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The Selectmen are revisiting the road grader problem after town meeting rejected a plan to buy a used one.

Cheshire to Look Into Road Grader Options

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — After plans to buy a used road grader were decisively rebuffed at town meeting on Monday night, the Board of Selectmen says it will seek out a different avenue for a the road equipment.
 
Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV said at Tuesday's board meeting he will begin collecting more information on the grader town meeting denied on a vote of 73-21.
 
"People made it clear that they wanted more information on the grader and we will get that," Chairman Robert Ciskowski said. "It may take a while."
 
Town meeting rejected the proposal to borrow $95,000 to purchase a used grader to replace the town's old one that it can no longer get parts for. 
 
Voters were not totally opposed to purchasing a grader but wanted more time to consider other options, such as subcontracting the service out.
 
The entire town meeting lasted nearly four hours and the grader was one of two warrant articles that voters denied. An extensive amount of time was spent discussing the machine -- which is used to scrape dirt roads -- and options such as leasing, contracting or making do with the current one. 
 
St. John said he would reach out to contractors about servicing the roads. Depending on the timeliness of this, the town could revisit the purchase at a special town meeting or in another year at annual town meeting.
 
The Selectmen did ask St. John to submit a report outlining the entire meeting and actions taken. 
 
"Some things in the  budget that were moved around ... and I can get you an amended budget," he said. "Aside from that the articles went the way they did."
 
The failed marijuana citizen's petition article also came up and Moderator and Planning Board member Donna DeFino said she was taken aback by accusations that the original marijuana bylaws were thrown together.
 
"I was quite displeased that several people felt it necessary to imply that the bylaws last year were pushed through without discussion," she said. "Five months we discussed this and you can't slap this together in three minutes."
 
The proposed bylaw would have regulated outdoor marijuana cultivation and decrease the "public nuisance" it would cause. This was in response to a proposed outdoor cultivation operation on Stafford Hill.
 
On Monday night, residents argued both in favor and against the bylaw and when taken to a vote, it came in as a tie which meant the article failed.
 
It was noted that because the article did not follow the proper Planning Board procedure, even if it was approved the attorney general would likely reject it.
 
St. John did say he thought the meeting went well and there was good discussion.
 
"We had a very lively and vibrant discussion and we have some great things coming in the upcoming year," he said. 
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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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