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2005 - Minutes of July 11, 18, 25 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 11, 2005

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

BOS reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
BOS reviews and approves weekly warrants, with the exception of un-allowed (un-used) vacation pay submitted by Chief Cooper.

7:05 PM:        MK leaves the meeting to attend a continuation of a Planning Board Public Hearing to consider a change of use for the Village School. MK will return once the hearing is finished.

7:10 PM:        Tom Webb, Berkshire Housing and Development Corporation, addresses the meeting on the DHCD Senior Center grant program. Several members of the COA are present along with other interested public. A sign-in sheet is passed around and a copy will be provided by Berkshire Housing.

        Tom discusses his and Berkshire Housing's role in the grant process and program background. He notes that senior centers have been recently built in the towns of Florida, Savoy and Clarksburg. Florida was a modular built; the others were traditional construction.
        
        Norm Rehm notes that there are 400 W.S. residents over the age of 60.

        Tom Webb states that the Clarksburg project cost $438,000 and was 2,400 sq. ft.  He adds that project size is driven by population served. He states that if the applied for population were to be 400, then the building size and cost would exceed the grant award limit of $600,000.

        Tom says that, typically, modular structures will cost less than stick built and that there may be a savings in architectural/engineering costs. He notes that construction costs are in the $150/Sq. Ft. range for a "plain Jane" project. An additional 15% of construction cost should be figured for design services. Design services must be funded by the applicant upfront.

        Mr. Webb renovation vs. new construction costs are pretty similar and clients don't always get what they expect in renovation projects.

        Mr. Webb goes on to say that the RFP for the next funding round hasn't come out yet but that he has been informed that the application rules will be changed. One of the changes is that new applications must include bid ready architectural plans and specifications which will add considerable to the up-front costs of applying.

        CW states that the Town is beginning a new process as far as determining the size, scope, type and location of a senior center. He asks those in attendance what their preference would be: a stand alone building or an addition attached to the Village School. No consensus is given. CW adds that the Village School campus seems a likely location but that there are other possible locations around Town that can be considered.

        Mr. Webb states that the State median household income is currently $48,000. Mr. Webb adds that the Town must also consider maintenance and utility costs once a senior center is built. Those costs are the responsibility of the Town. A senior center must stay a single use senior center for 5 years following completion. After that, the building can be shared. Visiting seniors from other communities are always allowed.

        Tom states the next steps that should take place: 1) form a steering committee - should be limited to 5 members; 2) decide if you are going to build; 3) what type of structure; 4) identify the users and how many would actively use the building; 5) Tom will check on planning grant availability.

        ED asks that the first recommendation from the committee needs to identify the building location.

        The Board thanks Mr. Webb and those in the audience for their attendance and participation.

8:00 PM:        ED opens the Public Hearing by reading the Public Notice for a Change of Manager petition for the West Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club.

        The proposed Manager, Roger Abbott addresses the Board. He acknowledges the delays that have taken place in finally coming before the Board. He states that 4 Club bartenders have taken and passed the TIPS course for serving customers. The Clubs Serving Policy and Rules and Regulations are posted on the premises.

        Roger notes that there are currently 43 active Club members. The Club is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4:00 PM to last call at 12:30 PM.

        ED asks if the W.S. Police have needed to be called to the Club recently for any trouble. Roger answers No and that he stays in contact with Chief Cooper.

        ED asks if there is any public comment. Stuart Kuller says that he appreciates the Clubs open and welcoming policy to Town groups.

        There being no further public comment and noting no opposition to the application, ED closes the hearing to public comment.

        MK makes a motion to approve the Change of Manager application. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor. ED closes the public hearing. Roger provides his phone numbers in case there are any problems with the application paperwork.

8:20 PM:        MK asks Joel Hotchkiss for an update on the Town Hall Study Committee activities. Joel states that the process is moving slowing along. The group met yesterday and discussed professional services and who might be called upon to study the building.

Other Items:    Board reviews a letter from Rep. Olver seeking a brief description of plans for Village School re-use so that he can add it to possible future funding lobbying.

        AA reports to the Board that the Sewer and Water Commissioners met on 7-7-05 and discussed a variety of issues. The Commission is leaning towards obtaining funding to engineer all proposed areas of expansion rather than individual engineering for each of the 4 areas.

        Board reviews their thoughts on the resumes received for the potential Highway Dept. employee. CW will contact the consensus candidate.

        AA informs the Board that a Public Hearing has been scheduled for 7-25-05 at 7:30 PM to act on a liquor license transfer at the Card Lake Inn.

        AA reminds the Board that the $12,000 Homeland Security grant has to be in by August 1.

        Board approves the nominations (made by Bob Salerno) of 3 members to the Historical Commission: Christian Goodwillie, Scott Sawyer; and Patricia Soldati.

        BOS reviews and approves end of year line items transfers per Municipal Relief Act. Paperwork will be passed along to FinCom for their concurrence.

        AA has applied for a certificate of insurance for Berkshire Bank on behalf of the Zucchini Festival.

