The Huntington Board of Selectmen met May 30 to prepare for and discuss the town’s annual meeting Monday at Stanton Hall. Wednesday was also the second day on the job as treasurer for Aimee Burnham, who was elected to a three-year term at the town elections held May 19. Burnham was also reelected for a third three -year term on the Board of Selectmen, of which she is chairperson.
Burnham said if voters at the town meeting authorize the Select Board to appoint the treasurer and other town officers not required by law to be voted in (Article 2), then after her current three-year term as treasurer, the next one will be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The change in the treasurer’s position from an elected to an appointed position was approved as a ballot question at the town elections, but must also pass the town meeting.
It was also the second day on the job for Andrea McKittrick as the new tax collector. Both positions (treasurer and tax collector) were held by Anne-Marie Knox, who is retiring at the end June. McKittrick was also elected for a three-year position as town clerk. Only 96 of some 1,300 registered town voters participated in the town election, according to Select Board member Jeffrey McKittrick.
The Board of Selectmen is also recommending passing the Gateway budget Version 3.0 at the town meeting, according to Burnham, because the assessment to Huntington is down by more than $80,000 from last year overall. Gateway’s assessment to Huntington is $2,140,838, more than fifty percent of the town’s budget, and twenty-six percent of Gateway’s budget, according to Burnham.
For that reason, Burnham was unsure if the Board of Selectmen would support the amendments to the Gateway Regional agreement known as One Man, One Vote, which will also be voted at the town meeting on Monday night, and which would reduce Huntington’s School Committee representation from three to two members if passed by all seven towns. However, not all the towns voted on the amendments at their town meetings this year, and Russell voted to postpone indefinitely. Gateway Superintendent, David B. Hopson, said at the School Committee meeting on May 23 that the votes will have to be redone to reflect other amendments in the regional agreement, including Worthington’s request to withdraw from the district.
It was reported at the Select Board meeting that there are newly broken lights on the town commons. The Select Board discussed putting a surveillance camera on the green. A motion was made to purchase a security system for Stanton Hall and Town Hall for July 1. The Board also discussed purchasing the same system that was installed at the Highway Department, which they were told by Board of Health member George Petersen has been working out.
As an example of its effectiveness, Charles Dazelle, highway superintendent, said that Betty Waite of the Lions Club had reported to him that someone had stolen the bottles and cans from the Lions Club box at the transfer station. The cameras were reviewed to identify the guilty parties. Burnham said they should be charged with trespassing, because the Transfer Station was closed at the time of the theft. Robert Garriepy, Huntington police chief, said he will talk to the Board of Health before charging them. Garriepy said the charge could also be larceny under $250.
Dazelle gave an update on the survey that needs to be done on the hard “S” turn on County Road to determine the boundaries of the town’s property, in order to develop a plan for the road. The survey will be paid for with $5,000 in available Chapter 90 funds. A vote was made to approve Almer Huntley Jr. & Associates as the approved bidder for surveying the “S” turn.
Garriepy also reported that he is trying to get County Road accident report numbers from 2008-2012 finalized for the road improvement project.
A vote will also be taken at the town meeting Monday night to transfer $2,500 for signs and safety markers for Norwich Lake. Garriepy said he is in discussion with the Army Corps of Engineers about the signage, which is intended to make people aware of the laws. Garriepy said he is leaning toward signs that are educational and informational. There was a discussion at the meeting about whether the town should pay for signs for the lake which belongs to the state, but whose residents live in the town.
Garriepy said he will speak for the project at the town meeting, and expects some people to speak for and against it.
“If it saves one life, the money is well worth it,” Garriepy said.“My main concern is the two summer camps. Kids are in the lake all the time.”
Garriepy said that the trial of Steven Morse of Westfield begins on June 11 for the fatal accident that claimed the life of 10-year-old Gus Adamopoulos of Ludlow in August of 2010. Morse has been charged with manslaughter, homicide by a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and child endangerment, among other charges.
Garriepy said it was the first accident with injury on Norwich Lake in 28 years.