Skip Navigation
This table is used for column layout.
Board of Selectmen Minutes 7/15/09
Board of Selectmen
July 15, 2009
Members present:        William Cavanaugh, John Murray, George Fuller-arrived late

Others Present: Tony Blair, Colleen O’Connor, David Bonney, Alice Briggs, Jeanne Pryor, Ann Krawet, Bob Ronzio

7:03 PM Meeting opened.  Reviewed minutes.  John motioned to accept the minutes of July 1, 2009, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.  

Public Input: Ann Krawet commended the Selectmen about the letter they sent regarding Wade Inn Road and the truck traffic.  She would like to know who they sent the letter to so that she could also write them a letter.  She feels that it would help if residents wrote letters along with the town.  Tony advised that he spoke with Mass Highway and they advised him that these bridges are on the fast track.  Bill explained that this could take a few years to complete.  She asked if the trucks could lighten the loads so they could continue driving on Route 20.  Tony explained that this would not be cost effective for the truck companies.  George arrived.  Ann was concerned about the safety factor of people using Wade Inn Road.  Discussed the condition of Wade Inn Road and what the town could do to stop this road from deteriorating more.  Tony will check with Mass Highway to see if there is a weight limit on Wade Inn Road.  Bob Ronzio asked if they could do what they did in North Becket when they were repairing a bridge where they close off one lane at a time.  Tony advised that he spoke to Julie Maynard about getting a list from the Assessors and trying to get a petition going.  He also thought that some of the residents who live on Wade Inn Road could attend the meeting with Mass Highway to voice their concerns.  He thought that this could put pressure on them to resolve this issue quickly.  Tony advised that he spoke with Rep. Guyer regarding this issue and he would get on it.

Briefly discussed the meeting regarding the zebra mussels.  The meeting was called by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  The good news for Becket is that zebra mussels need a certain water condition to live and thrive on.  The acidity and calcium content have to be favorable for the mussels to live.  The acidity and calcium levels of the lakes in Becket are not favorable for the mussels to live and grow.  There was a study done on the water bodies in Berkshire County and it was found that the Housatonic and Hoosic river watersheds had levels that would promote the growth of zebra mussels where the Farmington river watershed did not.  Tony was told by someone from the State that he could not keep the lakes closed off to the public.  He advised that the lake water tests would be looked at to see what the acidity and calcium levels were for each lake in Becket.

George motioned to accept the minutes of July 9, 2009, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

The Selectmen reviewed the agreement between the Town and the Lee Regional Visiting Nurse Association.  John motioned to sign the agreement between the Town and the Lee Regional Visiting Nurse Association, George seconded.  All in favor.

John motioned to renew the membership to the Berkshire County Selectmen’s Association, George seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the letter of interest from Barbara Stuhlmann to be appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Tony advised that she would not have a conflict by serving on the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  John motioned to appoint Barbara Stuhlmann to the Zoning Board of Appeals term to expire June 30, 2010, George seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the letter sent to Mark LeVasseur of Foresight Land Services from RDA Construction regarding Yokum Pond Road Bridge Replacement and Related Work.  RDA is preparing for the bridge replacement and there needs to be some pole work done by WMECO but RDA carried no funds for payment for this.  Tony explained where the poles would need to be relocated.  He also explained that in the specs there was funding for police detail while work was being done on the bridge.  They can use some of this funding to pay WMECO since the road will be closed completely and they will not need to have a police detail during construction.  George motioned to take money from the police detail and use it for the pole relocation on Yokum Pond Road as long as it does not exceed the amount that was set aside for the police detail, John seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the invitation to the Becket Arts Center Donor’s Buffet Reception on July 20, 2009 at 6 p.m.

The Selectmen reviewed the Application for a variance from Mary and Robert Alarie to allow the continued use of a non-complying structure on lot.  There is a camp trailer on their lot which has been there for approximately 13 years.  The owners feel that because the trailer has been on the property for over 10 years it is considered conforming.  The building inspector wrote a letter explaining that if it was a building on the property then it would apply but it is a camp trailer which is not allowed.  If it is not an allowed use then it does not matter how long it was on the property.  His letter also states that the trailer is in bad repair and left open for animals to enter.  John motioned to send the Zoning Board of Appeals a negative response to this variance, George seconded.  All in favor.  Colleen feels that they should get rid of grandfathering altogether.  Tony advised that there are state laws that allow grandfathering in certain instances and explained it to her.

The Selectmen reviewed the correspondence from the Finance Committee.  One memo was in regard to the CBRSD Regional Agreement Review Committee.  The committee plans to change the formula for apportionment of capital costs.  Since Becket was the only town to vote against this, it passed which means that Becket and Washington would be solely responsible for capital costs for the Becket Washington School.  Mike Falk will provide an update after the July 28th Review Committee meeting.  Tony advised that Mike has been working up figures to see how this would impact Becket.  The second memo was regarding suggestions for financial projects for Tony Blair in 2009.  Briefly discussed this list of suggestions.  George wanted to know about the police department hours.  He wanted to know why the part time staff could not fill the hours that were available.  Bill explained that because the police sergeant was out on medical leave and one part time officer is not available there have been more hours that need to be filled.  Some officers cannot increase their hours and that is why another officer was hired.  Tony explained that the part time officers are trained differently then the full time officers and a part time officer cannot work more than 39 hours a week.  John would like to know what it would cost to have three full time officers and one part time officer.  Tony would check on this.  Bill thought that this could create problems if an officer was ill and another officer was out because they would only have two officers to fill the hours.  Tony felt that until he gets the information from Bill Elovirta, he and the Selectmen should let him run his department.  If an officer has a problem with how he runs this department they should go to Bill first and if they are not satisfied with how it is handled then they should come to the Town Administrator.  Tony will make up a spreadsheet for the next meeting that shows what it would cost to run the department with three full time officers that cover the department 24/7 and what it costs to run the department with two full time officers and part time officers as it is currently being run.

Briefly discussed how the salary survey came about and how the wages are adjusted every year.

Briefly discussed the financial impact to the town if the CBRSD closes the Becket Washington School.

Briefly discussed the list of items that Mike Falk would like to see Tony work on during the first six months.  Tony would like to set up a Strategic Planning Meeting with the Selectmen to discuss what they would like to see done within the first six months.

The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Police Department, Board of Assessors and Building Inspector.  Tony advised that he has asked Bill Elovirta to breakdown the miscellaneous calls on his police report since they amount to about twenty percent of the calls.

Any other business: Tony advised that the petition to increase the animal control officer’s salary back to what it was before it was amended at the Annual Town Meeting was turned into the Town Clerk with the required signatures but the wording for the article was not complete.  He explained that when there is a petition to place articles on a town meeting warrant, the article needs to go on just the way that it was worded, including typos and incorrect spellings.  The animal control officer did not write the article when he had people sign the petition therefore it is not clear as to what the voters would be voting on.  He is waiting to hear from town counsel to see how to proceed.

Briefly discussed the Emergency Planning Meeting.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:35 PM John motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          William F. Cavanaugh, Chairman