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Mayor Jennifer Macksey addresses the City Council at her first meeting on Tuesday.
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New North Adams Council Meets for First Time

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Councilor Michael Obasohan, left, pulls seat numbers and Councilor Bryan Sapienza pulls names for the seating order for the next year.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The new City Council met for the first time in a brief meeting on Tuesday that completed the organization of government and completed several items of business. 
 
The City Council and Mayor Jennifer Macksey were sworn in on Jan. 1 at Drury High School. The council elected its president and vice president but did not set its seating order or rules of order.
 
Back in chambers on Tuesday, Councilor Michael Obasohan pulled seat numbers and Councilor Bryan Sapienza the names for the seating for the next term. 
 
Councilors will be seated in order from 1 to 8 beginning next meeting: Keith Bona, Marie T. Harpin, Peter Oleskiewicz, Wayne Wilkinson, Ashley Shade, Jennifer Barbeau, Bryan Sapienza and Michael Obasohan.
 
The rules of order were referred to the General Government Committee. The rules determine how the council operates for the coming year. 
 
The mayor asked that the portion of the meeting titled "mayor's concerns" be changed to "mayor's report" or "mayor's update." Many of the things she expected to talk about were positive things, she said, not really "concerns."
 
This was Macksey's first appearance at council as mayor. 
 
"I've also reached out to all of you tonight to invite you into the office to really get to know each other and talk about how we're going to work together and moving forward," she said.
 
The council also adopted a change for the snow and ice removal ordinance that lengthened the time to clear sidewalks after a storm from 12 hours to 24 hours and changed enforcement authorities to the commissioner of public works and the code enforcement office or their designees.
 
The ordinance had been put forward by former Councilor Benjamin Lamb and President Lisa Blackmer noted it had "been through a few incarnations." Lamb had envisioned a broader ordinance that looked at sidewalk obstructions but after review by other committees and the city solicitor it had been whittled down. 
 
"[The city solicitor] basically suggested we get rid of a lot of the new language and things that we added in and stick to the basics, which is what we wanted to do," said Blackmer.
 
The council also set a joint hearing with the Planning Board for a new ordinance on short-term rentals for Monday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m.
 
In other business, the council set bonding for 2022 of $15,000 for the city clerk, $62,500 for the assistant city clerk, and $250,000 for treasurer/tax collector. The amounts are basically insurance policies set annually and determined by the state's Division of Local Services.
 
The council approved a hookup into the sewer system for Michael and Darlene LaPierre of Clarksburg and an application for Gregory Acevedo of North Adams to drive a taxi for RJ's Taxi.
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North Adams Council OKs Easements for Brayton Safe Routes Project

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved to purchase or take by eminent domain several small parcels for the Safe Routes to School project at Brayton Hill Apartments. 
 
The $740,000 project is being largely funded by a grant through the Federal Highway Administration. The use of federal funds requires the city to go "over and above" the usual rights of way process. 
 
"This order is written in in a couple of ways. It's written in the sense that we want to have a friendly agreement with the abutters," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey. "But we also want to have a secondary route that if, indeed, they don't want to accept our offer or donate this property that we would take a temporary or permanent easement through eminent domain.
 
"I hate the word eminent domain and that's not the route we want to take but we need to T ourselves up so we can continue with this project and work that needs to be done."
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