New fire engine, budget increase on Warwick Town Meeting warrant

Warwick Town Hall.



Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 05-03-2024 1:43 PM

Modified: 05-07-2024 2:05 PM

WARWICK — Monday’s Annual Town Meeting will include a discussion on whether to buy a $680,000 vehicle for the Fire Department.

The article seeks $200,000 from the stabilization fund and another $480,000 through borrowing to purchase the new fire engine. According to the department, it has been 35 years since a new fire engine has been purchased.

Selectboard Chair Alan Genovese said the fire engine purchase and a proposed 8% increase to the town budget will likely be the biggest points of discussion on Monday. He added that there have been conversations about the need for a capital plan, as the town has been making big-ticket purchases without one.

“We’re hoping that people will understand this is very important to develop and put in place, and citizens will step forward and be a part of that process,” Genovese said.

He added that neither the Selectboard nor Finance Committee are against the purchase of the fire truck. He had voted against it, though, as he felt there wasn’t enough information at the time.

“I would like to have the town have a capital plan so the town can approach these in a methodical manner that is affordable to the town,” he said.

In addition, the Warwick School District is hoping to see support for its $1.1 million budget for fiscal year 2025. The budget includes a $125,991 payment to Pioneer for retiree insurance and pension liability. The current fiscal year’s budget was $986,593.

“We have stayed well within our 2023-2024 budget due to careful planning and an enormous amount of grant writing,” the district wrote in its recent newsletter. “In fact, we regularly won grants, bringing in $124,500 (not including entitlement grants, such as Title I). We will continue to fundraise and write grants next year and in future years.”

Among the goals for the school budget will be opening an inclusive junior kindergarten classroom for those who require special education support, which would limit the number of children being sent outside the district. The budget would also offset state funding that has come in lower than expected and fully fund an administrative assistant/director of operations.

Annual Town Meeting will take place on Monday, May 6, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.