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Board of Selectmen Minutes 8/3/11
Members present:        William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, Mark Karlberg

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Bill & Maddy Elovirta, Robert Ronzio, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Jeanne Pryor, Gale LaBelle, Adrienne Metcalf, Carl Rosenstein, Steve & Dorothy Schindel, Ann Krawet, Meredyth Babcock, Claudia Hurley, Millie Germaine, Phyllis Mendelson, Kristopher Massini, Gary Brierr, Mike Hurley, Leo Seligsohn, Gil Falcone, Rene Laubach, Jeanne Morano, Julia Maynard, Ken Bilodeau, Katherine Hoak, Zina Jayne, Delaney Jayne, Linda Gurski, Lee Kilchenmann-Hirsch, John Their, Pasquale Crispo, Will Rodgers, Clint Hawley, Ann & Ken Smith, Eve & Sid Cholmar, Cary Quigley, Allan Metrick

7:00 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 punch list at fire station #2 is complete.  The project has been extended until August 31, 2011 since there needs to be an open house to show off the work done with stimulus monies.  Craig advised that Jim Kupernik and Ray Tarjick need to agree on a date for the open house and if they cannot agree with one, the Selectmen will need to set this date.

Craig advised that the building inspector has written a letter to the Selectmen in response to the complaints about him sleeping in his office.  He put a copy in their packets for them to review.

Craig advised that the new fiscal year started and that the legal expenses have been reduced from last year and they need to be careful about unnecessary calls going to the attorneys.

Bill motioned to accept the Board of Selectmen minutes of July 20, 2011 as presented, George seconded.  Motion passed.
Public Input: Zina Jayne, director of the Becket Athenaeum, advised that there will be a meeting on August 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM at the Becket Washington School.  This meeting is for people to voice their opinions on how the library could better serve the community.

Bob Ronzio advised that there will be a Wired West meeting in Cummington on August 13, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and the Selectmen are invited.  He needs to know if they will be attending this meeting so he can RSVP.  He and Zina Jayne would be attending this meeting.  The Selectmen will be unable to attend this meeting.  The Selectmen would like Bob to report back to them after this meeting.

Ken Bilodeau, the new assistant tax collector, introduced himself to the Selectmen.  He advised that he has been here for about a week and a half and likes the job and hopes he will be here for a long time.  He said everyone is helpful and easy to work with.  The Selectmen wished him well.

