SELECTMEN’S MEETING

JANUARY 13, 2003

 

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

Selectman Rogers, Selectman Wiksten, Selectman Eayrs and Selectwoman Brunelle were present.

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To approve the Minutes of January 6, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To approve the Executive Minutes of January 6, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

There were no hearings or meetings scheduled for tonight’s meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

Request to Deficit Spend – Highway Superintendent

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To authorize the Highway Superintendent to deficit spend for snow and ice removal.

Unanimous Vote.

Request to Approve Order of Taking – Plain Street

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To approve the Order of Taking for Plain Street.

Unanimous Vote.

Request to Approve Order of Taking – Charmark Circle

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To approve the Order of Taking for Charmark Circle.

Unanimous Vote.

Accept & Sign Grant Award – Middleborough Fire Department

The Board received notice that the Fire Department has been awarded a grant in the amount of $31,000 through the Firefighter Public Safety Equipment Grant Program. The grant funds will be spent on equipment and firefighter safety equipment to enhance the ability of the Fire Department in all incidents that occur daily, as well as, those incidents that could be acts of terrorism of any type.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To authorize the Chairman to sign the Grant Award for the Fire Department.

VOTE 4 – 0 – 1 (Selectman Wiksten abstained)

Request to Approve & Sign Notes – Treasurer/Collector

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To award the bid for Chapter 90 Highway Renewal in the amount of $97,990.00 to Citizens Bank at 1.71% interest.

VOTE 4 – 0 – 1 (Selectwoman Brunelle abstained)

OLD BUSINESS

Request for Sewer Extension – (off) Clay Street – Oralie Guetty

Mr. Healey told the Board that there has not been adequate time to respond to this request since the Board’s last meeting. He asked for more time to explore some potential avenues.

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To postpone the discussion of the request made by Oralie Guetty for a sewer extension until Monday, January 27, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

Review Selectmen’s Budget FY 04 – Line Item #529000 – S.E.M.A.S.S.

The Board reviewed the figures for S.E.M.A.S.S. and compared them to last years figures.

Mr. Healey noted that the amount usually "tails off" during the summer months. If the Town got into trouble before the Annual Town Meeting, one (1) truck could be diverted to the landfill.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To level fund Line Item #529000 (S.E.M.A.S.S.) at $138,000 for FY’04.

Unanimous Vote.

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

Mr. Healey told the Board that the Governor has advised us that there may be a need to cut the second half Local Aid (State Receipts) payments by as much as ten percent this year (F.Y. ‘03), and, he has called for up to a twenty percent cut in Local Aid for F.Y. ’04.

Middleborough’s Local Aid (State Receipts) totals just over $16,800,000. ($13,761,293 is Chapter 70 Education Funds and just over $3,040,000 is Lottery and other aid.) A ten percent cut in the March and June payments equates to an overall five percent cut, or a possible cut of $840,000 in this year’s Local Aid. This would reduce our Local Aid to $15,960,000 in the current Fiscal Year. An estimated twenty percent reduction on top of this for next fiscal year would be an additional cut of $3,192,000, reducing our Local Aid (State Receipts) to $12,768,000. The total reduction for the two years would be $4,032,000, or twenty-four percent.

Mr. Healey suggestion actions for the Board to immediately implement. Discussion ensued on the eight (8) points of suggestion.

It was noted that Towns have been asked to prepare for 20% in reductions for FY’04, although the exact figure is not yet know.

Selectman Eayrs asked how the State had gotten into the mess that it is currently in.

Chairman Perkins said that when the economy was good, money wasn’t "tucked away", but used for tax cuts and new spending. He said he personally expected the crisis to last two (2) years.

Selectman Eayrs said the Town Manager’s suggestions made sense. He said the Board needs to come up with a responsible way to do this, not to frustrate everyone.

Discussion ensued on State mandates. Chairman Perkins said that the State is trying to hit in two (2) major areas: Medicaid and aid to Cities and Towns. He asked how the Town can survive this kind of cut and still fund State mandates. He said that it has always been the belief that, if the State mandates it, they fund it.

Chairman Perkins noted that mandates, including Chapter 70, have brought the educational system to a point where children are getting a better education. He said this will be one area that will be hit hard.

Selectman Eayrs agreed, noting that towns such as Middleborough, that depend on State mandates, will be hit to a greater degree.

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To send a letter to the Town’s legislative delegation explaining that, if cuts are made, mandates should be modified.

Unanimous Vote.

Selectman Eayrs noted that the cuts force the Town to pay twice; funding the State mandate and our own.

Chairman Perkins said he hoped that there might be some Federal money to deal with the mandates.

Selectwoman Brunelle also noted that certain grants that the Town has received require the Town to do certain things, or pay back a portion of the grant. She suggested writing to the Washington Congressmen to see if there was a way to get waivers because of the fiscal situation. Chairman Perkins suggested first conversing with the Police Chief.

Selectwoman Brunelle also suggested, before the Board’s next meeting in two (2) weeks, to gather all fees that are currently charged for review.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To direct the Treasurer/Collector to provide the Board with health insurance costs, broken down by departments.

