SELECTMEN’S MEETING

OCTOBER 27, 2003

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

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

Selectman Wiksten was absent.

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

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

VOTED: To approve the Minutes of October 20, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To approve the Executive Minutes of October 20, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

Meeting with Ned Vaughan – RE: Middleboro Main Street

Mr. Vaughan was not present at tonight’s meeting.

Review RFPs for South Middleborough School

Mr. Healey told the Board that they have been presented with all proposals, which range from $1.00 to $57,000. He also noted a letter from the Historical Commission supporting the proposal from the South Middleborough Protective Association. (SMPA)

Mr. Healey said it is the Board’s job to evaluate each proposal, and determine what, if any, is in the best interest of the Town of Middleborough.

Mr. Healey said he wanted to make it clear that any action taken by the Board would be subject to a survey, because there is a question as to where the property lines are. When the septic system was put in the Fire Station, it indicated that the back corner of the school house might not on the school house lot.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that there were several proposals for residential use. She questioned if any included contingencies regarding financing.

Chairman Perkins said that the proposals fell into two (2) categories: residential housing, and something for the community. He said the Board should first decide if they were interested in moving forward with either of these ideas.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that when the West Side School was sold, there had been a controversy regarding deed restrictions. She suggested a title search should be done.

Selectman Rogers said that he had broken the proposals into five (5) categories, plus the price. These included the following:

    1. The intended use of the property – including proposed landscaping and parking.
    2. Change to the external appearance.
    3. Consistency with the surrounding neighborhood.
    4. Schedule for project implementation.
    5. Greatest benefit to the Town and public.
    6. Price.

Selectman Rogers said the points given were as follows:

  1. South Middleborough Protective Association – Community Center: 14 point
  2. Michael Bumpus – Residential Use – 15 points
  3. Professional Firefighters Association – Community Center – 22 points
  4. Paul R. Bourgeois – Residential Use – 17 points
  5. Brett & Rosemarie Hawes – Residential Use – 17 points
  6. Russell M. April – Office Space/Home – 12 points

Selectman Rogers said that, based on points, the Firefighters gave the best proposal.

Selectwoman Brunelle said that the Board has to look at evaluating the proposals in several ways. Should the building be maintained for community use, or maximize the financial return to the Town?

Selectwoman Brunelle said she would like to see the building maintained for community use. She said this is an area in need of such a property. She also liked the idea of having a playground established for the children in the area. She said these things would benefit the community. If the Board was interested in the maximum return, it would be used for residential use.

Selectwoman Brunelle explained that, because it is Town-owned property, and not taken for taxes, there is a limited financial benefit. She said she favored either the Firefighters Association or the SMPA.

Selectman Eayrs said that the bid of $57,000 would be nice, and would be awarded the bid if non-profit groups hadn’t applied. He said he had some questions for the SMPA. He noted that they have been in line for a long time, and have expressed a sincere interest in the property. He said the numerical criteria did not make sense to him.

Chairman Perkins concurred that the building should be maintained for the community. He said this presents a dilemma because there are two (2) proposals for such. He said he did not know if there had been any discussion between the two (2) groups. He noted that one (1) group outlined plans and funding with a timeline. But, the SMPA also build the current Fire Station which was deeded to the Town for $1.00. He said there is some degree of "payback".

Matthew Thomas, President of the SMPA, was present. He told the Board that he does have a copy of the deed to the school, and he did not find any deed restrictions associated with it.

Mr. Thomas said that his group has been interested in the school for a long time. He said the group started to take action to acquire the building in 1995, three (3) years after it closed. He said the group has filled out RFPs, rental agreements, and leasing agreements. He said his group attended all meetings of the Vacant Schools Committee which was formed to find the best use for the vacant schools.

Mr. Thomas said that all committees recommended SMPA. He also noted that, at that time, a letter was sent from the School Department asking if any other Town departments were interested in the building.

