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Clarksburg Town Hall Closed Extra Days Over Holidays

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town offices will be closed a few extra days over the upcoming holidays.

The Select Board on Wednesday approved closing Town Hall on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. That means the Town Hall will only be open on Monday, Dec. 23, that week.
 
Town Hall will also be closed the day after New Year's as well.
 
Chairman Ronald Boucher made the proposal saying it didn't make much sense to open on the Thursdays after the two Wednesday holidays since the town offices are closed on Fridays anyways.
 
Closing on Tuesday, Dec. 24, would also give the town employees an extra day off, he said.
 
"I thought it would be a nice gesture and a thank you for what they do," he said.
 
"And we thank you," said Administrative Assistant Deb Choquette.
 
The Department of Public Works will also be off but those employees are on call anyway because of weather or other events, Boucher said.
 
Select Board members Jeffrey Levanos and Danielle Luchi agreed, voting to close the town offices for those days.
 
Including the holidays, Clarksburg Town Hall will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24; Wednesday, Dec. 25; Thursday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 27; and Wednesday, Jan. 1; Thursday, Jan. 2, and Friday, Jan. 3. It will reopen in the new year on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
 
In other business, the board received an update on the progress of projects at the school. Superintendent John Franzoni and Business Manager Jennifer Macksey explained the tight timeline of the security entrance construction and touched on some future projects such as the public address system, accessibility compliance and more asbestos abatement.
 
The conversation turned to the relationship between the connected school and library, including the library's inaccessibility to the school and its complaints regarding traffic during school drop off and dismissal.
 
The library trustees had been asked to provide a library key to the school office in case of emergency, largely because of the limited hours the library is open, but had responded that the police chief already had one.  
 
Franzoni said this is a safety issue. During the school's emergency drills, state and local police are "clearing" the building but have no access to the library that is physically connected to the school.
 
The board agreed motioned to have a letter sent to the library trustees requesting a key be supplied to the school under "topics not reasonably anticipated by the chairman" on the agenda.
 
The town and school officials also agreed that there needs to be more communication between the library and school on use and access and will hold a joint meeting after the new year. The town is paying on the library and the school is providing its heat and electricity, Boucher noted. 
 
"We all agree it's in the best interest to keep the school open and the most underutilized space is the library," said Franzoni. "It could be used for programming but we are not allowed to have access except for certain times for the week. ... I think there needs to be better cooperation."
 
The board voted to discontinue sewer billing to 494 River Road. The house next to the Red Mills spring has been purchased by the Briggsville Water District and is set to be demolished. The water has already been disconnected but the sewer is connected to the city of North Adams.
 
• The board accepted a $500 donation to the Historical Commission from the Peter A. Cook Post 9144 Veterans of Foreign Wars to aid with the development of a history and archives room in Town Hall. Commissioner Jeanne Moulthrop is coordinating the effort and is seeking more participation, said Town Administrator Rebecca Stone.
 
• There is an opening on the Board of Assessors. Anyone interested in serving can contact Town Assessor Ross Vivori at 413-281-8223 or drop off a letter of interest with Choquette at Town Hall. 
 
• Carl McKinney was reappointed as the town's representative on the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District and Levanos requested to be appointed as alternate. 
 
• The board approved the yearly secondhand car sales license for Thomas Rotolo. 
 

Tags: Clarksburg School,   closing,   town hall,   

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Clarksburg Applying for Housing Rehabilitation Grant Funds

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town is applying for about $300,000 in federal money that can help some residents fix up their homes. 
 
The Select Board on Wednesday voted to sign on to a Community Development Block Grant application with the towns of Lee and Lenox for housing rehabilitation. The application is due on March 6. 
 
"This is a competitive grant application ... the most amount of money for one town would be $800,000 and for several towns going together, it's up to $1.3 million," explained Patricia Mullins, community and economic development program manager for Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Administrative and program delivery costs would leave about $900,000 — or $300,000 for each town. "By the three towns going in together, the application is stronger because number one, it shows that it's a regional grant and that basically you're sharing and the administrative services that would be provided."
 
CDBG grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and apportioned by the state's Department of Housing and Community Development for use in economic and community development, housing, social services, preservation and conservation and recreation. Cities are generally entitled to annual grant funding but smaller communities' applications are not guaranteed. BRPC has overseen a number "regional" grants, including for a similar housing rehabilitation grant for Cheshire and New Marlborough
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