The Selectmen discussed land management plan regarding Buckley Dunton with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and resident Carl Rosenstein.  George advised that he felt that the State should be involved with this discussion because Buckley Dunton is State owned property.  He asked people in the audience to hold off on commenting until they are recognized by the Board.  Carl Rosenstein thanked the Board for allowing this discussion in such short notice.  He explained the Forest Futures Visioning Process.  The State has created three landscape zoning designations for improved management of State properties.  60% of the approximately 310,000 acres is designated as reserves and parklands and 40% is designated as woodlands.  He is asking the Selectmen to support the designation of Buckley Dunton as a reserve.  He feels this would increase Buckley Dunton’s recreational use if it is designated a reserve.  Mr. Rosenstein advised that one plan is to create a spur trail off of the Appalachian Trail and one trail from the Dreamaway Lodge so people hiking could benefit from the lake.  He feels that this will attract more visitors to the lake.  He advised that he is meeting with Senator Downing about the plans and a resolution from the town would be very beneficial.  Claudia Hurley, who was a stake holder in the Forest Futures Visioning Process, spoke about working with Mr. Rosenstein during this process.  She advised that Buckley Dunton is a prime example of the parks and reserve qualities because of its tourism and recreational uses.  Gray Briere, from the Department of Conservation and Recreation, introduced himself and spoke about the forest program.  He explained the three different designation categories.  He displayed some maps of the areas of Becket showing the different designations.  These maps show the area of Buckley Dunton as woodlands.  Mr. Briere advised that these maps are in draft form.  He also advised that the comment period ends on August 26, 2011.  He explained that a reserve is an area that would not be touched or managed; it would just go through its own natural process and not be the center of a recreational area.  He advised that all of this information is on the state’s website.  George asked him if he felt that Buckley Dunton should be considered as a parkland.  He advised that a parkland would have a dense trail system and would have recreational activities and access.  He does not feel that Buckley Dunton fits the criteria for a parkland.  Julia Maynard does not know what the benefit would be if Buckley Dunton was considered a reserve except that there would be more restrictions.  Carl Rosenstein does not feel that there would need to be a bigger parking area because he does not feel the use will expand enough to warrant that.  He does not feel that Buckley Dunton should be included in the woodlands designation.  He advised that approximately 80% of October Mountain could be used for logging without having to touch the Buckley Dunton area.  Mr. Briere advised that this property has been managed as a woodland for decades and he does not feel that anything would change if it continues to be managed as a woodland.  Ann Krawet asked if the use of motor boats on the lake would change if the designation changed.  Carl advised that there would be no restrictions if the designation changed; it would remain as it is now.  Ann Krawet asked if the state would increase the trash pickup if they are anticipating an increase in the use of the area.  Carl Rosenstein pledged that if the use of Buckley Dunton increases he would raise money to have this area cleaned up once a week.  Rene Laubach from Mass Audubon would like to see that nothing changes and Buckley Dunton stays the way it currently is.  It is requesting that the area around Buckley Dunton Lake be designated a “small forest reserve” or other similar designation establishing protection of the area’s natural, scenic, recreational, and tourism values as the primary management objectives for this area.  Mark asked what the differences between all three designations were.  He feels that the town should ask for the maximum protection for this area.  Mr. Briere advised that both the woodland and reserve designations would have limited recreational activities in them.  Kris Massini feels the Selectmen should read the publication from DCR titled “Landscape Designations for DCR Parks and Forests: Selection Criteria and Management Guidelines” before they make their decision to support Buckley Dunton’s designation.  Claudia Hurley advised that an area designated a woodland does not allow hiking on trails during the timber harvesting and she feels that it affects the appearance greatly.  Mr. Briere advised that a reserve area and a woodland area would not have a dense trail system.  The parks designation would allow dense trails and high recreational activities.  Maddy Elovirta asked Mr. Rosenstein who would be putting in the spurs from Dreamaway Lodge and the Appalachian Trail and if this would increase the activity at Buckley Dunton.  He did not think that the activity on the lake would increase dramatically and he would conduct a fund raiser to pay for the installation of the trails.  Bill advised that he is hearing contradictions because Mr. Rosenstein wants it to stay the way it is but then he wants to add trails.  He asked the State if they could help us keep the lake just as it is.  Mr. Briere advised that if everyone wants the property to stay just as it is then it would need to be designated as a woodland like it has been for decades.  Cary Quigley advised that the town needs to be careful about designating it as a reserve because it is very restrictive.  Mr. Rosenstein advised that the State has lost everyone’s trust because of the way they did the timber harvesting back in 2007.  He also advised that they had to get an attorney just to get the State to follow their own guidelines.  Mr. Briere advised that the problems that took place back then have been ratified.  Kris Massini feels that everyone should educate themselves by reading the document from DCR before they make any decisions.  Will Rodgers said that Kris Massini was an expert forester and knows what he is doing.  He advised that it is better to manage the forest and do timber harvesting than it is to see a forest fire clear everything out.

