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2007 - Minutes of July 23, 30 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 23, 2007

6:30 PM:        Open  Meeting
Quorum present: Curt Wilton (CW), Tina Skorput Cooper (TSC), Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

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

6:50 PM:        Bob Powell, Parks and Recreation ex officio, provides an update on Card Pond lifeguard status. Tim Butterworth suffered a serious injury while lifeguarding at the Pond. Bob asks if the Town would be under any increased liability if there is no lifeguard on duty. The Committee is seeking a replacement for Tim but it may take some time to find someone. MK responds that there is ample signage permanently posted at Card Pond warning users to ‘swim at their own risk’. There are many hours during the week when there is no lifeguard present. There would be no increased liability if there is no full-time lifeguard on duty.

        Bob then speaks about the Canada goose problem at Card Pond. Someone counted 14 geese the other day that looked liked they had settled in at the Pond. Commission member Curtis Thierling states that he has contacted Wildlife and Fisheries to see if anything can be done to get rid of the geese. The Agency was not able to provide any quick fixes.

        Bob reports that some vandalism has taken place and asks if the Police Dept. can increase patrols in the area. Board will contact the Chief. Bob also asks if some of the weeds can be cut back on each side of the beach area. The area is getting closed in and is a safety concern for swimmers and the lifeguard.

7:15 PM:        Open Verizon Utility Pole Hearing. MK reads the legal notice that seeks to install one utility pole to provide service to Mr. Fulop on West Center Road. CW notes that the location is fine as far as the Highway Dept. is concerned. Abutters have been notified and none are present to speak for or against the installation. CW makes a motion to approve the Verizon petition to install a utility pole. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. Hearing closed.

Other Items:    Board reads a letter from Wayne Tenney of Gt. Barrington Road who is registering his complaint with neighbor’s frequent campfires that are sending bothersome smoke towards his house. He is asking for relief from the Board. Following a discussion, the matter is referred to Board of Health Agent John Olander and Fire Chief Peter Skorput. Jurisdiction on this matter lies with the Health and Fire departments.

        Board has a general discussion about the next steps for the senior center now that the Town’s DHCD grant application for a new senior center at the Village School has been denied. MK suggests that the 2 large remaining classrooms at the Village School (rear of building) may be able to be converted into ‘community use space’. Several groups including the American Legion, Council on Aging, Youth Organizations, etc, could utilize this area. A multi-use area may serve the needs of the entire town more effectively and equitably. TSC and CW agree that the idea of a community space has merit and should be investigate further.

        COA notes that the long-term partnership with the Town of Richmond in sharing the Council on Aging van has worked well. If the Town succeeds in its application to the State for a replacement van, the Town should seriously consider extending this past sharing relationship. Richmond has a good protected garage spot for the van; West Stockbridge does not. Richmond helps out with the maintenance of the van. AA notes that he has been discussing the matter with Richmond Town Admin. Bruce Garlow and will continue to stay in touch on the subject.

        Board reviews FinCom meeting minutes of 7-18-07.

        Board reviews a landfill study grant opportunity from the Department of Environmental Protection. AA will apply for up to the allowed $10,000 study grant.

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

Meeting minutes approved by:

_____________________   _______________________ ________________________
Curt Wilton, Chair                      Tina Skorput Cooper             Michael Kirchner
Date: ___________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 30, 2007

4:30 PM:        Open Meeting; St. Patrick’s Parish Center
Quorum present: Tina Skorput Cooper (TSC), Curt Wilton (CW). Michael Kirchner (MK) unable to attend. Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). Berkshire Record reporter present.

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

4:45 PM:        CW opens discussion on the Main St./downtown reconstruction project. Present are: Peter Niles (Director, District 1, MassHighway), Mark Moore (MassHighway), Allison Church (Berkshire Regional Planning), State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, Joe Roy (Floor Store), Bernie Fallon (Public Market), and Joel Hotchkiss (Hotchkiss Mobiles).

CW offers introductions and gives a brief history/outline of the Town’s desires to seek funding for the reconstruction of the Main Street corridor to include: sidewalks, enhancements, granite curbing, crosswalks and paving. Sub-systems (water, sewer and drainage are all relatively new and in good shape).

Peter Niles and Mark Moore discuss the federal/state project funding process and how projects are placed on funding lists and how they are ranked. Even if a project is deemed to have merit and preliminary planning is in place, it can take 5-8 years before funding might be expected. Projects are re-ranked each year and funding is variable each year.

Allison Church (BRPC) suggests that the Town may be better off seeking “enhancement funds” instead of “SAFETEA” funds, which is the path the Town had been following. Enhancement funds would pay for sidewalks, curbing and enhancements but not paving. Also, parking concerns (diagonal vs. parallel) would not come into play. The Town would have to pay for Main St. paving.

Peter Niles states that the Town would have a hard time convincing review/funding authorities that current diagonal parking was conducive to traffic safety, especially with the traffic accident history already on record. If the travel lanes could be widened somehow to prevent backing out cars from entering the travel lanes, then a case could be made to retain diagonal parking. To do so would require widening the street to the north.

Both MassHighway and BRPC suggested that the Town keep all of its options open. Investigate all avenues of funding options. Investigate all of the Town’s needs.

It is agreed that the Town’s next step in the process would be to develop a “Project Planning Report”. AA will work with Allison Church to develop a Request for Proposals to seek an engineering firm to draft that proposal. The cost of this next step is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

There is a general discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of parallel vs. diagonal parking and on the reporting of traffic accidents related to diagonal parking.

MassHighway and BRPC agree that other available funding programs such as PWED and STRAP funding are highly politicized. AA notes that a previous PWED application was near approval following a meeting with then MassHighway Secretary Kerisiotes. But Kerisitotes left his position before the final approval was granted. Timing is as important as building good application.
5:50 PM:        CW thanks all for attending the informational session and expresses encouragement in eventually getting a project approved for funding.

Other items:    Patty Specter, Josh Billings Race organizer wishes to meet with the Selectmen in August to discuss her concerns about the race route and safety issues.

Parks and Recreation has hired a part-time Card Pond lifeguard replacement.

6:15 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, TSC makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      _________________________
Curt Wilton, Chair                              Tina Skorput Cooper

Date: ____________

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