Selectmen's Weekly Minutes

Listing of the Board of Selectmen's Weekly Meeting Minutes.  Click HERE to view list of posted Agendas

March 12, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Carol A. Francesconi, Robert S. Ciskowski
Absent:      
Press: iBerkshires

Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.
 
6:30PM
Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s March 5, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  Submitted weekly report for 3/6/19-3/12/19.
- Salt shed at 100% capacity.
- Issues with thawing and refreezing of roads.
- Truck #3.  At Delurey for replacement of oil pan.  The pan is rusted through and will be replaced with a stainless steel pan as the stock one was only three (3) years old.  The life     expectancy of Truck #3 is another seven (7) or more years.    
- Pothole repairs will continue and opening up drainage over the next few days as the wither forecast is calling for warm rain.
- Winter sand available to residents at town garage.
- Blair updated the BOS on the hiring procedures for a Cheshire Highway Department Laborer. All members of the interviewing process, Blair Crane, Ed St. John IV, and Rober Ciskowski, recommended hiring Mark Walden for the position. Robert noted that, “All candidates bought various experiences.”  Carol motioned to accept the    recommendation to hire Mark Walden; seconded by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken. Blair will contact Mark Walden and will complete necessary paperwork.

Mr. Berry, Green Communities Advisor and Carolyn Massa, Representative from BRPC, addressed the BOS regarding the need for a Green Communities Designated Checklist. He reported that the Cheshire Planning Board is working diligently on designating a “Light Industrial” Zone; an Energy Audit is being developed with Town Accountant, Lynn Lemanski, and Ed St. John IV, Town Administrator. Additionally, the Stretch Code will have to be adopted at the June 10, 2019 Annual Town Meeting.  Typically before a Annual Meeting, the Town Administrator will hold a informational meeting to review any questions or concerns.  Also noted was the fact that BRPC is guiding the process from start to completion.  Ed noted that the three (3) Criteria are being worked on:  Zoning; Stretch Code; and a Fuel Efficiency Policy.

Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for March 12, 2019.
- Reported acceptance of a grant to offset some of the costs associated with changing over our streetlights to LED’s was accepted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for provide funding for Cheshire’s LED streetlight project under the second round of our Rapid Retrofit grant program with the  DOER.  The gross project cost to be $140K which includes an estimated purchase cost from National Grid, which will need to be made available up front as both the MAPC/DOER incentive and the utility incentive3 are provided as rebates after project completion.  The next cost these two (2) rebates is anticipated to be $93K.   Ed reported that there would be a two (2) year payback and that the payback is enticing.  This includes all installations.  For replacements the town can hire out. Robert recommended a road trip to view the LED lights used in North Adams as all agreed there is a difference in the lights and the lighting is not what residents are familiar with.
- Installed VADAR computer system.  Significant improvement for working on the budget.
- In answer to Selectmen Ciskowski’s question last week regarding the prevailing wage for snow  removal. Ed answered: “No, they do not.”  “Generally, prevailing wage laws apply to construction of public works by a public entity.  There are some exceptions to these criterions, but none of the exceptions apply to snow removal.  However, per an email Ed received from the Division of Labor Standards, water system would be conducive to construction as defined as an “addition/alteration” and as such, would be subject to the prevailing wage laws.”
- Updated and submitted The Cheshire Employee Handbook.
- First draft of the FY2020 budget submitted to the BOS.

Resident Justin Kruszyna:
- Presented the BOS documentation from his research on odors emitted from outdoor marijuana processing.  Mr. Kruszyna stated: “We are here to maintain a quality of life in Town.”  He proceeded to offer documentation from other outdoor marijuana cultivation sites and the problems associated with that type of project. He presented horrific documentation regarding the smells emitted.  He voiced that the cultivation process stinks and is similar to a skunk smell. Documentation showed health and breathing issues associated as well as children not being  able to be outside, adults no longer able to sit outside or garden. The odor was strong enough to     be endured a mile away.  Mr. Kruszyna asked for assistance in having the Town write a  ordinance so the Stafford Hill area can remain with a quality of life they have.  He also stated there would be a significant drop in property values.  The ordinance could seek to restrict all     projects to be indoors. (Mr. Jason Levesque and Mr. M. Miles were in attendance.)
- The BOS accepted the documentation and will do their research for a discussion next Tuesday.