The Becket Land Trust addressed the Board regarding issues at the Becket Quarry.  George asked the audience to wait to speak until they are recognized and he would not allow outbursts during this discussion.  George advised that at the last meeting the issue with the chain was discussed.  The Becket Land Trust has not been able to keep this chain up to keep cars from driving up to the quarry and he felt that was their biggest issue.  Ken Smith, president of the Becket Land  Trust, gave a background of the Becket Land Trust.  He explained how the BLT acquired the quarry property.  He advised that the Selectmen at the time conveyed to the BLT that they wanted this property open to the public.  He also advised that since the quarry was put on the web the problems have become quite severe.  He mentioned some of the crimes that have taken place and advised that it is beyond the BLT’s ability to handle these sort of things from taking place.  The BLT has asked You-Tube to remove it’s postings of the quarry from their website but was told they would not remove them.  He is asking for the town’s assistance in finding a resolution to the problems they are facing.  He is suggesting that signs be put up at the parking area stating that the quarry closes from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and that anyone parking their vehicle between these hours will have their vehicle towed at their expense but the Becket Police Department would need to help with the enforcement of this rule.  He also suggests that the town put up no parking signs along Quarry and Gould Roads to keep people from parking there.  He also advised that the BLT recently has hired someone to pick up trash at the Quarry.  He advised that the BLT was paying $10 an hour to pick up trash if anyone was interested in doing this.  The third issue was the chain that prevents people from driving their vehicles up to the quarry.  He explained all of the different mechanisms that they have used that ended up be cut or broken.  The locking mechanism that they have just put up is enclosed in a steel cover that they are hoping will not be tampered with.  If this fails to work, the BLT will need to come up with something else.  Mr. Smith spoke with someone from the State regarding the gates that are used in the State Forests and was told that although they seem to work for a while they still need repairs occasionally.  He was told that no gate is completely tamper proof.  As far as the swimming issue is concerned, he does not know how to stop this from happening.  If the Selectmen do not want swimming to take place they would need to come up with something that would prevent people from doing it.  Because the BLT is a non-profit group, they cannot charge a fee for people visiting the quarry and cannot hire someone to be up there taking these fees.  They were told by their attorneys that if the BLT charges people for visiting the quarry then they are liable for anyone who is injured on the property.  They could come up with rules and regulations for the quarry but would depend on the Becket Police Department or the State police to enforce these rules.  Mr. Smith feels that the discussion tonight should be limited to the parking restrictions, swimming rules, police involvement and patrols and alcohol consumption.  He would like to find a way to reduce the amount of visitors and to control bad behavior.  Meredyth Babcock advised that she spoke with Lieutenant Scabelli from the Environmental Police and he advised that they could patrol the area as much as they could to help with the issues we are having.  He also advised that the town could hire an environmental police officer that could be stationed at the quarry during the busy months if it wanted.  He gave Meredyth some quotes for this police officer and said that if the town chose to do this, word would get out and that could stop the party goers from visiting the quarry.  George asked if they paid an officer to patrol the quarry would the town be liable for anyone who was injured on the property.  Ken advised that if the town paid an officer it would not be liable because it does not own the property.  Gale LaBelle asked if they could charge for parking.  Ken was waiting to hear from his insurance company about whether they can do this or not.  Bill Elovirta said that the town could hire an officer to do detail during the busiest times and it would probably cost less than hiring an environmental police officer.  He feels that if the BLT hired a security officer the presence alone would deter partygoers from being there.  Some of the neighbors that live on Quarry Road expressed their concern about going to the quarry while there are large groups of partiers there.  They advised that it is not a welcoming site when you see trash and graffiti all over the place and large groups of teenagers.  Adrienne Metcalf feels that having security up there and keeping the gate locked and the trash under control will give the impression that this property is being cared for.  Zina Jayne suggested a neighborhood watch and putting something on the web about patrols up at the quarry.  If people read that there are patrols up there it may deter people from going.  George advised that he spoke with someone from the State about the gates that are used at the State Forest.  He gave some prices of the cost to install these gates.  Briefly discussed doing fund raising to help with the cost of hiring security.  Cary Quigley feels that because this is the second meeting that has addressed the safety issues at the quarry, the town could be liable if someone got injured up there.  Leo Seligsohn advised that he went on the internet to see what was said about the quarry and he found that it was rated number three in the whole country for cliff jumping.  He feels that the quarry would not be popular if it had not been for the internet.  Eve Cholmar feels that if you put up signs it would help.  George advised that they have signs all over town but people still ignore them.  He feels that the only way to solve the issues would be to have someone up there patrolling and we need to figure out how to do this.  Ken Smith advised that it is not so easy getting people to donate money or volunteer their time like everyone thinks.  Maddy Elovirta suggested that the BLT go on the internet and state that the quarry is being closed because of the danger of people cliff jumping and maybe this would stop people from coming to the quarry.  Delaney Jayne feels that if a bunch of teenagers go on the internet and tell other teenagers that this is not a good place then it may have a bigger impact than if adults do it.  Meredyth Babcock feels that if the town had an emergency fund that could be used to pay an officer for a couple of weeks then that would give people some time to do some fundraising for this purpose.  The money raised could be given back to the town.  Allan Metrick, a member of the BLT, does not feel that it is only the BLT’s responsibility to come up with a solution.  He is willing to do whatever he can to help but does not feel it is only the BLT’s responsibility.  Bill feels that the town should come up with funding to man the quarry with a paid employee who has the authority to arrest.  He feels this should be added to the town budget.  Ken asked if the town could put restrictions on this property.  George asked him to check with his attorney about this.  Bob Ronzio feels that all they need to do is have someone in a uniform walking the area with a cell phone so he could call the police if he had to and that would be enough to deter people from going up to party and jump off the cliff.  Ann Krawet feels that signs are important so people do not have the excuse that they did not know that swimming, alcohol, etc. was not allowed.  George suggested that someone go on the internet to try to post things that may deter people from going to the quarry to party and jump off of the cliffs.  He wants to hear from the BLT in a couple of weeks to see what it comes up with for solutions.  He also wants a list of signs they would like to have put up so  they can be ordered.  Craig asked Meredyth to come to the Finance Committee meeting tomorrow night to see what can be done to pay someone to police the area.

