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BRTA Strike Delayed

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A scheduled strike at the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority has been delayed.
 
BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati issued a notice on Monday saying the paratransit operators have delayed a striked scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 19. A federal mediator will be meeting with BRTA on Feb. 21 to further discuss the situation and has asked the union workers to delay their strike.
 
Drivers for Paratransit Management of the Berkshires voted down the best and final offer during contract negotiations and voted on Feb. 6 to strike. The 18 workers are represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404.
 
The BRTA, which oversees Paratransit, was informed of the vote last week.
 
The strike would impact all aspects of the BRTA. The fixed route operators, mechanics, and maintenance staff would not be able to cross picket lines, according to Malnati.
 
The Intermodal Center would remain open during a strike and Peter Pan, Greyhound, and Amtrak will still stop in Pittsfield. 
 
The BRTA has an annual ridership of more than 600,000, with close to 80,000 of those through the paratransit service that supplements the fixed bus service for those with impaired mobility. 

Tags: BRTA,   bus,   contract negotiations,   strike,   

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Pittsfield Continues Tax Classification Hearing Over Free Cash

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Mayor Linda Tyer says she wants to focus on building reserves. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday continued the tax classification hearing after clashing with the mayor over how much free cash should be used to offset the tax rate.
 
At the end of a nearly three-hour meeting, councilors and Mayor Linda Tyer were at a stalemate with the majority of the council unsatisfied with Tyer's $750,000 compromise.
 
"We are taking this out of the pockets of our taxpayers and putting it into the city coffers," Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers said. "I know that's how it works but at this moment we can afford to give some of that savings back."
 
The original proposal was a residential tax rate of $19.99 per $1,000 valuation and a commercial rate of $39.96 per $1,000 valuation, which holds the residential rate to a 57 cent increase and the commercial rate to a 2 cent increase.
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