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May 2022 Newsletter

May 9, 2022


Hi Everyone:

I hope you are well.

This Newsletter focuses on the 2022 Annual Town Meeting on Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the Kittredge School.  The Warrant and my comments are available from these links:

These links are also available on the Town's website at www.hindalemass.com.

There are several other things you can read about in this Newsletter, including an update on the transfer station's former landfill recapping project, the progress being made on the Town's Municipal Vulnerability Plan, and more.  

I hope you can attend the Annual Town Meeting and that you remember to vote in the Town Election on Saturday, May 14, 202.

Best,


Bob

Annual Town Meeting
This Wednesday, May 11, at 7:00 pm in the Kittredge School Auditorium, the Select Board will hold the Annual Town Meeting.

Annual Town Election
The Annual Town Election is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. Polls will be open 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the Town Hall Community Room (lower level).  

2021 Annual Town Report
Each year before the Annual Town Meeting, the Town produces an annual Town Report, documenting the prior year's events. Like many towns trying to reduce costs, Hinsdale is publishing the Annual Report on the Town's website instead of producing as many paper copies.  The FY22 Annual report is available at www.hinsdalemass.com and will eventually be archived on the site for future reference.  

Just so you know, the Annual Report looks at events from the previous fiscal year (FY21), recapping the tasks and progress made, and reports on the audit year's financials.  The Annual Town Meeting looks ahead to the upcoming fiscal year and addresses work and projects.

Former Landfill Capping Project
As you know, the Town is being required by MA-DEP to "cap" the former landfill located at the Transfer station site on Plunkett Reservoir Road.  This project has been on the Town's "to do" list for several years, and MA-DEP has given us until the end of October to complete the work.  

I am sharing this image so residents may understand how large the area is that the Town is required to cap. As you can see from this image, the driveway and the dark area in the center depict the space we currently use for the Transfer Station.  However, the area we must cap is displayed in the more extensive section shown.  And, we are required to place 10 inches of "impervious soil" over the entire site.  That then shall be covered by another two or so inches of soil that we will cover with a low-grow grass that will need to be periodically cut, but as the name indicates, the growth is expected to be slow.  Trees, shrubbery, and all other deep-rooted weeds are not allowed, and we'll need to remove those periodically too.  The growth undermines the cap.

We have been working with Berkshire Engineering for the past several years on this project, and the lead engineer has been working with MA-DEP to identify possible sources of impervious material, which must meet high standards to provide the protection the site demands.  So far, the closest source appears to be in Hadley, MA.  Trucking this much material that distance, with current fuel prices and the State's prevailing wage, requires makes this project all the more costly, so we need to set aside a total of $650,000.00 to complete this mandate.  The firm(s) that bid on the project will know of other sources for this material.

I will keep you posted on the project, and we will need everyone's cooperation as this work is being completed.

 

Municipal Vulnerability Plan Update
Source: Commonwealth Municipal Consultants

In 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed Executive Order 569, mandating the Commonwealth support climate resilience planning at the local level.  In April 2017, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) planning grant program was launched by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).  Completion of the Community Resilience Building process enables designation of towns as “MVP Communities” and offers preference in future state grants.
 
In 2022, Hinsdale applied and was awarded a grant to pursue the designation requirements.  Pursuant to the requirement of the grant, Hinsdale selected an MVP-approved vendor, Commonwealth Municipal Consulting (CMC), to support the Town in completing the planning process.
 
Process Summary
This MVP Planning grant will support Hinsdale in completing an appendix to its climate-focused Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). This process will examine the mitigation action plan developed in the HMP and choose three priority, climate-related actions and workshop them into climate adaptation projects based on the MVP program's core principles. These priority climate adaptation projects will then be written into a climate adaptation appendix to Hinsdale’s HMP. Through the program, EEA will provide Hinsdale access to downscaled climate change projections, available on the www.resilientMA.org website, which must be incorporated into the planning process. 
A local project lead, a core team from the municipality, and CMC will come together in a workshop format to identify the highest priority HMP climate-focused mitigation actions and apply climate data projections to these hazards to better understand how they will be exacerbated by climate change. During this workshop, the group will work to:  

  • Understand connections between ongoing community issues, climate change and natural hazards, and local planning and actions in the municipality. 
  • Understand how climate change will exacerbate or lead to new community issues, hazards, and other challenges the municipality faces. 
  • Explore how the prioritized hazards impact social vulnerabilities.
  • Explore nature-based solutions to build resiliency in the municipality. 
  • Identify opportunities to advance actions that further reduce the impact of climate change and natural hazards and increase resilience across and within municipalities. 

