LANESBOROUGH, Mass. – Voters approved the 15 articles of mandate at a special town meeting held on Saturday.
City officials and residents, in person and via live stream, gathered at Lanesborough Elementary School.
Nearly 50 voters were present to vote on the 15 articles. Some board members, Gordon Hubbard and John Goerlach, were unable to attend the meeting as they were both on vacation at the time.
The city voted to approve Section One, which will use $100,000 of available money to renovate several aspects of City Hall. Proposed improvements include new carpet, new windows, washing and painting the interior and exterior of the building.
Additionally, residents voted for an amendment to the article to address air quality issues in the building.
City Administrator Joshua Lang said the proposed renovations are expected to significantly improve City Hall. He said Lanesborough is also considering grants for the project and he should know the exact cost of the project once the town completes the bidding process.
“Overall, our vision for the city building is to increase the functionality of the building,” Lang said.
In addition to that money, Lang said the city will also be looking to make long-term improvements to the building.
“We will be looking at long term planning for City Hall as part of our energy efficiency planning process, like the windows mentioned, but LED lighting and things like that to help improve overall operations and City Hall,” he said.
Residents have approved Section 2, which will use $335,000 in free money to replace the sidewalk and curb on Summer Street from Route 7 to Lanesborough Elementary School. This project will be started and completed in the summer when school is not in session.
Department of Public Works Director William DeCelles said the sidewalk as it currently stands is a hazard and needs to be replaced. He noted that granite sidewalks are much more durable than concrete or other options.
“If anyone has walked on the sidewalk, anyone with kids or parents or whatever, you can see they’re in really bad shape,” he said. “Everything’s reversed, everything’s cracked, it’s overdue. When we do, a new sidewalk will have to be fully ADA compliant and with all the ramps and everything.”
Residents approved Section 13, which amends municipal bylaws to move the annual municipal meeting from the second Tuesday in June to the third Saturday in May. An amendment to not specify a specific time in the regulations, allowing the select council to decide.
There was significant discussion about the approval of this article. Resident Barbara Davis-Hassan said a similar proposal had been turned down at a previous town meeting and that a vote like this would be more suited to a normal town meeting than a special meeting.
“One of the big reasons was the combination of graduation programs and athletics for kids and parents, of course, want to come to those things. I would be against that,” she said.
Resident Linda Pryne said moving the date and time would allow more seniors to attend. She said the usual 7 p.m. hour is too late for many elderly residents.
“The Council on Aging supported this article and one of the reasons it was voted down at one of the annual meetings is that the time on a Tuesday, when a meeting is usually at least four hours until 10 p.m., is difficult for a lot of older people,” she said. “And so the older population was not really represented at this annual meeting where they were voted out. It was presented at this meeting because if we could get it to vote, it would be for the upcoming annual meeting.”
Board member Michael Murphy expressed support for the amendment, noting that it would be a tremendous service to seniors and families with young children in the community.
“I’m totally in favor of that,” he said. “We thought about it a lot during the short time that I was elected. I attended an annual meeting, while I was on the board, where I heard from many people, elderly people as well only families, with young children, unable to attend, unable to stay until 10 or 11 p.m.
The city passed Section 3, which will use $125,000 in free money to mill and repave a lane on Summer Street from Old Cheshire Road to Old State Road. A portion of Old State Road, where a water main was recently installed, will also be repaired as part of this article.
Section six passed, which means the city will raise, earmark, transfer other funds or borrow $38,865.57 to purchase or lease a vehicle for the Lanesborough Police Department.
Section 11 transfers $101,000 from the Ambulance Enterprise Fund as payment for the previously approved new ambulance vehicle.
Item 9 will see $6,000 from the Tax Title Treasurer’s Expense Account to pay Community Paradigm Associates LLC. Lanesborough used the services of consultant Bernard Lynch of Paradigm Associates when looking for a city administrator.
Residents voted to approve Section 5, which will allocate $430.56 in free cash for salaries and expenses for the library director and $193.5 for library staff. City officials said the money corrects an oversight from the previous town meeting, where salary and library budget increases were not implemented.
Section 10 raises the mandatory retirement age for firefighters from 65 to 70. Item 12 also relates to the Lanesborough Fire Department and will transfer available money $2,895 to pay for 10-year warranties for two generators for the service.
Item 7 will transfer $210 from available money to purchase a timer for use at future town meetings. This timer will tell both residents and moderators how much time a speaker has left to speak.
The city passed Section Eight, which will transfer $1,008.65 of free money to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for stormwater management services.
Residents passed section four, in which the city will accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure for the Silver Street property.
Section 14 amends zoning regulations related to obtaining city site plan approval. Section 15 also changes zoning regulations for commercial storage of office space, materials and vehicles.
Keywords: special municipal assembly,