Heath TM sets budget, OK’s park expansion


Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2020 10:54:54 AM

HEATH — Voters approved a $1.4 million operating budget at Town Meeting on Saturday among other business.

Town Meeting also established a committee for overseeing broadband internet-related business, and provided an important approval for Heath to pursue an expansion to its protected woodlands parks.

Although a town budget was established, funding for the Mohawk Trail Regional School District was not approved, at the recommendation of the School Committee.

Heath's assessment to the Mohawk Trail district would have been $965,000, said Town Coordinator Hilma Sumner. But, considering the uncertainty of the state's budget due to the pandemic, the School Committee recommended that towns not approve their initial assessments, and instead wait until the school district is better able to determine its own budget. Towns tentatively expect to hold Special Town Meetings at some point this fall, Sumner said.

A new committee for overseeing Heath's in-development broadband internet service was also established by Town Meeting, called the Municipal Light Board.

The new committee will be staffed at the Annual Town Election in May. Until then, the Selectboard will continue to oversee broadband-related business.

Also notable, a potential expansion of Heath's conservation forest areas was essentially OK'd by Town Meeting.

The town has applied for a grant to purchase an 11-acre parcel of woodlands that would link Heath's existing 300 acres of woodlands with the hiking trails of Catamount State Forest, Sumner said.

The grant works as a reimbursement, so the town would have to pay for the initial purchase but would be reimbursed the purchase price by the grant program, Sumner said.

Town Meeting's approval allows Heath to seek financing for the purchase, with the expectation that the town is not actually spending any money.

But the town will only seek financing if it is approved for the grant, Sumner said.

Reach Max Marcus at
mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.

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