The North Adams City Council Tuesday approved funds to complete exterior work on the Armory with little discussion but sent the issue of a stipend for the Retirement Board to the Finance Committee after nearly a half-hour of debate.

The Berkshire Eagle reports the $90,000 to repair the stone stairs on the Porter Street side of the Armory was re-appropriated from $176,600 approved last year for inspections of the dams at the Mount Williams and Notch reservoirs.

Those total funds are being replaced by grant from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the engineering study.

The Porter Street was an add-on to the request for proposals for repairs to the stonework on the parapets and the stairs on the Ashland Street side. That work had been done nearly a decade ago began falling apart after the short-term guarantee expired.

The building has been under renovation for at least a decade, largely through CDBG funds, and has included renovating the interior, which now houses two alternative schools, the gymnasium, parking, an elevator and other improvements. Only the garage level has not been renovated.

Councilor Marie Harpin had brought forward a request to provide stipends to the members of the Retirement Board.

The board, through its Administrator Beth Matson, is asking that the council adopt Massachusetts General Law Chapter 32 that allows the Retirement Board to set a stipend of no less than $3,000 and no more than $4,500 annually for each of its three members.

The council has asked the retirement system to poll its members on how they felt about the stipend. An anonymous survey was done over five weeks with a 46 percent response rate of which 83 percent indicated they were in favor of the providing the stipends.

Councilor Eric Buddington also reiterated his concern about providing stipends for one board and not for the other many boards and commissions.



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