Members present: William Cavanaugh, George Fuller
Others Present: Craig Kleman, George Roberts, Bill & Maddy Elovirta, Robert Ronzio, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Jeanne Pryor, Gale LaBelle, Madeleine Swindlehurst, Adrienne Metcalf, Josh Schwartzbach, John Amato, Jim Russell-Berkshire Record, Gerry Galliher, Rita Furlong, Pat Mullins, Carl Rosenstein, Steve & Dorothy Schindel, Ann Krawet, Meredyth Babcock, Paul Tangredi, Rob Gorden, Barbara Stuhlmann,
7:02 PM Meeting opened.
George asked if anyone from the audience was recording this meeting. No one is audio taping the meeting.
Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: None.
Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that the fire chief has requested the use of a municipal vehicle to use to conduct his official business. The vehicle that he uses now is beginning to fall apart. The building inspector and the Board of Assessors use the old police cruiser to conduct business so they cannot give up their vehicle. Bill Elovirta asked if he could wait a year so when the police department gets a new vehicle, he could get the old police cruiser. George feels that people should use their own vehicles like they used to in the past and get paid mileage. He feels that the town is paying a lot of money to keep these vehicles registered and maintained and insured. Bill feels that the fire chief gets paid very little to do his job and feels that if he needs a
vehicle then he should go through the proper channels to get one. George agrees with Bill about taking their request to a town meeting to have the people vote on it. He does not feel that the Emergency Management Director should get a town owned vehicle to use. Craig will speak with the fire chief and EMD about this.
Craig advised that he spoke with an AFLAC Representative about supplemental insurance. He is not sure if there was any interest from the town employees but if the Selectmen agree then he will set something up for this representative to speak with the town employees. The Selectmen are fine with this.
Craig advised that he and the building inspector have spoken to the contractor that has done the work at Fire Station #2 and have given them a punch list of things that need to be completed and he is hoping that this work will be completed by the end of this month. George asked if there would be an open house on this once it is completed. Craig advised that he will speak with the State about having one sometime in August.
Bill motioned to accept the Board of Selectmen minutes of July 6, 2011 as presented, George seconded. Motion passed. Bill motioned to accept the minutes of the Local Licensing Authority of July 6, 2011 as presented, George seconded. Motion passed. Bill motioned to accept the Board of Selectmen minutes of July 13, 2011 as presented, George seconded. Motion passed.
Public Input: Ann Krawet read a letter requesting that the town restrict the width of passenger busses driving through Becket. She witnessed a Peter Pan bus making a right turn off of Werden Road and was concerned for the passengers on the bus and also for passengers in vehicles on Route 20 and Werden Road. She feels that it is unsafe for these busses to be traveling on narrow, winding roads in Becket. Bill Elovirta advised that their GPS systems could be sending them on these roads. He advised that the busses are no wider than what the State allows for traveling on public roads so the town could not prohibit them from its roads. Bob Ronzio feels that all of the town’s intersections should have 90° angels so it is easier for larger vehicles to turn. George feels that the town
should work on the roads that need repairs before it changes all of its intersections. He feels the State should give towns money to make these changes.
Carl Rosenstein addressed the Board regarding the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s land management program. He gave the Selectmen an article that appeared in the Berkshire Eagle regarding this program. He advised that of the 311,000 acres of forested lands in the State, 60% is designated as a reserve and 40% is designated as woodlands. This means that there will be no commercial harvesting of timber in the reserve areas but harvesting would be allowed in the areas designated as woodlands. He feels that the town would benefit greatly if Buckley Dunton was designated a reserve. He is asking that the town pass a resolution to designate Buckley Dunton as a reserve. Colleen O’Connor asked if a motorized boat could go on Buckley Dunton Lake. Mr. Rosenstein advised
that there were no limitations on this lake. George asked Mr. Rosenstein to come to the next Selectmen’s meeting to discuss this further. He also feels that the Department of Conservation and Recreation should be invited to come to this meeting.
Rita Furlong expressed her disappointment that George and Bob Ronzio went to the hearing to speak against the police chief when the town overwhelmingly voted to keep Bill Elovirta as police chief until he reaches age 70. George advised that they went as private citizens not Selectmen.
