September 26, 2017
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi and Ed St. John IV
Carol motioned to accept the minutes of September 19, 2017 as submitted; 2nd by Robert with a unanimous vote taken.
Residents Eileen Quinn and John Tremblay requested usage of the Cheshire Community Center for a meeting on October 5, 2017 from 6:30PM to 8:00PM for the Appalachian Trail group. The BOS approved and permitted a waiver of the fee. John requested the CCC for the team working together on planning events for the Cheshire 225th Anniversary. Due to the many meetings, Town Clerk requested a calendar be created to keep all apprised of the bookings so there are no double bookings for the center or town rooms.
Resident, Mark Biagini, thanked the BOS and town employees for attending his Dad’s funeral. Robert voiced appreciation of Ralph’s dedication to the Town of Cheshire and his many volunteering position he had served over the years.
Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Submitted the Weekly Activity Log for 9/13/17 – 9/19/17.
- Completed mowing and weed cleaning at the school building property.
- Picked up Ford F550 new flat bed body installed.
- Continuing to ditch dig and clean roadsides.
- Crack sealing Lanesboro Road completed.
- Salt shed is full.
- Second door opener replaced at the shed. Four more openers need to be changed. Electronics are poor after thirty years.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Submitted survey of Administrative position salaries with populations of 35K.
- Spoke with Tom Matuszko at BRPC regarding the application for a grant through the Executive Office of Environmental and Energy Affairs for approximately $20K. BRPC is seeking the BOS approval to go ahead in submitting the grant. The money could go to the BRPC to continue to assist the Town in implementing components of the Master Plan.
- Discussed amendments to zoning by laws regarding Medical and Recreational Marijuana. Mark highly recommended the approval of a Moratorium and then following the State process for passing a bylaw. Robert motioned to approve the creation of a Moratorium which would give the town until December and time to develop a permanent bylaw 2nd by Ed with as unanimous vote taken. The Planning Board will be advised.
- Tax rate approved 9/25/17 at $13.06. Tax bills are being printed now.
- Per request from the Advisory Board, Mark is doing some preliminary work on the costing out re-opening Cheshire School as a K-5 for approximately 200 students.
- Custodian respectfully requests highway clean up after edging sidewalks.
- Received a message from AFSCM representative to schedule negotiating sessions. Mark returned the call and has had no response to date.
- A handout was received from Dr. Putnam asking the BOS to make appointment to the Regional School Agreement Committee meeting. He is seeking 1 Selectmen, 1 Advisory Board, and 1 resident. Adams and Cheshire will have equal numbers on the committee. Dr. Putnam would appreciate the appointments being made by the next School Committee meeting.
- Received calls of compliments for the Lanesborough Road cracks sealed, the Wells Road and Sand Mill Hill Road ditches cleaned, and for the overall clean appearance of the Cheshire school grounds.
7:00PM Selectmen’s Workshop:
- Reviewed the need to make a decision on creating a new policy that would eliminate health insurance for part-time and appointed officials. Carol reminded the board of the time frame needed to advise people so they could obtain coverage elsewhere. Carol read an email from Ed St. John III stating that the town cannot eliminate insurance for elected officials without eliminating it for all town employees. This elimination may cause legal issues. Ed felt it might be difficult to adopt a time card policy to prove elected officials are working under 20 hours per week. She also felt it difficult to believe that officials worked 20 hours during a regular work week.
- Mark is going to research other communities and will submit a report to the BOS.
- Robert suggested offering a higher salary to officials to make up for the difference. Carol noted that consideration would deplete any savings the town had.
- Robert would like to see some of the savings go towards stipends for fire department/EMT volunteers according to calls they attended. “There are many places we could put savings but I would like to do something for them.”
Ed suggested having workshops to address a yearly Agenda, Blighted Properties, the Budget, Planning for Revenue/Expenses, Highway Department/seasonal mowing workers. The concept is to get ahead of issues – to be proactive and not reactive. The creation of a Priority List with dates and deadlines for efficiency is recommended. October 10th will be to discuss further insurance for elected officials; December 5th will be the start of Budget Planning. Time for workshops will be 7PM to closing.
- Regarding the voting for a Union at the Cheshire Highway Department, four (4) voted for it.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: No issues or concerns.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted weekly report.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Ed received an email from Jan Kuniholm with information regarding Greylock Road formerly called West Mountain Road.
- Letter received for Mark Webber from Governor Charles D. Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn E. Polito granting an award through the Awarding Recycling Dividends Program grant of $2,100 through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program.
- Ed will be attending the Selectmen’s Association dinner on October 26, 2017 in Great Barrington.
Cheshire Water Department Superintendent, Travis Delratez, reported to the BOS that on September 13, 2017 the town’s water won a statewide water tasting completion and received the gold in the 12th Annual Rural Water Association Water Taste Testing. Delratez has been invited to attend a completion in Washington, D.C. in February. This will be a completion on the national level. Kudos for a job well done.
With all business finalized, Robert motioned to close the Open Meeting; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken at 8:20PM.
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