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Select Board Minutes 11/28/12
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, Jeanne Pryor, William Elovirta

Others Present: Craig Kleman, Ann Krawet, Bob Will, Karen Karlberg, Rita Burns, Maria Wallington, Tim Sullivan, William Cameron-CBRSD, Marge Foster-CBRSD, Bruce Garlow, Stephen LaBelle, Ann Spadafora, Dan Parnell, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Robert Gorden

7:01 PM Meeting opened.

Mark asked if anyone was recording the meeting.  No one is recording.

Select Board’s Comments and Announcements: Mark announced that Karen Karlberg had the Shaw Pond area designated, by the Massachusetts National Heritage Foundation, a recent priority one designation because she photographed a North American Bittern that was on the pond which is on the endangered species list.  It is very important to have the Shaw Pond area updated with this designation for Wetland Protection purposes.

Town Administrator’s Report: Craig advised that the Select Board voted to extend the CDBG from December 31, 2012 to June 30, 2013 and Pat Mullins advised that this request was approved.  He also advised that the Green Communities Grant extension was also approved and they can take this up later in the meeting.

Craig advised that he spoke to the owner of Architectural Roofing Management and was informed that the insulation between the roofs at the highway department would be completed by the end of this week and the siding of the garage would be completed by the end of next week.

Craig advised that the gutters at town hall have been completed this week.

Craig advised that he has appointed Nina Weiler as the interim town accountant to process invoices until someone is appointed the new Town Accountant.  He will coordinate this with the treasurer and Amy Lane so she could be properly trained in this.

Craig advised that David Zagorski, with the assistance of Dan Parnell and Jim Podolak of the DOR, found an error so there is actually an excess in the levy capacity so there is no need to have a Special Town Meeting for this aspect.  The excess is approximately $110,000 and David’s recommendation would be to leave the excess levy capacity as is.

Craig also advised that by the next meeting he should have the name of the interim highway superintendent to fill in until a new highway superintendent is appointed.

The Select Board reviewed minutes to previous meetings.  Bill motioned to approve the minutes of October 17, 2012, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.  Jeanne motioned to approve the minutes of November 7, 2012, Bill seconded.  Mark abstained since he was not in attendance at this meeting.  Motion passed.

Public Input: Ann Spadafora asked if the highway superintendent would be preparing a draft budget before he leaves.  Craig advised that he spoke with Len Tisdale and was told that he would submit one before he leaves.  She also asked if there would be an audit done before Nina takes over the books as accountant.  She was advised that Nina is not taking over the books; she is just paying bills until there is an accountant hired.  Mark advised that there would be an audit before the new accountant starts working.

Colleen O’Connor asked about the Board wanting Tri-Town Board of Health to come in to assist our Board of Health.  She advised that the motion to have Tri-Town Board of Health come in was not put in the minutes.  Mark advised that they did not motion to have Tri-Town come in.  He asked Craig to contact them and ask them to come to a meeting.  She also advised that she had gone to a Conservation Commission meeting with an issue and they advised her to see the Select Board.  She advised that she not only has ecoli and coliform in her well, now she has salt.  She advised that the school is constantly dumping salt on the parking area which eventually runs onto her property into her well and also goes into the river.  The Conservation Commission advised that the Order of Conditions that was issued when the school was renovated has expired but Colleen feels the school should not be salting the parking area the way it is because it is contaminating her well and the river.  She advised that the school should never have been issued a Certificate of Compliance because the Order of Conditions was never filed and recorded.  She was asked to bring this to the Select Board by the Conservation Commission.

Ann Krawet addressed the Board regarding the formation of the Large Wind Turbine Bylaw Review Subcommittee that was authorized by the Planning Board.  This committee has been formed in light of the scientific information that has been brought forth which shows there could be health issues to those who live close to these turbines.  She gave the Select Board the charge to the Large Wind Turbine Bylaw Review Sub-Committee.  She would like this posted on the town’s website and asked any interested people to send a letter of interest to the chair of the Planning Board.

Ann Spadafora asked if the Select Board is changing the Board of Health from elected to appointed, doesn’t this require a charter change?  Mark advised that the Select Board and remaining Board of Health member need to appoint two members to the Board of Health until the next election.  When there are vacancies on an elected board, there needs to be appointments made to fill the vacancies until the next election.

William Cameron, CBRSD School Superintendent, addressed the Board regarding the FY 2014 school budget.  He advised that the budget will be presented to the school committee in five weeks.  He is soliciting input from the Select Board and Finance Committee.  Bill asked Mr. Cameron if he knew if the State will be cutting or increasing revenues to towns.  He has not seen any indications that State revenues would be cut or increased as of yet.  Mark asked if he any inklings of how the budget would be going.  He explained the step process for the teachers and explained that this would be a very tight year.  He advised that CBRSD enrollment is declining.  Briefly discussed the renovations for the high school building.  Mr. Cameron advised that the Becket Washington School is a top performing school.  Briefly discussed vocational schooling.  Mr. Cameron advised that there will be a Seven Town Advisory Committee meeting sometime in February and the Select Board and Finance Committee should attend it.  The Select Board thanked Ms. Foster and Mr. Cameron for coming to the meeting.

Tim Sullivan, the Emergency Management Director, addressed the Board regarding an issue he is having with his vehicle.  He advised that he has received damage to his private vehicle from hurricane Irene and hurricane Sandy.  He also advised that he has a large amount of equipment that the town has supplied him and that he received from grants.  This equipment is in his vehicle so when there is an emergency, he could assist the townspeople.  He feels that he should have a reliable vehicle to use during these events.  Bill asked if he could use the old police cruiser during emergencies.  Tim advised that he could but he also attends a lot of meetings out of town.  Bill asked him if he gets mileage for these meetings.  Tim advised that he does get mileage for these meetings.  He is asking the town to pay for some of the cost to pick up a new vehicle for him to use.  He explained the equipment that he needs to keep in the vehicle which is mostly radio equipment.  He is looking to purchase a vehicle from an auction preferably a Tahoe which has four wheel drive.  Jeanne asked if he was looking for the town to pay for half of the cost for the new vehicle.  He advised that that would be great if town could do that.  Bill has a problem with paying for part of someone’s personal vehicle.  He feels there are other departments that use their own vehicles to perform their jobs and get paid mileage for doing it.  He feels that this could set a precedent where other departments would ask for assistance in purchasing private vehicles.  Dan Parnell feels the town vehicle that is currently being used by the Board of Assessors and the Building Inspector should be made available to the EMD for use during emergency events.  One problem with using the town vehicle would be that the radios would need to be retrofitted to the vehicle.  Tim brought up the fact that the current fire chief uses a town owned vehicle and uses it to go back and forth to work.  Bill advised that this has been an issue since the prior fire chief had the vehicle.  This vehicle should not be used for personal travel.  Jeanne asked Tim what he would need if the town vehicle was made available to him during emergencies.  He said that two radios would need to be installed in the vehicle.  Craig suggested that Tim come up with the cost of installing radios to the town vehicle and work with the Finance Committee on budgeting the funds for this.  Bill advised that the police chief is going to be looking for a new vehicle next year and Tim should speak to him about replacing the Tahoe with the Expedition as the town vehicle.  Tim advised that he has another grant that needs to be signed and submitted.  He explained what this grant was for.  Craig will sign this grant application.

Bruce Garlow of the Town Meeting Bylaw Review Committee read the interim report on increasing town meeting participation dated November 28, 2012.  Discussion followed on the items on this report.  The first item discussed was holding an informational or “baby” town meeting prior to the annual town meeting.  This meeting could be held ten days prior to the town meeting where there will be a short review of the warrant, with questions and answers allowed, and an opportunity given to all candidates to make a short statement about their candidacies and answer questions.  The next item discussed was the meeting and election notifications.  The committee recommends that a copy of the warrant and, possibly the town report, be mailed to all households and part time residents prior to the informational meeting.  They also recommend that the election warrant become a part of the town meeting warrant so that voters are aware of articles to be considered at town meeting and offices to be filled at the election and that this warrant should be advertised in the Country Journal.  The last item to be discussed was the cost to mail the information and advertise in a local newspaper.  The committee feels the mailing could be done by seniors who are in the senior tax work-off program and scout volunteers.  Colleen O’Connor feels the town could save money on the mailings by sending out a less expensive postcard advising residents of where they could get copies of the town reports and warrants.  She also feels the town should make the meeting accessible to everyone.  Some people cannot drive to the meeting so she feels a 12 passenger van could be used to pick up the people who cannot drive themselves.  She also feels that if there were babysitters to watch children more people would attend the meetings.  Bruce also advised that the committee would also like to see that there will be no more voice votes.  Briefly discussed separating voters and non-voters.  There were problems at the last meeting about the separation.  The Select Board thanked Bruce for his work on this committee.

