Warren Town Hall

On Tuesday, Warren voters passed a town budget of $4,417,621 for next year. They also voted to allocate $450,000 for paving Brook and East Warren Roads and $30,000 for land conservation projects. 



Warren Select Board chair Bob Ackland gave a presentation on next year’s budget, which is up 6.7% from the previous budget. He showed that spending for highways and bridges is up 41%, including an additional $45,000 for gravel, $19,000 for grader blades and chains, $10,000 for erosion control, $8,000 increase for propane and $8,000 for tires. 

The planning commission’s budget is up too, with $27,800 for a subscription to a software platform that would track data on the Short-Term Rental market in Warren. Ackland said the subscription would be cost-neutral in the future, after the town implements a registration fee requirement for property owners renting STRs – even collecting “six times more” than the annual subscription cost in future years.  

A handful of concerns were raised by community members who packed into the Warren Elementary School gym – filling rows of folding chairs, lining the perimeter of the gym, and even sitting on the floor. 

Representative Dara Torre fielded a slew of questions about property tax increases as a product of the state’s educational funding formula under Act 127. Others posed questions to the town about whether a town-wide reappraisal beginning in July 2024 would create even greater property tax increases in the coming years. The long answer was extremely complex. The short answer was, not necessarily. 



One community member took issue with the fact that the Warren School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is carrying funds forward with each budget cycle. He said he believed that if a PTO was making money, they should become a private organization. As a nonprofit organization, the PTO carried forward a fund balance of $10,368 in 2022-23, and budgeted $4,421 to carry forward in 2023-24. Warren PTO president Jessica Washington said the PTO carries funds forward in order to pay for student programs. The PTO is also tasked with replacing much of the school’s playground equipment, which is “borderline unsafe,” she said, and would likely cost around $500,000. According to the town report, the PTO has been working closely with Clark Brook Designs to update the playground.

East Warren Community Market (EWCM) manager Alycia Biondo asked the select board to provide more oversight of Rootworks, the nonprofit that rents space to EWCM in a town-owned building – particularly around whether Rootswork is deferring maintenance and upkeep of the building. She asked the board to attend Rootswork’s annual meeting and take a look at the property itself, located on Roxbury Mountain Road. Rootswork is currently renting the building’s first floor to EWCM as a subtenant for $1,100 monthly, according to Biondo, and Rootworks rents the building from the town for $600 annually, according to town treasurer Dayna Lisaius. Rootworks board member Don Swain said that regarding upkeep of the building, “in our opinion, we do spend the money.” 

For local elections, Kalee Whitehouse was elected to a two-year term on the select board, replacing Bob Ackland. Brent Adams was elected as the town clerk, Charles Snow as a cemetery commissioner, Michael Kelley as lister, Dayna Lisaius as the delinquent tax collector, Susan Cummiskey and Ellen Kucera to three-year terms as library commissioners, and Jonathan Young to a three-year term on the HUUSD Board. 

Town Meeting Day – which started at 5 p.m. for Warren voters – ended with a standing ovation for Reta Goss, who retired this year after 45 years of working as the town clerk. Following gifts for Goss, including a plaque and two delicious-looking cakes, the town announced that they would be renaming their municipal building as the Reta K. Goss Municipal Building.