Published: 05/21/2022 21:45:28
Modified: 05/21/2022 21:45:10
WHAT — Voters at Tuesday’s annual municipal meeting will consider approving a $5.73 million budget and several marijuana zoning bylaws, as well as allowing the Selectboard to go ahead. before with the Haydenville Road reconstruction project.
The municipal assembly will take place outside Whately Elementary School at 6 p.m. In case of rain, the assembly will be moved inside the school.
City officials will present Whately’s operating budget of $5.73 million for fiscal year 2023, up 5.73% from last year’s budget of $5.42 million. The largest budget increases come from higher operating costs for Whately Elementary School and city assessments for Frontier Regional School and Franklin County Technical School, much of which is due to changes in ‘registration.
For Frontier, the city’s valuation increased by $131,967 to nearly $1.05 million. In February, the school district’s director of business administration, Shelley Poreda, said Whately’s rating increase was not unusual, as each year typically sees a town with a drastic increase due to the registrations and other elements of the budget process.
“We have fluctuations like this every year. Sunderland saw it last year,” she said when presenting the February draft budget. “Every year it is recalculated.”
Section 22 will ask voters to consider allowing the Selectboard to undertake the approximately $9.6 million reconstruction of Haydenville Road, which will be paid for through the Federal Highway Administration.
The article asks voters for permission to authorize the Selectboard to acquire temporary and permanent easements for highway purposes on land adjacent to Haydenville Road. Planned locations of easements can be viewed at the City Clerk’s office. The article would also allow the Selectboard to ask the state legislature to remove certain land from conservation protection so that it can be used for roadway purposes, as well as enter into an agreement with Northampton if necessary to ensure easements on land owned by the city.
Sections 24 and 25 involve zoning changes, which would amend city bylaws to include the terms “marijuana courier” and “marijuana delivery guy.” Planning Council Chairman Donald Sluter said the changes would allow marijuana delivery services to operate in town. There are no marijuana retail dispensaries in Whately at this time, although two stores have been granted special permits to open in the former Sugarloaf Shoppes on Routes 5 and 10.
“We thought it was better to be ahead of the curve rather than behind,” Sluter explained. “Whately doesn’t have anyone who can sell yet. … If someone wanted to start a small delivery business, that would be no problem for us.
A marijuana courier, according to the wording of the regulations, would be authorized to deliver “finished” marijuana products, accessories and branded products directly to consumers, but is not authorized to sell, process, repackage or label these items. .
Marijuana delivery, however, would be entities licensed to purchase finished marijuana products and label, sell, and deliver those products directly to consumers. These companies would not be allowed to repackage products or operate a storefront.
Other notable items that voters will be asked to consider include:
■ Section 14 asks residents to appropriate $55,000 from the city’s vehicle stabilization fund to pay for a new hybrid police car for the Whately Police Department.
■Section 23 would reduce the term of the Planning Council from five years to three years.
■ Section 10 asks voters to appropriate $255,000 of FY21 free money to reduce the tax levy on residents. The city typically asks for $200,000, but has offered an additional $55,000 to help ease the burden of the increased budget on ratepayers.
Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.