Lake Buel District Board Meeting
December 8, 2021

Dolby – 28 Corshire Road, New Marlborough

Members present:  Peter Hagen, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead & Wayne Dolby.

Meeting was called to order by Chair, Pete Hagen at 6:08PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of August 31st as prepared.

New vendor for District billing:  

The Board reviewed a quote from Quality Data Service Inc. that includes software support, data conversion, training, software and hosting fees.  It was mentioned that this company only works with municipalities and is a member of the Massachusetts Collector Treasurer Association, works with 96% of city/towns in Connecticut and have a total of 250 city/towns in New England.  Quality Data Service Inc. offers online tax payments and the ability to see all their tax billing information.  After review a motion was made, seconded and so voted to accept the quote from Quality Data Service Inc. as long as the quoted amount stands.

Outlet discussions:

Ms. Shannon Poulin was present to review the year end water quality and cyanobacteria report for 2021.  Ms. Poulin mentioned that the water temperature was warmer in the beginning of the summer and cooler later in the summer.  Ms. Poulin also mentioned that a lot of nutrients are entering the lake and this year has been a usual year which also included flooding.  The Board thanked Ms. Poulin all of her work and will continue with the same testing for next summer. 

Create budget 22/23:

The Board reviewed and discussed article #5 General Government most of the line items were voted to stay level funded, with only a few increases.

New business:

Mr. Wayne Dolby mentioned that his two sons are interest in assisting the Board and possible serving on the Board.

Next meeting is scheduled for March 9th 2022 at 6PM – Dolby residence 28 Corashire Road.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 7:47 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, Clerk

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

August 31, 2021

Hassett – 168 Peter Menaker Road, New Marlborough

Members present:  Peter Hagen, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead & Wayne Dolby.

Meeting was called to order by Chair, Pete Hagen at 6:18PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of July 15th meeting as prepared.

Fireworks:  

Mr. Hassett mentioned that the display of fireworks is all set and ready to go.  Mr. Amstead mentioned that all permits required have been issued.

Year to date financials:

The Board reviewed account balances for both fiscal year FY21 & FY22 in preparation for FY23 upcoming budget. 

Outlet discussion/fish & game trapping assist/DEP:

The Board discussion hiring Gary O’Brien’s team to assist with clearing debris of the outlet from banks.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has tried to contact fish & game multiples time and no one has returned a reply call.  Mr. Hagen will continue to try to get in contact with fish & game since the Board needs an answer if the trapper can have someone assist him.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has spoken with Mark Stinson, Regional DEP representative for guidance and Mr. Stinson isn’t able to make any recommendations.

Signs/damage to dam:

Mr. Hagen had a few signs made to be placed around the dam area, to prevent damage occurring to the dam.  It was mentioned that 4 or 5 boats traveled through the dam area and did significant damage.

Testing results/weeds/continue harvesting/create committee/letter to land owners:

The Board mentioned that the testing results have been good so far regarding.  Phosphate testing has been high.  The Board will wait for the end of the year results.  The Board would be interested in having Ms. Shannon Poulin attend a meeting to discuss the testing results.

Mr. Amstead mentioned at this time there have been 86 truckloads of weeds removed so far this season.  The Board discussed having the harvester continue working 2 more weeks past labor day.

The Board discussed creating a committee to investigate zebra mussels.  It was mentioned that zebra mussels grow and grow like weeds, and boats should be clean when they enter into the lake.  It was decided to revisit this item again next year.

Mr. Hagen will draft a letter to send to land owners regarding trapping at the inlet to the lake.

District tax billing/district assessor:

The Board discussed the current company that handles the tax billing for the District.  This year they have made multiple errors, and have made errors in past years.  The Board is researching new billing companies for information and quotes.

It was mentioned that the district assessor died and a replacement has to be hired. 

Next meeting is scheduled for December 14th at 6PM – Dolby residents 28 Corashire Road.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 7:32 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, Clerk

Correct mailing address for your tax bill

Attention all Lake Buel residents the billing company for your present tax bill made an error when processing the bills. The correct mailing address is:

P. O. Box 236

Mill River, MA 01244

TY & sorry for the inconvenience

The Monterey Post Office is ” forwarding to New Marlborough as many as possible incorrect mailings”.

