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Board of Selectmen Minutes 9/7/11
Members present:        William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, Mark Karlberg

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Maddy Elovirta, Robert Ronzio, Heather Anello, Dave Bonney, Jeanne Pryor, Jessie & Tim Sullivan, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Jeanne Morano, Julia Maynard, Jim Russell-Berkshire Record, Rita Furlong, George Roberts, Carl Rosenstein, Howard Lerner, Paulette Feit

7:00 PM Meeting opened.

George asked if anyone from the audience was recording this meeting.  Bob Ronzio is audio taping the meeting.

Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: None.

Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that he heard from Western Massachusetts Electric Company about the pole hearing that was supposed to be scheduled for a pole installation on Stoney Brook Road.  Because this is on a private road, the town does not need to schedule a pole hearing.

Craig advised that because a student dropped out of the voc education program, the town does not need the fourteen seat school bus.  We will go back to the van that we used last year.  George advised that the bus driver will need to know this so he can be around the swap the bus.  He also advised that the flashing lights will need to be installed on the van.  Craig will contact the bus driver with the details.

Bill motioned to accept the minutes of August 17, 2011 as presented, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned to accept the minutes of August 24, 2011 as presented, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Public Input: Colleen O’Connor expressed her concern about the fact that the Selectmen voted to remove the restriction on the police chief to only work on administrative duties because of the hurricane.  She finds this to be sneaky and underhanded and feels that two of the Selectmen should be impeached because of their actions.  She also feels that something should be posted on the website about well heads that are covered by water.  This means that the wells are contaminated and people should not be using the water until it has been tested and/or shocked.

Heather Anello, the manager of the Becket General Store, is asking the Selectmen for a one-day permit to allow on-premise drinking of beer and wine for her open house on Sunday, September 11, 2011.  This request is for the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Bill motioned to grant the Becket General Store a one-day permit to allow on premise drinking of beer and wine between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2011, George seconded.  All in favor.

Bob Ronzio advised the Board the he and Ann Krawet attended a meeting regarding the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act that is now being considered by the State.  He said the main topic discussed at this meeting was protecting the rights of individuals.

Rita Furlong of the Becket Parks Commission addressed the Board regarding town beach improvements.  She advised that there is a pipe that was probably installed when the wall was constructed at the beach which drains into the lake.  The Conservation Commission is upset about this.  She advised that the Parks Commission and the Recreation Committee each paid $1,000 from their budgets to pay for the engineering costs for a plan to correct this issue.  She explained that the reason the beach erodes so much every year is because it is too steep.  She advised that to fix this issue the town would need to remove the pipe, cut some trees and move some shrubs, move the beach back and make it more level so the beach does not erode.  This would make the beach area larger than it currently is which would be nice.  She advised that the Conservation Commission has accepted the plan and the next step would be to start the work.  She explained that if they bid this project out it would probably cost approximately $250,000.  She feels the town could do all of the work that is needed.  The Parks Commission would pay for the piping and stones that would be needed.  She advised that the Conservation Commission said the work could not be done in the spring when the water table is much higher so she was hoping that this could be done this fall as long as it does not continue to rain so much.  She also advised that Camp Greylock would mark their property so that the town does not encroach on it.  She feels that the town could do this if it uses tree removal money for the tree removal and the Parks Commission pays for the materials and the highway department does the work.  George has a few problems with this plan.  The first thing would be that the town’s budget for tree removal is so small now that if the Parks Commission uses that money for the tree removal then it would leave the budget inadequate for the rest of the year.  Another issue would be that because of all the rain from the recent storms, the highway department has been working to repair gravel roads so the two jobs on County Road and Wade Inn Road have not been completed.  George does not think the highway department would have time this fall to complete this work.  He suggested that the Parks Commission go out to bid on this and see what the cost would be and then put it on the warrant for the annual town meeting.  She advised that if the beach is not repaired this fall then the Conservation Commission would close the beach.  George advised that he spoke with Lenny Tisdale about this and he does not think the highway department would have time to complete this project this fall.  He feels that this work would take about three weeks to complete.  Bill feels that he would need Lenny’s input before he makes a decision on this.  The Selectmen decided to hold off on this issue until their next meeting on September 21, 2011 so they could get Lenny’s input on this.  Bill suggested that if Lenny could not make the meeting he should submit something in writing.

The Selectmen received an update from the Emergency Management Director.  Tim Sullivan explained what emergency management has done since Hurricane Irene hit.  He submitted a log entry of events pertaining to the hurricane.  He started receiving conference calls from MEMA on August 25, 2011 in preparation of this storm.  He had a meeting on Saturday with a couple of the Selectmen and some department heads to prepare for the storm.  One thing that was done during this emergency that was not done in the past was that Tim contacted most of the road districts and private associations to update them on possible shelters that would be open and what they should do to help their residents.  He also advised that the Massachusetts 211 system was available for people to call to get current information regarding shelters or if they had questions regarding the emergency.  He also advised that the town hall was manned throughout the storm mostly by the police department.  He said there was some concern about a dam in Sherwood Forest and he ordered a partial mandatory evacuation of a section of Sherwood Forest and he got help from the fire department in doing this.  He explained what happened the day after the storm.  MEMA came in to town to check all of the roads to see the extent of the damage.  He advised that Becket was one of the worst hit towns in Berkshire County and about 60% of the town roads were closed because they were impassable.  He commended the highway department for getting the roads repaired so quickly.  Briefly discussed FEMA assistance for the town and private residents.  Tim advised that only a few small things were a problem during this emergency.  There was an issue with his radio because of the terrain of Becket and the blackout spots.  George asked Tim to help the person on Beaver Brook Road to get the help he needs for his property.  George and Tim will meet with this person to see if they can help him.  Colleen O’Connor asked if there was a way to notify residents during an emergency.  Tim explained the Mass 211 system and also the reverse 911 system.  Beth VanNess suggested that a message be put on the phone at town hall explaining what the residents could do to find out information regarding the emergency like calling 211 to find out about shelters and such because many people do not understand this system and people called the town hall and there was no one there to answer the calls.  She also suggested that the town hall have cots and food available so if the town hall is used for a shelter then there would be something there.  Craig advised that he spoke with someone from FEMA and because the EMD is a volunteer position, he would not get paid except for the time he spent during the emergency.  The amount that would be reimbursed would be $15 per hour.  Tim will bring in his cell phone bill so this could be addressed.  George thanked everyone who assisted in the emergency and Tim for all of his help.  Craig advised that Richard Furlong came in to speak with him about a letter about deficit spending.  He is waiting to hear from Len Tisdale about how much money it would take to get the roads repaired.  George suggested that this be done at the next meeting so it gives everyone time to get the figures together.  Craig will check to see when this has to be done by.

