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Board of Selectmen Minutes 8/11/10
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, William Cavanaugh, George Fuller

Others Present: Richard Furlong, Hildegarde Freedman, David & Eva Bonney, William Elovirta, Beth VanNess, Colleen O’Connor, Ann Spadafora, Bruce Bosworth, Josh Lombard, Geri Galliher, George Roberts, Steve Rosenthal, Howard Lerner, David & Nancy Devane, John Ferry, Marty Schlanger, Sandy Sayward, Tim Sullivan, Meredyth Babcock, Harvey Lerner, Ann Shrader

7:01 PM Meeting opened.

It was announced that Beth VanNess is audio taping the meeting.

Selectmen’s Comments and Announcements: Bill proposed that the town form an Energy Reduction Advisory Committee that would assess the town’s current energy use and cost and to identify where the town could reduce its energy use and cost and periodically bring this information to the Board.  He would also like to consider forming a Grant Writing Advisory Committee.  This committee would research available grants and research new grants available and to assess the appropriateness of the grants to the needs of the town.  It would bring the information to the Selectmen and if the grant was deemed worthy, the committee would go through the process of writing the grant with the appropriate departments and/or consultants to assist them in writing the grants.  He feels that this would involve the townspeople in finding grants that are important to them and it would teach them a marketable skill.  The committee members would be offered training to help them with grant writing.  Bill feels that this would be good for the town.

Bill motioned to approve the minutes of August 4, 2010, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Public Input: Ann Spadafora feels the two committees that Bill proposed earlier were good ideas but she thought that the grant writing committee could figure out what the town wants for a grant but the cost to the town is sometimes hard to figure out.  She also asked about the deeds for the property that was sold at auction.  Richard advised that Sally Bell was working on them and should have them to the owners soon.

Hildegarde Freedman agreed that the two committees was a good idea and agrees with Ann about the cost variable but does not feel that this is the only relevant thing for this committee to work on.  She feels that the location of the deer on Route 20 is an ideal area for something called “Commerce in Becket”.  She feels that because Becket does not have a Chamber of Commerce something could be done to have a day for businesses to come together and do something to increase tourism in town and she would like to direct this.

Sandra Sayward advised that she purchased land at the auction and is due money back but has not received anything yet and asked what was happening with this.  Nina advised that the accountant has cut the checks and they should be receiving these checks sometime this week.  Bill questioned about the abutters being notified.  He had some people approach him about not being notified about the auction.  Some people who were abutters to some of the land up for auction were not notified and if they were, they would have bid on the land.  He wanted to know if the town was obligated to notify anyone or if it was a courtesy to notify people.  Richard advised that it is not an obligation of the town to notify anyone.  The town in the past tried to notify abutters so they have the option of increasing their lot size by purchasing land at the auction.  Richard also advised that the auctioneer should have mailed to all of the abutters but did not for some reason send it to everyone.

Colleen O’Connor again requested a copy of the audio recording of the Executive Session meeting that took place on July 1, 2010.  She wants to know why this has not been made available to interested parties.  Richard advised that this has not been released because the town attorney has not given approval to release it yet.  Meredyth Babcock asked how the Selectmen would let people know when this is released.  Richard advised that it would be in the minutes when this is released.

Nancy Devane asked if a person purchases an abutting lot does this automatically get combined to their current lot.  Richard explained how this is done.

David Bonney advised that at a past meeting a committee member called him an idiot and would not let him pass and that at last weeks meeting a member of the Selectmen told him to sit down and shut up.  He would like the Selectmen to send out a memo to all boards and committees asking that they treat everyone with respect.

Meredyth Babcock would like to see what the savings would be on energy use at fire station #2 if the renovations took place so she could make a determination if this project should go on as currently planned.  She feels that if the savings would be substantial then it would pay for itself over the years.  Richard would need to call the architect to see if this could be made available.  Bill explained about the radiant floor heat that was included in the plans.