Process Details
CMC will facilitate and help Hinsdale identify three priority actions from the mitigation action plan that provides the opportunity to build greater resiliency within the municipality. Each of these priority actions will be considered within a societal, environmental, and infrastructural framework and be grounded in climate data. Hinsdale, working with CMC, will organize and conduct a two-hour workshop that will produce an MVP appendix to Hinsdale’s HMP. This appendix will develop three priority actions into potential MVP action grant projects that consider the MVP core values and scoring criteria. This appendix will then be shared with the community for public comment before the Town receives designation and is eligible for MVP Action Grants. 

Hinsdale will conduct the following tasks while working with the CMC: 

1. Reconvene Core Team
  • Reconvene a core team and consider inviting new stakeholders participate that have expertise in or represent climate-vulnerable communities. This could include school officials, students, Council on Aging staff, or other non-profits. 
  • In consultation with the MVP Regional Coordinator, give an overview of the MVP program, a tour of resilientma.org, and information on the Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool
  • Look over the HMP and choose the priority actions from the mitigation action plan to workshop through into potential MVP action grant proposals. If applicable, input these actions into the Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool and bring that information to the workshop.
  • Prepare materials for the workshop, including state climate change projections and data specific to the municipality, which may help to understand how the prioritized hazards will be impacted by climate change.
  • Decide on participants and arrangements/logistics for the workshop.
2. Conduct a 2-hour workshop
  • Identify past, current, and future climate change impacts of priority actions from the mitigation action plan using the best available data, including newly developed climate projections from EEA and other available resources.
  • Identify how potential climate adaptation for the prioritized actions could utilize nature-based solutions.
  • Identify how the prioritized actions have specific impacts on vulnerable communities, including those who live or work in the community. 
  • Using the MVP core principles, workshop the three prioritized hazards into potential MVP action grant projects. 
  • Draft a robust community engagement strategy that will allow the municipality to utilize and build relationships with community partners who can support the project.
  • Consider how the project could be more successful as a regional project.
  • In what ways could this project serve as an example to other communities with similar challenges?
  • How do these potential projects address the needs of the most vulnerable members of the community?
  • Are the voices of climate-vulnerable community members being represented?

3. Collect Public Input 

  • Working with CMC, Hinsdale will create a way to present these three project ideas to the community for feedback.
  • The community can involve both residents of the municipality and organizations outside of it that represent the needs of the residents and those who work in the municipality. 
  • Community input could take the form of a robust survey opportunity, participating in an already planned community event, or some other idea that works best for the community.
  • All community input ideas must have the approval of the Regional Coordinator. 

4. Write up the Appendix 

  • Compile all workshop materials and outputs into an easily accessible appendix. 
  • Submit the appendix to the Regional Coordinator for review and comments.

 
Hazards that have the greatest potential to impact Hinsdale

Hazard Area of Impact Rate Frequency of  
Occurrence Rate
Magnitude /  
Severity Rate
Hazard  
Ranking
1=small  
2=medium 
3=large
0 = Very low frequency
1 = Low  
2 = Medium  
3 = High Frequency
1=limited  
2=significant  
3=critical  
4=catastrophic
Severe Winter Event (Ice Storm, Blizzard, Nor’easter) 3 3 1 7
Flooding (includes Ice Jam, Beaver Activity) 2 2 2 6
Severe Storms (High Wind, Tornado, Extreme Temperature) 3 2 1 6
Dam Failure  2 1 2 5
Hurricane & Tropical Storms  3 1 1 5
Drought  3 1 1 5
Tornado  1 0 4 5
Earthquake  2 0 2 4
Urban & Wildfire  2 1 1 4
Landslide  1 0 1 2

Table retrieved from Town of Hinsdale Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (2019), prepared by Hinsdale Hazard Mitigation Advisory Committee and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.
 
Links to related websites and materials
 
MA EEA MVP Planning Grant website
 
MA EEA Grant viewer
 
MA State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan
 
ResilientMA
 
Community Building Resilience Building
 
Town of Hinsdale Hazard Mitigation Plan
 
Town of Hinsdale documents

 

More Staff transition:

  • Tom Spiro, who worked on the Town's website and for the DPW-Water and Sewer Department part-time, has accepted a full-time post at Berkshire Community College.  We wish Tom well.
  • Boris Basora has agreed to return as the Website Coordinator.  Boris has served Hinsdale as Assistant Treasurer-Collector, Water and Sewer Clerk, and managed the Town's website before accepting a post that allowed him to work remotely from his home.  When the position re-opened, Boris offered to fill it, provided he could do so remotely. Speaking for just about anyone who has had the pleasure of working with him, we are thrilled to welcome Boris back in this capacity.


 

If you have questions or concerns about this information, please contact Bob Graves, Town Administrator at town.administrator@hinsdalema.gov.
 
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