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2015 - Minutes of June 1, 15, 29 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
June 1, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting.
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). Press present: Local Yokel.

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

7:00 PM:        EM opens the continuation of a Public Hearing originally convened on May 18, 2015 at
7:00 PM to hear and act on a Special Permit application submitted by W.E. Williams to buy and sell used construction equipment in a commercial zone at 52 Gt. Barrington Road.

EM reads the Public Hearing notice as it appeared in the 4/31/15 & 5/7/15 Berkshire Eagle. EM then notes that he is an abutter to the applicant. EM then states that the Board must enact the “rule of necessity” as provided for under State Ethics Commission Advisory 05-05 and opinion of Town Counsel dated 5-20-15 because the Special Permit being considered requires a unanimous vote of the 3-member Board.

CW notes that he has known the applicant for 30 years and has observed his business operation and notes that he runs a clean operation and granting the special permit will have no detrimental effect on the public.

CW makes a motion to approve the Special Permit application. EM seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. EM closes the Public Hearing at 7:06 PM.

7:10 PM:        Berkshire Hill Regional School District (BHRSD) School Committee representative
Andy Potter (WS), addresses the Board about support for including the Town in a yet to be formed committee to study the BHRSD District agreement. Andy notes that the agreement has not been updated in 20 years or so and that it is not compliant with sections of MGL adopted in recent years. Andy adds that the Selectmen in both Gt. Barrington and Stockbridge have voted to participate in the committee. CW notes that West Stockbridge has been on the suffering side of assessments under the agreement formula and now Gt. Barrington is experiencing some of that pain but he understands that the agreement in general needs to be looked at. EM asks how the process will work. Andy states that the committee make up has not yet been decided nor has a charge been given. The committee process will be facilitated by a professional hired by the District for which funding is in place.

EM makes a motion to join the District agreement study committee. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

7:20 PM:        Planning Board Chairman Mitch Greenwald addresses the Board about a Planning Board
vacancy they'd like to fill to be in effect until the next Town election. Mitch states that his Board interviewed two candidates and has settled on Abe Huntricks of Gt. Barrington Road. Abe has shown a genuine interest in participating and has demonstrated a respect for the public process. Dana Bixby adds that Abe seems to be level headed and a good listener.

CW makes a motion to accept the Planning Board's recommendation to appoint Abe Huntricks to the vacancy until the next election. PS seconds the motion. Joint vote of Planning Board and Board of Selectmen taken, 7-0 in favor.

7:55 PM:        Board has a discussion with those present, including downtown merchants Steve Dixon
(Queensboro Package) and Tim Walsh (Public Market) about receiving deliveries for their stores and problems with delivery trucks parking. Steve Dixon notes that Caracas Construction is doing a great job on the downtown renovation project and that they have been very accommodating. Mr. Dixon states that he and delivery drivers have recently been told by police that are conduction safety and traffic control during construction that delivery trucks cannot park on Center Street. He would like a temporary commercial parking spot designated by the Town during this construction period and would like to have a comprehensive downtown parking discussion upon its completion after the end of the month. He agrees that trucks parking on the corner of Center and Main is a safety issue. Steve suggests that trucks be allowed to park for deliveries on the Center St bridge.

In response to a question posed to Mr Dixon by EM, 15 minutes is the average parking/unloading time for his deliveries and that he gets 4-5 deliveries per week. EM notes that everyone seems to agree that parking at the end of Center St at Main Street needs to stop.

CW states that there is a bylaw prohibiting parking on the east side of Main Street. CW does not want to see delivery trucks parking in the public ways and suggests that they park in vacant parking spots, many of which are available daily before 9AM. CW adds that a full discussion needs to be had on downtown parking. EM notes that without clear rules, parking violations can't be enforced.

PS states that tenants living in the apartment buildings need to be informed that they can't take up public parking spots on Main Street. It's a particular problem during winter plowing months.

Tim Walsh notes that the Planning Board has been working on re-zoning the downtown area and that parking will be a component but his concerns are more immediate and asks to know where he should instruct his delivery drivers to park during the current construction. Following discussion, it is agreed that all Main Street delivery trucks should park in the public restroom parking area. EM notes that construction will be done in a few weeks. After that, downtown parking solutions need to be discussed.

Chief of Police Tom Rubino states that his Department has been very sensitive to downtown merchants and their delivery needs over the years. He could have been giving out parking tickets for years but, in the spirit of keeping harmony, has chosen not to. However, during this construction, public safety overrides all and if his officers feel the need to move trucks, they will. Chief also agrees that downtown parking is a discussion that's needed.

