MEMBERS OF THE HAWLEY COMMUNICATIONS Committee received ample proof over the past three weeks that Broadband – or, more precisely, construction of a high-speed, fixed wireless network for Hawley, Savoy, Monroe and Florida – is alive, well and gaining momentum.
This recent surge in activity began with the receipt of a series of documents from Carolyn Kirk, Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED). These documents consisted of a draft Action Plan, along with lists of vendor resources that could help the Towns with project management, administrative and legal issues.
The surge culminated in a highly successful workshop with Town participants and representatives from the funding agencies as well as WiValley/Otelco.
This workshop was requested by Ms. Kirk, and was held under the auspices of the Communications Committee at the Hawley Town Office on Thursday, July 26. This meeting was well-attended by MBI and EOHED officials, including Peter Larkin, MBI Chair, Bill Ennen, MBI/EOHED Liaison for Western Massachusetts, staff members Cornell Robinson and Sherif Barakat, and OEHED’s General Counsel, Michael Baldino.
The Communications Committee meeting was opened by Chairman Lark Thwing, who then turned it over to Ms. Kirk. She and her staff devoted a good bit of time to explaining the Action Plan, and developing a “punch list” of items that would need to be completed to keep the project moving forward. Those items include:
SENATOR ADAM HINDS’ HILLTOWN LIAISON JON GOULD will be conducting visiting hours at the Hawley Town Office on Wednesday, July 25 from 11 am to 1 pm. The purpose of the visit is to offer localized “office hours” on behalf of Senator Adam Hinds, gathering input from the Town to help set legislative and programmatic priorities for the coming year, and to “provide constituents an opportunity to get help with any issues they are having with state government.”
Gould notes that he often meets with town officials during these office hours to learn about issues with which the Senator’s office may be able to assist the town.
TINKY WEISBLAT, CHAIR OF THE CHARLEMONT-HAWLEY Cultural Council, has submitted a report on the Council’s summer activities and offerings. Download the .pdf document HERE.
SOME ENTERPRISING SOUL SHOULD RESEARCH whether Ripley’s Believe It or Not has a category for short meetings. Who knows? There might even be a prize.
Take Tuesday (6/19) evening’s Special Town Meeting, for example. While it took several hours of planning and organization to put it together, the actual meeting itself ran for 41/2 Minutes — all articles were passed unanimously. And that even included a little discussion.
A new world speed record, perhaps?
A SPECIAL TOWN MEETING HAS BEEN SET for Tuesday, June 19 at 7:00 PM. Its purpose is to address several budget items, some of which were inadvertently omitted from the Annual Town Meeting warrant, and others that have come to fruition after that meeting was held.
Here’s a synopsis of the items to be addressed:
◊ $3,000 for FY19 Emergency Medical Services Expenses;
◊ $3,500 for accrued sick pay;
◊ $200 for website hosting and domain registration expenses;
◊ An amount to be determined to cover engineering expenses for Route 8a repair; and,
◊ An amount to be determined to cover engineering expenses for the ◊ replacement of a culvert under Route 8a near Sears Road.
Download the meeting warrant HERE. Download a more detailed explanation HERE.
AFTER A PAUSE WHEN A NEW VENDOR ENTERED the fray, WiValley has again emerged as the clear and undisputed leader in the race to become vendor-of-choice for the four, contiguous towns that are looking to use MBI funding to build a fixed-wireless, high-speed network.
Broadband committee representatives of those four towns — Florida, Hawley, Monroe and Savoy — met at the Florida Town Hall on Thursday, June 7 to discuss WiValley’s latest Letter of Intent to MBI. In it, WiValley President Brian Foucher announced a new strategic partnership with Otelco, a NASDAQ-traded telecommunications company with holdings in West Virginia, Missouri, Maine, Massachusetts and Alabama.
Included in the list of Otelco holdings is Granby Telephone and Telegraph of MA, which is described as an “independent local telephone and internet service provider.” Continue reading
THE SPECIAL TOWN MEETING PASSED ALL WARRANT articles unanimously Monday night, May 21 as the Town of Hawley took another step toward the goal of providing its residents with high-speed Internet using funds from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI).
The proceedings were a tad awkward, in that each of the three warrant articles had to be voted twice: first, to accommodate last-minute amendments; and, second, to enact the warrant items as amended. Yet the entire process was speedy and efficient, taking less than 30 minutes.
The purpose of the warrant was to authorize the Hawley Selectboard to borrow and/or transfer funds to provide interim payments to the successful vendor until such time as the Town can receive reimbursement from the Commonwealth.
The objective of the amendments to the warrant was the same in all three cases — to “loosen” the language to account for the possibility of alternative vendors, and to provide for the prospect that an agency other than MBI might be the ultimate funding source.
The revised warrant, as enacted by the Special Town Meeting, can be viewed HERE.
THE HAWLEY TOWN MEETING RAN SMOOTHLY Monday night, May 14, as all warrants presented for consideration were either adopted or passed over by unanimous vote.
Items adopted by the group of 30-plus voters present included:
◊ Town Reports (Article 1);
◊ School District items (Articles 16 through 20);
◊ Budget Appropriations (Articles 2-10, 12-14); and,
◊ Veterans Fund provisions (Article 15).
Items passed over at the meeting included:
◊ Vocational Tuition and Transportation (Article 11)
◊ Integration of Mohawk District 6th Grade students into Mohawk
◊ Middle School (Article 21).
A .pdf copy of the 2018 Hawley Town Meeting Warrant can be downloaded HERE. [159 kb].
This is the Town Election vote tally, as of 9:00 pm May 7, 2018. The total number of Hawleyites voting was 63, or 23% of the Town’s registered voters:
Congratulations to all!
ACCORDING TO TOWN CLERK PAMELA Shrimpton, Diane Broncaccio, Reporter for the Greenfield Recorder, said that Hawley’s 23% voter turnout was the highest of any of the W. Mass. towns that conducted elections on Monday, May 7.