SELECTMEN’S MEETING

NOVEMBER 15, 2004

 

 

 

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order.

 

Selectman Wiksten, Selectman Bond, and Selectwoman Brunelle were present.

Selectman Andrews was absent.

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

 

Selectwoman Brunelle made two (2) corrections to the Minutes of November 8, 2004.

 

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

            VOTED:  To approve the Minutes of November 8, 2004 as amended.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

 

Public Hearing – RE:  New England Organics

 

Chairman Perkins read the following:  “A public hearing will be held in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room in the Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Avenue, Middleborough, MA, on Monday, November 15, 2004, at 7:05 PM, to discuss a proposed Agreement between the Town of Middleborough and Cranberry Ridge Compost Facility for property located off of Route 28 adjacent to the Rochester-Middleborough town line, shown on Assessors Maps 109 and 110.  Anyone desiring to be heard on this matter should appear at the time and place designated.”  The hearing was opened.

 

Selectman Bond said he would like to make a correction to an article that ran in the November 25th Brockton Enterprise which stated that “only Selectman Wiksten had called for a public hearing” to discuss this item.  Selectman Bond noted it was by unanimous vote of the Board.

 

Selectman Bond also noted a statement made by Chairman Perkins saying that the negotiations were a “surprise” and he had no idea how long the discussions had been going on.

 

Selectman Bond noted that the Minutes of September 3, 2004, the Town Manager had asked for a representative of the Board, and the Waste Management Advisory Committee, to begin negotiating.

 

The Minutes of September 13, 2004 indicate that Selectman Bond was to be the representative of the Board, and Neil Rosenthal for WMAC.

 

Selectman Bond also addressed a comment that said negotiations should’ve been done in public.  He noted Ch.39 sec. 23 of the MGL which says it is proper to meet in Executive Session for negotiations.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that in the minutes of September 13th she had asked that discussions be put on the agenda prior to negotiations.  She said this is why she favored a public hearing.

 

Jay Kilbourn, Director of Business Development for New England Organics, was present.  He said he has made every effort to be as communicative as possible since the initial concept was introduced at a prior Selectmen’s meeting.  At that time a pictorial presentation was made.

 

Mr. Kilbourn also introduced Jamie Eckerd, Manager and VP of N.E. Organics, and Dick Scary, a partner who owns the property.

 

Mr. Kilbourn explained that N.E. Organics was founded in 1983, and is dedicated to recycling organic and mineral waste, turning them into products.  He said the proposed facility would be closer to the markets that they serve.  A state-of-the-art system provides a high grade finished product used for home gardening, lawn and landscaping, and golf courses.  Over 1 million cubic yards of the product has been marketed throughout New England over the last 15 years.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said the facility would be located off of Rte. 28 near the Rochester town line.  It would be on a small scale, producing about 65,000 tons/year.  State and Federal requirements, as well as permit conditions, would be met.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said the compost activities are contained inside a building with active air filtration and odor control.  The materials are dumped inside the building, and then unloaded.  The doors close and the air in the building, referred to as “negative air”, only passes to outside through the odor control system.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said he understand the biggest concern is odor.  He said it is important to manage this.

 

Benefits to the Town will include 5 – 7 new positions, compost availability to the community, and three (3) financial benefits:  taxes on the facility which will cost approximately $15 – 20 million, $.80/ton of the incoming raw materials to be paid to the town at a cost of approximately $200,000/year, and an offer to accept the Town’s own biosolids at the lowest rate.

 

Selectman Bond asked if absent the host agreement, the facility could still exist.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said it could go forward provided all required permits were obtained. 

 

Selectman Bond noted that the Board is not asking for anything different than what would be required under the law.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked if the intention was to continue on with the project even if there was a vast amount of negativity.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said the intent is to have a favorable reception.  He noted that people don’t like change in their back yards, but there as to be a “reasonableness test”.  He said the company wants to be here if it’s welcome.  He said they are interested to start with a host agreement which will be a valuable benefit to the community.  He said the company wouldn’t want to spend “$500,000 in permitting a facility to find out that no one was interested to begin with”.  He said there are other places that the company could spend its time, money, and energy.  However, he noted that he thought this was a great spot.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked why Middleboro?

 

Mr. Kilbourn said the location is good, being removed from the road and out of sight.  He said it is surrounded by wetlands which won’t be developed anytime soon, and provide a buffer.  He said the community seems receptive to business, and the project would be located next to SEMASS, which would be compatible.

 

Neil Rosenthal informed the Board that the agreement is “no type of done deal”.  He said it is totally subject to approval by the Board.  He said even if the agreement was signed, and the town decided “we don’t want them”, the agreement would become null and void.  He said the negotiations “haven’t gone around any board”. 

