Hatfield approves budget, infrastructure spending at Town Meeting

  • Hatfield Town Hall  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

HATFIELD — An $11.4 million town operating budget for the next year and a $3.6 million project to improve water and sewer service on Route 5 were approved by voters at the annual Town Meeting June 16.

In addition, voters supported a zoning amendment to limit where cannabis can be grown for medical or recreational use, and put on hold an article that would have formally renamed the Board of Selectmen, making it a Select Board.

The town budget is $902,617, or 8.5% higher, than this year’s $10.5 million budget.

Town Administrator Marlene Michonski said the Finance Committee and Select Board recommended using $335,000 from the reserve fund, using free cash, which will be set aside to make up any necessary deficiencies.  There are some shortfalls anticipated later in the year, Michonski said.

Along with contractual obligations that had to be covered, including a 2% cost of living adjustment for employees, the budget includes an insurance premium for buildings, property and general liability; the cost to haul trash and recyclables at the transfer station; a Hampshire County retirement assessment; and tuition for vocational schools.

The the town’s share of the Route 5 sewer and water project, $1.6 million, is also on the election ballot Tuesday as a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion article. The remaining $2 million will be covered by a $2 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program state grant.

The marijuana zoning bylaw prohibits outdoors and greenhouse growing of marijuana in the rural residential, outlying residential, town center and business districts within 500 feet of any pre-existing residential use that is not located on the same lot.

Other spending approved included $6,725 from the Community Preservation Act account for preserving and restoring historic vital town records under the care of the town clerk and $36,438 for constructing a new pavilion at Smith Academy Park.