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Welcome to your new home in the Town of Great Barrington! We look forward to counting you among our neighbors. Whether you own or rent, whether you are here weekends or summers, or if you are now living here year-round, we believe you will love it here.
We’d like to familiarize you with Town Hall, town services and town resources for doing business with us and getting connected in town.
In 2021, the town will offer several “WelcomeGB” Zoom meetings to introduce new residents to Town staff, services and resources. These are interesting and fun meetings, so please sign up here to receive a WELCOME GB email alert by selecting the "New Residents" box.
(Photo courtesy of Margaret Buchte)
A few tips for newcomers:
At Town Hall: Your Town Hall business will most often be with our Town Collector and Town Clerk. The Town Clerk will sell you permits and stickers for the town Transfer Station (town dump), help you register to vote (or you can register online), register your business and other municipal business. The Town Collector’s office accepts tax payments, sewer payments and other incoming payments, which can also be paid online. During COVID-19, the drop-boxes outside of Town Hall can be used for payments and other document drop-off
[Photo: Jennifer Messina, Town Clerk]
On the Web: Explore the Town website to learn about town departments and services, boards and committees. On the home page, see the commonly used links in the Citizens Action Center. Our town calendar includes upcoming meeting notices, including Town Manager Virtual Coffee get-togethers, which happen via Zoom on the first Wednesday of each month, at 10 a.m.
Seniors: Get to know our robust Claire Teague Senior Center, which has a wealth of classes and gatherings for town residents of all ages, along with an array of health insurance assistance and referrals. The town’s Senior Tax Work-off Program is a great way to get involved in town and lower your property taxes at the same time. The Senior Center is closed to visitors during COVID-19, but staff are available for assistance during business hours.
Schools: Great Barrington is one of three towns comprising the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. Learn more about the school district here. Several private schools also operate in our region. Our award-winning district servies the towns of Great Barrington, West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, and school choice and tuition students from around our region. The district is govered by the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee.
Public Safety: If you have not yet done so, please sign up for CODE RED, our municipal alert system. Great Barrington’s Fire Department, led by Chief Charlie Burger, and the Police Department, led by Chief Paul Storti, are at your service for emergencies, public safety questions and other services. Our Fire Department welcomes new volunteer firefighters who meet the requirements for the job. And its our Fire Department that issues burning permits for your spring yard clean-up project.
Great Barrington Libraries The Mason Library downtown, and the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic, are the town’s two excellent libraries. In addition to its wide collections of books, media materials and periodicals, Great Barrington offers a “Library of Things” with everything from sewing machines to video cameras and art project kits.
Water and Sewer: In the downtown area, the Great Barrington Fire District is in charge of the town water supply. In Housatonic, the Housatonic Water Co., a private company, serves customers. The town’s wastewater treatment plant staff on Bentley Avenue has won awards for its environmentally sound practices, and plant manager Bill Ingram wants you to know why you should never flush those so-called flushable wipes, and he even welcomes visitors interested in seeing how a modern day sewer operation works. View a video about Paula Ely, Winner of the EPA Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Award]
Building? Adding? Doing Business: Whether you need a sign for your business, a new roof or a home addition, you will need a permit (yes, even for your sign). Learn more about the town’s permitting procedures here.
Get to Know Town Government: If you relocated here from an urban or suburban area, our Town Manager/Open Town Meeting form of government may be new to you. Great Barrington has an appointed Town Manager and a five-member elected Selectboard. At our Annual Town Meeting every spring the town’s voters gather to set the town and school budget for the coming year. Annual Town Meeting is small-town participatory governance at its best. Below, the current venue of of Selectboard meetings, which happen on the first and third Mondays of each month, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Clockwise from top left: Chair Stephen Bannon, Leigh Davis, Bill Cooke, Kate Burke, Ed Abrahams and Town Manager Mark Pruhenski.
Keeping Informed: Our town website home page includes an up-to-date news feed with town news and announcements. You can also sign up for email alerts for various boards and committee meetings (ie. Select Board, Board of Health, etc). Our Town Manager has a monthly “Virtual Coffee” on Zoom as well, also found on the town calendar. Local news outlets serving our area include The Berkshire Eagle, The Berkshire Edge, WSBS-AM 860 and FM 94.1 Radio, WAMC 90.3 FM and WBCR FM, a locally-based community radio station.
Get involved: The Town has a number of appointed and elected committees overseeing a wide array of issues and topics in town, from arts and culture to sustainability and open space and affordable housing. Learn more openings on appointed town committees. You can find also other volunteer opportunities with excellent community nonprofits.
Social Media: Town of Great Barrington, Great Barrington Police Department the Great Barrington Fire Department and the Great Barrington Libraries keep lively Facebook pages.Several community-based Facebook and neighbor-to-neighbor email can also be accessed. The Police Department also has its own website. On Instagram, find @townofgreatbarrington and @GreatBarringtonLibraries.
Get Out: Great Barrington’s outdoor spaces include town parks for kids as well as many miles of hiking trails and opportunities for kayaking, fishing and canoeing on the Housatonic River and Lake Mansfield. The Great Barrington Land Conservancy and Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation maintain extensive trail networks and destination hilltops with great views. For much more information about our areas businesses, nonprofits, arts and culture and recreation community, The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is a hub of information. You can visit the chamber website here and sign up for the Chamber’s weekly emails.