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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Williamstown Town Manager's Report

12:00AM / Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Williamstown Town Manager's 3/26 Report
This information is provided by Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin

Finance Department

Town officials have approved twenty-eight grants for Fuel Efficient Motor Vehicles totaling $4,071. Sixteen owners have received grants equal to 75% of their motor vehicle excise tax amount at an average of $193. Twelve owners have received grants equal to 50% of their motor vehicle excise tax amount at an average of $82. The application rate is somewhat surprising as records indicate that there are in the neighborhood of 130 eligible vehicles registered in town.

Real estate tax bills totaling $5,860,730 were mailed on Thursday, March 15, to 2,791 property owners. Personal property tax bills totaling $87,914 were also mailed to 83 property owners.

Excise tax bills were due on Friday, March 16. Of the 5,023 bills issued for $503,562 about 15% or 753 bills totaling $77,775 remain outstanding. Demands for those bills were mailed last Friday, March 23.

Town Clerk Mary C. Kennedy

The 2007 dog licenses are now being issued and should be renewed by April 1.

The Town Election ballot is now closed and the following residents will be on the ballot for the May 8 Annual Town Election: Moderator – Stanley Parese; Selectmen – Philip Guy, Dudley Bahlman, Tom Costley, and Ronald Turbin; Elementary School Committee – David Backus and Margaret McComish; Library Trustees – Karen Lartin and Robert Stegeman; Housing Authority – Kathleen Thompson; McCann School Committee – James Gazzaniga

The deadline to register to vote at both the Annual Town Election on May 8 and the Annual Town Meeting on May 15 is Wednesday, April 18, at 8 p.m..

Council On Aging

The AARP TAX Assistance program continues to run smoothly with many locals taking advantage of this free program. While special attention is paid to seniors, the program is open to all who need help filling and filing their 2006 income tax. Assistance is available from 6-9 on Tuesday evening and 9-noon on Sunday. Advance appointments are required; call the Harper Center at 458-8250 for information.

Seniors will celebrate the arrival of spring with a cookout and performance by the Aladdin’s on Tuesday, March 27. The food will be served at noon, the band will play at 1:00, and everyone will have a good time all day. Contact the Harper Center for information.

On Tuesday, April 3, the Harper Center will be closed for programs until 4 p.m. while the floors are stripped and waxed. The van will run and staff will be present to answer questions or help out as need.

Inspection Services

The building permit for the Williams College South Academic Building has been issued, meaning that both the North and South Academic buildings have been permitted now.

The first meeting of the Community Preservation Committee and the Planning Board to consider a possible Open Space Residential Development by-law with the assistance of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, March 29, at 8:30 a.m. here at the Municipal Building.

The Planning Board voted to recommend the ATM article rezoning the Photech site to GR-1 at their meeting on March 13. Another article to create a Rural Business overlay zone on two properties on Green River Road, including Five Corners, was withdrawn by the applicant(s) but can not be removed from the ATM warrant.

Comprehensive Environmental, Inc. of Milford, MA will act as the Conservation Commission’s consultant for review of the Hydrological Report submitted by Gale Associates on behalf of Harriman-West Airport. Their report should be completed by March 31 for consideration by the Commission on April 12.

Police Department

At the invitation of the Massachusetts State Police, Chief Kyle Johnson and Sgt. Paul Thompson attended an informational meeting on March 22 at the Adams Library. This meeting addressed (i) the increased number of illegal aliens in local jurisdictions, and (ii) State Police Fusion Center services and FBI terrorist screening.

Officer preston Kelly spent two days, March 20-21, at a Street Survival Seminar in Boston. This seminar provides officers with skills to develop the values, inner strength and winning mind-set needed to keep motivated, effective and safe on the street; gain valuable insight into available new less-lethal options; learn to use crisis rehearsal and mental preparation strategies to prepare for virtually any situation which may be faced on the job or off; prepare to take immediate, potentially life-saving action during an unexpected off-duty encounter; overcome the “routine” nature of the job and avoid one of the deadliest enemies in law enforcement: complacency; navigate the frustrations of working within a bureaucracy and the stress of working the beat; develop the perceptive skills needed to effectively hunt terrorists in our own back yard; gain the mental edge needed to survive and WIN.

Sgt. David Lemieux and Officers John McConnell and Shuan William attended 24 hours of the annual In-Service program hosted by the Massachusetts Police Training Committee (MPTC). This year’s topics include Gangs Update, Narcotics Update, Legal Update and Officer Survival. The balance of the department will attend this training in April.

Since the last report: There have been fourteen (14) motor vehicle crashes reported to the department. Of those, two (2) were in parking lots, five (5) were vehicles off the roadway due to snow/ice conditions, two (2) involved a parked car, and five (5) involved minor roadway collisions. Forty-five (45) motor vehicle stops were conducted resulting in forty-seven (47) citations issued.

The department is again participating with the Governors Highway Safety Bureau in the Road Respect Campaign from March 23 – April 8. The department will use $900 in grant money to conduct directed patrols to enforce motor vehicle laws with a special emphasis on safety belt use and drunk driving offenses. These directed patrols are in addition to regular daily patrols.

Since the last report, five (5) individuals were charged criminally for the following violations: two assault and battery charges, one illegally attaching a license plate charge, one unregistered motor vehicle charge, one receiving stolen property valued at over 4250 charge, one breaking and entering charge, one larceny over $250 charge, and one arrest on an arrest warrant.

Dispatch – 421 calls for service were received at the Dispatch Center:

Police - 309

Fire - 11

Ambulance - 101

Miscellaneous

The Town will host a rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 7, from 9 a.m. to noon at the DPW Facility off Simonds Road. Rabies shots for dogs or cats are $12 each.
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