Members present: William Cavanaugh, Mark Karlberg, George Fuller
Others Present: Richard Furlong, David Bonney, Gerry Galliher, Colleen O’Connor, Bill & Maddy Elovirta, Mark White, Larry Goetz, John Hall, Josh Lombard, Sandy Sayward, Esther Balardini, Steve Hilton, Dan Hamill, Mike Sawyer, Nicole Miller
7:00 PM Meeting opened.
It was announced that no one in the audience was audio taping the meeting.
Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: None.
Bill motioned to accept the minutes of November 17, 2010, Mark seconded. All in favor.
Public Input: Colleen O’Connor asked what was happening with the new well at fire station #1. Richard advised that the well would be sited tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
George advised that he spoke with an employee who has been coming in late frequently and told him he needs to stop coming in late. He asked Nina to write up something stating that he verbally spoke with this employee.
The Selectmen reviewed the alcoholic beverages renewal applications. Mark motioned to sign the alcoholic beverages license renewal applications for Dream Away Lodge, Berkshire Berries and Uncle Larry’s Tavern for Annual All Alcoholic Restaurant licenses; Mountain Grove Association for an Annual All Alcoholic Club license; Berkshire Berries and Becket Country Store for Annual Wine and Malt Package Store licenses; Lakeview General Store and Becket General Store for Annual All Alcoholic Package Goods Store licenses, Bill seconded. All in favor. Bill motioned to estimate the summer population at 9,000 for the purpose of the alcoholic beverage licenses, Mark seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen discussed the transfer station hours during the week of Christmas and New Years. December 25th and January 1st are on Saturdays. Bill motioned to open the transfer station on December 24, 2010 and December 31, 2010 instead of on December 25, 2010 and January 1, 2011, Mark seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the price quotes for the building demolition at 78 Black Arrow Way. Richard advised that he already signed a contract with the lowest bidder because this is an emergency demolition. The lowest bidder is Dyer Excavating and the amount of the quote is $8,700. He explained the condition of the house and advised that he would need to find more money to cover the cost of the demolition because there is only $4,000 in the demolition fund. The Board of Health could put in $2,000 and the rest would need to come from possibly the reserve account. Bill motioned to approve the action taken by the Town Administrator for the demolition at 78 Black Arrow Way, Mark seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen discussed the salt shed grant. Richard advised that Lenny Tisdale said that Tony never asked him about what he thought about the salt shed. He does not see how this would save the town money. Richard explained what would need to happen before the salt shed could be installed. The grant money would not cover the cost of preparing the site and the town would need to put in a lot of money in order to make this work. Richard is checking with BRPC to see if this grant could be rewritten. If it can, he thought that insulating the highway garage would be a good project and replacing the existing furnace at the town hall with a more energy efficient gas furnace would be a worthy project. Richard asked the Selectmen if the grant could not be used for anything else but the
salt shed would they still be interested in it. The Selectmen do not want the grant if it can only be used for the salt shed.
The Selectmen discussed the Yokum Pond Road property donation. Richard explained that Foresight Land Services did a survey and found that the dam is partially on the property that was donated to the town but it is not exactly a dam, it is a culvert. He would like someone to look at it before the Selectmen decide to accept this property. Mark and George will go and look at it.
The Selectmen do not know how they want to apply for the District Local Technical Assistance Grant. Briefly discussed this grant. Bill feels that the property at Jacobs Well could be looked at to see what could be done with it. He thought that there could be a study done on this property so in the future if there was something that the town wanted to do with it they would have information available. Richard will check with the Planning Board to see if they want the Selectmen to apply for a specific item and get back to the Selectmen.
The Selectmen do not have voting rights for the Center Pond Restoration and Protection Lake District so they do not need to fill out the proxy form.
The Selectmen discussed the mandatory retirement age for Police Chief. Bill was not sure if this mandatory retirement age applies to fire chiefs, highway workers, etc. or just the police chief. He needs to know if the Selectmen have a choice as to whether they can keep a police chief who is older than 65 or if there is something they could do to keep an older police chief. Richard advised that the information that came from the town attorney is very confusing. It speaks to people who are in Section 4 of the retirement system and Bill Elovirta is in Section 1. Richard advised that there are several police chiefs in Berkshire County who are older than 65. Richard suggested that each Selectman call David Jenkins of Kopelman & Paige to see if they could get a clear answer to this issue. George advised that he spoke with Mr. Jenkins and was told that it is a liability to have a chief over 65 because someone could sue the town if the police chief was injured or had a heart attack
while trying to help them. One option for keeping an older police chief is to petition the Massachusetts Legislature to enact legislation allowing police over 65 to remain on the job but this takes time to do. Bill Elovirta gave each Selectman a copy of his history with the Town of Becket. Bill Cavanaugh feels that the town should be able to keep employees until the age of 70 but it goes by individual. Bill will call the attorney to get clarification and the Selectmen will continue this at the next meeting on December 8, 2010.
Any other business: Richard advised that the Finance Committee is meeting with Central Berkshire Regional School District on December 14, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. The Selectmen are invited to attend this meeting.
Richard advised that the CDBG will need to be signed next week. George advised that he would be out of town from December 9th through the 13th. Richard will let him know when he needs to come in and sign the paperwork.
Richard advised that he received a report from the Board of Assessors regarding where they are with the tax rate. They are hoping to have everything submitted to the Department of Revenue by next week. The Tax Classification Hearing should occur within the next two weeks.
Richard advised that he has received emails regarding health inspector scams and will be notifying all of the food service establishments about this.
Richard advised that he received an email from the police chief regarding Dan Hamill, one of the part time police officers. His probationary period has ended so he needs to be appointed as a part time police officer. The Town Administrator appoints police officers but the Selectmen vote to approve the appointments. Mark motioned to approve the town administrator’s appointment of Dan Hamill as a part time police officer, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Nina advised that the Town Clerk received an email from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission regarding Beth VanNess as the designated person from Becket who is on the Transportation Advisory Committee. Beth has not attended any recent meetings and BRPC needs to know if she plans on continuing on the TAC or if there is someone else who can act on this committee. The Selectmen would like a letter sent to Beth asking her to come before the Board regarding this.
Nina advised that Jeanne Pryor resigned from the Wired West and Massachusetts Broadband Institute as representative. The Selectmen would like to know if Bob Ronzio, who is currently the alternate to these committees, would like to take over as representative. Nina will try to find out before the next Selectmen’s meeting.
The Selectmen reviewed a letter from residents in Indian Lake Estates thanking the highway department for repairing a section of Bonny Rigg Hill Road.
Nina asked the Selectmen if they wished to keep their budget the same as last year. Bill motioned to keep the Selectmen’s Salary and Expenses the same as last year, Mark seconded. All in favor.
Richard advised that he had to order two new toilets for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. These toilets are replacing two problem toilets. Richard also advised that the Town Hall is almost 20 years old and it will start needing some upgrades and the Selectmen need to start thinking about replacing the roof and other upgrades.
8:38 PM Mark motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary George Fuller, Chairman