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Williamstown Gives Spruces Break On Water Bills
By:Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:07PM / Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen approved Tuesday giving the owners of the Spruces Mobile Home Park a break on their water and sewer bills because of the damaged caused by Topical Storm Irene.

The board approved giving Morgan Management an abatement on the quarterly bill for usage in the month of September. The bill will be decreased by $7,473 — one third of the total bill.

"It would be the Selectmen and the residents of Williamstown's contribution — if you will — in helping to sustain the Spruces manufactured housing community and make it perhaps a little more possible for the park to continue in the long run," Town Manager Peter Fohlin said. "Morgan Management declared a rent holiday for the month of September."

Selectman Tom Costley emphasized that the board only agreed to it because of the "extraordinary circumstances." All of the park's residents were displaced because of flooding and while the park is not fully restored, the abatement is only for the month of September.

"I feel OK about doing this given the fact that Morgan Management suspended the rent," Selectman David Rempell said. "They did not have any revenue coming in and that's an appropriate action on their part. In supporting that action, I would be okay this consideration but I want to make it clear that this is just for September."

The water meters are read quarterly and the board also approved reading the meter monthly at the park.

"This is an evolving situation. I think we want to monitor it as frequently as we can," Fohlin said.

The future of the park is still hanging in question with the onset of winter. Currently 36 units have been approved for occupancy and Fohlin said he expects only 50 units to be approved before the winter.

"This whole process is going to slow and grind to a halt," Fohlin said. "It will be difficult to add any more units with severe weather."

Fohlin also reminded Spruces residents that the deadline to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency benefits is on Nov. 2. Spruces residents can register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visiting the Disaster Recovery Center at 430 Main St.

In other business, the town also accepted a proposal from M & W Heating to replace two furnaces and a hot water heater at the Little Red Schoolhouse for $13,017. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the week. The equipment was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, Fohlin said.

Fohlin also reported the Water Department will be flushing water mains between 8 p.m. and midnight at various locations in town for the next two weeks.

Fohlin's full report is available below.
Williamstown TM Report 10/11/2011
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