Selectmen's Weekly Minutes

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

February 14, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino,  Robert S. Ciskowski, and Carol A. Francesconi  
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Robert read BOS minutes for February 7, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.

Cheshire Historical Commission, Diane Hitter:
- Requested the Town of Cheshire to be aware of the sale of the Mason’s Hall on Church Street.  She presented an overall picture of the historical value and felt it should be considered a, “Town Treasure.” Ms. Hitter wondered if Mark could explore different options to preserve the building. 
- Robert will advise the Master Plan Committee at their February meeting.
- Ms. Hitter thought the sale price was $49K. 
- The Cheshire Historical Commission was thanked for their endless efforts in preserving Cheshire.

Carol:
- Reported that Peter purchased a new plow for $8,400.
- Presently under $4K for salt and sand account.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:  Absent

Town Administrator, Mark Webber: Absent

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Carol:
- Noted Rosanne M. Frieri, Cheshire’s Veterans Agent’s Schedule:

Tuesdays  10:30am-1:00pm  Dalton Town Hall, 464 Main Street, Dalton, MA 01226
Tuesdays  1:00pm-3:30pm   Dalton Senior Center, 50 Field Street, Dalton, MA 01226
Telephone:  413-684-6111  Extension *19

Mail and Correspondence:
- Berkshire Running Center, Pittsfield, MA.  Requested the scheduling of a Steel Rail Half Marathon on  May 21, 2017 and October 8, 2017 from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.  23. Unlawful purchase of any alcoholic beverages by a holder of a 15 license from other than a license holder under 18, 19, 19B, or 19C or from a holder of a special permit to sell issued under 22A. 204CMR 2.05 (2) Permitting an illegality on the licensed premises, to wit:  M.G.L. c. 138.  Akshar Ji Corp. DBA Cheshire Liquor Center.
- Letter from Gailanne M. Cariddi regarding inability to contact Cheshire’s appointed Veterans’ Service Officer.
- Bay State Elevator.  Increase of elevator service to $160.68 a month.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:25PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

February 7, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
                  
Robert read BOS minutes for January 31, 2017. Carol motioned to accept the minutes as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Carol requested better cleaning of sidewalks.
- Peter reported that there will be an overage on the sand/salt account.
- Two (2) plows down.
- With the upcoming storm on Thursday, Carol asked if the Water Department’s plow would be utilized. Peter answered, “It would be a possibility.”

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Mark briefly discussed his weekly submission and Paul read Mark’s Discussion Items for February 7, 2017.
- Mark met with Foresight engineer, Peter, and the Sand Mill Bridge contractor superintendent who will be managing the job for a pre-construction session with the plan to start by the end of this month. The original NOI needs to be forwarded to Foresight so that they can record it.  Presently, Mark is waiting on the revised clerk of works agreement with Foresight.  Peter will then contact DOT to make sure it can be amended into the project’s Chapter 90 contract.
- Awaiting call backs from employment reference calls made.
- Reported that Paul or Carol will be attending the Collin’s Institute meeting on February 8, 2017 at the Plunkett  School.  This is a pre-official presentation for town officials only.  There will be a tour of all District schools on February 11th beginning at 9am.
- Mark will be speaking with Christine regarding the booking of space for and aide of Senator Hinds for a meet and greet sessions.
- Mark updated the BOS on the BRPC housing grant process.  A Public Notice was published in The Berkshire Eagle.  Following last week’s discussion an amendment was included: “Seeking 50 applicants by the 1st of March.”
- Carol noted that she felt the proposal was not directed fully to the rehabilitation of homes as the proposal mentioned many other items.  After a brief discussion Carol felt comfortable in signing the submission. Carol motioned to accept the application as amended; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
- Mark reported that health and dental rates have been set for the next fiscal year and there are no increases.
- Distributed the FY2018 budget request forms.  They are due back on February 28th.
- Discussed the possibility of sharing a Highway Superintendent with Lanesborough.  This will be reviewed.
- Mark will be checking with George Sweet regarding the generator.


Carol:
- Requested the BOS to review the school district’s agreement.  She would then like a meeting with the three (3) school committee members and the BOS.