Board thanks all in attendance for the discussion.

8:05 PM:        EM states that the Board will take the applications for Transfer Station attendant under
advisement until a future meeting.

EM notes that prior to 2001, the transfer station fell under the jurisdiction of the Board of Health. That year, in reaction to public concerns raised against a proposal to transfer operations to a private contractor, the Board of Selectmen took over control from the Board of Health and have maintained that control since.

CW asks which Town Board answers to the State. AA responds that all reporting, licensing, compliance and testing as mandated by DEP is the responsibility of the Board of Health. CW states that, although he doesn't have a strong opinion one way or the other, he'd prefer to see the Board of Health in charge of transfer station operations since they seem to be responsible for it.

Resident Larry Tonini states that, historically, the Board of Health has run a very tight ship and that Billy Pixley did a great job running the compactor. He asks if earlier Saturday opening hours could be considered.

CW makes a motion to appoint the Board of Health and Board of Health Agent as Special Municipal Employees. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

8:25 PM:        Resident Larry Tonini presents a petition to the Board with 29 signatures asking the
Board to place an article on the next town meeting warrant as follows: “to see if the Town will vote to establish as an official town flag a replica of the two sided medallion which was struck for the 200th bi-centennial of the Town of West Stockbridge in 1974, which depicts on one side the Seal of the Town of West Stockbridge and on the reverse the major historical scenes of our community past. A copy of which may be presented to the Massachusetts State House for display”. Larry suggests that the flag design chosen in a recent competition be adopted by the West Stockbridge Historical Society for their use since it is a perfect depiction of the Old Town Hall, now the home of the Society.

Other Business:

  • PS states that is would be a good idea to place one or more bicycle racks in the downtown area. Board agrees to look into the suggestion following the completion of the downtown project.
  • Parks and Rec ask that the Card Pond dock be put out in the swimming area. CW notes that it will be put out next week and was wondering if there had been any developments on de-weeding at the Pond, either chemical or harvesting. PS states that he has been discussing the use of herbicides with the Conservation Commission at their meetings but that it will be too late for this season and that the Town should proceed with the mechanical harvesting.
  • Board schedules a Special Town Meeting for June 29, 2015 at 7:00 PM to conduct year end fiscal year transfers.
  • It is noted that downtown paving bids will be received on June 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM.
  • Board reviews and approves sign permit applications for Artist's Guild events and replacement sign for Berkshire Bank on Depot St.
  • Board approves special permit for music at wedding events during July and August at the Williamsville Inn.
9:00 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: ___________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
June 15, 2015

6:00 PM:        Open Meeting.
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: AdminAsst Mark Webber. Press present: Local Yokel.

Board reviews and discusses calling for a June 29, 2015 Special Town Meeting warrant and articles prior to posting this evening. AA notes that the 6-29-15 meeting is necessary to correct year end fiscal year deficits in some operating accounts in order to balance the books. The Town Accountant finalized the figures over the previous weekend in order to generate the most current balance estimates. The Town historically holds a Special each year at the end of June, which is the more fiscally responsible and transparent way to address departmental deficits, such as Snow and Ice, rather than simply add them to next year's tax rate, which is allowable per the Dept of Revenue.

6:25 PM:        Board signs the warrant. Constable Paul Faggioni is present and signs as well and leaves
to post the warrant at  the required 5 posting areas around Town.

6:30 PM:        Resident Larry Tonini addresses the Board regarding efforts to create a Town flag to be
displayed in the State House, along with most of the other cities and towns across theCommonwealth. Larry submitted a petition signed by 28 registered voters at the Board's June 1, 2015 meeting requesting that the Board place an article on the next Town Meeting warrant to approve a design which depicts the two sided Town seal as produced by John Astore for the Town's bi-centennial celebration in 1974.

EM explains the Board's reluctance to place Larry's petition article on the June 29, 2015 warrant for a number of reasons, including: although the Selectmen have discretion to place any article of their own or submitted by others on a warrant, voter petition articles can forced onto a scheduled town meeting with the signatures of 100 or 10% (whichever is fewer) of the Town's registered voters; EM notes that this Town flag process had been passed along to the Artist's Guild some months ago at a previous Board meeting and that this petition seems to circumvent that process; the petition gives no options for other choices, including the chosen design as voted at the Annual Town Election. EM suggests that a stand alone public hearing might be best to discuss how best to choose a design and how to proceed.

