CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen will consider hiring another Highway Department employee to attend to janitorial duties in public buildings.
Town Administrator Mark Webber told the Selectmen on Tuesday that another boiler has sprung a leak at Cheshire Elementary School and the officials recommended assigning someone that can dedicate time to checking the school every day.
"We need a full-time janitor it needs to happen ... we need to work on this," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "It has to be done it has to be a position and we have gone too long without it."
This is the second leak in the former elementary school boiler system this month.
The building also caused issues this summer with the town taking over mowing duties. This has drawn Highway Department employees away from other responsibilities.
Chairman Robert Ciskowski noted that because the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District oversaw the building when it was an active school, the town never had to worry about maintaining the building on its own.
"We have taken on a building where we never really had the responsibility to supply the people or the maintenance," he said. "It is not going away, and we need to figure it out. It is going to be an increase there is no way around it."
Francesconi said a dedicated maintenance employee is needed to oversee all the public buildings. She said in the past they have only had part-time workers.
Webber said the town can hire a new employee or shift around someone already on the squad, however, he is unsure how this would affect the now unionized Highway Department.
"You are either adding someone or pulling someone and the person we pull may have other tasks they need to be doing," he said. "The school is our biggest asset and we should be nervous about it."
The Selectmen agreed to discuss the matter further at a future meeting.
In other business, the town will add New Marlborough to its Housing Rehabilitation grant. This will make the application a regional application that, in theory, should make it more competitive.
"There would be no disadvantage in doing so," Webber said. "The state is pushing for more regionalization so in that sense they may look a little more fondly on a regional application."
The grant amount would also increase from $800,000 to $1 million. If the grant was awarded to its full amount, Cheshire would get $800,000 for residents to utilize to improve their homes and New Marlborough would get $200,000.
• The Highway Department will store sand and salt at its facility for residents to take and use after fielding multiple complaints that it was no longer available.
"[Highway Superintendent Blair Crane] said he was going to give the people what they want," Webber said. "There will be a pile of sand with salt in it."
Ciskowski added that he believed that Crane did have other material for residents but he has agreed to bring back the sand for them.
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