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North Adams Council Hires Clerk, OKs Event Parking Fee
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:36AM / Wednesday, September 14, 2022
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday confirmed the hiring of an assistant city clerk, bringing the clerk's office to its full complement for the first time since June.
 
Tina-Marie Leonesio is an office manager and facilities coordinator at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
 
"Tina is the candidate I feel very strongly in," said City Clerk Joshua Vallieres. "She has experience with Pittsfield Housing, MCLA facilities management, worked with data analysis, project planning and has 30-plus years of office work."
 
Vallieres has been operating with some part-time help for nearly four months, including through the last week's primary. He was sworn in in July after only a handful of months as assistant clerk. He was the third clerk in less than two years.
 
"With the work that's been coming in, I can't do it all alone," he said. "I would be very grateful if you do this tonight."
 
Leonesio was Vallieres choice out of about 26 applicants. None of the applicants had experience in a town or city clerk's office and only a few had any municipal experience, he said.
 
Leonesio will be sworn in at a later date. 
 
The council also approved a new events parking fee of $40 for the St. Anthony Municipal and Center Street parking lots.
 
The ordinance was amended at the recommendation of the Public Safety Committee to be implemented for events of 2,000 or more attendees at noncity events. The original proposal had left it to the "mayor's discretion" and this was removed, said committee Chair Bryan Sapienza.
 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey had requested the parking fee be implemented prior to FreshGrass Festival at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 
 
The city had run a pilot operation during Solid Sound that brought in more than $11,000. The mayor said the process will require tweaking as the city moves forward.
 
"We want to get through this tourist season and then we are looking at software and kiosks and apps and things like that as we move forward," the mayor said. "But there still needs to be eyes in both lots."
 
In response to questions, Macksey said there will be signage, that spaces will be designated for business patrons and permit holders in each lot, and that the city will be working with Mass MoCA to determine ticket sales and attendance projections for events. 
 
Councilor Keith Bona said he not only supported the fee structure but had encouraged the mayor to consider it.
 
He didn't see the fee as high, noting the city didn't want to undercut St. Elizabeth's Parish, across from Mass MoCA, which has been charging $35 and is regularly sold out.
 
"I think it also needs to be understood there is still a lot of free options for the visitors. They have chosen in the past to pay and fill the church parking lot versus using the shuttles that take them to free parking," he said. "I think we're probably talking between the church and the city, a few hundred spots when there are thousands of cars coming in."
 
Mass MoCA, in addition to its two downtown lots, has been using larger lots such as the former North Adams Plaza on Curran Highway and shuttling people to the museum. 
 
The mayor confirmed that this would only apply to events not sponsored by the city and would not affect events such as the parade and Motorama. 
 
In other business:
 
Councilor Wayne Wilkinson reported that the ad hoc group formed to revise a proposed short-term rental ordinance is close to being completed. 
 
"There was a meeting about a week ago and we looked at a new document which, quite frankly I'm pretty impressed," he told the council. "I think we have solved the problem but we still need to have [Building Inspector William Meranti] to look at it one more time."
 
He anticipated that General Government Committee would take up the ordinance would by the end of September.
 
• The council approved the transfer of $44,500 from the Municipal Technology & Access grant to support the hiring of a second assistant director of information technology.
 
• The council approved five applications to drive for OTT Taxi owned by John Lord: Brooke Gerva, Brianna Lord, Noel Sawtelle, Eugene Bostwick and Kalley Vanuni. It also approved three taxi licenses for a 2010 silver Toyota Highlander, a 2011 blue Honda Odyssey and a 2021 white Honda CRV.
 
• The council confirmed the appointment of Patricia Flaherty to the Council on Aging for a term to expire Jan. 1, 2024. She fills the unexpired term of Sarah Vallieres.
 
• The council granted an easement to Yina Moore, operating as workingfromtheberkshires LLC, for a small plot at the back of 23 Eagle St. 
 
The easement relates to the buildout on the back of the building, Desperado's, for a cooler. The building has changed hands a couple times without the owners realizing the cooler encroached on city property. Moore had discovered it doing research on her plans for the property. 
 
Macksey said the easement document contains a clause that the bump out be removed if there are any major repairs or renovations to the structure and that she had "spoken at length" with the city solicitor and Moore's attorney.
 
• The council approved an annual secondhand license for Empire Antiques on State Road owned by James Montepare.
 
Councilors Lisa Blackmer, Marie T. Harpin, Ashley Shade participated via Zoom; Councilors Jennifer Barbeau and Michael Obasohan were absent. 
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