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

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, George Fuller, Bert Goodermote, Purr McEwen, Rita Furlong, Jack Rodhouse, Ed Mange, Mark White, Tom Matuszko-BRPC, Sandra Martin, Brenda Hitchcock, Edward Fahey, Paul Campbell, Gary Shepard-BRTA, Mark McLanan-BTM, Nancy Moffett-BRTA, Karen Rose-County Ambulance, John Sakata, Laurel Burgwardt

6:30 PM Meeting opened.  Jeanne motioned to go into executive session under G.L. c. 30A, sec. (a) (3) with respect to litigation as discussing the matter in open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the position of the public body; votes may be taken, Bill seconded.  Roll call vote: Bill-aye, Jeanne-aye, Mark-aye.

6:55 PM Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  Colleen O’Connor is videotaping the meeting for the Becket Athenaeum.  She read a statement from Zina Jayne, Library Director, that said that residents could borrow cameras from the Becket Athenaeum to tape Select Board meetings.  These videotaped meetings will appear on the Becket Athenaeum’s website for residents to view.

Select Board’s Comments and Announcements: Bill had received a letter from the police chief regarding one of his police officers.  A resident wrote a letter thanking Officer Miller for her actions during a call.  He and Jeanne thanked her for her efforts during this call.  

Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that Lauren Gaherty, of BRPC, was able to submit the annual report for the Green Communities Grant.  He advised that the staff at DOER had a few minor questions that Lauren was tracking down.

The Select Board reviewed minutes of previous meetings.  Bill motioned to approve the minutes of November 16, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne motioned to approve the minutes of November 26, 2012, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Public Input: Ed Mange asked the Board if they could “grandfather” his building permit fee.  He advised that the original contractor, who he is now in court with, should have applied for the building permit before the new fees took effect but did not.  The fee went from $500 to $1,000.  He knows this is not the Select Board’s fault but is asking them to waive the additional $500 fee for his building permit.  Bill Girard advised Mr. Mange that it would be up to the Select Board to waive the fee.  Bill feels that if Mr. Mange has proof that the contractor originally applied for the permit before the new fees took effect then it was not his fault.  Jeanne motioned to waive the building permit fee back to $500, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  

Rita Furlong advised the Board that the Recreation Committee is down to only one person and the Parks Commission has three members so they have been contemplating combining the two committees into one.  She also advised that they would be meeting soon to discuss this but wanted to give the Select Board a heads up.  Jeanne wants to make sure the town bylaws support this.  She will look into it to make sure they could do this.

Jack Rodhouse, Purr McEwen and Rita Furlong of the Becket Scholarship Committee addressed the Board regarding past practices of the committee.  Jeanne advised that back at a Town Meeting in 1987, the town voted to allow a stuffer to be included with the tax bills for donations to a scholarship committee.  This committee was to be established and would include the school superintendent or his designee and no more than five other members appointed by the Board of Selectmen for three year terms.  She advised that the treasurer should be writing the checks to the individuals that received scholarship funds not the committee.  Jack Rodhouse gave a history of this committee.  He advised that the Becket Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit public charity and was formed over forty years ago.  In 1979, the foundation was issued a federal tax number from the IRS.  In 1998, the foundation became a 501-C3 corporation which exempts the non-profit organization from federal taxes.  Jeanne asked the Scholarship Foundation if they could provide documentation showing when they were established and how they have been handling the distribution of scholarships.  The Select Board wants to make sure what we have been doing is legal.

Paul Campbell who represents the Becket Arts Center addressed the Board regarding the State Cultural Districts Initiative.  He explained this initiative and advised that he is proposing to create a cultural district in North Becket which would include the Becket Athenaeum, the Becket Arts Center and the Mullen House Educational Center with the Becket Washington School as an off-site partnership that must provide programming on a regular basis within the district’s boundaries.  He advised that there is no cost to the town to create this district but he is asking the Select Board what their next step should be.  Jeanne asked if the town needed to accept any General Laws to do this and he advised that the town did not have to accept any G.L.  If the district is created then it would be eligible for grants from certain organizations.  Jeanne feels it is a good idea but wants to make sure that they do everything properly as far as public hearings go so they will need to look into this a little more.

