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North Adams Council OKs Police Cruiser Funds, Short-Term Rental Ordinance
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:02AM / Wednesday, February 15, 2023
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is taking possession of two new cruisers ordered two years ago. 
The City Council on Tuesday authorized the transfer of $109,582.13 from the Parking Meter Reserve Account to pay for the vehicles. 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey said the 2020 cruisers will replace two that have more than 100,000 miles on them. One is from 2103 and the other a 2017. 
"We currently have a balance of roughly $206,000 In the Parking Meter Reserve. Once we take out $109,000, we have a balance of roughly $96,000," the mayor said. "That is a little alarming. They were ordered way back when, it is happening and appropriated. And the bill is due and they're due to arrive very soon."
The mayor was not sure if these vehicles were hybrids but confirmed there were hybrids within the police fleet. In answer to questions, she said the chief and officers did not wish to have an all-electric vehicle.
About $5,000 in Green Communities grant funds had been considered to be used toward an EV cruiser. Macksey said those funds had been spread out between three public buildings for weatherization and to change out the lights in City Hall. 
Council President Lisa Blackmer and Councilor Bryan Sapienza questioned if the fleet replacement schedule developed some years ago was still being maintained. The mayor responded in the positive and said Officer Jonathan Beaudreau is in charge of it.
She also said the city would be divesting itself of the replaced cruisers and a number of other vehicles. 
"We are working on examining all of our fleet across all of our departments. We even have cars hidden, for example, in the Armory that we just need to get rid of," the mayor said. "I have more cars than we do officers. So our plan is anything that we don't need to declare surplus move along. ...
"We're not keeping junk anymore." 
The City Council also, again, approved a short-term rental ordinance in two parts. The zoning ordinance had been previously approved to a second reading but was never published as it had been referred to the city solicitor. 
The solicitor recommending splitting the ordinance into two parts — one part in the building code and one in the zoning ordinances. The reason for this was to one, allow building code changes to be more easily made in the future by the council and two, to prevent any potential questions over "grandfathering" of existing short-term rentals. 
The zoning portion had already been approved by the Planning Board and the split ordinance were recommended by the General Government Committee. 
City Council Marie T. Harpin raised a concern that the definitions were in one section but not the other. There was brief discussion about moving the definitions and the possibility of sending it back to the Planning Board but the council moved on. 
Both sections were passed to a second reading and to be published in a vote of 6-2 with Harpin and Councilor Jennifer Barbeau voting against. Councilor Ashley Shade was absent. 
"This is about as perfect as it gets. But it needs to be split up in order that you don't have to go back anytime you want to do something with the building code part," said Councilor Wayne Wilkinson, adding that the city solicitor mentioned that "this could be something that other towns are going and cities are going to copy."
Wilkinson said the building inspector had been keeping track and that there had been 24 meetings in total about this. 
This completed a process started nearly a decade ago.
In other business:
The council confirmed the reappointment of Lynette Ritland Bond to the Planning Board for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2028, and the appointments of Paul DiLego Jr. and Peter Milanesi to the Zoning Board of Appeals, also for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2028.
 The council set a joint meeting with the School Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. to elect a new member to the committee to fill a vacancy. Applicants can submit a letter of interest by 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20, to The mayor said only one letter had been received so far. 
 The mayor read a proclamation in support of Black History Awareness Month. 
 The council approved Kelsey St. Pierre, Courtney Serre and Steven M. Cook to drive a cab for OTT Taxi. 
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