Athol selectmen vote to go forward with code inspection dept. changes
ATHOL — The selectboard on Tuesday voted, at Town Manager Shaun Suhoski’s recommendation, to consolidate and streamline the organizational structure of various code inspection departments and staff.
Suhoski advocated for the change, which is allowed under the town charter, at the Nov. 3 meeting. At that time, he noted the streamlining would create “a Department of Inspectional Services would be created with the building inspector as the department head, [and] serving as the administrative supervisor to the office manager, wiring inspector, gas/plumbing inspector, any other alternate inspectors and the sealer of weights and measures.”
The consolidation will be reflected in the town’s operational budget for fiscal year 2017.
With the support of a 34-hour a week office manager, the streamlining will allow the administrative supervisor — Building Inspector and Zoning Agent Brianna Skowyra — an increased ability to coordinate activities, inspections and customer service, Suhoski said on Nov. 3.
He added that, although the individual inspectors are essentially self-supervising, it is his opinion that having an administrative report within the department framework will help to improve accountability.
Additionally, he said the streamlining is budget-neutral and will produce minimal savings, but should result in more efficient office procedures.
In other business, Suhoski offered an update on the upcoming auction of several town-owned properties.
The auction, to be conducted by Paul T. Zekos Auctioneers, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at noon, in the town hall.
“The goal of this auction is primarily to move these properties from the town’s ownership back to the private sector and tax rolls,” said Suhoski.
Eleven to 12 properties are listed. However, one, said Suhoski, could be removed from the list. That is a residential property at 232 Pequoig Ave. This property is being reviewed for possible inclusion in a financing and rehabilitation program between the town, a non-profit entity and a local lending entity, “depending upon the scope of rehab required to make the property attractive for a family.”
The remaining properties on the list include both commercial and residential, as well as some vacant lots. They are:
• Exchange Street (Parcel 30-244), a vacant, paved area used for parking by private sector abutters.
• Exchange Street (Parcel 30-253), a vacant, overgrown lot between the former Maroni Building and The Steel Pub.
• 25 Exchange St. (Parcel 30-250; former Maroni Building), a vacant commercial building showing signs of deterioration.
• 40 Maple St. (Parcel 23-94), a vacant lot where a house was demolished; a developer is interested in the property.
• Off White Pond Road (Parcel 51-30), a vacant 17.36-acre lot abutting Route 2.
• Union Street (Parcel 13-171), a vacant lot with a steep slope to Millers River.
• Main Street (Parcel 32-266), a vacant lot which is likely unbuildable, wet and located in between CVS and and Dona’s Pizza.
• 104 South Athol Rd., (Parcel 29-37), a single-family home.
• 209 South St., (Parcel 30-346), a single-family home.
• 232 South St., (Parcel number not provided), a single-family home that is landlocked behind 224 South St.
• 156 Daniel Shays Hwy. (Parcel 18-90), the location of a former car dealership.
The board approved the temporary installation of a 7,800-gallon, above-ground propane tank by PARACO Gas at the site of the elementary school project to provide heat throughout the winter.
Following a public hearing, the board approved the installation of two new utility poles by Verizon and National Grid at a White Pond Road location to accommodate a solar installation.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday, Dec. 1