PS agrees that a choice should be put to the voters.
CW notes that he has been following the town flag process agrees that there should be consideration of other designs, not an all or nothing warrant article. He is uncomfortable ignoring the several month process that has taken place to date and the 11th hour submission of a new design.

Mr Tonini agrees that there is plenty of time for further discussion and consideration of other designs. A few more weeks or months won't matter. He suggests that the design chosen by voters on May 11th could be used by the Historic Society since it is a depiction of the old town hall, which is now under their ownership. EM suggests that the Historic Society would have to be brought into that conversation.

Flag design winner Isabelle Soule is present and doesn't wish to get into a competition. She submitted a design and she is proud that it was chosen but doesn't want to get in the middle of a controversy and would remove her drawing from consideration if doing so would make the process easier for everyone.

Board agrees on the following course of action: contact Historic Society and include them in the discussion going forward; ask Larry Tonini to develop his design further; continue working with the Artist Guild on the process already in place and; schedule a future public hearing when more information is in place so that the public can have input before the Board is asked to make a decision.

6:45 PM:        CW leaves the Selectmen's table and addresses the remaining Board from the floor,
identifying himself as Highway Superintendent for the purpose of discussion.

CW says that he has spoken with Ethics Commission attorney Amy Nee, who he contacted for advice on potential conflicts with his elected status as Selectman, Highway Supt and part-time paid activities for the Water and Sewer Dept. He has been provided with forms and sample letters from Attorney Nee for guidance. He discusses his desire to be voted by the Selectmen as a Special Municipal Employee under MGL Ch 268A. Although he believes that prior Boards had taken a vote to name the Highway Supt as Special Municipal Employee, there's no harm in taking another vote to make sure.

EM makes a motion to vote the Highway Supt position as Special Municipal Employee. PS says that he'd like a little more time to review before voting.

CW states that he was in the same position both in 2004 and 2007 when he served in the same 3 capacities as Selectman, Highway Supt and part-time employee for Sewer and Water Dept. He filed the same paperwork with the Ethics Commission and the Town Clerk at those times. He notes that he received a call from Ethics Commission in 2007 seeking his disclosure paperwork. He provided copies to them and reported that the Commission was satisfied. CW notes that his position falls under Section 20 of Ch 268A. He notes that it's important to follow the Ethics rules and all filings he has and will do have been recommended by Attorney Nee.

PS, satisfied with explanations, seconds EM's motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor of appointing the Highway Supt as Special Municipal Employee.

7:00 PM:        CW returns to his seat at the Selectmen's table.

Other Business/Discussion Items:
  • Board discusses downtown paving bids as received on June 4, 2005. Three bids were received. DelSignore Paving was the apparent low bidder at $206,513.24. The other bidders were: W.E. Williams at $273,370 and Lane Construction at $262,317.50. CW notes that the low bid exceeds the engineer's project estimate developed last year. CW has an approved project request from MA DOT in the amount of $150,000. MA DOT will allow an amendment to the approved project request of 25%, bringing the project funding to $187,500 from allotted Chapter 90 funding, leaving a shortfall of approximately $19,000. CW recommends utilizing FY '16 approved line item funding from Highway Construction to make up the difference and to schedule the project. Board agrees. EM makes a motion to award the downtown paving bid to low bidder DelSignore in the amount of $206,513.24. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. Board instructs AA to send DelSignore a letter of award.
  • Board discusses the downtown improvements project and notes that progress has slowed in front of the Queensboro Package store because the concrete needed to repair the deteriorated building foundation takes 21 days to cure before the final sidewalk can be installed.
  • EM states that he has been in contact with the Dept of Environmental Protection to ask which is the more common Board to oversee transfer station operations across the state – Board's of Health or Board's of Selectmen. No response received as yet.
  • Following a discussion on the history of W.S. Transfer Station oversight, which was under the Board of Health until 1991 when the Selectmen took over control, CW makes a motion to return the oversight and management of the Transfer Station to the Board of Health. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.
  • Parks and Recreation reports that there will be a picnic at Card Pond on June 28th.
  • Per request of the Town's MBI/Wired West representative Steve Sautman, Board agrees to support Wired West's application to the State for additional grant funding which would benefit the Town.
  • Board schedules a Public Hearing for June 29, 2015 at 6:30 PM to hear and act on an application from Rouge Inc for an Alterations of Licensed Premises per their liquor license. Rouge wishes to place 3 seating tables on the Town sidewalk during the summer.
  • AA notes that new transfer station window stickers were ordered several weeks back and are expected to arrive shortly.
7:45 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting Minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: _________________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
June 29, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Earl Moffatt (EM), Chair; Peter Skorput (PS); Curt Wilton (CW). Also  present: Admin Asst Mark Webber. Press present: Local Yokel.