7:00PM
Cheshire Water Department Members:
- Discussed their need for an increase in the FYI 2020 budget and the Administrative Consent Order and Notice of Noncompliance received from the MassDEP. Rick reviewed the steps the Water Department is taking in order to be in compliance.  Robert questioned if Kitchen Brook  could be used as a backup. The answer was it can be used as a backup but you cannot drink it. Once all compliance issues are met, the department will report back to the BOS.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.
    

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner:  Weekly report submitted.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Nomination papers for Inspector of Animals from the Department of Agricultural Resources. Carol motioned to appoint Myron Proper as the Inspector of Animals, seconded by Robert.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Issued a One Day Liquor License for the Cheshire Rod and Gun Club.  Dates:  March 15, 2019 and March 25, 2019.  $100.00

Inquiry from The Berkshire Eagle:
- Questioned why the Interim Town Administrator was contracted before the 90 day period andcontracted for three (3) years. Carol: “He is doing an excellent job. He is very impressive.”  Robert agreed and said, “He hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped yet.  There was no reason to wait the 90 days. We wanted continuity and it was a good way to get it.”

Carol:
- Motioned to go into Executive Session at 7:55PM and to not reconvene the 6:30PM meeting.
A unanimous vote was taken. “To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate, if the chair declares that an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the public body.” The 6:30PM meeting will not reconvene.
Roll Call:
- Carol A. Francesconi, Yes; and Robert S. Ciskowski, Yes.

        
Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk

February 26, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:        
Press: iBerkshires
                   
Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.

6:30PM Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
       Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s February 19, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  (Absent – Preparing for storm.)
- Weekly report submitted for 2/20/19-2/26/19.
-  Salt shed at 40% capacity.
- Prepping for another round of weather.
- Winter sand available to residents at town garage.
    

Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for February 26, 2019.
- Working with Spectrum regarding upgrades for the internet speed.
-  Met with Macfarlane’s regarding copiers.  Ed’s proposal is to have a new copier in the Town Clerk’s office; replace the copier in the Annex with the old copier from the Clerk’s Office. Install a laser printer that is more cost-effective for the assessor’s office.  Place an all access machine on the second floor.  All departments would also have access to the copier in the Clerk’s Office. The approximate cost will be $11,000.00.  The BOS approve moving forward with the project.
- Received five (5) Highway Department laborer completed employment applications.  Ed and Blair will meet with the candidates and will submit their recommendation to the BOS. Robert requested that he attend the meeting as he has extensive experience in this area.
- Met with insurance representative from MIIA.   
- Spoke with a representative from Representative Barrett’s office as well as Representative Barrett himself regarding issues with Rt. 116 and the Complete Street programs.
- Ed attended the Cheshire Planning Board’s February meeting.  Ed noted that there was a representative from BRPC to discuss “light industrial” designation. Should the Town Meeting accept Zoning by-Law changes, this will put Cheshire one step closer to receiving a Green Communities designation.
- In contact with other individuals from BRPC regarding the compiling a list of our inventory and account numbers.  Once they receive the accounts that our assets are linked to they will move     forward with an energy audit. Once completed and we adopt the stretch building code, we will be in a very good position to receive this designation.
- Discussed certain dams with a representative from the Division of Ecological Resources as well as the Office of Dam Safety. The time for becoming a priority project lapsed last summer and it may not open for another year or two.
- Working with BRPC on completing the NOI that the EPA/DEP requires for their MS4/storm water Drain permit.
- Continuing to work on the Budget.
- Spoke to DER about applying for the Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistant Grant Program. Ed is researching if this best benefits the town.

