School budget, dog bylaw changes top Shelburne Special Town Meeting

Staff Writer
Published: 9/24/2020 1:26:21 PM

SHELBURNE — Voters will be asked to approve nine articles at Special Town Meeting on Saturday, including one that aims to finalize the school budget and another that aims to amend the dog bylaw.

Special Town Meeting is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. outside the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School on Mechanic Street. Social distancing guidelines will be observed.

Article 1 seeks voter approval to raise by taxation $41,781 to supplement the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s operating budget, the warrant explains. In June, the school district’s member towns voted on an operating budget of $2.3 million.

“Districts asked for more time in finalizing their budget,” noted Town Administrator Terry Narkewicz.

In the spring, uncertainty over state aid and federal funding resulted in towns voting on a school budget, with the understanding their respective school committees would return in the fall with a revised budget.

Article 3 on the warrant seeks voter approval to raise by taxation $2,880 to be transferred to the Board of Health Expense Account to pay for the rental of a portable bathroom and hand-washing station that will be located near the Visitor’s Information Center on Bridge Street.

“Once COVID hit, all of the public restrooms in the towns of Shelburne and Buckland were no longer available, with the exception of maybe one or two restaurants that have remained open,” Narkewicz said. “It was a recommendation to rent a portable bathroom and hand-washing sink to accommodate visitors to the area.”

Voters will also be asked to approve several amendments to the existing dog bylaw. Shelburne is among the member towns of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office regional animal control program, Narkewicz said.

“It was recommended by the (animal control officer) to have uniform bylaws amongst all the member towns,” she said. “It definitely enhances what the town already had in place.”

The updated bylaw, she noted, includes sections on cats and livestock, as well as a section on humane treatment.

“They’re just really inclusive,” Narkewicz said.

The final two articles on the warrant, which both pertain to marijuana bylaws, are largely housekeeping articles, according to Liz Kidder, clerk to the Planning Board.

“Because of COVID ... it’s not as easy for people to participate” in discussions on proposed bylaw changes, Kidder said. “We deliberately chose to not present anything that was significant.”

Among the amendments needing approval Saturday is the deletion of the section of the bylaw that calls for a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments.

“The moratorium ended two years ago,” Kidder said.

The amendments also include several definition changes, including the definition of “marijuana establishment,” which includes a social consumption establishment.

“When we adopted these probably two years ago now, we just took the definitions that were in the draft state regulations,” Kidder explained. “When the final state regulations came out, they were slightly different … so we’re just making sure the Shelburne regulations are consistent with the state regulations.”

Kidder said a final public hearing on changes will be held prior to Special Town Meeting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Participants can join via Zoom using the meeting ID, 359 058 3442.

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




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