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Deerfield and Bernardston Accept PWA; Northfield Rejects School Proposal

Greenfield Must Approve Water Plan; Deerfield Votes Sewers

Residents of Deerfield and Bernardston at special meetings last night voted to accept PWA grants for sewer and water project construction, respectively, and to raise the necessary additional amount for installation of the two systems.

Northfield simultaneously rejected a project for a high school and gymnasium to cost $84,900. Under the proposed plan the government was to have contributed $38,000 of the cost.

Bernardston Accepts, 161 to 49

BERNARDSTON- After more than 20 years deliberation on the feasibility of a municipal water system here, voters last night tempted by a 45 per cent federal PWA grant registered hearty approval of construction of a $77,000 system.

Announcement of the 161 to 49 vote to accept brought a burst of cheer,s from a large group which waited until nearly 11 p m for the ballots to be counted.

Discussion of the proposition was opened by Fred Donaldson, who gave figures on the cost of construction and told how the tax rate and property values would be affected.

Cost of the project would be approximately $77,000 Donaldson said. Under the PWA the government will grant $34,650, 45 per cent of the total cost. The remaining 55 per cent of $42,350 will be the cost to the town. This can be borrowed at a rate of 2 1/2 to three percent over a period of 30 years, he claimed.

Taxes Offset

Assuming the maximum likely interest was three per cent. Donaldson said the first years' interest charged would be $1,270.50 on a total valuation of $470,370 there will be an estimated increase in the tax rate the first year of $5.07, he added.

To offset this tax increase Donaldson said the town would be classified by the New England Fire Insurance exchange in class D instead of E, reducing insurance rates more than half. Reductions would be from $6.50 for houses with shingled roofs to $3.10 a thousand and from $6 for slate roofs to $2.70, he said.

Donaldson cited a saving of $9.03 for his own pocketbook by the installation of the system. He revealed a saving of $31.35 on the insurance for his property valued at $9500. With a tax increase totalling only $23.32 he showed that he would gain $8.03.

Herman Weimers, who together with Donaldson has been instrumental in procuring fact and figures on the long-sought water system, reported the town of Greenfield would supply Bernardston with water after the pipe line had been installed. He said by renting water from Greenfield the Bernardston water commission would not be troubled by expense of repair and general maintenance after the system had been constructed.

90 Pct. Local Labor

In answer to a question, whether no Bernardston men would be employed digging the ditches for the system, Weimers explained that 90 per cent or as much as possible of the labor would be hired in Bernardston.

Weimers said there would be 30 fire hydrants and an under-ground reservoir on Ryther Hill had been recommended. Pipes, he said, would consist of a 12-inch line on South street and the rest would be six, eight and 10 inch types.

The only resident who expressed any definite verbal objection to construction of the system was Ray Dunnell, who said he doubted if the Greenfield district would maintain the cost of repairs and other expenses, merely for rentals.

Dunnell said he also felt there would be considerable difficulty in obtaining money from the government. He said, Hinsdale, which is completing a sewer and water supply system, has not yet received one cent of its federal allotment. The laxity of the government, Dunnell said, caused considerable delay and extra expense in the construction.

In answer to Dunnell, Weimers said Bernardston has been assured of its 10 per cent of the government grant as soon as three copies of the town's approval are in the hands of PWA officials in Boston. The Hinsdale system was built on a different agreement, he pointed out, whereby the town would receive 30? per cent of the cost to be applied to the first five payments. Bernardston he claimed, has been assured of the federal money for construction costs and that the expense for engineering work will not be eaten up by the cost of the project.

Weimers also pointed out that the job must be started by Dec 15 and that approximately four months would be required for construction.

Sees Health Guard

Dr F Wilton Dean said he favored a town water supply system from a health standpoint. Whereas spring water now used in some of the Bernardston homes may be pure and sanitary, Dr. Dean said there is a great chance for impurities in the wells and rain water cisterns used extensively.