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked how many similar facilities are nationwide.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said they are permitted for three (3), with 2 operating and 1 idle because it is too far away from the market.  The major facility, which is 75,000 s.f., is located in Maine.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked who currently uses the product.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said there are hundreds of customers around New England, including landscapers, nurseries, golf courses, roadside work, mulches for erosion control, and garden centers.  He noted that approximately 30,000 cubic yards of the material was used to enrich the soil on “Spectacle Island” in Boston.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if any biohazards would be used, such as medical waste.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said it is simply sewer sludge that meets the standards of recycling.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if there are testing procedures done on incoming material.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said that the company is always working with municipal water treatment plans, in their licenses, and they are required to test materials on a certain frequency.  He said this varies with plants.  He said samples are also archived and final products are tested. 

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if most of the incoming product was from municipal facilities.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said yes, noting that occasionally a municipality will subcontract.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if there was a complaint procedure in place.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said this will be addressed in the host agreement. 

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked about noise in the facility.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said it is typical of a site where there are front end loaders and truck accessing.  There is an air handling system which is contained inside the building.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted past issues with SEMASS regarding odor and noise, and said she was concerned with the proposal.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said the company would be no different from a landscape supply operation moving piles.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what the tonnage being processed per day would be, and what the truck traffic would be.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said they will process 65,000 tons/year, or 178.32 tons/day.  This would take about 6 – 12 trucks/day.  He also explained that the trucks are tarped tightly.  Material coming in has already been treated at the wastewater treatment plant, and is not “raw sewage”.  Tunnels are constructed within the building, allowing only as much as needed to bring in fresh air.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked $20 million would be the initial cost, or included a future expansion.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said there are no plans for expansion, noting new permits would be required.  He also said there is not enough room to expand because of physical limitations.

 

Darin Morano, 195 Colby Drive, expressed concerns with odor, noting that there are current problems with SEMASS. 

 

Mr. Kilbourn explained that the company is working with the community to make certain commitments, which is not a required document.  The agreement specifically requires that nuisance odors do not leave the premises.

 

Mr. Morano asked what would happen in the case of a power outage.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said there would be generators.  He said if the project goes forward, public scrutiny will be included in preparing the designs.

 

Bob Almeida, 670 Wareham Street, asked how much compost would be left outside.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said only enough for the adequacy of the off season; about 6 – 8 months.

 

Mr. Almedia asked if there would be different grades of the compost.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said this facility would only design a premium mature product.

 

Ron Burgess, a North Middleboro resident, said he was concerned when SEMASS originally came.  He said a lot of promises were verbally made, and not kept.  He said he liked the idea of a formal agreement with the Town.  He questioned how the company could guarantee top quality.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said it was difficult to be responsible for what others have done.  He said they could only do their best to make a contribution to the community.

 

Bob Lessard, 844 Plymouth Street, asked what would be done with a load that came in and was found to be contaminated.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said this has never happened, and noted that every truck load is not tested.  He said there is a testing protocol to test representative batches.  He said there was one situation where they knew material was contaminated before it came to the plant. 

 

Mr. Lessard asked about a situation in Whitefield, Maine.

 

Mr. Kilbourn explained that a product was received at that facility which was used on farms.  It was not their own manufactured product, and was not of a high grade.  Some neighbors became concerned with the odor, and the product was removed and taken to a landfill.  Since then procedures have been changed, and any product manufactured by others is audited.

 

Mr. Lessard said he was also concerned with the parent company, Casella.  He noted that Mr. Kilbourn had promised to research and respond to his concerns in June of 2004.  Material that was sent was dated February.

 

Mr. Kilbourn explained that, because others had similar concerns, a packet of material had been generated at that time to address the concerns. 

 

Dale Byrnes, a direct neighbor to the facility, told the Board that he has three (3) industrial lots that he had wanted to develop slowly.  He has built a brand new office and residential duplex on the road that will be used by the facility.  He also noted that there is a current gravel plan in Rochester producing approximately 100 trucks per day in front of his office unit.  These trucks would be in addition to what is current there.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that, currently, sludge is taken to the landfill.  She asked if there have been any complaints regarding the odor emanating from those trucks.

 

Mr. Healey said occasionally, but noted that the trucks are not tarped. 

 

Selectman Wiksten said he was skeptical of the project, and was “waiting for more convincing”.  He noted the problems in South Middleboro with SEMASS.

 

Selectman Wiksten felt that the document needed more protection, suggesting the WRPD hearing could address additional concerns.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said that company is trustworthy, and has a good reference with customers and neighbors in other towns.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked if partners mentioned were full-fledged, or there for a buyout.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said he really couldn’t answer that, adding that businesses can be bought and sold.  The intent is to remain long-term partners.

