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Board of Selectmen Minutes 10/21/09
Board of Selectmen
October 21, 2009
Members present:        William Cavanaugh, George Fuller
John Murray-absent

Others Present: Tony Blair, David Bonney, Alice Briggs, Bill Brownhill, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Madeleine Swindlehurst, Ann Krawet, Rita Furlong, Pat Mullins, Bob Ronzio, Josh Lombard, Bill Elovirta, Bob Will, Gail McGeer, Patty Clemons, Troy Casey, Stephen Schatz

7:02 PM Meeting opened.  Reviewed minutes.  George motioned to approve the minutes of October 7, 2009, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

Tony gave the Selectmen a letter from a resident thanking the Becket Ambulance Department for the care that they gave during an ambulance call.  She was impressed by the professional care that was administered to her.

Public Input: Colleen O’Connor asked if the Becket General Store had gotten a special permit to have a concession stand at the store.  She advised that there was a concession stand by the store two Sundays ago.  The Selectmen were not aware of this and were not sure if a permit was needed for this activity.  Bill advised that Tony would check to see if a permit was needed and if so, if they had one.  She was also opposed to the outdoor lighting.  She asked if it was allowable to have a sign for the business on someone else’s property.  She advised that the sign was moved across the street by the Verizon property.  She feels that there should be no special favors given to anyone.  Tony will check into these issues.

Ann Krawet asked if it would be possible for the transfer station to accept vegetable peelings that could be turned into compost that could be sold to local farms.  She advised that in San Francisco they are doing this and thought this would be a good idea.  Tony advised that it probably would not be cost effective to do this at the transfer station since you need to have machines to turn the compost and you need a place to put the materials into.

Town Administrator’s Report:

Tony advised that the Finance Committee is meeting with Jim Stankiewicz, Superintendent of CBRSD, at their meeting on December 17th and would like to extend the invitation to the Selectmen.  Selectmen also invited to meeting on November 12th to begin discussion of FY11 budget.  Tony will need to know who will be attending these meetings.  Bill advised that he should be able to attend these meetings.

Tony updated the Selectmen on the dry hydrant issue.  He advised that he met with a gentleman from the DEP who specializes with municipal siting of dry hydrants and the permitting process that needs to be followed when installing these hydrants.  They have identified seven areas where the hydrants could go.  Three hydrants are already in place of which two need to be repaired.  He also has not tracked down where a hydrant could be located on Route 20 near Greenwater Pond.  Tony advised that there are no working dry hydrants in the village area.  Pill Pond would be one location that a hydrant could be located.  Tony advised that there is a hydrant in the brook next to the school but the pipe is sticking up so it is not functioning properly.  In order to repair this hydrant, the Army Corp of Engineers would need to be used

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October 21, 2009
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and the permitting alone would take a lot of time.  Tony advised that the camps are interested in having dry hydrants installed and he is working with them to have a licensing agreement in place.

Tony advised that the Recreation Committee does not have the $500 for the Christmas Party.  Briefly discussed the Parks and Recreation Committees and what their duties are.  Tony suggested that something be placed in the budget for next year’s Christmas Party.  It would not help for this year’s party but it could be raised for next year.  Tony thought it would be good if the group could give him a list of items or monetary needs they have and that could be posted on the town’s website.  George motioned to put $500 on next year’s budget for Santa’s Elves and the Ladies Auxiliary, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

Tony advised that the CDBG Task Force held a public hearing on October 10, 2009 and it was well attended.  Most of the task force members were present for this meeting.

Tony advised that $743 was collected so far for the Central Berkshire Fund.  He will keep the Selectmen updated on the collections.

Tony advised that there will be an Emergency Committee meeting on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Hall.  He also advised that there was a petition received that asks the town to update the Emergency Management Plan.  He also advised that the Ambulance Department has gone around town to see what houses need to have their house numbers put up so that emergency vehicles can locate them.  A total of 1097 homes are improperly numbered and Tony feels that something should be done about this.  He was hoping that the Country Journal could put something in the paper about this.

The Selectmen reviewed the Community Development Strategy.  Tony gave the Selectmen an overview of this plan.  Madeleine Swindlehurst gave the Selectmen a memo regarding the Community Development Strategy.  She does not feel that the Selectmen should vote to accept this plan since it does not include any of the public comments generated at the October 10, 2009 public hearing.  She explained that she pointed out several times at the meeting on October 19, 2009 that they did not have a quorum and vigorously protested the dismissal of the public comments as not relevant to the CDBG strategy and application process.  She asked the Selectmen to have the task force meet again to add the public comments to this report before the Selectmen vote to accept the report.  Pat Mullins from BRPC gave the timeline for the CDBG and also explained that the Community Development Strategy could be changed every year as the town applies for different grants.  George asked why the property on Washington Street and the old lumber company property were still in the report when the owners specified that they did not want to be included in the report.  Tony advised that Mr. Talabach was at a meeting and was shown what was changed and he was satisfied with the report.  George asked if the town would be liable because they included these properties in the report.  Tony advised that it would not.  He explained that everyone’s property is included in the report and it would raise a red flag if two properties were not included.  Tony advised that the only thing the Selectmen were voting on was the Community Development Strategy.  George motioned to have the CDBG Task Force go back and include the public comments that Madeleine Swindlehurst referred to and bring the document back to the Selectmen at their next meeting, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

