Board of Selectmen
October 7, 2009
Members present: William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, John Murray
Others Present: Tony Blair, David Bonney, Alice Briggs, Bill Brownhill, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Gene Pike, Bruce Garlow, Madeleine Swindlehurst, Gale LaBelle, Richard & Jeanne Pryor, Jake Toomey and others
7:00 PM Meeting opened. Reviewed minutes. George asked if Tony had spoken to Ray Roberts and Tony advised that Mr. Roberts does not want anything to do with the Town or Tony. Tony told him he was sorry to hear that. Tony advised that the Mohawk Garage is out of the Slum and Blight Report. George advised that he spoke to the harbor master and thought that it is too late to fire up the boat this year. George motioned to approve the minutes of September 16, 2009, Bill seconded. Motion passed. George motioned to approve the minutes of September 25, 2009, John seconded. All in favor.
Public Input: Bruce Garlow addressed the Board regarding the Central Berkshire Fund. He is Becket’s representative to this program. This is an endowment of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. He explained that there is a new program available to the towns that are in the Central Berkshires. There is $100,000 that is available to the seven towns in Central Berkshire which is divided up according to population. This is a 7:1 challenge grant. If the Town of Becket raises a dollar per resident the Central Berkshire Fund match would be $14,000 so the total amount of funds available would be $16,000. These funds would be dedicated to the Neighbor to Neighbor program. This program provides emergency assistance for local residents who are in economic distress.
Bruce advised that this grant is not run by the town. He thought that anyone wishing to donate to this program could send their checks to the town hall and these funds could be forwarded to him. He is looking for the Selectmen’s endorsement of the program. John motioned to endorse the Central Berkshire Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s challenge grant, George seconded. All in favor. Tony advised that this will be put on the town’s website.
George asked Bruce if the traffic on Leonhardt Road has slowed down at all. He advised that for the most part it has but there are still some people who refuse to slow down. The bridge should be completed in approximately two weeks.
Beth VanNess advised that she held the Medical Reserve Corp Workshop last week and was disappointed that no town officials attended this workshop. She also advised that she would do another workshop if they would like her to. She said that this workshop was very informative. Gale LaBelle advised that she also is on the Medical Reserve Corp and they spoke with the seniors about being prepared for the winter and helped them to be prepared. Bill thanked them for their efforts.
Tony updated the Selectmen about the Boy Scout sign issue. He spoke with the leader of the Boy Scouts about the signs that were on his property. Bill Girard, the building inspector, advised that he was allowed only one sign by right and should remove the other signs unless he got a permit for them. Tony thought that the easiest thing to do would be for the Boy Scouts to obtain a temporary sign permit for their signs. This would allow them to have the signs up for a period of three months. He would walk them through the permitting process and the Selectmen could vote to waive the $25 permit fee if they wish. John motioned to waive the fee, George seconded. All in favor.
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October 7, 2009
Tony explained to Colleen about the website and the updated on date that appears on the website. Whenever the minutes are posted the date they are posted shows up as the “Updated on” date on the website. Once the minutes are finalized, the “unapproved minutes” is removed from the minutes. When that is done the “Updated on” date changes to when they are finalized. The minutes do not change.
Tony advised that there is a letter that was sent to the Recreation Committee asking if they would be willing to take the money that was requested by Mrs. McGeer for the Christmas Party out of their account.
Tony advised that there will be a public hearing on Saturday on the CDBG at 10:00 a.m. This public hearing would be so residents could review the Community Development Strategy that has been completed by the CDBG Task Force.
Tony advised that the application for the EECBD grant has been released. Applicants have two months to complete the application. It will take about a month to review all applications so if the town is awarded this grant it will not see the money until mid January. Tony explained that he had hoped to have the work done at the fire station/ambulance garage before winter but any work done before the grant is awarded will not be reimbursed so they cannot do anything until then.
Tony reported that all five vehicles that were up for sale at the sealed bid sale were sold. The total amount received from this sale is $16,284.00. George asked if the money that was collected goes back to the highway department. He explained that the highway department needs a plow and some work on a truck transmission. Tony advised that this money would probably go back into the general fund.
