WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

HAMPDEN — The annual Town Meeting for Hampden is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 13 at Thornton W. Burgess Middle School. The warrant contains 31 articles to be considered by residents and was released May 1.

In the warrant, there are four articles that request funds for town projects. These are Article 18’s vote to appropriate funds to design a renovated Fire Department as well as Article 21’s appropriation of funds for a new Highway Department pick-up truck. Similarly, Article 19 requests raising funds to support the town’s 150th anniversary celebration while Article 11 seeks funds for expanding and renovating the Hampden Senior Center.

The Senior Center renovation project was recently presented to residents at a community forum on April 30. The proposed expansion is designed to assist with the current building’s limited space in addition to improving features of the building, such as the restrooms. With the expansion, the center would add parking space, increase storage space and allow room for a café. The project is estimated at $6.65 million, Reminder Publishing previously reported.

The warrant also highlights two projects relating to the School Department. Article 22 seeks to raise funds to update Minnechaug Regional High School’s 12-year-old wireless access point system. This type of system is typically replaced every eight years, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations and Human Resources Aaron Osborne explained on March 21. While the total project cost is $225,000, Hampden’s portion would be $43,279, he said.

Article 28 additionally requests funds to support a school resource officer at Minnechaug for fiscal year 2024, the warrant states.

Articles 24, 25, 26 and 27 all involve requests to modify positions within the town government. Respectively, these are to increase the Board of Selectmen from three members to five members, to allow the Board of Selectmen to appoint the town clerk, to combine the positions of town treasurer and collector of taxes as well as allow the Board of Selectmen to appoint this position, and to alter the town bylaws to allow electronic voting at Town Meetings, according to the warrant.

Seven articles in the warrant concern changes to natural resources in Hampden. Article 6 appropriates $110,000 to purchase 2.1 acres of conservation land and Article 7 raises funds to purchase additional land for conservation. While Articles 14 and 15’s projects both pertain to updates to the Scantic Valley Water District. Article 13 also requests funds for improvements to the water district’s pump station and to increase resident access, the warrant states.

Alternatively, Article 12 allows the Board of Selectmen to discuss a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the operator of the Mill Road solar facility and Article 16 requests a one-year halt to specified use of the town battery energy storage system in order to modify the bylaws to include certain regulations that are mindful of resident safety and the site’s operations, the warrant states.

Lastly, the warrant lists 14 articles pertaining to town operations. These include Article 17’s request for the Board of Selectmen to extend the lease of the town landfill’s tower, Article 29’s request for an Advisory Committee Reserve Fund and Article 31’s request to transfer funds to reduce the FY25 tax rate.

The full May 13 Town Meeting warrant is available to view on the Hampden town website.

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