 

Jim Garrity, Wayne Chevy, and Jim Scary, are partners, known as Mount Waldo Development, who own the land.

 

Selectman Wiksten said he recognized the name “Chevy”.

 

Mr. Healey said his father, Carmen, had helped broker the property at SEMASS.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that the Board has limited influence with SEMASS because it is located in Rochester.  She said there would be a lot more control over this project.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said it would be a 20 year agreement, and all permits would go with the property.

 

Selectman Bond noted that a lot of valid issues had been raised.  He explained that the agreement was only a first step, noting that there would be many other hurdles to meet in permitting the project.  The town would receive no money unless all permits were approved.

 

Mr. Almeida noted that there would be more than 6 – 12 truckloads per day. 

 

Mr. Kilbourn said, including trucks bringing in other necessary products, there would be approximately 30 truckloads per day, 7 days per week.

 

Dick Scary, one of the owners of the property, told the Board that the site was the original site for SEMASS.  The parcel is about 176 acres, and the facility will comprise about 20 acres.  The building will be constructed far west of the site, about 2,000 feet from Wareham Street on high ground surrounded by wetlands.  The remaining land will be developed, or sold off.

 

Mr. Scary emphasized the importance of being able to sell the remaining lots, noting they would not jeopardize the salability of the other lots.

 

Carolyn Fahey, Locust Street, said she was concerned with truck traffic traveling down Rte. 28, and possible hazards that could be created.  She noted there are only one (1) firefighter and one (1) fire truck in the South Middleboro Station.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the proposed route is in the agreement.

 

Ms. Fahey noted it stated the route “whenever reasonable and practical”.

 

Selectman Bond noted that conditions on a possible WRPD Permit would overrule this document.

 

Keith Gokey, 189 Colby Drive, said the odor from SEMASS is sometimes “unbearable”.  He said he moved to Middleboro because it is a rural area, noting he did not want more of a shift towards industry in South Middleboro.

 

Tracy Benson, 141 Colby Drive, asked if anyone had checked the references in Maine.

 

Mr. Healey said he had visited the site, with a selectman, to check out the concerns.  He said the report back was positive in reference to noise, odor, and appearance.

 

Ms. Benson asked if any calls were made to the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Chairman Perkins said there were some peripheral problems, and some mistakes were made.  He said, personally, he believes the company has been fair, and has taken necessary action to mitigate any problems.

 

Ms. Benson asked if anything could happen that would cause the odors to escape.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said “an act of God”.  He noted that structure will be made out of metal, with pre fab concrete tunnels.

 

John Letourneau, 678 Wareham Street, expressed concern that the trucks would be driving through his leaching fields.  He also said there are five (5) children at that residence. 

 

Sharon Ellis, 676 Wareham Street, said she rented the property, and shared the same concerns for the children.  She noted the property value would drop, and her landlord has informed her that he may sell.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if the access road could be redirected in some way.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said there are two (2) access points, but the other would be farther north on Rte. 28, and in a more populated area.

 

Dan White, 580 Wareham Street, said that he has owned a compost facility at that location for 3 ½ years.  He expressed concern that his facility could be blamed for future odors.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Perkins closed the hearing.

 

A recommendation was made to take the matter under advisement for one (1) week, to consider the material that was presented tonight.

 

Selectman Wiksten said he wasn’t sure the Board needed to support the project one way or another at this point.  He asked Mr. Kilbourn if he was looking for endorsement from the Board.

 

Mr. Kilbourn said no, that terms must be established going forward.  If the project goes forward, then this would be the terms of the agreement.

 

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

VOTED:  To reserve judgment on the agreement until next week, to further digest comments and discussion.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

A 5-minute recess was called.

 

Meeting with Wes Gardner – RE:  Water & Sewer Rates

 

Wes Gardner, Consultant, and Richard Tinkham, Water Superintendent, were present.

 

Mr. Gardner told the Board that he had prepared a rate study, and water and sewer rate increases are needed.  He noted a dramatic increase in Debt Service due to the nearly $12 million in authorized water system improvements.  The last increase was in 1999.

 

Mr. Gardner told the Board that he had used figures from approval budgets.  Any generated revenues were included in the calculations.  He noted that leachate and Ocean Spray are a tremendous help to offset the rates.

 

Mr. Gardner told the Board that the Town ended 2004 with a slight deficit ($5,000).  Debt Service increases alone will add over $267,000 in 2005 water costs and $110,000 in 2005 sewer (wastewater) costs.