Tony reported on the Emergency Management issues. He met with Ray Tarjick and Ray has been working on updating the town’s emergency management plan. Tony has received emails, phone calls and people have spoken to him about this plan. They do not feel that the Town will be ready for another crisis. One problem is that none of the things that Ray has been working on has been publicized. He agreed that he needs to work on this. Tony advised that when a disaster like the ice storm happens, as the anniversary approaches, many people feel anxiety and need to feel that the town is prepared for it should it happen again. George suggested that the Army Corp of Engineers should consult with the highway department before they go through the town roads. Briefly discussed the
appointment of the Emergency Management Director. Beth said that part of the training she has completed helps people to be better prepared for disasters. Ray suggested that if there is a person better equipped to handle this position he would step down.
The Selectmen reviewed the contract for the Bituminous Concrete Resurfacing of Various Roads. George motioned to sign the contract for the Bituminous Concrete Resurfacing of Various Roads to Warner Bros. LLC in the amount of $123,212.50, John seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the Agreement for Shared Vocational Transportation Services between the Towns of Becket and Washington and the Town of Chester. Tony advised that the only change to the previous agreement was in Section Five Compensation. The Town will credit the Town of Chester the amount of $2,500 to allow the Chester Highway Department to use the town transfer station to bring in construction debris. The town will monitor the amount of debris that is brought in and will not allow the Town of Chester to bring anything over the $2,500. If they bring in less than the $2,500, then the Town will have to compensate for the difference. This will only take place during normal transfer station hours. Tony advised that he spoke with Bill Fuller and Lenny Tisdale about this and they were
okay with it. George was against this because if people in Chester find out that
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October 7, 2009
we are allowing this then they will not get a dumpster for their shingles and such and we get charged for dumping these things. Tony advised that the building inspector, as part of the building application, has an affidavit that the applicant needs to sign stating that they will properly dispose of the building debris. He advised that the building inspector in Chester should be doing that also. Tony explained the savings to the town if the Selectmen enter into this agreement. Richard Pryor applauded Tony for his efforts in this program. John asked
for a show of hands of people who like this agreement. Most of the audience raised their hands. John motioned to sign the Agreement for Shared Vocational Transportation Services between the Towns of Becket and Washington and the Town of Chester, Bill seconded the motion. George opposed the motion. The motion passed. Tony asked if George would sign the agreement even though he was against it. George said if he signed the agreement then it would look like he agreed with it. Madeleine advised that it would only require two signatures so they should just leave it at that.
The Selectmen reviewed the interoffice memo from the Town Clerk regarding Summary of the Conflict of Interest Law and New Training Requirements. Tony explained that there is a new law that went into effect on September 28, 2009 that requires all volunteers on boards and committees along with town officials and employees to complete training of the Conflict of Interest Law. This is a major unfunded mandate that places a great deal of work on the town clerk. Tony was not sure what the liaison officer would be doing but we need to have one. He felt that he would be good for this because he is here all week whereas the clerk is only here three days a week and he is also familiar with the Conflict of Interest Laws. Briefly discussed the problem with many people not owning or trained to use
computers. Jeanne is checking to see if there could be a training session in Becket or close to Becket where people who do not own computers or are trained to use computers can go and be credited for completing the training. Beth offered to let the town use her laptop with a projector if they needed it. George motioned to appoint Tony Blair as the liaison officer with the Ethics Commission, John seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the property on County Road that is for sale that is currently under Chapter 61. The owner is requesting to be taken out of the Chapter 61 forestry program and agrees to pay the appropriate roll back taxes. The owner is also requesting the town to allow him to put the 7.68 acre parcel that he is not selling into Chapter 61B at the appropriate time. The Selectmen can vote to waive, assign or exercise its right of first refusal for this property. John motioned to waive the right of first refusal for property located on County Road, George seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the draft license agreement for a dry hydrant at Crystal Pond. Tony advised that he spoke with the Fire Chief after the house fire by Crystal Pond and he would like to have a dry hydrant installed by the pond. The Fire Chief spoke with the Crystal Pond Homeowners Association and they have no problem with the fire department installing the hydrant. There is a right-of-way to the north of the location where the house burned down where they could build a road to handle the fire trucks. Tony advised that he has not spoken with the woman whose property adjoins the right-of-way because he wants the Selectmen to review the agreement first. She would be a party to this agreement. Tony advised that he is doing this as a license agreement instead of doing it as an easement
because it would need to go to a town meeting for a vote and that could take some time. If this is done as a license agreement then it could be done this year. Bill advised that Shaw Pond has been asking for a dry hydrant for approximately five years and nothing has been done to have this dry hydrant installed. He wanted to know why they are concentrating on the hydrant at Crystal Pond now when Shaw Pond has been waiting so long for their dry hydrant. George suggested that John Hall make a list of where hydrants should be located throughout town and prioritize them. Tony would like the Selectmen to review the agreement and make any changes so he could use it for all the dry hydrant installations. He suggested
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October 7, 2009
that Shaw Pond be the first priority and then Crystal Pond and then he feels the camps should have dry hydrants installed also. It would be in the camps best interest to have dry hydrants. Tony advised that if the Selectmen are okay with the licensing agreement template then he could have three agreements drawn up for their next meeting and the work could start before the end of the month. George motioned to accept the dry hydrant licensing agreement template, John seconded. All in favor. Tony will call John Hall and ask him for the first three locations. George suggested that the camps be notified and so they can get the materials with the Town to save some money.