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  Absent/Snow

BOS:
- Signed a request to the Advisory Board for $10,421.30 to repair the structural integrity at the fire house from the Reserve Fund.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Paul read a flyer “It’s National Read Across America Day”!! Interested participants who would like to share the joy of reading can call the main office of Cheshire Elementary School (413) 732-2298 by February 17, 2017.

Resident, Peter Traub:
- Questioned if the minimum wage would be going up?  Carol’s response was, “No idea”.
- Peter wondered if it would have been better to have an outside company complete a salary study.  Carol did not feel that was necessary due the experience of BOS members and the Cheshire Town Administrator.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:20PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

 

January 31, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino,  Robert S. Ciskowski, and Carol A. Francesconi  
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Robert read BOS minutes for January 17, 2017 by Mark Webber.  Carol motioned to accept the minutes as read; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.  Robert read the BOS minutes for January 31, 2017.  Carol motioned to accept with the addition of a “One member of the Planning Board for a three year term” be added according to Town Clerk; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Carol:
- Requested Mark to complete reference checks for the open position of Cheshire Highway Superintendent.
Carol is working on a benefit package and a possible decision will be made after references are checked.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre:
- Updated the BOS on the maintenance of town trucks.  Two one ton trucks are down.

 Town Administrator, Mark Webber:  Absent
- Paul read Mark’s weekly report.
- Mark met with Nick Wildman (DER) and Peter to review several items.  Peter and Nick visited the dam.  A formal project outline should be received in a few weeks.  Presently, the project is a “provisional project” and will be until the next fiscal year when funding in place.  Engineering work will continue and Peter felt the project should score well.
- Wrote to and spoke with Representative Cariddi’s aide to learn more about the process and anticipated timeline for legislative action on the proposed change from three (3) to five (5) Selectmen.
- Senator Hinds’ office sent a handbook guide for home rule petitions.
- Spoke with Steve Mack at Foresight Engineering regarding the Sand Mill Bridge project.  He is going to arrange for a pre-construction meeting for next Tuesday with the contractor. Mark also reported that he wanted to reduce the project oversight for the clerk of works from the proposed 40 hours per week to twenty.  Mr. Mack will revise that agreement.
- Two (2) state approved lake permits arrived. 
- Checking references for Cheshire Highway Superintendent position.
- Complaint received regarding the Malloy property and manure being piled next to the river and the burying of horses within a 100’ foot distance from a neighbor’s well and other neighbor digging a drainage ditch.

7:00PM
Patricia Mullins, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Community Development Program Manager.
“Public Discussion” for the Community Development Strategy (CDS) grant.
- Representing the committee were  Eileen Quinn, E. St. John IV, and Peter Traub.
Ms. Mullins reviewed the status of the DRAFT submission.  She reviewed the Purpose; Summary of Strategies and Activities; Water System Master Plan;  Berkshire Engineering Inc., 2017; Community Compact, 2016; Complete Streets Police, Town of Cheshire, 2016; Cheshire Community Association 2015, Watershed Land Wind Power Feasibility Study, 2015; Zoning By-Laws, Planning Board 2015; Municipal Community Development Goals; Municipal Community Development Priority List; Strategy to Address the Priority List with CDBG and Non-CDBG Funds over the next 1-5 Years; and Consistency with the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles.
- Comments from those attending included the need for further clarity in discussing handicap accessibility in town buildings and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA )
- Paul noted that “Recent figures from HUD show that 75% of residents in the CDP area have low to moderate income-the highest percentage in the state of Massachusetts.”
- The BOS will be reviewing the document submitted and will be prepared for signage on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.
- Ms. Mullins requested a copy of this evening’s minutes, once approved and signed, as well as a copy of the Agenda.  All present signed in for state documentation.
NOTE:  A Public Hearing on the Community Development Strategy (CDS) will take place on February 21, 2017 at the Select Board meeting. 

Carol:
- Read a response from Town Counsel, E. St. John III, regarding a Resolution received from Peter Traub. “This is a resolution that indicates that Cheshire is an age-friendly community.  It may enable Cheshire to receive certain grants for seniors.  It does indicate that Cheshire would be supportive of certain items that may be controversial, such as “affordable and accessible housing”.  Does it mean that the Board of Selectmen are bound to enact on certain proposals?  No.  But it does mean that the Board will be supportive of or advocate for seniors in Cheshire.”  The Resolution was signed by the BOS.

