September 19, 2017
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi and Ed St. John IV
Carol motioned to accept the minutes of September 12, 2017 as submitted; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted Weekly Activity Log for 9/13/17-9/19/17. Mowing and ditch digging continues.
- Highway Department employees shared coverage of the Cheshire Transfer Station on: 9/18/17.
- Five hundred and twenty eight tons of salt has been received with 100 tons from last year in storage.
- Discussed the purchase of a new loader.
- Assisted Route 116, Maple Drive residents regarding the digging of a trench without permits.
- Ed motioned to approve Blair’s recommendation to purchase a John Deer loader for $196,500; 2nd by Carol with a unanimous vote taken. No bidding process is required.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Scanlon Associates, the Town’s auditors presented the Fiscal Year 2016 financial audit and management report. The town accountant and treasurer received copies and the Advisory Board and Departments that are noted in the Management Report will receive copies also. Copies submitted to the BOS this evening. The auditors will address comments and recommendations with the BOS in their exit interview. Robert, as Chairman will need to sign an audit document attesting that all information was willingly furnished to the auditors.
- Workmen’s Compensation claim sent to the town’s insurance carrier for a minor injury to one of the Cemetery Department employees. There were no lost wages and the employee has returned to work.
- Complimentary letter received praising the response and compassion of our Town Clerk, Rick Salvi, and Police Officer Carlo for their response to assist an elderly resident who was in distressed health and living conditions.
- Contacted the union representative to begin the collective bargaining. All other procedural steps have been approved by the State to start the process.
- Advised the BOS about the building code involvement of possibly moving town offices to the Cheshire Elementary School. Mark suggested talking with Gerry Garner for the impacts and associated costs if that’s a direction of interest.
- Tax rate increased $.67/per thousand or 5.4% because the amount raised on the tax levy increased $221,752 or 6% and property values increased only .04% (less than one-half percent) and local receipts were down about $25,000 year to year.
- The Advisory Board requested Mark to set up an email address for their board.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson:
- Requested the BOS to sign the Special State Election Primary Warrant for Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at the Cheshire Community/Senior Center from 7:00AM to 8:00PM.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Robert read a letter written by Town Counsel, Ed St. John III.
“I am writing to you on behalf of the Town of Cheshire in my capacity as its Town Counsel. At the Rent Control Board hearing held on May 23, 2016, you were granted a rent increase. A portion of that increase ($5.12/month) was approved for paving of Park roads. To date, there has been no paving. On August 20, 2017, the Rent Control Board wrote to you seeking an update on the paving. There has been no response to date. As I am sure you know, years ago, the Board had allowed an increase to Pine Valley MHC with a portion to be set aside to install a new septic system. Many years later, the Board learned that the money that should have been set aside had been spent on septic system pumping and not a septic system upgrade. This resulted in a health crisis for the Park tenants. I hope that you can appreciate the fact that the Board has little patience for delays of this nature, particularly where these delays impact the habitability of the Park. Among the options the Rent Control Board may consider are the following: a hearing on whether to rescind the May 23, 2016 rent increase retroactive to May 23, 2016. Unless I hear from you within two weeks of this letter that you are complying with the paving portion of the order approving the rental increase, I will advise the Board as to steps to rescind any rental increase. Letter dated: September 19, 2017.”
- Forest Cutting Plan; Cheshire Rod and Gun Club, Curran Road.
- Chapter 90 Project Requesting using funds made available from Contract #50762. For: Sealing of the cracks.
- Right to Farm Disclosure form for Darius and Arica Griffin, 187 Wells Road, Cheshire, MA.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted weekly report.
Issued two (2) one (1) day liquor licenses to Wandering Star Brewing Co. at Whitney’s Farm Stand. License was picked up on Friday, September 22, 2017. $100.00 paid.
- Spoke with Michael Deep, owner of Kitchen Brook Mobile Home Park, on Route 8. Trees have been trimmed for the renter concerned about trees falling on her home.
- Carol spoke with Hoosac Business Manager, E. Schneider regarding four (4) accounts with National Grid. All accounts are now in the name of Town of Cheshire. Made arrangements with Alarms of the Berkshires to have the Police Department as first responder should the school alarm be activated. Blair and Carol will be called after the police.
- Suggested a change in the BOS Agenda to 6PM-6:30PM for the signing of the Warrant. Have 6:30PM to 7PM designated for reports and public comment. 7PM to 8PM will be devoted to a Business Workshop. Ed’s concept is to have time scheduled for the next few months to work with the budget and other issues and concerns.
Cheshire Advisory Board:
Attending: Justin Kruszyna, Dick Scholz, John Tremblay, Kathleen Levesque.
- Inquired on the status of changing from three (3) to five (5) Selectmen. The group was informed that it cannot be placed on a state ballot and it has to be on an election of offices. Thus, May 2018.
- It was suggested to place Advisory Board minutes on the Town website. They should be submitted for the Town Clerk to submit to the IT person.
- Ed questioned if the BOS had any thoughts about who could fill the two (2) open positions on their board.
- Ed questioned the timeline, goals, minutes, and how it was going for the School Reuse Committee.
- Justin was wondering what the town wants. What will be the cost for the school to remain a school. He understands that there are options for the school; but wondered what the costs would be. He felt the townspeople should be asked what they want to happen with the building.
- Reminded the group that the amendment change is a long process. To dissolve and leave the agreement, both towns would have to vote. The Advisory Board questioned if at the Reuse meeting any suggestions had been made to reopen the building as a school. Carol voiced that there was a broad spectrum of good opinions and each member will be speaking to townspeople to get more opinions.
- Reminded all that there is a process. All opinions will then have to go to the BOS.
- Can the Reuse Committee put it out to bid?
- Ed suggested looking to other towns that have been in a similar situation to have the costs outlined.
- There is a process for having a new school in Cheshire.
- Believes more discussion is needed. It is important to do a study. He noted that Savoy has their own school. Check into having one (1) Superintendent; one (1) Business Manager; one (1) budget; and consolidation of costs.
- It’s been an interesting year.
- Ed appreciated the time of the Selectmen and stated that we are all on common ground. Robert:
- Noted that the town is now in stewardship of the building and the highway department is providing the maintenance for mowing and hauling an old picnic table away. In the winter they will have to plow and sand the parking areas. Justin:
- Wondered if any other townspeople inquired about being on the Town’s 225th Anniversary Committee. Carol will advise Justin if someone does.
8:00PM The discussion ended.
Resident, Christopher Wood:
- Inquired about the closing of a local church for sleeping and showering for hikers of the Appalachian Trail. Carol explained that it was a building code violation as legally sprinklers may be needed if the use continued. Additionally, some hikers had small stoves and that was a fire violation. Carol said they can
Resident, Christopher Wood: continued
use the facility during the day time but no one can sleep there. Mr. Wood questioned if they could utilize the Cheshire Community Center. The same issues and concerns would apply.
- Mr. Wood inquired if arrangements could be made to give a tour of the Cheshire School building for townspeople who had attended the school. Robert did not feel it could be possible at this time.
- Mr. Wood reported lack of maintenance of flags hung for Memorial Day. Several flags have fallen and he felt someone should be in charge of taking them down as many are tattered. Alternatively, they could be fixed and or replaced.
With all business finalized, Robert motioned to close the Open Meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken at 8:48PM.
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