CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town has received five bids for the reconstruction of Horrigan Road.
The Select Board on Wednesday night opened five bids for paving and work on the mile-long road that runs from Middle Road to the Vermont State Line.
Town meeting in 2015 had overwhelmingly approved borrowing up to $235,000 for the project as well as an immediate borrowing of $65,000 to address culvert issues.
The lowest bidders were Delsignore of Troy, N.Y., at $209,984 and L.B. Corp. of Lee at $211,407.50. The other three bids were $266,497.70 by HMA Contracting Corp. of Scaghticoke, N.Y.; $276,165 by Warner Bros. of Sunderland and $289,730 by Lane Construction of Adams.
The board voted to take the bids under advisement until the town's engineer could review them.
"We're going to hand it off to Foresight Land Services to analyze the bids and make sure that all of the specifications have been met," said Town Administrator Carl McKinney. "And then we have to check on the prequalification component from the commonwealth of Massachusetts that you're all qualified bidders. Then upon that, we will make our determination."
Horrigan was determined a priority fix in 2015, just behind the Gates Avenue bridge and West Cross Road. Both those projects saw their completions last year. Horrigan was rated as one of the worst of the town's 19 miles of road on a Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating report developed by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission two years ago.
It was rated at Level 2, meaning it showed "severe distress with extensive loss of surface integrity" and required "extensive base repairs."
In other business on Wednesday night, the board discussed two warrant articles for town meeting.
McKinney is proposing an adoption of a local rooms tax related owners renting rooms or their homes for short-term stays, such as through AirBnB and other online connectors.
While the state has not determined how such rentals should be taxed or regulated, McKinney said he wanted to be ready when it did so, adding the town has identified at least 14 properties being used this way.
Voters would be asked to approve a 6 percent rooms tax on rentals with more than 90 days occupancy per year and 5.7 percent for under that for implementation when the state moves forward. A second component would regulations once those are set by the state.
"That's basically very similar to what we did several years ago for the meals tax," he said. The rooms tax had been discussed about the same time but "we didn't do a hotel tax because we didn't have a hotel ... but now people are using their homes."
Town meeting will also be asked to approve a one-year moratorium on commercial/retail marijuana facilities. The state does not expect to have regulations in place until next year to comply with the ballot measure passed in November.
"I think that's a great idea because there's a lot ingest," said Chairman Jeffrey Levanos.
McKinney said the Planning Board needs time to develop zoning ordinances and needs guidance from the state.
He didn't think the town necessarily needed an outright ban but it did need to "set up some reasonable regulations and guidelines so that it's done in an appropriate manner." The town might want to set limitations on proximity to schools or parks or relegate such activities to its commercial districts.
Plus, when it comes to the state's possible rules, "there are more questions than there are answers," he said. "If the state is saying it's not to be considered an agricultural product, which OK, I'd like ot have a little more clarity before we get inundated or approached to put in a facility."
McKinney said a moratorium won't change personal use or growing of pot as approved by the voters, only the commercial producation and sale.
"I've had several phone calls already about this, said Select Board member Linda Reardon. "People are looking at our community to do this."
A solar zoning bylaw is also being pushed to be ready for town meeting. McKinney said a draft bylaw has been prepared and will be reviewed with BRPC's Thomas Matuszko at Thursday's Planning Board meeting. He hoped to get a public hearing done and have it on the warrant: "get it drafted, crafted and passed."
The board also reminded members of the Briggsville Water District that a vote will be held on Wednesday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center to determine if they want the town to take over the district.
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