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JANUARY 22, 2013

6:30PM                                                                          Memorial Hall

Chairman Anthony Renzoni, James Jumonville, Mark Ferguson (arrived 6:33PM),
Robert Lavigne, Kenneth Lipka

Others Present: 
Jacquie Kelly, Acting Town Manager
Elizabeth Helder, Recording Secretary

Others Absent:  
Nancy Galkowski, Town Manager

Chairman Renzoni opened the meeting at 6:30PM. The Board participated in the Pledge of Allegiance.     

1. Selectmen Appointments



Sel. Ferguson arrived at 6:33PM.


2. Update from WRSD School Committee

Chairman Renzoni said he had reached out to the School Committee Chair Duncan Leith who did not reply.   However, the WRSD Chair did not appear at the meeting.  Chairman Renzoni said he would reach out to Mr. Leith again.

3. Town Manager Miscellaneous

  • The Board reviewed the December 2012 HMLD Monthly report as prepared by Jim Robinson, Light Manager.
  • The Board reviewed the Annual Town Election Schedule.  The last day to draw papers is February 11th.  The Board discussed the fact that due to increased census numbers, the Town of Holden is eligible to add two new members to the WRSD School Committee to bring the Committee to 22 Representatives.  However, this is contrary to what the Board wants to happen: they want to reduce the membership of the School Committee.  Sel. Ferguson said he would like to see the School Committee reduced to no more than 10 members.  Sel. Lavigne said that he did not think that a 10-member School Committee was an achievable number.  He suggested that a 15-member Committee was more realistic: 3 members from each town with a weighted voting formula.
Chairman Renzoni said he was working on a formula to help reduce the membership on the School Committee and that he would present it at the next Select Board meeting.  The Board asked Ms. Kelly to invite Ms. Callahan with the School District to attend the meeting. Ms. Kelly informed the Board that any decrease to the School Committee membership would have to be approved at the 5 Regional Town Meetings.

  • Ms. Kelly informed the Board that a meeting between the town officials and abutters of the old Police Station was scheduled for January 29, 2013 at 6:30PM at Memorial Hall.  The meeting is being held to gather feedback from abutters about a zoning change to the property for resale purposes.  Sel. Ferguson inquired if the original sale price has been adjusted.  Ms. Kelly said that the price adjustment was approved at Town Meeting.  Ms. Kelly said she would inform the Board of the new appraisal price.  The Board will be posted to the meeting.
  • The Board reviewed the Snow and Ice Balance Sheet to date.  Sel. Lavigne requested a per average cost per storm.
  • Ms. Kelly informed the Board that the Town is participating in a CMRPC Project to study the Route 31 transportation corridor.  Other towns participating in the study are Spencer and Paxton.
  • The Board reviewed a status report on work being performed at the Public Safety Facility/Old Fire Station.  The update was prepared by Gary Kaczmarek, Facilities Manager.
  • Ms. Kelly reported that Treasurer/Collector Sharon Lowder has consulted with Mary Carney, the Town’s financial advisor, regarding the refinancing of municipal debt.  Ms. Carney, a Senior Vice President of First Southwest, is continually looking for ways to save her clients’ money is refinancing debt or by other means.  
  • The Board will attend the Annual MMA Conference and Tradeshow January 25th and 26th.
  • The Board reviewed a draft of the “Save the Date” flier that will be inserted in the Light Department mailers.  The Town has used this effective method of communication with residents in the past, especially for those who do not check the Town’s website on a regular basis or see the electronic sign.  Additionally, a “Do Something” questionnaire was placed on the back of the flier.  A second mailer will be sent to cover the summer and fall months.  The Board asked Ms. Kelly to conduct a local shredding day in Holden.  Ms. Kelly will ask for pricing and feedback on the event from Dennis Lipka, Growth Management Director.
  • The Select Board reviewed an updated Selectmen’s Pending Items List through December 2012.  Sel. Ferguson asked if the Board should consider adding the ECC Property Status/Clean Up to the list.  Sel. Ferguson said he had a conversation recently with the property owner and felt that the Town could seek some type of State/Federal Funding to clean up the property and convert it into town use.  Ms. Kelly said that the request requires a lot of time and work which she does not have the time to dedicate right now as she is currently preparing the Town Budget for the Annual Town Meeting.  She also said that the land is currently private property and any action taken by the Town would mean that the Town was taking ownership of the property.  This property is considered to be a “brownfield” and will need a fund source to clean it up.  The State/Federal EPA only has so much money allotted to cleaning up contaminated land and these projects are ranked on their importance.  This type of proposition went before Annual Town Meeting and was voted down.  Ms. Kelly said she felt the idea was fighting an uphill battle.  Chairman Renzoni asked the Manager to be proactive and keep it on the radar.
4. Citizens’ Address

