Hopkins Fields Renovation Spotlights Hadley’s Special TM Thursday

HADLEY — A second phase of renovations to the sports fields at Hopkins Academy, including the construction of a walking path for community use, is on the highlights that voters will decide at Thursday’s Special Town Hall.

Residents will also decide to buy several vehicles for the Department of Public Works – totaling more than $1 million – and adopt a declaration that the world is facing a climate crisis, as well as a request from the Police Department to replace body cameras.

The 12-item mandate for the Special Municipal Assembly will be presented to residents beginning at 7 p.m. at Hopkins Academy.

The project at the school is to use $1.55 million from the Community Preservation Act to build new playgrounds, such as a new girls’ softball field, revamp the varsity baseball field for boys and installing scoreboards, which will continue a previous $600,000 investment made by the city. to expand the site.

At a Board-sponsored public forum on the mandate, CPA committee chair Mary Thayer said the Hopkins project has support, despite the cost.

“It has a high price tag,” Thayer said. “The CPA committee felt that this benefited the entire city, and it certainly benefited high school and college and all the sports teams that play there.”

The plan is to borrow $750,000 of the cost so that the CPA account continues to have flexibility for future projects. Currently, the account has $2.41 million to spend.

The only other new CPA project is $25,000 which will be used to renovate the Hockanum Cemetery fence.

A series of requests for trucks and equipment from the Department of Public Works will be made by borrowing under the tax levy or using existing reserves. Finance committee chair Amy Fyden said making capital purchases in this way will ensure residential property tax bills are not affected.

The most expensive vehicle would be the $500,000 vactor water and sewer truck, to replace a 1995 Ford L8000 truck. This vehicle is used to clear blockages in sewer lines and vacuum clean sumps, and is one of the most heavily used rooms in the department, said DPW Director Scott McCarthy.

Another $310,000 would buy a new International 5-ton dump truck and sander to replace a 1997 model that is falling apart. “The truck is really starting to rot,” McCarthy said.

A new pay loader would be purchased for $260,000 and would replace a 1995 John Deere 624G. McCarthy said parts for repairs are getting harder to find.

Police are asking for $46,464 for body cameras. “We’re coming to the end of our warranty period and we’re losing cameras faster than we’re putting them back into service,” Chief of Police Michael Mason said.

Mason said Hadley became the first department in the area to have integral cameras several years ago and now needs to upgrade and replace them, although no state or private grants are available. .

The schools are asking for $163,400 to replace water-damaged ceiling tiles at Hopkins Academy, while Hadley Media is asking for $20,000 for new equipment.

Climate statement

Jack Czajkowski, chair of the Hadley Climate Change Committee, said the climate emergency declaration that is presented to voters has been adjusted based on feedback from residents, including those who came to a recent public forum where experts offered information about the evolution of the weather.

The statement, which seeks to align the city with emissions reduction goals and state preparedness goals, specifically calls out concern for the livelihoods of farmers and others.

“The city will work to ensure that the costs of these climate actions do not unfairly burden our farmers, low-income members of our community, and those who are otherwise disadvantaged or particularly vulnerable,” the statement said.

The committee also adds a preamble noting that “the express intention of this statement is to make climate change a top priority for the planning, policy and action of the Town of Hadley, including its select council, the administration of the city and the councils, commissions and committees concerned.

Other tenure business includes a series of adjustments to the fiscal year 2023 operating budget, totaling $219,528, which will increase spending from $19.42 million to $19.64 million. These increases come from various expenses, including a temporary hiring at City Hall to replace an employee who was on sick leave, and more support staff for the Treasurer and Collector’s Office.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]

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