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

June 29, 2021

New Marlborough Town Hall, Mill River

Members present:  Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, Peter Hagen.

Meeting was called to order by Chair, Pete Hagen at 6:05PM.

FY22 Tax Rate:

Mr. Hagen inquired if at some point the Board should have two tax rates, one for residents and one for commercial properties.  After a brief discussion it was decide to stay will one tax rate.  A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve FY22 tax rate of $.99 per thousand.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 6:12 PM.

Next meeting is scheduled for July 15th at Mrs. Pierce’s residence at 28 Seven Arts Road, Monterey.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, Clerk

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

May 18, 2021

Monterey Community Center, Monterey

Members present:  Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, Peter Hagen & Wayne Dolby.

Meeting was called to order by Chair, Pete Hagen at 6:18PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of January 2nd as prepared.

Discussion of: Covid impact on Warrant voting/Arrangements for Annual Town Meeting at Fire pavilion/proxies actually received to date:  

The Board briefly discussion the status of Covid and feel that the Annual Meeting will be more attended this year. 

Mr. Hagen has arrange for a portable toilet to be available for the Annual Meeting and he will call Attorney, Mr. Brewer to confirm that he’ll be in attendance. 

At this time there is amount 10% of proxies received.  The Board members will reach out to property owners for their proxies if they aren’t able to attend the Annual Meeting. 

Old Business/update on Lake Buel Testing/Trapping Update:

Mrs.  Pierce mentioned that the grant that Lapa applied for failed and the group is having a meeting at the same time as the Board meeting.

Mrs. Pierce mentioned that testing is happening twice every week in the beginning of summer, and later in summer once every two weeks and Ms. Shannon Poulin will be conducting the testing.  The Board would like Ms. Poulin research phosphorus operation.  Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has a study that was done in 2001.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that the trapper has seen no building of dams.  It was mentioned that water maintained high through the winter months.  Mr. Hassett will travel down the channel and see how the channel looks.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that the joint meeting with NM Planning Board, NM Conservation Commission, NM Board of Health Agent and NM Building Inspector to discuss bylaws for the Lake Buel District has been postponed.  Mr. Hagen will continue working on this.

New Business/Harvester Launch:

Mr. Amstead metioned that the Harvester machine is ready to launch on May 21st and the truck is ready as well.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 6:30 PM.

Next meeting is scheduled for May 29th at Monterey Fire Department Pavilion for the Annual Meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, Clerk

Annual Lake Buel Restoration/Preservation District Meeting

FISCAL YEAR JULY 1, 2021 TO JUNE 30, 2022

MAY 29, 2021

The meeting was brought to order by Peter Hagen at 10:00 AM with 52.81% of the District area represented. In attendance: Prudential Committee members Peter Hagen, Mark Amstead, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, and Wayne Dolby.  Also present was the District Attorney Peter Brewer.

Article 1.  To bring in their nominations and votes for the election of District Moderator for a term of one year.   Voted – Unanimous, Peter Hagen

Article 2.   To see if the District will vote to accept the minutes of the previous Annual Meeting held on May 23, 2020.   Voted – Unanimous

Article 3.   To see if the District will vote to accept the Report of the Treasurer for the Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) YTD.   Voted – Unanimous

Article 4.   To bring in their nominations for the election of the following officers: 

                                                                                               Prudential Committee Nominees

         a. District Clerk for one year                                          Katherine Chretien

         b. District Treasurer for one year                                            Katherine Chretien

         c. Prudential Committee: one member for three years              Peter Hagen

                                                                                                             (incumbent)

                                                        Voted – Unanimous

Article 5.  Motion to see if the District will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $ 88,742.90

for the purposes constituting proposed expenses of the District for Fiscal Year 2022.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that the proposed budget is a decrease of $4,413.24 over last 

year budget.  A hold was placed on line 5012 for discussion.  A voter inquired on why the 

increase.  Mr. Amstead stated that there’s always work on the truck, and the Harvester.  A 

hold was placed on line 5014 for discussion.  A voter inquired on what are the funds used 

for.  Mr. Hagen mentioned that the funds are used for beaver control which is on-going.   

