Election 2009: Boucher Backs Housing Commission

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ronald Boucher, 52, of 645 Barbour St. is running for a sixth term as city councilor.

He is marred to the former Ellen Shea and three children, Sarah, Joe and Meghan, and three grandchilren. He works in coporate sales for Ecolab, a sanitation supply firm.

For some time, Boucher also has been the North Adams representative to the Hoosac Water Quality District, which operates the wastewater treatment plant for both North Adams and Williamstown. He has also served as vice president of the council is currently the chairman of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Traffic Commission.

"The reason for seeking a sixth term is simple," said Boucher. "I enjoy public service and being able to help others in the community, and help make North Adams an attractive and affordable destination for families."

He continued:

There are many issues that we will face over the next two years as councilors. The biggest issue is we continue sound fiscal management practices, and to continue to look for new revenue sources. For example, the Mohawk Theater, Clark Biscuit building, the former city gravel bank, are three projects that will help increase tax base revenues.

Secondly, I want to continue to make North Adams an attractive, safe and affordable community to raise a family and invest in business and bring jobs to the city.

Third, I am in favor of a Housing Commission that will set expectations for buyers of property they purchase. I want to eliminate the type of property owner whose only goal is to suck the property dry and leave its tenants in limbo and for the absentee landlord who just collects the rent and does nothing else for there tenants there needs to be accountability!

As for the landlords who invest in their properties and provide good quality housing, I want to say thank you!

We have become an arts and cultural center with the Massachusetts Musuem of Contemporary Art, the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and the Eclipse Mill and NoAMA in North Adams. We are a tourist destination now and forever. But we must not put all of our eggs in one basket, we need to continue to explore other forms of economic growth for the city and its downtown, and be supportive of existing business

Curran Highway and the Lowe's project and the sale of the gravel bank and pending development at that site will all be major sources of tax revenues for the city, but most important is the creation of new jobs with a good pay scale and benefits.


Submitted by Ronald Boucher
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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.


COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 


"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 


At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.


"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  


Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 


"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 


Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 


"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 


In other business: 


  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 


"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           


The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 


  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 


"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 


The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 


The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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