Mark explained the process that was followed for the Town Administrator evaluations.  He advised that the town administrator did a self evaluation, the select board members each completed an evaluation and all department heads were asked to complete a staff survey regarding the Town Administrator.  He explained the select board’s evaluation form.  There were four categories the first being Fiscal Management.  The average from the select board came halfway between satisfactory and needs improvement.  The next category was Relationship with the Select Board.  The average came halfway between satisfactory and needs improvement.  The third category was Staff and Personnel Relations.  The average came in at needs improvement.  The last category was Community and Intergovernmental Relations.  The average came in between satisfactory and commendable.  Mark advised that he discounted one department head’s evaluation because he feels the employee was disgruntled.  The rest of the department head evaluations, discounting the one, were showing that the town administrator was almost satisfactory but needs to improve on some things.  Mark advised that the next step would be to discuss what the Select Board would do and he wants to do this in executive session at the next meeting.  Jeanne feels that the one staff survey mentioned should not be discounted because the board asked department heads to participate and that department head took the time to complete the survey.  The Select Board will discuss this in executive session at the end of the Select Board meeting on December 5, 2012.

The Select Board reviewed the Confirmatory Deed for property with beach in Sherwood Greens.  Jeanne motioned to sign Confirmatory Deed for property with beach in Sherwood Greens on Assessors Map 214, Lot 27.01, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

The Select Board reviewed the Green Communities Annual Report.  Craig explained the report and advised that Lauren Gaherty of BRPC will continue doing this report.  Bill motioned that the Select Board Chair be authorized to sign off on Green Communities Annual Report, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Any other business: Craig gave the Select Board a memo from the Board of Assessors that advises that there is now an excess levy capacity.  A figure was reported twice so it made a deficit when there really was no deficit.  The select board can either leave the excess levy or conservatively estimate receipts, thereby lowering the levy capacity, but also substantially raising the tax rate.  The chief assessor recommends that the selectmen leave the excess capacity as is.  Jeanne feels the assessor should have found out about this before now since he is in charge of the overlay.  Bill motioned to approve the LA-5 form and leave the excess levy as is, Mark seconded.  Jeanne abstained.  Motion passed.  The Select Board would like the assessor to attend the Special Town Meeting so he can explain why the article was removed.  Craig advised that he would be at the meeting.

Mark motioned to approve the town administrator’s appointment of Nina Weiler as interim town accountant term not to exceed February 1, 2013, Jeanne seconded.  All in favor.

Briefly discussed the property donations from the annual town meeting.  The town attorney felt the town should inspect the properties to make sure there were no contaminants on the properties and to see if there were taxes owed and to make sure the titles are clear.  The building inspector has checked out all of the properties and has not found any contaminants on any of them and the tax collector has reviewed the taxes to see if they were all up-to-date.  The assessors could not research the titles to see if they were clear.  The town attorney advised that they could do the title searches if the Select Board wishes.  Jeanne motioned to contact Kopelman & Paige and ask them to do the title searches on these properties, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed correspondence.

9:12 PM Jeanne motioned to adjourn, Bill seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          Mark L. Karlberg, Chairman

Documents discussed at meeting:

  • Town Meeting Bylaw Review Committee Interim Report on Increasing Town Meeting Participation
  • Confirmatory Deed for Property with Beach in Sherwood Greens
  • Green Communities Annual Report