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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — March 29, 2010—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall.

Call to order: John called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Other members present: Joe Judd and Bob Manners.

Media Present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent

Noteworthy News:

  • Governor Deval Patrick declared a statewide State of Emergency and mobilized the National Guard in response to the impact of heavy rains.
  • Air force Reservist and Superintendent of M.T.R.H.S.D., Michael Buoniconti must report to Westover Air force base on a full-time basis. He intends to maintain his role as school superintendent while away.
  • Mohawk High School Principal, Brian Beck has accepted a Principal's position in Athol. Lynn Dole will serve as Interim Principal until a replacement is hired.
  • Members of the Selectboard extended their condolences to the family of William Valvo of Bardwells Ferry Road. Bill served as Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for several years.

Department Liaison Reports:
Dog Licensing -- the last day to license dogs without penalty is Wednesday, March 31st. The Town Clerk will be available on Wednesday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Residents must provide proof of rabies vaccination.

Nomination Papers for Election -- nomination papers for the town's June 14th election are available in the Town Clerk's office.

Highway Sweeper -- the Highway Department's 1950's vintage street sweeper suffered irreparable engine failure last week. Utilizing local resources, the Highway Superintendent was able to locate a surplus "used" motor from the Greenfield Department of Public Works at no charge.

7:15 p.m. Jamie Godfrey, Shelburne Senior Center RE: Long Range Strategic Planning (Chris Meyers, Shelburne's representative to the Council on Aging was also present) -- Jamie appeared before the Board to answer any lingering questions that may have surfaced since his last presentation and to seek the Board's approval of the overall plan. Jamie reported that he has attended follow-up meetings in the towns of Ashfield, Buckland, and Colrain and to date has received approvals from Ashfield and Buckland. Once approved by all four member towns, the strategic planning group will finalize the document based on feedback received, publish it, and move forward with implementation. Following a lengthy discussion, Bob brought forth a motion to approve the strategic plan as presented. Joe seconded the motion and asked for discussion. Joe wanted assurance that adoption of the plan would not implicate the town financially. Jamie emphasized that the plan is merely the framework for implementation; there is no financial impact associated with its' adoption. Motion voted; passed unanimously.

8:00 p.m. Finance Committee RE: FY'2011 Budget Review -- no one from the Finance Committee attended the meeting. The Board took the opportunity to discuss the budget overview and the impact on the overall tax rate. At present, preliminary numbers suggest a potential $.20 increase on the tax rate however; there are several variables that remain questionable (school debt, new growth, local aid, and local receipts). The Selectboard has yet to decide how they want to finance the Mohawk School District's capital debt (stabilization verses debt exclusion; or a split between the two). Before making a decision, they would like to know more about the potential impact on the average tax bill. The Board scheduled a budget working session for Wednesday, April 7th at 6:00 p.m. with the Finance Committee.

Old Business:
Energy Committee -- John reported that the Energy Committee held their second meeting last week meeting to discuss their overall objectives. The Committee will host Siemen's Industry, Inc. on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. to review the results of the town's commercial grade energy audit. Using the results of the commercial grade audit as a tool, the Committee intends to develop a comprehensive strategy that encompasses all of the town's buildings in a multi-phased manner. The Energy Committee will host a public hearing on Monday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. at which time they will make a presentation and seek public input.

New Business:
Zoning Board of Appeals Resignation/Appointments:
Resignation of William Sweeney -William Sweeney has requested that the Selectboard accept his letter of resignation effective as soon as a successor is appointed. Bill indicated in his letter that he is willing to serve as an Alternate member. Joe brought forth a motion to accept Bill's resignation with regret. Bob seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Appointment of John Pollard as Full Member -- Zoning Board Chairman, Joe Palmeri requested that the Selectboard appoint Alternate member, John Pollard to serve as a full-time member. Acting on the Chairman's recommendation Joe brought forth a motion to appoint John Pollard as a full-time member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Appointment of William Sweeney as an Alternate Member -- Joe brought forth a third and final motion to appoint William Sweeney as an Alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Motion seconded by Bob. Motion passed unanimously.

Wind Turbines -- Western Mass Electric Company is looking for towns willing to provide test sites for the potential installation of wind turbines. Energy Committee member and WMECO representative John Walsh asked if the Selectboard would like him to pursue this opportunity on behalf of the town. Members of the Selectboard agreed that it was a worthwhile endeavor.
Honorary Citizenship to our Sister Village of Mutianyu -- representatives from the towns of Shelburne and Buckland will be traveling to Mutianyu, China April 14th through April 26th. Organizers of the trip have suggested honoring the four individuals who pioneered the "Sister Village' concept with honorary certificates of citizenship. The fours individuals are: Julie Upton Wang, her husband Wang Peiming, Jim Spear and his wife Tang Liang. Following a brief discussion, Bob brought forth a motion to honor the above-mentioned four individuals with honorary citizenship certificates. Joe seconded the motion and suggested that Susan Silvester Samoriski be included on the list of recipients. Everyone agreed. Motion carried unanimously.

Bill Ennen RE: Public Forum Feedback -- Bill sent a letter to the Selectboard thanking them for convening the recent forum to seek guidance and ideas from the town's citizens. He indicated that he appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the issues facing the town, as well as the opportunity to hear comments of others. He also provided his thoughts on the various topics discussed (long term borrowing, energy upgrades, highway maintenance, and the police department).

Elaine Parmett, Bridge of Flowers Committee RE: Letter of Thanks -- Elaine's letter offered thanks to both the Selectboard and the Chief of Police for their dedication and support last season and in the past during some difficult times due to vandalism and theft on the Bridge of Flowers.

Public Comments: none

Adjournment: Motion made by Bob to adjourn the meeting at 8:56 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary