Selectmen's Weekly Minutes

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

February 28, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
                  
Robert read BOS minutes for February 21, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre: 
- The dishwasher at the Cheshire Community Center is operating.  Peter has ordered commercial soap and will be giving operational instructions to those who utilize it.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:  Absent
- Paul read Discussion Items submitted by Mark:
- Distributed the McCann FY 2019 budget materials.  Mark invited Superintendent Brosnan to the Cheshire Board meeting on March 14, 2017 at 6:00PM to present his budget.
- Submitted Highway Superintendent help wanted ad to on-line version of Beacon.
- Gave Peter a copy of Project Contact Sheet for Sand Mill Bridge project and minutes from the February 7, 2017 meeting.
- Met with Bill Craig and Denise Gregoire of the Cheshire Advisory Board to transfer information from Bill to Denise.
- Requested a list of priority items to stay on top of. 
- Noted that “ownership of land surrounding Kitchen Brook dam, and response; clearly the Town owns all of the property.  No town department, even the Water Department can own property of any kind.  By the same rules, they cannot be sued either.

7:00 Berkshire Regional Planning Commission:
- Documents signed by Paul.

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

 Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.
- There is a school committee member remains open for the upcoming elections.  Interested?  Contact Town Clerk at 1-413-743-1690  Extension 22.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Department of Public Utilities. 1/30/17. Approval of General Increases in Base Distribution Rates for Electric Service and a Performance Based Ratemaking Mechanism for NSTAR Electric Company and Western Massachusetts Electric Company, each doing business as Eversource Energy.
- Selectmen’s Dinner on April 27, 2017 at the Skyline Country Club.

Paul:
- Reported that there was a good turnout of residents to the meeting regarding possible school closings. Another meeting will take place on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

 

February 21, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
                  
Robert read BOS minutes for February 14, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre: 
- Peter discussed the cleaning of the dishwasher at the Cheshire Community Center and the need to order a new heating element.  Additionally, he worked on the drains and will continue to flush them until they are working better.  When the dishwasher is operating correctly Carol and Peter will demonstrate usage.
- Carol reported last week that the plow cost $8,400.  Peter reported a $200.00 lower price.
- Patching pot holes with cold patching.
- New truck in the process of meeting all specifications and my possibly be delivered in March.
- One ton truck down with oil pan issue. 

Superintendent of Adams-Cheshire Schools, Dr. Putnam:
- Dr. Putnam was invited to attend this evenings meeting so the BOS could asked questions regarding the upcoming scheduled meetings, a possible school closing, and the Budget.
- The first item to be discussed was the need to review and update the regional agreement In order to  improve the quality of education. Dr. Putnam advised that the finances cannot pay presently for changes.
Paul:
- Inquired about the condition of the CT Plunkett school roof and the costs associated.  Carol questioned, “Why should Cheshire pay for the Plunkett roof repairs?” 
Dr. Putnam:
Dr. Putnam stated that it will be, “Goodwill between the towns.”  He said, “We have to find a way to an agreement.” He felt, ”The Collins group can create the best way to go forward.”
Dr. Putnam reviewed the pro/cons of keeping the Cheshire Elementary School and or the CT Plunkett School or to have a new build. Regarding the CT Plunkett roof, there is $130K available to go towards the costs of repairing the roof.  He reported that when he first started his employment he had installed supports to hold up the roof.  It is a slate roof and there continues to be some leaks on the third floor.  Hill Engineering estimated approximately $300K for repairs.  Dr. Putnam wants the lowest price possible while allowing the school to be safe and to function as a safe school.  (All scheduled meetings are available on the ACRSD website.)

Dr. Putnam:  continued
- Transportation costs was discussed, but Dr. Putnam suggested waiting for the upcoming meeting where he will present a formal offering to address all of the above questions and concerns.
- Robert mentioned that he has had a few calls regarding the stress families and children are feeling.  Dr. Putnam assured Robert that his plan is to minimize the stress level of parents and children. Dr. Putnam will keep the BOS informed to the best of his ability.
- Dr. Putnam submitted a MEMO explaining space alternatives.

Resident, E. Clairmont:
- Questioned the status of his issue with Cheshire Fence Viewers and wondered if Attorney Grandchamp has been in contact with the BOS.  Carol reported that no written correspondence has been received and she will have Carole H. contact Grandchamp to see the status of the issue.

7:00PM   Hearing.  Carol read the Legal Notice:  BRPC Representative, Patricia Mullins and William Compton, Senior Planner at the BRPC shared updates on the progress of the grant.
- The BOS was updated regarding the status and process of the Community Development Block Grant.   Ms. Mullins submitted a copy of the Citizen Participation Plan 2017.
- All present signed a sign-in sheet for proof of attendance. A copy of tonight’s minutes and the Agenda for 2-21-17 and they will be forwarded to Ms. Mullins.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: 
- Requested more information be placed on the flyer seeking applicants as presently it is vague with no specifics on the project and what it entails. Ms. Mullins: Once the town receives the award, Ms. Mullins will create a new flyer noting that loans are 0% interest with deferred interest and no payment unless transferred.  The grant will be submitted on March 10, 2017 and notification will be approximately July 2017.
- Ms. Mullins reported that 45-50 people signed up at a recent town activity.   Ms. Mullins will be speaking with the Town Treasurer for signage of required documentation. She also wanted the BOS to review what happens if a person has to move out of the house.
- Dialogue will continue.
Paul:
- Signed a letter to the Deputy Community Development Manager, Mark Southard regarding The ADA Self Evaluation Survey and Transition Plan.

7:41PM  Carol motioned to close the Hearing; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber: Absent

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.  Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Robert:
- Motioned to reach out to the Town of Lanesborough to investigate the possibility of sharing a Highway Superintendent.  Although there was no second, the BOS said it should be checked by either Robert or
Mark when he returns.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Thank you note received from candidate, Conklin, for the opportunity to interview for the Superintendent of the Cheshire Highway Department.
- Email received from Sara Clark (TAC) State of Mass regarding a copy of the current cable license for the Department of Telecommunications and Cable.  Carole H. will research.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 8:00PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

 

February 14, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino,  Robert S. Ciskowski, and Carol A. Francesconi  
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Robert read BOS minutes for February 7, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.

Cheshire Historical Commission, Diane Hitter:
- Requested the Town of Cheshire to be aware of the sale of the Mason’s Hall on Church Street.  She presented an overall picture of the historical value and felt it should be considered a, “Town Treasure.” Ms. Hitter wondered if Mark could explore different options to preserve the building. 
- Robert will advise the Master Plan Committee at their February meeting.
- Ms. Hitter thought the sale price was $49K. 
- The Cheshire Historical Commission was thanked for their endless efforts in preserving Cheshire.

Carol:
- Reported that Peter purchased a new plow for $8,400.
- Presently under $4K for salt and sand account.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:  Absent

Town Administrator, Mark Webber: Absent

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Carol:
- Noted Rosanne M. Frieri, Cheshire’s Veterans Agent’s Schedule:

Tuesdays  10:30am-1:00pm  Dalton Town Hall, 464 Main Street, Dalton, MA 01226
Tuesdays  1:00pm-3:30pm   Dalton Senior Center, 50 Field Street, Dalton, MA 01226
Telephone:  413-684-6111  Extension *19

Mail and Correspondence:
- Berkshire Running Center, Pittsfield, MA.  Requested the scheduling of a Steel Rail Half Marathon on  May 21, 2017 and October 8, 2017 from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.  23. Unlawful purchase of any alcoholic beverages by a holder of a 15 license from other than a license holder under 18, 19, 19B, or 19C or from a holder of a special permit to sell issued under 22A. 204CMR 2.05 (2) Permitting an illegality on the licensed premises, to wit:  M.G.L. c. 138.  Akshar Ji Corp. DBA Cheshire Liquor Center.
- Letter from Gailanne M. Cariddi regarding inability to contact Cheshire’s appointed Veterans’ Service Officer.
- Bay State Elevator.  Increase of elevator service to $160.68 a month.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:25PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

February 7, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
                  
Robert read BOS minutes for January 31, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Carol requested better cleaning of sidewalks.
- Peter reported that there will be an overage on the sand/salt account.
- Two (2) plows down.
- With the upcoming storm on Thursday, Carol asked if the Water Department’s plow would be utilized. Peter answered, “It would be a possibility.”

