July 11, 2017
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi and Ed St. John IV
Carol motioned to accept the minutes of Tuesday, July 3, 2017 as presented; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Advisory Board Members: D. Scholz, J. Tremblay, K. Levesque, J. McLain, and R. Biagini
Attending: Superintendent R. Putnam, P. Butler, and Adam Emerson
Robert opened the meeting by thanking the Advisory Board for their efforts in working on the 2018 budget. Dick reviewed why this meeting was important and presented a synopsis of recent events with the short notification of the closing of the Cheshire Elementary School, the process of keeping the school open, the options possible for the structure, and number one of importance, the Advisory Board did not understand what the Cheshire Board of Selectmen were doing in regard to the school usage and its future.
- Surprised at the Town Meeting and the articles considering the petitions submitted.
- Sense of commitment to move forward to find another school for the usage of the CES.
- Other towns interested in working with us.
- Forward planning; longer term part of the school district. Talking with John Lev.
- Need attorney that is independent counsel. Need to look at the agreement.
- Concerned about the voting power of the school committee.
- How does Select Board plan to move forward? Many towns’ people want a school in town.
- Would like to work with the BOS. The Advisory Board wants to work together.
- Establish some type of elementary school in Cheshire to compliment what else is going on in the district.
- 100K to maintain yearly?
- Budget. A joint town meeting.
The school is closed. That was a school board decision. Will they change at this point? If the budget is not passed, no tax bills will be sent out.
- Seems like the BOS shows it is closed. It’s done.
- Rent the campus for ten years-could it be done. Grounds and Building are ours.
- Until notice is received, they assume the liabilities. 90 day notice; has not been received. Modified agreement working on – nothing specific. Hands are tied right now. District offices are staying there.
- Not sure where we are at this point.
- School not turned back to town at this time.
- If a tenant is found, can the town get out of the agreement? No exit clause on the agreement? No.
- Trying to understand it.
- How to use the building?
- Grandchamp is working on changes and will submit it a draft very soon.
- School is already vacant.
- The BOS will appoint a school reuse committee.
- What kind of a vision of a school do you want?
- Meetings NBSU would like us to join with them. Would be willing to sit down to talk. NBSU is union.
Northern Berkshire School Union. (Mr. John Lev)
- We are in the district.
- Get counsel to guide us. Many towns have their own elementary school.
- Dick believes independent counsel should considered to reviewed all options.
- What first steps should we be taking either as the Advisory Board or as residents?
- Is information in the minutes? Carol: The BOS goes into Executive Session.
- Why isn’t town council asked? The BOS has not asked him. John: would like to ask that question.
- Not as an Advisory Board but as residents.
- How do you set up a reuse committee when it isn’t closed?
- Want to do what the people of town want. They want an elementary school.
- Budget is #1. Want an open meeting to see what people want.
- Sensing the BOS has options. Robert: Turned some options away at this point.
- Residential property values dropped in other towns that do not have a school.
- We still have a building.
-Lease. Registered at the Registry of Deeds. Negotiations in Executive Sessions?
- Timeline? Draft? Delayed because of annual meeting votes.
- People in authority should do what the people want. Find out by asking the people what they want at a special town meeting. No one has ever been through this before. Why would people want to come and live here- the more viable the community is the better off we all are.
Many roadblocks - would like to chart a path. The board collectively would like to see a school there; no formal vote.
- Ballot questions for November. 3-5 Selectmen and Private Plow of Roads.
- Think about a possible ballot question. Meaningful question needed.
- Vote in secret? What is the procedure for a secret vote. A motion and a second with a majority vote.
- Meeting with DESI. Invited the BOS. General discussion. Help with guidelines.
- Requested introductions of the Advisory Board at town meetings as well as sitting up front so people know who they are.
- No position on the status of the Advisory Board regarding the budget when asked.
- Do the townspeople know what the budget is all about and the ramifications to the tax bills if the budget is not passed?
- The minutes are posted in the Town Hall and are the website.
- Some BOS take a stand on what they think; others listen to the people. Write an article that would pass.
Several venues were used to inform residents:
- Strong desire to rewrite the agreement.
- Moving forward MARS steps for changing a district. Have to bring in Adams. Both towns have to approve the starting process of withdrawal. Work done in advance can go smoothly – a lot has to be well thought out. No hard numbers. Have to include the school district in all options. Have to pass the budget in the interest of students. Cannot operate as a town. Lending measures- sure but that is no way to run a town. Name change should have gone out for people to advice. We are the Selectmen and we are charged to do the best for the town.
- Voted to close building – necessary but very difficult to make.
- Ed explained the 1/12 payment will happen if the budget is not passed on July 17th. If it does not pass there is no money. The 1/12 payment will continue until December 1, 2017 and then the Department of Education takes over.
- Appreciate the BOS meeting.
- More information and communication will be addressed.
- Thank you. Appreciate your position.
- Robert asked if the Advisory Board had any other questions either from the BOS or the school figures present. No questions were asked.
Superintendent Robert Putnam:
- Suggested guidance as to do this, he felt the best manner would be a Town Meeting style for both towns to meet. Paul noted that he did not know of any building big enough. It is doable with creative thinking.
