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Dismay at the treatment by two West Stockbridge Select Board members towards a taxpayer

To allow three people who are not residents of West Stockbridge to speak freely while not allowing a business owner and taxpaying resident of the town to do so is wrong.

To the editor:

I attended the special West Stockbridge Select Board meeting at Town Hall on April 11, 2024, during which they gave an update on the EMS/Fire Deptartment survey. As a former volunteer firefighter, I expressed my thoughts that evening on the study that was presented; however, I am writing about another matter that transpired that night.

As a longtime resident of West Stockbridge and a business owner in the Berkshires, I know that it is important for taxpayers to have a voice in town matters.

I was utterly dismayed at the treatment by two West Stockbridge Board members, Kathleen Kersey and Andrew Krouss, toward a taxpayer and the largest employer in this town.

Jon Piasecki’s Wiseacre Farm is a properly permitted business, contributing to our town by creating jobs; contributing to key community events that benefit our town, such as last year’s Zucchini Festival; as well as the volunteer three percent Community Impact Fee. Yes, volunteer, which means that, despite the state no longer requiring a three percent Community Impact Fee for cannabis growers and sellers, Jon has ensured that Wiseacre will contribute a percentage of its earnings to West Stockbridge, whether mandated by the state or not. It is of note that this three percent community impact clause was set up to directly contribute to the needs of our town for services, such as fire, police, and EMT—the exact topic of discussion that night—yet he was not allowed to speak.

To allow three people who are not residents of West Stockbridge to speak freely while not allowing a business owner and taxpaying resident of the town to do so is wrong. It was an embarrassing display of power and did not reflect well on our town.

It doesn’t matter what your personal feelings are when you serve the town as an elected official, you work for the taxpayers and residents of our town, and it would be wise to rethink your approach to how you treat the people whom you were elected to serve.

Daniel Armstrong
West Stockbridge

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