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Pittsfield Establishes New Homeless Advisory Committee

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As the Pittsfield officials grapple with homelessness solutions, the appointment of a reworked Homeless Advisory Committee yields hope.
"We are eager to have the new Homeless Advisory Committee get started," Mayor Linda Tyer said on Tuesday as 15 appointments were made to the new advisory committee. 
The City Council confirmed the appointments of Ann Marie Carpenter, Newell Young, Chris Haley, Erin Forbush, Kim Borden, Maureen Tuggey, Matthew Buckley, Ryan Williams, Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio, Justine Dodds, Karen Ryan, Michael McMahon, Katelynn Miner, Siliva Soria and Edward Carmel, chairman of the original comittee.
Tyer said is hopeful that the committee will identify topics of interest that are relevant to the circumstances in Pittsfield and any initiatives or priorities that the members of the committee would like to pursue.
This Homelessness Advisory Committee 2.0 is a refined version of the original reactivated committee that the City Council questioned for its effectiveness. However, the previous committee felt that it had not been given the tools and information to effectively address the issue.
The committee was reactivated in September 2018 after Carmel, who spent a long time living on the streets and knows these struggles, contacted Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon, who then filed a petition with Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo to reactivate a dormant committee for homelessness.
In October, an amended ordinance was approved that created a committee that better clarifies the group's purpose with administrative support provided by the Office of Community Development.
Carmel said he felt under attack after the City Council sent four petitions to the committee requesting reports on its productivity, expressing that the committee has been trying desperately to find higher ground to support the homeless and that it has been dumbfounded by some of the critiques because of the lack of information it is given.
In early October, it held a meeting during which members answered questions from the council, feeling that they were redundant. However, the councilors did not feel their questions were sufficiently answered.
The new Homeless Advisory Committee is set to meet on Dec. 16 for the swearing-in of all new members and election of the officers, and is purposed to be an orientation with a review of the new ordinance to give members a sense of their roles and responsibilities.
Tyer said this will be followed by an educational session on the Open Meeting Law, the ethics law, and all of the elements of state laws that the members will be obligated to uphold.
She is hopeful that the committee will then identify topics of interest that are relevant to the circumstances in Pittsfield and any initiatives or priorities that the members of the committee would like to pursue.
Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi asked Tyer how it was decided which appointed members received one, two and three-year terms, speculating that four members including Maffuccio are sentenced to only a one-year term.
Tyer said her office and the Office of Community Development tried to ensure that there was a fair staggering of terms among the representatives in the committee who serve in a professional capacity and members that serve at large.
The members sentenced to a one-year term can be reappointed when their term is up.
"We also wanted to allow for an opportunity for other members of the community to serve in this capacity," she concluded.

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Pittsfield Hydrant Flushing To Begin

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City of Pittsfield's Department of Public Utilities announced that the annual flushing of the city water system will begin Monday, April 26. 
Water mains throughout the city will be flushed through hydrants over the course of four weeks to remove accumulations of pipeline corrosion products. Mains will be flushed Monday through Friday each week, except holidays, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The upcoming flushing for the week of April 26 may be expected to affect the following areas:
  • Starting at the town line on Dalton Avenue working west through Coltsville including lower Crane Avenue, Meadowview neighborhood, following Cheshire Road north.
  • Hubbard Avenue and Downing Parkway.
  • Starting at the town line on East Street working west through the McIntosh and Parkside neighborhoods.
  • Elm Street neighborhoods west to the intersection of East Street.
  • Starting at the town line on Williams Street working west including Mountain Drive, Ann Drive, East New Lenox Road and Holmes Road neighborhoods.
Although flushing may cause localized discolored water and reduced service pressure conditions in and around the immediate area of flushing, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that proper levels of treatment and disinfections are maintained in the system at all times. If customers experience discolored water, they should let the water run for a short period to clear it prior to use.
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