocols and not being able to find a qualified director, funds from that program have been re-appropriated to the park budget to hire additional youths. The result was a $20,000 increase in wages and $1,500 increase in operations.

The plan is for those funds to be returned to the DPW’s budget in fiscal year 2022.

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

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