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Mark briefly discussed his weekly submission and Paul read Mark’s Discussion Items for February 7, 2017.
- Mark met with Foresight engineer, Peter, and the Sand Mill Bridge contractor superintendent who will be managing the job for a pre-construction session with the plan to start by the end of this month. The original NOI needs to be forwarded to Foresight so that they can record it.  Presently, Mark is waiting on the revised clerk of works agreement with Foresight.  Peter will then contact DOT to make sure it can be amended into the project’s Chapter 90 contract.
- Awaiting call backs from employment reference calls made.
- Reported that Paul or Carol will be attending the Collin’s Institute meeting on February 8, 2017 at the Plunkett  School.  This is a pre-official presentation for town officials only.  There will be a tour of all District schools on February 11th beginning at 9am.
- Mark will be speaking with Christine regarding the booking of space for and aide of Senator Hinds for a meet and greet sessions.
- Mark updated the BOS on the BRPC housing grant process.  A Public Notice was published in The Berkshire Eagle.  Following last week’s discussion an amendment was included: “Seeking 50 applicants by the 1st of March.”
- Carol noted that she felt the proposal was not directed fully to the rehabilitation of homes as the proposal mentioned many other items.  After a brief discussion Carol felt comfortable in signing the submission. Carol motioned to accept the application as amended; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
- Mark reported that health and dental rates have been set for the next fiscal year and there are no increases.
- Distributed the FY2018 budget request forms.  They are due back on February 28th.
- Discussed the possibility of sharing a Highway Superintendent with Lanesborough.  This will be reviewed.
- Mark will be checking with George Sweet regarding the generator.


Carol:
- Requested the BOS to review the school district’s agreement.  She would then like a meeting with the three (3) school committee members and the BOS.

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  Absent/Snow

BOS:
- Signed a request to the Advisory Board for $10,421.30 to repair the structural integrity at the fire house from the Reserve Fund.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Paul read a flyer “It’s National Read Across America Day”!! Interested participants who would like to share the joy of reading can call the main office of Cheshire Elementary School (413) 732-2298 by February 17, 2017.

Resident, Peter Traub:
- Questioned if the minimum wage would be going up?  Carol’s response was, “No idea”.
- Peter wondered if it would have been better to have an outside company complete a salary study.  Carol did not feel that was necessary due the experience of BOS members and the Cheshire Town Administrator.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:20PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

 

January 31, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino,  Robert S. Ciskowski, and Carol A. Francesconi  
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Robert read BOS minutes for January 17, 2017 by Mark Webber.  Carol motioned to accept the minutes as read; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.  Robert read the BOS minutes for January 31, 2017.  Carol motioned to accept with the addition of a “One member of the Planning Board for a three year term” be added according to Town Clerk; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Carol:
- Requested Mark to complete reference checks for the open position of Cheshire Highway Superintendent.
Carol is working on a benefit package and a possible decision will be made after references are checked.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Updated the BOS on the maintenance of town trucks.  Two one ton trucks are down.

 Town Administrator, Mark Webber:  Absent
- Paul read Mark’s weekly report.
- Mark met with Nick Wildman (DER) and Peter to review several items.  Peter and Nick visited the dam.  A formal project outline should be received in a few weeks.  Presently, the project is a “provisional project” and will be until the next fiscal year when funding in place.  Engineering work will continue and Peter felt the project should score well.
- Wrote to and spoke with Representative Cariddi’s aide to learn more about the process and anticipated timeline for legislative action on the proposed change from three (3) to five (5) Selectmen.
- Senator Hinds’ office sent a handbook guide for home rule petitions.
- Spoke with Steve Mack at Foresight Engineering regarding the Sand Mill Bridge project.  He is going to arrange for a pre-construction meeting for next Tuesday with the contractor. Mark also reported that he wanted to reduce the project oversight for the clerk of works from the proposed 40 hours per week to twenty.  Mr. Mack will revise that agreement.
- Two (2) state approved lake permits arrived. 
- Checking references for Cheshire Highway Superintendent position.
- Complaint received regarding the Malloy property and manure being piled next to the river and the burying of horses within a 100’ foot distance from a neighbor’s well and other neighbor digging a drainage ditch.

7:00PM
Patricia Mullins, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Community Development Program Manager.
“Public Discussion” for the Community Development Strategy (CDS) grant.
- Representing the committee were  Eileen Quinn, E. St. John IV, and Peter Traub.
Ms. Mullins reviewed the status of the DRAFT submission.  She reviewed the Purpose; Summary of Strategies and Activities; Water System Master Plan;  Berkshire Engineering Inc., 2017; Community Compact, 2016; Complete Streets Police, Town of Cheshire, 2016; Cheshire Community Association 2015, Watershed Land Wind Power Feasibility Study, 2015; Zoning By-Laws, Planning Board 2015; Municipal Community Development Goals; Municipal Community Development Priority List; Strategy to Address the Priority List with CDBG and Non-CDBG Funds over the next 1-5 Years; and Consistency with the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles.
- Comments from those attending included the need for further clarity in discussing handicap accessibility in town buildings and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA )
- Paul noted that “Recent figures from HUD show that 75% of residents in the CDP area have low to moderate income-the highest percentage in the state of Massachusetts.”
- The BOS will be reviewing the document submitted and will be prepared for signage on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.
- Ms. Mullins requested a copy of this evening’s minutes, once approved and signed, as well as a copy of the Agenda.  All present signed in for state documentation.
NOTE:  A Public Hearing on the Community Development Strategy (CDS) will take place on February 21, 2017 at the Select Board meeting. 

