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Carol Francesconi became chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Tuesday's reorganization.

Cheshire to Pursue Green Communities Status

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen on Tuesday voted to become a Green Community and apply for grant funds to improve the town's energy efficiency. 
 
"The concerns I had were somewhat diminished," Selectman Edmund St. John IV said Tuesday. "I would like to move forward."
 
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. 
 
That policy caused the Selectmen pause, but after input from the building inspector, the board had no issue with the stretch code.
 
"I have no problem with it," Chairwoman Carol Francesconi. "After I heard the building inspector and the Planning Board were OK with it I saw no issues." 
 
Town meeting still has to approve the agreement.
 
In other business, Selectman Robert Ciskowski asked if the Hutchinson Water System could operate as a possible backup system for the town.
 
The owners of the private water supply had asked the town to take it over. The Water Department made it known earlier this month that it was not interested.
 
"It just thought, I mean how many times does a public water supply come up for sale in town," Ciskowski said. "I think we should at least look at it."
 
He noted that the Water Department officials made clear in the past that they were hesitant to give up one of the town's decommissioned reservoirs because they wanted a backup water supply. The already established Hutchinson System could be a better option, he thought.
 
"I think we all know it would be difficult to make a reservoir a reservoir again and, in an ideal world, if our aquifer was polluted I think it would be easier to just flip a switch and have Hutchinson feed into Cheshire," Ciskowski said.
 
He was not sure if this was possible but wanted to check with the Water Department.
 
Town Administrator Mark Webber said he would look into it.
 
In Highway Superintendent Blair Crane's report, he said he plans to apply for a Small Town Road Assistance Program grant that he hopes could provide some funds to improve Route 116.
 
"Since we have not had one in over three years, we have a shot at it," he said. "It's up to $1 million and may help us with our Route 116 issue." 
 
Route 116, which the town is responsible for maintaining, is in rough shape but Cheshire does not have the funds to overhaul the road.
 
Crane also said the town dock has been placed in the water.
 
"It is amazing people are already using it," he said.
 
With the town election earlier this week, the board also reorganized. Francesconi will now be the chairman.
 
The board also appointed residents Gary Trudeau and Christy Butler as co-Cheshire representatives to the Mount Greylock Advisory Council, the oversight board for the Mount Greylock State Reservation. 

Tags: drinking water,   green communities,   

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Cheshire Highway Foreman Advocates for New Grader

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
CHESHIRE, Mass. — New Highway Superintendent Bob Navin wants the town to take better care of its dirt roads. 
 
He has asked the board to propose at town meeting buying a grader as opposed to continuing to rent one as they currently do. He has other ideas as well.
 
"The procedures here weren't to do them how I would do a dirt road," Navin said. "They don't rake them all the time because they didn't have a rake that worked all that great. After grading it needs to be raked out well ... compacted by a roller ... putting a dust control agent on it. That's the direction I want to head in with our gravel roads. A road done right will last a lot longer."
 
As for the grader purchase, that will be taken up by the town at next Tuesday's special town meeting. Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV prepared numbers for the board that weren't shared publicly but most members agreed that buying might be the best option.
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