Monday May 14, 2012

BECKET -- The town’s first full-time police chief could be on board by July 1.

After Town Meeting approved the salary for the new position, Town Administrator Craig Kleman now has 30 applicants to consider before making a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for approval, according to board Chairman, Mark L. Karlberg.

If the search goes well, Karlberg said the new chief could be hired and ready to take over by June 30. Becket is seeking to replace its veteran part-time police chief, William Elovirta, retiring after 23 years on the job.

Karlberg anticipates the new chief will work in patrol and administrative capacities.

On Saturday night, Town Meeting voters agreed to hiring a full-time chief by including a $58,000 salary for the position as part of the town’s overall $4.93 million budget for fiscal 2013, representing a $55,000 decrease from the current spending plan.

The spending plan that takes effect July 1 also includes varying pay raises for town employees so each employee receives a combined 3 percent raise between this year and 2013.

This will also be the first year the Becket Ambulance De part ment’s budget is taken out of the town’s general budget, following the establishment of an ambulance enterprise fund. Town Meeting appropriated $294,000 for salaries and expenses to be covered by $204,000 in town funds, $70,000 from receipts and $20,000 from the enterprise fund.


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All but two of the 20 articles on the warrant passed, with voters rejecting the concept of expanding the Board of Selectmen from three to five members. Town Meeting also turned down a citizens petition for Becket to rejoin the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project.

Among the special articles that passed included the town spending $150,000 for a new dump truck to replace a 1992 vehicle used by the Highway Department. The purchase is contingent on a Proposition 21Ž2 debt exclusion vote at the town election on Saturday.

Town meeting voters also agreed to petition the state Legislature for special legislation that would reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on Fred Snow and Johnson roads. The state speed limit on gravel roads is 40 mph.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.