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Members of the Briggsville Water District attend a meeting Tuesday to reconstitute the district's board of commissioners.

Briggsville Water District Votes in New Board

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Carl McKinney, town administrator and district member, convenes the meeting. Select Board Chairman Ronald Boucher, who also attended, says the town will be supportive of the new board's efforts.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — It took only a few minutes, but the Briggsville Water District once again has a board of water commissioners. 
Only a handful of the 180 members of the district attended the short meeting held Tuesday at the Senior Center to reconstitute an oversight board that's been missing for years. 
Nominated and voted to the board was Mary Giron of Hayden Hill; accepted as indicating interest but not attending was Deborah Lapine and Judy Licht, both of Demers Avenue.  
Town Administrator Carl McKinney, who helped facilitate the meeting and is also a member of water district, made the motion to accept all three. The vote was unanimous. He said he would confirm with Lapine and Licht. He also said he would be an alternate if needed. 
The meeting was convened at the behest of the Select Board, which had demurred on taking control of the 80-household water district. The previous board had accepted a request in 2017 by the water district to take over operations and allow the town to set rates, borrow funds, pursue grants and hire employees. 
But a complete turnover in members had the new board reconsidering the town's role. 
Chairman Ronald Boucher and Select Board member Karin Robert last September held off on any further decisions on hiring a system operator and asked that town counsel review the agreement again. The board did vote to increase water rates in November by $120 a year to begin addressing its infrastructure issues. 
Robert had serious concerns about the legality of the Select Board acting as commissioners, noting the legislative act of 1980 creating the district specifically stated that the commissioners had to be residents and members of the water district. 
Formerly the Red Mills Water Co., a board of commissioners had been developed when the district took over nearly 40 years ago but that body hadn't functioned in years. Water Operator Clebe Scott had been almost the sole member and operator for going on 30 years and is ready to retire.
The district needs a new operator and extensive infrastructure upgrades. The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the district to meet certain requirements and take corrective actions "involving the permitting, planning, staffing and operational improvements that are necessary to bring the District into compliance."
Scott had turned to the town a couple of years ago seeking help and the board had agreed to take on the billing and other administrative matters, with the intention the district would be billed for such services similar to the sewer district.
The water district comprises the southeast section of town along River Road to Red Mills and across the river to nearby homes and businesses. Town Hall is also served by the district. 
Boucher, who attended the meeting, said the Select Board would be supportive of the district's efforts to improve its system.  
McKinney said a meeting of the new Briggsville Board of Water Commissioners would be convened soon. 

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Debate Over Solar Carports Heats Up in Clarksburg

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Planners Erin Scott, Gregory Vigna, Vincent King and Karin Robert look over the plans for the solar carports. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Planning Board says the structures at the former country club are ground-mounted solar arrays; the developer says they are carports with solar-panel roofs. 
The debate over the definition of the structures — and whether there was a permit issued for their construction — lead to heated exchanges between town officials and the owner at last week's Planning Board meeting. 
"They're solar arrays masquerading as carports," said Planning Board member Karin Robert.
The three structures were installed by BVD Solar, a solar development company owned by Todd Driscoll, who also owns the golf course. Driscoll pointed out several times during the evening that he does not own structures but builds them for solar companies. 
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