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April 13, 2021

Hi Everyone:
I hope you are well, and enjoying the spring.  I am so happy to be outdoors without a coat again.  The winter just makes me appreciate spring in the Berkshires even more. Here's to warmer days ahead, and onto the newsletter.



Annual Town Meeting
The Select Board has set this year’s Annual Town Meeting on June 9, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., in the Kittredge School Auditorium. While we do not yet know what COVID restrictions will still be in place, we imagine masks and social distancing will still be required in some form. 
Please check the Town’s website for further information on or before June 1, 2021. 
Town Election
The Annual Town Election is scheduled for Saturday, June 12, 2021. The Town Clerk’s Office runs the election.
The Last Day to Register to Vote in the Town’s Election is Thursday, May 20, 2021.  You register in the Town Clerk’s Office, Town Hall, 39 South Street.  Their office hours are Mondays 10:30-noon, Wednesdays 6:30 pm-8:00 pm, or by appointment. The phone is 413-655-2300 x301; Email is
Open Positions and Term
  • Moderator 1 3-years            
  • Select Board 1 3-years
  • Finance Committee 3 3-years                        
  • Finance Committee 1 1-year
  • Assessor 1 3-years 
  • Assessor 1 1-year
  • Planning Board 1 5-years
  • Planning Board 1 4-years
Nomination Papers and Dates
  • Available as of Thursday, April 1, 2021
  • Last Day to Obtain Nomination Papers: Thursday, April 22, 2021
  • Nomination Papers are due back on or before: Monday, April 26, 2021, by 5:00 p.m.
Discussion: The Future of the Community Center
The Select Board will host a public forum on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. from the Town Hall. We expect the meeting to last no more than 1.25 hours. In-person attendance is currently limited to 18 people based on current Covid-19 restrictions. 
Public access to this forum is provided via Zoom link at Community Center Discussion. This information is also available on the Town’s website at If you are unable to attend, you may email your thoughts to Please join us.

From the Treasurer’s Office

Real Estate & Personal Property Tax bills for the second half of fiscal 2021 have been released. Bills are due on or before May 3, 2021. Please make checks payable to the Town of Hinsdale and mail to Tax Collector, 39 South Street, Hinsdale, MA 01235, with a copy of your bill or the bill number. For your convenience, we have provided online bill pay. Making a payment is quick and easy. Go to; click on “Pay Taxes and Fees,” and follow the instructions to process your Payment. Town Collector’s office hours are: Tuesday and Thursday 8:00am-3:00pm & Wednesday 8:00am-8:00pm.

Vehicle Excise Taxes -- Excise taxes are issued throughout the year when commitments are received from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The bills are based on the information you provide when you register your vehicle. It is important to keep your information with the Registry current. 

The procedure to follow should you sell, trade, or junk a vehicle is printed on the back of each bill, or call the Assessors’ Office for instruction. Excise taxes are due 30 days from the date of issue. Interest accrues at 12% per annum. After 30 days, a demand bill is issued, with interest and the $10.00 demand fee. Should the demand bill remain unpaid after 14 days, the account is turned over to the Deputy Collector. After notification from the deputy Collector, you will be marked at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. You will be unable to renew your license or registration until the delinquent bill is paid.

The Deputy Collector’s office phone number is 413-527-2388. The address is 98 Cottage St. Easthampton, MA 01027.
Water/Sewer Bills -- Water/Sewer bills are issued semi-annually; August 1 and January 1 are due September 1 and February 1. Any portion of the bill unpaid after this date is subject to a $20.00 penalty each month per unit until paid in full. Outstanding accounts are added as alien to the following year’s Real Estate Tax bill, with interest and late fees added.
Making Payments

  • In-person or by mail -- Payments for Real Estate tax, Personal Property tax, Motor Vehicle tax, and Water/Sewer bill may have paid by check and mail to Town of Hinsdale, 39 South St., Hinsdale, MA 01235 or paid by check or cash at the Collector’s office. Office hours are Tuesday & Thursday 8:00am-3:00pm, Wednesday 8:00am-8:00pm
  • After Hours in the Drop-Box (back of the Town Hall) -- If the Office is closed, you may leave (in a sealed envelope please) a personal or cashier’s check for the exact amount; No cash, thank you.
  • Pay Online -- Please click the link below for the Town’s online payment center to pay Real Estate, Personal Property, Excise, and Water/Sewer Bills.


New, Larger, and more accessible Drop-Box
Due to popular demand and resident convenience, the Select Board is installing a new, larger Drop-Box at the Town Hall entrance (at the back of the building). This Drop-Box, the online bag-tag purchase option, and bill payment system (both available on the website are for your convenience. Please do not deposit cash or coins in the drop-box; all paperwork must be received in an envelope with a legible return address. Thank you.
Bag Tags Needed at Transfer Station
The Select Board reinstated the Bag Tag program at the Transfer Station on March 2, 2021. Residents dropping off garbage will once again need to affix the $1 per bag stickers. You may now purchase bag stickers online at the Town’s website, Go to the Town’s home page, and click the orange box that says “Buy Bag Tags.” After your purchase is complete, the stickers will be mailed to the address you have provided during the transaction.

Plunkett Lake – A few updates
A week ago Friday (April 2), DPW Superintendent Bud Hall met with an Officer and an Engineer from the Mass Office of Dam Safety to determine the best course of action needed to correct the batter boards that were lilting towards the spillway. After spending several hours examining the site and reviewing the design’s blueprints, Bud agreed on a plan of action that included securing an emergency repair permit from Hinsdale’s Conservation Commission and the State. Once the permits were in place and materials secured, Bud and the DPW crew implemented the plan, staying several extra hours Friday evening to finish the job.  
I am pleased to report that the batter boards are in place for the summer season. So when you see the DPW Crew over the next several days, thank them for a job well done.  
The DPW staff will continue to monitor Plunkett per State Law. Please stay off the dam and spillway as the Town cannot afford unintentional damage or vandalism. Thank you.
Last summer, the Berkshires experienced a Level 2-significant drought on their drought scale (Mass Drought Status). In March 2021, the State declared we are already at a Level 1-Mild Drought status currently. The State asks that residents do their part to conserve water:
As the Commonwealth enters into the growing season and more time is spent outdoors, the State’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) urges residents and businesses to reduce water use. If you garden, please limit outdoor watering to no more than one day a week for Level 1 regions and handheld watering for Level 2 regions.

Other water conservation tips include:

  •  Address leaks as soon as possible;
  • Conduct water audits on larger buildings and businesses to identify leaks and potential water conservation opportunities;
  • Minimize the size of where lawns are watered; and,
  • Harvest rainwater for outdoor watering. 

Water conservation measures will reduce water use and safeguard water for essential needs, such as drinking water, fire protection services, habitat recovery, and environmental needs, and sustained water supplies. For more information, please visit EEA’s web pages on indoor and outdoor water use. While water supplies are currently doing fine, individuals are also encouraged to follow any additional requirements outlined by their communities’ Public Water Supplier. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its plan.

Restoration of the Dam Spillway 
Restoration of the Plunkett Dam Spillway and batter boards has been an ongoing conversation topic, especially given the drought and low water level last summer. The Select Board and I met with Lake Management (via zoom) in February, and this project was part of that discussion. We are actively seeking grant funding from the State. Please remember that securing grant funding is a process, and 300 other municipalities across the State are doing the same. That said, we shall continue to advocate for Hinsdale’s share of these resources.

Skyline Trail/Middlefield Road – delayed
We just learned from Mass DOT that the Skyline Trail/Middlefield Road project had been delayed due to a change in guardrail/bridge-rail requirements. The bridge-like culverts and corresponding bridge rails were designed and tentatively approved at the start of the design process, and the engineering proceeded. However, while seeking final project approval, changes to guardrail/bridge-rail requirements came to light. And while looking at the design more closely, there was no easy fix, so the review panel required a redesign to comply with the new requirements. This fix has put the project off track.
The redesign is currently underway, and Mass DOT expects final approval and advertising to come in June or July. The bid process takes upwards of 120 days, which brings us to November. Based on available information, the Town now anticipates construction will begin in spring 2022. There is a possibility, however, that they might start the bridge-like-culvert work earlier.
One other possible obstacle to scheduling involves two endangered birds, the American and Least Bitterns. These Bitterns mate successfully in the Hinsdale Flats, so construction schedules shall be required to conform to wildlife regulations as well. For more information on these birds, go to the Cornell lab website at

Hinsdale Pollinator Garden Initiative to launch on Earth Day
Press Release, April 11, 2021 -- Pittsfield, MA -- Berkshire Conservation District is excited to announce the Hinsdale Pollinator Garden Initiative’s kick-off, including planting native, pollinator-friendly gardens at the Hinsdale Public Library! The District received grant funding from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to initiate a pilot program promoting small-scale pollinator gardens in the Town of Hinsdale, MA, which passed a resolution to become a ‘Pollinator-Friendly Community’ at the May 2019 town meeting. 
With the increasing loss of habitat, use of pesticides, and introduction of non-native plants, pollinators are in decline in the US. 
Pollinators provide a vital ecosystem service by transferring pollen between plants to facilitate reproduction, making them responsible for 1/3 of the bites of food eaten by humans each day. “Gardening for pollinators creates links between humans and nature while fostering environmental stewardship,” notes the Districts’ Board of Supervisor Chair, Adam Galambos. “Stresses on pollinators is exacerbated by climate change which disrupts biological systems including the pollinator-flower relationship and poses challenges for all pollinators. By planting a variety of native pesticide-free pollinator gardens, we can help to support pollinators in our communities.”
The project will kick off on Earth Day, April 22 (weather permitting), with a celebratory first planting. As the project progresses, online workshops led by knowledgeable pollinators and native plant specialists in our area will be offered by the District, and literature and books on the subject featured at the library. Plans for the gardens were drawn up for a sun and shade garden by Understory Landscape and Garden Design, located in Windsor, MA. 
The District welcomes volunteers interested in getting involved with this project.
The Berkshire Conservation District has been serving the Berkshires since 1946 as one of more than 3,000 state-mandated agencies. Our mission is to help farmers, landowners, and land managers improve and protect their natural resources. In cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, we offer assistance through education and outreach.
For more information and to be part of this exciting program, contact the District at

Berkshire Conservation District
78 Center St., Suite 102
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413) 443-1776 ext. 102
Copyright © 2021 Town of Hinsdale, All rights reserved.

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