Chief of Police, Tim Garner:  Weekly Report Submitted.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:
 - Discussed ADA compliancy in the Town of Cheshire.
- Ms. Mullins will review the language in the DCS proposal and reminded all that there is always room for improvement.
- Discussed possible up-coming by-laws and moratoriums for Marijuana Dispensaries. Carol suggested the information be given to Donna Defino, Cheshire Planning Board Chairman.


The Cheshire Board of Selectmen: Written response to Adams and the Collins Report and closing schools:
“The Cheshire Board of Selectmen is disappointed with the preemptive and premature statements from Adams town government regarding the potential closing of one or the other of our District’s elementary schools.  We prefer to hold comment until February 8th when the Collins Report is released.  We gladly signed on with the Town of Adams and the School District to participate in this important study.  Furthermore, we trust the process that was agreed to and have no intention of prejudicing the report beforehand.”

Resident, John Tremblay:
- John reported that the Cheshire Community Association won a grant from the 2017 Northern Berkshire Cultural Council for Town of Cheshire Block Parties. The amount requested was $2,200 and were awarded $1,845.
- Also awarded to the Cheshire Community Association (CCA) was $600 for a proposed “Art on the Trail” project for an art mural to be placed on a private structure adjacent to the Ashuwilliticook Trail.
THE BOS congratulated the group on his efforts and continued success.

Mail and Correspondence:
- Letter dated January 18, 2017 from Betsy Friedberg, National Register Director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  “Cheshire Town Hall complex, 80-84 Church Street, 23 Depot Street, Cheshire, MA. 
The nomination has been voted eligible by the State Review Board and has been signed by the State Historic Preservation Officer.  The owners of the property were notified of pending State Review Board consideration 30 to 45 days before the meeting and were afforded the opportunity to comment.”

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

January 24, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Due to Mark’s absence, the minutes were not available for the previous week.

Briefly discussed the interviewing schedule for the Town Highway Supervisor position to take place on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 10:30; 11:00; and 11:30am at the Cheshire Town Hall.  Three applicants have been scheduled.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre: 
- Daily maintenance of trucks continues.
- Updated the BOS on equipment replacement and the need for a strategy plan to be in place.  For instance, the grader was purchased in 1987 at a cost of $110K.  A new one now could cost $370K to $380K.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber:  Absent

Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted the Weekly Report.

COA, Peter Traub:
- Submitted Resolution for Adopting An Age Friendly Community Strategy in Cheshire, Massachusetts.  Carol will check with town counsel for a better understanding of the legality and responsibility of signing such a document.  To be further discussed.
- Peter requester Peter L. to check the dishwasher at the center.  It may be operator error, but Peter’s experience could possibly elevate calling for service.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: 
- Informed the BOS that Senator Hines will be having an aide hold an open meeting at the Cheshire Community Center on February 7, 2017 from 11am to 1pm. 
- Reported that the BRPC requested to place on the BOS Agenda a meeting on 1/31/17 regarding the Community Development Grant a “public discussion” at 7pm.
- Requested a Community Development Grant Hearing take place on February 21, 2017 at 7pm during the BOS open meeting.  Attendance and meeting minutes will be required for documentation. 
- Submitted “Offices for the Cheshire Annual Town Election:

   One Selectman for a three year term
   One Assessor for a three year term
   One Board of Health Member for three year term
   One Cemetery Commissioner for three year term
   One Water Commissioner for three year term
   One Planning Board Member for five year term
   One Planning Board Member for three year term
   One Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee Member from Cheshire
   Two Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee Members from Adams

Nomination papers are available at the Town Clerk’s Office.  Deadline to return nomination papers is Monday, March 13, 2017 by 5:00 pm. 

The Cheshire Annual Election date is Monday, May 1, 2017.

Mail and Correspondence:

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 7:30PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
                  

Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

 

January 17, 2017
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino (PA),  Robert S. Ciskowski (RC), and Carol A. Francesconi (CF)  
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier

Board reviews and acts on weekly invoices and warrants.