Bob Ronzio asked the Selectmen if they had any answers to the issue he brought up at the last meeting regarding the building inspector sleeping in his office. Bill had no comment regarding this. Madeleine Swindlehurst objected to this being discussed without the building inspector being in attendance to defend himself. She feels it is very unethical to speak about this. She feels that the building inspector could have been on a fifteen minute break or on his lunch and there is nothing that says he could not take a cat nap during those times.
Patricia Mullins of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission addressed the Board regarding Energy Audit of Town Hall and Highway Garage. She explained that the town was awarded a “Green Communities” grant for a salt shed but the town did not have the infrastructure for this salt shed. DOER has given the town a second chance to utilize this grant. An energy audit was done on the town hall and highway garage to see where the town could save money. Pat advised that the town is on a tight schedule to submit the audit findings and project outline to DOER for approval. BRPC had Environmental Compliance Services, Inc. (ECS) of Agawam perform the energy audit of the town hall and highway department. Paul Tangredi of ECS spoke of the findings from this energy audit. He advised
that the yearly cost for energy at the town hall is approximately $17,000 and the yearly cost at the highway garage is approximately $10,000. The square footage at the town hall is 10,800 and the square footage at the highway garage is 3,360. He gave the summary of the findings for the town hall. There are a few things the town could do to save money at the town hall. Some of the things are as follows: install occupancy sensors in the restrooms and offices so that lights would go out if no one is in rooms; install a “Vending Miser” on the soda machine in the lower level to keep the soda at a certain temperature and turn the vending machine down when it is not being used. He explained that although the heating units are older technology, a retrofit is not recommended at this time. Briefly spoke about central air at the town hall. Mr. Tangredi advised that the town hall has the duct work in place for central air but because it
would cost money to have this installed, it is not recommended at this time. He felt that there were only a few things at town hall that would be energy savers but the majority of the savings would come from the highway garage. He advised that the highway garage was constructed in 1959 and there are significant areas that can be upgraded to produce more energy savings. One thing would be to remove the existing fiberglass insulation and install closed cell polyurethane spray foam. He also advised that the concrete foundation and the overhead doors are showing signs of wear and tear and should be repaired. Briefly discussed installing waste oil unit heaters. This would save on the #2 fuel oil usage. Colleen O’Connor asked about the possibility of geo-thermal heating and cooling at the town hall. Mr. Tangredi advised that although geo-thermal is good for both heating and cooling, it would take approximately 15-20 years to save
enough money to cover the cost of it because it is fairly expensive. Briefly discussed heat pumps and insulated garage doors. Pat explained what needed to be done to get the grant. She advised that if the Selectmen are okay with the energy audit she will submit it to DOER. If DOER approves the audit, the next step would be procuring the design services. Pat was hoping to have the construction underway by early October and have it completed by mid November. George was concerned about having the construction done at that time because the snow season starts around then. Pat was hoping that the work could be done before the snow flies. Bill motioned to approve the submission of the energy audit, George seconded. Motion passed. George will update Len Tisdale about the energy audit.
The Selectmen reviewed the tax collector’s appointment of Kenneth Bilodeau as Assistant Tax Collector. They reviewed his resume and felt he was a good candidate. Bill motioned to approve the tax collector’s appointment of Kenneth Bilodeau, Jr. as assistant tax collector, George seconded. Motion passed.
