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2005 - Minutes of October 3, 17, 24, 31 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 3, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW) & Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

Board reviews and signs weekly warrants.

Board reviews and approves a driveway permit for Hirsch, 8 Austerlitz Road.

7:00 PM:        Dominick Luchi and his attorney Mike Ostrosky appear before the Board to seek the Board's sign-off on a building permit for 89 West Center Road and to discuss Mr. Luchi's displeasure with the building permitting and inspection process in general.

                After a review, the Board signs off on the permit for 89 West Center Road.

Mr. Luchi criticizes the building permit application process as being too difficult and time consuming.

MK points out that a new permit and process has been instituted to speed up the process and to make the application uniform with other towns. We are in a learning process now but the Board is committed to making the process better. A revised application packet is given to Mr. Luchi.

A copy of an incomplete Certificate of Occupancy for one of Mr. Luchi's new house projects is given to him. Mr. Luchi says that he will take care of the C of O and get a copy to the homeowner.

Other Items:    Board asks EDM Architects to attend their 10-17 meeting to discuss next steps in the Town Offices at Village School conversion project.

        MK is anxious to keep the conversion project moving forward.

        MK asks if a status report has been given on the Old Town Hall Study group. AA responds that no recent updates have been given and Joel Hotchkiss will be contacted.

        MK wants to start the FY '07 budget process sometime in November. Board will review the process and timeline in the next few weeks.

        CW states that the American Legion will be allowed meeting space in the Village School. It will not be designated space but there will be plenty of available space to gather. Also, the Highway Dept. has cleaned, painted and secured a room in the Village School basement for the American Legion armory. The Legion's current home on Gt. Barrington Rd. is being put up for sale.

7:55 PM:        MK makes a motion to go into executive session for the purpose of collective bargaining discussions and to return to open session upon completion. CW seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: ED, aye; CW, aye; MK, aye.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

8:05 PM:        Board returns to open session.

        Following a discussion, the Board instructs AA to contact the Chief of Police and ask the Chief to provide an update to the Board on the hiring of a full-time police officer and asks the Chief to provide the Board with a monthly staffing schedule prior to the start of each month.

        Following a discussion, MK moves to approve a letter of engagement with Thomas Scanlon Assoc. to perform the Town's annual audit for the next 3 years. Both CW and MK have been satisfied with Scanlon's past work for the Town. MK asks that a clause be added to the agreement insisting that audit reports be completed during by January 1 following the close of the fiscal year.

        The Water and Sewer Commission will meet on 10-5-05 at 7:00 PM. Topics of discussion will include rate adjustments, sewer expansion and plant operations.

        There will be no meeting next week (Columbus Day).

        BOS reviews and approves a response to a recent FinCom MEMO re: FY 2004 audit exit conference.

        AA and MK will meet with Tom Webb of Berkshire Housing to discuss the Senior Center grant on 10-7 at 9:00 AM.

        Board schedules a public hearing for 10-17-05 at 6:30 PM for the purpose of hearing and acting upon an application to transfer the Williams River Country Store beer and wine retail license to L.A.H., LLC.

8:30 PM:        There being no further business before the Board, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0.


Meeting minutes approved by:


_____________________   _______________________ _______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                     Michael Kirchner

Date: ____________




Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 17, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW) and Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

6:35 PM:        ED opens Public Hearing for transfer of Wine and Malt alcoholic beverage license from Williams River Country Store to L.A.H., LLC, P. J. Hunt, principal. ED reads the legal notice as it appeared in the 10-6-05 Berkshire Eagle.

                Mr. Hunt states that he expected to keep operations the same as in the past.

                No public comment is given.

MK wishes Mr. Hunt success and makes a motion to approve the transfer. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

6:45 PM:        CW makes a motion to close the Public Hearing. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Other Items:    ED asks Tina Skorput if her Town Clerk pay for last week had been received. Tina: yes. ED requests that Tina submit a weekly payroll sheet to the Town Accountant in the future to avoid any disruptions. ED says that she spoke with the Town Accountant in an effort to resolve an apparent problem between the Clerk and the Accountant re: payroll. MK states that everyone may now have to submit a payroll sheet on a weekly basis so that everyone is treated in the same manner. MK will keep his eye on the situation.

        It is noted that William Kie had agreed at a Board meeting three weeks ago to remove the trailers and trucks from his lot at the corner of Rte. 102 and W. Center Road within 2 weeks. The vehicles are still there. MK suggests that the Chief of Police be given a request to send Mr. Kie an unregistered vehicle letter per the Town Junk Car by-law. Board agrees.

