March 12, 2019
6:00PM Open Meeting
In Attendance: Carol A. Francesconi, Robert S. Ciskowski
Board conducts the business session of the meeting by reviewing and approving weekly payroll and vendor warrants.
Carol opens the regular portion of the meeting.
Carol read the minutes and made a motion to accept the Board’s March 5, 2019 meeting minutes. Robert seconds the motion. A unanimous vote was taken.
Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane: Submitted weekly report for 3/6/19-3/12/19.
- Salt shed at 100% capacity.
- Issues with thawing and refreezing of roads.
- Truck #3. At Delurey for replacement of oil pan. The pan is rusted through and will be replaced with a stainless steel pan as the stock one was only three (3) years old. The life expectancy of Truck #3 is another seven (7) or more years.
- Pothole repairs will continue and opening up drainage over the next few days as the wither forecast is calling for warm rain.
- Winter sand available to residents at town garage.
- Blair updated the BOS on the hiring procedures for a Cheshire Highway Department Laborer. All members of the interviewing process, Blair Crane, Ed St. John IV, and Rober Ciskowski, recommended hiring Mark Walden for the position. Robert noted that, “All candidates bought various experiences.” Carol motioned to accept the recommendation to hire Mark Walden; seconded by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken. Blair will contact Mark Walden and will complete necessary paperwork.
Mr. Berry, Green Communities Advisor and Carolyn Massa, Representative from BRPC, addressed the BOS regarding the need for a Green Communities Designated Checklist. He reported that the Cheshire Planning Board is working diligently on designating a “Light Industrial” Zone; an Energy Audit is being developed with Town Accountant, Lynn Lemanski, and Ed St. John IV, Town Administrator. Additionally, the Stretch Code will have to be adopted at the June 10, 2019 Annual Town Meeting. Typically before a Annual Meeting, the Town Administrator will hold a informational meeting to review any questions or concerns. Also noted was the fact that BRPC is guiding the process from start to completion. Ed noted that the three (3) Criteria are being worked on: Zoning; Stretch Code; and a Fuel Efficiency Policy.
Town Administrator, Ed St. John IV: Weekly report submitted for March 12, 2019.
- Reported acceptance of a grant to offset some of the costs associated with changing over our streetlights to LED’s was accepted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for provide funding for Cheshire’s LED streetlight project under the second round of our Rapid Retrofit grant program with the DOER. The gross project cost to be $140K which includes an estimated purchase cost from National Grid, which will need to be made available up front as both the MAPC/DOER incentive and the utility incentive3 are provided as rebates after project completion. The next cost these two (2) rebates is anticipated to be $93K. Ed reported that there would be a two (2) year payback and that the payback is enticing. This includes all installations. For replacements the town can hire out. Robert recommended a road trip to view the LED lights used in North Adams as all agreed there is a difference in the lights and the lighting is not what residents are familiar with.
- Installed VADAR computer system. Significant improvement for working on the budget.
- In answer to Selectmen Ciskowski’s question last week regarding the prevailing wage for snow removal. Ed answered: “No, they do not.” “Generally, prevailing wage laws apply to construction of public works by a public entity. There are some exceptions to these criterions, but none of the exceptions apply to snow removal. However, per an email Ed received from the Division of Labor Standards, water system would be conducive to construction as defined as an “addition/alteration” and as such, would be subject to the prevailing wage laws.”
- Updated and submitted The Cheshire Employee Handbook.
- First draft of the FY2020 budget submitted to the BOS.
Resident Justin Kruszyna:
- Presented the BOS documentation from his research on odors emitted from outdoor marijuana processing. Mr. Kruszyna stated: “We are here to maintain a quality of life in Town.” He proceeded to offer documentation from other outdoor marijuana cultivation sites and the problems associated with that type of project. He presented horrific documentation regarding the smells emitted. He voiced that the cultivation process stinks and is similar to a skunk smell. Documentation showed health and breathing issues associated as well as children not being able to be outside, adults no longer able to sit outside or garden. The odor was strong enough to be endured a mile away. Mr. Kruszyna asked for assistance in having the Town write a ordinance so the Stafford Hill area can remain with a quality of life they have. He also stated there would be a significant drop in property values. The ordinance could seek to restrict all projects to be indoors. (Mr. Jason Levesque and Mr. M. Miles were in attendance.)
- The BOS accepted the documentation and will do their research for a discussion next Tuesday.
Cheshire Water Department Members:
- Discussed their need for an increase in the FYI 2020 budget and the Administrative Consent Order and Notice of Noncompliance received from the MassDEP. Rick reviewed the steps the Water Department is taking in order to be in compliance. Robert questioned if Kitchen Brook could be used as a backup. The answer was it can be used as a backup but you cannot drink it. Once all compliance issues are met, the department will report back to the BOS.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: No issues or concerns.
Cheshire Police Chief, Tim Garner: Weekly report submitted.
Mail and Correspondence:
- Nomination papers for Inspector of Animals from the Department of Agricultural Resources. Carol motioned to appoint Myron Proper as the Inspector of Animals, seconded by Robert. A unanimous vote was taken.
Issued a One Day Liquor License for the Cheshire Rod and Gun Club. Dates: March 15, 2019 and March 25, 2019. $100.00
Inquiry from The Berkshire Eagle:
- Questioned why the Interim Town Administrator was contracted before the 90 day period andcontracted for three (3) years. Carol: “He is doing an excellent job. He is very impressive.” Robert agreed and said, “He hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped yet. There was no reason to wait the 90 days. We wanted continuity and it was a good way to get it.”
- Motioned to go into Executive Session at 7:55PM and to not reconvene the 6:30PM meeting.
A unanimous vote was taken. “To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate, if the chair declares that an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the public body.” The 6:30PM meeting will not reconvene.
- Carol A. Francesconi, Yes; and Robert S. Ciskowski, Yes.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
Carol A. Francesconi, Chairman
Robert S. Ciskowski, Clerk