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2004 - Minutes of December 2, 6, 13, 20 Meetings


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 2, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, ED, CW
                Also present: Carol Kuller, Stuart Kuller, Maryanne Brown, and AA.

LT opens the meeting and asks CK to review and expand on her recent e-mails to the Board regarding her inability to get timely reports from the Town Accountant and Town Treasurer.

CK states that she asked the Selectmen last May to speak to the Treasurer and Accountant about furnisher her with requested reports on the Arts Lottery Council. CK received her first report in August, another partial report in September and none in between, before or afterwards. CK asked that the reports be issued monthly.

Town Accountant Maryellen Brown states that the accountant/treasurer software system that the Town uses doesn't provide a decent report for the Special Revenue Accounts (like the Arts Lottery account).

MB goes on to state that MGL states that Arts Lottery Councils may (not shall) have their own bank accounts. By the next fiscal year, the Treasurer plans to incorporate the Arts Lottery account activity into the general Town accounts - it will not have its own bank account. Reporting will be easier to produce then.

MAB states that the Treasurer and Accountant don't always reconcile month to month. Information like interest earned is not passed back and forth in the system on a monthly basis. Full reconciliation only takes place at the year end.

CK states that she needs to know what her budget and balances are at any given time.

CK states that she used to get an activity report printout in the past and would like to get them on a monthly basis from now on.

CW asks if Carol has an example of the report she would like to get. CK produces a report and all take a look at it. CW asks MB if that report can be produced each month. MB says yes.

LT instructs MB to issue the report that CK has produced on a monthly basis. MB agrees. LT ends the discussion.

AA leaves the meeting to attend a School Committee meeting to represent the Town in its position that additional Ch. 71 Transportation to the District which is over and above the amount originally budgeted when the District's budget was adopted, should be returned to the member towns.

7:00 PM:        Meeting spreads to other parts of the building where Town officers and others discuss the future use of the Village School and moving the Town offices from Main St. to the Village School.

                Some of the points that are made include:

the Library Trustees are in agreement that they want to move to the Village School and do not want to stay permanently on Main St.;

the Assessors are anxious to move into the Village School;

different Town officers begin to form teams that will occupy certain classrooms;

Sheriff Massimiano will be contacted to have his Community Service program to paint the remaining Village School classrooms.

8:30 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.


Minutes accepted by:


_____________________   ______________________  ________________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: __________




Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 6, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: ED, CW
                BOS reviews and approves previous meeting minutes
                BOS review and approves weekly warrants

7:00 PM:        ED opens the Annual Tax Classification Hearing and reads the notice as previously posted in the Berkshire Eagle.

        Assessor Irene Skorput recommends to the Selectmen to adopt a single tax rate. Irene explains that, as in previous years, there are not enough commercial properties in Town to justify a split tax rate (different commercial and residential tax rates).

        The Selectmen concur and ED makes a motion to follow the Assessor's recommendation to adopt a single rate for FY 2005. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

7:10 PM:        Tax Classification Hearing is closed.

Other items:

        Irene Skorput asks that Building Inspector Jim Vosburgh be more vigilant in giving copies of Occupancy Permits to the Board of Assessors before they are given to property owners. She questions whether a C of O was issued to the Carlotta property next to the Village School. The Assessors have yet to be informed of its status by the Building Inspector. The owners are now obviously residing in the house.

        There is a discussion about contacting a propane dealer to have a gas tank installed and filled at the Village School so that the kitchen stove can be used. AA will contact vendors.

        Following a discussion about Charter Communications obligation to forward a check for Local Access TV technical equipment per the new cable TV license extension. AA will contact Dick Elwell at Charter.

        Steve Cabral drops off a copy of State CMR regulations that specifically call for fencing around all residential in-ground pools. He states that the Building Inspector has given out contrary information in the past about pool fencing requirements.

        AA to switch work days this week from Wednesday to Thursday to be available to Jim Podolak (DOR) who will be in Town this Thursday to assist in setting the FY 2005 tax rate.


8:00 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. ED seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.


Minutes approved by:


_______________________ _______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ______________



Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, ED, CW

Town Counsel Joel Bard, Kopelman and Paige, is present to discuss right of way issues to Town-owned Harvey Mt. recreation land.

CW gives Atty. Bard a background on the property and some of the events to date.
                
Also present are: Randy and Sheila Thunfors, principals in development company that is developing and marketing parcels that abut Harvey Mt. Atty. Lori Robbins is also present representing the Thunfors.

Atty. Robbins speaks to the lengthy deed research she has done on the property. She states that she has conferred with Town Counsel Deborah Eliason on the matter. Atty. Robbins states that she has seen no evidence that the Town has a right of way through the former Kingsmont Camp property as accessed from W. Alford Road.

