Select Board/ Finance Com. :TOWN-WIDE BUDGET HEARING

Tuesday, March 26, 6:45 pm until 8:00 pm
Town Hall/remote
A meeting of the Selectboard

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https://zoom.us/j/94460276391?pwd=N294R3hyQzlyMUtsZ1ZkMTBjL3BPdz09

Meeting ID: 944 6027 6391

Passcode: 650146

Meeting of Selectboard

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Tom Hankinson, Chair, at 6:45 PM
  • Present: Patricia Duffy, at 6:45 PM
  • Present: Melissa Colbert, at 6:45 PM

Also Present:

  • Present: Tom H.
  • Melissa C.
  • Pat D.
  • Margie M.
  • Lisa S.
  • for the Select Board
  • Finance Committee members: Isaiah R.
  • Phil C.
  • Bethany S.
  • and Nancy G. Present for the School Committee: Becky T.
  • Jess R.
  • Tilman W. and Anne Elise O. Members of the public were present via zoom and in person.

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 6:45 PM

Meeting closed: 9:00 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

    • Meeting Opened / Attendance Taken (see above).

    • No minutes to approve.

  2. Appointments

    • 6:45: Bylaw changes hearing

      General Discussion...
      Bylaw change hearing
      The hearing was opened at 6:45. Margie explained that when the Community Preservation Commission was formed there wasn’t an Affordable Housing Trust. The change to be made to the Code will accurately reflect that the Affordable Housing Trust is allotted a member on the CPC
      There were no questions from the public.

    • 7:00 : Budget Hearing/Select Board sign Millers Rd. documents - (Fire Chief review of reserve transfer request with FinCom)

      General Discussion...
      The orders were signed and notarized. George Lockwood was present but did not speak.

      Tilman Wolf, Leverett’s representative to the Regional School Committee, explained that the cuts that were previously agreed upon by the four towns had recently been questioned when people realized the “student facing” cuts being proposed. This caused the regional school to propose a separate set of cuts that would require an 8.29% increase for Leverett (an additional $65,000) over the 4% increase. The changes brought the cuts from $1.6 million down to $780,000 and returned the academic positions and programs. The Select Board felt strongly that the Region should have called a four-town meeting to explain the changes.
      Many questions were asked and Tilman answered to the best of his ability. The Regional School Committee wThe Finance Committee will meet separately with their full board to discuss and vote on this issue.
      Brian Cook notified the Select Board and Finance Committee that the Fire Department has incurred unexpected vehicle repair bills and expects to need $5-8,000 in reserve funds to cover its bills through the end of the fiscal year.
      The Finance Committee will meet separately with their full board to discuss and vote on this issue.
      Brian Cook notified the Select Board and Finance Committee that the Fire Department has incurred unexpected vehicle repair bills and expects to need $5-8,000 in reserve funds to cover its bills through the end of the fiscal year.
      The Finance Committee will meet separately with their full board to discuss and vote on this issue.
      Brian Cook notified the Select Board and Finance Committee that the Fire Department has incurred unexpected vehicle repair bills and expects to need $5-8,000 in reserve funds to cover its bills through the end of the fiscal year.


      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To approve the Millers Road Bridge orders of taking as presented. Vote: 3-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion (Tom): To vote for the lower (original) figure given. Not seconded. The suggestion was made to review the rest of the town budget then go back to the regional school budget.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion (Phil to the Finance Committee): To pass the town budget with the higher regional school budget included. Vote: 2 in favor; 2 opposed.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion (Phil to the Finance Committee): To pass the lower budget with a raise and appropriate special article to make up the $70,000 difference. No vote.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion (Tom to the Select Board): To vote for the lower budget with a special raise and appropriate article to cover the difference. Vote: 3-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

    • 8:00: Natalie Blais

      General Discussion...
      Representative Blais appeared via zoom for her yearly check-in with the Select Board.
      She highlighted her work on education; transportation and rural aid. Her priorities for the coming year include additional aid for rural roads; disaster preparation and additional funding for schools. She took questions from the audience and board members.

  3. Business

    • Appoint David Powicki to Con Com.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To appoint David Powicki to the Conservation Commission. Vote: 3-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

    • Approve minutes of Feb. 12

      General Discussion...
      The minutes of March 12 were approved.

    • Review and discuss agenda wording changes (no public comment)

      General Discussion...
      The conversation about changes to the structure of the Board meetings was put on hold for the next meeting.

  4. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Lisa Stratford

Minutes approved on Thursday, May 2, 2024