The Selectmen reviewed the letter from Canterbury Farm regarding “Music in the Garden” event to benefit the Becket Athenaeum.  The only thing they were required to do last year was to contact the police department regarding the traffic during this event.  Nina advised that she gave the building inspector a copy of this letter because they may need to apply for a building permit for the temporary mobile stage and small tent.  George asked the other Selectmen if they had a problem with waiving the permit fee.  They have no problem waiving this fee.  Bill motioned to waive any fees connected with the “Music in the Garden” event to benefit the Becket Athenaeum at Canterbury Farm on August 14, 2011, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Craig will speak with the building inspector regarding this.

Mark motioned to sign the Becket Athenaeum Contract, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the Administrative Consent Order for the Becket Arts Center.  Craig advised that because the ACO would not be in by the original date, he has asked to have the date changed to September 1, 2011.  Bill motioned to sign the Administrative Consent Order for the Becket Arts Center with the date changed to September 1, 2011, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the Becket Ambulance Request for Write-Off Report.  Mark motioned to send incident one to the collection agency and to write-off the second incident, George seconded.  Bill recused himself.  Motion passed.

Bill motioned to appoint the Town Administrator as Chief Procurement Officer, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the Audit Representative Letter.  Craig advised that the town accountant did not want to sign off on the audit because she was not responsible for the work that was done by the previous accountant.  Bill advised that he reviewed the report and found that a lot of the items that needed to be addressed were the same items from previous years.  He feels that we should be working on correcting these items.  Briefly discussed ways to correct the issues at the transfer station.  Craig advised that once the Selectmen sign the letter, the audit will be sent to the town and then the issues could be addressed.  Bill motioned to authorize the chair of the Board of Selectmen to sign the Audit Representative Letter, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Bill motioned to designate Berkshire Regional Planning Commission as the Community Development Block Grant administrator, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Craig advised that the Berkshire County Purchasing Group is looking to lock into the cost for heating fuel and they are giving each town 24 hours to commit to the price.  Craig was not sure when they would want to lock in.  It may happen when he is on vacation and he wants to know how the Selectmen want to handle this.  He advised that Nina could contact George and he could lock into the price.  Mark motioned to designate Craig or George as the person to lock into the heating fuel price, George seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen briefly discussed vocational transportation van lease.  Craig advised that the Selectmen should table this until their next meeting because there are more students attending Smith and Westfield Voc schools so the town will need to lease a larger van.  He also advised that Keith Sharp does not have the license that is needed to drive a larger vehicle.  They would need to hire someone who holds a CDL Class B license and the person would need to pass a CORI check and drug test.  This item will be tabled until the meeting on August 17, 2011.

The Selectmen reviewed Notice of Hearings from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission regarding the sale or delivery of an alcoholic beverage to a person under twenty-one years of age at Becket Country Store and Becket General Store.

The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Building Inspector, Police Department, Citations Issued, Ambulance Department and Animal Control Officer.

Any other business: Nina asked the Selectmen if they wished to post their meeting schedule on the Becket Community calendar for next year.  The Selectmen would like to post their meeting schedule.

George Roberts wrote letters for the Selectmen to sign to the State Republican Committee and the Town Democratic Committee asking for a list of people who would like to be election workers.  Mark motioned to sign the letters to the Massachusetts State Republican Committee and the Town Democratic Committee, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed correspondence.

10:27 PM Mark motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          George Fuller, Chairman