Selectmen's Weekly Minutes

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

Janaury 9, 2018
6:30PM

In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires

Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented for January 2, 2018; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.

Robert:
- Thanked iberkshires.com Reporter, Jack Guerino, for the coverage of the Hoosac Valley School heating issue and the early school dismissal notification.

Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane: Absent

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Reported another boiler leak at the Cheshire Elementary School building.  Mark and the BOS recommended the need to hire an employee for checking the school on a daily basis.  Carol agreed with the hiring as the building has been without a designated individual for too long.  Although the highway department covered for summer maintenance, there needs to be one person responsible for the site.
Mark suggested either hiring a new person or configuring a highway employee for the position. Since the highway department is unionized he did not know how that could be worked out. Further discussion is needed.
- Mark reported that the town of New Marlborough wanted to join the Cheshire Housing Rehabilitation grant.  The concept is it would make the Cheshire grant stronger for competition.  Mark felt the state looks favorably upon regionalization applications.  The grant would increase from $800K to $1 million if fully awarded.  The Town of Cheshire would receive $800K and New Marlborough $200K. The board approved going forward.
- Mark submitted Blair’s Weekly Activity Log for 1/3/18-1/9/18 which included:
* Prepared for storm conditions.
* Clean up road from Monday storm.
* Clean and repair equipment
* Addressed the roads needs for three snow events over the past week.
- Updated the BOS on his meeting with the Advisory Board.  Items discussed included:  updating computers, website improvement, the possible hiring of a grant writer, and the future of the school.
- Mark submitted the revised RFEI to BOS members.  Discussion, after the BOS review the document, will take place on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
- A Complete Streets meeting will take place on February 6, 2018.  The committee will report to the BOS after the February 6th meeting.
-Mark advised the BOS that Blair has placed sand at the town facility for residents to use.
- Read an Internal Revenue Service announcement that stated:  “Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickups or panel trucks will be 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven.  Carol motioned to approve the 54.5 cent mileage rate as of January 1, 2018; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
- The cleaning of sidewalks will be discussed next week.

Carol:
- Motioned to have an Executive Session meeting on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the end of the open meeting: “To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares”; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.

One Day Liquor License issued to the Cheshire Rod and Gun Club; $50.00 paid.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted weekly report.
Chief Garner will be posting on the Cheshire Police website and the Town of Cheshire website a warning about the danger of residents plowing snow into the roads. 

Mail and Correspondence:

With all business finalized at 7:40PM, Carol motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.

                 
Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Groundsv

January 2, 2018
6:30PM

In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires

Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented for December 26, 2017; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.

Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly Activity Log for 12/27/17-1/2/18.
- Continuing repairs and maintenance of snow removal equipment.
- Removed access snow around town; salt/sand as needed.
- Addressed snow removal 12/23/17 and 12/31/17.
- Checked roads and sanded as needed.
- Removed access snow around town and Wing backed snow banks.
- Cold temperatures and road conditions are wreaking havoc on equipments; especially the plows.
- Blair noted that the cold temperatures are saving on salt usage as salt does not work in sub zero temperatures.
- Monitoring and addressing the school furnace systems needs; 6K gallons oil delivered.
- Blair will be calling the Lenox DOR to schedule an appointment with Mark to review Cheshire’s Chapter 90 account.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Carol reviewed the RFEI; Mark will make some revisions and have the document ready for January 9, 2018.
- Discussed comments from restless resident who do not like the BIVI chip the town is using on gravel roads for snow storms.  The problem sited was that the chips stick in tires and shoes and scratch wood floors. Blair’s response sited the fact that it is the best solution at this time. This product saves money an reduces the use of salt.
- Mark reported that Free Cash was certified for $416,220.  Mark commended the staff for making this happen. Mark reminded the BOS that last year free cash was $626,000 that town will be receiving $168,000 to come from Chapter 90 projects. The money was not lost but out of cycle and will be received during 2018.
- Mark reported that the Tax Collector has a 95+% rate as the collection rate and there are no prior taxes outstanding.  “Again, the staff is doing an outstanding job.”
- Will update the BOS on the progress for securing a Veteran’s Agent on January 9, 2018.
- Distributed Budget Forms to all departments.
- Will be attending a Union meeting on January 9, 2018 with specific questions needing to be addressed.
- Will be discussing the TIPS sheet (Transportation Improvement Program) for 2022 with Blair.  It was noted that the Sand Mill Road Bridge will have allocated money to replace the recently repair bridge.

