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Select Board Minutes 1/16/13
Members present:        Mark Karlberg, William Elovirta
                        Jeanne Pryor-absent

Others Present: Joseph Kellogg, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Rita Furlong, John Amato, Robert Gorden, Attorney Thomas Fiori, Phil Connor, Bob Gross, Margaret McClellan, John Sakata-Berkshire Eagle

7:00 PM Meeting opened.

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

Select Board’s Comments and Announcements: Bill advised that in the newspaper he read that the individual that was involved in the break ins that occurred in 2010 and 2011 in Becket has been sentenced to State Prison.  Another individual is on the lam and there is a warrant for his arrest for his involvement with these break ins.  The homes that they broke into had their copper pipes stolen.

Town Administrator’s Report: Joe advised that he would prefer doing a verbal report and it would mainly involve follow up on items discussed at Select Board Meetings and anything that might come up between meetings.  He advised that he heard from the State and the Green Communities Annual Report was approved.  He also advised that he spoke with George Fuller about whether or not the highway department is using less salt on Maple Street.  George advised that the highway department is using less salt in this area.  He also advised that he has met with the Board of Health and discussed the budget with them and said that the two new members have hit the ground running.  He will meet with Jim from Tri-Town Boards of Health on Tuesday to discuss what our BOH is looking for from them.  He also advised that he has a recommendation for the Comstar Billing but will discuss this later in the meeting.  He advised that he looked into the new legislation regarding dog control.  Chapter 193 of the Acts of 2012 is the new legislation and he advised that our dog control bylaws need to be consistent with this legislation.  He also advised that our animal control officer will need to go through training within two years of when this legislation took effect.  He explained where the funding for this training will come from and he would need to speak with the animal control officer about this.  

Bill advised that he made a couple of corrections to the minutes of January 2, 2013.  Bill motioned to approve the minutes of January 2, 2013 as edited, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.  

Public Input: Beth VanNess asked if any more thought went into her proposal for the town to appropriate funding for senior transportation to doctor appointments.  Joe asked her to send him an email so that this could be discussed at a finance committee meeting.  Bill advised that they should follow up with Joan Moylan because the BRTA was supposed to come speak with the Council on Aging about the needs of the seniors.

Joe introduced Margaret McClellan to the Board.  He advised that she is currently the town accountant for Tolland and Otis and he is recommending that the Board approve his appointment of her as our Town Accountant.  Bill asked if she would be working during business hours.  Joe advised that she would be working at least four hours a week while the Treasurer is here and for the public if needed.  Bill motioned to approve the town administrator’s appointment of Margaret McClellan as Town Accountant, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.  Joe advised that she would be starting next Thursday.

Phil Conner, YMCA Camp Director, addressed the Board regarding a proposal to close part of Hamilton Road that goes through the camp and part of Bennett Road.  He turned the discussion over to Attorney Tom Fiore who explained the reasons why they would like to close parts of these two roads.  He explained that Hamilton Road goes through the camp and this poses a safety and security threat.  He advised that he spoke with some neighbors on the Stoney Brook side of Hamilton Road and to some town officials about this proposal.  He also advised that nothing serious has happened yet but they are trying to be proactive.  The procedure for discontinuing a town road would be to have the town vote at a town meeting.  He is proposing two separate articles for the Annual Town Meeting.  He gave the Select Board copies of the plan drawn up by Foresight Land Services that show exactly where the closures would be located.  He advised that this road closure would not land-lock any properties along either road.  He also advised that if a town votes to discontinue a road it does three things.  It eliminates public passage; it eliminates the town’s obligation to maintain the road; and the title of the road reverts back to the adjacent land owners.  Rita Furlong, as a member of the Historical Commission, feels that Hamilton Road is one of the original town roads and she would not want to see it closed.  She explained that the road was there before the camp was around so she feels it should remain open.  Colleen O’Connor asked if there would be a place for people to turn around easily if the road closes.  Mr. Fiori advised that they would like to have signage in place that would state that the road is a dead end but would also build a turnaround on the camp’s property so if someone did drive in they could turn around.  Briefly discussed other options than closing the road.  Bill does not know how losing these sections would affect Chapter 90.  He also advised that the fire department voted unanimously against the closing of Hamilton Road and he spoke with the police and ambulance departments and they were against this too.  The Select Board thanked Mr. Connor and Mr. Fiore for coming to the meeting.

