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Apathy has Savoy stymied  

Credit:  By Ryan Hutton, North Adams Transcript, www.thetranscript.com 12 February 2011 ~~

SAVOY – Four town boards can’t function because they lack the necessary members, and three others are short at least one member.

While the situation is not dire, it could become so if volunteers can’t be found soon, Scott Koczela, chairman of the Selectmen, said Thursday.

excerpt: “The Planning Board has only had one member on it since the whole mess with the wind turbines, so the selectboard has been filling in for the them,” he said. “Luckily, we haven’t had too many cases come before the board, but we need a separate set of people.”

“It’s important to have fully stocked boards,” Koczela said. “In the case of our ZBA or Conservation Commission, if we don’t have a functioning board, they may not be able to rule on things that come forward. For example, the wind turbine project. When all the members of the ZBA quit [last year], we had to put a good deal of time and energy into finding people who were willing to serve on the board, and the whole process was held up in the meantime. That was millions of dollars in potential tax revenue that was being held up.”

The Conservation Commission, Finance Committee and Agricultural Commission each lack three members, and the Planning Board lacks four. All are five-member boards that need a minimum of three members for a quorum.

The town is also missing one tree warden and one member each on its five-member Zoning Board of Appeals and Historical Commission.

Koczela said the town will send out flyers next week with local tax bills soliciting help in filling the positions.

“The Planning Board has only had one member on it since the whole mess with the wind turbines, so the selectboard has been filling in for the them,” he said. “Luckily, we haven’t had too many cases come before the board, but we need a separate set of people.”

He said the town has had a chronic problem for many years attracting candidates for elected and appointed positions. In almost any given year, no one seeks office for certain seats in town elections. Officials then have to call the person who got the most write-in votes to see if he or she will take the job. If not, they often have to speak to the incumbents and see if they are willing to stay for another year.

Many boards and commissions are filled with people who have served for over a decade – often times on more than one board at a time. Koczela said many people have stayed only because there’s no one else interested. He particularly thanked Alice Liebenow, Jane Phinney, Gale Carlow, Emile Mazur, Chris Andersen, Ed Wilk, Sue McGrath, Allen Carlow, Doris Tatro and Susan O’Grady for serving at least 10 years.

The town also has run into problems when trying to get a quorum at town meetings, Koczela noted.

“We had to grab some poor people who were just in Town Hall for some building permits to sit in during the last town meeting [last summer] so we would have a quorum,” he said.

He urged local residents who have any time to spare or an interest in serving the town to step forward – and soon.

“Volunteering your time on a board is a way to make a difference in your town,” Koczela said. “If you think things should be done differently, or you think there’s a better way to do things, come forward and speak to us. Join one of these boards to make a difference. It doesn’t do any good to complain if you’re not doing your part.”

Anyone interested in serving in any way can call Town Hall, 743-4290, or Selectmen Koczela, Fred Sawyer and John Truskowski, all of whom are listed in the phone book.

Source:  By Ryan Hutton, North Adams Transcript, www.thetranscript.com 12 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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