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Clarksburg Looking to Confirm Its Bylaws
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
09:53PM / Wednesday, January 08, 2014
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The Selectmen went over a handful of issues during Wednesday's brief meeting. Selectwoman Lily Kuzia reminded the audience that the Senior Center would mark its 10th anniversary on Jan. 18 with an open house.

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town is hoping to find out if all its bylaws are on the up and up.

One of the recommendations of an earlier financial review of the town was to ensure that bylaws passed by town meeting had been approved had been approved at the state level.

"When you pass a bylaw, it has to be sent to and approved by the attorney general," said Selectmen Chairman Carl McKinney at Wednesday's meeting. "Then it becomes a bylaw or it isn't. We weren't really sure which are approved and which isn't, so we may have some bylaws that aren't bylaws."

The attorney general's office has given a cost of $212 to compile the bylaws it has recorded for the town that have been archived on microfiche. That would cover the years from 1937 to 2000.

However, records for the years after 2000 would have to be dug out of boxes in different locations, said Town Administrator Thomas Webb. "They really can't give us a fixed number on it for after 2000."

He estimated it would be about $500 total to get all the bylaws that have been recorded. Since there is no money in the budget, the Selectmen will have to ask the Finance Committee to take it out its reserve fund.

The town's hoping to save some money on telecommunications now that the equipment has arrived for the MassBroadband123 project.

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute has been connecting rural communities in Western Massachusetts to ensure they have the same access to high-speed Internet as the rest of the state. Public facilities like schools, town halls and libraries will be the anchors; in Clarksburg, that's the Town Hall, Senior Center, school and Fire Department.

Webb said he would put together all the bills for phone, Internet and related services to see if signing onto one of the service providers through MBI would be cheaper.  

"Hopefully, it will be less than we're paying right now, but if it isn't, then it doesn't make any sense to jump on the broadband," he said. "We're going to take a look at what our costs are right now to make that service work for us."

Officials were informed by letter from North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright that the state Department of Veterans Services is requiring an assistant be hired for the veterans service officer. North Adams is the lead agency for the veterans agent, Stephen Roy, who also covers Clarksburg, Adams and Williamstown through a joint agreement and helps out in the smaller towns.

"Based on the census that we have of towns that are in this district, they want a full-time VSO and a full-time assistant," said Webb.

The town currently pays about $3,200 in veterans benefits monthly; town meeting budgeted $40,000 for the year. McKinney anticipated more need for veterans services as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

In other business:

A feasibility study on a possible preschool at Town Hall has been completed and will be reviewed by the School Committee at its Jan. 16 meeting before being passed with recommendations to the Selectmen.

The tax rate has been set at $13.36 per $1,000 valuation. Webb said Clarksburg is fifth-lowest in Berkshire County for total tax burden.

There are alternates needed for the Zoning Board of Appeals. Anyone interested in serving should submit a letter indicating that.

The Senior Center will celebrate 10 years with an open house on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 1 p.m. Everyone is invited and a number of officials are expected to attend.

The town, again, was rejected for a MassWorks grant to fix its roads. Officials have been seeking the $1 million grant, formerly known as Small Town Road Assistance Program, for some years. Webb said he would find out what they could do to improve their chances in the next round.

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