Mr. Thomas said it has been almost 10 years, and he has been in contact with the Town Manager and the Board of Selectmen in the past couple of years. He said he realized the Town was busy, and as a result the process has been "dragged out". He said that, in the meantime, the building has deteriorated substantially. He said there were many people present at tonight’s meeting to show the Board that they support and are fully committed to the project. Many have offered to donate time, and services.

Mr. Thomas suggested a Reverter Clause be inserted in this RFP. He said that, if the project is not completed, the Town could only benefit from the repairs that they have done.

Chairman Perkins noted that the SMPA has been interested since the 1990s. He asked Mr. Thomas to explained why this was held up.

Mr. Thomas said that it simply "got stalled". He said it probably wasn’t pressed like it should have been.

Selectman Eayrs asked how the SMPA would pay for the work that needs to be done.

Mr. Thomas said that plumbers, construction workers, and masons have offered to donate time and effort. He said the Association has about $20,000 in a fund, and a local contractor has offered to donate $25,000.

Selectman Eayrs asked if the Association has identified a time line to complete the repairs.

Mr. Thomas said 1 – 2 years. He said the basic maintenance would be done as soon as possible.

Selectman Eayrs said that the Board is looking for a solid commitment.

Mr. Thomas explained that the Association would be eager to complete the building, especially if they would be paying insurance for the building. He said the septic, roof, plumbing and electric would be the main things that would need to be addressed to get an occupancy permit. He estimated that the building would be fully restored within two (2) years. He noted that it is going to be difficult to work on the building right now because of winter approaching.

Selectwoman Brunelle said she did not have a problem awarding the proposal to the SMPA, but she also expressed concern with the group’s ability to get funding.

Selectman Rogers said that the Reverter Clause was an interesting concept. He asked if the Association would be agreeable to some type of timeline to get certain things done.

Mr. Thomas said this would not be a problem.

Louise Carberry, Secretary for the Association, told the Board that they have completed many RFPs. She also noted that the Association had responded to any correspondence sent by the Board.

Chairman Perkins asked if any representatives from the Firefighters Association wanted to be heard.

Mario Mota told the Board that the firefighters have demonstrated their ability to raise $100,000 in the past to purchase an airboat and equipment. He said the funds are available to complete the restoration in any time frame set by the Board.

Neil Rosenthal addressed the Board. He explained that he had been part of the Vacant Schools Committee. He said the Committee had endorsed the SMPA. He said the Board has nothing to lose by giving accepting the proposal of the SMPA, especially with a Reverter Clause. If the group fails, there is a great back-up (firefighters).

Carl Reed told the Board that the school has been "sitting around", and the firefighters have given a proposal to get the job done.

Motion was made by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, to accept the proposal of the South Middleborough Protective Association.

Selectwoman Brunelle amended the motion to include a Reverter Clause, completion of a Title Search, and completion of a Survey to set property lines.

Unanimous Vote.

Meeting with Sandra Bernier – RE: Town Clerk & Accountant Position

Sandy Bernier met with the Board to give her recommendation on what to do with her position when she retires.

Ms. Bernier told the Board that this is an opportunity for the Town to split the positions upon her retirement. She also supported Eileen Gates, the current Assistant Clerk, to become the Town Clerk or Town Clerk/Accountant.

Ms. Bernier explained that the population has grown from almost 17,000 to close to 22,000 since she began her position. Along with the growth has come additional work in her office. She noted that the Town Clerk is also Clerk to the Board of Registrars, Parking Clerk and E911 Coordinator.

Ms. Bernier said the two (2) back offices could be used for the Town Accountant. She noted there is a separate entrance. The printer and photocopier could be shared with the Town Clerk’s office.

Ms. Bernier said that if Ms. Gates was upgraded, in accordance with the Non-Union Agreement, and her position was not be back-filled, this would be a savings of more than $9,000 for FY’04.

She said her current budget pertains to both positions, and the money would only have to be reallocated.

Ms. Bernier asked why the Board would advertise for the Town Clerk/Accountant position when there is a capable individual who has worked in the Assistant’s position for 18 years. She said if the position was not separated, Ms. Gates should still be considered for the position. She noted that the Town Clerk has to reside in this Town.

