Hampden Board Greenlights National Grid Pole, Debates Expenses

At a recent meeting, the Hampden Board of Selectmen approved a pole position request by National Grid amid discussions on budgetary concerns, including a potential 21% increase in property and liability insurance and a 3.5% cost-of-living adjustment recommendation. Key topics included the underfunding of Finn’s operation, the ambulance service’s positive performance, and the water district’s budget increase due to testing costs. The board also scrutinized the Community Preservation Trust’s land purchase proposal, pondered over the funding for a new fire station design, and contemplated using ARPA funds for a water district project to provide clean water to homes.

A representative from National Grid, Kyle Jur, presented the necessity of a new pole position to support a new circuit and to meet pole loading analysis requirements. The request spurred a debate regarding the backlog of double poles in the town but was eventually approved, with at least one member expressing reservations before conceding their vote in favor.

Following the National Grid discussion, the board tackled the issue of budget adjustments. A significant topic was the increase in the administrative assistant’s work hours from 32 to 35 per week, which sparked a broader conversation about employee benefits and the repercussions of pay raises on insurance costs. The discussion further delved into the anticipated 21% increase in property and liability insurance, prompting questions about the necessity of the hike and the addition of specific vehicles to the policy. The board members sought clarity on various expenses, such as a new hot water tank or generator for townhouse maintenance, and expressed concerns over aging equipment and the need for facility management solutions.

The shared services, particularly Finn’s operation, faced a deficit due to underfunding or flat funding from the state, with a projected shortfall of $25,000 for the next year. The ambulance service reported a projected $60,000 rebate and received commendations for its response time. The water district’s budget was projected to see a significant increase of at least $100,000 in testing costs. On employee compensation, the board reached a consensus to recommend a 3.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

In terms of property matters, the board was uncertain about the details of a property purchase using Community Preservation Committee (CPC) funds. Concerns over the accuracy of the proposed purchase price and the division of costs between the town and the land trust led to demands for more information. The Conservation Commission’s annual appropriation was noted to receive funds from the solar landfill lease.

A key discussion point was the funding for a fire station design, with the board weighing the need for a consensus on an override vote. The potential length of a mortgage for the fire station and different funding options were debated, with an agreement that public forums would be important to inform the town and gather input before deciding on a course of action.

The environmental concerns were addressed with talks about water testing requirements and long-term strategies for detecting substances near public landfills and transfer stations. The board considered the costs and frequency of testing, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s involvement in ongoing negotiations.

A financial undertaking discussed was the first phase of the water district project estimated at around $700,000 for upgrading the pump house and well system, with the second phase costing approximately $1.5 million. The possibility of using ARPA funds for the project and the need for borrowing authorization were notable topics, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures and the potential savings in testing costs.

The board also scrutinized the police department’s vehicle purchases, debating the cost of a new cruiser and the implications of outfitting the vehicle. The idea of extending the service life of police vehicles and tracking maintenance costs was considered, alongside concerns about the timing of new purchases given the inclusion of dispatch operations in the police budget.

Education technology was on the agenda, with a proposal for wireless access points in the school district leading to discussions on whether it should be classified as a capital or operating expense. The board also noted the need to amend bylaws based on the school committee’s recommendations.

Other brief mentions included the potential purchase of a pickup truck with a plow for the highway department and proposed amendments to bylaws in articles 21 through 26.

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:
Robert Markel
City Council Officials:
Donald Davenport, Craig Rivest, John D. Flynn, Lauren McCormick (Administrative Assistant)

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Human Resources Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Control Board
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Hendry County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes