Two Berkshire County city councils vote tonight on their annual budgets.
The Pittsfield City Council will vote on Mayor Dan Bianchi’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget. Bianchi calls the $141 million dollar spending plan a maintenance budget proposing a 2.7 percent increase over the previous one of $138 million. It would fund SUVs for the fire department to decrease use of larger trucks and a new public works garage to replace a facility damaged in a 2012 fire.
In association with the Smithsonian since 2013, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian's resources with the nation. Established by Zenas Crane in 1903, Berkshire Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines.
A new exhibition, Berkshire Collects, will open this Saturday, January 25th. It showcases Berkshire County residents’ passionate pursuit of every imaginable kind of object from rare motorcycles to wind-up toys, exotic insects, vintage guitars, antique toasters, Pez dispensers, and a host of other artifacts and memorabilia. With more than 40 collectors sharing their treasures, the exhibit is a salute to the long and diverse tradition of collecting that built the Berkshire Museum 110 years ago.
Van Shields, Executive Director of Berkshire Museum and their Director of Communications, Lesley Ann Beck, join us to tell us more.
Residents in Pittsfield could soon be paying higher water and sewer rates. The city council will vote Tuesday whether to approve Mayor Dan Bianchi’s proposal to raise water and sewer rates for the third straight year. Residents would see an annual fee increase of nearly 7-and-a-half dollars if the 2.5-percent hike is approved at the city council meeting. City Councilor and Chair of the Public Works Subcommittee Chris Connell says the increase is in line with ones over the past two years so residents don’t feel a big financial crunch during one year.
At a recent legislative hearing, Pittsfield’s plan for a new city charter was given a favorable recommendation by a group of Massachusetts lawmakers.
Among those who testified to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government Tuesday in support of a bill that would allow Pittsfield to pursue a new city charter were State Senator Benjamin Downing, State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, State Representative Paul Mark, and Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi.
The City of Pittsfield has been mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant, a project that is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars.
Upon a revision of Pittsfield’s wastewater discharge permit for a plant located on Holmes Road, an EPA mandate from 2008 would require the city to restrict the amount of aluminum and phosphorus released in its treated discharge into the Housatonic River.
Under the ballot measure approved by Massachusetts voters legalizing medical marijuana last year, up to 35 licenses for dispensaries could be opened across the state. The state Department of Public Health revealed its final regulations for the distribution of the drug in May, and Pittsfield has been one of many localities working to change zoning regulations to accommodate the arrival of the dispensaries.