Resident, Peter Traub:
- Questioned the date of when the school would be closed. Discussion finished at 7:11pm
Cathy Foster and Sara Hollander inquired about the process for making a complaint about a town employee. In this instance, the BOS directed them to the Cheshire Board of Health.
Resident, Brian Astorino:
-Reported algae on his driveway due to a water leak. Three houses have no water pressure, and they are inundated with mosquitoes. The BOS had Francis Waterman join the meeting and questioned him when the problem would be resolved. He stated the work is planned for this week on Wednesday at 8:30am. The BOS expects a report back on Tuesday, July 18th.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane: Submitted weekly report.
- Dug and completed grave.
- Repairing Outlook Avenue
- Ford F550 passed inspection
- International 7500 to Delores for inspection and repairs.
- Preparing for crack sealing repairs to numerous roadways.
- Chipped brush at Transfer Station.
- Site visit to Cheshire Elementary School.
Phil LaFromboise and abutters to the Ayotte property requested information regarding a possible solar farm being proposed on the Ayotte site. The company doing the work requested a CCC Notice of Intent.
Mr. LaFromboise stated that the property is for residential purposes only and it is on the deed as a restriction in the Registry of Deeds. Also, technically it is not a farm. No mobile homes or trailers are allowed. Until applications are received the boards have no authority or statement to make. Once information is received, the board secretary will call Mr. LaFromboise. All abutters will be formally notified by return receipt /certified mail.
Residents Mr. and Mrs. Huberdeau:
- Questioned the timeframe for the Hutchinson Development to have pot holes filled as some are large and deep. Carol also noted receiving calls from Harbor Road, Richmond Hill, and for the need to clean catch basins. Blair answered that pot holes will be filled asap weather permitting.
Cheshire Board of Health, J. Warner, and M. Biagini:
- Requested procedural steps for complaints filed. The BOS reviewed the process and steps will be followed. An Executive Session will be scheduled and the M.G. L. Chapter 39, S.23B #2 will be posted.
“To consider the discipline or dismissal of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.” The Executive Session is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Becky Herzog, Treasurer and Lynn Lemanski, Accountant:
- Needed clarification regarding an employee’s hours and the need to have a time slip showing separation of duties according to the job description. The employee will be notified.
The BOS reviewed the Bruce LaPerle invoice.
Resident, Jeremy McLain:
- Questioned the process and necessary licenses to secure a one day liquor license for the Cheshire Cheese Festival event at the Cheshire Elementary School. Mr. McLain will be checking with the vendor for insurance liability certificates and licenses. The event is planned for July 29, 2017.
Resident, Barry Emery:
- Wanted to discuss two incorrect spellings on the Stafford Hill Monument. One is influential and the other fact is that it is not the Big Cheese it should read the Mammoth Cheese. This will be discussed further
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Reported that Jack Girard would like a thank you extended to Reynolds for helping with the use of a rental mower for the cemetery.
- Spoke with Dr. Putnam and he will give a reminder to Attorney Grandchamp who said he would be producing a draft Cheshire School lease agreement for the Board’s review.
- Need to execute and return contract signature pages to the State for grant funds under the Complete Streets program.
- Auditor questions the status of the COA van (2007).
- MIIA certificate of insurance for BRTA van arrived.
- See Chapter 90 approval for Street Smart program.
- Town’s property and casualty and workers compensation premium for FY 18. Pay full amount now and take advantage of 3% discount.
- Information sent to Borego Solar per their request for a potential solar site on East Harbor Road.
Carol motioned to appoint the following individuals to the Building Reuse Committee which will not be active upon notification from the BOS; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken. Ellie Baker, Heather Emerson, Bethany DeMarco, Sandra Sloane, Peter LeFebvre, Carol Francesconi, and Christine Emerson.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Weekly report submitted.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: Prepared for July 17, 2017 town meeting.
Letter received from Elsie Zaleski resigning from the Cheshire Council on Aging. Carol accepted the resignation with great regret; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken. Carol voiced that she did not approve of the manner in which Ms. Zaleski was prodded to submit her resignation.
Letter from Resident, Gene Gebarowski, Jr. :
- Interested in being considered for the open position on the Cheshire Council on Aging.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Council on Aging Board meeting minutes for May 17, 2017 and June 21, 2017.
- Common Ground Newsletter.
- Municipality ADA Training on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
- Letter from Adam G. Hinds, State Senator, noting his availability during this transition time due to the passing of State Representative Gailanne Cariddi.
- MASS DOT. Chapter 90 Project Request Contract #50762 Balance and Expenditure Sheet.
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Authorization for the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District to continue its operations and to spend up to $1,582,980 in each month of fiscal year 2018 until your district’s fiscal year 2018 budget has been adopted, or until December 1, 2017, whichever comes first. This interim monthly budget is one-twelfth of the regional school district’s budget for the prior fiscal year.
- Insurance Liability Certificate received from MIIA for The Town of Cheshire. 7/12/17
- Workmen’s Compensation doctor’s evaluation to date.
- Akshar Ji Corp. D/B/A Cheshire Liquor Center/Memorandum and Order on Licensee’s Motion to Dismiss. Allowed.
Ed motioned to go into Executive Session; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
Robert S. Ciskowski, Yes; Ed St. John IV, Yes; and Carol A. Francesconi, Yes. The BOS will not return to the open meeting.
With all business finalized, Carol motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken. 9:40PM
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