 
Town Administrator, Mark Webber: continued

- Mark said there would be $2.5 million in state and federal funds for the replacement.
- Showed photographs received from a resident on the condition of the Jenks Road; a dirt road.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted weekly report.

Mail and Correspondence:


With all business finalized at 7:40PM, Carol motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
                 
Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Groundsv

December 26, 2017
6:30PM
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Absent:       
Press:
Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented for December 19, 2017; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly Activity Log for 12/20/17 – 12/26/17.
- Repair and maintain snow removal equipment.
- Truck #3 in for repairs – emissions issues.
- Truck #5 Dodge blew another hydraulic motor.
- Truck #10 International has a blown a water pump.  Working on a solution.
- Prep equipment for upcoming weekend snow.
- Blanks are in for the new loader.
- Truck #2 Ford F550 has a check engine light triggered during storm on Christmas.
- Snow removal.  Salting/sanding as needed.
- Checking on daily temperatures for schools advisories.
- Discussed the fuel usage at the school and it was decided that past school usage should be requested and going further records will be maintained for data.  Met for three (3) hours at the school to review the heating system and possible solutions for better efficiency.
Jeremiah Wojcik:
- Presented copies of documents requested to Mr. Wojcik. Mark advised Mr. Wojcik to contact the Mass Highway Department in Lenox for specifics regarding Chapter 90 expenditures.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Received a resident’s complaint regarding no sand at the town shed.
- Spoke with Superintendent, Dr. Putnam regarding the possibility of sharing services for a Co Superintendent between Adams-Cheshire and North Adams.  He stated that there was a grant available for the option. Further discussions will be taking place.
- ABCC Liquor Licenses have been data entered and are complete.
- Checking into options for a Veteran’s Benefit Agent for the Town of Cheshire.
- Mark advised the BOS that he and Blair are keeping updated on the Chapter 90 monies.
- Submitted invoice from BRPC.
- Becky is following up on health plan options. She noted that the figures on health cost savings under the new availability policy.  For the remainder of this fiscal year: $29,388.  If the rate does not change for the next fiscal year, the savings would be $58,776.
- Prepared Budget Sheets that will be distributed.  The due back date is February 20, 2018.
- Mark will be meeting with the Advisory Board on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
- Asked Blair to submit the invoice from BRPC for Complete Streets work to date.  Blair will then have to run this through the Chapter 90 reimbursement system with Kathy Stevens at District 1 in Lenox.  Additionally, Blair should review other outstanding project reimbursements.
- The next Highway Department/Union meeting will be January 9, 2018 at 9am.
- Requested Robert to sign the MOU for the BRPC (CDBG Housing Grant.)
- Advised Chief Garner that he is only required to provide copies of already produced documents and system generated reports for new software for public records.
Robert:  Discussed Christmas decoration issue at schools and recommendations for going forward with safety always at the forefront for children.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted weekly report.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Memorandum from MIIA seeking nominees for Directors of the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, Inc. and the MIIA Property and Casualty Group.
- Letter addressed to HVES Families from Superintendent of Schools, Robert Putnam dated December 18, 2017 and a heating issue. 
With all business finalized at 8:00PM, Carol motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
                 
Respectfully Submitted,
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
 

December 19, 2017
6:30PM
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires
                  
Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented for December 5th and December 12, 2017; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Resident, Barry Emery:
- Updated the BOS regarding events for the Town of Cheshire’s 225th Anniversary.  Alcohol will not be included on the March 10th first event; an Anniversary booklet will be offered one (1) per family either free or at a low cost.  The group is addressing businesses via letter for fundraising.  The Citizens Action Group is now a nonprofit and fundraising will be going into their account. A banner is being solicited from a soda company and the location will be later determined.  The next meeting will be on December 27th.
Robert:
- In reviewing recent electric bills, Robert suggested closer investigation into the school and shed statements.
7:00PM
BRPC‘s Community and Economic Development Program Manager, Patricia Mullins, updated the BOS on the status of reapplying for a housing rehabilitation block grant through the State Department of Housing and Community Development for the upgrades to twenty homes.  Ms. Mullins felt last year’s grant received strong comments in the final evaluation and believed since there were no longer funds toward construction, the submission would be stronger. She noted that the grant would also help handicapped or the elderly residents.
Robert:  Noted that many residents were disappointed in not being award last year and most likely there would be no issue with signing up residents for the grant.
Carol:
- The town approved $60k toward the program and that remains available.  Ms. Mullins stated that the pledge was no longer a part of the application process.  An administrative charge will be charged if the grant is awarded.  The BOS will study the proposal over the week and they understand approval will be needed by January 2, 2018.
Ms. Mullins:
- BRPC will start with the original list and will also attend local events such as ice fishing events to communicate with more residents.
- The BOS will act officially next week for signage- 12/26/17.
- Will Sikula, Planner, was also in attendance.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly Activity Log for 12/12/17-12/19/17.
- Repaired and maintaining snow removal equipment.
- Salt usage over the past two (2) weeks = 353 tons of salt.  BIVI Chip has also been used.
- BIVI Chip supply at Lane in Westfield is exhausted.  Blair is also checking at the West Stockbridge site.
- A new door and combination lock has been installed at garage.
- Truck #9 – 2003 international is running and the plow is repaired. It has 74K miles and 6K hours.
- Diesel fuel usage since May ’17 to date is 4,574 gallons.  A tracking system in place.
- Thinking of spring and the school grounds, Blair offered the option of installing a new engine for the cemetery Scag Mower at a cost of $1,650.  To be discussed in the future.
- Will review the Budget on 12/26/17.
- An Employee Performance Review – 2017 was reviewed and approved for usage.
Water Department, Francis Waterman:
- Suggested the town investigate an insurance plan he signed up for which was similar to the town’s he was on but much lower in cost. Mark will be checking in to alternatives.
Resident Peter Bator:
- Reported non-snow removal on Old Church Street.  Carol will speak with Blair to clarify that the section does get plowed by the town.
7:15PM  Attorney Breen:
- Attorney Breen had requested to be on the Agenda to discuss an issue for her client.  Building Inspector, Gerry Garner, was called and Ms. Breen and her client went to meet Mr. Garner in the Annex.
Follow up is needed.
Resident, Eileen Quinn:
- Thanked the BOS for their support regarding the Appalachian Trail group.  Rob noted the many positive comments on the internet.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Mark has scheduled a meeting with BRPC, the BOS, and the Cheshire Planning Board for 7:00pm
on January 23, 2018.
- Robert would like to see paperwork for the Highway Department employees vote for a union.
Additionally, he questioned why two (2) highway employees attend the union meetings.
- Will be coordinating with CTC of Adams to address the furnace heating controls at the Cheshire Elementary School as the existing controls they installed need to be modified.
- Received a call from SWCA, an environmental consulting company, inquiring about the permitting application process for a large scale solar facility just south of Adams line off of East Harbor Road.  Mark referred the inquiry to the Cheshire Planning Board.
- Continuing to work on the Request for Interest for the Cheshire School.
- A new website is available to retrieve all legal notices appearing in the past 12 months: https://www.masspublicnotices.org/.

