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Council cleans house, moves a number of motions forward

July 25, 2014 | By Carley Dangona

WEST SPRINGFIELD – At the most recent meeting of the City Council on July 21, many details were discussed and approved such as the appointment of a tree warden, the approval of underground utility work by Comcast and an ordinance requiring an administrative fee for vehicles towed by the police department.
Geoff McAlmond, the deputy director of the Department of Public Works (DPW), was confirmed as the part-time tree warden for the town. He will become a certified arborist and certified in the use of pesticides. According to Mayor Edward Sullivan, McAlmond will receive a stipend, not yet disclosed, for the position in addition to his regular salary of $69,265.
Two public hearings were conducted regarding the installation of Comcast equipment to service approximately 80 customers. No one from the public spoke in favor or against the work.
Aaron Saunders, manager of Government & Community Relations for Comcast’s Western New England Region, said, “We’re required to go underground.” In response to District 1 Councilor Angus Rushlow’s question, he explained that any newly paved streets that would be dug up for the work would be returned to their current revitalized condition.
The councilors approved the work that will take place from 26 Central St. to 85-131 Elm St. and from 91 Union St. to 111 Park St.
A public hearing was conducted regarding implementing an administrative fee for vehicles the police tow. No residents spoke during the hearing, nor did the council have any comments on the matter.
The approved motion allows a $25 – non-commercial vehicles and some commercial vehicles – or a $50 fee – commercial vehicles that have three or more axels, are bulky, or weigh 26,001 pounds or more – to be charged to cover dispatching, record keeping and other expenses incurred from the act of towing a vehicle.
According to the ordinance, the money will be placed into a revolving fund used for the purchase of new Police Department vehicles and their upkeep.
In other action, the council approved the following re-appointments, all expiring Jan. 1, 2017: Kara Welch to the West Springfield Public Library board of Trustees, Robert Collins to the West Springfield Park & Recreation Commission and Dennis Powers to the West Springfield Board of License Commission.
The matter taking property on Toccoa Lane by eminent domain was withdrawn from the agenda, per Mayor Edward Sullivan’s request.
The public hearing regarding the zoning changes for medical marijuana facilities was continued until the council’s next meeting on Aug. 18.

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