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2014 - Minutes of February 10, 24 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
February 10, 2014

6:00 PM:        Open Meeting.
Quorum present: Karen Zick (KZ), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM); Peter Skorput (PS). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

KZ makes a motion to enter executive session per MGL Chapter 39, Section 23b to discuss strategy with respect to pending litigation and to return to open meeting session upon its conclusion. EM seconds the motion. Roll call vote taken: KZ, aye; PS, aye; EM, aye.

Executive Session

6:30 PM:        Board reconvenes open meeting schedule.

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

Other business/action/discussion items:

  • Board discusses and reviews proposals for data transmission services to be linked to the MBI high speed internet lines soon to be available at the Town Hall and Fire Station. Cornerstone and Crocker Communications submitted quotes for a variety of bandwidth options. Board is inclined to go with 10 meg and the Town Hall and 5 meg at the Fire Station. Both sites are currently served by a less than 1 meg line. Both proposals indicate a substantial savings over the current provider at Town Hall (Earth Link) and Verizon at the Fire Station. AA to gather additional information and Board will make a decision at an upcoming meeting.
  • AA provides a sewer expansion project update. All project paperwork has been submitted and approved by USDA/Rural Development, the funding agency. A pre-bid conference will be held on February 20 at 2pm at the Town Hall and bid opening is scheduled for March 6th. Following a review of the bids, a contract will be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder and work is expected to commence as soon as conditions permit in the Spring 2014.
  • Highway Supt. Curt Wilton gives the Board an update. Curt informs the Board that he has now exceeded his annual Snow and Ice budget. Sand and salt have been used at a higher rate this year in response to several snow events. Overtime has also exceeded the appropriation. The Board of Selectmen had declared a snow emergency at their last meeting per Department of Revenue guidelines in anticipation of the snow and ice budget going over. Curt states that he will be seeking some equipment upgrades in next year's budget, including replacing the 25-yr old tractor for mowing and the 13 year old pick-up which will not get an inspection sticker because of rusting. He will make a formal presentation to the Board and FinCom in the coming weeks.
  • Board approves the annual weed raking at the Card Pond swimming area. PS asks that the contractor schedule the work closer to the swimming season, Last year it was done too early and the weeds grew back before the end of the summer.
  • Board reviews a resident's request to park approximately 50 cars at the Card Pond parking lot over the July 4th weekend to accommodate guests attending an event at their home on Gt. Barrington Rd. Board suggests that the field next to the parking area, which is also Town owned, would be a better option since it would allow for more space.
  • Annual audit exit conference has been re-scheduled to Feb. 26 at 6:30 pm.
  • The annual BHRSD three-town budget hearing will be held at the Stockbridge Town Hall on February 19th beginning at 6PM. Selectmen and FinCom members are invited to attend.
7:35 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, EM makes a motion to adjourn. PS
seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Karen Zick, Chair                               Earl Moffatt                                      Peter Skorput

Date: __________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
February 24, 2014

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Karen Zick (KZ), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM); Peter Skorput (PS). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). No press present.

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

7:00 PM:        Verizon Utility Pole Hearing. EM reads the public notice that was mailed to abutters of
two utility poles requested to be placed on Glendale Road to provide support to existing phone and power lines on the street. Al Bessette, representing Verizon is present. There is also a representative from National Grid present. KZ opens the floor for discussion of the proposed utility pole location. The applicant expresses the need to shore up existing poles and utility line integrity by adding two additional poles on a section of Glendale Road. EM asks about other utility poles throughout the Town that are either redundant or abandoned that are still standing and create an eyesore and public safety hazard. Mr. Bessette agrees that old poles are a concern in many communities and understands that the utility companies need to do a better job in removing them. He asks if the Town could provide a list of such poles so that his company might address them. With the assistance of the Highway Superintendent, EM produces an inventory of old poles and provides it to both National Grid and Verizon. The Board asks both utilities to step up their efforts to remove these old poles and both representatives state that they will pass along that request to their higher-ups. With that reassurance, KZ   makes a motion to approve tonight's application. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. Application paperwork will be forwarded to the Town Clerk for recording. KZ closes the public hearing.

7:20 PM:        Planning Board attends the meeting to discuss thoughts and concerns regarding the
Town's Downtown Enhancement plans as per the Town's successful MassWorks grant application that was awarded to the Town earlier this year in the amount of $1,000,000.  Project engineer Steve Mack is present for the discussion. Planning Board Chairman Mitch Greenwald expresses his Board's concerns about not being involved in the design process and felt somewhat in the dark about the process and is further concerned about whether the design might blend with or be in conflict with the Planning Board's efforts on amending the downtown area zoning. Mitch points out that the Planning Board has been working on revising the downtown zoning for a number of years and is now close to completing and presenting that work.

AA points out that the Downtown Enhancement proposal has been no secret and has been in the works for the past 17 years and that the Town had applied for funding numerous times, both under the current MassWorks program and previous iterations of State and federal infrastructure improvement programs. A previous Town Meeting had appropriated $50,000 for engineering for the purpose of preparing plans in order to apply for this grant application. Several public hearings have been held on the subject, the most recent of which was in February 2012. Today's plans are essentially the same as those presented two years ago except for some modifications made as a result of comments made at that hearing. Furthermore, individual discussions have been held with affected abutters to the project, utility companies, State agencies with authority within the proposed scope of work and all Town Boards and Officers with permitting and or regulatory authority within the proposed scope of work area.

Planning Board member Dana Bixby requests additional time for the Planning Board to review the plans and make comments. Board agrees to hold a follow-up session on March 10, 2014 at 7:30PM and to invite the same abutters as were the previous public session.

Other business/discussion/action items:

  • Board approves a request from Community Health Program (CHP) to hold a two day tag sale at the Village School gym on the weekend of May 4, 2014 as a fund-raising event. PS notes that this is a well-run organization and would like to support them. Board agrees.
  • Tree Warden Jim Hallock attends the meeting to discuss a number of Town tree and Tree Warden issues. Jim asks to renew a previous discussion he had with the Selectmen regarding being compensated for his services as Tree Warden. Jim has not billed the Town for services for the past two years and feels that an annual stipend would be appropriate. Board agrees that a stipend would be in order and could be addressed in the FY 2015 budget to be acted upon in May. EM asks Jim whether he has an inventory of dead and dangerous trees that the Board has asked for in past meetings as that would be one of the items a tree warden would typically be charged with producing. Jim and the Board agree to meet again in two weeks and he will bring the inventory at that time.
  • AA informs the Board that he attended a FY 2015 BHRSD budget presentation offered to the three member towns at the Stockbridge Town Hall on February 20th. West Stockbridge's proposed assessment to the District will be up significantly over the current year because of an increase in the State's view of West Stockbridge's ability to pay via their minimum local contribution calculation (MLC) and an increase in student headcount. The budget is not yet finalized and the District will hold additional public hearings prior to adopting a budget in 3 weeks..
  • Board will meet on March 17 for FY 2015 budget discussions.
8:20 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, PS makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. EM seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Karen Zick, Chair                               Earl Moffatt                                      Peter Skorput

Date: __________


 
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