Steven Schindel of the Becket Land Trust addressed the Board regarding issues at the Becket Quarry. He advised that the trash has been picked up and will continue being picked up and disposed of. He asked if this trash could be brought to the Transfer Station. He was told that they could bring the trash to the transfer station during the hours of operation. George asked him about the chain that is down. He advised that the BLT spent about $400 on the heaviest duty lock and the lock ended up being smashed and cut by bolt cutters. He spoke about getting signage for the parking area advising that the quarry closes at 8:00 PM and there would be no parking after that. He feels it should be a joint effort by the BLT and the police department to see that this is enforced. George
asked if the BLT would be paying for the additional police officers to be up there because the town has been extremely busy with break-ins throughout town and it cannot have the police department up at the quarry all of the time. He feels that the BLT should have people up there to keep it under control. Mr. Schindel said he would not be comfortable asking people to follow the rules because he would be outnumbered and would not feel safe doing this. He also advised that they do not have the resources to have someone up there all day throughout the summer. Adrienne Metcalf asked what happened to the money from the logging that has been taking place. Mr. Schindel advised that they did not receive any revenue from the logging. George also asked him if he ever looked at the fences that the State uses in the State Forests. The fences have the locking mechanism up inside the housing so they cannot be smashed. Mr. Schindel advised that metal
cutters could be used on just about anything if the person is persistent enough. George advised that the State does not seem to have problems at the forest areas. Meredyth Babcock feels that the town and the BLT should work together to find a solution to this problem. Rob Gorden advised that he went to a meeting with the Massachusetts Historical Commission and was told that the Becket Quarry has got to be the most extraordinary archeological and industrial sites in the North East and something needs to be done to preserve this site. Discussed the possibility of having a shed at the entrance and charging a fee to go into the quarry. Josh Schwartzbach advised that he has been hearing that the BLT is trying to come up with solutions for years and nothing ever seems to be done to correct the problems. He is afraid that someone will be killed up there someday if nothing is done. Mr. Schindel advised that it is beyond the BLT’s ability to
preserve the artifacts that are up there and to police the area to keep out partygoers. Bob Ronzio suggested putting up wildlife cameras and putting up signs stating that whoever enters the quarry will be photographed and this would stop a lot of people from going in and partying or destructing the property. Bill Elovirta advised that although it is a treasure for the town it is a nightmare for the police department. He feels that the BLT should have someone up at the quarry so that the kids coming up know that they are there and they could call the police department if they needed to. He feels the BLT should look for endowments or grant money to cover the cost to have coverage up there. George would like the BLT to come to the next Selectmen’s meeting on August 3, 2011 to discuss some solutions to the problems.
The Selectmen briefly discussed the Special Town Caucus and Special Town Election. George advised that the date was incorrect in the Berkshire Eagle. Craig advised that he gave the reporter the correct date but they put the wrong date in the paper. George asked if Craig found out about whether they could include the finance committee opening on the caucus and election. Craig advised that it is a policy decision to put this on the caucus and election. Bill feels the Finance Committee could wait until the Annual Election. Bill motioned that the appointment of Charles Andrews to the Finance Committee be effective until the annual town election, George seconded. Motion passed. Bill motioned to sign the warrants for the Special Town Caucus to be held on August 17, 2011 from noon
to 7:00 PM and the Special Town Election to be held on September 24, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, George seconded. Motion passed. Bill wants these warrants to be posted in the usual places.
The Selectmen skipped to agenda item #13. Bill motioned to appoint Eva Bonney and Paula Cianfarani to the Council on Aging term to expire June 30, 2012, George seconded. Motion passed. Discussed the election worker appointments. Bill asked if there needs to be a certain number from each party. George Roberts advised that most of the election workers are unenrolled voters. He tried to get workers from all parties but only has one republican and a few democrats and the unenrolled voters. Jeanne Pryor advised that the procedure is to write to the town committees asking for a list of people who wished to be election workers and if they do not send one a list could be requested from the State Republican and Democratic Committees. George Roberts advised that he would be happy to
send these letters. Bill asked if they should wait until they get responses from the letters before they appoint any election workers. George R. suggested that they still appoint the election workers he recruited and they could always appoint others later on. Bill motioned to appoint Eva Bonney, Elizabeth VanNess, Gale LaBelle, Ann Krawet, Arlene Adler, Alice Briggs, Patricia Clemons, Adrienne Metcalf, Jerome Schwartzbach, Meredyth Babcock, Colleen O’Connor, Paulette Feit, Sarah Francis, Charles Francis, Alymer Trivers, Charles Garman, and Priscilla McEwen as Election Workers, George seconded. Motion passed. The Selectmen would like a list showing who are democrats, republicans and unenrolled for the next meeting.
