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West County Notebook: Sept. 25, 2019

  • Shelburne Falls Senior Center Director Cathy Buntin chats with seniors in February 2018. Buntin recently provided an update on the Senior Center expansion project to the selectboards and finance committees of Buckland, Ashfield and Shelburne. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Published: 9/23/2019 12:21:41 PM
How to identify census takers

SHELBURNE — The 2020 census is now underway, with the Census Bureau asking for information from Franklin County residents through mid-October.

Shelburne Town Clerk Joe Judd reported that the Census Bureau is working with local municipalities and law enforcement throughout the state. Judd conveyed tips to identify official census takers.

■Census takers must present an ID badge that includes a photograph of the field representative, a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date.

■Census takers may be carrying a phone, laptop and/or bag that are emblazoned with the Census Bureau logo.

If Shelburne residents have questions about the census process, they’re encouraged to contact Judd at 413-625-0300, ext. 3.

Senior Center director provides expansion update

SHELBURNE FALLS — Senior Center Director Cathy Buntin says the Senior Center expansion project is progressing, and she recently presented an update to the selectboards and finance committees of Ashfield, Buckland and Shelburne.

First, Buntin said a variety of options for joint ownership of the Senior Center are being explored. This includes multi-town ownership, single-town ownership, ownership by a 501(c)3 and ownership by a 502(c)2.

Funding divisions are also being considered, including: an equal apportionment model, where each member town would pay one-third of the total; a five-year average use model, with each town paying proportionally based on the use of its citizens; and a wealth capacity model, which would use data from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to come up with the percent of the total each town should pay.

Buntin has also developed a preliminary, projected operating budget for the Senior Center for fiscal year 2024, when the new facility should be operating.

Some time has been given to the four sites under consideration for the Senior Center going forward: renovating Mole Hollow Candle; new construction adjacent to Arms Academy; renovating and expanding the Buckland Police Station; or improving upon the Masonic building, where the center currently resides.

“We’re doing everything at once,” Buntin said of the process.

At the Sept. 11 joint meeting, each of the three member towns were tasked with bringing these considerations up at their own Selectboard and Finance Committee meetings, and bring questions and preferences back to the Expansion Committee, Buntin said.

Slides from Buntin’s presentation to town officials can be viewed at

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