October 18, 2016
In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Press: The Courier and iBerkshires
Robert read the Board of Selectmen meeting minutes for Tuesday, October 11, 2016; Carol accepted as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.
Fire Chief, Thomas Francesconi:
- Submitted an estimate for repairs to one corner of the fire house. Mark will be researching the prevailing wages and process for going forward on the project.
Resident, Leonard Stomski, presented the Town of Cheshire with a 4’ by 8’ painting entitled, “Cheshire Cheese Goes To Washington DC. The painting will be hung on the second floor of the Cheshire Town Hall. The Cheshire Board of Selectmen thanked Mr. Stomski for his generous gift and they are planning to place a plaque in honor of Mr. Stomski’s gift. Those present included: Leonard Stomski, Doris Stomski, Diane Hitter, Robert Hitter, Gus Martin, and Peter Traub.
Resident, Jan Cunniholm:
- Shared with the BOS his experience as a surveyor on his knowledge of private ways. He noted that the Town may not be responsible, but it is commonly done.
- Reported that the sidewalk in front of his residence is deteriorating. Peter will be checking into it.
Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Patching continues.
- Kirk Scholz may be interested in snow plowing.
- Reported that the mower is down and being repaired.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Mark held a conference call on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 with Bill Isaksen from National Grid and Peter regarding their lighting change-out program. Their 3rd party contractor will be making an appointment with Peter shortly and will submit a proposal. The program works as follows: each National Grid customer has a small amount added to their bill which goes into the fund for this energy savings program. Depending on the cost of the highway garage change out, this fund will pay a portion of the cost and the town is responsible for the balance. The balance can be paid in several ways; either one payment sum, 0% interest rate over 1 or 2 years or a small amount can be added to Town electric bills for 1 or 2 years. Once the estimate is received, a decision will be made. There will be future savings as well because we’d be changing to LED lights which use less power.
Town Administrative, Mark Webber: continued
- Held a conference call on Thursday, October 13, 2016 with Superintendent Putnam, Tony M., and Monica from the Collins Institute and Mark. The purpose was to preview the upcoming second World Café meetings on October 22, 2016 from 10-noon and November 3rd from 6pm-8pm at the high school. Other topics included building closing scenarios and cost impacts, student changes, student’s opting out of the District, class sizes and more. Superintendent Putnam has developed spreadsheets specific to one or the other elementary school closing and class size and costs impact and is continually working on alternate scenario calculation.
- Mark received a note from the Sand Mill Bridge engineer requesting authority to go out to bid this fall or wait until spring. The BOS will make the decision. A unanimous decision was reached to move forward.
- Mark requested the Town Clerk to post on the website new rates for the next 6 months from National Grid. Ours, under the Community Choice consortium, will not change and will stay at $.0932 through November 2017. National Grid’s winter rate (November 1 through April 30) will be $.0978. This is a much smaller increase than we’ve seen in the recent past. As always, residents have the no penalty option to opt out and in as they wish.
- Robin, in the Assessor’s office is working on receiving an updated quote from Cartographic to place and host the Town’s assessing records on line.
- Submitted to Peter updated speed limits rules for densely settled town roads as per new legislation.
- Mark met on this date with Berkshire Engineering to discuss their work on the Water Department’s required Master Plan for DEP. Mark submitted financial information. Mark noted that the deadline has been extended by the DEP from the end of October to a date undetermined.
- Mark reported a conference call on this date with ACRSD Superintendent, the Business Manager, Tony M and two individuals from the DOE to discuss the MLC formula and how it affects Cheshire and Adams. Both towns are very close to their Target Contribution as determined by the DOE ability to pay/relative wealth formula. Cheshire’s target is 50% and we are at 49%. Adams’ target is 32% and they are at 31%. It appears that neither town will see a major increase next year in the DOE MLC formulate to get us to their target. To Mark, it appears that the disparity between what the two towns assessment last year had to do with the over MLC amount, which is on a strictly headcount basis. From FY ’16 to FY’17, Adams sent 29 fewer students and Cheshire sent two additional students.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted the Weekly Report.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: - Thanked Colin from The Courier for his coverage on early voting and Tammy Daniels of iberkshires.
- Peter will be moving the Automark election equipment on Friday, October 21st.
- Robert reported that the Cheshire Master Plan Committee did not open the meeting on October 13, 2016 due to not having a quorum.
- In an attempt to understand lack of population growth, Robert suggested working on considering having a more robust website so potential home and rental individuals could have a better sense of what Cheshire, MA is all about. Now, most individuals use the internet to first do their research on possible new locations to move to and it is imperative for Cheshire’s site to offer as much information as possible.
- Superintendent Putnum attended the October 13, 2016 meeting and he offered the details for the importance of holding World Cafe’s. Those attending continue to be impressed with the input from Superintendent Putnum and his ability to move forward.
- Reported that the BOS has received three different opinions regarding the change from three (3) to five (5) Selectmen. Further research is required.
- Suggested that Mark prepare a complete Job Description for the position of Superintendent of the Cheshire Highway Department for advertising in December’s job posting sites and The Berkshire Eagle. This planning will allow for an overlay period to acclimate the new hire.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Paul signed the DEP FY17 Small Initiative Grant contract for $500.
- Letter from Massachusetts Historical Commission informing the Town that the Cheshire Town Hall Complex has been voted eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (36 CFR 60).
- DCR Forest Cutting Plan for Nick Mirke on Windsor Road.
TRICK OR TREAT: Monday, October 31, 2016 at 5pm-7pm.
With all business finalized Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30pm; 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