The Selectmen reviewed the letter to camps and others regarding numbering of buildings for emergency management, assessors and others. Tony advised that the assessors brought this to his attention and he feels that this would be a good tool for town departments to use. He is asking that the camps and others to number all of the buildings at their location so it would make it easier for the assessors, building inspector and emergency services to locate each building. The building inspector has a program that can take an aerial photo of the camps so that all of the buildings can be viewed and numbered. All of the departments would get a copy so that when they need to go to the camps, they know where all the buildings are located. This could save the emergency services time when they get a call
because they can look at the map of buildings and know just where they need to go. Beth suggested that the emergency services have a key to all of the camps. Tony advised that they already have keys. George motioned to approve letter and to send it out, John seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed application to ZBA for a Dimensional Special Permit for the construction of an exterior stair from a first floor deck to grade which is along the same line as addition but creates a new non-conformity. The Selectmen have no objections to this permit.
The Selectmen reviewed request from Alice Briggs, Garden Manager, Becket Community Garden, for a licensing agreement with the town to sell produce at a small farm stand. Alice explained why she is requesting this licensing agreement. She advised that when the community garden started, she had many volunteers but as time went on, these volunteers dwindled. She spoke with some volunteers about this and they would rather purchase the produce then work in the dirt. She felt it would be good for the community to buy fresh produce from the farm stand then to buy it at a grocery store. She advised that the money made from the sale of the produce would be used for the purchase of seeds and equipment for the next year’s garden. Gale advised that this is not allowable by right and she would
need to go before the Planning Board for a special permit. Tony believes that if the lot is larger than five acres it is allowable by right. Bill was concerned that others will be upset because this would be a business but Tony advised that it is not a business. The Selectmen suggested that they put this on hold until they find out if this is allowable. Tony will check into this.
The Selectmen reviewed the “Green Communities Special Event” invitation. Tony and John will attend this event.
The Selectmen reviewed the invitation to the Berkshire County Selectmen’s Dinner Meeting on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club. George will attend this meeting. John will let Nina know tomorrow whether he can attend this meeting.
The Selectmen reviewed the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report. John motioned to initial the report, George seconded. All in favor.
Board of Selectmen
October 7, 2009
The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Ambulance Department, Police Department and Building Inspector. George advised that the highway department saved the town some money by repairing the ambulance. George asked what was happening with the grant for the ambulance. Tony advised that there could be at least a six month wait before we hear anything about this grant. George wanted to know why the police department did not have a category stating how many tickets were issued. Tony will check with Bill Elovirta to see if this is something that could be added to the report. Tony advised that all three buildings that we went out to bid to have demolished have been demolished. Briefly discussed grandfathering of lots.
Any other business: George advised that he has attended the meeting of the CBRSD Strategic Planning Committee but he will have to resign because of the time constraints. He advised that he was told that there would be one meeting a month when he started but now it is up to four meetings a month and he cannot do this anymore. Tony advised that this could go on the website and maybe the Country Journal could put something in the paper to try to drum up some interest.
Briefly discussed the letter from Robert Gorden regarding developing legislation for the siting of wind turbines in Massachusetts. The Selectmen will take no action on this.
9:50 PM George motioned to adjourn, John seconded. All in favor.
Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary William F. Cavanaugh, Chairman