After the brief discussion on the hold lines a motion was made, seconded and so voted to 

unanimously approve the FY22 budget as presented.

Article 6.  To see if the District will vote to authorize the Prudential Committee to borrow such sums as may be necessary in anticipation of tax receipts for the Fiscal Year 2022, and to issue District Notes therefore as provided under the Special Act. A voter questioned what does this Article mean.  Mr. Hagen stated that the Article is authorization for the Board to borrow any necessary funds.  After the brief discussion a motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve Article #6 unanimous,

Article 7.  To see if the District will vote to authorize the Prudential Committee to accept gifts from proprietors or any other entity for the benefit of the District.  Voted – Unanimous

Article 8.   To see if the District will vote to transfer from Free Cash $3,000.00 (three thousand dollars) to the Equipment Replacement/Repair Stabilization Account.    Voted – Unanimous  

Article 9.    To see if the District will vote to have the Warrant package emailed instead of using the United States Post Office.  A motion was made, seconded and so voted to table this Article #9.  

Article 10.  To see if the District will vote to transfer $20,000.00 from free cash to the Eutrophication Remediation Account.  A voter inquired on what the funds would be used for, if approved.  Mr. Hagen stated that the funds are to handle the future lake needs.  Mr. Hagen also mentioned that this is the beginning amount to build up the fund account.  Another voter stated they agreed the fund should be built up and the District should get more proactive.  Another voter asked if the State would be able to assist the District with funds.  Mr. Hagen stated that no the State hasn’t been assisted the District on obtaining funds.  Mr. Hagen also mentioned that the Board couldn’t use any chemicals in the lake without the property owner’s approval.  After discussion a motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve Article #10 as presented.

Article 11.  To transact any other business that may come before the meeting.  A voter mentioned that they are concerned about fishing and hunting.  Another voter mentioned that they are concerned about what will happen if Camp Half Moon is sold.  Another voter is concerned about the work the Harvester does.  Mr. Amstead stated that the Board works with the contractor of the Harvester and will keep the Harvester informed of any concerns.  After discussion a motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve Article #11.  

Mr. Hagen announced that there was some people who would like the voters to stay and talk about Camp Half Moon when this meeting is dissolved.

Motion to adjourn the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual District Meeting at 10:31AM. Unanimous

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, LBD Clerk

Lake Buel District Board Meeting December 1, 2020

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

December 1, 2020

Monterey Fire Department Pavilion, 411 Main Road, Monterey

Members present:  Peter Hagen, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, & Wayne Dolby.  

Meeting was called to order by Chairman, Mr. Hagen at 6PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the July 16th minutes as prepared.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve September 1th minutes as prepared.

Harvester – potential maintenance issues/expenses:

Mr. Amstead mentioned that he has spoken with Mr. Ziegler regarding the maintenance to the harvester and Mr. Ziegler would like to install new teeth on the harvester machine for cutting the weeds.  Mr. Amstead also mentioned that there is a leak in the fuel oil system and he will research which company to purchase the part that is needy for replacement.  Mr. Amstead stated that there’s currently one storage bin on the harvester but would like to purchase another one.  A motion was made, seconded and so voted to purchase one storage bin.  It was noted that the Board will purchase a gift certificate in the amount of $200.00 from John Andrews Restaurant for Mr. Ziegler. 

Weeds/Water Testing:  

It was noted that the Board all agreed that Mr. Zeigler had done a great job this year and the two extra weeks was a help.

Mr. Hagen mentioned that all the Board members have seen the report Ms. Shannon Poulin submitted.  Mr. Hagen also had a report on the phosphorus testing that Microbac had completed.

