Blandford Select Board Tackles Public Safety and Budget Concerns

In a recent meeting, the Blandford Select Board addressed a range of issues, from public safety concerns involving a condemned house to intricate budget discussions around IT costs and educational assessments. The need for maintenance on public buildings and talks on collective bargaining for the highway department also featured prominently.

The meeting kicked off with a report on a condemned house on York’s property, which had become a safety hazard with an incident of children playing with matches inside. This prompted the board to call for immediate securing of the property. Additionally, a property on Hayden Road was discussed due to excessive clutter and potential health risks, with the need for Board of Health intervention underscored.

On the financial side, the Select Board grappled with the conditions of a grant extension for the water department. Concerns were raised about the shared water operator position with Chester and the resistance from the department regarding this arrangement. The board showed reluctance to push for additional funds from the grant account despite the challenges in maintaining the shared position.

The Select Board honed in on the water department’s request for extra funding for a truck, stemming from a grant amounting to approximately $40,000. This led to broader discussions around the annual review of the budget with a focus on IT services, which had decreased to $53,000 from over $60,000. The board reviewed the Gateway assessment, which increased by 5.69%, and considered using the education stabilization account to accommodate this rise in the budget. Furthermore, the board approved of forming a committee with representatives from each town to explore shared fire services and approved deficit spending for snow and ice.

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Building maintenance emerged as an urgent topic, particularly the need for a new entry door and addressing roof leaks, one of which affected the town clerk’s office. The board deliberated on the costs and the necessity for a plan to tackle these issues. Concerns were also raised about the Old Town Hall’s condition, with broken windows and heating issues, leading to a debate on whether to repair or sell the building.

Additional discussions included a sewer backup at the post office and the acknowledgment of the need to allocate funds for building maintenance in the budget. The meeting concluded with considerations around negotiating with the laborers’ union for the highway department.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Administrator:
Michael Szlosek
City Council Officials:
Cara Letendre, Ted Cousineau, Jeff Allen, Joann Martin (Administrative Assistant)

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