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2014 - Minutes of August 4, 18 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
August 4, 2014

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

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

6:45 PM:        EM makes a motion to enter executive session per MGL Ch 39, Section 23B (3) for
collective bargaining discussion and to return to open session upon completion. PS seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: PS, aye; KS, aye; EM, aye.


7:15 PM:        Board returns to open meeting session

Parks and Recreation Commission members provide the Board with an update of activities and provides the Selectmen with an updated list of current P&R Commission members. Board thanks those that have offered to volunteer on the Commission and asks that those members be sworn in by the Town Clerk at their earliest convenience if they have not done so already. Commission adds that 2 lifeguards have been hired and that the Commission is compiling a handbook as a guide for current and future Commission members. Also reported that the Card Pond beach remains free of goose droppings and that a plan is being developed to clean up and upgrade the playground equipment at the Village School.

Other business/discussion/action items:

  • KZ suggests that the Selectmen should be considered for a salary raise in the next budget since it hasn't changed in a number of years.
  • PS asks if the Transfer Station attendant had received a raise for the current fiscal year. AA responds that yes he has and it's on par with the increase received by Highway Dept. personnel.
  •  PS asks that Charter Communications be contacted to clean up around the cell towers and to mow the area.
  • Highway Superintendent Curt Wilton provides the Board with an update. Following a discussion, Board approves a Chapter 90 (State Aid to Highways) request to spend up to $150,000 – from the current $240,000 allotment - for milling and paving of Main, Center and Depot Streets to coincide with the downtown improvement project. Curt notes that this annual funding from the State was intended as the Town's share of the $1M improvement project. Curt informs the Board that paving will take place on Lenox Road this week and will run from the intersection of Deer Hill Road up the hill to the Richmond line. Town of Richmond will be coordinating and will pave the rest of the road to the top of the hill. Curt acknowledges that the area below the start of paving needs attention as well but he'd like to get the worst section done first. He notes that funding for this project was provided by a one time State grant. Curt also notes that a significant section of the bottom of Lenox Rd was repaved following the just completed sewer expansion project. Curt notes that he had to use a big portion of FY 2015 Highway Construction funds for Town Road repairs ($13,763) resulting from the June rainstorms. Following a review with the Selectmen, Curt will order several signs to be placed at  the Village School to remind dog owners that their pets must be leashed and to pick up after them.
  • EM makes the following motion for the purpose of disposing of Town owned property: “move that the Board of Selectmen vote to declare as available for disposition the following Town owned property located at 3 Cross Road, as described on Assessors records as Map 402, Lot 84, consisting of a single family residence on approximately .99 acres and to sell the property to the highest responsive and responsible bidder”. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. It is noted that this property was obtained by the Town by means of a tax title taking and that the property is uninhabitable and is considered to be a liability to the Town. An auction was held several months ago for the same parcel and no one bid. Notice of the bid will run shortly in the Berkshire Eagle for 2 consecutive weeks. AA has drafted a bid package. Bid due date is September 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM.
  • Board has a general discussion regarding concerns and comments about seemingly random parking pasterns in the area of 6 Depot Street. Board will advise the Police Department.
  • Board reviews a letter from Josh Billings Race organizers requesting to use Town roads for the annual race. Further coordination will take place between the race organizers and the Town's police, fire and highway departments before the race which is scheduled for September 14th.
  • Board receives a letter from the State Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission telling the Board that the ABCC held a hearing on July 22, 2014 regarding an incident on February 24, 2014. Queensboro package store stipulated to facts regarding sale of alcoholic beverages to a minor, for which a 3-day liquor license suspension was ordered but held in abeyance provided no further violations take place for a 2-year period. No local licensing board action required.
  • Board reviews a letter from the Massachusetts School Building Authority which speaks to the Monument Mt High School renovation project (attached). The MABA will allow some of the project changes that will reduce the cost but not the overall scope of the project.
  •  Board reviews a letter received from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society requesting that Town roads and facilities be utilized for a county wide bike race to be held on September 20, 2014. This race has been held for a number of years. Letter is forwarded to the Chief of Police for public safety coordination.
  • Per Department of Environmental Protection recommendation, the Town has contracted with a water testing company to test 9 private wells in the vicinity of the old town landfill. This testing will be directly coordinated with the homeowners by the testing company.
  • Per recommendation of Town Counsel, the Board takes no action on Charter Communications wish to exercise their option to extend their lease agreement with the Town for an addtional 5 years on Town land used by Charter for a cell tower. The Town's revenue sharing agreement with Charter remains the same through the 5-year extension. New negotiations will take place prior to the end of the 5-yr extension. It is noted that the land lease agreement with Charter is independent of the current negotiations with Charter on the renewal of their Cable TV license agreement with the Town.
  • It is noted that the sewer expansion project has been completed and tested and that letters from the Board of Health will be going out shortly explaining the process for expansion area homes to tie in to the sewer.
  • Downtown Enhancement project has gone out to bid and bids will be opened on August 27th.
8:20 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, KZ makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. EM seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Peter Skorput, Chair                          Earl Moffatt                                       Karen Zick

Date: ___________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
August 18, 2014

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

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

Library Trustee Sue Coxon addresses the Board and informs them that the Trustees will be changing the management of Trustee investments and bank accounts from the Town to a brokerage house. This change had been previously discussed with and approved by the Town's auditing firm Thomas Scanlon Associates.

7:00 PM:        Board suspends its regular meeting for the purpose of convening a public hearing of the
Rent Control Board (RCB) being held in the gymnasium. The Board will return to regular session upon the conclusion of the RCB hearing.

  • PS reads the legal notice as published in the 5-28-14 Berkshire Eagle.
  • Present for the hearing are: Mill Pond Trailer Park (MPTP) owner Eric Leveque (EL); several tenants from the MPTP; Rent Control Board (RCB); Town Counsel Patricia Cantor (PC).
  • Admin Asst Mark Webber gives a background of events leading up to tonight's meeting including the postponement granted by the RCB of the original hearing date of  6-23-14.
  • Mill Pond Tenant's Association (MPTA) member Evie Kerswell opens the discussion by offering a handout stating the MPTA's position and application for rent reduction.
  • MPTA member Nancy Hale gives a presentation and provides a handout. She speaks about water charges being added to the base rent which average $50 per month. She asks that the RCB investigate the owner's income and expenses and arrive at a fair net operating income (FNOI). There are 37 lots with trailer units in the MPTP, 7 of those units are owned by the park owner Eric Leveque.
  • General discussion regarding the connection to Town water and the installation of individual meters. Meters were installed in August 2013 following connection of the Park to Town water. EL explains that he was encourage to hook into the municipal water system by DEP because of past problems with the wells at the Park and issues with the sewage waste systems at the Park.
  • It is established that water charges were included in the base rent of $325/month as established earlier by the RCB. Individual water charges, via individual metering, commenced after the establishment of the base rent.
  • PC asks Nancy Hale what she would consider to be a FNOI. Nancy says that $94,000 needs to be taken off the top of the figures provided by the owner since those numbers include unallowable costs when calculating FNOI. Nancy notes that the owner purchased the Park for $625,000 three years ago.
  • EL states that his petition for rent adjustment was prepared by professionals and includes only items that are permitted in the FNOI calculations. He notes that sewer charges for tenants was historically included in monthly rent charges. He adds that water should be considered as an expense and charged to tenants as well.
  • It is noted that prior to the RCB establishing the base rent at $325, the rent was $365 and included the cost of water.
  • Evie notes that it was the owner's fault for buying a Park with a failed water system.
  • In response to a comment that tenants did not receive notice that they would be billed for water through individual meters, EL states that each tenant was sent certified letters  on the subject.
  • In response to a question regarding what the effective date of any change to the current rent would take place, PC offers that July 1, 2014 would be a fair date.
  • PS asks if there are any more comments or questions from those in attendance. Hearing none, he thanks everyone for attending.
  • PC closes the discussion by suggesting that she will draft a review  of tonight's hearing and options for the RCB to consider in making their decision.
  • PS makes a motion to continue the hearing to September 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM. KZ seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. Board returns to the main meeting room for resumption of regular meeting.
8:25 PM:        Regular Board meeting resumes.

PS instructs AA to inform the Highway Supt to get the Town Custodian's vehicle repaired. It has a bad exhaust. PS also wants the same vehicle to be used exclusively by the Town Custodian and shouldn't be needed by the Highway Dept.

8:30 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, KZ makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. EM seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Peter Skorput, Chair                          Earl Moffatt                                       Karen Zick

Date: ___________

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