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2015 - Minutes of August 10, 17, 31 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
August 10, 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.

7:03 PM:        Parks and Recreation Committee member Roland Dudney provides the Board with an
update. Three quotes were sought for the resurfacing of the tennis courts at Village School/Town Hall. Two vendors (Copeland Coating Company and Piretti Tennis) returned with prices and similar treatments. Piretti Tennis of Lenox was the low quote at $8,361 to clean, fill cracks, resurface and paint the tennis courts. A discussion of how to pay for the project ensued. AA stated that previously appropriated funds for Parks and Recreation projects, totaling $20,000 had been spent in FY 2009 for the construction of the skate park at Village School as authorized by Parks and Recreation. That project zeroed out that appropriation. Accordingly, there are no available funds for the project other than from the annual Town Buildings appropriation, which is an appropriate source. AA adds that if the tennis court resurfacing cost was charged against Town Buildings, then a Special Town Meeting would eventually be needed to back-fill that account since it would not be typical ongoing expense such as utilities and normal repairs and would likely deplete that account before year's end. Board members agree that the resurfacing project is necessary, otherwise the courts would be lost. Following a discussion, Board agrees to award the project to the low quote from Piretti. Project will be scheduled for this season. Board thanks Parks and Rec members for their efforts.

7:30 PM:        Howard Greenwell, Richmond/West Stockbridge Artists Guild, addresses the Board and
seems permission to host a one-day artists/merchants festival throughout downtown West Stockbridge on October 3rd from 10 AM to 7 PM. PS says that the event would be a good idea. Board agrees and approves the event. Board asks organizers to inform the W.S. Police to keep them in the loop.

Other Business/Discussion/Action Items:
  • Board will reschedule Kirt Mayland to either August 17 or August 31 meeting for discussion on net metering program.
  • Board reviews recently received Shaker Mill Dam Inspection/Evaluation Report as done by Foresight Land Services as required by the MA Office of Dam Safety. This report is required to be updated every two years because the dam is categorized as high hazard because of its proximity to downstream residences and businesses. The major recommendation of the report is to make repairs to the downstream retaining wall and the sinkholes developing behind it on the Main Street side of the dam. The dam, its gates and associated equipment are all in good condition. Board agrees that a plan needs to developed to address and followed through on to address the retaining wall.
  • Board continues a general discussion on the Transfer Station operation and staffing. EM suggests that the Board settle on hours of operation and bringing in candidates for the permanent position of transfer station attendant. Per Board of Health recommendation, as the Board charged with the oversight and operation of the facility, EM states that the BOH wishes to change the Saturday hours to open at 8:00 AM instead of the current 10:00 AM. Closing time would stay the same at 6:00 PM. Tuesday and Thursday hours of 10-6 would remain unchanged. EM also discusses BOH thoughts on opening for a few hours on occasional Sundays after major holidays. CW and PS agree with opening at 8AM on Saturdays but both don't feel the need for Sunday hours at present. EM adds that the BOH's recommendation is to hire two people for the position so as to avoid a significant expense associated with having to offer benefits to a single full time employee. At 26 hours per week, a municipal employee in Massachusetts is considered full time and has to be offered health insurance, pension and life insurance. Both PS and CW feel that the Town would be better served by a single full time person for purposes of consistency and accountability. EM notes that Sunday hours have been tried a few times in the past with less than favorable results. EM states that, as a member of the Board of Health, he will recuse himself from any hiring decisions so as to avoid any perception of undue influence. Following a motion by CW, PS and CW agree to amend future hours to include 8AM opening on Saturdays and to hire a single individual as the attendant. Board will review applications as submitted in response to an earlier published help wanted advertisement at their next meeting in executive session. EM asks PS and CW if they have any objections to the transfer station job description as adopted by the BOH. Both are in agreement with the job description which was developed a number of years ago and is still appropriate.
  • Evie Kerswell, head of the Mill Pond Trailer Park tenants association seeks an update on the pending change of ownership at the Park and sewer and water matters. AA states that the Town has not been advised of any specifics other than a purchase and sale agreement is in place for an October 1, 2015 closing between seller Eric Leveque and buyer Chris Gennari. Evie has seen a copy of that P&S agreement and states that the tenant's association is not interested in making an offer to counter the stated purchase price of $642,500, as is their right under MA laws governing trailer parks. Evie remains concerned about ongoing sewer and water issues at the Park which were highlighted in facilities survey recently completed on the park as commissioned by the tenants association. The report spoke about inadequate sanitary disposal systems and water service and main leaks in the Park. Board notes that the Sewer and Water Commission and the Board of Health are aware of these issues and are addressing them.
  • AA informs the Board that a fund raiser cycling event wishes to use the Village School parking lot as a rest stop during their September 7th event. Board has no issues. Police to be advised of the activity.
  • Following a discussion, Board agrees to re-advertise the disposition of town owned property at 3 Cross Road. Board will place a minimum bid of $10,000 for the sale. It is noted that the parcel is non-compliant for building purposes and was taken by the Town for non-payment of taxes.
8:35 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 approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: ____________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
August 17, 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 accepts previous meeting minutes.
Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

7:00 PM:        EM calls the regular meeting to order. EM notes that the only scheduled agenda item – a
presentation on a electric net metering agreement by Kirt Mayland – needed to be postponed after Mr Mayland called late in the day to say he couldn't make the meeting. He will be re-scheduled to the August 31 meeting.