7:30 PM Pole Hearing on the proposed installation of four jointly owned poles to shorten the spans for larger sized wires on Benton Hill Road.  John Ferry of WMECO addressed the Board about where these poles would be located.  Richard asked if there would be any transformers on these poles.  He spoke with a woman that did not want a transformer on the pole that was near her property because she did not want to hear the humming from the transformer.  Mr. Ferry advised that there would not be any transformers on any of the poles that would be installed.  Mark motioned to approve the installation of four jointly owned poles to shorten the spans for larger sized wires on Benton Hill Road, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Ann Shrader from the Center Pond Restoration and Protection District Steering Committee addressed the Board regarding Center Pond Lake District legislation.  She advised that on August 5, 2010 the Governor signed the legislation and they have sixty days to hold the initial meeting of the district.  She is proposing a few dates in which to hold the meeting.  The warrant for this meeting needs to be mailed out no less than 14 days before the initial meeting.  Bill motioned to hold a meeting on September 7, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall for voting members of Center Pond to vote approving “An Act Establishing the Center Pond Restoration and Protection District of the Town of Becket”, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Richard advised that he spoke with the town attorney regarding proxies that were already sent out to Center Pond proprietors a while back to see if they were fine to use now and was told that it was perfectly legal to use them.  George asked if he could get copies of the proxies before the meeting so that it could be determined if there is a quorum present more easily.  Ann will make sure he gets copies.

George advised that he spoke with Bill Girard about the barriers on Big Bass Lane.  Bill Girard was going to check tomorrow to see that these barriers were removed.  Bruce Bosworth advised that Bill Girard was already there to see that the barriers were gone.  Richard advised that Crystal Pond had an issue with the dry hydrant agreement that was done while Tony was here.  They would like a section of this agreement changed.  Richard sent the attorney this agreement to have him check to see that the changes could be done.

Richard advised that BRPC needs to know who the contact person will be for the various grants programs that they spoke about last week.  The Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Water Quality Planning Project, the CDBG, and the EECBG need to go forward and BRPC needs to move on some of these or we will lose funding for them.  Bill motioned to send a message to BRPC to go ahead with the water quality planning project, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned to appoint Richard Furlong as contact person for the various grant projects.

Richard advised that he spoke with the architects about the EECBG for the fire station.  The architects feel that the bids came in higher than expected because the grant is using stimulus money and the requirements fall on the town and the contractor.  He explained the option of scaling back the project or trying to come up with the extra money needed to fund this project.  Richard advised that the Selectmen need to decide if they want BRPC to administer the grant which would cost approximately $15,000.  The architect advised if the town stayed with the original bid project they could issue change orders that is legal under the procurement laws that would save about $10,000.  Richard advised that this needs to be acted upon fairly quickly because the low bidder is willing to hold the price until September.  Also, the grant is only available for one year and the ambulance cannot stay outside during the colder months because the ambulance needs to maintain a certain temperature.  Hildegarde asked if the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan had the same requirements as the EECBG has.  Richard did not know if it did.  He advised that if the Selectmen decide to continue with the project and wish to use stabilization funds then they would need to have a Special Town Meeting by the end of September.  Sandy Sayward advised that the radiant floor heat is very expensive and asked if this could be pulled from the project.  Richard advised that they would need to rebid the project to do that.  Colleen feels the town should look at it as getting $200,000 to fix the fire station and only having to pay $60,000 for it.  Bill Elovirta asked if it is worth it to put money into a station that is too small.  Mark motioned to hire BRPC to administer the EECBG and the Green Community Grants, Bill seconded.  All in favor.  The Selectmen will have two weeks to see what BRPC decides should happen with these grants.  Bill explained that the salt shed grant may not happen because there are so many different things that need to happen before the shed could go in.  Briefly discussed the site work that would need to be done.

Mark read a letter from the Planning Board recommending Beth VanNess as alternate to the Planning Board.  Beth was the only one who expressed interest for this position.  Bill motioned to appoint Beth VanNess as alternate to the Planning Board term to expire June 30, 2011, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

George Roberts advised that his election workers appointments had expired at the end of July and he would need election workers appointed before the next election.  He gave the Selectmen a list of people who are interested in being appointed.  Bill motioned to appoint Gale LaBelle, Eva Bonney, Priscilla McEwen, Chuck Garman, Arlene Adler, Nancy Devane, Elizabeth VanNess and Ann Krawet as election workers terms to expire July 15, 2011, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill asked if an election worker is used for a special town meeting but only works for an hour, does he/she get paid a minimum set of hours.  George advised that they do not.  Briefly discussed paying them a minimum amount of hours.  Richard will check to see if there is state law regarding this.  He feels that if you make it policy for the election workers then you have to make it policy for all employees.

The Selectmen reviewed the monthly report of the building inspector.

Any other business: Bill asked why appointing an Emergency Management Director was not on the agenda because he was ready to make this appointment.  The Selectmen have reviewed all of the interested parties even the one that was received tonight.  Richard advised that they could do this under other business.  Richard advised that he checked into whether there could be an alternate or deputy EMD and there is nothing in state law that says you could not have one.  He advised that if they decide to have an alternate EMD, the only time the alternate would be in charge would be if the EMD was not in town or if the EMD asked that they be in charge.  You cannot have two people in charge at once.  Bill motioned to appoint Timothy Sullivan as Emergency Management Director term to expire June 30, 2011, Mark seconded.  All in favor.  Bill motioned to appoint Sandra Sayward as alternate Emergency Management Director term to expire June 30, 2011, George seconded.  Mark abstained from voting. Motion passed.  Colleen advised that she does not have a problem with the choices for EMD and the Alternate but she has a problem with the violation of the open meeting law since the decision on who to appoint was done behind closed doors.  She said that this was not on the agenda but the two people that were appointed knew they were going to be appointed before the meeting.  Bill advised that he knew who he wanted to appoint as EMD and alternate and asked the people to come to the meeting.  He also advised that he did not speak with the other two Selectmen about this.  He chose who he thought was best for these positions and he has the right to speak with them individually.

George Roberts advised that the attorney for the Sherwood Forest Neighbor’s Association has requested some dates for the initial meeting of the Sherwood Forest Lake District.  Bill motioned to hold a meeting on October 9, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Becket Town Hall for the initial meeting of the Sherwood Forest Lake District, Mark seconded.  There was a discussion of where the meeting could be moved if there were too many people to fit in the community room.  George Roberts also suggested that he and Nina should be at meeting to calculate the proxies to see if there was a quorum.  Someone from the Neighbor’s Association would check to see if the school would be available on that date in case there was not enough room at the town hall.  All in favor.  Bill advised that the town owns approximately sixty properties in Sherwood Forest so they would need to decide if the town should vote by proxy and how they would vote by proxy.  Richard suggested that the Selectmen hold a public hearing on what would happen if the lakes in Sherwood Forest go away.  If the lakes go away then the property values would go down which would make the tax rate go up.  George Roberts also stated that the Selectmen could not vote on what the proxy would look like.  He suggests that the town attorney review it to see if it is legal.

Richard advised that there are 15 students going to vocational schools this upcoming school year.  The voc tuition account has enough money in it to cover the students going but there is an issue with the transportation.  He explained how the bus runs would work but advised that there is a student going to McCann Vocational School and he has not figured out how this student will get there.  He explained that Hinsdale and Dalton have students going to McCann and they are bussed by Dufour.  He thinks the town will need to have Dufour pick up this student.  George will check with the student’s parents to see if they could transport the student and the town could pay them to do this.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:10 PM Bill motioned to adjourn, Mark seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed the payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          George Fuller, Chairman