SELECTMEN’S MEETING

NOVEMBER 10, 2003

 

Because Chairman Perkins was absent, Vice-Chairman Wiksten acted as Chairman for the meeting.

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

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

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

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

VOTED: To approve the Minutes of November 3, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

HEARINGS, MEETINGS, & LICENSES

Hearing – Tax Classification

Chairman Wiksten read the following: "A hearing will be held in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room in the Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Avenue, Middleborough, MA, on Monday, November 10, 2003, at 7:05 PM, on the allocation of the fiscal year 2004 tax levy among the various classes of property in the Town of Middleborough. This hearing will give interested citizens an opportunity to comment on local property tax policy as it will be applied during fiscal year 2004." The hearing was opened.

Jack Kulian, Chairman of the Board of Assessors, told the Board that the Assessors are recommending that the shift between residential and business/industrial remain as it had last year at 8.75%.

Mr. Kulian said the average residential tax bill will increase between $200 - $250. Commercial properties will pay less because the values did not go up as much.

Selectman Eayrs asked why the split would not be widened this year because of the discrepancy in the values. He said the point is to be fair in how the evaluation is set. He said there has been a 44% increase in residential values, and an 11% increase in commercial. He said it would be hard to keep things as they are.

Barbara Erickson said Selectman Eayrs was right in what he was thinking. He said the market has increased dramatically for residential properties. Leaving the shift the same will cause residents to pay increases.

Selectman Eayrs asked if Middleborough was playing "catch up" with values.

Ms. Erickson said yes, this being a combination of the "T" and lower interest rates driving up the prices of houses.

Mr. Healey pointed out that there has also been significant increases in commercial properties, as well.

Selectman Rogers noted that the shift, in 1984, was at 30%. He said this has steadily been downgraded. He said it seems fair to keep the shift at 8.75%.

Selectman Eayrs questioned how the valuations can go up on commercial properties, and the tax bills go down.

Ms. Erickson explained that the Town is limited to a 2 ˝% increase over the previous year. If the values go up, the rates go down. The Board chooses what the shift will be. Town Meeting determines what the rate will be by spending at Town Meeting.

Selectman Eayrs asked why the Assessors are recommending that the shift remain the same.

Mr. Kulian said, in order to make a difference, the shift would have to be large.

Selectman Eayrs asked if commercial valuations would come more in line in the future.

Ms. Erickson said it would depend on the market. She said the current market is not supporting a higher increase in commercial property values.

Ms. Erickson said if the shift was brought back to 30%, homeowner’s bills would increase approximately $126.00, as opposed to $200 if it stays the same.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that homeowners retain more services from the Town.

Chairman Wiksten said that this is the hardest year yet to determine the shift. He said the Board is trying to reach a "level playing field" without costing one more than the other. He said his taxes are increasing substantially this year. He said he would come up with the money, but was concerned for people on a fixed income who don’t have the ability to pay.

Jeanne Scarborough, President of the Cranberry Chamber of Commerce, encouraged the Board to continue to move towards a flat tax rate.

Ms. Healey noted that the value of property in Middleborough is approaching $2 billion. The residential portion contributes to 85% of this. Only 15% is business and commercial, and that’s why the burden falls on the residential taxpayers.

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Wiksten closed the hearing.

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

VOTED: To maintain the present shift for the tax rate at 8.75%.

VOTE 3 – 1 (Chairman Wiksten opposed)

Hearing – Request for Earth Removal Permit – Cranberry Growers Service, Inc.

Chairman Wiksten read the following: "A hearing will be held in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Avenue, Middleborough, MA on Monday, November 10, 2003 at 7:30 PM, for the purpose of discussing an application filed by Leeann Bradley, Outback Engineering, Inc. on behalf of Cranberry Growers Service, Inc., for an Earth Removal Permit for property located off Rocky Meadow and Tispaquin Streets, Middleborough, MA, Assessors Map 044 Lot 6036. The reason for this request is for the construction of two (2) new cranberry bogs. Anyone desiring to be heard on this matter should appear at the time and place designated." The hearing was opened.

Leeann Bradley, Outback Engineering, was present to represent the applicant. She presented the green cards.

Ms. Bradley explained that this project was started in January 2000. That Permit has since expired, and cannot be renewed.

Originally 93,000 cubic yards were being removed. There is approximately 40,000 remaining. She said the same route will be used, as well as the same contractor.

Selectman Rogers noted that the location of the two (2) new bogs is within the center of the property. He said this would not impact the neighbors as afar as construction. He asked if a new Order of Conditions would be given by the Conservation Commission.

Ms. Bradley said she will go back to the ConCom.

Selectman Rogers asked Mr. Healey if there have been any problems with this Permit in the past.

