Carrie Saldo | On the record: Introducing a new column about Pittsfield government

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Editor's note: Today, we launch On The Record, a column — hopefully, a dialogue — devoted to news, notes and musings about what's happening in Pittsfield. Have a question, comment or want to share an idea? Contact city reporter Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com.

COST SAVINGS?

The city may begin sharing public health services, including inspection and nursing.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer proposed the city join the Berkshire Public Health Alliance. Established in 2011, 23 Berkshire County communities in the alliance share public health services with the help of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, its fiscal agent.

Tuesday night, members of City Council referred the matter to its Public Health and Safety subcommittee for review.

There is no cost to belong to the alliance, unless the municipality purchases services from it.

PARKING KIOSKS

The staff at Downtown Pittsfield Inc. are working with merchants to help educate the public about the city's parking kiosks. Jesse Cook-Dubin, president of the nonprofit that promotes the downtown, said many merchants are reminding patrons they need to use the kiosks no matter how long they plan to park. He said there's been confusion, and some frustration, about how the system works, especially the 30 minutes of free parking.

To avoid a ticket, people parking downtown need to enter license plate numbers into the kiosks or via a downloadable app no matter how long they plan to park. Parking costs $1 an hour for on-street parking and 50 cents an hour for off-street parking. Parking for the first 30 minutes, after 5 p.m. and on weekends is free.

CALL FOR ARTIST

The Paintbox Program is back and looking for artists' design ideas for sprucing up the city's utility boxes.

This year, designs will decorate eight boxes from North Street to Berkshire Health Systems, adding to the eight designs Artscape helped install on boxes from the Berkshire Museum to Persip Park.

A jury will select eight winning designs. Artists can submit up to three each. Design applications will be accepted through April 10. The project is funded by Berkshire Money Management, which gives a $400 stipend to each artist.

Applications are available online at http://cityofpittsfield.org/city_hall/arts_and_culture/artscape/

CLEAR THOSE SIDEWALKS

With several snow storms in recent weeks, the white stuff is piling up. Shovel it or risk being cited by the city. The city sent a reminder this week that property owners are have 24 hours after a storm to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice.

Once cleared of snow, ice melt and sand should be used to maximize safety, the notice said.

To report an obstructed sidewalk or for more information, call the Health Department at 413-499-9411.

Question of the week: Have you struggled to hear what's being said at meetings in City Council chambers?

City resident Drew Herzig told City Council on Tuesday that a loud heating system and less-than-robust microphones in the room make it difficult for councilors to be heard by the public. He asked they speak up so that those in the room and people watching on Pittsfield Community Television can hear what's being said.

Carrie Saldo covers Pittsfield for The Eagle.


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.



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