BLANDFORD — Moderator David Hopson asked Blandford Town Meeting voters to keep it civil on June 3 and remember they’re all friends and neighbors, no matter their political differences.

As the evening went on, the warning seemed increasingly unnecessary, as the residents voted to approve all 19 articles on the Annual Town Meeting warrant unanimously, passing an overall fiscal year 2025 operating budget of $4,371,681.

Breaking it down, residents passed the appropriation of $1,569,382 for Blandford’s assessment for the Gateway Regional School District; $275,000 for vocational education, and $31,878 for transportation expenses for vocational education.

The town also voted to support a budget of $2,495,471 for town expenses.

Five transfers of free cash were approved: $25,000 for the general purpose stabilization fund; $25,000 for the building project stabilization fund; $25,000 for the library building stabilization fund; $25,000 for the education stabilization fund; and $50,000 to undertake town building conditions assessments. Residents were told there would be $236,000 remaining in free cash following the transfers.

The town voted to transfer the sum of $764,636 from Water Department receipts to operate the department for FY25. Residents also voted to transfer $30,000 from Water Department receipts into the Water Department stabilization fund; and to transfer $25,000 from Water Department retained earnings into the department’s capital expenses.

Residents voted to transfer $395,261 from broadband network receipts to operate the Municipal Light Plant for FY25.

The town also voted to transfer three sums from broadband retained earnings — $25,000 to the Municipal Light Plant stabilization fund; $125,000 to put toward the principal and interest of the broadband debt; and $53,805 to the town’s general fund, to reimburse the town for money approved at a Town Meeting in March 2024 for broadband debt.

Peter Langmore, manager of the Municipal Light Plant, said the one-time reimbursement to the town was for previous payments made before the light plant had a “real” budget. He said the broadband budget now does not involve taxpayer money.

At the start of the meeting, Hopson thanked the Finance Committee for doing what he called a “yeoman’s job” with no town administrator, following the departure of Michael Szlosek earlier in the spring after only a few months in the position. The Select Board was slated to interview two candidates for town administrator during its regular meeting on June 10.

Thirty-three residents attended the Town Meeting. Hopson began the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence in recognition of the upcoming 80th anniversary of D-Day. He said there is a display in Town Hall in memory of James Edward Cook, the only known Blandford resident lost in World War II.

amyporter@thewestfieldnews.com | + posts