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Cheshire to Discuss Route 116 Project With State

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The board will meet with MassHighway about possible repairs to Route 116 and apprise the owner of Kitchen Brook mobile home park about the process for requesting a rent increase. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen plan to meet with officials from the state Department of Transportation to discuss a possible project to fix up Route 116.
 
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi read a letter from MassDOT on Tuesday that noted state Sen. Adam Hinds has reached out to the state agency about concerns over the condition of the steep state highway and extended an invention to discuss a possible project. 
 
"I think that would be a good idea to discuss any project having to do with Route 116," Francesconi said.
 
The town is responsible for maintaining about three miles of the state highway between Adams and Savoy. 
 
Selectman Robert Ciskowski said he thought the town had made a deal with the state back in the mid-1960s to maintain Route 116 for a one-time stipend.
 
"All of Route 116 is in Cheshire. We did get something in return but I am not even really sure what that was," he said. "Adams accepted it, that is why the state plows Orchard Street — Adams' section of 116. They don't do ours because we accepted something 50, 60 years ago."
 
The town, and Savoy, tried around that time to have the state take over all maintenance of the highway. Several bills were filed, including one by the late Anthony McBride as a state representative, but none of those appear to have passed. 
 
The road has degraded over the years and Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV said the town cannot afford to make the repairs.  
 
"The plowing is one thing we can almost keep doing but not the maintenance," he said.
 
In other business, St. John said the state has conditionally approved the town's Chapter 90 funds of $200,252.
 
Highway Superintendent Blair Crane in his report said much of his time has been spent plowing and conditioning the roads.
 
He added that this has left less time for pothole repair.
 
"There are a lot of potholes and trouble spots around town and it has been hard to keep up," he said. "It seems like we are doing the same ones over and they keep coming back."
 
He said this past month the department has used 20 tons of cold patch.
 
Crane said he has been looking at alternative products and found a polymer pothole liquid mix that hardens into a rubberized compound less likely to pop out.
 
"It is really resistant to coming out," he said. "It would save us time and manpower. We wouldn't be filling the same stubborn potholes over and over again." 
 
He said because the mix is water based it can't be shipped in freezing temperatures so he will order some during the next stretch of warmer days.
 
The Selectmen received a letter from Michael Deep saying he plans to raise lot rents at the Kitchen Brook Mobile Home Park from $200 to $270 pending approval.
 
He wrote he plans to send the new bills out May 1.
 
The Board of Selectmen also serves as the Mobile Home Rent Control Board and Francesconi said Deep cannot just declare an increase. He first has to fill out paperwork and schedule a hearing with the board.
 
"He does not have our approval yet," she said. "He knows better than this, it is not his first rodeo."
 
Francesconi added that the increase is calculated by a formula and asked that Deep be contacted and informed of the process he must follow before issuing an increase.
 
Before the meeting, Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Superintendent John Vosburgh and members of the School Committee informed the board of the proposed fiscal 2020 budget of $20,099,487, which is 1.77 percent increase.
 
"We took a hard look to see what is really working and see if we could change some things around internally," Vosburgh said. "We wanted to provide all of the services we need and more with the same amount of money that we have."
 
Cheshire's assessment within the levy limit is $2,616,625, which is a 2.05 percent increase.

Tags: rent control,   state highway,   

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