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2005 - Minutes of May 2, 9, 19 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 2, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW). Lawrence Tonini (LT) out of town on business. Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes

Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

6:50 PM:        Robert Karisdorf, Maple Hill Rd., speaks to the Board regarding issues he's having with the Board of Assessors and the revaluation of his residence. He notes that he's had disagreements with Assessor Irene Skorput over the years. Recently, his value increased over 25%, or $100,000. He thought it was a mistake and came to see the Assessors.

        Mr. Karisdorf states that his house is for sale and Irene had a copy of the advertisement which lists the house at $1.3M. Prior to the recent revaluation of his property, it was assessed at $441,000. The new assessment brought the value to $541,000. Mr. Karisdorf then produced a recent appraisal from Berkshire Appraisals which values the property at $700,000. Mr. Karisdorf is upset with the method used to revalue, not necessarily the new value. He doesn't think an advertisement should trigger a revaluation. He thinks he was singled out.

        Both ED and CW point out that the Assessors are an independently elected Board and are not under the authority of the Selectmen. CW notes that Irene does a fine job. Although the Selectmen are willing to listen, they have no authority. Former Assessor Ray Smith offers that Mr. Karisdorf's avenue of appeal is with the Assessors and if he is dissatisfied with the results, he can appeal to state land court. Mr. Karisdorf thanks the Board for listening.

7:25 PM:        Ray Smith and Bob Korte, representing the American Legion post, address the Board about securing meeting space for the veterans because they are considering selling the American Legion building on Gt. Barrington Road. Board responds that there will be plenty of meeting room at the Village School and they are welcome to use it. There is also armory storage available in the Village School basement.

7:30 PM:        Board reviews and signs off on a building permit application for Bill Kie. Chief of Police Cooper takes the opportunity to tell the Board that he has heard from Animal Control Officer Marty Clark about Mr. Kie's horses that keep getting out of their fenced areas and, then, bother neighbors and their horses. Mr. Clark suggests scheduling a hearing to deal with the matter. AA will contact Mr. Clark to review the matter.

7:35 PM:        Bob Powell presents detailed construction plans for the Assessor's office conversion. Bob is given a copy of a MEMO sent to the Planning Bd., Building Inspector, Zoning Enforcement Officer and State Building Inspector seeking advice on the impacts of a change in use from a school to municipal. Board reviews the plans and expresses its pleasure with Bob's work. As soon as a determination about the change in use issue is received, the work can get started.

        Bob Powell, now speaking as the Parks and Rec Chairman informs the Board that he had a request from Berkshire Opera to use the gym for several weeks over the summer. Board expresses concern with tying up the gym for such an extended period and the fact that Berkshire Opera is a for profit company. Bob will speak with Berkshire Opera and get a more defined schedule request and report back to the Board.

7:50 PM:        Chief Cooper, with Officer Simonelli present, addresses the Board about last week's Board decision to reduce the police dept. FY '06 salary account request. He says that the revised figure ($100,425) will leave the Department $12,800 short for maintaining services as present.

        CW states that the '06 police salary budget is up 16% and that he can't support such an increase. ED agrees that the Chief should be able to manage within the appropriation. CW adds that if the Dept. becomes fully staffed as planned and the Chief runs short at the end of the year, then he has a few options to cover any shortfalls - Reserve Fund transfer or Special Town Meeting. If the overruns were legitimate, the Board would support a request to cover the shortfall.

        The discussion shifts to full-time versus part-time officers. Chief Cooper maintains that it doesn't matter how many hours per week a part-time officer works. An officer could work 40 hours per week and still be considered part-time. AA points out that according to MGL, a person who works 20 or more hours a week on a regular basis is considered full-time regarding health insurance and retirement.

        CW says that he is sticking with the $100,420 salary figure for FY '06. ED agrees.

        CW asks what happens if no full-time officer is found to fill the vacant shift. Chief responds that he will staff with 2-3 part-time officers.