Mr. Ed Meyer, Fort Sumter Drive, spoke about the Special Town Meeting being requested by the Mountview School Building Committee one month prior to the May Annual Town Meeting.  He said he felt this Special Town Meeting was a waste of taxpayer money.  Mr. Meyer said he doesn’t want to build a school just to benefit Sel. Renzoni’s four children.

5. Regional Dispatch – Holden/Princeton, Chief George Sherrill

Chief Sherrill introduced Tom Kennedy to the Board to update the Board on the Regional Dispatch efforts.  He said that he is in the process of putting together a consolidated budget.  He has met will all the police chiefs from the region to create this budget.  An assessment has been made of the radio town in Princeton.  It is in fragile condition and not able to contain any more antennas.  Money is available in the grant to realign the budget to replace/upgrade this tower.  The target date to go online with the project will be January 2014.  Sel. Ferguson said a police department is as only as good as its dispatcher and he said he had liability concerns.   He said that a per capita ratio per person should be used to bill each community.  Chief Sherrill said that each community will be billed on the population and 911 calls placed by each town.

6. Discussion of Water/Sewer Division

The Board reviewed a Power Point presentation prepared by DPW Director John Woodsmall and Water/Sewer Superintendent Mark Elbag regarding unaccounted for water (UAW) in town.  Unaccounted for water is used as a benchmark by the DEP of how well a drinking water system manages its water resources.  All known water uses should be measured and quantified and are calculated annually in April as part of DEP mandated Annual Statistical Report. The UAW calculation for 2012 has not been calculated.  All water sources must be accounted for: customers are metered, water usage is estimated from fire operations, DPW operations and repaired breaks.  This UAW calculation is highly dependent on estimated figures.  UAW is one of two benchmarks of a system along with the Residential Gallons per Capita Day (RGPCD).  The RGPCD measures how well users conserve water usage. UAW measures how well a water system conserves its water resources.  The Town’s UAW for 2011 was 20.8%.  The Town’s RGPCD was 51gpcd.  The DEP wants 10% UAW and 65 RGPCD.   Statewide, UAW median community average is 12% and RGPCD is 61.6gpcd.  Water produced, but not accounted for, is not billed, which has a negative effect on the Water/Sewer Enterprise Fund.  Additionally, high UAW creates increased scrutiny by DEP to Department’s operations.  The Town is addressing its UAW by conducting: a system-wide flushing, annual leak detection, annual water audit, annual source water meter calibration, large and customer meter calibrations, billing system sample audit, increased hydrant replacement and repairs, coordination with Fire Department, account of non-metered DPW uses, meter replacement, infrastructure replacement, and customer service line replacement.

A 2012 Leak Detection Survey was conducted in town.  105 miles of pipe were surveyed and 10 main and or service leaks and 17 hydrant leaks were detected and corrected immediately.  The total estimated water loss was 171 gallons per minutes or 246,240 per day.  The FY2014-18 Capital Plan will provide for essential equipment and infrastructure to operate, maintain, and repair the water/sewer system.  The Town’s aging infrastructure is prone to leakage and needs to be replaced before it breaks.  Mr. Woodsmall outlined the Capital Plan projects for the next 5 years.  Some of the debt will be borrowed from the state by using the state’s zero-interest loan plan.  Water main replacements are not cheap.

