"None of the city's papers are posted on the city website," said Trottier, referring to communications and other documentation in the "packets" given to councilors and the press. "They should be on the website so the public ... can look it over and make an educated decision whether they are for it or against it."
While the lack of public comments — which had often detiorated into public arguments — allowed the council to wrap up the meeting in less than an hour, much of the time was spent with councilors debating the procedure for public hearings and ordinances.
The council set a date at the request of the mayor for a joint public hearing on a proposed solar array system for Feb. 14 at 6:30 on a 5-4 vote. The hearing will include the Planning and Zoning boards and airport commission.
Principals from Blue Wave Capital and city officials will give a presentation on the development of a 4-megawatt photovoltaic system to be installed on the high school, landfill, aiport and the old wastewater treatment plant. A proposed power purchase agreement is expected to save the city $11 million over 20 years.
Councilor John Barrett III objected to the public hearing, saying the council was not the permitting board.
"To be very honest, this is putting the cart before the horse," he said because it should go before the Airport Commission first and neighborhood groups. "This is crazy to be moving ahead with this before it goes before these boards ... the City Council is not the permitting group."
Mayor Richard Alcombright was not in attendance to ask but council President Michael Bloom said he was under the impression the hearing was for informational purposes, "an introductory for the whole project."
Councilor Keith Bona said he agreed with Barrett that the project was still far off and that it would go to the different permitting boards. "The thing is those usually aren't as public [as the council].
In the end, Councilors Barrett, Jennifer Breen Kirsch, Lisa Blackmer and Marie Harpin voted against setting the date, with both Kirsch and Blackmer suggesting the matter be referred back to the mayor's office for clarification.
In other matters, the council discussed the proper procedure for the submission of a proposed zoning change that had been tabled last year. Developers Gordon Leete and Charles Fox had asked a piece their property on State Street be rezoned as commercial. In the end, the council asked Leete to have the developers attorney provide an ordinance that could be referred to the Planning Board.
► A communication filed by former Councilor Ronald Boucher to reinstate the councilors' stipends was filed at the request of Bloom, who said the mayor was going to address it in the budget.
► The council voted to support a resolution on the extension of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, with Councilor David Bond abstaining because the trail may affect his Curran Highway property in the future.
Adams and Williamstown have both voted in support of the resolution, which calls on the Metropolitan Planning Commission to reinstate $2.3 million in federal grants for the trail that were given to Pittsfield. The commission meets on Jan. 31.
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John, you are not in the corner office. Get over it.
Editor Bob C. and Mark T. were only pointing out the truth and asking the council president to be fair. Why is it so hard for you to understand ?? If you were a real reporter you would rpoort on the unfairness of how the new rules limit public information. You and the council get the information FREE but anyone else must go to the city clerk who will call the council president who will call the city solicitor to get permission to SELL it . I am not sure if this is even legal ??? Your sarcasm only shows that you cater to the mayor and some of the city council.
The weekly communications and other documentations should be all posted on the city web page along with the board in front of city hall for all of the public to read.
The city has a management information system (MIS) dept. staffed by a fulltime director and full staffing at the city clerks office, So why isn't it being done, jusy maybe the powers to be don't want the public to know? could this be the problem? its time to take back little by little parts of this city government for the citizen's.
1-25-2012 8:36 A.M.
It is an insult to the people of North Adams to be called visitors by the council whom they elected. If anything the President himself should be called the visitor and should not even be allowed to be on the council. He has shown his faith and pride in this city by moving out of it?
An enjoyable Council meeting. The new rules were very effective and all had a chance to speak to the agenda or issues. President Bloom is to be commended for a very well run meeting. You can tell that the City Council does their homework - keep up the good work.
WHO AM I? I can't be on city council committees becuase my schedule is too busy. The public didn't like that answer. I'll blame the reporters they got it wrong. How's this? I shouldn't be on city council committees becuase I am too valuable to have my time wasted with council work when I think I am still the mayor. I'll change that excuse next week when I come up with something better.
Mayor ( councilor ) Barrett gave a class in how city goverment works to the other seven councilors. Councilor ( Lawyer } Kirsch can understand the legalities of the issues because of her edcucation. So between councilor Barrett and Kirsch they add what has been needed in our city goverment. Special thanks to both of them
I found it very interesting listening to Councilor Barrett explain why he's not on any of the committees. He said he was misquoted when the newspaper article indicated he "didn't have the time to serve". Rather, the truth was, that he felt he should have been appointed to the finance committee due to his 26 years of experience. After not having received the appointment he wanted, he felt the MoCA liaison and general government committee were a waste of his time, saying "his time could be better served on finance rather than determining which side of the street cars should park".