Other Items:    
  • CW, in his capacity as Highway Superintendent, presents his paving schedule to the Board and asks for their approval so that Chapter 90 State road work funds application for same can be submitted to the state for approval and reimbursement. CW seeks to pave 6,200 feet of Lenox Road. Last year, the top and bottom sections of Lenox Road were resurfaced and this project will complete the re-paving of the entire road. Birch Hill Road, off of Lenox Road, was resurfaced earlier this year. The estimated project cost is $137,000 and bids are scheduled to be opened on September 14th for a fall completion. Board approves and signs the paperwork.
  • No other items.
7:08 PM:        EM makes a motion to go into executive session, per MGL Chapter 39:23B (3), (8) and
not to return to open session upon its completion. CW seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: CW, aye; PS, aye; EM, aye.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

7:50 PM:        Upon the conclusion of the executive session, CW makes a motion to adjourn the
meeting. 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
August 31, 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 prior meeting minutes, both regular and executive session.
Board reviews and approves warrants.

7:00 PM:        Per appropriation made at the May 2015 Annual Town Meeting for the purchase of an
electronic vote counting machine to be used by the Town during future State and Federal elections, EM makes the following motion: “ I move that, per MGL Chapter 54, Section 34, the Town discontinue use of the current paper ballot counting system, including hand operated ballot box and hand counting system, and begin using the Accurate OS tabulation vote counting system”. Motion was seconded by Selectman Peter Skorput. No discussion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor; Selectmen Earl Moffatt, Curt Wilton and Peter Skorput voting.

7:15 PM:        Kirt Mayland, representing Reservoir Road Holdings – a solar energy development
company, addresses the Board on two projects of concern to the Town. First, Mr Mayland explains how “net metering” works. Specifically, the Town can purchase electricity credits at a discounted rate (75% of current National Grid rate) for electricity generated from a specific commercial solar facility located within the National Grid power supply corridor from which the Town receives its electricity The Town has been offered to take advantage of these credits from a .5 mW system currently being constructed in the Town of Cheshire, MA. Based on current Town municipal accounts, there would be an annual savings of 25% or $12,500 annually. A net metering agreement would require future Town Meeting approval. The proposed agreement has been vetted by Town Counsel Kopelman and Paige and is in use in several other Massachusetts communities and school districts, including: Southern Berkshire Regional School District, Berkshire Hills Regional School District, Towns of Great Barrington, Sheffield and Cheshire, and approximately 100 other government entities across the State.  Current MA Dept of Energy Resources regulations stipulate that commercial solar operations offer a portion of discounted net metering credits to MA municipalities before being allowed to sell power to commercial customers. Following a discussion, Board agrees that doing so would save the Town significant money over the life of a 20 year agreement, vote to schedule a Special Town meeting during the month of October to act on a net metering agreement.

Next, Mr Mayland discusses his efforts in installing a commercial solar pv array at the former Berkshire Truck Plaza on Route 102 near the NY state line. Mr Mayland has been in discussions with the executors of the abandoned property for the past two years and has finally reached an agreement and is prepared to sign a purchase and sale agreement shortly. Mr Mayland has scheduled meetings with the Town's ConsCom and Planning Boards to present the project prior to filing for permits. Mr Mayland has been in discussions with MA DEP as well. The Agency has given their blessing to the project and considers it to be one of the few allowable uses for the property because of its past     water table pollution problems from leaking fuel storage tanks. Board thanks Mr Mayland for his presentation.

7:45 PM:        Indonesian Country Fair presentation and event proposal is made by its organizers. They
wish to hold the event in the area of the weekly Farmer's Market on Saturday September 26th from noon to 6 PM. The organizers are W. Stockbridge residents for the past 5 years. The event will feature Indonesian culinary and cultural offerings. Organizers have reviewed plans with W.S. Police Dept, Board of Health and Building Inspector and have the proper certificates of insurance in place. EM asks that the organizers speak directly with neighbors and surrounding businesses to keep them in the loop. EM makes a motion to approve the event. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Other Business/Action/Discussion Items:
  • Board approves a request from resident Don Johnson to hold another Apple Squeeze Festival at his barn on Great Barrington Road on October 10th. Board notes that past events have been well received and that Don donates all proceeds to the Richmond/West Stockbridge Community Health Organization.
  • CW, as Highway Supt., gives the Board an update on the Route 41 bridge replacement project. Board approves a request to MassHighway to allow the contractor to work overtime if necessary to speed up the project and to get the first new section of bridge installed before snow plowing season. The new section will be wide enough to allow the Town plows to travel through without having to detour around.
  • AA informs the Board that Colonial Power, the administrator of the 11 town Berkshire Power Aggregation will extend its program for another 2 years after the initial year's program ends this November. For the year beginning November 2015, residents and businesses wishing to participate, will lock in a power supply rate of $.10842/kW, which is 12% less than the current Aggregation rate. National Grid has already petitioned the State for a rate increase beginning this winter. Furthermore, all power purchased by the Berkshire Aggregation will be supplied by Maine Hydro and the Aggregation power will be 100% green. Residents will have the same ability to opt in or out of the program at will and with no penalty. An updated program announcement will be placed on the Town's website shortly.
  • Board interviews two candidates in response to a help wanted ad placed for a Transfer Station attendant. Ed Noble of Stockbridge and Ed McGrath of West Stockbridge each answer a series of questions posed by the Board. A third finalist, Gordon Beebe had called earlier in the day to say he could not attend tonight's meeting because of a work conflict Board thanks the two men for attending the meeting and note that a decision will be made at a future meeting.
8:30 PM:        There being no other 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 approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: ____________


 
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