Robert:
- Discussed a letter sent to parents of Hoosac Valley Elementary School families recently explaining broken pipes in the gymnasium and physical education classes.  The situation was repaired in a fast manner.
COA, Peter Traub:
- Reported that the COA’s would like to combine their Cheshire Chatter with the Adams newsletter.  This would require advertising, an agreement between the towns and a publishing house.  This agreement has to be signed by the BOS.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted weekly report.
Mail and Correspondence:

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

Respectfully Submitted,
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
 

December 12, 2017
6:30PM
 
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski (RC), Carol A. Francesconi (CF), and Ed St. John IV (ESJ)
Town Administrator Mark Webber (MW)
Absent:       
Press:

RC calls the regular meeting to order and notes that the December 5, 2017 meeting minutes will not be available until next week due to the Selectmen's    secretary being unable to attend tonight's meeting because of the bad weather. Accordingly, MW will be recording tonight's meeting minutes.
Other Business/Discussion/Action items:
- RC notes that the Town's cemeteries are closed to burials for the winter season.
- Board discusses request from Attorney Breen to attend next week's meeting to discuss potential litigation regarding another Town Board. Hesitant to get involved in a discussion that could involve pending litigation, Board agrees that ESJ will contact Attorney Breen to inform of the Board's position.
- Board discusses resident Eileen Quinn's efforts to promote the Town an Appalachian Trail friendly community and approves a letter in support of the Town's nomination. Board thanks Eileen for her efforts.
- Town Clerk Christine Emerson informs the Board that she has contacted General Code and will be receiving a quote from the company to compile and codify the Town's bylaws.
- Board has a general discussion regarding Federal flood zone maps and few the updates which impact Cheshire. It is noted that the maps are largely unchanged from the 1972 version.
- Highway Superintendent Blair Crane is working the snow event and will not be attending tonight's meeting until, perhaps, later in the evening.
- MW gives his weekly report as follows:
                 
Note received from ACRSD Superintendent Robert Putnam. He has announced his resignation as school superintendant, effective the end of June 2018.
Note from Michelle Whitney seeking answers to a number of questions regarding the Cheshire School and the District. ESJ will respond.
This morning's Highway Union negotiations were cancelled by the union representative due to personal conflicts. We will meet next again after the new year on a date yet to be determined.
Discussed latest round of DLTA grant application from BRPC. Typically, this is referred to the Planning Board for technical assistance. But, I spoke to Tom Matuszko at BRPC and the Town was just awarded a significant planning assistance grant under another program to assist the Planning Board in addressing zoning bylaws.  A suggested use for this DLTA round would be to get assistance in charting out re-use or shared use of the  Cheshire School. BRPC will be drafting a comprehensive recreational marijuana zoning  bylaw for all the area towns to use, so that is being addressed on its own. Although I'm continuing to plug away on a RFEI for the Cheshire School, some technical assistance on that would be welcome.
The town was approved for a $14,000 Planning Assistance state grant.
I've been speaking with the Lanesborough town administrator and he hopes to have an update on a shared Veteran's Agent by the end of this week. Spoke again with Dalton TM. It seems that we are now waiting for a proposal from N. Adams to join in with them. So, it would cover us, Dalton and Lanesborough.
Received a note from Erika at Cheshire Elementary and the boiler in the old section shut down. The temps went down to 48. The custodian re-fired it but she's concerned that it might go out again. Not sure if Blair has had a chance to discuss new or adjusted controls with CTC of Adams to better regulate the heat.
Lynne is close to submitting free cash calculations to DOR for approval. 
Spoke with Mr. Clairmont today and we discussed his on-going issues with the Fence Viewers and their reluctance to engage him in further meetings. I reiterated the Board's position that there's nothing more that the Board is able to do for him. He may seek legal advice on what steps to take next, specifically with the Fence Viewers.
 
BRPC would like to be placed on the December 19th agenda to get final signatures for the CDBG housing grant application. They will be attending the training session next week which will advise whether or not a local share or match will be required.
See Cheshire Lake Use permit for Berkshire Geobash scheduled for February 10th from 6-9PM.
CF voices her concern with the announcement of the State planning assistance grant. The grant provides technical assistance from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) to help the Town's Planning Board amend existing zoning bylaws to advance sustainable development and implement goals laid out in the recently adopted Master Plan, including: address senior housing; increase number of multi-family housing units; increase housing density via smaller lot size requirements and; preserve open space. Board has a general discussion about the unintended and unanticipated consequences of these types of zoning changes and would like to hear more from BRPC and the Town's Planning Board before committing to going forward. A joint meeting will be set up among the Selectmen, Planning Board and BRPC soon after the holidays.
7:35 PM
CF makes a motion to enter into executive session per MGL Ch. 30A, Section 21(a) (3) "to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining" and not to return to open meeting session upon completion of the executive session. RC seconds the motion. Voice vote taken: ESJ, aye; RC, aye; CF, aye.