630 PM:         EM opens the Public Hearing to hear and consider a Alteration of Premises liquor
license application as submitted by Rouge, Inc, 3 Center Street.

EM reads the Public Notice as it appeared in the June 11, 2015 Berkshire Eagle.

EM notes that the Town has received a certificate of insurance from Rouge's insurer, naming the Town as additional insured on the applicant's liquor liability and general liability policies.

EM notes that all abutters have been notified via certified mailing. Applicant will furnish receipts of same.

Rouge Owner William Merelle states that he is seeking an alteration of his currently licensed premises to include 4 outdoor tables and chairs on a seasonal basis from mid-June to mid-September. Mr Merelle states that no additional seating is being added;  up to 4 tables currently inside the restaurant will be moved in and out to the sidewalk for outdoor service. Applicant notes that a past Board of Selectmen approved a similar application in 2009 for outdoor seating in the rear of the property. This application seeks to add tables to the new Town sidewalk, out of the pedestrian way.

EM asks for public comment. Resident Joe Roy voices his support for approval of the application.

6:40 PM:        EM asks fellow Board members for comment. Hearing none, EM makes a motion to
approve the application as presented. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. EM closes the hearing.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

  • Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.
  • Board reviews and MEMO provided by the Town Accountant detailing pay periods in the coming fiscal year.
7:00 PM:        Board suspends its regular meeting for the purpose of convening a Special Town
Meeting as posted on June 15, 2015. Board will return to open session upon the conclusion of the Special Town meeting.

7:05 PM:        Town Clerk Ronni Barrett informs those present that Moderator Gene Dellea was unable
to conduct this evening's meeting because of a prior commitment. Town Clerk than asks for nominations to appoint a Moderator Mark Webber nominates Joe Roy as Moderator. EM seconds the motion. Voice vote approves. Joe Roy announces that the Town Clerk has certified that a quorum of registered voters is present Meeting opens; Town Clerk reads the Notice of Service.

Special Town Meeting

7:20 PM:         Board convenes its regular meeting.

Other Business/Discussion/Action Items:
  • Highway Supt Curt Wilton reports that DelSignore Paving, low bidder, will begin the downtown milling and paving project on or about July 13th. The actual paving will take about 5-8 days and several more days will be required to adjust the many storm, street, sewer, water structures, which will be low impact. PS asks if Tanglewood could be advised since the project will take place during concerts. CW responds that he has been speaking with the Tanglewood chief of operations and will continue to do so for coordination. CW adds there will be periods of disruption during the project but the worst of it will only last 5-8 days. The paving/milling will take place on Main, Center and Depot Streets.
  • Board discusses correspondence from Town Counsel asking if any action is necessary on correspondence between a former Board of Selectmen member and a member of the Town Counsel team. Following discussion, Board decides that no action is necessary at this point.
  • Board will send a letter of thanks for past services to just retired Kopelman and Paige (Town Counsel) attorney Patricia Cantor.
  • Board acknowledges a thank you card from Jill Pixley for flowers.
  • Board reviews and approves 2 Village School use requests.
  • Board reviews a note from Farmer's Market organizers seeking an update on items related to public restroom. CW states that the diaper changers have been back-ordered for a month or more and that the other upgrade items have been ordered. He adds that merchants, farmer's market and the Town need to work together to ensure smooth operations. Everyone needs to pitch in.
  • PS asks when a decision will be made on hiring a permanent transfer station attendant. EM states that the Board of Health will be discussing the matter at their meeting later this week and will come back to the Board at their next meeting with recommendations, job description, etc.
  • Tree Warden Jim Hallock asks the Board to consider writing a letter to a W. Alford Rd resident who persists in contacting him about taking down an evergreen Town tree in her neighborhood. Mr Hallock explains that the tree has been inspected several times both both him and the National Grid arborist and they concur that the tree is perfectly healthy and is not a hazard. Board will execute a letter.
  • CW notes that he will be on vacation the week beginning July 10th.
  • Board will next meet on July 20 and July 27.
  • Board reviews and approves the list of Town Official Annual Appointments. Members individually act on the list. All Town Officials with appointment renewal dates beginning July 1 are approved unanimously, with the exception of individual abstentions on their own appointments (list attached).
8:05 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date:   _______________


 
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