Propane heater

A grant would have provided $15,000 to Stockbridge for propane heaters, but officials determined that they could only be used on municipal property as part of a larger outdoor dining project.

STOCKBRIDGE — The Select Board has voted not to accept a $15,000 state grant for propane heaters to aid restaurants with outdoor dining.

The reason: It had too many strings attached.

The board acted after Town Administrator Michael Canales explained that the state required that the money had to be spent only on municipal land and as part of a larger project for outdoor winter dining.

“We really don’t have a mechanism to make that happen. You cannot put them [the propane heaters] on private property,” he said. “You can’t put them on parking lots unless they’re municipally owned.”

As Canales pointed out, “If you can’t implement the grant as you applied for it, you have to return the money, you can’t reallocate it for a different use. I can’t figure out how to implement it within the scope of how it was presented.”

Select Board Chairman Ernest “Chuck” Cardillo moved to return the grant, written last year by Selectman Patrick White. The board, including White, voted in favor of the motion. White urged the board to consider any actions the town can take, such as waiving alcohol license fees, to help struggling restaurant and cafe owners.