Seven candidates fielded questions at a forum hosted by BCC, in partnership with the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, which recorded the forum. The moderator was Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV.
While the entire city will be deciding which two of the four candidates for mayor will be moving on to the general election in November, only Wards 5 and 6 will determine the top two candidates vying to representative their precincts. Neither ward has an incumbent running but both have former city councilors running.
Peter White likes to look at the big picture and not just from his at-large seat on the City Council but by being involved in a host of community activities — from serving on the Morningside Initiative Steering Committee to participating in local Facebook groups.
Four names will be on the preliminary ballot but only three candidates showed for the debate held by the Pittsfield Gazette and hosted at Berkshire Community College. The moderator was radio host Larry Kratka and Pittsfield Community Television aired the event.
City Council President Peter Marchetti feels he's brought "professional leadership" to the city and he wants to continue doing so.
Marchetti is again seeking re-election to the council - it'll be his ninth campaign for council and 10th for elected office - in the last two decades. He's had what he calls a "political rollercoaster" when it campaigns - he's either one of the top voter getters or he loses - since his first unsuccessful run for council in 1999.
At a ward meeting, Helen Moon was elated to see a young woman in her 20s take a seat in the audience.
At ward meetings and at the polls, it is often the same group of people making their voices heard. But this woman wasn't someone Moon had heard much from in the past so it made her happy to see more and more people involved.
Earl Persip knows that he doesn't have all of the answers.
And that's why he listens to others. He said in Pittsfield 100 people will have 100 different views on an issue and he feels his job as a councilor is to listen to them all and find the best solution.
Richard Latura wants his hometown back the way he remembers it and he doesn't care how that happens - legal or not.
Latura is running for an at large seat on the city council. He doesn't like what is happening in the city and he wants to make it safe, cut out political nonsense, and reel in the taxes.
Kenneth Warren still has the old files from when he was sitting on what was then known as an "asbestos committee."
Asbestos was found throughout the city's elementary schools and there were parents were rightly concerned. They wanted to know what city officials would do to keep their children safe.
Former Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony Maffuccio felt that when he left office, there was a lot of positive momentum in the city and things were trending well. But, a decade later, he feels that momentum has come to a halt. He feels a lack of collaboration between the City Council and the mayor's office has led to a "stale government."
Christopher Connell knows the phone calls and conversations in the yard will be had when the tax bill comes in.
His neighbors are retired and living on a pension but the property taxes continue to climb whereas their income hasn't. They'll tell him again that if things keep going this way they're going to have to make some serious decisions about living there.
A key word for Auron Stark is "sustainable."
Stark believes there are plenty of ways for the city to become financially sustainable and not be so dependent on property taxes and outside businesses. He sees a lot of problems in the city, he has seen the struggles of many in the community, and he believes the city can easily address a lot of those challenges. But he doesn't see the current City Council doing so.
It wasn't long ago when Yuki Cohen was going through a devastating time in her life and it was the community in Pittsfield that got her through it.
It was far different than she had known in the past, as she used to hustle in corporate America. The Berkshires are more relaxed, welcoming, and compassionate, she said, than her days in New York City. She was hooked. She started a business to add to that and is now taking another step by looking to join the City Council to help build that communi
Keep it simple.
That's what Edward Carmel believes. But he doesn't believe the current City Council is doing that. He feels the council spins its wheels tinkering with things and not accomplishing anything.
It has become routine now. Nearly every two weeks the City Councilors talk and talk and talk until nearly midnight.
But that wasn't always the case. In fact, it wasn't even the case last year. According to the length of council meeting recordings done by Pittsfield Community Television, the council is meeting on average nearly twice as long as it did last year.
Councilors John Krol and Helen Moon are asking Berkshire Medical Center for $1 million.
The pair has filed a petition with the City Council asking for the sum through the execution of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement. Krol says the total is a quarter of what the hospital would have paid for all of its tax-exempt properties should those real estate holdings be taxes at the commercial rate.