        Michael Kirchner is named as the Alternate to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

        AA informs the Board that the FY '04 audit has been completed. An exit conference will be set up. Jim Podolak (DOR) is on vacation for the next 2 weeks. When he returns, calls can be made to come up with a mutually agreeable time.

        Board reviews a note from FinCom Chair Carol Kuller requesting additional information on the pending end of year transfers and approval to use one of the Village School classrooms for future FinCom meetings. Board welcomes all Town boards to use the Village School.

        MK asks that Chief Cooper be instructed to attend next week's Board meeting to provide an update on staffing, hiring, scheduling, speed trailer and other Police Dept. activities. MK asks and the Board agrees to send Chief Coopers employment contract to Town Counsel for a general review.

9:20 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.


Minutes approved by:


_______________________ ________________________  _____________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                       Michael Kirchner

Date: __________________

        


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 18, 2005

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

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.

6:40 PM:        Chief of Police Cooper addresses the Board with an update of Dept. activities. Chief states that speed trailer has been repaired except for one of the hinges. Unit will be operational by this Wednesday. Various locations for setting it up are discussed.

        Chief Cooper gives the Board copies of all resumes and applications received to date for the advertised position of full-time police officer. Chief notes that only 1 of the applicants has full-time academy training. The others either have part-time or no academy training. Chief will contact the 1 fully qualified applicant and invite him into an interview within the next 2-3 weeks.

        MK notes that the Board only wants to assist the Chief in moving the process along. The full-time officer position has been vacant for too long. MK instructs AA to make copies of the applications for the rest of the Board.

        MK tells the Chief that he should feel free to call in other applicants to fill in as part-timers. There seems to still be schedule slots that are going unfilled. MK asks that the Chief provide the Board with a monthly Police Officer's work schedule in advance - once these open slots are filled. It is also suggested that the Chief hold scheduled office hours at least one day per week. Following a discussion, it is decided that Sunday morning through mid-day would be the best time.

        CW tells the Chief that he shouldn't have to be asked to come in and share information with the Board. "Don't be a stranger".

7:00 PM:        ED signs-off on a building permit for Bill Casey, West Center Road.

Cory Smith, resident of Mill Pond Trailer Park, addresses the Board with a complaint that he is being treated unfairly by Chief Cooper. Mr. Smith provides a letter to the Board detailing his complaints. Mr. Smith goes on to cite an incident occurring last weekend when the Chief cited Mr. Smith for operating with a suspended license. Mr. Smith claims that he is being harassed and that the Chief goes out of his way to check on him. Mr. Smith wants to be on record with the Board in case he has to address possible future incidents. The Board accepts Mr. Smith's letter. MK notes that the Board will not interfere with an open police matter and thanks Mr. Smith for his comments.

7:15 PM:        Board of Assessor Chair Irene Skorput addresses the Board regarding the vacancy created by the resignation of long time Assessor John Astore. Irene wishes to nominate Jennifer Wilton, Moscow Rd for a joint appointment (with the Selectmen) to fill the vacancy. Town Clerk Tina Skorput Cooper states that Mr. Astore's letter of resignation must be presented to the Town Clerk; she hasn't seen such a letter. Irene states that the letter was addressed to the Board of Assessors. The Selectmen will agree to the joint appointment as soon as Mr. Astore's letter is received by the Town Clerk. A discussion follows on John's years of service and what should be done to recognize him. It is noted that a special event was held a few years ago when John was given a plaque from the Town. Irene states that the State Board of Local Assessors is putting together some type of event for John and suggested that we wait to see what their plans are first. John would have been 100 at the end of his current term.

7:25 PM:        Bob Powell and Tina Skorput Cooper address the Board. Bob discusses a State planning grant that may still be available for mapping town owned open space and trails.  The Board of Selectmen chose not to apply for this $2,600 Planning grant several months ago because of the quid pro quo conditions attached to its acceptance. A conservation restriction would have to be placed on the Town-owned land to be studied (Harvey Mt. and Samantha Lane). Although the Board, at the time, did not envision the land ever being anything other than open space recreation land, they weren't comfortable placing such a restriction on it in exchange for a planning grant. Bob Powell states that to remove such a restriction requires 3 steps: 1) vote of the local Conservation Commission; 2) 2/3 majority vote at a town meeting; and 3) a 2/3 vote of the entire State Legislature. Bob has spoken with a grant program administrator from the State and will furnish additional information at a future meeting. Bob thinks that the grant is still available and has a rolling enrollment period.

        Bob asks if there have been any developments on a footpath to give access to Harvey Mt. from West Alford Rd. CW responds that no conditions regarding public access were placed on the Special Permit recently issued for the property between West Alford Rd. and Harvey Mt.

        Bob asks if anyone is going to approach the developers of the former Kingsmont property to see if they were still willing to discuss public access. ED states that she will approach Randy Thunfors who is one of the principals in the development. CW notes that a stronger public effort may have influenced the developers to consider public access during the Special Permit process. CW notes that some neighbors of the development came to the first Planning Board hearing and voiced their desire for public access but no one came to any of the subsequent meetings over the following 6 months or more.