6:15 PM: Adams Cheshire Regional School District (ACRSD) Superintendent Dr. Putnam visits with the Board and provides an update, including the following items: the Collins Institute report will give options and not recommendations in its eventual findings. The Superintendent will then offer his pluses and minuses on those recommendations, supported by cost and related data. It will be up to the School Committee to choose or not to adopt any of those recommendations; the School Committee will be holding weekly budget meetings from now through March and encourages public participation.

Board informs Superintendent Putnam of ongoing parking issues at the high school, specifically illegal parking in handicap spots and fire lanes and the moving of parking signs. Dr. Putnam will follow up.

RC reads the minutes from the January 10, 2017 meeting. CF makes a motion to accept as read. PA seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Fire Chief Tom Francesconi asks the Board for an update on the emergency generator to be placed at the Fire Station. Town Administrator explains the process to date and that the next step is to get an estimate to install and connect the unit to the Fire Station now that the unit has been inspected and deemed to be in good condition. Town Administrator urges patience while we complete the next step. Then a determination can be made whether to proceed or purchase a new generator. Wiring Inspector George Sweet has agreed to furnish that estimate. Fire Chief expresses his frustration for how long its taken to get a generator in place and states that he will not take responsibility if the Emergency Operations Center is not operational in the event of power outage. RC expresses his frustration stating that there has been resistance from the beginning for the Army surplus generator.

Highway Superintendent Peter LeFebvre is out plowing and will not attend tonight's meeting.

Town Administrator Mark Webber gives his weekly report, including the following items:

– Purchased a phone this morning for the Animal Control Officer and got it activated through ATT. It is now in service and can be passed along to Myron.
– Becky and I met with the Town's financial advisor this morning for general discussions on Town borrowing. All is in order.
– Had a visit from a Board of Health member who requested that I conduct a survey of surrounding like sized communities on their Transfer Station hours of operation.
– Met with Peter this morning and he's fixed the drain in the furnace room in order to install a slop sink. Following a bit of research, we determined that the cheapest practical unit is available at Carr Hardware for under $200.
– I spoke with the south county electrician who had worked on the conversion set up on another surplus emergency generator to get a sense of what it would cost us to do the same set up at the Fire Department. He said that there were just too many variables for him to give me a price over the phone and Cheshire is beyond his typical geographic work range. He recommended having a local electrician look at it and give us a price.
– Received a contract from the town's engineer for the Sand Mill Bridge project along with a contract for construction services by the engineer during construction. These are 2 separate agreements. Bridge contract to be signed by the Selectmen Chair and sent to SW for their signature. Lynne also has to sign this before mailing and attest to sufficient funds. The second is for Foresight engineering services during construction. Not sure where the funding for this portion comes from. I don't believe that it was included in the original Chapter 90 paperwork. Professional construction oversight services are not a requirement but would be highly recommended on a job like this.
– Received a call from a resident who has been approached by a large scale solar developer to place a 1mW array on a section of his farm. The owner did not solicit the call. He wanted to know how the Town would feel about it. I said that his neighbors would have an opportunity to weigh in during the required public hearing for a Planning Board special permit. He's still considering whether or not he'll go forward with it.

CF provides an updated payment and cost schedule for aquatic weed treatment at Cheshire Lake as provided by Ray Fisher.

PA reads the November 16, 2016 Council on Aging meeting minutes.

Board reviews weekly correspondence.

RC asks attendees Ed St John IV and Peter Traub how their Community Development Strategy Committee meetings are going. Both report that meetings are going well and much of the work is already in place from parallel Master Plan activities.

RC asks if there has been any update on street light conversion to LED lights. Town is waiting on inventory and proposal from National Grid. RC offers to help out.

RC asks Town Administrator to follow up with Rep. Cariddi's office on timeline and procedure for the change from 3 to 5 selectmen.

RC apologizes to Board for frustrations expressed earlier in the meeting and states that he is open minded and will consider any generator proposal that is in the best interest of the Town.

PA suggests that the Town must consider not offering health insurance to newly elected officials as has been past policy. The costs are getting too expensive.

CF asks that work get started on salary surveys prior to the next budget and to begin with elected officials.

7:40 PM: There being no further business to come before the Board, CF makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. RC seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds


January 10, 2016
6:30PM

In Attendance: Paul F. Astorino, Robert S. Ciskowski and, Carol A. Francesconi
Absent:       
Press: iBerkshires and The Courier
                  
Robert read the Board of Selectmen meeting minutes for Tuesday, January 3, 2017; Carol accepted as presented; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken. 

