Erving mulling website designers

For the Athol Daily News
Thursday, February 08, 2018

ERVING — The town is considering a new website.

The Erving Selectboard discussed the matter this week, with Administrative Coordinator Bryan Smith presenting sample websites from two possible vendors, Virtual Town Hall and Montague Webworks. The town’s current website was created eight years ago and no longer meets the needs of its departments, according to officials. The Selectboard is considering upgrading its IT Department, and a new website would help streamline services.

Smith said department heads were surveyed and came up with a list of services. He showed those in attendance websites from Northfield and Athol, which are using Virtual Town Hall, and Greenfield and Montague, which are using Montague Webworks. He said both could meet Erving’s needs.

The difference between vendors comes down to style, price, experience and future growth.

Library Director Barbara Friedman said she prefers Virtual Town Hall because of the e-card services, online application forms and ability to customize to her department needs.

Other department heads supported VTM for its intuitive design and ease of use for department heads to upload information in a timely manner. Scott Bastarache said he leans toward VTM, saying even if it costs more, you know what you are getting.

Chairman Jake Smith said that while he would prefer to shop locally, VTM had a more polished look and feel and had more of what Erving is looking for.

Selectmen asked Bryan Smith to contact VTM for more information.

Solar projects

Created in 1970, the Planning Board consists of five members. Currently, the board is short one member and is going to have to review three solar array applications. One member will have to ask to be recused under the Solar Mass Renewable Target (SMART) program the state plans to roll out in May, and four votes are required to approve permits for such projects.

SMART is a new solar incentive program designed to promote cost-effective solar development. Therefore, the program is asking the board to appoint two alternative members so the board can act on the three special permits.


The Selectboard discussed the drafting of a zoning bylaw amendment concerning marijuana. The state law regarding Registered Marijuana Dispensaries requires they not be sited within 500 feet of any school, child care facility, or other place where children congregate.

Municipalities may set up their own site requirements. The problem is, according to some, that Erving doesn’t have many places to allow a dispensary.

A drafted amendment was sent to the town’s lawyer for review and officials are waiting to hear back.

A date will be set in the future for a public hearing and town meeting vote.

SAFE grant

Fire Chief Phil Wonkka presented the board with SAFE grants received and asked for its approval — the board approved both a $1,708 grant and a grant for $2,115. Wonkka said the student safety program, “Learn Not to Burn,” has been very effective. He said he hopes to expand the senior safety to include home visits to inspect proper installation of smoke alarms.

Trash and recycling

The Selectboard continued to discuss trash and recycling contracts. Smith provided the board with sample contracts available from the state’s Operational Services Division, which provides a list of vendors already vetted. The list is based on best value, rather than lowest price. Erving’s current contract with Dusseau Trucking expires in June.

The board is exploring other possible options available to municipalities. Erving would have four possible vendors to choose from: Waste Management, Republic Services, EL Harvey and Capital Waste/Recycling. The state contracts are typically for three years with an additional three-year renewal.

The chairman asked Smith to get quotes for one-year contracts from all four vendors.

The new library

The library expects to have a contract from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners next week for the selectmen to sign. That would release $544,000 to Erving, which is part of the $2.7 million library grant Erving received to build a new library at 63 Northfield Road.

Rec Commission vacancy

The Recreation Commission is looking to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of member Alison Rollins.

The commission is asking the board to help facilitate a job search to fill a part-time, non-benefited positions with flexible hours.

The Selectboard will meet Monday, Feb. 12, at Erving Elementary School on Route 63 at 6:30 p.m.

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