Cummington approves $2 million budget, $50,000 to cap landfill
CUMMINGTON — Voters passed a $2,020,500 fiscal 2014 budget Friday night at the annual Town Meeting. Finance Committee Chairman Dennis W. Forgea said this is a 3.8 percent increase over last year’s budget of $1943,545,00.
Residents approved $894,259 for the Central Berkshire Regional School District, $233,315 for the vocational school and $7,130 for the library.
There was considerable discussion on an article that asked voters to approve $50,000 to cap the town’s landfill. Select Board member James Drawe said the town has been trying to fix the landfill for the last 14 years, but difficulties with contractors and engineers continued to delay the project.
“We can’t say for certain who is actually responsible for the problem, we just know that it has to be fixed,” he said.
According to Drawe, the trouble began one year after the landfill was originally capped and the topsoil slid off the underlying rubber membrane, stretching it and causing it to fail. Roger Gunn, a Board of Health member who also serves as clerk of the works for the landfill project, said that the DEP is requiring the town to take action.
“The landfill was steeper than it should have been back when they originally capped it,” Gunn said. “The DEP has been very patient with us, but we really need to take care of this. The $50,000 will let us do that and hopefully have it wrapped up by fall.”
Select Board member Monica Vandoloski urged voters to approve article.
“We need to get this monkey off our back,” she said. “I beg you people, please, we really need to finish this.”
When the vote was taken, the article was passed unanimously.
After hearing Ann-Renee Larouche, energy specialist at Hampshire Council of Governments, explain how the town could save money on its municipal energy bills by using net metering energy credits produced from solar generating facilities, the town voted to authorize the Select Board to enter into renewable energy purchases or net metering purchase agreements.
“Voting yes tonight would just allow the board of selectmen to enter into contracts and participate in the program if they choose. It does not obligate the town to participate,” Larouche said.
Voters also approved spending $29,746 for a five-year lease of a John Deer 6105M cab tractor and an Allied U.S. mower, $3,746 for a John Deer brush tractor/mower, and 20,000 on a new trash compactor for the town.