Briefly discussed the Town Administrator help wanted advertisement.  Joe advised that this new person probably would not be starting until the last part of this fiscal year or by the next fiscal year and he feels that if the salary was increased then we would receive more qualified applicants.  Mark asked if this was brought up to the finance committee.  Joe advised that he thought the finance committee was meeting tomorrow but they are not meeting until January 24th.  The deadline for the MMA publication is tomorrow.  He advised that the ad could state the “proposed” salary would be $60,000.  Mark and Bill feel he should place the ad as soon as possible with the proposed salary amount.

Briefly discussed the ambulance billing program.  Joe advised that the new health care bill will change the way that towns bill for ambulance services.  He explained that the way the billing is done now is there is a set price for the transport fee, mileage fee, the cost if you needed oxygen, a defib, etc.  The new billing program would have one rate for all services.  The rate is set by the state.  The ambulance director did an analysis from past calls and feels pretty confident that the town would make out better with the new billing program.  Bill motioned that the Town Administrator be allowed to sign the new ambulance billing procedure, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.

Joe read the results of the sealed bid sale for the surplus fire department equipment.  He advised that the highest bid received for the 1980 Boyer 4X4 Pumper was $3,177 and the highest bid received for the 1970 Maxim Cab Pumper was $3,177.  He also advised that the bids ranged from $510 to $3,177 for each vehicle.  Bill motioned to award both bids to the highest bidder, Michael Mujsce, in the amount of $3,177 for the 1980 Boyer 4X4 Pumper and $3,177 for the 1970 Maxim Cab Pumper, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.

The Select Board reviewed letter from Building Inspector regarding fees paid to wiring and plumbing/gas inspectors.  Joe explained that currently the town charges $45 per inspection for all wiring, gas, and plumbing inspections and the town keeps $10 and the inspector gets $35 plus their mileage.  The inspectors find keeping track of their mileage is a hassle and would rather get more per inspection and not get mileage.  Bill Girard feels that if the town raises the inspection fees to $50, the town could keep $5 and the inspectors could get $45.  Joe also advised that $50 is reasonable compared to what other towns charge for their fees.  Bill motioned to raise the inspection fees for wiring, gas and plumbing inspections to $50 and that the inspectors receive $45, Mark seconded.  Joe recommended that the motion be made to give the inspectors 90% and the town keeps 10% so that if in the future they increase the fees again the town would continue to collect 10% and the inspectors would get 90% of the fees.  Bill and Mark withdrew the motion.  Bill motioned that the gas/plumbing and wiring inspectors fee be raised to $50 and that the inspectors be paid 90% of the fee, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.  The inspectors will not be paid mileage anymore.

The Select Board reviewed the monthly reports of the Ambulance Department, Animal Control Officer, Police Department and Citations Issued.

Any other business: Nina advised that Linda Bacon has submitted a letter of interest to serve on the 250th Anniversary Committee.  Bill motioned to appoint Linda Bacon to the 250th Anniversary Committee, Mark seconded.  Motion passed.  Rita Furlong advised that there is an article for the annual town meeting warrant in the amount of $5,000 for seed money for the 250th Anniversary Celebration.

Colleen O’Connor advised that there is frost heaving of the bricks and curbing in North Becket where they had work done with the CDBG grant.  Bill will go check this out and report back to Joe.

Joe advised that Mark would need to delegate Bill as the voting member at the MMA Annual Business Meeting on January 26, 2013 because he would not be attending this meeting.  Mark signed the form delegating Bill as the voting member at the MMA Annual Business Meeting.

Reviewed correspondence.

8:00 PM Mark motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss litigation issues and not to reconvene to open session.  Bill seconded.  Roll call vote: Mark-yes, Bill-yes.

8:20 PM Mark 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:

  • Plan showing proposed road closings for Hamilton and Bennett Roads.