        Board sets Trick or Treat for Halloween night (10-31) from 4-6 PM. Tina Skorput confirms that Parks and Recreation along with volunteers from the Fire Dept. will host a Halloween Parade with a party to follow at Village School beginning at 6:00 PM on October 29. Discussion follows on why both events aren't on the same night. It is noted that the dates for both have never been consistent in the past and that the Board hears from angry parents no matter what date the 2 events are held. CW suggests that the Board take a position that Trick or Treat will always be on Halloween.

7:20 PM:        Although an attempt was made to bring in registered voters, the Special Town Meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM this evening is cancelled due to a lack of quorum. Twenty registered voters are required; only 13 are present. Board votes to reschedule tonight's Special Town Meeting for November 7, 2005 at 7:00 PM. The warrant remains the same.

        Board sets November 7, 2005 at 7:30 PM as the continuation of the previously opened Public Hearing for the Scenic Mt. Act. The Berkshire Eagle will be notified of the 2 events. It is noted that the Eagle was faxed the notice and warrant for tonight's Special Town Meeting.

7:25 PM:        Library Trustees address the Board regarding their concerns for space library space allotment at the Village School. Plans to date and articles in the newspaper seem to have reduced the sq. ft. from what the current library has.

        MK thanks the Trustees (Nancy Kearns, June Biggs and Jennifer Summers) for writing a letter of concern to the Board and for attending tonight's meeting. MK informs the Trustees that no final plans for any space at Village School have yet been defined. Schematically, space has been defined for Town Offices, a Senior Center and the Library. However, the Town is ways away from construction documents and is still meeting with the Town's architect EDM. MK notes that the Senior Center Steering Committee has met and defined space at the Village School but nothing has been set in stone.

        Nancy Kearns is concerned that the Library should be next in priorities after Town Offices and the Senior Center, third. A library serves the needs of the entire Town. Nancy wants to establish the Library's position in the design process. A library planning grant may be available from the State in 5 years. The Trustees recently met with someone from the State Library Commission and toured the Village School and discussed planning and construction grants.

        MK states that the design process will be methodical. He wants to get it right the first time.

        June Biggs says that the discussed 990 sq. ft. of space is insufficient for the Library.

        MK wants to keep the process moving. He doesn't like the idea of using two town halls.

        Jennifer Summers states that the Trustees have made it clear that they want to be in the Village School. It makes sense to have all Town facilities in one location.

        MK says that the Board will work in concert with EDM and the Trustees. MK asks if 1,200 sq. ft. would be an acceptable starting point for the Library. Trustees agree.

        Nancy Kearns states that the Trustees have already held discussions with EDM and would like to be included in future discussions. MK agrees.

        Nancy Kearns says that the end result will be a nicely coordinated multi-function facility.

        MK states that the design process from here on will be Town Offices and Library driven with the Senior Center to follow. Previous design steps had been Senior Center driven.

        ED agrees that the order of priority for Village School should be: 1) Town Offices, 2) Library and 3) Senior Center.

        Regarding the old town hall, Jennifer Summers and MK agree that they have to be convinced that the Town can afford both it and the Village School. CW understands the financial concerns of keeping both buildings but remains attached to the old town hall.

        Trustees thank the Board for their time.

7:55 PM:        Other Items:

        MK suggests that joint interviews be set up as soon as possible with the 2 full-time police officer candidates. AA will coordinate with Chief and candidates for next week.

8:00 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:

_____________________   ____________________    _______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                     Michael Kirchner

Date: ___________




Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 24, 2005

5:30 PM:        Open Meeting; Village School
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Michael Kirchner (MK). Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED) unable to attend. Also present: Administrative Assistant Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

MK makes a motion to go into executive session for the purpose of conducting screening interviews for the position of full-time police officer and to return to open session upon conclusion. CW seconds the motion. Roll call vote taken: MK, aye; CW, aye.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
6:50 PM:        Return to open session.

MK makes a motion to offer the position of full-time police officer to Matthew Kelley of Lee. Mr. Kelley was one of 2 candidates interviewed and he was the only candidate with full-time Police Academy training. Both candidates interviewed well but MK feels that it would be fiscally irresponsible not to go with the Academy trained applicant because of the significant savings over having to fund the training for someone who was not certified. MK proposes to offer Mr. Kelley $16.50/hr. for a 90-day probation period, to be increased to $17/hr. upon successful completion of that probation at which time, the applicant would enter into a negotiated employment agreement through June 30, 2006 which would be renewable for a period not to exceed 3 years. Mr. Kelley would be assigned to work the 2nd shift from 5:30 PM-2:00 AM.

CW seconds the motion and agrees with MK that an Academy trained individual would provide significant savings to the Town. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Other Items:    MK suggests that EDM be instructed to increase the proposed Library space at Village School from the discussed 992 sq. ft. to 1,200 sq. ft. The Board will be meeting with EDM next week.

        MK instructs AA to send a letter of thanks to the police officer candidate not selected.

        CW instructs AA to contact the Chief and get an update on the status of the unregistered vehicles parked at the corner of Rte. 102 and West Center Rd. The Board would also like the speed trailer moved from its present location to a new appropriate location. Also, the Board would like to have a copy of an updated Police Dept. staffing schedule for November.

        AA informs the Board that Berkshire Regional Planning is working on the Town's Commonwealth Capital and Smart Growth applications per a grant submitted by the AA. Both these items are required before a Senior Center grant can be submitted and a high score on both are instrumental in getting a high enough score to receive funding. AA notes that the deadline for this year's application for a Senior Center grant is fast approaching but the Town was informed by Berkshire Housing that it didn't make sense to go through the application process until the Commonwealth Capital and Smart Growth applications have been submitted.

        The annual tax classification hearing has been scheduled for October 31, 2005 at 7:00 PM.
        
        AA will be attending a Household Hazardous Waste Steering Committee meeting this Wednesday morning in Lee. AA will also be attending a seminar next Wednesday in Pittsfield sponsored by the Town's insurance carrier MIIA. Attendance rewards the Town with a 2% discount on worker's comp and professional liability insurance premiums.

7:30 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.


Meeting Minutes approved by:


__________________________      ___________________________
Curt Wilton                             Michael Kirchner

_______________
Date    




Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
October 31, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW), Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

                Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
                Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

7:00 PM:        Full-time Police officer candidate Matt Kelly addresses the Board regarding his offer of employment with the Town. He had a few questions regarding scheduling, on-call shifts, etc. MK responds that it is the Chief's job to set the work schedule and other Department details. MK states that the Board does not want to micro-manage the police department. West Stockbridge is a strong chief town. MK tells Mr. Kelly that the Chief told the Board that he will contact Mr. Kelly tomorrow. Mr. Kelly thanks the Board and leaves.

7:05 PM:        ED reads the Public Notice for the Annual Tax Classification Hearing as it appeared in the Berkshire Eagle. Present for the hearing are Assessors Irene Skorput, Amy Butterworth and Jennifer Wilton. ED asks the Assessors what their pleasure re: adopting a split or single tax rate. Irene responds that the Assessors, as in past years, propose a single tax rate for both residential and commercial properties. Irene notes that there are too few commercial properties in Town to allow for an equitable split in tax rates. ED makes a motion to adopt a single tax rate for 2006. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 6-0 in favor.

Other Items:    Board reviews a sign permit application from Berkshire Natural Resources Council for the entry to Steven's Glen recreation area. A letter accompanying the application admits that the proposed sign exceeds Town zoning. MK states that although the Board would like to help out, it should administer applicable sections of zoning evenly. If the sign does not conform, then the Board has no choice but to deny. ED and CW agree; application denied. The application will be returned to BNRC with a note that they could either reduce the size or appeal the Board's decision with the ZBA.

        CW notes that Tree Warden Bill Kie spoke informed him today that the Tree Warden's FY '06 budget is nearly spent. CW suggested that BK perform only emergency work for the remainder of the year. If the budget runs over, Mr. Kie would have to appeal to the FinCom for a Reserve Fund transfer. ED and MK agree.

        MK asks the Board to review its position on the Scenic Mt. Act in anticipation of next week's continued Public Hearing. It is noted that the ConsCom would be meeting on the subject this Thursday and that both ED and CW would attend that meeting. Board agrees that public comment from the ConsCom meeting and next week's Public Hearing would have to weighed before the Board took a final position on the Act.

        MK talks about the FY 2007 budget process. He would like to send out departmental budget request by 11-21 to get a head start on the season. Board agrees.

        MK suggests that a MEMO in response to the FY 2005 audit management letter be formalized and passed along to the auditors and FinCom. Board agrees.

8:50 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.


Meeting Minutes approved by:


_______________________ _______________________ _______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                     Michael Kirchner

Date: ___________
                



 
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