Chairman Renzoni said he attended the Water/Sewer Advisory Committee meeting in December 2012 where broken, rusted, and eroded water pipes and fittings were displayed.  He commended Mr. Woodsmall for conducting the UAW study.

Sel. Lavigne asked how the borrowing to fund the Capital Plan would affect rate payers.  Mr. Woodsmall said he could not calculate that number.  However, the recent changes in the water/sewer rates will help to offset some of the infrastructure projects planned in town during the next 5 years.

Sel. Ferguson commented that the Town is making progress.  He looks at water rates as someone who is paying the bill and he spoke about the $23.00 monthly fixed fee being assessed to ratepayers, which he feels is unacceptable.  He said he was happy that the problems were being addressed and the long-term repairs that are long overdue.  He said he was “all in” to fixing the problems to get the town to 12.8% soon.  Sel. Ferguson said he wanted maximum efficiency of water resources with the best quality water.  He said the Town should emulate the infrastructure repair program that the City of Worcester uses.  He said that millions of dollars spent on capital infrastructure repairs/upgrades do not scare him when financed for 20 or 30 years using a zero interest loan from the state.  He said it took a long time to get here.

Chairman Renzoni said that the DPW has a pretty good plan in place to fix the problems.  He said it was now up to the Board to come up with a plan to pay for them.

Mr. Elbag said that leak detection is an on-going-everyday project.  New leaks occur every day.  The Town had a water main break at 10PM last night.

Sel. Lipka asked how the sample audit and billing would happen.  The audit will be based off the customer list at the light department.  He said he would be interested in the audit results.  He said he felt that there are residents out there who are not accounted for.  He said he disagreed with comments made by Sel. Ferguson that the Town should model its rate plan after the City of Worcester.  Worcester has over 300,000 residents while Holden has 17,000.  He said the Board should focus on Holden’s problems and not those of Worcester or Rutland.  The Board discussed whether there was some type of fine that could be administered to those who have been benefiting from Holden’s water/sewer services without paying for them.  Mr. Woodsmall said currently, there was no way to fine a resident in this circumstance because a bylaw does not exist.  Mr. Woodsmall said that the water/sewer bylaws are out-of-date and he intends to update them.

The Chairman said that the Board will discuss how to pay for these programs at their first meeting in February.  The Water/Sewer department runs lean. The Board thanked Mr. Woodsmall and Mr. Elbag

Chairman Renzoni said that a member of the Finance Committee has expressed dismay that the Board is receiving a briefing on the Water/Sewer Capital Plan before the Finance Committee. Chairman Renzoni suggested inviting the moderator to review what the Board is allowed access to under the Town Charter.  Sel. Ferguson said that the Board, as Water/Sewer Commissioners, has a right to this briefing.  Sel. Lavigne concurred with Sel. Ferguson adding that the Charter dictates when the Finance Committee receives the town’s capital budget; it doesn’t say that they have to receive it first.
7. Selectmen Subcommittees

Sel. Lipka: Affordable Housing: Have not met.
Municipal Electric Advisory: Have not met.
Sel. Jumonville: Memorial Day Parade:  Next meeting: January 23, 2013 at 7PM at Town Hall.  Chairman Renzoni invited the Committee to a Legion meeting to update its members.
Sel. Lavigne: EDC: Will meet in February.
Sel. Ferguson: Not currently serving on a subcommittee.
Sel. Renzoni: Water/Sewer Advisory Board: Have not met.