Respectfully Submitted,
 
_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
 

December 5, 2017
6:30PM
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Absent:       
Press:
                  
Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented for November 28, 2017; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly Activity Log for 11/29/17-12/05/17.
- Pot hole patching and roadside mowing.
- Cleaned drainage culverts and catch basins. 
- Testing radio repeater system.
- Installed some of the Limited Salt Use signs.
- Truck #5 serviced.
- Truck #10 has new plates and all systems are operating normally. 
- Repaired equipment in garage.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Cheshire residents have received an opt-out notification from Colonial Power on the town's community aggregation electric program.
- Mark created an email for the Cheshire Advisory Board.  The CAB would like the availability of posting their minutes and agendas on the website.  This information can be submitted to the Town Clerk who will in turn submit the announcement to IT. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
- Eric Ford of DER requested a formal vote from the BOS whether to continue or not on the Kitchen Brook dam removal project so that they can move forward one way or another.
- Met with Highway Union representative and two (2) highway employees this morning.  The group is scheduled to meet again next week at 8:30am.  Mark submitted a Memorandum with related notes on today's discussions.
- Mark noted a link for accessing FEMA flood maps and corresponding flood insurance rate maps.
- Submitted final copy of Town Facilities Request Form.
- Received a quarterly PEG fee check from Time Warner/Charter for: $2,333.
- Request received from ISO to hold meetings with the Fire Chief or an Assistant Chief and the Water Superintendent on January 8, 2018 to review records, procedures, hydrants, etc. for the purpose of updating the Town's ISO rating.  This is an important process in order to maintain, or perhaps, reduce homeowner's insurance premiums, based on the Town's scoring.
- Continuing to work on the RFEI for the Cheshire School.
- Will be meeting with Blair regarding the review of Chapter 90.
Resident, Peter Traub:
- Commented on the great turnout for the Christmas Tree Lighting event last Sunday.
Resident, Fred Jayko:
- Questioned if further action was taken regarding trash at the high school.  Carol reassured Mr. Jayko that the Chief checked the trash bag and was unable to secure any identification.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted weekly report.
Jeremiah Wojcik:
- Inquired about the process for running for Selectmen.
- Mr. Wojick also submitted a written request for information concerning a town employee.  The document will be submitted to legal counsel first, as many of the questions may not be public information.  Town Clerk will follow through on the request according to the Open Meeting rules.
Workshop:
Robert:
- Questioned Blair on the need for a town highway pickup truck.  All BOS members feel a pickup truck would be  more appropriate than Blair using his own vehicle.  A one (1) ton and 3/4 ton could also plow around town as a backup.  This item will be considered.
- Robert also asked Chris about record storage.  Further investigation is needed.
- Regarding the school and the school account.  Can money be carried forward without a specific purpose and not put back into the general fund?  Mark answered, "Yes."
Ed:
- Noted that the computer system at the school is antiquated and it is time to update and to consider using a smart phone for operating the heating system.  One (1) room is not able to get up to temperature and that throws the system off. 
Robert:
- Voiced putting more money in the highway or school account to cover the needs of the crew to get school maintenance completed.
Ed:
- A program needs to be devised and this is an opportunity to budget and not budget short.
Carol:
- Would like a bylaw change to the Advisory Board to a Finance Board with the responsibilities staying the same.
- Motioned to have an Executive Session on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 7pm Cheshire Town Hall to: "To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with non-union personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with non-union personnel." Ed 2nd the motion with a unanimous vote taken.
Ed: 
- Would like to review the Town Charter and bring all by laws up to date.  This is an arduous project but one that is needed.
 
Mail and Correspondence:
With all business finalized at 7:50PM, Carol motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
_______________________________________________________________
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds