The district had been without a functioning commission for years. The Select Board had initially agreed to become the water commissioners, but a new board last year raised questions about the legality of the takeover.
The Hutchinson Water Co. has acknowledged the state Department of Environmental Protection violation in a 2018 Consumer Confidence Report, released in late June, that stated that the water company failed to address a copper spike in its water for years and failed to inform the public.
Town leaders still believe the water line project in Berkshire Village is possible despite a setback.
The Berkshire Village Cooperative Water District has been in existence for nearly 100 years and operates its own water system for about 35 homes in the village. But, it's equipment is aging and five years ago the Department of Environmental Protection issued an order asking for significant upgrades to the system.
County Ambulance will now serve as the town's primary EMS.
The Board of Selectmen last week signed an agreement with the Pittsfield-based ambulance provider to handle calls in town. Town Manager Kelli Robbins said the three-year agreement comes with no cost to the town.
"I would like to see this done as a trial," Robbins said.
The City Council is split on setting water and sewer rates for the next 18 months.
In a 6-5 vote Tuesday night, the City Council's Committee of the whole approved the mayor plan to raise water rates by 20 percent and sewer rated by 50 percent starting on Jan. 1. However, the final decision has to be made next Tuesday and the council has requested more information before casting that vote.
Mayor Linda Tyer is introducing a plan to raise sewer rates over the next seven years to pay for the $74 million wastewater treatment project.
The sewer rate increase will be particularly front-loaded with a 50 percent increase at the start of 2019, should the City Council approve the plan. That would raise the current rate to $362.34 per year - an increase of $114.65 per year for a household with two toilets - effective January 1, 2019.
The private water district was taken over last year by the town because of the cooperative's difficulty in finding trustees and addressing the significant infrastructure upgrades required for the more than 30-year-old district.
Last month, the board heard a presentation from a Green Community representative who spelled out the state program that the town can take advantage of if it adopts policies including the stretch code that extends the town building code to require higher energy efficiency construction.
While much of the talk recently has been on a $74 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant, upgrades to the water system are following closely behind.
Doug Gove, a consultant with Aecom, reported to the City Council's Public Works subcommittee Monday evening that in the next seven years the water system will need $69 million worth of repairs. However, Gove said there is an option to stagger out the repairs over time to ease the financial burden.
The state Department of Environmental Protection had ordered the testing after it said the Water Department failed over three years to consistently use a soda ash additive to adjust the water's pH to prevent corrision. The additive is designed to adjust the pH to 7 or higher