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The Board of Selectmen meets Tuesday in person.

Cheshire to Obtain Review of Financial Procedures

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has begun the process of cleaning up some of the town's procedures that will help the government run more smoothly.

This appears to be a result of new Town Administrator Jennifer Morse, who is a full-time employee with more time to manage the town's resources than Cheshire has had before.

At the meeting Tuesday, Morse presented some new or updated forms that were approved by the board. These included time sheets, a special permit application, and a purchasing policy.

She also presented a product from the Technical Assistance Bureau, which is part of the state's Division of Local Services. The product in question is a free financial management review, she said, which "really look[s] into the accounting, the treasurer, the collector, [and] the assessor's piece of how the town functions."

"You will find things that you're not happy about," Morse said. "But it's things that need some work."

Morse said she has worked with the bureau before in other communities, and has found it helpful. "They're great to work with," she said.

The board unanimously voted to join the waiting list for the bureau, which will come in October and issue a report to the town by the end of the year.

Before the meeting started, Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi noted that Everett Gus Martin, the town assessor, passed away this week. "He will be greatly missed after many, many years of service to the town of Cheshire," she said.

Martin was a town assessor for 60 years, succeeding both his father and grandfather in the role, and a former president of the state association for assessors. The longtime dairy farmer died July 19, his birthday, at the age of 86. 

In other news:

  • The Massachusetts Electric Co., doing business as National Grid, and Verizon New England were granted approval to erect a joint ownership pole on Jenks Road to provide electricity and telecommunications services to residents there.
  • Morse announced on behalf of Highway Superintendent Robert Navin that the Highway Department will begin paving Route 116 on Monday, July 26.
  • The board voted to give back pay to two Council on Aging van drivers for the hours they worked between January and March. A third van driver was reportedly hired in March at the rate of $18 per hour, while the other two were being paid minimum wage from the beginning of the year until the third was hired. Apparently, the two van drivers have complained about the pay discrepancy from the beginning of the year, so the board approved giving them back pay. Rebecca Herzog, the town treasurer, noted that this would amount to around $360 for one driver.
  • The board decided not to approve a rental for the community center for Aug. 15 until it gets more information regarding the Delta COVID-19 variant. Selectman Mark Biagini noted that "it's spreading quick," and the board thought it better to wait to approve any rentals out of an abundance of caution.

Tags: financial planning,   

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Cheshire Approves Single Tax Rate, Declines to Reveal Estimated Rate

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen approved a single tax rate on Tuesday night for fiscal 2022. 
After a short presentation by the town assessors, the board approved a single, rather than split rate, but withheld the actual estimated tax rate that property owners can expect. 
"We are here to just get a vote from you guys so we can move forward with the tax rate, which we will submit when we go back to the office," Assessors Administrator Robin Wadsworth said. "Everything is ready to roll."
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