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Select Board Minutes 9/5/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, William Elovirta

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Colleen O’Connor, Bill Cavanaugh, Kris McDonough, Beth VanNess, Rob Gorden, Bob Ronzio, Markelle Smith-Nature Conservancy, Cindy Delpapa, Meredyth Babcock, Emily Kramer-Berkshire Record, Eva Bonney, June Babcock, Brian Domina-BRPC, Dan Parnell, Eva Birkett, Tom Geser-USFWS, Andrew French-Silvio O. Conte Refuge, John Amato, Jeremy Dunn, Ken Smith

7:00 Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  Colleen O’Connor is recording.

Select Board’s comments and announcements. Bill advised that he had gone to Florida to inspect the new fire truck and found a few things that needed to be corrected so it was good that he went.  These things will be corrected.  We should be receiving this truck in about a month.

Jeanne reminded people to fill out their WiredWest forms and submit them to show support.

Mark reminded people to get out and vote at the State Primaries on Thursday.

Town Administrator’s report: Craig advised that Rob Gorden has taken some historical items to the Becket Arts Center to display and he did not think there was a problem moving these items from one town building to another.  The insurance would cover these items.  Rob Gorden advised that he has written up a list and he and Craig signed this so they can keep track of all of the items.

Craig advised that it was brought to his attention that the gutters at town hall were not working properly so he got an estimate from Mr. Gutter in Holyoke for $1,200.  He will take this out of Municipal Building Repairs which has about $12,000 in the account.  Bill asked if he got prices from anyone in Berkshire County.  Craig advised that he could not find anything in the phone book.  Bill will give him some names so he can estimates from them.

Craig advised that the work in North Becket will start tomorrow.  Gomes Construction will be starting on High Street and then work their way down Main Street.  He is hoping that there will be minimal disruption to the school and residents in the village area.  He also advised that the highway department insulation project has been bid out and the opening will be next week.

Craig advised that the Harbor Master does not have a vehicle that can haul the boat and has asked if he could use the town vehicle for a couple of weekends.  The Select Board is okay with this.

Craig advised that there was an Emergency Management meeting on Tuesday and one of the things that came up was the fire department siren.  People are wondering why the fire department siren does not go off anymore.  Bill advised that the fire department has new radios and pagers and does not need the sirens anymore but he does not think it would be a problem to have them working again.  He was not sure what the cost would be to have the siren operating again.  Craig also advised that he is looking to designate a Public Relations Liaison for the press and a Public Information Officer who would work out of the Operations Center during an emergency.  The Select Board could take this up during the meeting.

The final point on the Town Administrator report is that the state would like the Town to build a clear span bridge over Bonny Rigg Hill Road within the coming year.  This is because the culvert that is in place cannot handle heavy rains that take place.  Len is working on this and is hoping to get hazard mitigation funding for this.

Jeanne motioned to approve the minutes of August 15, 2012, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne motioned to put a hold on the minutes of August 7, 2012 Executive Session meeting, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Public Input:  Bill Cavanaugh addressed the issue of children going to schools in CBRSD that should not be because they do not have a legal guardian that lives in Becket.

Meredyth Babcock and Cindy Delpapa were all in favor of the US Fish and Wildlife purchasing the land in North Becket.  Ken Smith of the Becket Land Trust stated that the BLT was also in favor of the US F&W purchasing this land.

Colleen O’Connor addressed the issue of the Board of Health training someone to be on the BOH.  Colleen also said the issue at the school was being handled by the MA DEP but this is incorrect because it is a local issue.

John Amato stated that he received the Becket Woods Road District reconciliation report from the tax collector and it is the best it has ever been.

