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Select Board Minutes 2/9/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, George Fuller

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Bill Elovirta, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Nicole Miller, Katherine Hoak, Karen Karlberg, Eva Birkette, John Amato, Cindy Delpapa, Bob Ronzio, Markelle Smith, Rob Warren, Josh Lombard, Rita Furlong, Ann Spadafora, Dan Andrews, Edd Mange

7:00 PM Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone from the audience was recording this meeting.  Beth VanNess and Bob Ronzio are
audio taping the meeting.

Select Board’s Comments and Announcements: George offered Rita Furlong condolences for her loss.

Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that the bid opening for the North Becket Village Infrastructure Improvements took place and there were 11 bids submitted.  He explained that he and Patricia Mullins from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will go over them and get something to the Select Board by their next meeting.  George asked who the low bidder was.  Craig advised that it was White Engineering in Pittsfield but they will need to check their bid to see if they comply before the bid could be awarded.

Craig advised that the Historical Commission may be looking into moving to the Mullen House so that their office could be used by the police department.

Craig advised that the Board of Assessors has been working on rectifying the issues that they had with the Becket Woods tax bills.  Unfortunately, the tax bills were sent out before the Board of Assessors found there to be a glitch in the system.

Craig advised that he spoke with the Finance Committee about purchasing a new computer server for the town hall.  The Finance Committee agreed to allow Craig to purchase this server and he will go ahead and start the procurement process for this.

George had a few things that he wanted added to the minutes of January 17, 2012.  Mark and Jeanne suggested he write up what he wants added to the minutes and bring it to the next Select Board meeting and they can vote to add it to the minutes.  Jeanne motioned to accept the minutes of the January 17, 2012 Select Board meeting and Mr. Fuller’s comments can be attached to the minutes and can be voted on at the next meeting, George seconded.  All in favor.

Public Input: Rita Furlong advised that if the Historical Commission was to move to the Mullen House it would need to pay approximately $210 per month for the oil to heat the building.  The commission does not have enough in their budget to cover this cost.  Briefly discussed the other office that the Historical Commission was originally put in.

Colleen O’Connor asked if anyone had a chance to see the beautiful job the Becket Athenaeum did in creating a new space for historical items.  She thought that maybe there was some room there that the Historical Commission could use to store its materials.  Ann Spadafora asked if the Mullen House was ready for more offices to rent out.  Rita advised that it was and they are advertising for renters.  Briefly discussed what the state requires the Historical Commission to do with its records.

George thought that Ann Spadafora and Jeremy Dunn did a good job at the school committee meeting the other night.  The school committee is asking for a 2% increase in the overall budget which amounts to approximately a 1.4% decrease for Becket.

Markelle Smith and Rob Warren from the Nature Conservancy addressed the Board regarding appraisal of property in North Becket.  Markelle advised that since the Select Board voted at a meeting in December to have this appraisal done, there are a number of forms that need to be signed and she was wondering if the Select Board could designate someone to work with her and to sign off on the paperwork.  Jeanne motioned to have Craig Kleman handle the Nature Conservancy’s forms for the appraisal of the property in North Becket, George seconded.  All in favor.

Rita Furlong addressed the Board regarding the Town Beach property.  She explained that the beach had a serious erosion problem this past year and when they started working toward resolving this issue it was discovered that Camp Greylock owns the entire parking area.  The Parks Commission is working with the owners of Camp Greylock to see if they would be willing to try to resolve this issue.  The owners have no problem with keeping things the way they are for this year as long as the town pays the liability insurance for the parking area.  She advised that the camp would probably sell the town the property but does not have any idea what they would be asking for this property.  The Parks Commission will continue to negotiate with the camp when they come back to Becket. Jeanne asked if the work at the beach could still continue if the camp owns the parking area.  Rita advised that the work being done is on town property; the camp was concerned that their property would be impacted but it will not be.  Briefly discussed adding Camp Greylock to the town’s policy as additional insured.  Edd Mange asked if anyone approached the camp about possibly donating this property to the town.  Rita advised that Camp Greylock is one of the few camps that are heavily taxed so she does not feel they will donate the property.  George asked if the town could just pay for the insurance for the next 50 years instead of purchasing the property.  Rita thought that could be a possibility.  Bob Ronzio asked if CPA funds could be used to purchase this property and Rita advised that it could be.  Craig will have this property added to our insurance policy.

George motioned to sign the warrant for the Presidential Primary to take place on March 6, 2012 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the email from town counsel regarding Sherwood Forest beach property.  The Select Board voted to sell the parcel located on Map 216 lot 491 to the Sherwood Forest Neighbors Association but the town attorney sent an email stating that this parcel is under the control of the Treasurer, as the custodian of tax title properties.  This property may be disposed of by auction, by the Treasurer, or transferred, at town meeting, to the Select Board, who may be authorized to convey the property.  This property is needed so that dam repairs can take place.  Another parcel located on Map 216, lot 490 is needed by the SFNA to use as staging for the construction work on the dam.  This property is held by the town as a tax title with rights of redemption.  The town is not in a position to sell this property.  If the SFNA wishes, they may purchase the property from the owner and pay off the taxes.  Bob Ronzio stated that it is imperative that the lake district gains access to both parcels of land so that it can make the necessary dam repairs.  Bob Ronzio wants to read over the letter from the attorney to see if there is some way the lake district could use the property located on Map 216 lot 490 if there has not been a judgment of foreclosure issued by the land court.  George wants Craig to see if he could find out where this property stands for getting a judgment of foreclosure.  Briefly discussed the condition of this property and if the town has the right to go on this property and make it so that it no longer is a danger to anyone that may go on to it.

