Bike-hike trail on Amherst warrant; public hearing is Jan. 14

AMHERST – Town officials will ask residents to put away $67,500 to help fund a bicycle and pedestrian trail between Walnut Hill Road and Baboosic Lake Road

Article 28 will be reviewed along with the town operating budget and several other spending articles at a public hearing Monday night, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room of town hall. New town administrator Dean Shankle is expected to be at the meeting.

The trail money would go into a capital reserve fund that anticipates a $675,000 grant to develop a 8,300-foot trail. The town’s contribution would be 20 percent and a similar warrant article would be voted on in 2020 to make up the balance.

A heated, three-bay DPW mechanic’s garage costing $140,000 is also on the warrant, along with a $200,000 article for a capital reserve fund for bridge repair (Article 29), part of an effort to replace six bridges over the next seven years.

There is also a $200,000 article to add to a capital reserve for police station renovations.

Three warrant articles are for bridges. That require no additional taxpayer funding because the money comes from state and town capital reserve fund. The bridges are Mont Vernon Road bridge over Ceasars Brook, Thornton Ferry Road 1 bridge over Beaver Brook and Brook Road bridge over Joe English Brook. The town expects 80 percent state reimbursement.

The town’s $14 million proposed operating budget for next year is up 1.7 percent. Although the cemetery budget shows the largest increase, that increase is just over $8,600 and all of the cemetery budget is offset by burial fees and interest on cemetery trust funds and does not require taxpayer funding.

A non-monetary article, Article 35, would waive the motor vehicle registration fee for one vehicle for anyone who was captured and incarcerated for 30 days or more while serving in a qualified war or armed conflict.

Another non-money article would establish a cap on the tax exemption for non-residential solar commercial generation facilities.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or