Brian Domina of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is here seeking approval of the Berkshire County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan which includes an update of Becket’s 2005 Hazard Mitigation Plan that expired in 2010.  He advised that he took information from the public meetings and from the highway superintendent and town administrator to include in this plan.  He advised that 19 municipalities participated in this plan and FEMA has approved the plan.  He stated that the next step would be for the 19 municipalities to adopt this plan so they can be eligible for disaster mitigation grants.  Jeanne asked if the plan could be amended once it is adopted.  Brian advised that the municipality can amend this plan at anytime.  He gave an overview of the plan to the Select Board.  Bill motioned to adopt the Berkshire County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Markelle Smith of the Nature Conservancy introduced Andrew French of the Silvio O. Conte Refuge and Tom Geser of the US Fish and Wildlife.  She gave a rundown of what has been happening with the property from the beginning until now.  Andrew French spoke about the interest in this property and also advised that they will try to purchase property that will provide access to this property.  Bill was concerned about having this property open to the public and having to have our police department respond to incidents on this property.  Mr. French explained that whatever is proposed on this property will be open to what the town would like and the Fish and Wildlife will be working with the Becket Police Department to keep people safe while on this property.  Bill asked if the US Fish and Wildlife ends up purchasing this property would they do what the state does with property they own.  The State is involved with the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program so they make payments to the town instead of paying taxes.  Mr. French advised that the US Fish and Wildlife will definitely contribute funds to the town.  Briefly discussed public access to this property.  Mr. French advised that they do not take property by eminent domain unless the owner is okay with it.  He also advised that when the US Fish and Wildlife opens property up to the public they notify the abutters to the property.  Craig advised that the appraisal is good until May 29, 2013 so it will be after the annual town meeting.  The US Fish and Wildlife will keep the town updated as far as the purchase of the property that could provide access to this property.  Mr. French gave the Select Board his cell phone number so they could call with any questions they may have.  The Select Board thanked Mr. French, Mr. Geser and Markelle Smith for coming.

Mark advised that they would be taking up item 12 on the agenda now.  Ginger Conner, Chair of the Board of Health addressed the Board regarding the status of the Board of Health membership.  She advised the Board that she will not be running for the Board of Health in May and that a new person running should be qualified to work on the BOH.  She would be willing to assist in training the new person if they needed her to.  Jeanne asked her if there may be another member who will not be available.  Ginger advised that Mr. Robinson would be away from November to March so they will be down one member.  She also advised that the other BOH member has some health issues so the work cannot be done with one member.  Jeanne advised that they could not appoint someone to fill in unless a member resigns and you cannot stop someone from running for the BOH if they are not qualified for this position.  The only thing the BOH could do is make the requirements known to any interested people so they will know what the job requirements are.  If someone resigns, they could appoint someone until the next election.  Bill Cavanaugh asked if someone was interested in running for this position could they ask questions about the requirements and go on site with the BOH so they could learn about this position.  Ginger advised that she would encourage anyone to come on site to learn the ropes and come in to get information about the requirements.  She asked the Select Board if they would be okay with having Heather Hunt work as the BOH secretary to do minutes.  They were okay with this as long as there is money in their account to pay her.  

Rob Gorden advised the Board that the Historical Commission has decided that they could move their office to the former COA meeting room and allow the police department to occupy their old office space.  Rob advised that we should have received a letter from the Historical Commission’s secretary about this.  Nina advised that she never received a letter from the secretary.  Bill motioned to have the Historical Commission move to the vacant senior room and allow the police department to take over the Historical Commission office, Jeanne seconded.  Jeanne motioned to amend the motion to include that once a month the Council on Aging will use the historical commission office to conduct blood pressure screenings, Bill seconded the amendment.  All in favor of the amendment.  Bill motioned to accept the amended motion to have the historical commission move to the vacant senior room and allow the police department to take over the historical commission office and to allow the Council on Aging to use the new historical commission office once a month to conduct blood pressure screenings, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Police Chief, Kris McDonough, advised that Tyler Miller has been cleared to join the police department.  Tyler has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and currently works in Hinsdale on their police force and he is also a voluntary fire department member and is well rounded.  He will help fill in so there is 24 hour coverage until another full time officer is hired.  He will also fill in for when officers take vacations.  Bill advised that he would be recusing himself since he was involved with trying to have Tyler appointed the first time around.  Jeanne motioned to approve the Town Administrator’s appointment of Tyler Miller as a part time police officer, Mark seconded.  Bill abstained.  Motion passed.

