Vol. IV No. 4 2/15/2023
Notes from the Finance Committee (FC), February 2, Hybrid meeting
- Jay Bikofsky, Chair
- Jim Balfanz
- Diane Reuss
- Ed Lane
- Pam Boudreau
- Jorjia Marsden
- Bill Vogt
- Patrick White, Chair, Select Board
- Michael Canales, Town Administrator
- October 26 minutes approved as written.
- Chair reminded committee members to allow "a full span of time to make a comment and not cut off [anyone] in the midst."
- Chair discussed "role and organization of the FC." Following are in the bylaw:
- Appointed by Moderator
- Seven members + two alternates
- Advisory to Select Board who decides.
- Required by law to hold one public meeting per year — called the Baby Town Meeting
- Has oversight of Warrant items that include allocation, appropriation or debt — property disposal or acquisition.
- Complimented Gary Johnston for appointing an outstanding group to serve on FC — each takes annual Ethics test as all Town Committee, Board and Commission members do — Chair asked each to send in one paragraph stating their qualifications.
- Chair then stated qualifications of those present without including their names, for example, an innkeeper, Bank employee, former Town administrator, etc.
- Chair stated Finance Committee accomplishments such as "fully funding Other Post- Employment Benefits Trust Fund (OPEB) — the only town in Berkshire to do so and 8th from lowest tax rate at 8.36.
- Chair then went through possible issues that would come before FC.
- Affordable Housing Trust. Canales said no role for FC now
- Budget items — Averic Bridge, Salt Shed, Main Street crosswalk, Tuckerman Bridge — Canales said all passed at last Town Meeting
- Dredge Stockbridge Bowl — Canales said 18 months of permitting before comes before FC. Could come before Community Preservation Committee next week and White mentioned there was $2.6 million in Free Cash that could be used.
- Curtisville Bridge — no action possible; 10-year restriction will be lifted by State in 2025
- Other matters were touched on but were not before FC.
- White and Ranne Warner, Chair of Affordable Housing Trust, spoke about Pinewoods. Major repairs necessary. 100% privately owned by Construct, Inc., however they may come to Town for money. Commonwealth requires % of affordable housing in MA towns. Stockbridge meets the requirement only if Pinewood is included in that count. White: in our interest to help them with repairs but need to know extent of need, current and projected condition. Warner talked about the capital stack. White mentioned option, for example, funding Pinewoods or taking it over but first have to understand current conditions.
Editor's Note: The capital stack is the structure of all capital that is invested into a company. The stack includes both the equity and debt invested to date.
Photo: Jay Rhind