        Bob Powell mentions that he heard that the Village School tennis courts were being considered as a site for a detached Senior Center. As Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, he would be strongly opposed to such a location. In fact, the most recent Annual Town Meeting appropriated $5,000 for Parks and Recreation Capital projects; one of which was to resurface the tennis courts. MK responds that a new Senior Center Steering Committee was just being formed and that discussion of sites or anything else related to Senior Centers was premature at this time.

        Joel Hotchkiss, representing the Town Hall Study Committee, states that he reviewed some of the previous renovation plans for the Town Hall and that the Committee will ask 3 building professionals in to interviews.

Other items:

"       Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

"       MK discusses plans for the Senior Center Steering Committee. The Board offers 5 names for nomination to the Committee: Michael Kirchner, Joan Rehm, Mary Korte, Irene Norton, and Marge McDermott. Letters will be sent to the nominees inviting them to join the Committee. MK notes that one of the first steps of the Committee should be to identify the active number of the senior population to be served. That number will determine the size of the needed space.

"       ED says that she is troubled by the thought of maintaining 3 separate buildings: Village School, Town Hall, and a new senior center.

"       Board discusses the next step in putting Town offices in the Village School. The Board discusses completing one classroom conversion, and then follow formal MGL Ch 30B procurement for designer services and construction to complete the project.

"       Board reads a letter from Kenneth Werner of Samantha Lane. Mr. Werner asks if the Town would consider selling him the Town land above Samantha Lane. Following a discussion, the Board decides to respond to Mr. Werner and thank him for his inquiry but the Town is not interested in selling the land in question.

"       Board reviews Planning Bd. decision on former Kingsmont Camp development.

"       Board reviews ZBA decision on a building lot at the corner of Swamp and Cone Hill Rd. which upholds the Highway Supt. ruling on the driveway by-law as it applies to the property.

"       ED and CW state that they plan to attend tomorrow night's FinCom meeting at which end of year line item transfers will be addressed.

"       Board receives an invitation to attend the new BHRSD school dedication/opening ceremony on 8-13-05.

"       Bob Powell mentions that a large playground structure may be available from the Town of New Marlboro. Board asks Bob to pursue further.

"       BOS approves a MEMO to be sent to T. Scanlon Auditors asking that they complete the Town's FY '05 audit prior to FY '07 budget discussions.

"       BOS issues a Special Permit to the Williamsville Inn for a wedding party on 8-13-05.

"       BOS reviews a note from the Town Clerk regarding a complaint she received about a dangerous sidewalk condition on Center Street. MK and CW will investigate at the site.

"       CW discusses a fallen tree at the Albany Road Town Cemetery. The Board decides that problem trees on Town property are the responsibility of the Tree Warden and his appropriation and not the Dept. that has jurisdiction over that property. A MEMO stating the same will be sent to the Tree Warden.

"       Board reviews and approves revisions to the Building Permit Application.

"       CW states that the new Highway Dept. employee will begin work Aug. 1.

"       MK instructs AA to send a note to Chief Cooper thanking him for attending tonight's meeting.

9:25 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Minutes accepted by:



_____________________   _____________________   ______________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair      Curt Wilton                     Michael Kirchner

Date: ______________


Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2005

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

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

Board discusses a complaint received of illegally parked cars along E. Alford Rd. Board will pass along to Chief of Police.

CW discusses a site visit that he and the AA took last week to the Berz residence, West Center Rd. At the Berz's request, they viewed apparent erosion being caused by run off from the upland abutting property. AA will contact ConsCom to ask if they have any jurisdiction in this situation.
7:30 PM:        ED opens the Public Hearing to act on an application for a liquor license transfer from EDLI, Inc. a.k.a. Card Lake Inn, to Elm Inn, LLC. ED reads the public notice as it appeared in the Berkshire Eagle (7/9/05).

        Representing the applicants are: Mary and Bob Feuer and Ellen and Michael Greer.

        The applicants and the Board discuss hours of operation, bartender training, and entertainment special permits.

        No one from the public is present.

        ED makes a motion to approve the application and close the Public Hearing. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor. Application will be forwarded to the ABCC for their action.

Other Items:    Board signs letters to be sent certified mail to Charter Communications informing Charter that they are in default on both their lease and license agreements signed in May 2004. No co-location payments for cellular communication antennas located on the Charter tower. The letters were drafted by Town Counsel and give Charter 30 days to comply.

        3 nominees have responded and agreed to serve on the Senior Center Steering Committee: Mike Kirchner; Mary Korte and Joan Rehm.

        EDM Engineers will attend the 8/8 Board meeting to renew discussion on moving Town offices to the Village School.

        Board approves a MEMO to the Tree Warden stating that problem Town trees are the responsibility of the Tree Warden budget and not the Town Department that may have jurisdiction over the property, e.g. Town cemeteries.

        Board discusses the issue of new homes being occupied without Certificates of Occupancy. Board instructs AA to contact the Building Inspector and have him provide a list of new building permits matched up to issued Certificates of Occupancy.

8:10 PM:        There being no additional business before the Board, CW makes a motion to close the meeting. He needs to attend a Planning Board meeting at the Town Hall. ED seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.


Minutes approved by:

_________________________       ___________________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli, Chair              Curt Wilton

Date: ___________




        


 
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