October 10, 2017
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi and Ed St. John IV
Robert motioned to accept the minutes of October 3, 2017 as presented; 2nd by Carol with a unanimous vote taken.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly activity Log for 10/4/17-10/10/17.
- Working on ditch cleaning and sweeping on Stewart White Road.
- Roadside mowing and patching potholes.
- Repairing culvert on Curran Road. Discovered the 18”pipe was crushed and replacement is needed.
- Serious transmission issue for the F550.
- The need for a portable bathroom was discussed and ended as there was no issue to begin with.
Residents, Joe and Sandra Sloane and Rick Salvi:
- Wanted to request early evening usage of the school for playing Pickle Ball.
- Robert, at this moment, requested time for the BOS to review any repercussions in this request as there would be someone needed to open and close the building securely and since the school usage is still being worked on, it may not be a good idea to lock into one request for usage. The BOS will get back to the Sloane’s and Rick Salvi with a decision.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Received budget estimates from ACRSD business manager on the cost of funding a K-5 school. Based on the current K-5 costs at Hoosac Valley Elementary, she estimates $3.5M annually based on the entire District’s current obligation. There is the ongoing debt service obligation of $240K annually. These estimates do not include Chapter 71 (transportation costs/reimbursements). Mark estimates the range to operate a K-5 school district to be $6M. There are numerous variables, including: the current District agreement; reimbursement amounts for both Chapter 70 and 71 with many other unknowns.
- Town Counsel forwarded a response letter from Kraus and Hummel, Pine Valley attorneys, which states they ran into many delays. They are planning for a local construction company to fill potholes and re-grinding work should be completed by this evening.
Robert read a letter dated October 4, 2017 from Kraus & Hummel LLP in regard to the Pine Valley Mobile Home Park and the rent increase and the plans for paving the roads in the Park.
"As you are aware, this office represents Pine Valley MHC, LLC and Morgan Management, LLC in connection with the Pine Valley Mobile Home Park (the "Park").
I am in receipt of your letter of September 19, 2017. I appreciate the additional time you have given me due to my schedule as the letter was forwarded to my attention last week. This letter is an attempt to respond to the inquire of the Town of Cheshire Rent Control Board ("Board").
As you are aware, the rent increase was granted last year due to issues with the decisions based upon the fact that they were represented by a firm. We had delays in implementing the new rent. Correspondence was sent to the Board to clarify the decision so that the notices could be forwarded to the residents in compliance with G.L.c. 186, and 12. That was done last fall and the new rent increase did not go into effect until October 2016.
Paving could not be completed obviously due to the time of year and the winter. During the winter of 2016, it was revealed that two (2) tanks connected to four (4) homes 30-32 Second Avenue and 2-4 Second Avenue, were in failure and needed to be connected to the new sewage disposal system, which went operational in February of 2014. These homes were not connected and this had not been anticipated. As a result, my client engaged Meyers Environmental in May of 2017, a photocopy of the contract is attached hereto as Exhibit 1 to connect those homes for $90,000. Trinity Engineering was also hired as the local engineer. This required the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") to become involved as these homes were not connected to the sewage system. To do so, my client needed approval from the DEP to make sure the system could handle the additional flow from these homes into the system. DEP approval was obtained, however, an additional tank serving the homes at 31-33 Second Avenue failed in late August of 2017. Meyers Environmental is working with the DEP to obtain approval for those homes to make the work coincident. Once these homes are connected, the paving can be commenced. It would be impracticable and an inconvenience to the residents if the road was paved then to be torn up and repaved to connect these six (6 homes to the sewage system). This was an unfortunate and unforeseen occurrence.
In the meantime, my client has retained D. Condron Construction, Inc., out of Lanesboro, MA to professionally fill the potholes and level the streets on Second and Fourth Avenues at an additional costs. It is my understanding that the potholes will be filled with pavement that has been re-grinded. I attach a copy of that contract as Exhibit 2. I am advised that this work is being done today.