Tom Matuszko, of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, addressed the Board regarding Contract Amendments for the CDBG and Green Communities Grants.  Craig explained the work that still needs to be completed on both the Green Communities and CDBG.  Bill motioned that the CDBG for North Becket Village Infrastructure be extended to May 15, 2013, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned that the Agreement By and Between the Town of Becket and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation listed as the consultant be extended to June 30, 2013, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned that the Contract Amendment #2 for the Becket CDBG FY11 for the North Becket Infrastructure Project Engineering Services with White Engineering be extended to May 15, 2013, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned to amend the motion that the Amendment #2 for the Becket CDBG FY11 for the North Becket Infrastructure Project Engineering Services with White Engineering to increase the contract amount by $4,525 to compensate the consultant for additional meetings and resultant engineering tasks not outlined in the original contract documents, and deriving from the extension of the project through May 15, 2013, thereby increasing the value of the total contract to $48,625, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne motioned that the 1st Amendment to the Agreement between the Town of Becket and BRPC where the Town entered into an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct the Community Development Block Grant for the FY 2011 to do the following: paragraph 6 and 6.1 shall be deleted in their entirety and replaced with the following: The Services of the Commission are to commence on or about July 1, 2011 and shall be undertaken and completed in sequence as to assure their expeditious completion.  All services required hereunder shall be completed no later than June 30, 2013., Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne motioned to move item #9 to after item #12 on the agenda, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Sandra Martin, director of Berkshire Health Alliance addressed the Board regarding services they provide to the Board of Health.  She gave the Select Board a Manual of Laws and Regulations Relating to Boards of Health and a Proposed 2013 Fee for Services Schedule Summary.  She explained that the Berkshire Health Alliance can perform any functions that the local Boards of Health perform such as food inspections, camp inspections, infectious diseases, etc.  Bill asked if the Berkshire Health Alliance could perform all of the duties that the Board of Health does.  Ms. Martin advised that they could perform all the work but the Board of Health has concurrent powers with the Department of Public Health.  Jeanne asked if they provide training for Boards of Health.  Ms. Martin advised that they do perform training for all functions of the BOH.  She also advised that if the town does not have an acting Board of Health then the Select Board acts as the Board of Health until there is one in place.  She suggests that the Board of Health appoint an agent to perform some of the tasks if the BOH is unable to do so.  Bill asked who is responsible for insurance for the agents.  She advised that if Berkshire Health Alliance provides the agents then the agents would be covered by BRPC but if the town has its own agent then they would be covered under the town’s insurance.  The Select Board thanked the Berkshire Health Alliance for coming to the meeting.

Gary Shepard of Berkshire Regional Transit Authority addressed the Board regarding services they provide for the elderly.  He advised that anyone in town who is ADA eligible could go to Pittsfield for $7.50 each way but if a resident is not ADA eligible but is 60 or older it would cost them $12.50 each way to go to Pittsfield using Paratransit Tickets.  Bill advised that he has attended a couple of meetings with the BRTA and it was very enlightening to see what they do for towns.  Beth VanNess advised that she is involved with the Council on Aging and she said that the seniors do not know there is any transportation available for senior citizens.  Mr. Shepard will get the Council on Aging information and will come to speak with them about transportation options.  The Select Board thanked him for coming.

