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The Committee on Public Works is updated on road projects and the wastewater management plan.

Pittsfield Road Projects to Be Completed This Season

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city will convene road paving and other projects as planned in the coming weeks.
 
Public Services Commissioner Ricardo Morales told the Committee on Public Works on Tuesday that some road work has already begun.
 
"We have started work in the first work area and today in work area two," he said.
 
Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio put forth a petition requesting a list of street projects to be conducted this season. His main concern was that some projects would not take place because of the pandemic.
 
"I just want to make sure that we have some kind of list," he said. "If they are anticipated to be done on time or if they are anticipated on being done at all."
 
Morales shared a list of just more than 30 streets that will be milled and paved in the coming weeks. But he noted that the road crews are starting these projects later than usual.
 
"Nothing was removed from this because of the pandemic," he said. "We did have some slight slips in the scheduling but we have started around this time in prior years ... we have been able to complete the projects on time."
 
He said three streets will utilize cold-in-place recycling, which is a new method the city will test this year.
 
The projects in entirety are slated to cost $3.7 million.
 
Maffuccio also asked about some bridge projects in his ward, specifically on New Road, Peck's Road, and Lakeway Drive. 
 
Morales said as far as he knew these projects were on schedule except for the Peck's Road Bridge because the city has been waiting on a Small Bridge Grant since April 2019.
 
"This round has been slower than typical years and I think the reason for that is because of the pandemic," he said. "But we have been waiting a year for it."
 
In other business, Morales presented the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.
 
"This document is a management tool to keep track of the infrastructure and investments we make on it," he said. "It includes a review of existing conditions, a review of everything that needs to be addressed, and the capital spending to get these things done." 
 
The committee did vote to accept the plan but Committee member Chris Connell had concerns over projected cost increases, specifically with nitrogen removal, that he felt the city should have been able to better anticipate.
 
"I am going to vote for this because it is just a report but i still have questions," the Ward 4 councilor said.
 
He also felt the city had to look at expanding the wastewater plant's service to other surrounding communities to help lower increased costs to Pittsfield residents.
 
"It was built for when GE was here and we had more people here and it is under capacity right now," he said. "I think we have to open up negotiations with some of these other communities to expand. It is the only way we are going to reduce the burden on the Pittsfield residents."
 
Committee member Patrick Kavey also voted to accept the report but wished to sit down with Morales sometime in the future and go over in greater detail the massive plan.
 
The committee also accepted the transfer of $125,000 from the Retained Earnings (Sewer) line.
 
This amount would be used to supplement a deficit under the sludge handling account. This deficit comes after a 33 percent increase in the cost to manage sludge disposal. 

Tags: paving,   road project,   

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College Leaders Talk about Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Crisis

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Higher education is learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic that it will inform their operations long after the crisis has passed, a group of top administrators agreed on Friday.
 
"I had begun to think about the ways in which the modalities of teaching that remote learning offers can infuse and enrich some aspects of teaching, without suggesting that we would move in any way to a fully remote learning platform or even a largely remote platform," Williams College President Maud Mandel said.
 
"There are aspects of the modality of remote learning I think faculty have found to be enriching of their teaching, and that's one area that I think could have significant impact in a positive way."
 
Mandel joined Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James Birge, Berkshire Community College Ellen Kennedy and Bard College at Simon's Rock Provost John Weinstein in a virtual town hall hosted by 1Berkshire.
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