Cheshire Selectmen, Finance Committee Want to Fix Poor Road Conditons
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The poor condition of several town roads was a topic of discussion for the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee in the ongoing town budget discussion.
Board Chair Michelle Francesconi said she had recently heard complaints about Notch Road, Pleasantview Drive and more. She said she would prefer to use $125,000 that is currently budgeted for a new backhoe on road work, noting that Adams Ambulance may not always be able to respond.
"The reality is, we're mandating fire trucks be patched togethe. And that is a public safety issue. The roads are a public safety issue ... We're in this critical juncture, and I cannot support buying a brand-new backhoe when we might not have a medical staff to respond to medical calls," Francesconi said at Tuesdays Board of Selectmen meeting.
The two boards decided to wait for more information on the backhoe purchase before changing its position on the budget. Town Administrator Jennifer Morse said she is also working on other road-safety solutions, such as more consistent police enforcement and better signage.
Francesconi said the town needs to find a funding method for roads, even if it means raising taxes.
"Almost every single person I've talked to said our taxes need to go up or we're not going to be able to fix this stuff," She said.
The boards also discussed the condition of town buildings, such as Town Hall, the fire station and the former Cheshire Elementary School. Selectman Ron DeAngelis said the town should create a plan for renovating the elementary school, noting they formed a committee to do so in his previous term as selectman.
"What I worry about is we go by another year and it's some more money, another year some more money and at the end of the day, 10 years from now we're going to be sitting here and pumped a ton of money into this building and got nothing," he said.
The building is one of several properties in Cheshire on the national register of historic places.
In other business, the board reorganized following the May 2 town election and unanimously elected Francesconi to remain chair. The board voted for Shawn McGrath as the vice chair.
The board voted that the building commissioner send a cease-and-desist for construction on 612 West Mountain Road as construction is ongoing without a permit.