Goshen TM approves funds for new town administrator position

For the Gazette
Published: 5/15/2017 11:14:41 PM

GOSHEN — The town took a big step Monday night toward hiring its first-ever administrator, a move that would relieve those duties from the volunteer Select Board and bring the town on a par with neighboring communities.

At annual Town Meeting, voters unanimously approved $15,000 to begin partial funding for the new part-time position.

In other business, 49 of the town’s 729 registered voters approved a fiscal 2018 budget of $2,666,915 and authorized the Select Board to acquire small easements on 48 parcels of land in order to prepare for a proposed West Street resurfacing project.

The town has mulled the idea of hiring an administrator for some time to correct what Finance Committee Chairwoman Dawn Scaparotti calls “unsustainable” situation.

At present, members of the Select Board, and the Select Board’s administrative assistant, have been volunteering their time to fulfill the duties that would normally fall to an administrator.

Scaparotti said that with the increasing time and complexities of today’s municipal demands, the town now requires a town administrator who has the skills, reliability and professional caliber to effectively address those issues.

“Our neighboring towns all have Town Administrators and we can really see the value that comes with it,” Select Board Chairwoman Angela Otis said.

Until the position is filled, voters also approved a temporary $5,000 salary increase in total Select Board stipends and $3,000 for the administrative assistant’s salary.

“We have no timeline for hiring at this moment because we want to do things right, we don’t want to misstep, but I am so excited to be moving in this direction,” Oits said. “We take this very seriously and we will limp along until we can get the best of the best.”

Meanwhile the town’s budget next fiscal year is up by 1.88 percent over the current year.

“We pretty much level-funded the majority of expenses this year with the exception of recommending a 2 percent increase in salaries across the board,” Scaparotti said.

“The school assessment is the largest part of the budget which is typical, but those assessments are lower this year than they have been,” she noted.

The town’s education budget included: $732,286 for the Goshen Chesterfield Regional assessment, $480,355 for Hampshire Regional assessment, and $211,438 for the Smith Vocational and Agricultural School assessment.

Voters also authorized the Select Board to acquire or purchase temporary and permanent easements on 48 parcels of land to prepare for a proposed resurfacing project on West Street.

Highway Superintend Todd Dewkett said that the lands in question were small parcels of about plus or minus 5 feet each that would be necessary for grading.

Voters also approved spending funds from the Capital Stabilization Fund for payments on the following town vehicles: $38,932 a 2014 Mac dump truck, $8,356 on a 2013 police vehicle, $9,304 on a 2008 plow truck and $10,192 on a 2017 police vehicle.

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