Hatfield Select Board Approves ARPA Fund Expenditures

In a recent session, Hatfield Select Board has approved the allocation of substantial American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for multiple town projects during its recent meeting. Prioritizing community infrastructure and services, the board allocated up to $231,000 for improvements, including HVAC upgrades at Smith Academy, Council on Aging flooring, and essential maintenance for the fire department.

The board sanctioned spending up to $100,000 on the council landing floor, which was deemed a necessary expense. Additionally, $73,000 was allocated for HVAC upgrades at Smith Academy, with the focus on enhancing the system’s efficiency through new thermostats and valves. The replacement of the high school freezer unit, which was struggling to function properly, was approved at a cost of $21,000. Further, the fire department’s front porch replacement project received the green light, with an estimated expenditure of $25,000 to revamp the doorway and overhang facing School Street.

The use of ARPA funds was a dominant topic, with the board considering the allocation for each project. The deadline for expending ARPA funds, set for December 31st, added urgency to the discussions. The board also deliberated on prioritizing projects and ensuring that the funds allocated would be sufficient for the tasks at hand. It was resolved that the remaining balance of ARPA funds after these expenditures would be under the Select Board’s discretion.

In addition to infrastructure projects, the Select Board addressed several key administrative matters. One of the notable administrative actions included the unanimous appointment of Tammy Wendowski as the new treasurer-collector and Isabella Joer as the assistant town planner. Furthermore, the board filled all vacant positions in the Department of Public Works and introduced new employees.

The board grappled with the issue of alcohol license compliance, focusing on the need for establishments to prevent sales to minors. A discussion ensued regarding the importance of educating establishments about regulations and the process for notifying them of violations. The board contemplated sending a warning letter to an offending establishment and emphasized the development of a clear policy for handling such violations.

Financial stewardship was given considerable attention, with the town’s accountant, Tony Roselli, presenting the FY 2023 Financial Audit report. Roselli identified challenges such as discrepancies in debt payments and journal entries. In response, Elizabeth, a town official, outlined corrective measures, including improved reconciliation processes and the consolidation of funds, to address the audit findings.

The board also discussed the need for a Town Administrator search committee, proposing a seven-member group to lead the recruitment. The committee is set to include members representing various facets of the town’s governance and community. The formation of this committee and the review of the Town Administrator position advertisement will occur at the July meeting.

Moreover, the Select Board reviewed and approved a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan application for the sewer Asset Management plan. The loan application had been noted for an error in the population number, which was corrected before approval. The board also handled matters related to the fiscal year 2025 accounting services and forwarded debt exclusion paperwork to the Department of Revenue.

An issue arose around the requests for carrying over vacation time. While the fire chief’s request for a 40-hour carryover was approved, the building inspector’s request for almost four weeks was met with debate and required further information before a decision could be made. Additionally, the board addressed a denied request to carry over an excessive amount of vacation time due to policy restrictions and the late timing of the request.

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:
Marlene Michonski
City Council Officials:
Diana M. Szynal, Edmund Jaworski, Greg Gagnon

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