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Clarksburg Has Finance Committee in Place After 2 Years
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:17AM / Friday, January 12, 2024
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town finally has a Finance Committee in place after nearly two years. 
Moderator Ronald Boucher informed the Select Board on Thursday that he had appointed Carla Fosser and Charles "Chuck" Lewitt for terms ending on Jan. 11 in 2025 and 2026, respectively.
"They play a very, very important role here in the town," said Boucher, whose position is authorized to appoint the three-person committee. "I understand the Select Board can oversee [the finances] but really those guys are the checks and balances to make sure we're set up correctly and moving forward."
He expected to have a third person soon to fill out the committee and would update the board when that happened. 
The town's had difficulty filling out the Finance Committee for some time and, at one point, there was only one person. No one has been on the committee in nearly a year. 
Boucher, also a member of the Planning Board, said that board was interested in taking up the task of updating the master plan, which dates back to 1965.
"We'll get the wheels spinning on that," he said, and planners also want to take a crack at the bylaws, which he didn't believe had been updated in 54 years. 
Chair Robert Norcross acknowledged that it was long past time for an update. 
"Why they go on for years is because it's a big task," he said, adding a prior attempt at the master plan "sort of fizzled."
Boucher agreed, "you have to start it and follow it through."
In other business, Town Administrator Carl McKinney said 13 potential vendors had attended the site visit on Jan. 4 for the school roof. The town has put out a request for proposals for replacing the 25,000 square-foot roof on Clarksburg School and installing solar racking. Bids are due on Jan. 30. 
Town officials have been trying to get the release of $500,000 earmarked for the roof nearly six years ago and are now concerned that amount won't cover the cost. Once bids are in, they're hoping state Sen. Paul Mark can advocate for them at the State House. 
"I worry this might be the time they start tightening up," said Norcross, pointing to the governor's decision to make $375 million in cuts in the face of revenue shortfalls. "The money may not be available in the coming years." 
McKinney said he'd spoken Wednesday with Anne Gobi, director of rural affairs for the Executive Office of Economic Development, about raising the state cap on capital grants. 
Right now the top threshold for culverts is $400,000 and for MassWorks projects $1 million. He anticipated the town's next culvert project at $500,000. 
"We don't have the capacity in the town for any overage," he said, adding that Gobi indicated the state was reviewing the adequacy of the upper limits of the grants. 
Norcross said he had also met with North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey and the city's Commissioner of Public Services Timothy Lescarbeau about infrastructure issues near the city line the town is hoping to address along with the possibility of joint projects. 
"The big thing was communications and to make sure each of us knew what the other was doing and there's no conflicts," he said. 
The board also signed a new agreement for the regional veterans services officer who works out of North Adams. McKinney reported that piping has been installed for the community sign at Town Hall and is awaiting electrical hookup. The sign, officials recently learned, is one-sided not two. McKinney said a two-sided sign was in the $6,000s while the current one was $3,400. The town had a $3,000 grant for it. 
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