8:10 PM:        Other Items:

        AA asks the Board to review the warrants for the Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting to be held on 5-23. The warrant needs to be signed no later than 5-9.

        A Change of Manager public hearing for the West Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club is tentatively scheduled for 5-9-05 at 7:30 PM. The applicant hasn't confirmed the date yet.

        AA relates a discussion with MassHighway re: Shaker Mill Bridge replacement project. MassHighway has successfully negotiated shrinking the impact area as far as the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program is concerned. Accordingly, their impact survey will be limited to their immediate work area around the bridge - not the whole Mill Pond area. Accordingly, the Town will not be able to duplicate the same study for its aquatic weed removal proposal.

8:30 PM:        There being no additional business, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

_____________________________   ___________________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli                     Curt Wilton

Date: ______________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 9, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Lawrence Tonini (LT), Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

Board reviews and approves 2 building permits.

Other Items:

Board reviews and discusses MEMO to State Building Inspector Gordon Bailey re: construction requirements related to change of use at Village School and his response. In short, Mr. Bailey stated that there are several items to consider when converting a building from Educational to Business use but that the items should not be a hurdle (MEMOS attached).

Board signs a Special Permit application for a change in use at Village School. The Planning Board will schedule a hearing on the application.

Board reviews a letter received from Irving Pickard of Samantha Lane who states his unease with the potential of increased use of the right-of-way over and beyond Samantha Lane to the Town owned property on Tom Ball Mt. (letter attached). Mr. Pickard cites a story in the Local Yokel about a grant being sought to map and develop trails through Town owned recreation areas. AA points out that the article might not be accurate because the Selectmen chose not to apply for the grant program in question because of the strings attached to doing so. The Town would have had to sign a permanent conservation restriction on both Harvey Mt. and Tom Ball Mt. that would have severely limited the Town with any future use options for the lands. Board asks AA to draft a response to Mr. Pickard for their review.

Board reviews and approves for mailing a letter to Bill Kie re: keeping his horses on his own property or face a public hearing - per the Animal Control Officer.

Board instructs AA to order display U.S. and Mass. flags for the Village School meeting room.

ED asks about getting a Town flag made up. A recent newspaper report stated that W. Stockbridge was one of a few communities that did not have a flag at the State House. AA suggests having a design competition and run it through the Local Yokel.

Board discusses reforming the Board of Sewer and Water Commission. Today, the Selectmen act as the Commission and the Board would like to appoint 5 members who would be able to devote more time. ED and the AA say they will sit on the Board, at least for as long as to get the new Commission off the ground. CW says that he will also help out. Board will put together a pool of names and appoint a Commission within the next few weeks.

Board re-schedules the Change of Manager hearing for the Sportsmen's Club for June 6 at 7:00 PM at the Village School meeting room. The hearing was originally scheduled for tonight but the applicant called and asked for an extension.

AA reports that DOR has certified the Town's FY 2004 free cash at $428,000.

8:30 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW and ED thank LT for his many years of service to the Town as Selectmen and wish him well. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Approval of Meeting Minutes By:

_____________________   _______________________ _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ___________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 19, 2005

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting.
Quorum present: Elizabeth DiGrigoli (ED), Curt Wilton (CW) and Michael Kirchner (MK). Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

                Meeting is taking place in the Town Hall Library, Main St.

CW makes a motion to reorganize the Board and nominates Elizabeth DiGrigoli as Chairman, CW as Clerk and MK as Secretary. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Board reviews Annual Town Meeting warrant items and divides up the articles to speak to if questions from the meeting floor are asked.

Other Items:    Board reviews a sign permit application from Antiqualia. Following a discussion and it is decided that the application as presented does not completely conform to the Town's Zoning By-laws. The permit application will be returned to the applicant with details of the non-compliances. The applicant may re-submit with corrections.

8:30 PM:        There being no other business before the Board, CW makes a motion to adjourn. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Minutes accepted by:

______________________  ______________________  ______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                     Michael Kirchner

Date: _____________

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