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The new Pittsfield City Council sits for the first time on Tuesday night.

New Pittsfield City Council Has Brief First Meeting

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The new City Council went through 10 agenda items on Tuesday in less than an hour during its first meeting as an elected body.

The councilors accepted a nearly $100,000 grant for free public Wi-Fi infrastructure, approved two orders from Mayor Linda Tyer to execute historic preservation restrictions for two Community Preservation Act projects, and approved the assignment of subcommittees.

The items yielded little conversation from the panel, which includes five new faces and six returning councilors.

A $99,750.00 Community Compact Cabinet's Information Technology grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance was officially accepted after being announced in late December.

It will be used to construct a Wi-Fi hotspot system in the downtown, Morningside, and Westside neighborhoods to increase access and equity.

Ward 1 Councilor Kenneth Warren asked Tyer if the city will sign a contract with a service provider for this grant. She deferred to Chief Information Officer Mike Steben, who confirmed that the city would be engaging with a service provider.

Warren also queried if the contract would go through the council and Steben did not believe that to be standard practice.

On Dec. 21, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the allocation of $3.5 million in Community Compact IT grants, including $99,750 to Pittsfield, from City Council Chambers.

This is the third information technology grant Pittsfield has received in the past five years toward its public wireless infrastructure. The city was granted $95,000 in 2019 for wireless infrastructure for internal and public use and $40,000 in 2017 for switching infrastructure to enable telephone system consolidation.

Two orders to execute historic preservation restrictions for the Berkshire Dream Center Facade Restoration project and the Tyler Street Fire House redevelopment were approved by the councilors.

These projects fall under the Historic Resources category and were previously approved by the council.  In May of 2021, Berkshire Dream Center was awarded $80,000 in CPA funding for the exterior restoration of the former Morningside Baptist Church on Tyler Street.

The council awarded WDM Properties LLC $100,000 in CPA funds for a roof restoration on the Tyler Street Fire House in August of 2021.

The city, through the Department of Community Development, will hold a preservation restriction on both buildings for a term of 20 years.

President Peter Marchetti’s assignments for six subcommittees were officiated: Finance, Ordinances and Rules, Community and Economic Development, Public Works, Public Health, and Public Buildings along with the chair and vice-chair of each panel.

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By Stephen Sports
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