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HAMPDEN — The Hampden Board of Selectmen discussed whether to pay the recent maintenance costs at Green Meadows Elementary School during its June 24 and July 1 meetings following the discovery of an error in who was responsible for these costs.

While the lease agreement states that Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District is responsible for maintenance costs at the school, the town of Hampden has been paying these costs “for years” through a funded account, Board of Selectmen Chair Don Davenport stated, saying that it was unclear at this time why Hampden had been paying these costs.

During the June 24 meeting, the board discussed sending a letter to HWRSD that requested reimbursement for the $9,900 paid for repairs by the town. While Selectmen Craig Rivest and John Flynn both agreed that the discovery was helpful for the town’s budgeting moving forward, neither supported the requested reimbursement.

Instead, the selectmen agreed to send a letter stating that the town would no longer pay the maintenance costs moving forward.

At the July 1 meeting, Davenport reported that the town had received an additional bill, dated June 18, for a total of $4,900. During discussion, the selectmen disagreed on whether the town should pay this recent bill with members raising points that the work may have been contracted earlier in the year and that the board was not aware of the project prior to its completion. Members also discussed whether their June 24 agreement referred to not paying any bills after June 24 or after the end of fiscal year 2024.

Davenport and Rivest ultimately did not support paying the $4,900 bill, while Flynn argued that not paying the bill set “a bad precedent.” As a result, the bill was not signed by the board.

Following this discussion, the Board of Selectmen formally signed the letter to HWRSD stating that the town would not pay maintenance bills moving forward, as stated in the mutually agreed lease of Green Meadows.

“You want a free cannon?”

Town Administrator Brian Domina also announced at the July 1 meeting that the town had been offered a “free” cannon from the town of West Windsor in Vermont, due to the cannon originating in Hampden.

Domina explained that he received an email on June 28 from West Windsor, stating that they were offering the opportunity to return the cannon following a renovation project that led to the town “no longer [wanting]” the item.

Davenport further stated that the cannon was removed from the Hampden property without the owner’s consent and shipped to West Windsor, where it remained in private ownership until 2003 and has been displayed at the town hall since this time.

“We have the money. We have $20,000 appropriated now for the 150 celebration. You know, if it costs a couple hundred for somebody to transport it carefully back here, I think it’ll be an appropriate use [of funds],” Flynn said, agreeing with Rivest that the cannon was “a great thing to have for the 150 [celebration].”

An official decision was not made on whether to accept the cannon at the July 1 meeting, although Davenport stated that he would visit and inspect the cannon.