Carol:
- Read a response from Town Counsel, E. St. John III, regarding a Resolution received from Peter Traub. “This is a resolution that indicates that Cheshire is an age-friendly community.  It may enable Cheshire to receive certain grants for seniors.  It does indicate that Cheshire would be supportive of certain items that may be controversial, such as “affordable and accessible housing”.  Does it mean that the Board of Selectmen are bound to enact on certain proposals?  No.  But it does mean that the Board will be supportive of or advocate for seniors in Cheshire.”  The Resolution was signed by the BOS.

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:
 - Discussed ADA compliancy in the Town of Cheshire.
- Ms. Mullins will review the language in the DCS proposal and reminded all that there is always room for improvement.
- Discussed possible up-coming by-laws and moratoriums for Marijuana Dispensaries. Carol suggested the information be given to Donna Defino, Cheshire Planning Board Chairman.


The Cheshire Board of Selectmen: Written response to Adams and the Collins Report and closing schools:
“The Cheshire Board of Selectmen is disappointed with the preemptive and premature statements from Adams town government regarding the potential closing of one or the other of our District’s elementary schools.  We prefer to hold comment until February 8th when the Collins Report is released.  We gladly signed on with the Town of Adams and the School District to participate in this important study.  Furthermore, we trust the process that was agreed to and have no intention of prejudicing the report beforehand.”

Resident, John Tremblay:
- John reported that the Cheshire Community Association won a grant from the 2017 Northern Berkshire Cultural Council for Town of Cheshire Block Parties. The amount requested was $2,200 and were awarded $1,845.
- Also awarded to the Cheshire Community Association (CCA) was $600 for a proposed “Art on the Trail” project for an art mural to be placed on a private structure adjacent to the Ashuwilliticook Trail.
THE BOS congratulated the group on his efforts and continued success.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Letter dated January 18, 2017 from Betsy Friedberg, National Register Director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  “Cheshire Town Hall complex, 80-84 Church Street, 23 Depot Street, Cheshire, MA. 
The nomination has been voted eligible by the State Review Board and has been signed by the State Historic Preservation Officer.  The owners of the property were notified of pending State Review Board consideration 30 to 45 days before the meeting and were afforded the opportunity to comment.”

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

January 24, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Due to Mark’s absence, the minutes were not available for the previous week.

Briefly discussed the interviewing schedule for the Town Highway Supervisor position to take place on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 10:30; 11:00; and 11:30am at the Cheshire Town Hall.  Three applicants have been scheduled.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre: 
- Daily maintenance of trucks continues.
- Updated the BOS on equipment replacement and the need for a strategy plan to be in place.  For instance, the grader was purchased in 1987 at a cost of $110K.  A new one now could cost $370K to $380K.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:  Absent

Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted the Weekly Report.

COA, Peter Traub:
- Submitted Resolution for Adopting An Age Friendly Community Strategy in Cheshire, Massachusetts.  Carol will check with town counsel for a better understanding of the legality and responsibility of signing such a document.  To be further discussed.
- Peter requester Peter L. to check the dishwasher at the center.  It may be operator error, but Peter’s experience could possibly elevate calling for service.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: 
- Informed the BOS that Senator Hines will be having an aide hold an open meeting at the Cheshire Community Center on February 7, 2017 from 11am to 1pm. 
- Reported that the BRPC requested to place on the BOS Agenda a meeting on 1/31/17 regarding the Community Development Grant a “public discussion” at 7pm.
- Requested a Community Development Grant Hearing take place on February 21, 2017 at 7pm during the BOS open meeting.  Attendance and meeting minutes will be required for documentation. 
- Submitted “Offices for the Cheshire Annual Town Election:

   One Selectman for a three year term
   One Assessor for a three year term
   One Board of Health Member for three year term
   One Cemetery Commissioner for three year term
   One Water Commissioner for three year term
   One Planning Board Member for five year term
   One Planning Board Member for three year term
   One Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee Member from Cheshire
   Two Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee Members from Adams

Nomination papers are available at the Town Clerk’s Office.  Deadline to return nomination papers is Monday, March 13, 2017 by 5:00 pm. 

The Cheshire Annual Election date is Monday, May 1, 2017.

Mail and Correspondence:

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
                  

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds