The Briggsville Water District is served by the Red Mills spring.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The new Select Board is hitting the pause button on the decision to take over the Briggsville Water District.
Chairman Ronald Boucher and Karin Robert are holding off on any further decisions on hiring a system operator until the October meeting and asked that town counsel review the agreement again.
"I'm not willing to take on something I know nothing about," said Robert at last week's meeting. Her concerns were prompted by a resident who had called and questioned her about why the town was operating a private water system.
"We had an attorney draw up the agreement with the Select Board as the directors of the water district," Town Administrator Carl McKinney said. "We are working through some issues that the DEP has asked us to take care of ... everything has been done legally."
Formerly the Red Mills Water Co., a board of commissioners had been developed when the district took over nearly 40 years ago but that body hasn't functioned in decades. Water Operator Clebe Scott had been almost the sole member and operator for going on 30 years and he's ready to retire.
The former board of Jeffrey Levanos, Linda Reardon and William Schrade Jr. had agreed to take on the billing and, once the district voted, the operations of the water system. All three have since left and Boucher and Robert were voted in at the last town election to join Kimberly Goodell.
"We do have a responsibility of providing services to our residents," said McKinney, who helped shepherd the agreement through and who is on the water system. "There are 180 people, approximately 11 percent of our population, dependent on that."
The water system also serves Town Hall and Clarksburg's only industrial area. Most of the rest of the town is on private wells.
McKinney compared it to the sewer district, for which the Select Board acts as the sewer commissioners to bill and collect payments for the city of North Adams.
Robert, however, said the town isn't being compensated for the work it's doing for the water system. McKinney said that will be set in place the same way the town charges the sewer district for hours worked, but it will take time becuase the water district can't afford it yet.
"It's still costing the town," Robert responded. Boucher added that "our responsibility is for everyone in town."
Scott, who attended the meeting, wanted to know where this left the water district.
"So you're just going to wash your hands of the whole thing?" he asked.
Boucher said he'd like to see new water commissioners rather than have the Select Board step in but Scott said he'd been trying to drum up interest to no avail.
"I've been trying to do that for 30 years and nobody wants to be on board," he said.
McKinney said the state could step in and force the town to act. He believed the town has had an ownership in the system dating to 1980 under the state Department of Environmental Protection.
"What we are doing is legal, it is ethical, and it is reasonable," McKinney said.
Robert isn't convinced.
"I can't see the fairness of this from where I'm sitting," she said. "I can't see the town guaranteeing water for this part of town when the rest of the town is on their own."
In other business, the Boucher and McKinney reported that the town received two Community Compact technical grants. The first was a $30,000 grant toward the feasibility study on merging the school district with that of Stamford, Vt. The town is trying to find out if a grant awarded in March was still available because the deadline for its use was June 30. The second compact grant was $15,000 to continue zoning updates.
The town has to do self-assessment on its compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. McKinney said this will require reactivating the handicapped commission.
The town will also hold its annual bulky waste collection on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the town garage.
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Clarksburg Still Hoping for State Funds Toward School Repairs
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Cindy Brule, left, was elected secretary and Laura Wood as chairman of the School Committee. Eric Denette, elected at the annual town election, was absent.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Officials are still hoping that funding will come through to help with repairs at Clarksburg School.
The town's state officials have not been optimistic about the chances of the governor releasing a $500,000 earmark placed in a bond by state Sen. Adam Hinds to redo the school's roof — even with the town meeting's passage of a $1 million borrowing to help address building issues.
"I'm kind of disappointed that our local officials and people have sort of given up and even our state rep," said Robert Norcross, one of the leads of the volunteer renovation committee trying to undertake repairs at the school. "I think we could have gotten this."
However, he had been informed by Hinds' office that the money is in a five-year plan and while it's too late to get it into next year's budget there will be supplemental budgets and that they will continue to fight for.
Christian Womble tossed a complete-game with 10 strikeouts and scored the first run, and Anton Lazits had a solo home run to lead Taconic to a 5-1 win over Wahconah in the Western Mass Division 3 championship at UMass on Saturday. click for more
A $1 million borrowing to fix infrastructure needs passed by a large margin on Wednesday night and the results were met with cheers.
The final tally was 157-43, more than three to one in favor. click for more
Voters passed by simple majority a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion by a vote of 196-157.
They also returned a former Select Board member and ousted an incumbent in an election that once again filled the board with three members. click for more
Madison Ross took home a gold medal and two second-place finishes, and her Mount Greylock teammates won the mile relay to close the meet as the Mounties placed second at the Central/Western Massachusetts Division 2 Championships at Westfield State University. click for more