7:00pm
The Cheshire Board of Selectmen, acting on behalf of the Cheshire Water Department hereby requests bid proposals from qualified firms for the following items related to unanticipated as-needed repairs to its municipal water lines and related structures.  This bid proposal shall cover the 12-monthy period from March 1, 2019, through February 29, 2020.
- One bid was received from D. Condron Construction.  Carol motioned to accept the D. Condron Construction bid; seconded by Robert.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Carol met with Ray Fisher and Representative Barrett to discuss the possibility of the State contributing to the weeding issue at Cheshire Lake as technically the State does own the lake.  Most desired would be the State pay half as well as the lake residents.  Presently, the Town of Cheshire pays half.  It was noted that individuals from the county and state use the lake and it is especially busy in the winter time for winter activities. Discussions will continue.

Carol:
- Met with COA members regarding the overall management of the COA and its offerings.  Carol reported that a Program Director could be added to the budget cover nineteen hours per week. The COA would like to open the present programs and new activities to all residents of Cheshire. Also discussed were the present employees, their duties, and responsibilities.  Carol also asked Ed to contact Ed Gwozdz regarding a six (6) month trial period for picking residents up for meals and meetings on Wednesdays. The hours would be 11am to 2pm.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:    
- Reported that Kathy Gwozdz requested the use of the Cheshire Community Center on a Sunday in April for the Geo Cache group. Christine will contact Kathy.

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner: Weekly report submitted.

RABIES CLINIC:  Monday, April 1, 2019 5-6pm @ The Cheshire Police Station. Sponsored by the Cheshire COA.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Letter from Lanny M. Zuckerman. RE: Hutchinson Water, LLC’s application with the Department of Public Utilities for a general rate increase. Thursday, March 28, 2019 7pm Cheshire Senior     Center.
- ATC Permanent Solution without Conditions Statement from ATC Group on behalf of Gobal Partners LLP (Gobal.)
- Operating Budget FY 20 (7/1/19-6/30/20.) Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District – McCann Technical School.
- Mount Greylock Advisory Council quarterly meeting report on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at the Mt. Greylock Visitors Center. Report reviewed by the BOS.

Resident, Peter Traub:
- Wanted to thank Blair for waiting hours, for the safety of residents, while a tree company     removed a downed tree in a recent storm.

With all business finalized, Carol motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:40PM; seconded by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk

February 19, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Carol A. Francesconi, Robert S. Ciskowski
Absent:      
Press: iBerkshires

Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.
 
6:30PM
Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s February 12, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  Weekly report submitted for 2/13/19-2/19/19.
-  Multiple call outs- ice for Saturday, February 16, 2019 and Sunday, February 17, 2019.
- Salt shed at 30% capacity.
- School heating oil tank at 6200 gallons, system is ok and operational.
- Truck #2 down with water pump replacement.
- Prepping for another round of weather for Wednesday and Thursday.
- Winter sand is available to residents at town garage.
    

Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for February 5, 2019.
- Contacted Spectrum to update the internet service on Thursday, February 21, 2019.
- Will call Spectrum to discuss accounts.
- Ed submitted the necessary paperwork for the LED street light grant.  He informed National Grid and the Department of Public Utilities of a request for information to buy back the street lights.    
- Contacted Macfarlane’s to schedule an appoint to look at the town’s equipment and to review     what is available if we were to decide to upgrade.
- One bid has been received for the Water Department Emergency Repairs.
- Have received four (4) applications for the Highway Department laborer position.
- Checked the domain account that hosts our .gov addresses and it appears we are all set until September of 2019.
- The School Committee cancelled for this evening and have rescheduled for March 5, 2019.
- Significant progress has been made on the budget.  Many departments have submitted their proposals and I will update as more come in.

Cheshire Board of Health, Michael Biagini Jr.:
- A Summary Notice of Regulations will be advertised in The Berkshire as soon as possible.  It states: “Notice is hereby given that the Cheshire Board of Health (located at the Cheshire Town Hall) on February 19, 2019 at 7:30PM, voted to adopt regulations pertaining to the Board of Health regulations for piggeries with an effective day of June 1, 2019.  For a copy of the regulations please come to the town hall during business hours.”

Resident, Mike Biagini-Route 8
- Requested assistance with a water problem from an adjoining neighbor which has ruined part of his driveway and has become a safety issue when family members attempt to use the driveway. Travis will viewed the issue and report back to the BOS.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:    No issues or concerns.