Town Accountant advised the BOS that the State mileage is 53.5 cents. Paul motioned that the mileage will be 53.5 cents per mile for the town of Cheshire; 2nd by Carol with a unanimous vote taken.

Carol reported on her findings regarding a recent report against the Cheshire Animal Control Officer and the handling of a pet pig and a raccoon.  Carol spoke with both the Cheshire Police Chief and the Cheshire Animal Control Officer to obtain their interpretation of the handling of two possibly rabid animals.  The owner of the pig called and reported it had bitten a family person and a dog.  The owner wanted it removed from the home. It was done in a legal and safe manner.  It was not disposed of on private property but was taken to a local
veterinarian and appropriately handled according to the owner, the law and ethics.
- In regard to the raccoon in front of the Jill Balawander’s business on Route 8.  She reported that it was hit by a car, covered, and taken away. Carol stated that the Cheshire Animal Control Officer position is an on-call position.

Highway Department, Peter LeFebvre: 
- Continuing to experience mechanical difficulties with trucks.

Town Administrator, Mark Webber: 
- Spoke with out of town Cheshire Highway Superintendent applicant regarding relocation.  He said he was still interested in interviewing.
- A Cheshire resident called regarding the recent information received from BRPC and housing projects.  Mark suggested she call BRPC to be placed on the list of interested residents as they will be the administrator of the grant.
- Wrote a letter to Attorney Grandchamp regarding his findings about Mr. Clairmont’s  lawyers difference of opinion on the Clairmont fence issue.
- Requested the Board if they would appoint a Community Development Strategy Committee.
- Reported that Interim Superintendent Dr. Putnam would like to meet on January 17, 2017 at 6:15-6:30pm. Collins Institute information will be put on the Town’s website.
- With Becky’s assistance documents for the Bushika net metering billing to Lodestar.
- Submitted Animal Control 2017 Designation paperwork for the BOS to sign.  Carol made a motion to appoint Myron Proper as the designated Animal Control Officer; 2nd by Paul with a unanimous vote taken.
- Spoke with Tom at BRPC and the upcoming DLTA grant.  He suggested that we team up with Hinsdale and apply for a guidance document for removing dilapidated housing.  Both communities have expressed a need.  With the Board’s approval, Mark would like to contact Hinsdale to start the process.  There would be no funding for the removals, just a layout of the process and identification of avenues for funding. Originally, Carol and Paul opposed the concept.  However, after more discussion and understanding, it was agreed to go forward.  Robert reminded all that the Cheshire Master Plan Committee found that there is an “Issue with our image” and the Committee is greatly concerned about the issue of declining population.
- The first meeting of the Complete Streets Committee meeting was held today and it was decided to send out an RFP to three (3) contractors seeking scope of work proposals, which would be funded for up to $50K under the program.  The chosen vendor would identify transportation gaps and needs and from there, a project or projects would be chosen and then the up to $400K construction grant would be applied for.  The Committee developed a few projects that may fit the intent of the program for funding.

Carol A. Francesconi:
- Signed a permit (CCC section) for a garage for Mark Warner.
- Carol motioned to appoint E. St. John IV, Eileen Quinn, and Peter Traub to the Community Development Committee.  Letters of Appointment will be mailed and their terms will expire after the application is complete; 2nd Robert, with a unanimous vote taken.

Police Chief, Timothy Garner:  Submitted the Weekly Report.

Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:  No issues or concerns.

Carole H. will schedule Cheshire Highway Superintendent interviewing times for Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 10:30am; 11:00am; and 11:30am at the Cheshire Town Hall.

Mail and Correspondence:

Paul motioned to go into Executive Session:  “To consider the discipline or dismissal of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.”
Roll Call:  Paul F. Astorino, Yes; Robert S. Ciskowski, Yes; and Carol A. Francesconi, Yes.

With all business finalized, Paul motioned to close the meeting at 8:02PM; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken. The 6:30pm Open Meeting will not continue.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary

_______________________________________________________________
Paul F. Astorino, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk
Carol A. Francesconi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds