CHESHIRE -- Town officials have settled upon a $5,535,074 fiscal 2013 budget to present to residents at Town Meeting on June 11.
For several months, officials have made the budget their primary occupation, with Selectwoman Carol Francesconi calling the final product a "bare bones budget" at Tuesday night's Selectmen's meeting.
"[The budget] is under Proposition 2 1/2 by $3,000. It may not give every department what they want, but it keeps us within that limit," Francesconi said.
The budget represents a total increase of $358,172 to the town's operating expenses -- mostly in education costs. The Vocational School Budget accounted for $175,812 of the total figure and the Adams-Cheshire Regional School budget rose $99,025.
Last year, Selectmen were forced to cut an additional $161,215 from various town budgets and transfer $80,000 from the stabilization fund after the town voted down a Proposition 2 1/2 override.
With the exception of modest gains to town government offices, the Police Department and an additional $40,000 to the Highway Department -- which took the brunt of this fiscal year's cuts -- the proposed budget largely upholds this fiscal year's.
"The Highway Department is still sorely missing funds for needed road repairs and other projects," Francesconi said. "However, it's a fiscally responsible budget."
The town will also vote on about 10 warrant articles at the annual meeting. Officials expect
In the meantime, officials are advertising to fill the role of town administrator, as administrator Thomas Webb officially departs next week. Webb accepted the position of town administrator for Clarksburg recently and has tended to both towns since then. Webb will spend the remainder of this week and the beginning of next tending to the final odds and ends before moving exclusively to his new position next Wednesday.
Francesconi said the town has received several responses to the town administrator advertisements. With the budget completed, officials will be afforded additional time in the coming weeks to meet with candidates.
Also at the meeting, Selectmen acted as the town Conservation Commission to approve work on the planned solar array at Hoosac Valley High School, to be installed by developer JM Electric, of Lynnfield.
The work site -- the field across from the main office -- encroached by 55 feet into the wetlands protection buffer zone in one area, and Selectmen visited last week to inform their decision. The project will go before the Planning Board -- the last town department developers need to pass -- on June 18.
The proposed array at the school will create 570,000 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, or 80 percent of the school's energy needs.
In other business, Selectmen announced a town "Family Fun Night" scheduled for Friday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. behind Cheshire Elementary School, near the little league field. Rides, games and bounce houses will be available for children, with a movie showing planned for later in the evening. The concession stand will be open for dinner.
To reach Phil Demers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.