Ms. Bernier said that the Board will not find anyone more qualified than Ms. Gates. She knows that election laws, has done final tallying, and has produced final reports. She is very familiar with the process for elections.

Ms. Bernier said that Ms. Gates could also learn to function in the area of the Town Accountant. However, her recommendation is to split the position, promote Ms. Gates to the Town Clerk, and advertise for a Town Accountant.

Ms. Bernier said that separating the position would allow the Accountant more time to prepare the budget, and meet with Department Heads, the Finance Committee, and the Capital Planning Committee. She also noted the new GASB requirements.

Chairman Perkins said his biggest concern is the cost. He asked how Ms. Gates’ position could not be filled, if the workload has increased.

Ms. Bernier said that the majority of the workload is Town Accountant work. She said that, down the road, there would probably be a need for an Assistant Clerk. She said that the office would maintain five (5) people as it has now.

Chairman Perkins said he was concerned with adding a position because it "flies in the face of adding positions instead of deleting" them.

Selectman Eayrs said Ms. Bernier’s proposal makes sense. He said this would allow the "best of both worlds". He said the Town is getting larger, and there is a need for specialization.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what effect the split would have on the personnel in the office.

Ms. Bernier said she has asked for a part-time position for the Town Accountant’s side for several years. She said this has not happened.

Ms. Bernier told the Board that the purchase of a new capital asset program will aide in the new requirements.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that, if more personnel is needed, there would be $9000 towards this.

Selectman Rogers said it is time to split, noting that the Town needs a "financial director" instead of an accountant.

Mr. Healey said he agreed with separating the positions. He said the positions are already separated, just occupied by the same person. He said this began with Ruth Caswell. He said this will cost a little more, and more personnel will be needed in the future. However, he said the focus should not be on the cost, but the greatest benefit to the Town.

Selectman Eayrs said that, procedurally, both positions would have to be advertised.

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

VOTED: To endorse the separation of the Town Clerk and Town Accountant’s position, and ask the Town Manager to prepare the necessary information for publication to advertise the position.

Unanimous Vote.

Selectwoman Brunelle said she would like to see definitive job descriptions for both positions. Mr. Healey said he would seek the advice of the Personnel Board.

Selectwoman Brunelle suggested a letter to the Personnel Board from the Selectmen, and have the Town Manager expedite a recommendation from them.

Ms. Bernier reminded the Board that the Town Accountant can, by law, have a separate contract with the Selectmen. The Town Clerk is part of the non-union group.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked about a formal letter of intent from Ms. Bernier regarding her retirement.

Ms. Bernier said this will be forthcoming. She said that there are a number of things, including the Schedule A, that she would like to get done so that she leaves things in order. She also would like the opportunity to work with the "new person" for a week or so before leaving.

 

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

VOTED: To enter into Executive Session at 8:47 PM, to discuss Collective Bargaining, to return to Open Session to complete the Agenda.

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

VOTE 4 – 0

-----RECONVENE TO OPEN SESSION-----

NEW BUSINESS

Update on Budget FY’04

There was no update tonight.

Update on Early Retirement Incentive

Mr. Healey introduced John Granahan from the Gas & Electric Department. He was present to provide information regarding the Early Retirement Incentive for MG&E employees.

Mr. Granahan explained that four (4) employees have expressed an interest in the Early Retirement Incentive. He said that there would be an additional cost of $32,000 for the first five years. After that, the cost would turn around. The total cost to households would be $1.30/year.

 

Mr. Healey told the Board that PERAC had issued a memo in August to the Retirement Board that required the Town Meeting and Selectmen to approve specific Departments for consideration for early retirement. PERAC urged Retirement Board officials to send a copy of their memo to both the Legislative and Executive (Selectmen) Authorities. Plymouth County did not follow this advice. Instead, it was sent to Treasurers, dated September 17, 2003. Judy MacDonald said she had never seen the memo.

Town Counsel questions the legal interpretation by PERAC, but Rep. Tom O’Brien says the Legislative language in the act is the problem.