Unanimous Vote.

Selectman Wiksten suggested asking each department to give projected 5 – 10% cuts, and how each department would handle such cuts. If said, by asking for this information now, it would give the Board enough time to discuss this with them. He said he did not want services to dwindle. He suggested getting rid of some Town cars as a way to save money, implementing mileage instead.

Upon motion by Selectman Wiksten and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To request all Department Heads to submit 10% budget cuts for the remainder of the current fiscal year, noting how this would be implemented and what impact it would have.

Unanimous Vote.

Upon motion by Selectman Rogers and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To ask the Town Manager to come up with a list of potential personnel cuts for those budgets under the Board of Selectmen, by April 1st.

Unanimous Vote.

Discussion ensued on a possible debt exclusion or override. Chairman Perkins said if the eight (8) suggestions made tonight did not provide enough funding, these would be options.

Mr. Healey said he is working with the Treasurer/Collector on debt exclusions, and the questions that could be posed to free up cash.

Mr. Healey noted that the eight (8) steps discussed tonight are all steps that people will want to know have been done before asking them to dig deeper in their pockets.

Jane Lopes suggested putting a possible question on the April ballot for a debt exclusion for the Fire Station. She noted the Board would not, necessarily, have to act on the response.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked about the Town’s property on Rte. 28. Mr. Healey said that a "For Sale" sign will be placed on the property. If there is interest, an auction will be held.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if the property could be listed with a Broker. Mr. Healey said it could not.

Mr. Healey noted that the first RFP did not work because people were interested in a conditional Purchase & Sale Agreement. Chairman Perkins said the Board may want to look at this again.

Mr. Healey also noted that he has heard there is interest in some of the landlocked parcels that the Town owns. He said abutters are willing to have them deed restricted, not to be built upon.

Upon motion by Selectwoman Brunelle and seconded by Selectman Eayrs, the Board

VOTED: To direct Mr. Healey to draft a new list of properties to consider.

Unanimous Vote.

Mr. Healey said notice will be given to direct abutters.

Jane Lopes asked if the Board was in agreement with the Governor’s remarks that Towns and Cities need to share the pain of the State’s shortfall.

Chairman Perkins said he personally feels that he Governor is on the right path. He said one way or another it will filter down to local towns. By doing cuts, options are made available to cities and towns as to whether or not there should be a tax hike.

Selectman Eayrs said if local aid wasn’t cut, it would come out of human services, and those most in need. He said "spreading it out" makes sense. He also said he holds the State accountable for the mess that we’re in.

Selectwoman Brunelle said the fiscal crisis is cyclical, noting the 80s and 90s. She said the Town needs to be more self-sufficient, and not depend as much on State aid.

Mr. Healey said he will meet with the School Superintendent on Friday, after she has met with the Superintendent’s Association. He hopes to have more information.

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectman Wiksten, the Board

VOTED: To authorize the Town Manager, on behalf of the Board of Selectmen, to implement the eight (8) points as follows:

    1. Freeze all new hiring and hiring of replacement personnel, and ask the School Committee, Assessors, Planning Board and Park Commissioners (elected Boards) to do the same. *¹
    2. Meet with all Employee Groups and ask them to consider "give backs" in Wages, Furloughs, and Health Insurance and ask the School Committee to do the same.
    3. Freeze all non-essential General Expense Spending in order to increase Free Cash available next year, and ask the School Committee to do the same.
    4. Notify all Department Heads that no increases in F.Y ’04 Budgets will be considered beyond contractual increases, and ask the School Committee to do the same, and the Finance Committee to support this position. *²
    5. Ask the Town’s Financial Officers to project the net shortfall based on known figures and the assumptions set forth above.
    6. Ask Town Officials to calculate probable Revenues from Transportation Fees, Trash and Recycling Fees and Landfill Privatization, together with a timeline for Implementation and Revenue Generation.
    7. Request Department Heads, other Town Officials, and the General Public, to suggest their own ideas for cuts in Personnel spending, privatization options and new revenue generation.
    8. Meet with the Gas and Electric Commissioners and ask for their financial assistance.

Unanimous Vote.

 

*¹ Exceptions will be permitted only in cases where overtime or other costs will exceed the cost of filling the position.

*² Exceptions will be permitted only in cases where failure to approve the expenditure could result in expenses exceeding the expenditure itself.

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

There were no bills to be paid tonight.

OTHER

There was no ‘Other’ business discussed tonight.

CORRESPONDENCE

The original request was withdrawn after the Board was advised that it could not grant the Permit as it did not fall under any of the specified allowable exceptions. Attorney Johnson maintains that the installation of a wellhead in a dike road does not constitute a "land disturbing activity" within the meaning of the WRPD By-law.

The Board will get more information from Attorney Murray before scheduling a reconsideration.

 

 

Upon motion by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To enter into Executive Session at 8:00 PM, not to return to Open Session, for the purpose of Bargaining.

A poll vote was taken. Selectman Rogers, Selectman Wiksten, Selectman Eayrs, Selectwoman Brunelle and Chairman Perkins approved.

VOTE 5 – 0

 

 

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN