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2005 - Minutes of February 14 Meeting

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
February 14, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Lawrence Tonini (LT), Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW).
Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA).
No press present.
                BOS approves previous meeting minutes
                BOS approves weekly warrants

CW and LT discuss the emergency generator at Village School. Study will conducted to see if the unit can be converted to automatic switch over and at what cost.

Village School boiler replacement bids are discussed. Per the recommendation of the Town's consultant, EDM engineer John Allysio, CW make a motion to award the contract to the low bidder Cardillo Plumbing and Heating. Discussion followed on whether to accept Bid Alternates #1 and #2. It is decided to accept Alternate #1 (future stub piping) and to delay a decision on Alternate #2 (allowance to service unit heaters). Including Alternate #1, Cardillo's bid is $98,857 which is still the low bid (Alternate #1 included). LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor of awarding the base bid and Alternate #1 to Cardillo Plumbing and Heating.

7:10 PM:        Bob Powell gives the Board an update on his Village School Town offices design efforts. Bob addresses parking and better access to offices and library and suggests that customer parking could be added adjacent to the west side of the building.

        The Board would like to set aside a classroom for use by the Council on Aging for Senior Center activities. It is suggested that the classroom closest to the kitchen would be the best spot. A discussion follows on whether it should be designated as "community space" or "senior center" space. The Board reaffirms that they want the seniors to have a designated space. LT suggests that the Board speak with the COA to better determine their space needs.

        Bob notes that he is speaking to a lighting consultant who is not charging a fee and that further discussions will take place with a communications consultant from Richmond once floor plans are more in place. Bob suggests that he meet with some of the Town officers in the office space and put tape on the floor to better visualize the individual spaces.

7:30 PM:        John Parker, representing the "Local Yokel" addresses the Board about the group's efforts to date and plans for the future. John notes that the volunteer local newsletter has been well received and the group has solicited donations and has sold ads and has received approximately $11,000 to date to offset publishing costs. Each issue has printed 500 copies and only a few copies have been returned as non-taken.

        John states that the group might like to expand to 800 copies per issue and would like to bulk-mail the copies to all residents instead of distributing copies around Town for pick-up. John feels that a full circulation would better serve the public. John asks if the Town could subsidize the mailing costs because donations and ads will not cover the cost of an increase in copies published and their mailing. He suggests that $1,500-$2,000 would cover the costs. To date the newsletter has been self-supporting.

        LT asks the question if other towns contribute municipal funds to community newsletters. AA responds that the few towns that he is aware of with newsletters (Sheffield, Monterey, Richmond and Cheshire) do not supply any town funding. AA will send an e-mail to the Berkshire Manager's Group to get a more comprehensive look at what other communities are doing as far as contributing to local newsletters.

        ED and LT raise the subject of the appropriateness of governmental funding of an independent newsletter. Although both support and applaud the efforts of the group, they are concerned over issues such as editorial control, content, and the evenness of political and other published positions. They are also concerned about the appropriateness of some of the publishing costs to date being borne by the Parks and Recreation line item appropriation. It is noted that the Parks and Recreation budget only has about $750 remaining through June 30th.

        John is told that there are still a few weeks before final '06 budgets are finalized and the matter of government subsidization is continued until a future meeting until more information can be gathered. John thanks the Board for their time and support.

Other Items:    AA reminds the Board that he will be on vacation the week of Feb. 28-March 4.

AA reports that 75% drawings for the Route 102/Shaker Mill bridge project have just been received. The plans need to be reviewed to ensure that the 2 significant Town requests (Texas style bridge rails and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge) are included in the plans. CW and AA will speak with MassHighway. It is also noted that MassHighway is in the same position as the Town as far as the discovery of an endangered plant species in Mill Pond. The bridge project could well be delayed for a year or more. AA notes that he has put the MassHighway engineer and Lycott Environmental (the firm proposing to perform aquatic weed control in Mill Pond) in touch with each so that their efforts in identifying and protecting the endangered weed are not duplicated.

        AA notes that he and CW attended the BHRSD School Committee meeting last Thursday when the District's FY '06 budget was presented to the public. Several more District budget hearings will take place before the final budget is adopted. The Board asks if District representatives and local School Committee members could attend a future Selectmen's meeting to discuss the budget. AA will contact District Business Manager Matt Gillis.

        AA will attend a Berkshire County Boards of Health Association meeting tomorrow at 4:30 in Pittsfield. The meeting will discuss plans for the mass immunization program.

        AA notes that the ABCC has approved the all-alcoholic beverages restaurant license application for Aardvark Wine Co.

        A letter from the Board has been given to the Planning Board stating the Board's request for a little more investigative time to determine any Town rights of way or Town roads through the former Kingsmont Camp property to Town owned land on Harvey Mt. A letter of opinion on the matter from Town Counsel was also supplied to the Planning Board. The letter suggests that although no evidence has been presented to date of a Town right of way or road through Kingsmont property, further investigation of abutting properties might be in order. A previous Board meeting capped the cost of such further investigation at $1,500.

        Board reviews a draft timeline for FY '06 budget review and Town Meeting.

        AA notes that John Olander, the Town's health agent, turned over more than $9,000 in receipts to the general fund in FY '04. AA notes that John and his created position are working out very well and he is paying nearly his entire salary out of receipts he has generated.

        AA notes that the Town has received 2 escrow checks for $3,300 each from Silver Mine LLC for future paving costs associated with their approved sub-division off of Iron Ore Rd. CW and the Planning Bd. are responsible for gaining this benefit to the Town.

        Board reviews and approves a help wanted ad for a full-time Police Officer.

        Board reviews and approves a MEMO to the Planning Board expressing their concern over the apparent naming of a new road to access building lots off of Lenox Rd. Self-naming driveways as Town roads leads to confusion for public safety personnel and others.

        Board reviews a copy of a letter sent to the Zoning Enforcement Officer by Dick Lavallette who is concerned with potentially encroaching building activities by his neighbor.

        Board reviews an opinion from Town Counsel which speaks to the Town's responsibility to collect fines from those who fail to register as DBA's with the Town Clerk. The Town is under no obligation to enforce an MGL provision which allows the Town to fine those who fail to register or re-register. If the Town becomes aware of someone who is not registered then the Town is obligated to inform that person that they must register with the Town Clerk.

        Board reviews and acts on several FY '06 departmental budget submittals. The budget book will be left on the round table at Town Hall for the FinCom to act on at their next meeting. An e-mail was sent to FinCom Chair Alan Thiel informing him of same and suggested dates for a joint budget meeting with the Board.

9:00 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 approved by:

______________________  _____________________   _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ________________


Town of West Stockbridge 21 State Line Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
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