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner
- Weekly report submitted.
- Introduced Cody Alvarez to the BOS as a candidate for a part time police officer position.
- Carol motioned to appoint Cody Alvarez as a part time police office for the Town of Cheshire; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken. Mr. Alvarez will be on probation until the May elections.

Mail and Correspondence:    
     
Carol:
With all business finalized, Carol motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:00pm and to go into Executive Session; seconded by Robert.  The BOS meeting will not reconvene. A unanimous vote was taken.

Roll Call:    Carol A. Francesconi, Yes; and Robert S. Ciskowski, Yes.
        
Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk

 



February 12, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Carol A. Francesconi, Robert S. Ciskowski
Absent:      
Press: None

Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.
 
6:30PM
Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s February 5, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  Due to a snow storm, Mr. Crane was unavailable.

Interim Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for February 12, 2019.

The Interim Town Administrator spoke to a representative from Spectrum regarding our internet speed. As of right now, we have a download speed of 4 mbps and pay approximately $75.00 per month. For approximately $119.99, we can get 100 mbps. There is an opportunity to bundle with phones, but given the set-up, he is hesitant to pursue this right now.


He worked on finalizing a grant application to get us into the pipeline at least for funds for replacing our street lights to LED’s.
At the end of December/early January, he sent the Board some information regarding a PILOT agreement for a solar project on East Harbor Road. They are looking to move forward with an agreement, but want to have further discussions regarding the numbers. He reached out to our consultant on this project and will update soon. Approval of this agreement will require a Town Meeting vote.


One company expressed interest in the Invitation to Bid for the Water Department Emergency Repair contract. Nothing has been submitted to date.
He met with members of the Finance Committee to discuss the upcoming budget process. They plan to meet again in the future.


The board discussion the Interim Town Administrator’s current agreement and Carol made the following motion:
To create a new agreement from 2/12/19 until 6/30/19 and then a subsequent agreement from 7/1/19 to 6/30/22. No further substantive changes were made to the agreement.
Robert seconded the motion and a unanimous vote was taken


The Board also discussed amending the Highway Department Superintendent’s agreement as follows: to create a new agreement from 7/1/19 to 6/30/22. The other amendment was to change that the Highway Department Superintendent may receive three weeks of vacation after two years of continuous employment. The previous agreement stated that the three weeks would be earned after three years of continuous employment.


Carol made the motion to amend the Highway Department Superintendent’s contract as outlined above, with a second by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken.

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner
- Weekly report submitted.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Read letter from Baystate Elevator informing increase in monthly inspection rate
- MMA – announced return of essay contest among 8th graders; asked for permission for MMA to contact schools to ask if schools want to participate

Carol: Motioned to approve question to be placed on the Annual Election ballot by which the Town accepts the legislation expanding the Board of Selectmen from 3 members to 5 members approved by the Legislature and signed into effect by the Governor; 2nd by Robert, a unanimous vote

Carol:
With all business finalized, Carol motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:30pm; seconded by Robert.  A unanimous vote was taken.
        
Respectfully Submitted,

Edmund R. St. John, IV, Town Administrator

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk

December 5, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:        
Press:
                   
Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.

6:30PM Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
       Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s January 15, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  Weekly report submitted for 1/30/19-2/5/19.
- Salt shed is at 100% capacity.
- School heating oil tank is at 8000 gallons with a refill last week of 6000.
- Truck #2 back in service after transmission repair.  Repair was under full warrantee.
- Met with National Grid regarding Jenks Road.  They will be attempting to run the lines up the East side of the road and not the pasture side.
- Winter sand is available to residents at town garage.

