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Select Board Minutes 9/19/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, William Elovirta

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Jeffrey Reel, Karen Karlberg, Bob Will

7:00 Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  No one is recording.

Select Board’s comments and announcements. None.

Town Administrator’s report: Craig advised that he and Ginger Conner spoke with Heather Hunt and she will be doing the minutes for the Board of Health and will be paid $12 per hour to do them.

Bill motioned to approve the minutes of September 5, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  

Public Input:  Colleen O’Connor advised that she had gotten quite ill and had to call the ambulance to her house.  Nicole Miller got to her house very quickly and the ambulance followed soon after.  There were two girls working on the ambulance department that day and she felt they did a great job but they needed backup assistance but no one showed up and that concerned her.  Bill advised that he heard the calls but he was in Northampton and knew by the time he tried to get back to town she would have already been on route to the hospital.  He advised that it does not matter who a person is; the fire department would always respond if there were firemen available.

Colleen also advised that she read the information that they had given her regarding the septic system at Becket Washington School.  She does not think this system is up to code.  She feels she may never have potable water at her house as long as nothing is done about the school’s septic system.

Jeffrey Reel addressed the board regarding beaver dam located on State Property.  He advised that he is here because Tim Sullivan, the Emergency Management Director, told him to see if the Select Board could help with this ongoing issue that occurs at this beaver dam whenever there is a heavy rain event.  This dam breaches every time there is one and it ends up destroying the private roads in the Shawnee Shore Development.  The neighbors who live in this development are very concerned because emergency vehicles cannot get up these roads and residents cannot get out either when the dam breaches and takes out the roads.  He has been in touch with the State to see if they could do something about this issue.  He feels a water leveling device would work to alleviate the problem.  He advised that the State went as far as applying for a permit from the Board of Health but then it stopped as if nothing ever transpired between them and the residents at Shawnee Shores.  Mr. Reel advised that he got in touch with Ben Downing’s office and someone working in that office suggested that he speak with Tim Sullivan.  Tim had suggested that he go to the Select Board to see if there was some way they could help with this situation.  The Select Board wants to write a letter to Rep. Paul Mark and Senator Ben Downing and to cc this letter to Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and Jeffrey Reel to see if they could do something to get the State to rectify this issue.  Mark asked Craig to write up this letter.

Bill motioned to accept with regret the resignation of John Daniels as wiring inspector, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  The Select Board signed a letter of thanks to John for his many years of service to the town.  The Select Board would like a copy of this letter sent to the building inspector.

Craig advised that the town received nine bids for the Green Communities-Highway Garage Roofing project.  He also advised that Bradley Architects reviewed the bids and found that the low bidder Architectural Roof Management from South Hadley had met the specs and they are recommending that the Board award the bid to ARM.  Craig explained that the bids came in higher than what was originally set for this project and the town has about $12,000 left over from last year for projects like this.  He is concerned that the project may cost more because a lot of times they find more extensive repairs than they expected so Pat Mullins from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has asked DOER if they could use more of the grant money for this project but she has not heard back from them yet.  Craig feels the Select Board should hold off on awarding the bid until we hear from DOER.  The Select Board will put this on hold until they know where the money to do this project will come from.

Craig suggests that the Select Board hold off on considering the Green Communities Utilities Rebate-Lighting project until he hears from WMECO about installing energy efficient outdoor lighting at the highway garage.  The Select Board will table this until Craig gets all of the information from WMECO.

Briefly discussed the status of performance evaluations for town employees.  Craig advised that the training took place at the town hall that was sponsored by MIIA and department heads and other Berkshire Managers attended this training session.  Jeanne asked what he thought about the evaluation forms that they used at the training.  He thought the Duxbury form seemed good but he thought it could be expanded a little.  Jeanne thought the self evaluation form was good.  She also would like to look at the job descriptions before the evaluations take place.  Nina will email the job descriptions to the Select Board members.  Bill thought the streamlined form would be good for part time employees.  Briefly discussed setting goals for the employees.  The Select Board will table the performance evaluations until after they review the job descriptions for town employees.

