Members present: William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, Mark Karlberg
Others Present: Craig Kleman, Bill & Maddy Elovirta, Robert Ronzio, Dave & Eva Bonney, Jeanne Pryor, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Rita Furlong, George Roberts, Howard Lerner, Paulette Feit, Sandra Martin-Berkshire County Boards of Health Association, Michael & Glenda Hamling, Sandra & John Sayward, Katherine Hoak
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: Bill commended the employees of the town who worked to get the roads opened so quickly after the hurricane and all the departments who helped during this crisis. George wished all of the Select Board candidates luck at the election this weekend.
Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that he met with BRPC about the Green Community Grant that was originally meant to go for a salt shed. This grant will be used instead to make the town hall and highway garage more energy efficient. He asked the board if they felt that central air would work better than the air conditioners that are currently being used in the offices. The Selectmen feel that if this would be more efficient than they should go for it. Craig advised that he will need to contact the DOER about this so it could be included in the grant.
Craig advised that the electrician that is working on the transfer switch for the generator will need to shut the power down on the weekend of October 15th so he is making all of the departments aware of this. George asked Bill Elovirta if this would be a problem for the police department. Bill E. asked how long the power would be out. Craig will check with the electrician to see how long he thinks the power will be out and get back to Bill.
Craig advised that the Selectmen never voted on an amount to pay the Emergency Management Director for his time during the hurricane. He advised that MEMA reimburses $15 per hour for this. Mark motioned to set Tim Sullivan’s rate of pay as Emergency Management Director at $15 per hour, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Mark motioned to accept the minutes of September 7, 2011 as presented, Bill seconded. All in favor. George advised that the minutes for August 30, 2011 need some things added to them so they will vote on them at their next meeting.
Public Input: Colleen O’Connor expressed her concern about issues that have come up in Becket. She feels the town has a reputation for lawlessness. She was wondering why the people accused of murdering three people travelled through four towns before burying the bodies in Becket. She also expressed concern about the two sex offenders who live in Becket. She feels that the Becket Police Department should be stepped up so as to discourage these kinds of crimes from being committed in Becket. Bill disagrees with these statements. Bill Elovirta advised that the person who used his excavator to bury the bodies happened to be doing work in Becket so that is why they ended up here. If the excavator was working in any other town then he feels the bodies would have been buried in
another town. He advised that as of today, it has not been determined that the murders took place in Becket. As far as the sex offenders who live in town, Bill E. advised that they can live wherever they want to as long as they are registered with the State. He also advised that there are postings in town hall, at the post office and at the transfer station about where the sex offenders live.
The Parks Commission addressed the Board regarding town beach improvements. She advised that she mislead the Board at the last meeting because she thought the Conservation Commission could close the beach down if the repairs were not done. She advised that the Board of Health is the only Board that has the power to close down the beach if it determines that it is unhealthy or unsafe. She also advised that the Conservation Commission has approved the RDA for the work that needs to be done and the town has three years to complete the work. The highway department is behind on its work because of the hurricane and rain damage done to the roads in town so it will not be able to complete the work this year. The Conservation Commission will not allow sand to be brought to the beach as it is now
because it erodes into the lake. She is hoping that the work could be done in the spring. George asked if anyone had a problem with getting some bids from subcontractors for the work and putting it on a town meeting. The Parks Commission has no problem doing this but the work could not be done during the summer. Bill asked why the sand would not be an issue after the project is completed. Rita explained that the beach will be flatter so the erosion would not be so bad. George feels that the town should get bids to see how much it would cost but if the town has time to complete the work then the town would not accept the bids received and would complete the work. Rita will work with Craig to get the bid proposal done.
Ginger Conner, from the Board of Health, addressed the Board regarding the Inter-Municipal Agreement Berkshire Public Health Alliance – Board of Health. She has gone to some meetings that dealt with the Health Alliance and she feels that this would be great for the Town of Becket. If the town votes to join this alliance, there would be no cost or obligation unless the town opts to contract for any services provided by the alliance. She advised that 18 towns in Berkshire County have signed up so far. She explained some of the services that the town could tap into. For instance, the town does not have a public pool inspector so it could contract to have a pool inspector come into Becket and inspect public pools. Ginger advised that the Board of Health voted to be a part of the
alliance and is asking the Selectmen to vote to sign on to this program. Sandra Martin spoke about the program and what it has to offer towns. She advised that small towns have a hard time getting grants for health programs but this group would have a better chance acquiring grant money to assist small towns with things they cannot handle by itself. George advised that he did not have time to read the Inter-Municipal Agreement so he would like to hold off until the next meeting before the Selectmen vote on this. Ms. Martin advised that the alliance needs to know who will be in the program and who will not be so that the agreement could be signed by all of the towns at once. She also advised that the town has a little bit of time before they commit to this. She or another person from the alliance group would be happy to come back if the Selectmen have more questions about this program. Bill wanted to know if there would be a cost for the
administrative overhead of this program. Ms. Martin advised that the only cost to the town would be if they contract for any services. The Selectmen will take this up at their next meeting.