I will supplement with additional information as it becomes available. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your cooperation and attention to this matter. Signed: Joseph E. Kelleher
- Spoke with the Town’s Workmen’s Compensation adjuster for an on-going case. Confidential memo submitted to the BOS.
- Obtained two (2) documents on abandoning and discontinuing town roads. One is an update by the Trustees of Reservation done on a previous Franklin County guide and the other is an excerpt from a comprehensive study and abandonment process done for the Town of New Marlboro back in 2005 by BRPC. Both reports are consistent and lay out the process, upsides and downsides of abandoning or discontinuing maintenance of a town road. In nearly all cases, a town meeting article and simple majority vote is required to discontinue a road. (M.G.L. Chapter 39; Section 10). In the absence of an Official Town Map, the Planning Board must be given 45 days prior to town meeting vote for comment. If the road in question is within 500 yards of an abutting town, a public hearing must be held and the abutting town notified.
- Complete Streets Committee meeting with the BRPC has been scheduled for October 18, 2017 at 5PM at the Town Annex.
- Received responses from 14 County municipalities on their policies on health insurance for elected officials. A January 1 date to implement a policy change might be too aggressive to allow some to seek or implement other coverage. March 1 would seem like ample time. The policy is consistent with Chapter 32B and only offers insurance to those who can demonstrate that they work 20 or more hours per week on a regular basis.
- Robert suggested the minutes be sent to the Advisory Board members to keep them apprised of school usage/costs of operating a K-5 and elected official insurance changes.
- Mark will schedule a meeting on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 with Town Counsel: “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.”
- On Tuesday, October 17, 2017 abandoned roads will be discussed in the Workshop time frame.
- Discussed medical and recreational temporary marijuana moratorium, a bylaw according to State rules and regulations, and the timeframe in which the CPB has to work within. At the June town meeting the town passes the moratorium, it would stop the establishment of recreational marijuana in town until December 2018. This would give the CPB time to write a bylaw and submit it to the Attorney General Office.
- Submitted Discontinuing Town and County Roads, by Planner, Lynn Rubinstein to the BOS.
Resident of the Main Street area:
- Voiced concern for children living along Main Street and Wells Road and the continuous danger of speeders. Robert will discuss the issue with the Chief.
- Updated the BOS on the status of the Reuse Committee. The PTG has inquired if they could receive permission to use the cafeteria at the school to sponsor a Mom and Son’s Pie Night and a Valentines Dance for children and parents.
Carol: Felt it was good use of the school and benefited town children.
Ed: Believed it would bring the community together and saw no reason to why not to let them use the building.
- Suggested restricting the usage to one day events due to the heating/draining of pipes/alarming and security of the structure.
- Robert noted that “We are in an unchartered zone and felt it best to have one day activities only.”
- The team for Pickle Ball will be notified.
7:00PM Selectmen’s Workshop:
- The BOS reviewed a schedule Mark prepared to compare present town employees, work hours and insurance benefits available. Carol reported that elected officials have to work/documented 20 hours or more weekly to qualify for insurance. She did not believe a time clock was needed; but time slips signed would be. A letter would have to be written notifying employees that insurance benefits would be ending in time for them to secure other insurance benefits with November being sign up time for Medicare.
BOS Workshop: continued
- Becky attended this session and said she would be talking to the Retirement Board and she would be reporting back to the BOS.
- Ed: Voiced concern about enforcement and the need for time slips.
Cheshire Board of Selectmen Workshop: continued
Elected officials and insurance discussion will continue on 10/17/17.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: Managing voting at the Cheshire Community Center.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted weekly report.
Carole H. submitted a check for $100.00 from Wandering Star Brewing Company 10/7/17 and 10/8/17 one (1) day liquor licenses at Whitney’s Farm Stand beer garden.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Hoosic River Watershed Association. Signed letter from Steve McMahon, Executive Director. RE: Kitchen Brook dam.
With all business finalized, Carol motioned to close the Open Meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken at 8:14PM.
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