Craig advised that he spoke with Comstar, our ambulance department billing company, about the Ambulance Department 2012 Rate Change form and was told that this is sent out to all towns they serve.  The Select Board can adjust the rates that are charged when someone is transported by the ambulance.  He feels the rates are reasonably set.  If the Select Board does not wish to change the rates they can sign the form and mark it “No Change”.  George motioned to accept the Becket Ambulance Department 2012 Rate Change form and keep the rates the same, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board discussed the Police Chief Job Description.  Craig advised that he gave the Select Board three things which are: the latest version of the job description with Mark’s changes, the petition signed by people who would like Marc Portieri to be considered as the new police chief and a list of the people who wish to be appointed to the police chief search committee.  George stated that he still feels that they should wait to approve the job description until the voters determine whether this will be a full or part time position.  Jeanne advised that when the Select Board spoke with the Finance Committee about this they had said that they feel it should be a management decision and that the police budget should include funding for a full time police chief.  Craig advised that the budget includes a full time police chief along with a full time officer to cover the overnight shift.  Bill Elovirta advised that the third full time police officer never made it to town meeting because the Finance Committee cut it out of the budget.  He has asked for this extra fulltime officer for a few years but it always gets cut.  The budget he submitted has three fulltime officers.  If someone from the police department is made chief then they would need to hire a fulltime patrol officer.  If they hire someone from outside the department they would not need to hire another fulltime officer.  George would like the chief to reside in Becket.  If the chief lived 15 miles outside of town, it would take too long to get here if they needed him/her.  Ann Spadafora stated that she feels that to require a police chief to have a degree in a related field is overkill for a small town like Becket.  She also stated that the ethics laws state that a person that held a position where they were in charge of a department could not act on the police chief search committee for a period of a year.  She is referring to a former Select person who would like to be appointed to this committee.  Mark advised that the Select Board is not in charge of the Police Department; the Town Administrator is the person who is in charge of the police department.  Colleen O’Connor feels it would be so simple to just have Marc Portieri move up to chief.  He has worked in the department for a number of years and has plenty of experience and he already lives in Becket.  John Amato feels that we should not be talking about individuals right now.  Briefly discussed experience versus having a degree.  John Amato feels that if we do not give the current officers an opportunity for advancement then we are cutting ourselves short.  Jeanne feels that we are not cutting anyone from applying.  She feels that in this day and age a police officer should be looking to increase his education.  She explained that police activity has been steadily increasing over the years and that is the reason why the third fulltime officer is needed.  Colleen feels that experience is more important than if a person has a bachelor’s degree.  Bob Ronzio feels that we could be cutting people off from applying if we require a bachelor’s degree.  Bill Elovirta advised that he gave an outline for the job description which included a two year degree not a bachelor’s degree.  He feels the officers should always be looking to increase their education by taking courses in different areas of law enforcement.  Craig advised that he consulted with other towns to see which ones required a bachelor’s degree and most of them did.  He said if the Board wanted they could put “preferred” in parenthesis and “or comparable experience” after bachelor’s degree.  Discussion continued regarding educational requirements.  Jeanne motioned to add the word “preferred” to the job description, no one seconded this motion.  George wanted to know why they are not listening to the voters that submitted the petition to support Marc Portieri as next police chief.  Karen Karlberg stated that she had a problem with George’s statement about the voters in town wanting something when it is not all of the voters.  She had no idea about the petition and feels it is unfair lumping everyone together when some voters may not feel the same way.  Mark feels it should read Bachelor’s Degree preferred or equivalent work experience.  Colleen O’Connor advised that it is not easy working fulltime and also going to school not to mention the cost of getting an education; not everyone can afford to go to school.  Bill Elovirta explained that the police chief job should not be handed to anyone.  It needs to be advertised and anyone could apply for the position.  Dan Andrews asked Bill Elovirta if the police chief job was handed to him.  Bill advised that the job was advertised in the paper and advertised within the police department and he had to apply for the job.  Mark motioned to table this item until next week at which point in time Craig will go in and modify the educational requirements section, George seconded.  Jeanne wanted to know why they can’t just vote on the job description with the educational requirement amendments.  Motion passed.  George motioned to put off establishing a police chief search committee until February 15, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the monthly reports of the Ambulance Department and Building Inspector.  The ambulance department report did not have the attachment so Nina will get that for the Select Board for their next meeting.

Any other business: Nina advised that there is a petition to include in the next town meeting warrant a request for participation by the town in the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project to provide Integrate Mosquito Management services and surveillance for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to begin as soon as practicable in 2012.  Jeanne asked if the signatures were certified by the town clerk.  Craig will check with George Roberts to see if this has been done.

Nina advised that a Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report came in after the agenda was done so the Select Board can vote on this now.  George motioned to send the Becket Ambulance Department Request for Write-Off Report to the collection agency, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed correspondence.

Bob Ronzio advised that WiredWest has been working in the Town of Richmond installing the needed materials for high speed internet so they are getting around the Berkshires.

9:05 PM George motioned to adjourn, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          Mark L. Karlberg, Chairman

Documents discussed at meeting:

  • Draft of the Police Chief Job Description
  • Email from town counsel regarding Sherwood Forest beach property
  • Becket Ambulance Department 2012 Rate Change Form
  • Monthly reports of the Ambulance Department and Building Inspector