8. Selectmen Miscellaneous

Sel. Ferguson: 1. Discussed a January 15, 2013 T&G article regarding the WRSD voting against the pursuit of an audit.  He said it was unfortunate that an audit would not be conducted adding that it would have “cleansed the slate.”  He drew attention to comments by a WRSD member in the article who said the WRSD School Committee was not about being a financial watchdog but educating children.  He said he did not understand the purpose of the WRSD Revenue Sharing Task Force (RSTF), when one of the senior members of the WRSD Finance Subcommittee doesn’t feel that their job is to be a financial watchdog.  Sel. Lavigne said the Board needs to understand that the RSTF is not part of the WRSD Committee.  He said the poor judgment of some members of the WRSD Committee should not affect the good that the RSTF is trying to accomplish.  Any recommendations made by the RSTF will have to pass at all Town Meetings, which is a pie-in-the-sky outcome.  Sel. Ferguson said he felt that it is not the job of the RSTF to tinker with Ch. 70 to determine how the Town should pay for its portion of the school budget.  That is what Town Meeting is for.  He saluted those volunteering on the RSTF.  Ms. Kelly said that a member of the RSTF was willing to come to a future Select board meeting to discuss the progress of the Committee.

Sel. Ferguson: 2. Discussed a proposed panhandling ordinance being considered in Worcester.   He said he did not want to see this type of activity to come to Holden.  Holden enjoys very low insurance rates due to its lack of crime and efficient police force.  He said he thought that if things get tougher in Worcester, this type action might show up in Holden and the Town should consider creating a bylaw for panhandling.  Sel. Jumonville inquired if Ms. Kelly could craft some type of panhandling bylaw with the help of Town Counsel and Chief Sherrill for May 2013 Town Meeting.  Ms. Kelly said that she did not feel that she had the time to craft an appropriate bylaw in time for the May 2013 Town Meeting.  She is in the middle of budget review.  She added that the bylaw being considered by Worcester will have to be vetted by the Attorney General’s office, too.  She said she would like to see the outcome of that before proceeding with a bylaw in Holden.  Sel. Lipka inquired if a bylaw currently exists in Holden that would prevent loitering or dangerous activity in traffic which might help to offset this type of behavior.

3. Acting Town Manager Jacquie Kelly will be sworn in at 8 AM on February 1, 2013.  Chairman Renzoni will conduct the ceremony.

Sel. Lipka: 1. Should the town put information about staying healthy on the electronic sign?
2. Has the Town received any feedback from the Regional Agreement Public Meeting that was held in Holden last week?  The Regional Agreement Subcommittee is still meeting with other towns in the District.  Chairman Renzoni said he was confident that the subcommittee heard the Selectmen’s concerns.

9. Acceptance of Minutes

Motion by Sel. Lavigne, seconded by Sel. Lipka, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO APPROVE THE MEETING MINUTES OF JANUARY 7, 2013 AS PRESENTED.

Chairman Renzoni said that the following executive session meeting minutes that were approved by the Board in Executive Session at January 7th meeting were being released: December 3, 2012, November 19, 2012, November 5, 2012, October 15, 2012 and September 6, 2011

10. Follow Up to Citizens’ Address

Sel. Lavigne responded to the statement made by the resident during Citizens’ Address. He went on to say that while Chairman Renzoni did have four children that will attend middle school in Holden, so do many other residents. Chairman Renzoni informed the board that this resident was upset that Sel. Jumonville never informed him of a vote to set a special town meeting and special election. Additionally, this resident was going to speak at every selectboard meeting going forward to make his point.

Sel. Lavigne commented that he did not feel pressured by the Mountview School Building Committee to set a Special Town Meeting.  Additionally, the Board does not have an agenda to build a new school to personally benefit their children; all the children in Holden will benefit from a new middle school.

Chairman Renzoni said that the School Building Budget had not been set so it could not be over budget.  It was a unanimous vote by the Board to set the Special Town Meeting.  

Sel. Ferguson said he felt the Mountview project will make a compelling case.  Whether it fails or not depends on what the taxpayers feel they can afford.  He again asked that if the vote does fail, that it will not be brought back for additional votes.  Sel. Lavigne and Ms. Kelly commented that the Building Committee does not have a Plan B; if the vote fails, the state will walk away.  There will be no second chance with the state for reimbursement funding.

11. Adjournment

Motion by Sel. Lavigne, seconded by Sel. Lipka, it was VOTED 4-0 TO ADJOURN THE JANUARY 22, 2013 MEETING AT 8:40PM.

APPROVED: February 4, 2013 (as amended)