George Roberts, Town Clerk, addressed the Board regarding town issued Hunting and Fishing licenses.  He advised that the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife have come up with a new system for the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.  This will be in electronic format.  Under the new system, when the town sells hunting and fishing licenses, the DF&W would access the town’s bank account to withdraw the fees.  George R. advised that the treasurer and accountant do not like this because if someone bounces a check it will create issues for them.  George asked Mr. Roberts if the town made any money on these sales.  Mr. Roberts advised that the town sells approximately $2,000 worth of hunting and fishing licenses in which he receives approximately $100 in fees.  Mr. Roberts also advised that most of the cities and towns in the Commonwealth have declined to be hunting and fishing license agents because of the new system.  The only advantage of selling them would be the convenience of the residents who would purchase these licenses.  Briefly discussed assisting the residents who do not own computers purchase the licenses in the town clerk’s office.  The Selectmen would like to have George Roberts check a few things before they make a decision regarding the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.  He will get back to the Selectmen at their next meeting.

The Selectmen will hold off on the Wind Turbine Grant Forfeiture letter until a later time.

Carl Rosenstein spoke briefly about the land management plan regarding Buckley Dunton.  He advised that the Department of Conservation and Recreation will be meeting up at the lake on September 15, 2011 and he will notify George so he can attend this meeting.

Craig advised that the Open House at Fire Station #2 was completed and the date to close out this grant was supposed to be the end of August but BRPC is asking that the close out date be extended until the end of this month.  Bill motioned to sign the First Amendment to the Agreement By and Between the Town of Becket and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission as presented, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

The CDBG Grant-Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Administrative Contract will be tabled until the next Selectmen’s Meeting.

The Selectmen discussed the Sherwood Greens property offer.  Craig advised that Sherwood Greens Road District has offered the town $12,000 for this property and he checked out the assessed value of this property and it is assessed at $29,100.  Briefly discussed whether or not to accept this offer.  Discussed back taxes and how the SGRD would use this land.  Craig will look to see what we have in to the property and get back to the Selectmen at their meeting on September 21, 2011.

Craig advised that someone got a hold of BRPC to see if they could have a forum concerning the water quality issues in North Becket.  BRPC had completed a survey of septic systems and wells in North Becket and were asked to come speak about this at a forum.  Colleen asked Bill if he had a chance to read this survey and he said if it was included in his package he had read it.  She claims that he said that municipal water would not be available in Becket for 30 or 40 years.  He said the only thing he recalled saying was that this probably would not happen in his lifetime.  She also claims that the town has fraudulently documented Title 5 reports in North Becket.  She advised that this meeting is a private meeting being held at the library to discuss this topic.  Bill asked if this forum is to discuss water quality issues in North Becket then why was the Becket General Store the only thing listed to be discussed at this meeting.  Colleen advised that she and Zina Jayne took it upon themselves to have this meeting because they were not getting anywhere with the town.  George would like to know when this forum will take place.

The Selectmen reviewed the letter from the Sherwood Forest Neighbors Association regarding beach area.  Paulette Feit advised the Board that back in 1966 the common areas in the Sherwood Forest Development were established and these areas have been maintained for the residents in Sherwood Forest for the past 45 years.  It was recently discovered that the beach area on one of the lakes in Sherwood Forest was never deeded to the Sherwood Forest Neighbors Association and shows that the town owns this piece.  It does not have back taxes because this property was exempt from taxes.  The Sherwood Forest Neighbors Association would like to get this property deeded to it and would like to offer $1 for this property.  George advised that the town has spent money over the years when this property was in land court so he was not sure if this property should be conveyed for only $1.  Someone from the audience offered to pay the fees with a personal check.  George was not sure if the town could accept that.  The SFNA is blaming the town for taking this property when it should have been deeded to the SFNA in the very beginning.  George asked why it was the town’s fault.  The SFNA should have noticed this from the beginning then the town would not have gone through land court and paid the fees.  Craig will check into this and will discuss this at the next Selectmen’s meeting.

The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Ambulance Department and the Building Inspector.

Any other business: Craig advised that he received a letter from Phil Connor, the YMCA Camp Director, who is asking the town to close Hamilton Road to thru traffic because it is dangerous when cars and trucks go through the camp.  Briefly discussed this issue.  This would need to be voted on at a town meeting.

Craig advised that Jim Kupernik was injured in a motorcycle accident back in June and was not aware that the town has paid disability so he used his personal time to get paid.  He is asking if his personal time could be credited back to him.  Bill motioned to approve Jim Kupernik’s request to have his personal time credited back to him, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:21 PM Bill motioned to adjourn, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

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