|Pittsfield City Council Breezes Through 8-Minute Meeting|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
09:45PM / Wednesday, July 12, 2017
|There wasn't much to talk about Tuesday as the City Council breezed through only a handful of business items in eight minutes.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council made up for the late nights during the budget season on Tuesday night when it barreled through its business in eight minutes.
The City Council meets just once a month in July and August and Tuesday's agenda ended up with what was ultimately only four items — all of which were approved with minimal to no discussion.
The first item was no surprise to the council and was a request to transfer $85,000 from unspent budget lines in fiscal 2017 to cover a deficit in veteran's services. The City Council had a lengthy discussion two weeks ago when it transferred some $1.3 million to fund a deficit in snow and ice.
Then the council was informed about the veterans services deficit.
The council pulled from the accounts for commissioner of public utilities, city engineer — two positions the city hadn't had filled for months during the year — utilities, police detectives, police special events overtime, the city physician, a fire lieutenant position, and the city audit contract. The City Council did not voice any concerns with the transfer.
The City Council also approved Sandri Realty Inc.'s request to increase fuel storage at the Sunoco on Center Street. Engineer Alan McLevy from Wilcox & Barton presented the plan to remove the current tanks and install two new ones. The council had no comments on that move either.
The council also approved fixing a typo in the city code — a typo that did cause some concern during the budget hearings. The code specifies that there "shall be a commissioner of public services" when it should have read "shall be a commissioner of public utilities." The council approved that without sending it to Ordinance and Rules and Council President Peter Marchetti said the change was so minor he didn't think it needed a subcommittee meeting.
Another language change put forth by Marchetti was regarding the council's rules on how to pick a vice president. That had become a heated debate at the end of 2015, right before a new council took over. Some on the council argued that the entire council votes on the vice president while others said whoever is elected president picks the vice. Ultimately a compromised was reached in that the president nominated a vice and the council needed to approve it.
In June, the council voted to approve language saying the vice president was elected but the language was adopted was unclear. Marchetti petitioned to clarify the language and received unanimous approval to do so on Tuesday — avoiding what could have become yet another heated debate over the issue.
Two other petitions that were tabled remained untouched Tuesday — one from Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo requesting left-turn signals at the intersection of Center Street and Columbus and one from resident and former Councilor Michael Ward requesting the council go on record to request the proposed Walmart Supercenter shall be adjacent to Tyler Street and Woodlawn, have primary entrances from the Tyler and Woodlawn sidewalks, have the building walls face Woodlawn and have storefront windows, and be compatible with the neighborhood.
Correspondences from state Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier regarding the council's resolution to support the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations regarding state support for education were placed on file.