George Roberts, town clerk, addressed the Board regarding town issued Hunting and Fishing licenses. He explained the new program for the sale of these licenses. He advised that only 22 cities and towns in the Commonwealth are going to be agents for the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. He advised that people will be able to purchase these licenses online and those who do not wish to do that can purchase them in different areas throughout the state. He has a list of the locations in which one can purchase the licenses that he will have available for people. Mark motioned to have the Town of Becket not be an agent for the sale of hunting and fishing licenses for the State for the upcoming year, Bill seconded. Bill amended the motion to include the following: “and to have the
Town Clerk send a letter to the proper agency stating that we will no longer be selling these licenses and why we will not be selling them”. All in favor of the amended motion. Mr. Roberts will write the letter and give a copy to the Selectmen.
The Selectmen discussed the Sherwood Greens property offer. Craig gave the Selectmen a printout of the back taxes for the two parcels and what the town has spent on legal fees. The total of the back taxes and fees for both parcels add up to approximately $59,000. Briefly discussed the money that the town put out for advertising, legal fees and the cost of redemption on both parcels. George asked Jeanne Pryor if the SGRD would be paying taxes on this property if the town sells it to them. Jeanne was not sure; she would need to check on this. Bill asked what the SGRD planned to do with this property. He wanted to know if they planned on using it as a recreational piece or if they planned on keeping this as undeveloped land. Jeanne will check with the prudential committee to
see what its plan for this property is and get back to the Selectmen.
The Selectmen discussed the letter from the Sherwood Forest Neighbors Association regarding beach area. Craig gave the Selectmen a printout of the back taxes for this parcel and what the town has spent on legal fees. The total of the back taxes and fees is approximately $9,400. Bill would like the town to recoup the legal fees which amounts to approximately $827. Paulette Feit advised that for some reason this beach area was not included with the other common areas that are in Sherwood Forest’s name. She also advised that this beach area has always been maintained and used by residents in Sherwood Forest and it would continue being used as a beach and would not be developed. Howard Lerner offered a counter offer of $452.09 for the taxes from 1994, 1995 and 1996 and feels that the
town should consult with its attorney to see if they agree that this property should not have been conveyed to the town to begin with. George feels that the SFNA should find out from its attorney about this if they want to know this answer. The Selectmen do not know whose fault it is that this property was not included in the common areas and they just want to rectify this problem with as little expense as possible. Paulette Feit will check with the SFNA to see how they want to proceed. This will be brought back to the next Selectmen’s meeting on October 5, 2011.
The Selectmen discussed the deficit spending letter. Craig advised that he spoke with Jim Podolak from the Department of Revenue and was told that in order to deficit spend the town would need to submit a letter with the amount of the deficit or the town would not be able to set the tax rate for FY13. The town accountant advised that the town has a deficit of approximately $82,000 but if it amounts to more than this then an amendment could be made. Mark motioned to forward the request for emergency deficit spending to the Department of Revenue, George seconded. All in favor.
Bill motioned to appoint the Town Administrator as Environmental Certifying Officer for the CDBG Grant, Mark seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the request from Heather Anello for a one-day liquor license on October 8, 2011 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival. Ms. Anello is catering a wedding there and needs to have this license. Bill motioned to approve the request from Heather Anello for a one-day liquor license on October 8, 2011 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Mark seconded. All in favor.
Bill motioned to schedule a public hearing on petition of Glenda Hamling and Sandra Sayward d/b/a Sherwood Shoppe for the transfer of an all alcoholic package store license from James and Brent Fennell d/b/a Lakeview General Store located at 437 Wells Road on October 19, 2011 at 7:30 p.m., George seconded. All in favor.
The Selectmen reviewed the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report. Mark motioned to send all four requests listed on the report to the collection agency, Bill seconded. All in favor.
Any other business: Nina advised that Ron Ellsworth, the electrician doing the work at town hall on the transfer switch for the generator, submitted a check for the electrical permit but generally the fees are waived. Bill motioned to waive the fee for the electrical permit for the transfer switch at town hall, Mark seconded. All in favor.
8:30 PM Bill motioned to adjourn, Mark seconded. All in favor.
Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.
Respectfully submitted, _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary George Fuller, Chairman