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Macksey reports on electric vehicle charging stations, rising Spectrum bills, 2023 budget draft, and more at North Adams city council meeting

North Adams, Massachusetts city hall.
Josh Landes
North Adams, Massachusetts city hall.

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Jennifer Macksey gave the city council updates on a number of municipal projects at Tuesday’s meeting.

Macksey addressed community questions about the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the city.

“They have been installed," said the mayor. "Four here at city hall and I believe six on Center Street. We're hoping to have all of the foundations laid this week into next week, depending on the weather, and we're hoping to have them up and running by the end of May. I'm super excited about this opportunity that we received through a grant from the prior administration. It's an exciting time. We're getting into the 21st century here. But they will be hopefully up and running by Memorial Day, and you'll be able to use the app through our website and pay accordingly.”

She also responded to constituent calls about rising bills from telecommunications giant Spectrum, which provides television, internet, and phone service to many in North Adams.

“I'm trying to arrange a time to meet with Spectrum and possibly have an informational meeting or a forum where Spectrum can come in and the residents of North Adams can ask their questions and address some of their concerns," said Macksey. "So more information to come on that. But if you are receiving calls, please let me know and I’ll make sure that people are invited to the meeting once it’s established .”

Macksey updated the council on a recent Massachusetts Department of Transportation visit to North Adams to address a dangerous intersection just south of downtown.

“Under the prior conditions, the concurrent phasing from both Hodges Cross Road and Walmart were green at the same time, which we know is a big issue," she told the council. "Under the new phasing, which they call split phasing, Hodges Cross Road and Walmart will receive green indication separately. We're hoping that this rule will reduce the crash frequency at the intersection, and we will be monitoring that very closely.”

She also said the city is preparing its spending plan for fiscal year 2023.

“I'm hoping to submit a draft budget to the city council on May 10th, as well as the classification and compensation plan,” said the mayor.

It’s not the only plan Macksey wants to deliver next month.

“We're hoping to have the capital improvement plan done by May 31st," she said. "That will be presented then. Also, one of the grants that we received was to redo the capital improvement plan. So what I've been working on is looking at the old plans, tweaking what's been done, what hasn't, and we’ll present some version of it on the 31st.”

Macksey answered a question about her efforts to make more public documents available on the city website — specifically, the fiscal year annual reports from 2020 and 2021.

“Fiscal year ‘20 was not completed by the prior administration," said the mayor. "So we are working on getting that information that we need from the department heads and getting that to the printer. So, we've got to recreate fiscal year ‘20, which we're doing. The fiscal year ‘21 annual report can't be completed until the audit is done. Scanlon is due back to come in in May. And usually, my understanding is the schedule that has happened is it's usually a year behind. And they start working on the fiscal year ‘21 report in July. But we're, you know, aware, and we're trying to address as many things that were left for me as quickly as we can.”

She also responded to a query about what the city is doing to work on pedestrian safety measures for Eagle Street.

“There’s a process with MassDOT, but we will happily look at the recommendations from the traffic commission," said Macksey. "And hopefully we will get the traffic grant which will help with some signage and maybe some flashing lights and those canisters in in the road. That to me is a simple quick fix. And as far as speed bumps and more crosswalks, we'll explore that.”

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council meets next on May 10th.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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