Mr. Healey said there has not been. The only problem has been with pavement breaking up from trucks taking the corner tight, and this has been fixed.

Mr. Healey said the biggest problem is the issue of getting the material off the site. He said it is "lousy material" and asked what would be done to get the material off the site, possibly having the contractor stockpile it.

Peter Beaton, the applicant, said A.A. Will from Canton is the contractor. He said the contractor has assured him that there are two (2) buyers in the area. The material should be eliminated within 18 months.

Chairman Wiksten said the request is not for a lot of material. He said he would like to see the project move along. He said it has been four (4) years since the project began, and it is not at 50% completed.

Ms. Bradley said 50% of the material has been removed.

Mr. Healey noted that project is being done in two (2) phases.

Chairman Wiksten said he would like to see the project completed in two (2) years.

Selectwoman Brunelle agreed. She suggested going no more than 18 months.

Barbara O’Brien, Tispaquin Street, voiced concern over the traffic route. She was concerned with her children waiting for the bus in the morning.

It was suggested that, when the Orders of Condition are set, perhaps the time for beginning could start at 7:30 AM instead of 7:00 AM.

Chairman Wiksten noted that the frost factor should be included in determining the length of time for the Permit. He suggested two (2) years from the date of approval.

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Wiksten closed the hearing.

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

VOTED: To approve the application filed by Leeann Bradley, Outback Engineering, Inc. on behalf of Cranberry Growers Service, Inc., for an Earth Removal Permit for property located off Rocky Meadow and Tispaquin Streets, Middleborough, MA, Assessors Map 044 Lot 6036, for the construction of two (2) new cranberry bogs.

Unanimous Vote.

The Orders will be set at the December 1st meeting.

Meeting with Ned Vaughan – RE: Middleborough Main Street

Ned Vaughan, and members of Middleborough Mainstreet, were present. Mr. Vaughan told the Board that there are currently 16 members. They are seeking the approval and support of the Board for their program.

Mr. Vaughan explained that Middleborough Mainstreet consists of volunteers, mostly residents, interested in the health and prosperity of the downtown. The mission statement is to "effectively stimulate and promote the retail, commercial, educational, professional, recreational and cultural growth of downtown Middleborough in order to enhance its current charm and preserve its overall appeal as a vibrant place to live, work and visit".

Mr. Vaughan told the Board that he had purchased the "Grant Building" four (4) years ago and had worked with Bruce Arons for a façade improvement program that he participated in.

Bill Richmond, Fenuccio & Richmond Architects, was present. He has designed the new fire stations, and the new façade on the Grant Building.

The Main Street Program will be comprised of a Board of Directors and four (4) committees:

    1. The Design Committee
    2. The Promotion Committee
    3. The Economic Restructuring Committee
    4. The Membership & Development Committee

Mr. Vaughan explained that one project the group had looked at was the St. Luke’s Hospital. He said the group had thought of educational uses for the building. Culinary institutes were contacted, but there was no interest.

Kathy Goodell, a professional consultant, will also make a retail presentation to talk to any retail people in the community who are interested in upgrading presentations and marketing.

One member, Sara Jigirjian, has contacted the Cabot Club who have indicated an interest in providing flowers in lamp post containers at the corner of Main and Center Streets. Meetings have also been held with the B&I Commission.

Mr. Vaughan explained that this is a volunteer effort, and anyone interested in joining should contact Jeanne Scarborough at the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Vaughan also noted that Peg Barringer, of OKM Associates, will work with the Middleborough Main Street Committee and the Town to determine the components of a downtown plan and assist with the organizational development of the Middleborough Main Street Committee.

Mr. Vaughan said the Committee has worked closely with Bruce Arons.

Mr. Vaughan said the program’s target area would be the center of Town, from Everett Square.

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

VOTED: To authorize Bruce Arons to work with the Middleborough Main Street Committee to adopt the mission for the Mainstreet initiative.

Unanimous Vote.

NEW BUSINESS

Request to Rent Town Hall Auditorium – Pathways to Healing

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

VOTED: To rent the Town Hall Auditorium to Pathways to Healing on Friday, December 12, 2003 from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM for a cancer fundraiser.

Unanimous Vote.

Request for Parade Permit & Related Items – Middleborough Christmas Parade

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

VOTED: To approve the requests made by Greg Thomas, in regards to the Middleborough Christmas Parade as follows: Parade Permit, Parking Ban on both sides of Center Street from the four corners to Pearl Street from noon to 3:00 PM, and permission to use a fire engine to escort Santa Clause.

Unanimous Vote.

The requests will be forwarded to the Fire Chief, Police Chief, and DPW.