 

Mr. Gardner presented proposed increases in two (2) options:  one step, or three steps.

 

Discussion ensued on what the cost increase would be for an average user.

 

Mr. Gardner said the increase would be about 33%, and as high as 52%.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if “free cash” monies would be available to offset some of the rates being proposed.

 

Mr. Healey said it would not.  He noted that the money is used to tap into from time to time for debt service to continue to generate revenues needed to improve the system.

 

Selectman Bond noted using the “rainy day fund” would only be a temporary solution to a long term continuous problem that will only get worse.

 

Mr. Gardner said he suggests rates be raised gradually.  However, most communities don’t want to do this because of political reasons.

 

Chairman Perkins noted that the Board had discussed this two (2) years ago.  He said he had no problem with a water rate increase right now.  However, he felt the Board would hear complaints that the quality of the water is poorer, and rates are going up.

 

Mr. Healey said the quality cannot be improved without improving the system.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that proposed improvements also need to address what the cost will be as far as rates.

 

Selectman Wiksten asked where the water development money goes.

 

Mr. Healey said it is set aside as part of the Free Cash to be used specifically for developing new water resources.

 

Selectman Bond suggested there be parity between the steps, noting that the commercial properties had been given a break for this years tax rates.  He said the commercial owners have admitted that they are probably the highest, hardest, users of the system.  Step 1 consists of residential users, step 2 is mixed, and step 3 is commercial.  He asked if it was possible to add a fourth step.

 

Mr. Gardner said it was, but didn’t feel it was practical.

 

Chairman Perkins suggested approving a proposed three (3) year increase.  Selectwoman Brunelle agreed, saying it would have a lesser impact.

 

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

VOTED:  To implement a three (3) year increase in water and sewer rates, as proposed, effective October 1, 2004.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

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

VOTED:  To establish a policy that any articles presented for water and sewer must give an analysis of the cost of the rate adjustment to cover the expenditures.

            VOTE 3 – 1 (Selectman Bond opposed)

 

Selectman Bond said he felt this could be an impediment in an emergency situation.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said if the Board establishes the policy, then it will become the practice, and it should be easy to get figures.

 

Mr. Healey noted that an article had been presented at a previous Town Meeting to fund a rate study.  The article was voted down.  Money was appropriated within the budgets.  He suggested Mr. Gardner could provide the figures for future articles.  He also recommended the Board consider a 1 or 2% annual increase in the fees.

 

Discussion of Rates for Water Connections

 

Selectman Wiksten asked what the cost is for a new residential home to tap into the Town’s water service.

 

Mr. Healey said $990 for a 3 bedroom home, plus water development and application fees.

 

Selectman Wiksten said that figure is about $3 – 4,000 below the cost to construct a well, and suggested it needs to increase.

 

Mr. Healey said he is looking at other services provided by the Town that is not being charged for now.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

There was no ‘New Business’ discussed tonight.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

There was no ‘Old Business’ discussed tonight.

 

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

 

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

VOTED:  To award the bid for the Filter Sand Replacement – East Grove Water Treatment Plant - to Dankris Builders Corp., Plainville, MA, in the amount of $195,000.00.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

 

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

VOTED:  To pay the bill submitted by SEMASS Partnership for October 2004 in the amount of $11,400.66.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

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

VOTED:  To pay the bill submitted by the Town of Middleborough in the amount of $57.55.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

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

VOTED:  To pay the bill submitted by Collins, Loughran & Peloquin, P.C. in the amount of $1,200.00.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

  • Information regarding the use of Town-owned vehicles is still coming from departments.  Mr. Healey has not had time to do a compilation.

 

  • Selectman Bond has spoken to Norman Sherman in regards to 4 Lovell Street and hopes to have a time frame for repairs by the end of the week.

 

  • Selectman Bond reminded Mr. Healey that he had asked for the comment file in regards to a grant that was denied.

 

  • Selectwoman Brunelle told the Board that she had spoken to Representative O’Brien in regards to increases for elderly tax exemptions.  He told her that the amount was increased from $500 to $1000, and has to be accepted by the community at Town Meeting.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

ü      Selectman Bond told the Board that an issue needs to be taken care of in Town Hall.  He said, over the years, many attempts have been made to deal with 4 Lovell Street.  Correspondence was provided to the Board by resident, Henry Rondelli.  Selectman Bond said some of the documents were not included in the Health and Building Departments files.  He said the Department Heads need to address the files.

 

Selectman Bond asked Mr. Healey to see if there is a “cache” of documents somewhere that has been misfiled.

 

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

VOTED:  To enter into Executive Session at 10:23 PM, not to return to Open Session, to discuss Litigation.

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

 

 

 

                                                                       

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN