Milford publishes first town newsletter

MILFORD – The first issue of The Granite Town Quarterly, a new local newsletter, came out in Milford this month – but it’s not from The Telegraph or the Milford Cabinet.

The Quarterly is the new official publication of Milford government, distributed at locations, like the dump and inside Town Hall, where newspaper boxes can’t go.

The main editorial is from Selectman Chairwoman Cynthia Herman, and, perhaps not surprisingly, to those who know her exuberant public persona, it starts out like this:


Inside, news includes details about the capital improvements plan, public safety briefs, a listing of new town employees, and an essay titled “Partnering in the New Millennium” by Superintendent of Schools Bob Suprenant.

The publishers, a local firm called Civic Media, plan to cover costs from advertisers and are getting no taxpayer funds – which is great from the town budget point of view and the reason for Herman’s “Yahoo.”

The reaction from The Telegraph, Cabinet and other companies competing for those advertisers might, of course, be more muted.

Building inspection fees could rise in Mont Vernon

MONT VERNON – Residents panicked about how fast this town is growing might want to sit down before looking at the building inspect fee line item in next year’s proposed budget: It grows from $6,800 to almost $42,000.

But don’t worry. Officials aren’t really anticipating a six-fold increase in building permits in 2005.

It’s just that they’d like to raise the fees they charge developers for the first time in a couple of decades.

“They (builders) just laugh when I tell them how I get paid,” said Eddie Gilbert, who took over as the town’s building inspector earlier this year after Bart Randall ended his 21-year stint due to health reasons.

The inspector’s salary comes out of the fees, charged for examining homes while they are being built to make sure they meet town, state and federal codes.

New state regulations have made the job considerably more time-consuming, said Gilbert, who has long experience as a building inspector in Massachusetts.

The Planning Board has supported Gilbert’s proposal to raise fees from 10 cents a square foot for living space to 50 cents a square foot, and from 7 cents a square foot for non-living space, such as decks, to 40 cents a square foot. Depending on its size and layout, a large house would probably face a total fee of around $2,000 under the new plan – not much in a time when $350,000 new homes are becoming commonplace in town.

The proposed rates appear higher than the fee in neighboring towns, but Gilbert says that is misleading because other communities charge extra for such things as electrical and plumbing inspections, raising their total fee.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the budget committee and selectmen before being considered at Town Meeting in March as part of the overall budget.