CW offers that there appears to be evidence that the assumed right of way, as shown on some maps, may actually have been and may still be a public way. CW notes that the same type of granite marker that appears at the Mass/NY state line adjacent to other public ways in the immediate region (Austerlitz and Smith Roads). It seems unreasonable that these border markers would be randomly placed in fields or forests along the border which is where one exists at the top of Harvey Mt.

Atty. Bard states that County or Town records should exist that show a public way in this area if one did exist.

Further discussion about the validity of any Town right of way claim continues. Bill Kie offers his research on the areas around Harvey Mt.

Randy T. claims that his clients are being wronged by the Town because the Selectmen have refused to sign off on a driveway permit on the former Kingsmont property leading to Harvey Mt. He goes on to say that his deed research shows no right of way. He also has deed insurance in the event that some right of way is discovered. However, it is the job of the Town to prove that it has a right of way.

CW explains that the Town is only concerned that by approving the driveway permit, the Town's rights to Harvey Mt. might be jeopardized. The Town is looking for a little more time to research the matter. Tonight is the first time that the Board has been able to consult with Town Counsel on the matter. It would be better to reach an understanding before driveways are built. The Town doesn't want to cause any hardship to landowners but the Selectmen also have to look out for the Town's other interests - including rights of way to Town owned recreation land.

Atty. Bard asks if there is a willingness on behalf of the developers and or private land owners at the former Kingsmont property to grant some right of way to the Town. Atty. Robbins replies that there was some willingness a week or so ago, but less so now.

Randy T. suggests that some language could be drafted that would reserve Town access to Harvey Mt. in order to get a driveway cut approved so that the landowner could begin accessing their home site.

Atty. Bard states that approving a driveway cut does not diminish any Town rights that may exist.

Based on Town Council's statement, the Board approves a driveway cut for __________________.

7:10 PM:        The discussion on Harvey Mt. concludes. More information will be forwarded to Town Counsel for his review. CW, Atty. Bard, Atty. Robbins and the Thunfors leave the Selectmen's meeting to attend a Planning Board hearing that will be discussing a common driveway permit application involving the same property.

Other Items:    Board reviews and acts on previous meeting minutes.

                Board reviews and acts on warrants.

Board signs several documents related to setting the tax rate. All documents will be submitted to the DOR this week and the 2005 tax rate will be approved next week.

Board signs a recyclable goods renewal contract with DEP.

ED makes a motion to close the previously opened executive session involving allegations made against Chief of Police Cooper. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0.

Board accepts, with regret, a letter of resignation from Police Officer Adelheid Teutsch, dated 12-2-04.

Board reviews Police Dept. overtime policy draft and approves it effective immediately. Copy to be forwarded to Chief Cooper.

Board appoints Lynn Ryan to the Cultural Council.

County Sheriff community service painters will start painting Village School classrooms the week of December 20th.

Bruce Turner and AA will meet with communications and phone system consultants on 12-22 to tour the Village School and assess what systems are in place and ideas on what is needed.

Board signs annual liquor license renewals.

8:30 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.


Minutes approved by:



_____________________   _____________________   _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ___________




Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 20, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: Lawrence Tonini (LT) and Curt Wilton (CW)
                Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.
                BOS reviews and signs warrants

6:45 PM:        LT opens a pole hearing for Verizon. Petitioner, Lori Robbins, is seeking to place 2 telephone poles to provide power and phone service to her property on Pixley Hill Road. LT reads the notice as provided by Verizon.

        A field representative from Verizon explains the location and need for the poles. LT asks if there is any public comment.
        
        CW informs the Verizon rep. that there is an abandoned partial pole in the Town's right of way on West Center Road (pole # MECO 34) that has been causing problems with drainage. CW would like Verizon to remove the pole as soon as possible. Verizon rep. apologizes and agrees to have the obstructing pole removed.

        There being no further public comment, CW makes a motion to approve the pole petition. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor. LT closes the Public Hearing. Paperwork will be forwarded to the Town Clerk for execution and distribution.

7:00 PM:        LT opens a Public Hearing to hear and act on a Special Permit application for a new restaurant. The petitioners are Danny May and Cathy Lugenza, owners of LaBruschetta. LT reads the public notice as published in the Berkshire Eagle. Danny May explains that he wishes to divide the present LaBruschetta retail wine and take out gourmet food business into 2 separate businesses. Danny May provides and reviews floor plans with the Board.

        LT asks for public comment.

        Martha Almgren asks if there is adequate parking and handicap accessibility for the new restaurant. Ms. Almgren notes that other applicants were held to strict standards for both parking and H.C. accessibility and this application should meet the same standards.

        D. May shows where handicap access will be, including bathrooms. A discussion follows about parking. By-laws require 1 parking space per 100 sq. ft. of floor space. The new restaurant will be approximately 1,000 square feet and will seat no more than 28. Accordingly, 10 parking spaces must be provided. D. May shows that he either has space on his property or has agreements with adjacent properties that will provide at least 40 spaces. D. May explains that parking has never been a problem - even when the former restaurant was operating.

