Sunderland Select Board approves library reopening, warrant for Town Meeting

  • Katherine Hand, director of the Sunderland Public Library, pictured in 2019. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Sunderland Public Library is set to reopen on Tuesday, June 15. Open hours will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 to 8 p.m. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2021 7:47:08 AM

SUNDERLAND — The Select Board has approved a June 15 reopening for the Sunderland Public Library and finalized the warrant for the annual Town Meeting.

Starting June 15, the library will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 to 8 p.m. Library Director Katherine Hand said all visitors will be required to wear a mask when inside the building during this “soft opening.”

“The reasoning for this is because we’re about to start a summer reading program for children,” Hand said. “As a courtesy to children, families and other high-risk individuals, we’re asking that everyone wear masks.”

The Sunderland Public Library’s board of trustees will meet at the end of the month to determine if the mask policy will be revised for July.

Hand said the library opening back up is a light at the end of the tunnel for staff and community members.

“There’s nothing sadder than an empty library. It’s been a little disheartening for our staff, working in an empty building for all these months,” Hand said. “We don’t see the library as a collection of books; it’s really the people that make it a library.”

In other business, annual Town Meeting will be held Saturday, June 12, at 4 p.m. behind the Town Offices. Since the event is outdoors, town officials are asking residents to bring a lawn chair along with a mask.

Residents will vote on a roughly $9 million budget for fiscal year 2022, which is a 2.78% increase from the current year. Voters will also decide on a Frontier Regional School budget of just under $2 million, a 14% increase.

Town Administrator Geoffrey Kravitz said the budget is a good start for the town as it emerges from the pandemic.

“We’re excited to get back to a more normal budget with less uncertainty,” Kravitz said in a phone interview. “Most of the budget has a little growth in it because we were being conservative last year.”

Kravitz said the town is “in a good place” and that he’s happy about the town returning to somewhat regular life.

“I hope the weather is nice for Town Meeting,” Kravitz said. “We’re looking forward to getting back to more normal.”

Article 6 will see voters decide on appropriating $21,933.66, a portion of the $75,000 requested, to upgrade the emergency radio system around town from a 400 megahertz frequency to a 800 megahertz frequency.

Kravitz said the plan to upgrade the radio system, which is used by the town’s police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel, has “been in the works for several years.”

Additional articles on the warrant include:

■Appropriating $9,000 for replacement firearms for the Police Department;

■Using $49,163 of the town’s free cash to buy back sick and vacation leave for Sunderland Elementary School employees;

■Voting on the town joining the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District;

■And a citizen’s petition to declare Sunderland a “safe community.” The proposed bylaw states that “to the extent permissible by law, no employee of any Sunderland town department shall perform the functions of an immigration officer.”

The full warrant is posted on Sunderland’s website and more budget information can be found at townofsunderland.us/town-clerk/pages/town-meetings.


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