Lenox Selectmen Provide Updates On Town Projects

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Much of the Selectmen's agenda was postponed because of weather.

LENOX, Mass. — Wednesday's storm thwarted much of the Board of Selectmen's agenda but members used about an hour to provide updates on various town projects.

Chairman Dave Roche reported that the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen are on target with the budgeting process. Selectman Ed Lane said the Finance Committee is still waiting to appoint liaisons to meet with department heads and that selectmen will join in those conversations.

Otherwise, the departments are looking as if they'll receive a 2 percent increase in their budgets. Roche said.

"Our department heads are working hard and working with us to keep the town moving with minimal increases," Roche said.

Selectman Ken Fowler said the environmental committee has slowed its investigation into bans on Styrofoam and plastic bags. Fowler said it is waiting to see what happens with a similar ban in Great Barrington and then will speak with local vendors about how a ban would affect their business.

"They want to see how [Great Barrington] plays out," he said.

Fowler also said the committee missed the deadline to apply for a state grant, which would have supplement the cost to hire an energy manager. The committee will be looking out for a future grant program.

He also said the Hopeline program "seems to be success" in collecting 51 used cell phones for recycling and donating the proceeds.

Selectman Channing Gibson reported that the Planning Board is considering options for signage along the Route 7/20 corridor and five applications are being vetted by the Community Preservation Act Committee.

Gibson said the Community Center is looking for $75,000 to build basketball courts but there is one hold up — the engineering and construction are both part of the request. It isn't exactly known what the cost estimates will be for the entire project.

"It's a lot of money," he said.

Also regarding the Community Center, Lane said exterior siding and painting work had begun and the contractors will be working through the winter.

Selectman John McNinch said the Rest of the River group, which is entering negotiations with General Electric regarding compensation for the impact of the cleanup of the Housatonic River will have on six Berkshire towns, met with state and federal officials recently. McNinch said he was most hopeful when Environmental Protection Agency representatives said talks with GE had failed because of minor details and not animosity.

"It was not any ill will of GE or trying to get out cheap," he said, adding that it was encouraging to know that the electronics giant "wants to get it done."

Also on Wednesday, Fowler suggested two members of the board meet with the Selectmen in neighboring towns to start conversations about future ways to share services.

The Selectmen also approved a sign permit to Mark Arnoff. Arnoff came before the Selectmen last month after being fined for a sign displaying his address number on town land without a permit.

Arnoff lives on a rare piece of property that does not have frontage. The Selectmen agreed with Arnoff that for safety purposes, he should have a sign. However, since it was placed without a permit, he must pay the $75 in fines he racked up prior to coming before the Selectmen.

Prior to Wednesday's public meeting, the Selectmen met in executive session for negotiations with a new town manager. They will again meet on Saturday to continue to work toward an agreement with Christopher Ketchen.

Tags: fiscal 2015,   Rest of the River,   

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