        The Board agrees that the applicant meets parking and H.C. standards. LT asks if there is any additional public comment. There being none, CW makes a motion to approve the Special Permit to establish the restaurant to be known as Aardvark Wine Company, Inc. d/b/a Oeno located at Suite 1, 1 Harris Street. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

7:15 PM:        LT closes the public hearing.

7:15 PM:        LT opens a public hearing to hear and act on an application to the Local Licensing Authority to change the licensed premises of LaBruschetta. Owners Danny May and Cathy Lugenza wish to reduce the size of the current retail wine and malt and take out food premises. Any change in the size and or scope of an existing alcoholic beverages licensed premises requires a public hearing. LT reads the public notice as it appeared in the Berkshire Eagle and notes that proof has been presented that abutters have been duly notified by certified mail.

        In response to questions from CW, D. May reviews the new floor plan and explains that he wishes to operate 2 separate businesses, owned by 2 separate corporations. Alcoholic beverage licenses for each (restaurant and retail wine and malt) will be held by 2 different corporations and managers. D. May explains that, as prescribed in MGL, there will be a physical separation between the 2 licensed areas. Passage between the 2 sides of the building will require exiting and reentering from the outside. D. May offers that in his many years of holding an alcoholic beverage in Town he has never had any problems with either the Town or the Alcoholic Beverages Commission.

        LT asks for public comment. None follows.

        CW notes that D. May has done considerable research in preparing his applications and that everything seems to be in order. CW makes a motion to approve the Change in Licensed Premises. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

7:45 PM:        LT closes the public hearing.

7:45 PM:        LT opens a public hearing to hear and act on an application from Aardvark Wine Company, Inc, d/b/a Oeno for an all-alcoholic beverages restaurant license for a new restaurant located at Suite 2, 1 Harris Street. LT reads the public notice as it appeared in the Berkshire Eagle and notes the evidence that abutters had been notified via certified mail. Board then reviews the application and floor plan.

        CW asks if there are additional all-alcoholic restaurant licenses available in Town. AA responds that the Town is allowed 14 such licenses based on its population. There are 7 available licenses.

        CW notes that the parking and H.C. access issues have already been addressed to the Board's satisfaction.

        LT asks if there is any public comment. None follows.

        CW makes a motion to approve the application as presented. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

        All fees and paperwork are in order and AA will forward the alcoholic beverages license applications to the ABCC for their review. Upon written approval by the ABCC, the Board can then issue the licenses.

8:10 PM:        LT closes the public hearing.

Other items:    Board discusses scheduling the Annual Town Officer's Appreciation Dinner. LT will speak to area restaurants capable of hosting the event. It is suggested that the dinner will be on a Monday evening at the end of January.

        Jim Dominique, residence not provided, addresses the Board re: obtaining a junk car (Auto, Class III) license. He proposes to obtain the license in his wife's name (Vivian Kie) whom he claims that he has power of attorney over. The location of the proposed operation is 10 West Center Road.

        Mr. Dominique also asks for a copy of all current Town issued licenses held by Bill Kie of 10 West Center Road. AA will furnish copies to the Town Clerk. Mr. Dominique goes on to say that a check with the Town Clerk shows that none of Mr. Kie's several businesses are registered with the Town as required by MGL. The Board is not aware of which local businesses are or are not registered but will investigate the matter.

        LT asks Mr. Dominique to provide proof of his power of attorney and articles of incorporation. Mr. Dominique will provide them at a future meeting. LT notes that a public hearing would have to be scheduled and held if the Board is presented with the proper paperwork.

        AA notes that he has reviewed the bid schedule with EDM for the new heating plant at the Village School. Bid documents will be ready on 1-14-05; pre-bid site conference will be held on 1-19-05; bid opening will be on 1-31-05 at 7:30 PM at Village School. Proper legal notices will appear in the Central Register and local newspaper. All bidders must be pre-qualified by the State (DCAM).

        AA shows the Board a letter of appreciation received from Rob Putnam (BHRSD Plain School) thanking the Board for allowing the Plain School students to use the Village School on 2 recent occasions to hold holiday concerts.

        AA asks the Board how it wishes to respond to recent letters from M/M Levin of West Alford Road concerning their driveway and the role of the Town. LT suggests that the Board needs to respond but should wait until the full Board is present to discuss the matter.

        AA notes that he has been asked by BHRSD Superintendent Donna Moyer to serve on a State quality assurance committee for the District. AA agrees and will attend a few meetings in January.

        Board will not meet next week because of the Holidays.

9:00 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.


Minutes approved by:


_________________________       ___________________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chairman               Curt Wilton

Date: ___________




 
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