Select Board Meeting Minutes 01/08/2019

Town of Otis

Select Board Meeting Minutes

January 8, 2019


Call to Order:  Meeting called to order at 6:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.  The meeting is being recorded and a quorum is present.


Present:           Select Board Chairman Don Hawley, Selectman Gary Thomas, Selectman Bill Hiller, Town Administrator Becky Stone, Will Sikula, Terry Gould, Michael Ernst, Sonia Morrison, Judi mabee, Kathy Carroll, Russ Kitson, Janina Stanley-Dunham, Dave Conklin, Eve Kummel, Robert Kimberley, Bob & Jane Kimberley, Marshall & Karel Somes, John Partyka, Marjorie Wilke, Creighton & Linda Curtiss, Diane Provenz, Susan Ebitz, Lisa D’Orazio



Berkshire Regional Planning Commission:  Will Sikula presented the information for how the CDBG Grant works for housing rehabilitation.  HUD furnishes the funds for this grant.  He noted that when BRPC evaluates a residence, any code violations would need to be the priority.  This program is for low to moderate income residents and eligibility is evaluated and verified by BRPC.  Income guidelines are established by HUD.  No one in the town will have any access to this information.  A maximum of $40,000 per project is allowed and can be used to make premises handicap accessible.

                        The grant application needs to be submitted by March 1, 2019 and BRPC should know by July or August if the grant has been awarded.  If the grant is awarded, BRPC will reach out to those interested by November or December to qualify them and preview their projects.  Otis plans to sign an Inter-Local Agreement with Sheffield and New Marlborough as joint applicants for this grant with Sheffield being the lead town on the application.  This should allow for four to six projects in Otis.  Other projects can then be considered for future rounds for the same grant.

If a resident is approved for a project under this grant, this loan will show as a lien against the property for 15 years, or 10 years if the resident is 65 or older.  If the original owner still owns the residence after the duration of the lien, the lien on the property is removed.  If the property changes ownership before the lien duration expires, then the loan will be repaid based upon the value of the loan at the time of the sale.  There is a prorated formula for loan payback based upon how long the original owner had the property.  Any loans paid back are required to be reinvested into another CDBG project.

Otis will have a sealed box available for interested parties to submit their information to BRPC until February 22, 2019.

The Memo of Understanding (MOU) was reviewed by the Select Board and signed by Don Hawley.  The Inter-Local Agreement will be on the next Select Board agenda for signature.  This will give the selectmen time to review the agreement.


Approval of Minutes:  The December 11, 2018 Select Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved as written.




Waste Oil:  This section of the meeting minutes were discussed and Don mentioned that it is very possible the town will no longer be accepting waste oil for collection due to excessive restrictions and costs placed on towns by DEP regulations.  The town’s liability is not worth the associated penalties and stores are now required to take back motor oil in containers.  An official decision will happen by April.


DLTA Grant:  Hal had a completed grant that he needed the Select Board chairman to sign.  The due date is Thursday of this week.  The grant was signed but will not be submitted if Becky finds this is in conflict with any other grants in progress for the town.  Becky will research this tomorrow.


School Choice Proclamation:  Lisa let the Select Board know we had been asked to sign the proclamation again this year.  We have never supported this proclamation previously so nothing was prepared for signature, but Lisa wanted the Board to know about it.


Budgets:  Becky is hoping the new accounting software will have the budget module ready to go by February 8th or 15th so she can use the new software for the budget process this year.  We are currently waiting on the new Chart of Accounts for this module.


Gun Shots:  Eve noted that multiple residents have complained about the excessive gun shot noise coming from private property.  It happens most weekends and is random and constant.  Short of violating a noise ordinance, there isn’t much that can be done to stop a resident from using their property as a shooting range as long as they are far enough away from a dwelling and far enough away from the road.


Transparent Accounting:  Diane asked if we could have weekly spending percentage reports posted on the website.  Becky noted this could be very misleading.  Gary noted the board agreed a monthly report would be issued to each department head, but it was never agreed to put this on the website.


East Otis Schoolhouse:  Sonia contacted Larry to see if Historical could submit a grant application which requires matching funds, which we already have put aside.  Per Larry, we may not make the deadline for the application, but Sonia would like to go ahead because she believes the state can give us a lot of assistance with this.


Low Income Housing:  Sue Ebitz noted we really need low income housing in townShe feels this might promote a younger age to come into town.


CMCA Agreement:  CMCA was asking what was the status of finalizing the agreement.  Town Counsel is waiting for CMCA to submit a Special Permit application with the town.


Personnel Reviews:  Gary Thomas noted some personnel were due for review and he’d like to do it soon.  They agreed to ask the parties if they would be available for January 22nd.


Review and Approval of Warrants.  They are available in the Selectmen’s office for the Select Board members to review.



Adjournment:  The Select Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:55 pm.



Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa D’Orazio

Selectmen’s Secretary

Town of Otis



List of Documents


  1. A copy of the two emails noting the MOU and Agreement with BRPC will be filed with these meeting minutes.


  1. Two copies of the BRPC Memo of Understanding (MOU) will be filed with these meeting minutes.  The first is unsigned, the second has signatures.


  1. A copy of the BRPC Inter-Local Agreement will be filed with these meeting minutes.


  1. A copy of the signed BRPC DLTA Grant application and cover letter will be filed with these meeting minutes.


  1. A copy of the email regarding the Proclamation for School Choice (NCSW) will be filed with these meeting minutes.