Interim Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for February 5, 2019.
- Ed attended the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official training for three (3) days. Ed passed the examination.
- Called Spectrum to discuss internet speeds. An appointment is scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 1pm to 2pm.
- Spoke to Jim Bush, a Selectman from Adams regarding complaints regarding trailer trucks traveling on West Mount Road to Notch Road-leading over from Fred Mason Road.  Ed will     research possibilities on installing Load Limit Signs at the beginning of Fred Mason Road.
- Followed up on the topic of the Whitney’s Property.  A simple ratification vote tonight will suffice.
- Received bridge inspection report conducted by Mass DOT for East Main Street, Church Street,     West Mountain Road. One deficiency deals with potholes on Church Street.  West Mountain Roads deficiency was reported on the headwall of the culvert/retaining wall section. This will be remedied as soon as possible.
- Bid notice was sent to the Berkshire Eagle for the Water Department Emergency Repair     contract.  Return date is 7pm on 2/2/19.  Bid will be reviewed in Executive Session on 2/26/19.
- Ed attended the February meeting of the Berkshire Managers.  Discussion included the renewed     emphasis on infrastructure repair and dollars for such, not just low-interest loans.
- Ed walked the portion of the Rail Trail in the Harbor area with Selectman Ciskowski looking at that portion of the Hoosic River and associated dam.  Ed followed up by researching into the

Interim Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:

Division of Ecological Restoration’s Dam Removal projects.  The DER, at this time, is not     accepting priority project.  Other options will be researched.
- No budgets have been returned.

Carol:
- Regarding first refusal on Whitney 61A property. Carol motioned that the town has no     intention of taking of Whitney 61A property; 2nd by Robert.  A unanimous vote was taken.

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner
- Weekly report submitted.
- The Cheshire Police employment opportunity application process will close on 2/26/19 or until the position is filled. (Ed will check into if open meetings (the public) is invited to the interviews.
An Executive Session will take place on March 5, 2019.  (Screening)

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  
- No issues or concerns.

Mail and Correspondence:    
     
Carol:
With all business finalized, Carol motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:30pm; seconded by Robert.  
A unanimous vote was taken.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk

 

January 29, 2019

6:00PM Open Meeting

In Attendance: Carol A. Francesconi, Robert S. Ciskowski
Absent:      
Press:

Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.
 
6:30PM
Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s January 22, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.

Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:  Weekly report submitted for 11/23/19-1/29/19.

Interim Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV:  Weekly report submitted for January 29, 2019
- Updated the BOS on the first draft of changes to the Cheshire website.
- Completed and successfully passed the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official training and examination.
- Working with the Adams Cheshire Regional School District on budget and Levy numbers.  Ed will be meeting with department head for budget input.  
- Met with Caroline Massa, BRPC, regarding the Green Community project.  The Cheshire Planning Board met with BRPC to discuss changes to the Zoning By-Laws that would have to take place.    
- Met with Dr. Vosburgh and scheduled to meet with the School District to discuss their budget on February 19, 2019.  The School District will then meet with the Finance Committee from Adams     and Cheshire on February 26, 2019 and ultimately look to approve their FY 2020 budget on     March 11 at the Middle/High School.
- Question regarding Chapter 61A Classification.  Seeking a vote waiving the right of first refusal prior to the February 28, 2019 expiration of the statutory period.
- Request from the Department of Public Utilities looking to use the Community Center on March 28, 2019 at 7pm.  The petition is for a rate change with the Hutchinson Water company.

Dr. Vosburgh, Paul Butler, and Adam Emerson:
- Paul Butler reviewed The Towns of Adams and Cheshire Massachusetts Regional School District Agreement- Section by Section. The document can be viewed on the Adams Cheshire School District website.


Robert:
- Attended the community outreach meeting regarding the establishment of a marijuana growing facility on Stafford Hill at the Community Center on January 23, 2019.  There was a question and answer period and in general the meeting was calm.
- Requested Ed to check into interns for the summer.  Previously, it was thought that interns     could be utilized for traffic studies.
- Will be on vacation from Robert’s day job and he will be checking out Harbor Dam with Ed on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 1pm.
- Robert would like guidance from National Grid and BRPC regarding LED street lights.  He also suggested the need for an inventory to be done by a specialist at night.

Cheshire Water Department, Travis Delratez:
- Travis requested Ed to put out a Bid for Emergency Water Repairs.
- Travis suggested meeting on second Tuesdays for better communication between departments.

Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner
- Weekly report submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  
- No issues or concerns.

Mail and Correspondence:    
     
Carol:

With all business finalized, Carol motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:40pm; seconded by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken.
         
Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk