Dalton Select Board Approves Continuity of Operations Plan

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board voted to accept the Continuity of Operations Plan on Monday that would establish a framework to reduce the consequences of a disaster. 
"Massachusetts is vulnerable to many hazards, just in Berkshire County we have seen the
effects of wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, wind storms and localized flooding," the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan states.
"In addition the state has had to deal with major coastal flooding, dam failure, radiation
contamination, hazardous materials spills or releases."
Emergency Management Director Daniel Filiault has been working with department heads to establish responsibilities to agencies and individuals and identify lines of authority. 
The plan provides an organized process that emergency personnel and local government staff can refer to so that they can properly prepare and respond to the disaster in an effective matter that would lessen the consequences making for an easier recovery. 
"It also provides for the systematic integration of additional emergency resources but does not replace other federal, state or national emergency operations plans or procedures," the plan reads.
"It identifies lines of authority and organizational relationships for the management of emergency response actions, describes how people and property are protected in an emergency or disaster, and identifies legal authority."
The effectiveness of the plan would allow for community services "to resume minimum essential operations within 12 hours of an emergency, with or without warning, and to sustain emergency operations for up to 30 days."
"It is a guide. What's in here is not written in stone. It allows for the town to adapt. If there's a reason for the town to say, 'wait a minute this is what we say we should de we can't do that,’" Filiault said. 
In other business, the Select Board voted to declare the Bardin property for sale and Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson will come back to the board to determine the process for the request for proposals due to the complexity of the situation.
Hutcheson and the town's legal team have met with state Department of Agricultural Resources officials. He said the state informed him to move forward with the sale of the land. The state has interest because the property is under an agricultural preservation restriction.
"As APR land, the state has the right of first refusal for any sale of the property. So if it looks as though the two pieces of property might be owned by two separate people, and the state decides that it's worth the effort, they can exercise their right of first refusal and become the owners of the property themselves," Hutcheson said,  
"And then it is their concern how to reunite the two parcels. But they did not think that at this point, it was worth objecting to the sale of the land because they would be willing to use that if they needed to in order to ensure the integrity of the parcel if they continue to decide that that's worth it, so they did encourage the town to go ahead with the sale."
The Select Board also approved the warrant for special town meeting being held to authorize spending for Town Hall renovations and other expenses that were not anticipated for at the annual town meeting.
A yes vote on Article 1 would authorize the town to pay $8,6324 to pay sewer and debt expenses and a yes vote on Article 2 would authorize an additional $100,000 be added to the $500,000 Town Hall budget.
"We learned that the second floor is going to require substantial work in order to create load bearing walls in the interior to support any future work on the third floor,"  Hutcheson said. "And since that's what one of the reasons that we're doing this, this work now, we don't have a figure for that yet. But we do expect to get one in the next week or two." 
The amount of $100,000 is a draft figure. 
"Because we had this prior authorization My first thought was to extend the authorization. And the chair of the Finance Committee reminded me that we also had a capital stabilization fund. And that might be an appropriate place to take money from if we need to," Hutcheson added.
The Finance Committee has not made a recommendation yet but is having a meeting on June 22 to consider any end-of-the-year items. 
A yes vote on Article 3 would require a simple majority vote and would move $2,066 from free cash to the Miscellaneous Grants account to cure a deficit.
The special town meeting will be on Monday, June 27, at 7 p.m. at Wachonah Regional High School.
The town was awarded a $60,000 Community Compact grant for constructing a fiber optic system when connecting the municipal buildings, as well as Pine Grove Park, Hutcheson said. "The town is expected to contribute a match of about $8,000 which can come either from the newly established grant match fun, or from the amended authorization for borrowing for it purposes."

Tags: emergency preparedness,   special town meeting,   

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General Dynamics Seeks Small-Business Connections

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Congressman Neal says there are more than 133,000 Massachusetts residents employed by small businesses in the state. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — General Dynamics Mission Systems gathered around 75 small businesses and professional organizations at the Berkshire Innovation Center on Monday for a day of making connections.

The event titled "Innovating for The Future" sought to expand the company's supply chain in the state and further GD's relationship with the community by strengthening the local industrial sector.  

"I think one of our main objectives today is to make connections. Make connections between General Dynamics and all of the folks we have here representing the various companies, we have several of the General Dynamics companies represented," Vice President of Supply Chain Management Ann Rusher said.

"So getting our message out as to what our needs are and what would be important for small businesses to be able to support us and making the connections than with the small business, what are their capabilities and where do they want to go, everyone's on their own respective growth journeys, and then how do we make the connection so that we can follow up and actually find ways to work together and to help each other and collaborate on the hard problems that we are facing right now."

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