Fire chief’s position key decision at Ashfield Town Meeting

  • The Ashfield Fire Station. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 6/3/2021 4:30:11 PM

ASHFIELD — Residents will consider a proposal to have a full-time fire chief instead of a part-time one, as well as a fiscal year 2022 budget that represents a 10.6 percent, or $610,926, increase over the current budget, during Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting.

While the Annual Town Meeting will begin at 10 a.m. outside on the town common, a Special Town Meeting will precede it at 9:30 a.m. The earlier meeting will address funding for the Fire Station floor, which had to be replaced due to a water leak.

According to Town Administrator Jennifer Morse, a topic that can be expected to garner plenty of discussion during the Annual Town Meeting is the transition of the position of Ashfield fire chief.

“The town is looking at going from a stipended part-time position to a full-time position because there’s a need in town,” Morse said. “We’re looking at going from $9,400 a year to now $65,000 a year, and it would become a benefited position.”

The proposal comes following a 54-page report completed by West Barnstable Fire Chief Joseph Maruca in March. In the report, Maruca states, “It is time for the Ashfield Fire Department to have a full-time, career fire chief.” The vote on Saturday will determine whether Ashfield follows Maruca’s recommendation.

Ashfield Fire Chief Del Haskins could not be reached for comment by press time.

Other items residents will consider include transferring expenses to fund a stipend for Ashfield’s animal control officer (Article 10), a vote to provide funding to the Sewer and Wastewater Treatment Plant Enterprise Fund (Article 24), and a vote to appropriate money for capital expenditures for the Highway Department, Belding Memorial Library and Fire Department (Article 23).

Additionally, residents will decide whether Mohawk Trail Regional School District will be allowed to borrow a sum of money for updates and repairs to both Sanderson Academy and Mohawk Trail Regional School (Articles 12 and 13). The two schools’ needs will also be represented through ballot questions during Saturday’s town election.

To view the 25-article meeting warrant, visit bit.ly/3uPYt23. For a budget overview, visit bit.ly/3vQVMhR.

An earlier version of this story included an incorrect location for the Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting. Both meetings will be held outside on the town common.




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