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Monroe voters OK budget, land easements

MONROE – Twenty voters came out to approve 34 annual town meeting warrant articles and adopt a $235,003 operating budget for this town of 121 residents.

At Monday’s annual town meeting, they unanimously granted easements on townowned land for the installation of poles, power lines and related equipment for the Hoosac Wind Project, which is to include nine 1.5-megawatt turbines on Crum Hill in Monroe and 10 turbines for Bakke Mountain in Florida. That project is now under construction, and the easement rights will enable Iberdrola Renewables to connect the wind farm to the electric grid.

Voters agreed to let selectmen to apply for a grant of up to $1 million to upgrade the town’s wastewater treatment plant. If the town gets a grant/loan from the USDA Rural Water and Waste Disposal Utilities Program, the town would pay for 25 percent of sewer upgrade costs.

Other approved expenditures included:

• $195,483 for public school education for children in kindergarten through high school, and $37,258 for operating expenses at the Northern Berkshire Vocational School.

• $31,602 for salaries and compensation for elected and appointed town officers.

• $1,405 for its Franklin Regional Council of Governments core assessment and $468 for FRCOG s regional health agent services.

• $52,000 for the salaries and operations at the sewer treatment plant.

• $16,000 for a full municipal audit.

• $32,000 for construction, maintenance and repair of roads.

• $16,542 for the Franklin County Retirement System.

• $18,000 for fuel for the Highway Department.