The annual Town Election is May 1 for Selectboard, Board of Health, Town Clerk, Assessor, Planning Board, School Committee, and Library Trustee. Candidates on the ballot include:
Monica Winters, Library Trustee;
Dave Briand, Selectboard;
Karen Briand, School Committee;
Carl Seppala, School Committee;
Cam Dunbar, Board of Health.
The Town Clerk position is not to be elected this year.
Randy Gordon, two-term Selectman, will be a write in candidate for Selectboard.
Questions to Town Clerk Stacy Senflug, email@example.com.
FY2017 Real Estate and Personal Property 4th Quarter Tax Bills Due
This is to remind you that FY2017 4th Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property taxes are now due and payable. The due date for these bills is May 1, 2017. Payments received after that date will be charged interest and fees.
Payment stubs for this bill, as well as the 3rd Quarter bill, were included in the mailing sent out in December. If you have trouble locating the stub and wish to find out the amount due you may call (978) 544-5775 and leave a message stating your name, phone number and the address of your property. The Tax Collector will call you with the amount of your bill. You may also email your request for this information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also possible to look up your bill information online at www.unitaxonline.com whether or not you plan to pay online.
· Enter www.unitaxonline.com in your web browser.
· Select Town of New Salem from the drop down menu in the box under “Search”.
· Select bill type under transactions (Motor Vehicle, Personal Property or Real Estate).
· Then click on “Need help finding your bill?” on the transaction screen.
· Fill in the requested information on the popup screen and press continue.
Non-cash payments may be deposited in the black Tax Payment drop box located in front of the Town Hall at 15 S. Main St. or mailed to the Tax Collector’s office at 24 S. Main St., New Salem, MA 01355. Bills may also be paid online at www.unitaxonline.com (select New Salem from the Search menu). Please note that the online option is not available after the due date. Cash payments (bring exact change, please) may be made at 24 S. Main Street during the Tax Collector’s office hours on Tuesdays 5-7pm and Thursdays 10am-Noon.
New Salem/Wendell School Committee meeting
The New Salem/Wendell School Committee, which oversees the Swift River School, will meet at 6:30 on Thursday, May 4, at Swift River. Among the discussion topics will be the science fair, sodium in the water, and the policy on informing parents about sex education programs. For information, contact BettyLou Mallet, Erving School Union #28, (413) 423-3337, email@example.com
Broadband Update March 2017
The New Salem Broadband Committee's mission is to bring high speed future-proof fiber Internet access to New Salem in the most cost effective, equitable, minimum risk, high quality and expedient manner possible.
At the end of January the State received proposals from a number of businesses interested in providing Internet services for towns in western Massachusetts. Proposals from Charter Communications* and Crocker Communications included our town but they did not meet our requirements. Fortunately, a proposal from Westfield Gas and Electric Municipal Light Plant to design and build a fiber-to-the-home regional network which would be town-owned and operated under the management of WiredWest did meet all of our criteria.
*Charter’s offer to New Salem is contingent upon acceptance by all other towns it proposed to serve which appears extremely unlikely at this point since at least one other town has already declined.
Charter’s offer was not acceptable because:
· - They do not plan to cover the entire town and we would not know which part(s) of town would not be built out until well into the project.
· - Charter provide a fiber/coax Hybrid build (Cable) which is not the best available link to the Internet.
· - No redundancy would be in the build. We would be on a one cable run from Orange to Shutesbury. If a storm/accident damages anywhere along that line there is no other route to switch over to while repairs are done.
· - We would have to negotiate a Cable Licensing Agreement with Charter which would mean legal expenses and an additional delay in the build.
· - Charter would own the network; we would have no control of costs or guarantee of network neutrality.
Crocker Communication’s offer was unacceptable because:
· - Proposed town coverage was very low and not guaranteed.
· - Subscribers would be required to take out personal loans to subsidize the construction of the network which Crocker would own.
In February, after reviewing all options, the Select Board sent three resolutions to Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) letting them know that:
1. The Town of New Salem found the proposals from Charter Communications and Crocker Communications did not meet our town’s minimum requirements for broadband service,
2. The Town of New Salem prefers to build a municipally owned ‘fiber to the premises’ broadband network and we support the WiredWest Regional Broadband Solution to manage and operate the Town network on a regional basis in conjunction with other towns that subscribe to services offered by WiredWest,
3. The Town of New Salem is interested in working with Westfield Gas & Electric MLP (WG&E), with WiredWest, to provide Design and Engineering services and construction Project Management for our town-owned network.
The Select Board requested that MBI release the funds for this work as soon as possible.
At the end of February the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) announced that towns who wish to move forward on their own will get their full professional services allocation. This means that New Salem has access to its original portion of the State funding, a total of $750,000, to move the broadband project forward.
Thanks to all members of the Select Board and Broadband Committee who have worked so hard with our legislators, the governor’s office, the MBI, and town leadership across the state to bring about this positive change.
Further updates will be forthcoming as the project progresses. If you have questions in the meantime please contact us at Broadband@newsalem-massachusetts.org.
The New Salem Broadband Committee
The usual schedule is meeting every other Monday. If the Monday is a holiday, the Selectboard meets on the Tuesday of that week. To verify a meeting date, contact the Town Coordinator at 544-6437.
Notice from the Animal Control Officer
“Please do not drop animals off at the Animal Control Officer’s residence. Please call 978 544-7530 and I or a substitute will happily pick it up. There are many new protocols that must be followed. I came home last week and there was a dog in a crate at my home with no information - no one had called ahead and there was no note. It is necessary to know who is dropping off said animals in case more information is needed. If animals are dropped off without calling ahead, I will have to change the area of the kennel and add video security. Thank you for understanding. I/we do act on all calls received.
On another note - please do not feed wildlife! There are tons of bear issues (they like bird feeders and trash). It is illegal to trap and move wildlife to a different location (even for us). If there is a problem with nuisance wildlife, please call the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Thank you, Gail Spring, New Salem Animal Control Officer.”
The 7-day, emergency statewide dispatch phone number is 1-800-632-8075.
Board of Health News
Anyone interested in collecting the recyclable cans and bottles from the New Salem Transfer Station should submit a written request and what organization will benefit from it to New Salem Board of Health 19 South Main Street, New Salem Ma. 01355. The cans need to be picked up weekly when the Transfer Station is open and you need to have a valid Transfer Station Permit.
Check out the Springfield MRF Advisory Board's 2014 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Guide, online at: www.tinyurl.com/RRR2014
Money Available for Recreation Activities
The New Salem Recreation Committee has money available to sponsor recreation activities for New Salem residents, in addition to its traditional events. If you would like to organize a recreational activity or event, please contact Karen Duplissie at 544-8614, Jeanne Clayton at 544-7924.