Briefly discussed electric rates.  The Select Board needs to decide whether to go with the Hampshire Council of Governments energy plan or stay with Constellation Energy for electricity.  If they choose to stay with Constellation Energy they would need to decide on a one year, two year or three year contract.  Bill motioned to go with a one year rate with Constellation Energy at .0685 cents, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Any other business: Bill asked if the town locked into the County bid on fuel.  Craig advised that we have.

Jeanne asked Craig if he had looked at the property agreement that the Fish and Wildlife Service gave them for the property that they wish to purchase in North Becket.  Section 12 reads “Acceptance of this agreement is contingent upon the results of a contaminants study.  In the event that contaminants are found present on the site or on adjacent parcels, it will be at the discretion of the Service to either accept the property in the condition it is in, or to request that the vendor assume a responsible role in the removal or restoration of the property prior to a binding contract.  If it is determined that the property is contaminated after a study has been performed, but prior to final payment, the vendor will remain responsible to effect reasonable and satisfactory removal of the contaminant.”  Briefly discussed the adjacent property where it has been known to have contaminants on it.  The Select Board wanted Craig to be aware of this because it could be very costly to have this property cleaned up.  Craig advised that he would have town counsel review the agreement before it was signed to make sure the town would not be responsible for this clean up.

Craig advised that BRPC sent a letter regarding the Metropolitan Planning Organization that will be meeting to designate a select board member from one town to act as the MPO representative and one select board member from a different town to act as the MPO alternate.  They need a representative from each town to vote in the MPO rep. and alternate.  It was decided that Mark Karlberg would attend this meeting.

Nina advised that at the last meeting Bill Elovirta agreed to be the Public Relations Liaison/Public Information Officer in the event of emergencies but they never officially appointed him.  Jeanne motioned to appoint Bill Elovirta as the Public Relations Liaison/Public Information Officer, Mark seconded. Bill abstained.  Motion passed.

Jeanne asked Craig if he knows the status of the Fortune lawsuit.  Craig advised that he spoke with Joel Bard but Joel will need to speak with Bob Ronzio and he has not heard anything about this conversation.

Jeanne had a question about the letter from the Historical Commission that said they were agreeable to move into the old COA room so long as the appropriate safety and climate controls are in place.  She wanted to know what that meant.  The current historical commission office does not have safety or climate controls in it.  Mark advised that they do not have climate control in the town hall so the historical commission should not be expecting to get it in the new room.  

Jeanne advised that she has drafted a Financial Reserves policy that incorporated the finance committee’s policies in it and would like to review it with the finance committee and select board.  She will email it to everyone and they can discuss it at a future meeting.

Mark advised that he was a little chagrinned about the article in the Country Journal about Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival being fined by the State for failing to do the proper work on its public water supply system.  He stated that he was embarrassed that the State was doing what our local boards should be doing.  He feels the Board of Health should have been aware of this but they were not.  Colleen O’Connor advised that anything to do with a public water supply is controlled by MA DEP not the local Board of Health.  Jeanne feels that something should be done with the Board of Health because they do not post meetings correctly or put proper information in the minutes.  Craig said that hopefully this will change now that they have a secretary doing its minutes.

Craig asked the board if they still wanted the BRTA to come to a meeting and the board agreed that they would like this and also to notify the seniors about it so they could come to this meeting.

Craig advised that the work in North Becket is currently being done.  Briefly discussed the sidewalk project.

Briefly discussed the dry hydrants in town.  Bill advised that the fire chief feels the town should install them but the private subdivisions should maintain them but he feels that the town should just maintain them because we use them all over town.  Most of the private subdivisions have second home owners that pay taxes but all they get is public safety.  The board feels that we should work on getting dry hydrants placed all over town so we have water when we need it.

Reviewed correspondence.

The Select Board reviewed the letter from the United Nations Association of Greater Boston asking that the Town of Becket recognize October 24, 2012 as United Nations Day.  Bill motioned to proclaim October 24, 2012 as United Nations Day, Jeanne seconded.  Mark abstained.  Motion passed.

8:45 PM Jeanne motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

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

Documents discussed at meeting:

  • None