By Carley Dangona
WEST SPRINGFIELD – At its first regular meeting of the new year, the Town Council continued with business as usual under direction of its new president.
Jan. 21 marked the first time District 4 Councilor John Sweeney assumed his role as president after the departure of long-time president Kathleen Bourque. The agenda consisted of many housekeeping tasks including the re-appointment of multiple committee members, the acceptance of the Westfield Bank easement for the library and the approval of transfer of funds to purchase a van for the Council on Aging (COA).
The council approved the following reappointments: Dennis LeFebvre to the Public Safety Committee to expire Jan. 1, 2016; William Fennell to the Public Safety Committee to expire Jan. 1, 2016; and Allen Howard to the Park & Recreation Committee to expire Jan. 1, 2017.
The councilors also appointed Lisa O’Brien to the West Springfield Redevelopment Authority in replacement of Sullivan, who resigned Jan. 2 due to his mayoral duties. Her term will begin Jan. 22 and expire on Jan. 1, 2019.
The 24-foot easement and parcel donation that will enable the library to utilize part of the Westfield Bank parking lot were previously accepted by the council and signed by former Mayor Gregory Neffinger, but had to be re-signed by new Mayor Edward Sullivan.
A transfer of $11,500 from the reserve fund to the capital outlay account for the purchase of a handicap-accessible van was unanimously approved. The money will satisfy the 20 percent match requirement of the grant the COA received from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the acquisition of the vehicle.
In a vote of nine in favor and none opposed, the council supported a motion to use $43,900 from the West Springfield High School account for the purchase of a new phone and intercom system as well as a clock and bell for West Springfield Middle School. The money was to purchase the same items for the high school, but was no longer needed due to the construction of the new high school.
District 2 Councilor Lida Powell said, “If we did not appropriate this money and just replaced the intercom system in the middle school, there would be two different systems [phone and intercom] and it would cost more money in the long run.”
Council Vice President Griffin said, “The purchase will ensure the safety and security of not only the faculty and students, but anyone that works within the boundaries of the school.”