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2006 - Minutes of August 21 Meeting
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
August 21, 2006

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting; Village School.
Quorum present: Michael Kirchner (MK), Curt Wilton (CW), and Tina Skorput Cooper. Also present: Administrative Assistant (AA). No press present.

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

Board executes thank-you letters to: Arts Lottery Council, Police Dept. and Highway Dept. for all of their efforts in helping to make the Zucchini Festival a success again this year.

MK discusses NIMS compliance requirements for Town officials, including Executive Govt., Police, Fire and Public Works. Both 100 and 700 level tests need to be passed by the end of Sept. '06.

TSC asks if there will be room for the American Legion to meet at the Village School. The Legion home on Gt. Barrington Rd. is being vacated at the end of this month. CW responds that the Legion has been assured of a room to meet in although it will not be theirs exclusively. A locked armory has also been provided in the Village School basement.

For the Zucchini Festival organizers, TSC asks if they can have a locked section in the Village School basement to store Festival items. MK responds that they can store things in the utility room as in the past but to wall off and secure a new section would not be possible at this time because of the upcoming construction and building code/sprinkler concerns.

TSC relates a call received from a concerned citizen regarding the status of the old landfill on Oak St. and when and if it would be capped. The landfill history is discussed including an appropriation of $20,000 made approximately 10 years ago in anticipation of applying for a then in place state grant. That grant program was abolished the following year and no new funding programs have replaced it. The town is not under any DEP orders to do anything with the site. Board decides to revisit the topic by researching DEP regulations, liability and today's cost to cap the site.

Following a discussion of last meeting's bid opening re: paving of Iron Mine/Iron Ore/ Bob-O-Link Roads, TSC makes a motion to accept the recommendation of the Highway Supt. and award the contract to the low bidder - Tri-Town Paving for $64.90/ton in place. MK seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

CW gives a Shaker Mill Bridge construction update. A cofferdam is being constructed to regulate the water flow and the bridge will go down to one lane with alternating traffic and traffic signals in about 2 weeks. The contractor hopes to keep working through the winter.

7:30 PM:        At the Board's request, Building Inspector Jim Vosburgh and Zoning Enforcement Officer Walter Potash appear before the Board to discuss concerns in the Building Department.

        The Board asked Jim and Walter in to discuss weak points in the building permit process. The flow of information - particularly to the Board of Assessors - needs to be improved. The Assessors are receiving incomplete property and project data from the Building Inspector. Accordingly, properties are not being fairly valued. Building permits need to be fully filled out before being passed along to the Assessors.  Board points out that it is the responsibility of the Building Inspector to ensure that applications are complete. If contractors complain about the process, then send them to the Selectmen and they will back up the Building Inspector.

        Another Department shortfall that has been expressed to the Board is the slow return of calls to the Department. Board instructs Jim to check and return his phone messages more than once a week on Monday nights. Walt agrees to address messages during the week.

        Board shows Jim a number of incomplete building permits received by the Assessors with incomplete information, including no project description, no project cost, and no property identification. Jim says that contractors sometimes don't fill out all of the information required. Board responds that Jim should no longer accept incomplete applications. Give them back. The Board will support any proper enforcement actions taken by the Building Inspector.

        The Board points out that the building permit application has been modified a number of times in recent years to make the process as user friendly as possible. There's no reason why applications can't be properly completed.

        Board discusses certificate of occupancy certificates and the number of people living in homes without certificates signed off. Jim will generate a list for the Board who will write a letter to all offenders.

8:15 PM:        Board thanks Jim and Walt for the discussion and reiterate the need to improve the Department's operation.

Other Items:    

The bond sale for the Village School project will take place tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM. The Treasurer and Financial Advisor will present the results and recommendations at the next Board meeting.

AA sent the SEA contract for downtown improvement planning to Town Counsel for review. Town Counsel made a few minor recommendations. Adjustments will be made to the contract and sent back to SEA before signing.

CW is nominated to be the Town's representative to the newly formed regional
Metropolitan Planning Organization. Each Town names a representative to attend
meetings relative to highway project funding through the State.

8:35 PM:        There being no additional business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. TSC seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

______________________  ______________________  ________________________
Michael Kirchner                Curt Wilton                     Tina Skorput Cooper

Date: _______________

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