August 23, 2016
In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
Robert read the Board of Selectmen meeting minutes for Tuesday, August 16, 2016; Carol accepted as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.
Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Carol reported a message from Michelle Whitney regarding the need for a backhoe for August 29, 2016 for the preparation of new playground equipment at Cheshire Elementary School.
- Reported that the weed removal company (SOLitude Lake Management) will be coming back to continue the weed removal. Carol spoke to Ray Fisher about the process. To date 95 truck loads of weeks have been removed.
COA Anna Farnum and Peter Traub:
- Introduced the new COA Outreach Worker, Kerry Lahey. Kerry discussed some of her plans for growing the numbers of seniors attending the various sites. Although the Master Plan Survey demonstrated a lack of interest in joining the group, Kerry was enthusiastic about different offering that would encourage participation.
Cheshire Fire Chief, Thomas Francesconi:
- Chief Francesconi updated the BOS on the critical need of obtaining water from Cheshire Lake due to the over growth of tape grass and the recent attempt to remove the grass from the lake. He reported that the pumps get clogged and are unable to pump for the houses on Hutchinson Lane, Lanesboro Road, and the cove roads.
- Several different attempts have been made to accommodate the pumping of water. All attempts have failed.
- Chief Francesconi explained that the department has 3,800 gallons of water stored in trucks and water tankers. However, that is not sufficient to handle most structural fires. Additionally, maneuvering a tanker on the cove roads is difficult as they accommodate only one-way traffic.
- The BOS suggested, for an immediate resolution, to advise Mutual Aide of the situation.
- Fire hydrants were thought to be an option but, many are not in operating condition or are on a private water line.
- The BOS will contact Ray Fisher on the current situation and request SOLitude to return the harvester to Cheshire asap.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Spoke with the Berkshire County Retirement administrator with concerns of the Retirement Board and the number of hours the Town Accountant works per week. Mark will follow up and report back to the BOS.
- Call received from a resident seeking information about the Cheshire Lake treatment program. Carole H. and given additional information and Ray Fisher’s contact information regarding the treatment agreement.
- Verizon worked on the telephone system and all systems are up and running.
- Spoke with Mike Lennon of SOLitude last week. He said, “The timing of the treatment had less to do with the problem than did the unique spring weather and the appearance and habitat of the newly acquired weed (Tape Grass).” He takes full responsibility and noted that he’s never before seen a similar situation.
- Sent a follow up request to town Counsel seeking direction on the 3 to 5 member Board process.
- Received a note from Todd Ford, Hampshire Council of Governments, following up on the virtual net metering offer for Cheshire residents. After explaining that the Town was maxed out on net metering credits, he’s asking how and if we/he can proceed on promoting the 15% additional savings for residential customers. He suggested hold a community presentation hosted by Hampshire COG. Following that meeting, the BOS could decide whether the Town wishes to sign on as a promoter of the program. Unsure if this should be a function of Town government. Additional materials and information is forth coming from Mr. Lennon.
- Worked with Peter on Wells and Windsor Road bid package. The legal notice has been sent to The Berkshire Eagle.
- Will work on draft for employment opportunity for a maintenance individual for 10-12 hours a week.
- Will be preparing an advertisement for The Berkshire Eagle for a Tax Classification Hearing on 9/13/16 at 7:00pm.
Paul: Requested an Executive Session for 7pm on Tuesday, August 30, 2016: To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the governent’s bargaining or litigating position. Also, to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with non-union personnel; to actually conduct collective bargaining and contract negotiations with non-union personnel.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted the Weekly Report.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:
- Read The Berkshire Eagle notice for bids to purchase a new truck for the Cheshire Highway Department. Two (2) Bids were received. (The bid was for a new model year, 4-wheel drive 19,500 G.V.W truck with plow, sand and dump body. Bid price with Trade-in.
1. Place Motors, 19 Thompson, Webster, MA 01570 $109,000.00
2. Shaker/Modern Dodge Ram, 68 Waterbury Road, Thomaston, CT 06787
Two Options: 2017 Ram 5500 to specifications $113,333.00
New 2016 Ram 5500 exceeds basic equipment $ 116,869.00
Paul requested Peter to review the bids and come back to the BOS with a recommendation on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Would like to see the Cheshire Plan Survey on the Cheshire website. Christine reported that there is now a link to connect to it.
- Discussed attendance of members at the committee meetings. He noted that due to summer and vacations attendance was low. He reported that Mr. Kaplan of BRPC will be calling for interviews with the stakeholders in town which could include Mark Webber, Carol A. Francesconi, Paul F. Astorino, Library personnel etc. They would like at least 20-30 people to participate in the interview. The interviews can be via telephone or in person.
- Requested that Thomas Zappula be appointed to the Cheshire Master Plan Committee to replace the resignation of Shannon C. Plumb. Mr. Zappula possesses a wealth of knowledge since he has been on the Cheshire Zoning Boards of Appeals for many years and is a long time resident. Paul motioned to appoint Thomas Zappula to the Cheshire Master Plan Committee; 2nd by Carol with a unanimous vote taken.
- Robert questioned if there was any news regarding a possible appeal for the recent rent increase at Pine Valley Mobile Home Park. No communication(s) have been received.
With all business finalized, Paul motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:53pm; 2nd by Carol with a unanimous vote taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds