South County officials have big decisions ahead

Tuesday January 1, 2013

Select Board members routinely pass resolutions, but those measures are not the same sort of resolutions that they may set for the New Year,

The turning of the calendar gives members of local government the opportunity to put forward a different type of agenda that includes items focused around self-improvement and personal betterment.

Members of three South County boards, in Becket, Great Barrington and Otis, recently weighed-in with their thoughts for the New Year (note: unlike official town resolutions, approval of these measures does not require a majority vote).

In Otis, Select Board chair Roberta Sarnacki knows the town will be under the magnifying glass in 2013 because a vote could be taken to construct a $6.5 million wind turbine. The turbine would supplement local energy and provide power to neighboring communities that could produce extra revenue for the town. Besides town approval, additional studies are pending.

"For a small town in the boonies, [other towns] will really be looking at what we do," Sarnacki said.

As far as New Year’s resolutions go, Sarnacki said she’s in support of Otis elevating its profile and, "standing in the spotlight in a good way."

"The new year is clearly the time for the town to grab the spotlight and shine," said Sarnacki. She supports "Otis trying new things. Putting ourselves out there and working together as a [town]."

In Great Barrington, Select Board Member Stephen Bannon said he will stay focused on big-picture policy because a full slate of projects will be under consideration by the town’s governing body.

There’s the multimillion-dollar, half-mile reconstruction project planned for Main Street. A bond to fund construction at Monument Mountain Regional High School is also scheduled for a vote.

Compiling the town’s fiscal 2014 budget will also be another time-consuming endeavor, he said.

However, Bannon would like to leave the time-consuming minutiae of running the town’s affairs to others.

"We should be working on policy and letting the paid officials and town manager implement policy," Bannon said.

Officials in Becket have a more grounded New Year’s resolution. There are two high-level vacancies, highway superintendent and town accountant, that need filling.

The Select Board is also seeking a new town administrator after deciding not to renew the contract of former Town Administrator Craig Kleman.

Select Board Member William Elovirta said he’s in support of "getting the positions filled and getting government back on track the way it should be working."

To reach John Sakata:
(413) 496-6240


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