Beavers/Outlet Condition:

Mr. Hagen mentioned that Mr. Chris Bloom has agreed to work with the District since Mr. Ives has left.  Mr. Hagen stated that Mr. Bloom began work in late October and the first item was the three inch drawn down of the lake.  Mr. Hassett will travel through the area on his canoe to see how things are progressing.

New Business:

Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has been having conversion with the New Marlborough Planning Board regarding zoning, Mr. Hagen is hopeful that the Planning Board will established zoning for the District.

Mr. Hagen mentioned he has located a study report done in 2001 Phosphorus Operating.  The Board briefly discussed that they would like Ms. Poulin to research and teach the Board on Phosphorus.

Next meeting is scheduled for January 2, 2021 at Monterey Community Center at 6PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 6:36PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, District Clerk

An upcoming option for Internet access

While Monterey is in the process of offering high-speed access to the Internet, and New Marlborough will offer Charter/Spectrum cable access available this spring/early summer there are a few other options, and one more literally on the horizon. (If you’re interested in Monterey’s fiber, you can get early sign-up discounts here.)

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay. Open license from Pixabay

The existing options used to include getting a slow DSL line from Verizon, but apparently they’re not installing any new ones. For the past few years, many on the Lake have had access via their cell phones to what is now a T-Mobile cell tower. More recently Some of the Lake gets access via a Verizon tower. In both cases with a service plan you can browse the Net on your cellphone or use your cellphone as a wifi hot spot by “tethering” it. You can get better reception and sometimes special plans from the mobile companies by buying a special router designed for Internet data. The routers can be a bit pricey, and virtually all plans — even ones that tout “unlimited data” — drop you down to 2G speeds good for email and other text-based communications if you go over their monthly limit. Some of them let you purchase more data for the month, but many don’t.

Our 2 two towers: Green is T-Mobile. Red is Verizon. From Cellmapper.net.

Verizon coverage map
Verizon’s map of coverage. Red = covered (source)

T-Mobile claims to have complete 5G coverage (including 4G) (source)

If you’re going to rely on those cell towers, Ubifi.net offers the only truly unlimited data plan that I’ve found. (Chime in in the comments.) You have to buy a special industrial strength router that has the advantage of being able to get a strong signal from the AT&T tower, and it doesn’t cap your “unlimited” data. At about $300 for the router and about $100/month for the data, it is not the cheapest plan. (Last year they ran out of SIM cards for the router. They hope to have them this year. And of course the prices may change.) Also, Ting.com now has a plan that cuts in half the usual price per gigabyte for data once you’ve passed your limit, if the company lets you buy any extra data at all; the extra data costs $5/gig at Ting. You may discover better deals elsewhere. If so, please consider posting them in the comments. (Disclosure: I have friends at Ting. I’m also a customer, but have no commercial interest in them.)

Now for the new possibility. You may have heard of this Elon Musk guy. One of this projects is becoming real, or at least it’s in beta. His company, Starlink, is putting 12,000 communication satellites into orbit. With a ground antenna you’ll be able to connect to the Internet. The current plan is for the dish antenna to cost $500 to install, and the monthly fee will be $100. So, not cheap. On the other hand, early users are reporting speeds of about 100mbps (megabits per second). This is at least twice as fast as our best speed when connected to the T-Mobile cell tower. And, as far as I know, the plan is not to limit the amount of data you can use.

No word on whether you’ll be able to subscribe only for the summer months.

Also, people’s speeds will depend at least somewhat —but how much? —on the simultaneous usage by others connecting to the same satellite.

Starlink lets you sign up for the beta for free and without committing to the service, but there’s no indication of how likely it is that you’ll get onto the beta. We may well have to wait until it’s actually in production. When will that be? Ask Elon Musk.

Starlink’s download speed is one tenth of what fiber connections provide. But if and when Starlink is available, and if it actually works as promises, it should at least give us more than enough Internet connectivity for streaming and zooming, if somewhat short of providing Star Trek “Beam me up” capabilities. Whether it works as promised and makes economic sense for us is TBD.

Please use the comments to correct any errors I’ve made and to report on your own experiences. Happy connecting!