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CDBG Task Force Minutes 9/21/09
Town of Becket
Community Development Strategy Task Force
Sept. 21, 2009
5:00 – 7:00pm

Task Force Members:                             Berkshire Regional Planning Commission:
Rita Furlong                                    Patricia Mullins (Present)
Tony Blair                                      Thomas Matuszko (Not Present)
Stephen Labelle                                 Brian Domina (Not Present)
Madeleine Swindelhurst                          Members of the Public Present:
Sandy Sayward                                   Colleen O’Conner
Meredyth Babcock (not present)                  Pete Talabach
Zina Jayne                      
Karen Karlberg (not present)                    Member of Becket Select Board Present:  
Paul Campbell                                   George Fuller                   
Beth VanNess  
Joshua Lombard
Order of Business

The meeting was called to order at 5:00pm by Rita Furlong, Chair.

  • Select Board Member George Fuller and Mohawk Garage owner Pete Talabach:
Mr. Fuller stated that he wanted to clarify that his concerns about the North Becket Village Slum and Blight Report, approved by the Board on September 17, 2009, were not intended to discourage the Task Force in its duties or to delay the progress of any eventual CDBG grant application.  

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission had researched and produced the Slum and Bight Report for submittal to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, independently from the Task Force mission, as a required activity for a future CDBG grant application.  The report was submitted for approval to the Select Board at their regular meeting on Sept. 16, 2009, and Mr. Fuller voiced concerns about some of the report’s content at that time.

Mr. Fuller’s concern was that the report made assumptions about possible environmental contamination at the Mohawk Garage, owned by Pete Talabach (also present at this Task Force meeting), and that assumptions made by off-site visual observation could be erroneous and subsequently damaging to the reputation of the operation.

Mr. Talabach stated that the barrels photographed in front of his garage are filled with dry trash and were left on the property temporarily by the Highway Department, and contained no oil or other contaminants.  He added that the liquid at the base of the barrels was simply a puddle of rainwater.  The Slum and Blight report had been edited by BRPC on September 17, 2009 to reflect this new information, and was approved by the full Board that day.

Mr. Fuller reiterated that he supports the work of the Task Force, and asked that as the members work to strategize goals and improve conditions for residents of the town, they also consider the impact of their recommendations on the town’s existing businesses.
  • Review and Approval of September 21, 2009 Meeting Minutes:
The minutes were read and approved.

III.       Becket resident Colleen O’Connor asked to address the Task Force:
Ms. O’Conner appeared at the meeting seeking information on the status of the work on the gas tanks at the Becket General Store.  Since this issue is outside the scope of the Task Force, Chair Rita Furlong asked Ms. O’Connor to redirect her questions to the appropriate authority.  Patricia Mullins of the BRPC gave Ms. O’Connor contact information and offered to facilitate her request for information.         

IV.       Edits of the Draft Goals and Action Steps, as presented by the Sub-Committee:
The work of the Task Force during this meeting was to edit the Draft Goals and Action Steps as written by the Sub-Committee members Rita Furlong, Zina Jayne, Tony Blair and Patricia Mullins.  The primary focus of the dialog was to ensure that the stated Goals formed a consensus reflective of the entire town, while also giving attention to immediate needs and specific actions.  The results of this discussion are reflected in the resulting Draft document.

V.        Discussion on presentation of the CDS at a Public Hearing:
The final Community Development Strategy must be presented to the public at a hearing and adopted by the Becket Select Board.  Plans for presenting the materials to the Select Board were discussed, as well potential times and dates for holding a separate public hearing.  The date for that hearing will be decided by Friday, Sept. 25, and detailed plans for the presentation will be discussed at the next Task force meeting.
VI.     Task Force members agreed to meet for the final time Sept. 28 at 7:00pm instead of 5:00pm.

V.       Motion to Adjourn
SL: motioned to adjourn, JL seconded.

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