Goshen budget, up 4%, goes to vote at TM Saturday

John James Memorial Hall in Goshen.

John James Memorial Hall in Goshen. FILE PHOTO

By JAMES PENTLAND

Staff Writer

Published: 05-14-2024 3:42 PM

GOSHEN — Voters will be asked to approve a budget of $3,819,596 and numerous other financial articles when they convene for Town Meeting at John James Memorial Hall on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

The budget, including $1,718,833 in school spending, reflects an increase of just over 4% from FY24 spending. It includes 3% cost-of-living raises and market adjustments across all departments and an $18,300 payment increase to the capital stabilization account.

School spending is set to rise by 1.5%, with other increases offset by a drop of approximately $17,600 in the Hampshire Regional High School assessment.

The Highland Ambulance assessment shows a 12.73% increase at $65,100, which accounts for almost half of the 6.5% rise in the public safety budget.

Pensions and insurance costs are up by 17.3% at $233,777.

Some of the remaining warrant articles seek approval for payments from the capital stabilization fund, while others involve free cash transfers.

Article 11 is a request for $20,000 from free cash to pay a consultant to work on creating comprehensive book of General Bylaws. No such central collection of the town’s bylaws exists at present.

The proposed spending relies on tax revenue of $3,279,628, with the remaining $539,968 covered by state aid, excise taxes and local departmental receipts.

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The Finance Committee’s detailed breakdown of the budget, capital accounts and revenues can be found on the town website.

Town election

Two caucus nominees will face off for an open three-year seat on the Select Board at this year’s town election on June 1.

Timothy Lamere and Andrew Watt are seeking election to the seat being vacated Angela Otis, who has served on the board since 2015.

Otis is seeking reelection to her seat on the Finance Committee.

Watt, 53, works as a consultant and artist. He’s a former middle school teacher with 20 years’ experience, and a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford.

He has been a member of library board of trustees for the last three years after moving to Goshen in January 2021. He is also seeking reelection to that position.

Watt said he had been approached by several people who encouraged him to run for the Select Board, citing his willingness to research issues, to listen to different opinions, and to learn and follow the required processes.

Lamere, 45, grew up in Chesterfield, and is interested in the community aspect of local government.

Owner of a landscaping business for the last six years, he has worked with various organizations, including the Congregational Church, Little League, T-ball in Chesterfield, and Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. This is the first time he has sought elected office.

“I’ve seen the die-off of community activities” in town, he said, citing a “stark decline in activity and attendance” at the Memorial Day parade.

Lamere said he recently closed his landscaping business and is making a transition into woodworking.

Other elected positions are uncontested. There is no candidate for a three-year seat on the Board of Health being vacated by Tiffani Marcinek, and no candidate for a three-year seat on the Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School Committee, with Barton Gage stepping down.

Voting will be on June 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the John James Memorial Hall, 42 Main St.

Residents can find a sample ballot along with information on voting by mail on the town clerk’s website: goshen-ma.us/elections/.