The Select Board reviewed the liquor license renewal applications.  Jeanne motioned to approve the liquor license renewal for Berkshire Berries for an annual all alcoholic restaurant license and for an annual wine and malt package store license, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  The Select Board want to hold off on approving the liquor license renewals for Dream Away Lodge and Uncle Larry’s Tavern because they do not have the Certificate of Inspection reports from the building inspector and the fire chief.  Jeanne motioned to approve the liquor license renewals for Mountain Grove Association for an all alcoholic club license; Becket Country Store for an annual wine and malt package store license; Sherwood Shoppe for an annual all alcoholic package store license; Becket General Store for an annual all alcoholic package store license, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Craig stated that he would like to bring forward the name of George Fuller to be interim highway superintendent.  George has functioned under Len Tisdale’s watch as the “working foreman” in that he does the “call ins” for highway workers to come in and plow, etc.  According to his resume, he has overseen a four person crew and has extensive experience in roads and road construction and is knowledgeable in the use and repair of trucks and equipment.  Jeanne asked George why his resume does not show his work on the town’s highway department.  He advised that this is the resume that he used when he was hired on the town’s highway department.  George stated that he would not be applying for the highway superintendent position permanently, he would only take the interim position.  George wanted to know when they would be advertising for this position.  Bill advised that he wants to get this advertised as soon as possible and have someone hired by February 1, 2013 but he does not think this can be done.  George gave the Select Board a brief description of what he has done while working on the highway department.  George advised that Dave Shorey and Len Tisdale would be helping him with the computer and completing the administrative end of this job.  He also advised that the highway workers all get along and work well together so there should be no issues.  Jeanne asked what his rate of pay would be.  Craig advised that they did not talk about this yet because he was not sure if the Select Board would approve his appointment.  Jeanne motioned to approve the town administrator’s appointment of George Fuller as Interim Highway Superintendent and to have him work with the Town Administrator and to come to the Select Board with any problems he has, Mark seconded.  Jeanne and Mark voted yes, Bill voted no.  Motion passed.

The Select Board reviewed the letter of interest from Roger Peltier, Jr. to be appointed the Plumbing/Gas Inspector.  The position has been filled already.  The Select Board would like a letter acknowledging that they received his letter sent to him.

The Select Board reviewed the monthly reports of the Animal Control Officer, Police Department, Citations Issued and Ambulance Department.  Jeanne motioned to send a letter acknowledging the police chief’s letter of appreciation to Nicole Miller and that the Select Board appreciates her good work, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Any other business: Craig advised that Bob Ronzio would like the town to pay for a stuffer to go in with the tax bills from WiredWest.  This stuffer will cost $230.  Jeanne motioned to go ahead with having the WiredWest Stuffers go in with the tax bills, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Nina advised that she received a Dimensional Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals after the agenda was posted.  The board reviewed this application and were fine with it.

Briefly discussed the Board of Health vacancies.

John Sakata, from the Berkshire Eagle, introduced himself to the Board and asked some questions.  He will call Craig tomorrow.

Briefly discussed the payroll issues.  The treasurer has spoken to a couple of different payroll vendors and would like to switch in January.  She has asked other towns who used one company and they had nothing bad to say about it.  They will match what the town is paying the current company.  Craig wants her to check to see if the current payroll company has a clause that would prevent the town from changing companies immediately.  Jeanne motioned to go with the treasurer’s recommendation for the People’s Bank for weekly payroll for now, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Jeanne advised that she received a call from Tim Sullivan because he was confused about what the Select Board wanted him to do regarding using a town vehicle during emergencies.  The Select Board advised that he could use the municipal vehicle during emergencies and if he needs money to purchase a vehicle he would need to speak with the finance committee and put an article on the town meeting warrant.

Jeanne asked if there was any response to the letter the Select Board sent regarding the beaver dam issues by the Shaw Pond area.  Craig advised that he received an email from Jeffrey Reel with a copy of the letter he sent to Senator Downing.  Mark advised that he would speak with Jeffrey Reel to see what was happening.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:17 PM Jeanne motioned to go into executive session under G.L. c. 30A, sec. (a) (2) to discuss strategy with respect to preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel, votes may be taken, Bill seconded.  Roll call vote: Bill-aye, Jeanne-aye, Mark-aye.  The Select Board will not return to open session.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

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

Documents discussed at meeting:

  • None