Members present: William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, John Murray
Others Present: Tony Blair, David Bonney, Colleen O’Connor, Bill Elovirta, Bill Brownhill, Linda, Geoffrey and Brent Barstow
7:00 PM Meeting opened.
Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: George brought up the issue with the building inspector’s dog. He does not feel that he should be bringing his dog to work and keeping him there all day. He thought that at the last meeting the Selectmen put a limit of twenty minutes that a person could have a leashed dog in town hall. Tony advised that that was not part of the motion. George made a motion to allow dogs in town only if they are on a leash and for no more than twenty minutes, John seconded. Bill was opposed. Motion passed. George would like a letter sent to the building inspector advising him that he could no longer bring his dog to work. Tony will take care of this.
George asked Tony if he heard anything about the barn that is collapsing in the village. Tony advised that he spoke with the owner who was in contact with her insurance company to see if the barn was covered under her insurance. She found that it is covered and will be taken down on Friday. George advised that he spoke with the owner’s son who asked if the highway department could push the top part of the barn down because the bottom part of the barn is stable but the top part is in danger of falling into the path where children walk. Tony advised that nothing could be done unless a demolition permit is pulled. He also advised that he should get a signed release from the owner before he does anything. Tony will fax a release for her to sign tomorrow.
Bill advised that at the Finance Committee meeting the other night a group of employees came in because they feel they should get a raise. He tried to find out how the cost of living adjustment is determined and found out that there is a special formula they use for determining the COLA in different areas. Berkshire County did not have a cost of living increase. Bill feels bad because he feels the employees deserve a raise but if they get raises the taxes would increase. John felt that if the employees could not receive raises then the town should increase the personal days. John motioned to increase the employee’s personal days by three days every year from now on. George asked if John would hold that motion until the employees could discuss this first. He thought that the
three days could be given until the economy comes back and raises are again issued. The Selectmen will hold off on acting on this until they have more information.
There were no minutes to review.
Town Administrator’s Report: Tony advised that the dogs that were getting out and harassing the neighbors are now being kept in a pen which has a padlock on it and this seems to be working. Bert has been in contact with the owners of the property and the dog owners and they have been cooperating. He has been to the property a number of times and the dogs were always in the pen. The Selectmen will not hold the public hearing on May 5, 2010 since the issue has been corrected.
Tony also advised that the town has been issued a Contract Notice to Proceed from Mass DOT for Algerie Road and Bonny Rigg Hill Road project. This is the $500,000 STRAP grant that the town received which we have no repayment obligations. Len Tisdale and an assistant wrote this grant.
Tony advised that Maddy Elovirta received notification that the town did not receive grants for the new ambulance or for the rebuilding of fire station #1 or the new fire truck #2 or the exhaust extraction system.
Tony advised that he was going to have a joint meeting tonight with the Finance Committee to finalize the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting but Bruce Garlow suggested that he wait until after the public hearing on the zoning articles in case there are any changes. The public hearing is on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 so he is asking that the Selectmen attend the Finance Committee meeting on April 29, 2010 so the warrant could be finalized. George stated that he was not going to be in town on that day. Tony stated that they could review the warrant now and George could express how he feels about the articles that do not already have the Selectmen’s recommendations. The Selectmen will go over the warrant later on in the meeting.
Public Input: Geoffrey Barstow mentioned that his work place has frozen employees pay for the last two years but if an employee did not use their personal time during the year, they would be paid overtime for the personal time they did not use. He was not sure if this could be done for the town employees. The Selectmen will think about this.
Linda Barstow addressed the Board regarding a request for a waiver for her son to attend Smith Vocational School. Tony advised that he spoke with a gentleman from the State about vocational schools. The gentleman said that Becket does not have any policy that speaks to timelines for signing up for vocational schooling. CBRSD has a deadline of April 1 for a student to apply to a vocational school. Becket does not have any deadlines. Tony suggested that the town come up with a policy that addresses where the child will go to vocational school and have a deadline in place. He explained how much vocational schools cost and stressed the importance of having a cutoff date so the town could budget for the year. Tony also suggested that there be a policy about what schools a student could
go to if they are interested in certain programs. For instance, if five schools offer the same program, the town could have a policy that allows the student to attend a certain school that is less expensive. Bill asked Mrs. Barstow if there was a test that the child had to take before he was accepted at a vocational school. She explained how the program works and advised that her son has not taken the test yet but his grades were very good. John motioned to allow Brent Barstow to attend Smith Vocational School, George seconded. All in favor.
Tony advised that Harvey Lerner of the Crystal Pond Homeowners Association called him today to say he would not be seeking the Selectmen’s support to place an article on the warrant for the 2010 Annual Town Meeting seeking to have the Town accept roads within the association as a public way. Tony advised that many people use Mallard Drive and Big Bass Lane to get from Route 8 to Wade Inn Road and vice versa. Tony had told him that the Selectmen in the past have never accepted private roads because they feel that if they accept one road, more private developments would want the town to accept their roads. Tony also advised him that he could get a petition to have an article placed on the warrant and the town would need to vote whether to accept the roads or not.
Tony gave the Selectmen the contract for the Algerie Road and Bonny Rigg Hill Road project to review. Briefly discussed the project.
George asked Tony what was happening with the bid for the excavator. Tony advised that he is working with Lenny on this because the low bidder claims that he was not informed about the lease for the equipment. George advised that the low bidder submitted a bid for a smaller piece of equipment and the equipment had rubber tracks which were not part of the specs. Tony will try to get this resolved.
The Selectmen reviewed the warrant for the Annual Town Election. Briefly discussed the questions on the ballot. John motioned to sign the warrant for the Annual Town Election, George seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the monthly report of the Board of Assessors.
Any other business: The Selectmen reviewed the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting. Tony went over the changes to the warrant. He explained that article 3 was regarding the ambulance department salaries and expenses. He has removed the ambulance department line items from the budget and made articles asking the voters to establish an Enterprise Fund. He advised that Article 11 is asking the voters to fund a new ambulance. If this does not pass then Article 11B would ask voters to replace the chassis of the old ambulance but use the same box that they currently use. Tony advised that Article 21 has to be checked by Town Counsel because the wording is not right. He will have the wording changed which will not change the scope of the article.
Briefly discussed Mass Highway’s quick response to repairing the collapsed storm drain at intersection of Main Street and County Road.
The Selectmen signed the payroll and expense warrants.
8:10 PM John motioned to adjourn meeting and go into executive session to discuss litigation strategy and not return to public session, George seconded. John-aye, George-aye, Bill-aye. All in favor.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary William F. Cavanaugh, Chairman