Request for Waiver – Local Cultural Council Member Disclosure – Abren & Twombley

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

VOTED: To approve and sign Waivers for Derel Lee Twombly and Maryanne Abren in regards to the Local Cultural Council.

Unanimous Vote.

Request for Permission to Sell Surplus Items – Council on Aging

Ted Lang, Director of the COA, was present. He told the Board that they had previously approved items for sale in June. He had additional items that he wished to add.

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

VOTED: To allow the addition of six (6) items as listed in a Memo to the Board dated November 5, 2003, to be sold by sealed bid by the COA.

Unanimous Vote.

Mr. Healey will look at a couple of the items, a table and a conference table, to see if it is useable for the Selectmen’s Office.

OLD BUSINESS

There was no "Old Business" to discuss tonight.

 

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

Mr. Healey said the new fees will be implemented on December 1, 2003 as instructed by the Board. However, until Town Meeting appropriates funds to pay a contractor to these the items off site, they will continue to be disposed in the Landfill. Mr. Healey suggested a cost analysis be done.

Selectman Rogers said a cost analysis cannot be done unless you know what’s going into the Landfill. He asked if a staffing plan has been worked on.

Mr. Healey said this is being done, and will be presented to the Board. A minimum of two (2) people will be needed. He said they would have to "steal" someone from the Highway Department in order to implement the fees on December 1st.

Selectwoman Brunelle said there is no Revolving Account for this. She also said she was unaware that there would be additional personnel needed to implement the fees. She suggested delaying the implementation of the fees until the cost is known. She also said a policy decision has to be made on what type of payment would be accepted.

Chairman Wiksten said he would like to see the concerns worked out, or implemented. He said some of the fees can begin to be implemented. He suggested seeing if it could be done with one (1) additional person. He also suggested only checks be accepted to keep it simple.

Selectman Eayrs said residents will want to pay cash for a $5.00 item. He said he was in favor of the fee system, but noted the letter from the Financial Officers indicating structures that have to be put in place to carry out the work.

Selectman Eayrs made a motion, seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, to delay the implementation of the fees until January 1, 2004.

Chairman Wiksten asked if all fees would be delayed.

Selectman Eayrs said only the fees in regards to depositing items at the Landfill.

Selectman Rogers said the fees should note be delayed. He said there is no reason for it. He suggested the check policy be initiated to build up revenue.

Selectwoman Brunelle said she had thought the fees would be to offset current costs at the Landfill, not to add additional costs. She said she did not understand the idea of transferring income from Landfill receipts. She said there is no enterprise fund established, so all fees will go to the General Fund.

Selectman Rogers said he anticipated that the new rates will generate a substantial amount of money.

Chairman Wiksten questioned the need for additional personnel immediately. He said he was opposed to putting this off.

Selectman Eayrs said that he was strongly against the implementation of the fees until the necessary information is given. He said the Board needs to hear from Don Boucher regarding staffing issues.

Selectman Eayrs asked if this could be in place by December 1st. Mr. Healey said it will be done if so instructed, but not on a cash basis.

Selectwoman Brunelle questioned where the money to set up a Revolving Fund at Town Meeting would come from.

Selectman Rogers said the answer is not known at this point, but would have to be addressed.

Chairman Wiksten said it will "take some money to generate some money". He said it is important that it get started December 1st.

Discussion ensued on personnel issues. Selectwoman Brunelle said the weather will affect what happens. She said there could be safety issues with taking away personnel from the DPW.

Chairman Wiksten asked how many employees have been taken from the DPW to date.

Selectwoman Brunelle suggested delaying the discussion for one (1) week to get some answers.

Selectman Eayrs withdrew his motion, Selectwoman Brunelle withdrew the second.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if a formal intent to retire has been given by Ms. Bernier. She said it was presumptuous to advertise the position.

Mr. Healey said it was necessary.

Selectman Eayrs asked if the salary range was consistent with the Personnel Bylaw.

Mr. Healey said the salary is Step 1 of the Department Head on the Non-Union grid.

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

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

VOTED: To pay the bill submitted by Hathaway Publishing in the amount of $406.06.

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To pay three (3) bills submitted by the Middleborough Gas & Electric Department in the amounts of $47.93, $88.48 and $54.39, totaling $190.80.

Unanimous Vote.

OTHER

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

VOTED: To approve the request made by Louise Dery-Wells to use the Town Hall Auditorium, if necessary, on Thursday, November 13th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for a Veterans’ Poetry Event.

Unanimous Vote.

CORRESPONDENCE

Selectwoman Brunelle and Selectman Eayrs said they would attend.

 

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

VOTED: To enter into Executive Session at 9:23 PM to discuss Litigation, not to return to Open Session.

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

VOTE 4 – 0

 

 

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN