Westhampton passes override for bucket loader

  • Voters at the polls at Westhampton Town Hall approved a $135,000 Proposition 2 ½ override and chose Maureen Dempsey to be the new member of the Select Board on Saturday, June 2, 2018. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

WESTHAMPTON — On Saturday, Westhampton voters authorized a $135,000 debt override to pay for a bucket loader for the Highway Department and chose Maureen Dempsey as the newest member of the Select Board.

The purchase of a new bucket loader for a 12-year-old vehicle required voters to approve a Proposition 2½ override and was the sole question on the ballot. It passed with 243 yes votes, to 97 nos.

In the town’s only contested election, Maureen Dempsey and Judy Madzunovic were the two candidates vying to fill the Select Board seat being vacated by chairman James Huston, who decided not to seek re-election this year.

Dempsey, a member of the Library Trustees, Agricultural Commission and Capital Planning Committee, was elected with 284 votes. She manages Intervale Farms with her husband, Rick Tracy, and has been a resident of Westhampton for 35 years.

She said she was running to fill a need in the town left by Huston’s decision not to seek re-election and felt that her involvement with town affairs had given her a good understanding of town government.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a pretty good learning curve, but I’m looking forward to it,” she said of her win.

Madzunovic, a Westhampton resident who has been active in public hearings and town forums, received 59 votes.

Counting diligently on Saturday afternoon at Town Hall, Town Clerk Patricia W. Cotton said that voter turnout was high for the election. Election results show that 350 ballots were cast from a list of 1,225 voters in the town, a nearly 30 percent turnout.

“That’s the way civic involvement should be,” Dempsey said of the high voter turnout.

Walter Morrey was elected to the Board of Assessors, Donald Pat Coffey was elected to the Planning Board and Robert Miller was elected Constable.

Mary Cleary, Sacheverell Seney, Sarah Mulvehill, Tad Weiss, and Joseph Pipczynski were elected to the Finance Committee.

For school matters, Tarin Weiss was elected to the Hampshire Regional School Committee, and Wesley Bowser and Brigid O’Riordan were elected to the Westhampton Elementary School Committee.

Richard Tracy will be the town’s moderator for the next year, while Thomas Jenkins will be the town’s tree warden. Lynn Cooper and Celeste Whiting were elected as library trustees.

Town Meeting is scheduled to reconvene on June 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall for voters to decide on remaining proposed fiscal 2019 budget items, which are: vocational tuition, information technology infrastructure upgrades for the Town Hall and Annex, Assessors Field Conversion, gas storage tanks removal/installation, transfers from free cash, and transfer to the capital stabilization fund.

M.J. Tidwell can be reached at mjtidwell@gazettenet.com.