I'm sorry, but when you get elected by the people to serve on the Council, you don't get to pick and choose which part of the job you want. If I can't be on the finance committee, then I'm not doing anything. Ok. Thanks a lot.
Kudo's to M. Trottier and Bobby C, for showing council President Bloom one of the shortfalls to not properly posting agenda items. But, not so sure he, nor the council really cares to remedy any issues and concerns the so called, "visitors" may have. Also, great job to John Barrett on giving a his first of many lesson of City Government 101 to the councilors. They should pay more attention to detail, as there are many things for the city councilors can learn and utilize from Mr. Barrett's knowledge, and experience. Also, a special thanks to Editor, T Daniels for posting agenda items on IBerkshires. Great Job Tammy!
Editor: Shame on you for being so critical on me for just asking a question of our city fathers,regarding having the city director, Asst, or clerk post all communications on the city website, "Grumbling" come on you can do better then that even after I personal paid you a compilment and again on the TV also, but thats ok I have been throne under the bus before, its not my first rodeo or your either, we have danced before and will dance again my dear, it's all in the day of a life of a grant "Mahalo"
I hope that ( Mayor ) councilor Barrett gives councilor Bond an A for the lesson. He was the only one that did not try and speak out and show how little he knows like the others did. If they sit and listen to councilor Barrett they will learn a lot.
I thought Barrett's comments were incorrect and presumptive. The mayor does not have to do things the way the John used to do things.
There are public hearings all the time on issues that have not yet been permitted by the governing bodies. Wind Turbines anyone?
Barrett was so used to ramming things through that when Alcombright tries to get the public informed and educated BEFORE the votes are taken, he thinks that something is wrong. That is a really sad commentary, especially from a man who thinks he is too busy to perform the duties of the office he was elected to.
Does anyone think that putting up wind mills or mirrors around an airport is a good idea ???? How about giving cut rates for electric for people that live in the city ??? I do not know about anyone else but I have a hundred questions about the project. Not in my neighborhood .
Editor: There are no windmills in the proposal. There can be glare from solar arrays (mostly dependent upon the angle), which should be addressed in the permitting process. Here are some airports that have solar arrays, some with funding through the FAA.
Shouldn't the people that live in Williamstown that live in the path of the airport also have been invieted to attend ?? Something that could affect home values of people living in the path of an airport with the added risk of solar panel glare. I think the mayor is tring to push this to fast. Not in my neighborhood. Lets not forget we have a SCHOOL within three blocks of the airport !!!!!!!!!
Editor: Nothing is stopping Williamstown residents from attending. The only people "invited" are the members of the boards that will hear the permitting. It's up to each board to alert abuttors as the project comes before them.
Editor:On the airport issue this is a public meeting open to everyone on Feb.14, at 6:30 p.m. one hour before the Reg city council meeting, but what about the use with a public school being three blocks away and in williamstown having a nursing home in the flight path, I did look over your posting on the airports you posted but are out in no-mans- land.
We may have to add to the the number of children that attend the Greylock School . That would bring the number of children to around 600. The school is only three blocks from the school. Can
anyone guarantee that a plane will not veer off the landing path because of glare from the panels ??? Is a little electric savings to the city even worth the risk ?? Stop and think about it.
Edoitor You seem to have a strange sense of hummer. The thought of a plane running into a school is funny to you ?? WOW. The last time the mayor brought someone in to speak on a project they wanted to cut down the flood shoot walls. We know how that would have worked out. As I remember it the mayor and all the council members loved the idea. So if I sound over cautious it is because the mayor and city council were not.
Some Municipalities are decling this gernerous offer. This is a long term comittment. Have we done all the required research that gives us all the information we need to make an informed decision about this long term comittment? I was always taught that if something sounds to good to be true it usually is.
Look, the simple matter is this - we use electricity. right now it is generated somewhere else, whether coal, nuke, nat gas and we enjoy the fact that the by product (pollution) is not spewing directly into our air, land, and water. It is still happening though. Installing a solar array is by far the most responsible thing we can do AND gives us added security by reducing our dependency on power generation systems that are beyond our control.
Stop complaining about silly things like "eyesores" and look at them as badges of accomplishment for a better future. Jeez people - enough with the vanity already.
The use of the word visitor is poorly chosen. All people who attend a Council meeting- other than the Councilors themselves- are GUESTS-- and that includes the Mayor. Calling the guests visitors is just one step short of calling them aliens
The law requires that the agenda be posted but not the supporting documents and communications.
iberkshires posting the supporting information is a great public service
Moving "visitor" comments to the beginning of the meeting does the commentators as well as the Council a disservice--since their comments are not presented within the context of an agenda item that is on the table
Overall- I'd rate the rule changes and language as DUMB