WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

SOUTHWICK — When residents gather to vote the town’s business on May 21, they will be asked to consider five articles during Special Town Meeting and 23 articles on the Annual Town Meeting warrant.

The Special Town Meeting will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the Annual Town Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Both are in the auditorium of Southwick Regional School at 93 Feeding Hills Rd.

During Special Town Meeting, in Article 1 voters will be asked to appropriate and transfer from reserve accounts the sum of $137,312 to fill fiscal year 2024 budget gaps of $116,412 in general government, $6,500 in emergency medical services, $4,900 in the sewer system, and $9,500 in the water system.

For Article 2, voters will be asked to transfer from free cash $77,460, to spend $65,000 for snow and ice removal, and $12,460 for a tourism grant.

For Article 3, they will be asked to transfer from free cash $35,000 to the Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund.

For Article 4, voters will be asked to transfer from free cash $500,000 for paving projects.

For Article 5, they will be asked to transfer $3,400 from two cemetery accounts to a different cemetery account, to purchase a new lawn mower.

The first five articles of the Annual Town Meeting warrant are consent agenda items related to the annual municipal election, town reports, appointment of minor officers, selling or trading obsolete equipment, and applying for and accepting grants for the town.

Article 6 will ask voters to amend the town Departmental Revolving Fund Bylaw to include the town’s Economic Development Commission.

For Article 7, voters will be asked to approve borrowing $800,000 for road repairs.

In Article 8, voters will be asked to approve the FY25 town budget proposed by the Finance Committee. The budget is based on revenues of $17,870,482, which is an increase of $879,000 from FY24, or a 5.04% increase.

General government spending is a proposed at $13,366,085, which is an increase of $573,341 from FY24, or 4%. General government includes public safety spending of $3,860,679, a 7% increase; public works for $2,067,896, a decrease of $2,744; human services spending of $434,668, an 8% increase; culture and recreation spending of $725,954, a 4% decrease; debt, interest and insurance spending of $3,137,980, a 1% increase.

Proposed spending for sewers is $1,338,376, which is an increase of $11,333 from FY24, or a 1% increase. Proposed spending for the public water system is $1,545,748, a decrease of 2%. Emergency medical services is budgeted for $1,620,273, a 25% increase. Finance Committee Chair Joe Deedy said the increase in EMS spending is the result of the Fire Department hiring three new firefighter-EMTs.

Article 9 will ask voters to fix the maximum amount that may be spent during FY25 for certain departments, boards, committees, agencies or officers. Those include spending limits of $60,000 for the inspectors account, $40,000 for the hazardous materials account, $50,000 for the town boat ramp account, $20,000 for the police chief lake account, $40,000 for the local lake account, $5,000 for the custodial services account, $10,000 for the Council on Aging account, $10,000 for the Council on Aging classes account, $ $80,000 for the DPW sidewalk account, $10,000 for the Council on Aging Housing Number Program account, $50,000 for the local wetland application account, $25,000 for the police cruiser account, and $10,000 for the Economic Development Committee account.

Article 10 asks voters to approve an allocation to the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District of $13,539,412. This is a 4.52% increase from FY24, when voters approved $12,940,426 to the regional school district.

Article 11 will ask voters to transfer $7,307 of free cash to the Opioid Special Revenue fund.

Article 12 is asking voters to authorize the Select Board to enter a five-year contract to buy wholesale water from the Springfield Water & Sewer Commission.

Article 13 is asking voters to assign Community Preservation Fund receipts to four reserve accounts, with $64,076 each from FY25 revenues for historical preservation, community housing and open space, and $434,172 to the general unreserved fund.

Article 14 asks voters to appropriates $32,038 for administrative expenses.

Article 15 asks voters to approve an allocation of $69,400 for the purpose of making the interest and principal payment on a $600,000 bond for alum treatment of Congamond Lake from the Community Preservation general unreserved fund.

Article 16 asks voters to allocate $22,569 from the Community Preservation general unreserved fund to make capital improvements to the Southwick Public Library yard. The funds will purchase a permanent story walk, picnic tables, benches, a trash can, security camera and percussion musical instruments that will be installed in the library’s yard.

Article 17 asks voters to allocate from the Community Preservation general unreserved fund $100,000 for a dredging project proposed in the South Cove of the Middle Pond of Congamond Lake.

Article 18 will ask voters to approve an amendment to the zoning bylaws related to nonconforming use, structures and lots. It will generally allow business and residential property owners to apply for a special permit from the Planning Board to make structural alternations to preexisting nonconforming buildings that will not be detrimental to the neighborhood while keeping the character of surrounding properties. The Planning Board will be allowed to grant a special permit, but it will not be obligated to grant one.

Article 19 will ask voters to approve minor changes to the zoning bylaws related to short-term rentals, per recommendations from the state attorney general’s office.

Article 20 asks voters to approve the taking by eminent domain two small storm drain easements and appropriate $20,000 for payment of damages, costs and incidental expenses.

Article 21 asks voters to accept as town ways Liquori Drive and Cody Lane.

Article 22 asks voter to accept the donation of land from the Phillip D. Bruno Family Trust at 13 Berkshire Ave.

cclark@thereminder.com | + posts