There are two (2) things the Board could do to go forward with this: Hold a Special Town Meeting by December 2nd to ratify the Board’s vote, or have the legislation amended.

It was the consensus of the Board not to call a Special Town Meeting.

Chairman Perkins said that we are not the only community faced with this, and it should be made public. He said the legislature may respond with an emergency type of legislation.

Request to Approve & Sign Contracts with Consultant’s to Management, Inc. – RE: GASB 34

The Board received a report on the GASB 34 Capital Assets as of June 30, 2002 from Wes Gardner, Consultant’s to Management, Inc. The Board had held on signing a Contract to update the assets until receipt of the report.

Mr. Healey recommended moving forward.

Chairman Perkins said that, in the future, the Board should receive reports as well as the financial officers.

Selectwoman Brunelle said the Town should explore the possibility of doing updating internally in the future.

Chairman Perkins said there is software available.

Selectman Rogers asked who the data belonged to.

Selectwoman Brunelle said, if the Contract is signed, it would belong to the Town.

Mr. Healey said he would look into this.

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

VOTED: To approve and sign the agreement with Consultants to Management, Inc. to update the Town’s fixed assets as of June 30, 2003.

Unanimous Vote.

The Board tabled signing a separate Agreement to prepare the initial infrastructure fixed asset accounting system based on GASB Statement No. 34 until next week.

 

OLD BUSINESS

Request to Approve RFP for Town-Owned Land – Town Manager

Last week, the Board had asked that Chairman Perkins and Mr. Healey meet with Town Counsel regarding the disposal of Town-owned land on Wareham Street. There had been a question as to whether or not a deed restriction for residential use could be enforced.

Chairman Perkins said that the question was posed several ways to Town Counsel, and he answered that deed restrictions can only apply to the original buyer, and not be passed to subsequent owners.

Mr. Healey said that Town Meeting had voted to put out an RFP with a deed restriction. He said the Board should accept the fact of the law. He said he believed this purchase would be for industrial use given the proximity to SEMASS.

Selectwoman Brunelle questioned reference to a disclosure statement in the RFP referring to the Division of Capital Division Management. She asked if this was appropriate wording.

Mr. Healey said he believed it is required, but would look into this.

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

VOTED: To issue the RFP for property located on Wareham Street, Assessors Map 110 Lot 3248.

Unanimous Vote.

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

Mr. White told the Board that he is concerned with cars driving too fast in a southerly direction. When stopped to turn into Susan Lane, cars pass on the right, into the mobile home park opening. He suggested putting in a curb to deter this.

Mr. White also questioned the speed limit.

Chairman Perkins suggested asking Mass Highway to look at this, especially since there has been a recent fatality in that section.

Mr. White asked who has the authority to put up signs. Chairman Perkins said the State does.

Selectman Rogers suggested going to SRPEDD to do a corridor study. Mr. Healey said he would explore this.

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

VOTED: To authorize the Town Manager to refer the matter to the Police Chief and Safety Office, and Mass Highway.

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To rescind the vote of October 20, 2003 regarding parking on Coombs Street and further move that there shall be No Parking on the westerly and northerly side of Coombs Street from North Main Street to East Main Street".

Unanimous Vote.

Chairman Perkins said he would rather wait for a full Board regarding Beach Street.

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

VOTED: To authorize the Treasurer/Collector to move forward with arrangements to auction property on Wareham Street (Assessors Map 088 Lot 4265 and off Plymouth Street (Assessors Map 035 Lot 3045).

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To authorize the clean-up of the Rte. 28 property, with the recommendation that the ConCom review it first.

Unanimous Vote.

Mr. Healey said he has the wetlands delineation.

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

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

VOTED: To pay two (2) bills submitted by Verizon in the amounts of $23.41 and $23.39, totaling $46.80.

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To pay the bill submitted by Thevenin, O’Grady & Co., LLP in the amount of $5,000.00.

Unanimous Vote.

OTHER

There was no ‘Other’ business to discuss tonight.

CORRESPONDENCE

 

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

VOTED: To adjourn at 9:45 PM.

Unanimous Vote.

 

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN