Town of West Stockbridge
21 State Line Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
2007 - Minutes of April 2, 23, 30 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
April 2, 2007

6:30 PM:          Open Meeting; St. Patrick’s Parish Center
                        Board reviews and approves meeting minutes, with corrections.
                        Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

6:45 PM:          Resident Ralph LaCasio, State Line Road, seeks an update on the Hill House property. MK informs Mr. LoCassio that the Town had just received final disposition from the Massachusetts Land Court. The Town now owns the abandoned property free and clear and is seeking approval of an Annual Town Meeting article to appropriate a sum to demolish and remove the property. Mr. LaCasio thanks the Board for its persistence throughout this long process.

Other Items:    Board discusses the Village School building project. Specifically, the Board reviews a Notice of Delay letter received from the general contractor, Whiteway Construction. Board will respond and inform Whiteway that the Town is not responsible for any potential project delay in the event that Abide Asbestos Abatement contractors cannot return to remove the building windows. Responsibility for scheduling Abide is the responsibility of Whiteway not the Town. Whiteway should have contacted Abide sooner.

                        Board is told of a telephone complaint received from Main St. resident Mati Kiin. He is angry about truck traffic out of control and why aren’t the Police doing something to stop it. Board will pass the complaint along to the Chief.

                        Board reviews a letter from Chief Cooper seeking guidance from the Board on whether or not to permit oversize trucks from Unistress to pass through the Town center for a limited period. Board appreciates being notified but feels that it is a public safety issue and should be handled as the Chief best sees fit.

                        Board reviews a letter from Chief Cooper suggesting that part-time Police Officer Perrin be allowed to work full-time during the 20-week period that Officer Messina is attending the full-time Police Training Academy. Board agrees that Department staffing is the Chief’s domain. However, the Board will inform the Chief that any Town employee who works 20 or more hours per week on a consistent basis is considered under MGL to be a full-time employee. As such, that person must be enrolled in the county retirement system and is eligible for health and dental insurance. CW points out that a full-time Officer is also supposed to be full time Officer Academy trained and the Town could be placed in a liable position. Officer Perrin is not full-time Academy trained. Chief will need to be creative in his staffing while Officer Messina is unavailable.

                        Board signs a contract with Lycott Industries for initial and Year 2 aquatic weed removal at Mill Pond. The initial application will take place this spring. TSC asks that the contractor give the Town a few days notice prior to beginning.

                        Board reviews a letter received from MassHighway District 1 Director, Peter Niles responding to the Town’s Project Need Request for the reconstruction of the Main Street area. Mr. Niles states that MassHighway has reviewed the PNR and will look favorable upon the project. However, additional studies need to take place before the project can move forward. Board invites Mr. Niles and Berkshire Regional Planning in to a future meeting to discuss what exactly the Town needs to do in order to properly proceed.

                        Board has a general discussion re: what becomes of the Town Hall after it is abandoned this summer. Board suggests calling in Old Town Hall Committee Chair Joel Hotchkiss in soon for a discussion at a meeting.

                        The Board has a general discussion re: the Cemetery Commission and how it plans to conduct and pay for mowing this season. CW points out that if all the mowing was sub-contracted properly it would be subject to prevailing wage laws. If so, the Commission’s FY 2008 budget request will not be enough. Perhaps the Commission members have different plans and should be called in soon to a meeting with the Board.

                        TSC makes a motion to set the May 7, 2208 Town Elections at the St. Patrick’s Rectory. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

                        TSC notes that Josh Morse thought that the Village School project sign was too close to the Town sign in order to do a portion of his Eagle Scout project which is to do a planting around the sign. Board notes that the project sign is temporary and will be removed when the project is done.

                        CW offers a driveway permit application from Amy Pressman. Board reviews and approves.

                        Board reviews FY 2008 budget.

8:15 PM:          There being no additional business before the Board, TSC makes a motion to adjourn. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

______________________    _____________________      _______________________
Michael Kirchner, Chair                  Curt Wilton                              Tina Skorput Cooper

Date: ____________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
April 23, 2007

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting; St. Patrick’s Parish Center.
                Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
                Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

6:45 PM:        Old Town Hall Committee members Joel Hotchkiss and Bob Salerno update the Board on Committee activities and issue a report.

        An application has been submitted to the State Historical Commission to place the Town Hall on the State Historic properties listing.

        Joel states that the Commission’s intent is to preserve the building with an eye towards using the 2nd floor for display of historic items other community events and displays. The first floor could be leased out as commercial space. He notes that the Planning Board has been studying changing the downtown zoning to include the Town Hall in the commercial district – presently it is zoned residential. Joel speaks about fund raising to defray the cost of conversion/renovation.

        Bob Salerno says that the Committee’s intent is to restore the building to its original town use. Bob acknowledges that there are hurdles to be crossed, not the least of which are financial.

        MK points out that there are several legal, handicap and building code issues that need to be addressed. Once town offices vacate the building, any subsequent use would fall under a “change of use” and would trigger a full upgrade of the structure.

        Bob mentions the Lenox Academy as an example of a town owned building which is leased out to commercial tenants. It is suggested that one of the first calls the Committee should make is to the State Building Inspector to find out exactly what degree of renovation needs to take place to suit the Committee’s vision.

        Bob and Joel agree that more investigation has to be done. Board thanks the Committee for their presentation.

Other Items:    Joel Hotchkiss presents the Board with his plan to open a small café at his place of business – Hotchkiss Mobiles. He has reviewed his plans with the Board of Health Inspector and the Zoning Enforcement Officer. He asks if there are any additional or missing steps that he must take. CW notes that he will have to obtain a sign permit if he plans to add a sign.

7:20 PM:        Board reviews and signs the Annual Town Meeting warrant. Board reviews an opinion from Town Counsel that rules the Voter Petition Articles seeking to retain the Chief of Police and to honor his current contract as out of order. A copy of the opinion has been furnished to the Town Moderator.

        Board reviews work progress at the Village School. Board discusses a number of items including: 4-24-07 job-site meeting; mix-up with Whiteway payment; sewer/water lines placement; bathrooms wall; additional work.

        Board reviews a report on the Shaker Mill Dam Inspection done by Haley and Aldrich engineers as required by the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.

        Board reviews a letter from Peter Niles of MassHighway suggesting a meeting on 4-30-07 to discuss the downtown reconstruction project. Board decides to postpone the meeting until soon after the Annual  Town Meeting to allow for more notice to concerned  parties. Board discusses tabling Article 33 of the Annual Town Meeting warrant which asks for $14,000 for the next engineering phase of this project. This appropriation may be premature until more is found out from MassHighway.

        Board reviews a Public Hearing Notice announcing a request for a water rate hike from Housatonic Water Company. Several West Stockbridge residents are served by this private company. Individual customers have been notified.

        Board approves a request from Chief of Police Karl Cooper to appoint part-time Officer Robert Carter. Mr. Carter has all of the required training and qualifications. TSC makes a motion to appoint. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

        Board reads a letter from Librarian Leslie Meltzer who is resigning to take a new position in Gt. Barrington. Board wishes Leslie the best in her new job.

        Board decides to instruct Town Counsel to speak with Chief Cooper’s  attorney and have the two of them work out a date for a joint meeting between the Board and the Chief.

        Following a conversation, Board agrees to solicit a quote from MEGA for FY 2008 property and casualty and professional liability insurance. MEGA has just entered the  P&C field. The Town’s current carrier is MIIA.

        MK reiterates his support for a new fire truck to replace the 1974 Pumper but he would like to speak with the Town’s financial advisor first on how best to structure the purchase. The option of leasing the vehicle may be a good idea but needs to be fleshed out first. The same practical approach needs to be taken with this purchase as with all other major purchases or projects.

8:10 PM:        There being no additional business before the Board, CW makes a motion to adjourn. TSC seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

_____________________   _____________________   _______________________
Michael Kirchner, Chair                 Curt Wilton                     Tina Skorput Cooper

Date: ___________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
April 30, 2007

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting. St. Patrick's Parish Center.
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Tina Skorput Cooper (TSC). Michael Kirchner (MK) unable to attend. Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

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

Other Items: Board reviews Annual Town Meeting warrant and budget.

Board reviews an opinion from Town Counsel on the Town's liability for repairs to vehicles claiming damage from potholes. Board will discuss again when the whole Board is present.

Board reviews a letter received from the Library Commissioners that was sent to the State Library Board. The letter registers the Commissioners displeasure with a matching funds program promoted by the State that didn't turn out to be as generous as thought. The Commissioners raised over $5,000 recently in private donations expecting an equal match from the State. Instead, the Library will only receive a few hundred dollars.

Board reviews progress at the Village School renovation project.

7:45 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, TSC makes a motion to adjourn. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

_____________________   _____________________   _______________________
Michael Kirchner, Chair                 Curt Wilton                     Tina Skorput Cooper

Date: ___________