Craig explained the demolition of buildings by White Wolf. He advised that White Wolf was the lowest bidder for two buildings that the town was looking to demolish. He also advised that White Wolf took it upon himself to demolish these two buildings without a signed contract from the town. He asked the accountant what they should do to remedy the cash shortfall. The finance committee allocated $3,600 from free cash to pay for this. Bill motioned to sign the contract for demolition of buildings on Sir Walter and King Arthur Drive by White Wolf, George seconded. George would like a letter sent to White Wolf advising him that he could not do any more work for the town unless he has a signed contract. Motion passed.
The Selectmen tabled the Administrative Consent Order for the Becket Arts Center until their next meeting on August 3, 2011. Craig advised that there is a deadline of July 29, 2011 but he will speak with the DEP to see if this could be extended.
The Selectmen reviewed the bids that were received for the tennis court repair. Craig advised that Vermont Recreational Surfacing & Fencing, Inc. was the low bidder. He also advised that they have an option for a Rite Way Crack Repair system that has a three year warranty and costs an additional $4,154.00. The other 2 companies that submitted bids do not offer a warranty of any kind. Colleen O’Connor feels that the town should be careful doing any work around a Public Water System and also should not be parking on top of septic systems. Bill asked if the bid process would be compromised because the low bidder added the option for the Rite Way Crack Repair system. Craig advised that all of the bidders had the option to add their own crack repair system. Colleen
O’Connor asked if the Conservation Commission was contacted about this work. Craig advised that he spoke with the Conservation Commission about this and they will work with the town so that proper procedure is followed. Bill motioned to award the bid for the tennis court repair to Vermont Recreational Surfacing & Fencing Company including the option for the Rite Way Crack Repair System for a total of $10,583.00, George seconded. Motion passed.
Craig explained the FY 2010 audit that was done. The Selectmen need to sign off on the letter before the auditing company will give us the final audit report for FY 2010. George asked Bill if he was okay with the findings. Bill advised that he read the report and said there were no surprises. George advised that he did not have time to read this and would like to table this until the next meeting. Briefly discussed the findings of the audit report. Craig advised that the auditors will come and make their presentation after the town signs the audit report. He will work on the issues with the tax collector, treasurer and board of assessors.
The Selectmen briefly discussed the ambulance department wage increase. Craig advised that the total increase for all part time and full time employees would be $4387.42. George feels that the ambulance department should not get the increase this year. Bill feels that the EMT’s are underpaid but he does not feel they should get the increase this year. He is hoping that next year the budget would be done the way it is supposed to be done and will include an increase for all of the employees. Bill motioned to not recommend an increase for the ambulance department employees, George seconded. Motion passed. Bill motioned to sign the Wage and Benefit Agreements for the full time ambulance department employees at last year’s rate, George seconded. Motion
The Selectmen will table initialing the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report until the next meeting.
The Selectmen reviewed the special permit application to the planning board for a dwelling unit over a permitted commercial business office on the campgrounds at 2042 North Main Road.
Bill motioned to sign letter to BRPC certifying that Stephen LaBelle was appointed as the alternate to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, George seconded. Motion passed.
The Selectmen reviewed letter from Meredyth Babcock regarding clean-up effort along the banks of the Westfield River. Meredyth advised that part of her job on the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Committee is to walk the banks of the river and clean up areas that have trash around it. She has found an area behind the transfer station that has a large amount of trash and an old motorbike thrown into the stream. She advised that she received a small grant that will be used to pay a coordinated group of teenagers to help with this clean-up effort. She also advised that the teenagers will be wearing proper gear to do this clean-up and she is asking if the trash could be brought to the transfer station. Bill applauded Meredyth for her efforts to clean up the trash by the river. Bill
motioned to support Meredyth Babcock and the volunteers of the Teen River Clear and the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Association in this endeavor and allow them to bring whatever they pull from the river to the transfer station at no cost, George seconded. Motion passed.
Any other business: Bill motioned to approve Craig Kleman’s vacation request, George seconded. Motion passed.
Briefly discussed the Sherwood Greens property that the town is holding onto.
10:10 PM Mark motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary George Fuller, Chairman