Vol. IV No. 13 7/1/2023
Lily Pond Gift
1. A special thank you to Patricia M. (Patsy) Harris Berkshire Middle District Registrar of Deeds, for guiding my research into the David Rothstein gift to "The Inhabitants of Stockbridge". She mentioned how proud she is that the records, hundreds of years of documents, dating back to 1761, are digitized. "So that everyone may view them online from their own homes and offices." Harris said and added, "As you know, these records are so important in preserving our history, and it is imperative that they remain accurate, reliable, safe, secure and unchallenged for our future. That's my priority every day." Thank you, Patsy — this community is fortunate to have you and the fruits of your labor.
There seemed to be some confusion about the gift from David Rothstein to the Town mentioned in the last issue. So, here is the documentation. Please notice that there is a difference between 68.2 acres and the gift of 22 acres. The 68.2 is the whole White Pines property. After Rothstein developed 46.2 acres, he gave the remaining 22 acres to us. Thank you, David, hope you get that placque; I believe the Select Board is on it.
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS,
That I, DAVID S. ROTHSTEIN, of Stockbridge in the County of Berkshire and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for no consideration paid, this being a gift and not a sale, grant to THE INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF STOCKBRIDGE through its Conservation Commission in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 8c, with QUITCLAIM COVENANTS, all of that parcel of land titled "Land of Mahkeenac Lake Development Company, Portion of that described in Book 557, Page 167, containing 68.2 acres, as shown on a plan entitled "Land in Stockbridge, Mass., surveyed for Walter Wilson/Gordon E. Ainsworth & Associates, Inc. Scale 1" - 150', January 4, 1972", which is recorded along with a mortgage granted to Walter Wilson, said mortgage being recorded at the Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds in Book 935 at Page 832&c...
Community Housing Workshop: July 17th
2. Stockbridge Affordable Housing Trust to conduct a Community Housing Workshop on Monday, July 17th at 6:00 pm at Town Hall
The Town of Stockbridge is in the process of preparing a Housing Production Plan (HPP) that will provide up-to-date information on local housing issues, identify priority housing needs, and propose strategies to address those needs.
The Housing Trust will present the major findings from the first component of the HPP, the Housing Needs Assessment. This Assessment provides updated information on demographic and economic shifts, as well as housing market changes that have notable implications on community housing needs and demand. Demographic trends over the past eleven years show an increase in the number of older residents and a decrease in younger people. The median age of residents increased from 40.8 to 60.1 years between 2010 and 2021, based on U.S. Census data. During the same period, the number of middle-income households has declined, while lower income (under $25,000) and higher income (over $150,000) households have increased. Median household income has declined, from $55,096 in 2010 to $46,458 in 2021.
Rising housing prices make it more difficult for residents, those raised in the community, or those wanting to live in Stockbridge to find, or retain affordable living options. For example, the median single-family home price in 2022 was $575,000, requiring an estimated income of $148,000. As the Housing Needs Assessment documents, there are segments of the community spending 30% or even 50% of their income on housing costs.
The Stockbridge Affordable Housing Trust will present the draft Housing Needs Assessment on Monday, July 17th at 6:00 pm. Most important, the meeting will include a special program to gather the perspectives of attendees on the Town 's future housing agenda.
The meeting will be held in Town Offices at 50 Main Street, and all are welcome to attend. For more information or to submit comments about the project, please contact Janet Ackerman via email at JAckerman@stockbridge-ma.gov. To review the draft Housing Needs Assessment and Workshop presentation, visit the Town's Affordable Housing Trust website at www.stockbridge-ma.gov after July 10th.
Kudos to COA Volunteers
3. Kudos to Chris McCarthy and Jack Grimli. Consider this: two volunteers saw a need, rolled up their sleeves, reopened, and enlivened our Senior Center. In a Town whose median age is 61, a senior center did seem a sensible goal. Just for the love of it; just for the goodwill, with the help of Theresa Zanetti, the other members of the Council on Aging, and a few pals—they made a warm fun place to go. Thank you.
Housatonic Water Works: Rate Increase
4. Press Release June 23, 2023, Housatonic Water Works Company Files Rate Request Based on Needed Infrastructure Improvements
Housatonic Water Works Company filed an application with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), on June 23, 2023, requesting a 112.7% overall revenue increase. The revenue requirement reflects an $808,808 increase over existing water rates.
The Company plans to spend $4.5 million to upgrade its treatment and distribution systems, improving both drinking water quality and fire protection service.
Investing in the future
"Providing safe, reliable drinking water to our customers and community is essential to health, quality of life, the environment and our local economy," said Company treasurer, James Mercer. Under the current management over $3 million in improvements have been made. Since the last rate case filing in 2015, the Company has replaced over 760 water meters and 2,458 feet of aging water mains, and associated valves, and hydrants on Front, Division, North, Park, and Wyantenuck Streets.
Filing the case with the DPU is the first step in a lengthy process, a rigorous financial review, and opportunities for public comment.
The proposed across-the-board increase will result in a monthly minimum service charge of $98.38 and a $23.24 charge per thousand gallons for all water usage over the 2,500-gallon monthly allowance.
The annual cost of water service for the average residential customer would increase from $746.40 to $1,641.48. Complete details are included in the rate case filing which is available on our website: housatonicwater.com.
Editor's note: Last year our Select Board approved assistance for heating costs. Recently, SB approved assistance for water costs. Both are available through the Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC). Please if you need help get help.
SNAP Match Programs at Regional Farmers Markets
5. Berkshire Agricultural Ventures Awards $140,000 to Expand SNAP Match Programs at Regional Farmers Markets, increasing access to fresh, local, nutrient-dense food
Photo: Lionel Delevingne