There was some question as to whether or not the cost of construction might exceed $77,000, but Weimers and Donaldson declared this would not be likely. They also said rents would be from $10 to $13 yearly, the same as to Greenfield residents, and that of the estimated 100 users there would probably be 50 the first and second years.

Before the meeting was closed Fred Wright, moderator, was asked to appoint a committee of three to work with the Greenfield water commissioners in establishing a fixed rental basis. They are Warren Root, Harold H. Streeter, and Grenville Moat.

The Bernardston fire district, Weimers explained, starts at the town line at the Bernardston, Gill and Fall river junction and then follows the town line to the railroad crossing, up the brook to 200 feet beyond the George Hale place. From there the district follows along the foot of West mountain over the mountain and then to the state road. The district follows along the road to 200 feet beyond the James Parker lot, to within 200 feet of Mrs. Hale's lot, and then goes 200 feet north to the brook. From the brook the line goes to the old cutlery.

The meeting was opened at about 8 in the basement of the town hall, but because of the large attendance adjournment was made to the upstairs hall. This was also filled and a large number remained standing in the entrance. After discussion of the proposal, residents voted on a "yeas" or "no" ballot system.

Sewer System Adopted by Deerfield

DEERFIELD- Residents of this town last night voted to pass every article recommended by the finance committee including measures providing for the construction of a $198,000 sewer system with PWA aid. There was little discussion.

The permissive legislative act was accepted 222 to 102 by the Australian ballot system.

The act enables two projects to build sewers in Deerfield and in South Deerfield for which the PWA has granted $89,100, or 45 per cent of the total cost. The balance is to be paid by the abutters on a front-foot basis and a special tax levy by the town.

Under the second article the meeting by a standing vote favored raising $200,000 and borrowing a sum not to exceed $120,000 by a 30-year bond issue. It was voted under the next article that the town pay 25 per cent and the abutters 75 per cent of the cost of constructing the system. The first vote was passed 89 to 18.

Motions authorizing the selectmen to sell the town land in Great Swamp for a sum not less than $2,000, ratifying the action of the selectmen in selling the North Wisdom school house for not less than $300, and instructing the board to release the town's interest in the Wapping school house to the heirs of Quartus Hawks upon payment of $25, were all carried unanimously. The several articles covering the transfers in different departmental accounts were passed without debate.

The system will be divided into two distinct projects, one in Deerfield and the other in South Deerfield. The latter would begin north of the high school and extend south to the center and then down Sugarloaf street. Intersecting streets along the way will connect with the central system.

The project in Old Deerfield will consist of one main line through Main street. The combined systems will cover approximately five miles.

Northfield Votes 171 to 34 Against PWA

NORTHFIELD- At the special town meeting here last night the proposed $84,900 high school project was rejected 171 to 34. The proposal would have included a new gymnasium and the government was to have contributed $38,000 towards the cost.

If the project had been accepted the town was to appropriate $47,000 and the selectmen were to be authorized to issue bonds or notes of the town to be payable in not more than 20 years.

The first action of the meeting was the transfer of $1,000 from the surplus revenue fund to FERA and other relief work projects.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: The Roosevelt Administration created the PWA (Public Works Administration) in the spring of 1933 to promote economic recovery by funding local construction projects. The central concept was to put unemployed men to work, who would then spend their wages to buy goods and services. This was called "priming the pump." Unlike so-called work relief projects, such as the WPA, workers did not need to come from the welfare rolls. PWA projects also tended to be more "capital intensive" (using more machinery and less labor) and they required local funding in addition to federal grants. For all these reasons PWA projects were slow to start and often were rejected by local governments. In this article, Northfield, Massachusetts rejects a federal grant for school construction, for example.


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"Deerfield and Bernardston Accept PWA; Northfield Rejects School Proposal" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette paper

publisher   Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette
date   Oct 22, 1935
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   10.25"
width   4.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.035

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