Blandford Select Board Tackles Town Infrastructure and Economic Development

The Blandford Select Board recently convened to address a series of issues facing the town, ranging from infrastructure improvements to economic development initiatives. Among the topics discussed were the water department’s tree removal request, a student’s toll booth proposal for economic growth, concerns about property on Hayden Road, and the ongoing shared fire services collaboration. The board also tackled the town meeting warrant articles, which included discussions on budgetary allocations, the Eversource vegetation management plan, and zoning bylaws amendments.

The water department’s request for tree removal on a Town Road dominated the early portion of the meeting. The board weighed the urgency of the project and considered the involvement of the town attorney due to questions surrounding the prevailing wage and the allocation of funds without a formal discussion. It was resolved to place the matter on the agenda for further deliberation at the next meeting, with legal counsel to be consulted.

A student’s Civics Action Project presentation was also a focal point of the meeting, proposing the transformation of an exit on a local highway into a toll booth. This initiative was seen as a means to generate jobs and stimulate economic growth within the town. The board debated the timing for a vote on this proposal, considering its inclusion on the next local election ballot. The potential impact of a new toll exit on the town’s economy prompted the board to seek additional information before making a final decision.

Regarding Hayden Road property concerns, the board planned an inspection and decided to send a registered letter to the owner to address the highlighted issues. Additionally, a high-priority issue was raised regarding a property with accessible windows that posed a safety concern for children. Measures included posting a sign and sending a registered letter to the property owner, emphasizing the need for swift action.

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The upcoming shared fire services meeting was another significant topic, with a tentative schedule for March 26th at the Chester Fire Department. The potential number of select board members attending raised the need to post the meeting publicly. The board also discussed the appointment of a representative to the Hilltown Community Ambulance Association, proposing to seek interested individuals for the position.

The joint water board meeting to address scheduling and budget issues, tentatively set for Thursday, was brought up with concerns about member attendance and the necessity of meeting posting. In addition, the board reviewed the Eversource 5-year vegetation management plan, considering reaching out to the conservation committee for their input.

The meeting proceeded with discussions on contracts for the water department and the library. Concerns were voiced about contacting the correct agency and person for guidance. The board went through various articles for the upcoming town meeting warrant, which included the transfer of funds for a mini excavator, broadband interest for service of debt, and the acceptance of public library construction program grant funds.

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Fiscal responsibility was a recurring theme, with the board deliberating on the allocation of funds from the library building stabilization account and free cash to meet grant requirements. A proposal was also considered to transfer funds from a treasurer’s salary to treasurer-collector professional services. The board emphasized the importance of proper posting, public hearings, and financial recommendations for the warrant articles.

The meeting concluded with plans to amend zoning bylaws related to battery energy storage systems and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations.

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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