The operating total does not include the town’s contribution toward the annual budget of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District, the school committee of which has yet to adopt its own budget, though its deliberations started Thursday night.
In the spirit of reflection and self-examination, herein lies The Edge’s second annual Great Barrington year in review. It includes some select stories from other South County towns as well, along with embedded links to Edge stories for more information.
In a letter to the editor, Lauren Clark writes, “Leigh immersed herself in our community from the start and has continually served as a volunteer and as an elected official, having spent a term on the Great Barrington Finance Committee.”
“I have no idea how this election will turn out. I put signs up this weekend. I asked some people to put up signs and they said no. They liked everybody.”
— Great Barrington Selectboard Chair Steve Bannon
The Berkshire Hills school committee is expected to vote Thursday night to approve its own spending proposal of $26.2 million. The vote to approve it is almost a foregone conclusion after last week’s quiet and harmonious public hearing.
A common complaint among employees of the district and their families was that district officials did not adequately consult with faculty and staff about what was needed in terms of design and the accommodation of innovative curriculum, for example.
2018 has provided enough Great Barrington news to keep journalists busy and observers of town politics highly amused, signaling that the community dubbed “best small town in America” by Smithsonian Magazine continues to be a place in transition.
The selectboard announced that, about a year ago, it had commissioned a report by David Prickett of DPC Engineering to gather information on the water systems in the town, what the capital needs are and whether there are redundancies.
“We have mothers putting babies in dirty water for baths. Come on. I’m just furious over this. I’m grinding my teeth over this.”
— Housatonic resident and Housatonic Water Works customer Michelle Loubert
The rickety-looking bridge has long been the subject of complaints and concerns of nearby residents and passersby who have questioned its structural integrity and the appropriateness of allowing large vehicles such as dump trucks and semi-tractor trailers to rumble over its pockmarked decking.
Berkshire Hills’ director of operations Steven Soule will once again assess the condition of 50-year-old Monument Mountain Regional High School and draft the statement, which will explain a number of deficiencies including ‘building condition, access, health and safety, as well as deficiencies for instructional programs, especially science and career and technical facilities.’
If it passes at town meeting, the GB On Tap program intends to provide additional drinking fountains and bottle refilling stations throughout town. In addition, it will help participating merchants and restaurants offer refillable water bottles for sale.
Great Barrington’s assessment will rise a projected 6.7 percent to about $16.4 million, in part because of an increase in the town’s state-mandated minimum local contribution, which determines a minimum each town should pay based on the wealth of the community.
In the last few years, Stanton has guided the selectboard through the sale of the old Castle Street firehouse, the reconstruction of Main Street, and the approval for the conversion of the former Searles High School to an upscale 88-room hotel on Bridge Street.
Great Barrington — Both the Selectboard and Finance Committee last night (March 25) approved the proposed $10.9 million operating budget and recommended for voter approval at the May 4 Annual Town Meeting the Berkshire Hills Regional School District’s $13.5 million assessment. The endorsement did not come without dissent. The town budget’s approval received a split