Jeremy Dunn, member of the Finance Committee, addressed the Board regarding the salary survey that was completed about ten years ago.  The Finance Committee would like to have information before the next budget season so they could have some idea of what should be recommended for employee raises.  The MMPA usually publishes a salary survey of all Massachusetts Cities and Towns but there have been issues and the website is not available to review.  The Finance Committee would like to know if the Select Board would provide some guidance as to what they should do to get information to work with.  One suggestion would be to have another salary survey done but there was nothing appropriated at the annual town meeting for this.  Another suggestion would be to review the MMPA information once that is available or just stick with the old salary survey for now or freeze salaries for next year.  Jeremy advised that there are people who feel the towns used as a comparison were cherry picked for the last survey and that the town should be compared with comparable towns such as Otis.  Jeanne suggested that the Town Clerk or the Town Administrator request salary information from other surrounding towns.  Jeanne advised that the town will be doing performance evaluations that will assist in salary adjustments.  Bill does not think there would be enough time to complete a whole new salary survey in time for the next budget cycle.  Bill motioned to stay with the current salary survey for this year and direct the Finance Committee to get cost estimates for a new survey and present an article at the Annual Town Meeting, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board discussed awarding the bid for the 2013 Plow Truck.  Bill advised that our town bylaws state that anything over $10,000 needs to advertised in the local newspaper but this truck was only advertised in the Goods and Services Bulletin.  He feels that we should re-bid this so local contractors could bid on this truck.  Craig advised that Len would either go with the state bid for the truck and if this is too high he would re-bid it.  Bill motioned to either re-advertise or go with state bid for the 2013 Plow Truck, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Craig advised that the school septic line has been repaired and they scoped it with a camera and did a dye test and it appears to be working fine.  There was an issue with a pipe that they found but it was determined that this pipe was not hooked up to anything so it was not an issue.  Colleen requested copies of the tests that were done to the septic line.  She was advised that she would need to go to CBRSD to get these copies.  Jeanne advised that she just wanted people to know that the septic system at the school is working again.  Colleen would also like a copy of the Title V report for the school.  Jeanne asked her to write a note of everything she wants copies of and they will try to get these for her.  Eva Birkett feels that the Select Board should be helping Colleen more with her water issues.  Beth VanNess asked why they referred Colleen to the school to get copies of the reports when the town should have copies because they own the property.  The Select Board feels the town should have copies of everything regarding the school property.  Colleen advised that she has not had potable water for ten years.  She has set backs from the river and the school’s leach field and does not have an area to install a new well.  She said you could have a school or a home but you cannot have both.  She advised that the Town of Cummington has a well for five homes because these homes did not have Title V for their properties.  She feels the town should consider this for homes in North Becket.  She described what was done when she purchased this house and how the people from the church that sold her the house were on the Board of Health.  She claims the Title V reports on her property were false.  

The Select Board took no action on issuing a proclamation declaring the month of September officially Hunger Action Month.

Any other business: Nina advised that the highway superintendent has requested Chapter 90 funding to repair a section of High Street before they put in the new crosswalk there.  This was not part of the CDBG for the sidewalk repairs.  Bill motioned to approve the Chapter 90 project request for the repair of a section of High Street, Jeanne seconded. All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed monthly reports from the Ambulance Department, Police Department, Citations Issued and the Animal Control Officer.

Reviewed correspondence.

Colleen O’Connor advised that she has a neighbor who claims to have a valid Title V but his well is only 20’ from a leaching field.  She advised that this is not having Title V.  The law states that a well needs to be at least 50’ from a septic system.  Colleen is claiming that someone from the Board of Health is telling people that they have Title V when they do not.  Bob Ronzio stated that for years the town has claimed that the access for the town park by the school was in a certain area but after a survey was done they found that the fence was in the wrong place.  He is wondering how many other things the town claims is incorrect.  He said for years the Select Board has spoken about a communal water system but has done nothing about it but the Town of Cummington has done something in its town.  He said the previous chair of the Select Board stated that this would never happen in his lifetime.  Bill Cavanaugh said that he never said that.  At this point there was a lot of arguing and people were asked to calm down or to leave the meeting.  Bill separated Bill Cavanaugh and Bob Ronzio.  Mr. Ronzio left the meeting.  The police department was called to have them stop by town hall to make sure both parties did not get into a physical confrontation in the parking lot.

9:40 PM Mark 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:

  • Finance Committee letter regarding salary survey