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September 29, 2020

I have held off on this month's newsletter so that I could update you on the FY21 Tax Rate.  I got the approved information today, so please see that information and several other items below. (All links are heightened in blue.)

If you have questions or concerns about any of this, or if I can help you with something else, feel free to contact me.

Best,

Bob   

FY21 Tax Rate
The Select Board voted to approve a single tax rate for all Hinsdale properties (residential and commercial) at last Wednesday night’s meeting. Then, the Board of Assessors and Regional Resource Group (RRG) representatives submitted all the required forms and documents meeting the Mass Department of Revenue requirements. We received the approval of the FY21 Tax Rate.

The FY21 Tax Rate is $14.33 per thousand dollars of valuation.  This is an increase of $1.12 over last year’s rate. This increase is predominately due to the construction of the new Wahconah High School. The Town’s total budget went up by $415.127 (9%), with $314,261 going to CBRSD Operating and Capital. If it weren’t for the new school, the rate would have increased by approximately $0.25 (2%). 

COVID19 
The State's COVID19 website, www.mass.gov/COVIDprovides thorough and up-to-date information on the pandemic, with links to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other resources and sites to help keep us well-informed about this on-going health threat.  I suggest you bookmark this site for your own reference.

The COVID19 pandemic numbers are inching up in some places, with Berkshire County reported four new cases. We must remain vigilant against this on-going threat, and one way we can do so is to get a flu vaccination as soon as possible.  
  • The Hinsdale/Peru Council on Aging's Flu Clinic is scheduled as follows:
    • CoA’s Walk-in Flu Clinic
    • Monday, October 5, 2020
    • Hinsdale Fire Station
    • 9:00 am to Noon
      • Bring your Medicare or Medicaid Card
      • Wear a face mask and a short-sleeved shirt.
 
  • Veteran’s AdministrationFlu Clinics are held on Thursdays, as follows:
    • Flu Shots at the Veterans/VA Clinic 
    • 73 Eagle Street, Pittsfield, MA (413) 443-4857
    • Thursdays from 9-noon, no appointment necessary
 
  • Planning for the Holidays – The CDC has put out their information about Halloween and other holidays on the horizon. For more information as you begin to think about your plans, we suggest reading this CDC holiday information as you start thinking about the holidays.   And again, thanks to all people on the front-lines working to fight the pandemic and keep people safe, including, but not limited to, Healthcare Providers, EMTs, Fire-Fighters, Police, Grocery, Pharmacy, and Food Service Workers. We appreciate the work you are doing for others during this challenging time.
Halloween Planning
The First Congregational Church (FCC) has pulled together a Halloween Planning Group with representatives from the Fire Department, Police Department, Library, Lions Club, and the Dayz Committee to plan a “safe and healthy way for the children and the young at heart to enjoy this Halloween season without the fare and stress of Covid-19.”   
The group’s plan will be set and announced on the Town’s website by October 16, 2020. 

The 2020 Election
The Town Clerk’s Office has posted some updated on the website and reprinted here: Election Information. If, after reviewing the information, you have questions or concerns, please contact Dawn Frissell, Hinsdale Town Clerk, at Clerk@hinsdalema.gov.  

Old Dalton Road

We have tried to keep this project on-scheduled, but coordinating the utility work has been like herding cats – virtually impossible. The good news is that Eversource has finally completed the utility work at the Old Dalton Rd/Rt-143 intersection. The project contractor Warner Brothers will return to complete the top layer of pavement, driveway aprons, lines, and signage just after Columbus Day. 

Biennial Dam Inspections

The Mass Dam Safety Office requires all State cities and towns contract with a civil engineer and conduct biennial inspections of High-Hazard Dams in their respective communities. We have contracted with a dam engineer to complete this work and will be doing site visits just after Columbus Day. Reports will be written, and the findings shared on the Town’s website as soon as they are completed.  

Reminder from the Town Water Department
Even though we had a lot of rain in the past two days, the region’s severe drought continues. Therefore, the Water Department asks that we remind residents about the ban on outdoor water usage. Residents on the Town’s Water System are asked to comply with the following water conservation measures: 
  • Limit your outdoor water usage to just one day per week and between 5:00 pm and 9:00 am. (If I plan to water on Monday night, I begin after 5:00 pm. If I plan to start on Tuesday at 6:00 am, I must finish before 9:00 am). 
  • Regardless of the day you choose, the irrigation of lawns or gardens must be done by a handheld hose or watering can. 
  • Please refrain from washing vehicles, other than for safety reasons, or by a commercial car wash. 
  • There is to be no washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways, or sidewalks. 
For more information about the drought and the State’s actions, visit the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force webpage.

When do the U.S. Flags come down?
The U.S. Flags displayed from utility poles throughout Town were purchased two years ago by a group of generous residents in honor of those who have served in the armed services. The flags are put out before Memorial Day and are taken in after Veterans Day each year.  The flags are stored in the Town Hall, and since receiving the flag donation, the Town has created a budget line to replace those damaged by inclement weather.

Committee Vacancies
Committees or Commissions (Committees) are posted on the Town's website under the heading More; then Jobs and Volunteering, Jobs and Volunteering.

If interested in opening, we ask that you:
  • Attend the next scheduled committee meeting posted on the Town's website under the specific committee page of Agenda and Minutes.
  • Send an email or letter of interest to the committee expressing your interest in the opening.  Provide your complete name, address, telephone, and email address in your letter of interest. All committee email addressed can be found on the Town's website under the heading Contacts.  
Then, 
  • The committee chair will contact you for an interview with the committee and then will forward the committee's recommendation for an appointment by the Select Board. 
  • The Select Board makes all final decisions and committee appointments and will contact you with specific information before the next Select Board meeting.
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