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October 21, 2009
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The Selectmen reviewed memo and draft license agreement to allow use of town hall property for the purpose of a farm stand to sell produce from the Community Garden.  Tony advised that there was a question about whether a special permit would need to be acquired from the Planning Board for a farm stand.  He found that because the town hall is on a seven acre parcel this is allowed by right so a special permit is not required.  He has confirmed this with town counsel.  Part of the agreement states that the Community Garden participants put a report in the annual town report that states the amount of money that was made and what the money was used for.  There is also a section in the agreement that states that the participants will hold the town harmless if someone is injured while gardening.  Tony has not finalized the agreement because the insurance company advised that this somehow potentially means that the town is selling produce.  Tony does not believe this to be true so he is asking that the Selectmen hold off on signing this agreement until he gets clarification about this issue.  George asked if the Planning Board was aware of this.  Tony advised that he spoke with Gale LaBelle about this but he would also put this memo in her mailbox.  Ann Krawet was concerned about the section that holds the town harmless if someone is injured while gardening.  She feels that it is too vague.  She asked if her car was hit in the parking lot while she was gardening, would she be liable for the repair.  Tony advised that this would be covered by the town’s liability insurance.  He specified that any injury that occurs while the participant is gardening would not be covered.  Tony advised that if the participants are not willing to accept this section then it probably would not be a good idea for the town to allow this garden to be at town hall.  Madeleine asked if each participant would need to sign a waiver.  Tony thought that this was a good idea.  Briefly discussed the town hall septic system.  Tony suggested that this be tabled until the next meeting so he could get answers from the insurance company.  Bill motioned to table this until the next meeting, George seconded.  Motion passed.

The Selectmen reviewed the Citations Issued in 2009 from the Police Department.  Tony explained that this is an accumulative report for the year.  Next month Tony will have the monthly amount for the Selectmen.

The Selectmen reviewed the letter from the Office of Attorney General regarding OUI Notices.  The Attorney General’s Office will shortly begin e-mailing on a monthly basis information about the licensed establishments where defendants convicted of operating under the influence had their last drink.  Tony advised that the Selectmen are the local licensing authority and if an establishment was named a number of times as being the last place the defendants had their last drink, they can hold a public hearing to decide what course of action to take.  If an establishment has a number of strikes against them, the Selectmen can make them close early, not allow the establishment to have entertainment, or take the license if they choose to.

The Selectmen reviewed a letter of interest from Robert Ronzio to be appointed to the CBRSD Strategic Planning Committee.  George asked if this could be put on hold because he had spoken to someone who was interested in this committee.  He told her to submit a letter of interest if she still wants to be appointed then the Selectmen could review both letters of interest and decide who to appoint.  George motioned to put this on hold until their next meeting, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

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October 21, 2009
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George motioned to set the parking ban from November 15, 2009 through April 15, 2010 from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. no parking on town roads or streets.  Vehicles will be ticketed and, if interfering with snow removal, will be towed at the owner’s expense, Bill seconded.  Motion passed.

Bill advised that a number of years ago the Selectmen voted to always hold “Trick or Treat” on October 31st from 5 to 7 p.m.  Anyone interested in participating should leave an outside light on.

Any other business: The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Animal Control Officer and the Board of Assessors.  Tony advised that the Animal Control Officer is using the new forms that the Town Clerk gave him.  These forms have information about adoptions that take place and so on.

Tony advised that the town received an invoice from the Division of Unemployment Assistance for Gary Weiner, a former highway employee who was terminated in 2006.  The amount of the invoice is $8,459.00.  Tony spoke with the Chief Counsel of Unemployment Assistance regarding this and was told that the town is out of luck because the Federal Government extended unemployment benefits to people who worked in local, state and federal governments.  The Federal and State Governments pay 50% of the unemployment benefits but local cities and towns pay 100%.  Tony advised that he sent in the form asking for reconsideration since the employee was unwilling to do his job and was terminated and he does not feel he should get paid unemployment assistance.  He also advised that the town received a credit in the amount of $3,255.00 for paying for an EMT’s benefits when he should not have gotten any.

Tony advised that he has been working on the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant for Fire Station #2/Ambulance Garage.  This grant requires that the project be shovel ready.  This means that there needs to specifications for the project.  He would like to have the specifications drawn up and he would like to use a company called Pacheco Ross Architects.  He is familiar with this company and it specializes in fire departments.  Tony worked with this company in Great Barrington when it had its fire station worked on.  They have proposed to do this project and not to exceed the amount of $9,500.  He would like to enter into a contract and get this started as soon as possible.  He advised that the money would come out of the building repair account.  George asked what company the town uses for engineering.  Tony advised that Foresight Land Services is used for site work generally.  Briefly discussed the original firms that worked on the town hall and fire stations.  Bill motioned to support Tony’s proposal as presented, George seconded.  Motion passed.

Reviewed correspondence.  Briefly discussed letter from resident asking that the town stop selling his information beginning immediately.  Tony advised that if someone comes in and asks for the mailing addresses for all residents, the assessors can ask if this resident could not be included on the list.  If the person agrees then they will give them the list without his name but if the person does not agree then the assessors are required to give out the information because it is public information.

George asked if the Building Inspector works any evening hours so that people who work during the week can come in and see him.  Tony advised that he does not work evenings.  If there was an issue Tony would check to see if he would be willing to come in at night.

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October 21, 2009
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Tony advised that he would like to create a policy regarding reimbursable mileage.  He does not believe that volunteers should get reimbursed for mileage.  He will work on creating a policy.

Tony advised that the town would be receiving approximately 10% less in local aid from the State this year.

The CDBG Task Force will be meeting on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

Tony advised that the Yokum Pond Road Bridge will be paved on October 28th or 29th so it should be opening soon.  He also advised that the projected date of the opening of McNerney Road would be around Thanksgiving.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

9:05 PM  George motioned to adjourn the regular meeting and go into Executive Session, Bill seconded.  Roll call vote George-Aye, Bill-Aye.  The Selectmen will not return to the regular meeting.  The motion passed.

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