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Massachusetts House seeks big spending increase, tax relief In $56.2B budget
04-12-2023 5:15 PM

By Chris Lisinski

BOSTON — Legalizing online lottery sales and giving expected wagering revenue to child care providers, significant spending on environmental agencies, and major new investments in education and transportation headline the $56.2 billion state budget...

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Pathfinder budget dominates Belchertown TM discussion
05-14-2024 4:47 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

BELCHERTOWN — Residents formalized the position of town manager in town bylaws, adopted a zoning bylaw for stand-alone battery storage systems and endorsed a roughly $61.6 million budget for fiscal year 2025 at Monday’s Town Meeting — though some...


Easthampton to use built-up reserves to help cover $57.1M budget next year
05-07-2024 6:08 PM

By ALEXA LEWIS

EASTHAMPTON — As several other Hampshire County communities have spent the spring budget season grappling with how to overcome significant funding gaps brought on the expiration of support from pandemic funding, the city of Easthampton is sitting on...


School budget tops busy Town Meeting agenda in South Hadley
05-05-2024 10:39 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — A zoning change to allow multifamily housing in the town’s business district along major corridors, a town budget encompassing a new Department of Human Services, a feasibility study for a new elementary school, and a school budget that...


South Hadley Fire District 2 to hold annual meeting Monday
05-02-2024 1:07 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — Fire Distri`ct No. 2 voters will vote to approve a $1.73 million fire department budget and a roughly $902,000 water department budget during its annual meeting on Monday, May 6.The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the district...


South Hadley residents will pay more for trash, wastewater rates next fiscal year
04-22-2024 2:41 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — Property owners can expect to pay more starting July 1 for trash removal and wastewater service following the Select Board’s recent decision to increase rates for both services.At its April 16 meeting, the board adopted a new automated...


South Hadley to hear residents’ thoughts on new trash system, wastewater rate increases at Saturday hearing
04-11-2024 2:47 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — Residents will have a chance to weigh in on separate proposals that call for increasing wastewater rates and adopting a new trash system during two public hearings on Saturday at the Senior Center.Beginning at 9 a.m., the wastewater...


Belchertown Select Board gives Saunders earful over state funding
04-11-2024 12:45 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

BELCHERTOWN — A week after the town’s school system laid off 17 staff members due to funding woes, the Select Board had a simple message for state Rep. Aaron Saunders during a recent meeting — help us.Saunders, D-Belchertown, however, was not brimming...


South Hadley schools expect layoffs to approach 30 positions
03-22-2024 5:11 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY— The school district anticipates cutting at least 27 positions — the most any school system in Hampshire County has announced so far this spring — next fiscal year as officials grapple with a $1.2 million budget deficit being driven by...


By 2-1 margin, South Hadley voters back merger of fire districts
03-06-2024 11:56 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — By a wide margin, voters at Tuesday’s election said they want the town’s two fire districts to merge.Of the 2,973 residents who answered the nonbinding ballot question, 2,029 people voted “yes” to petition the Prudential Committees of...


South Hadley officials exploring ways to close $2.3M budget gap
02-22-2024 5:44 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — Facing a $2.3 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year, government and school officials agreed this week to head back to the drawing board to craft a spending plan that adequately meets the town’s needs.“I think what’s keeping us...


Northampton schools face $2.75M budget gap next year, staffing cuts on table
12-22-2023 3:05 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The Northampton Public School district is facing a potential budget shortfall of more than $2.75 million next fiscal year, with school administrators signaling that staffing cuts were not off the table to close the gap — a potential...


Fresh start for schools: As classes begin, Northampton’s new school superintendent inspired to face challenges ahead
08-30-2023 9:00 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The first day of school for Northampton Public School students begins Thursday, but for new Superintendent Portia Bonner, it feels more like homecoming.Though most of her broad and deep educational career over the past three decades has...


Pharmacist-prescribed birth control OK’d in state budget
08-13-2023 10:48 AM

By MADDIE FABIAN

NORTHAMPTON — Registered pharmacists in Massachusetts can now prescribe hormonal birth control under a bill passed in the state budget this week.The legislation, “An Act Relative to Hormonal Contraceptives,” which is co-sponsored by state Rep. Lindsay...


Education wins in $56B state budget
08-09-2023 5:31 PM

By Sam Drysdale

BOSTON — Described as wins by education advocates across the state, all public school students will have access to free breakfast and lunch, and undocumented immigrants who went to high school in Massachusetts can now qualify for lower in-state...


Northampton’s ‘student officer’ initiative seeks to feed training pipeline
06-20-2023 4:24 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — In the coming weeks, Police Chief Jody Kasper expects to hire three new “student officers” to join the department, the start of an initiative that she believes will help recruit new talent, relieve a stretched-thin police force and...


Easthampton council focuses on ELL in schools as it passes city budget up 7.5%
06-11-2023 6:00 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

EASTHAMPTON — The City Council approved a $52.2 million budget for next fiscal year Wednesday night, but not before council members engaged in significant discussion on the importance of maintaining specific programming in the city’s...


Mayor Sciarra unveils $132M budget for Northampton: New climate action department among highlights
05-21-2023 3:08 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Next fiscal year will bring several significant developments for the city, including the creation of a new climate action department, the opening of a new Resilience Hub, a proposal to hire student officers to address a staffing shortage...


Southampton OK override for 24-hour ambulance, police coverage; 2 new Select Board members elected
05-18-2023 4:26 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

SOUTHAMPTON — The town will soon have around the clock paramedic service and police coverage after voters narrowly approved a $332,500 Proposition 2½ override at Tuesday’s municipal election.The approval, by a vote of 441-352, will give the town the...


Southampton Finance Committee head resigns, citing pressures of the position
05-18-2023 4:25 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

SOUTHAMPTON — The leader of the town’s Finance Committee has resigned after a rocky budget season, saying that the panel doesn’t have enough volunteers to meet its obligations and that even if it did, the town often provides out-of-date or inaccurate...


Southampton voters to decide on override for emergency services at Tuesday election
05-14-2023 4:40 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

SOUTHAMPTON — As one of the smaller municipalities in the region, the town relies on part-time employees to maintain police, fire and emergency medical services.However, in the last decade, Southampton’s call volume has nearly doubled and finding...

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