SELECTMEN’S MEETING

OCTOBER 24, 2005

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

 

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

VOTED:  To approve the Minutes of October 17, 2005.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

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

VOTED:  To approve the Executive Minutes of October 17, 2005.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

 

Tax Classification Hearing

 

Chairman Perkins 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, October 24, 2005, at 7:05 PM, on the allocation of the fiscal year 2006 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 2006.”  The Hearing was opened.

 

Barbara Erickson, Assessor/Appraiser, was present, as well as Ted Eayrs and Anthony Freitas, Assessors.

 

Mr. Eayrs told the Board that a packet had been provided with all relative figures and history regarding the tax shift.  The Assessors recommended decreasing the split from 10% to 7.5% this year, further dropping over the next few years to get a flat tax rate.  Mr. Eayrs said this is the only fair way to do assessments.

 

The implication of decreasing the tax split would increase the average residential tax bill by $101.29, and commercial up to $45.32.  He noted that values had also increased this year for commercial properties as well as residential.

 

Chairman Perkins asked what would happen if the shift stayed at 10%.

 

Mr. Eayrs said commercial taxes would average a decrease of $438.80, while residential taxes would increase $136.70.

 

Claire Cole, Treasurer of the Cranberry Chamber of Commerce, read a letter to the Board urging a vote for a flat tax rate.

 

Selectman Bond noted that, last year, it was indicated that commercial growth is cyclical.  He said this has been true since 1991, with the shift between the taxes decreasing from 30% to 10% in FY 05.  He asked Ms. Erickson if there was a correlation between lowering the tax shift and bringing new businesses to town.

 

Ms. Erickson said this has occurred in some years, not all.

 

Selectman Bond noted that, regionally, Middleboro’s tax rates are in the middle.  He said the Town is not over taxing or under taxing commercial properties in terms of the rest of the population.

 

Ms. Erickson said this was true.

 

Selectman Andrews asked Ms. Erickson to highlight information provided to the Board.

 

Ms. Erickson reviewed the booklet, which included information on Levy Limit & Tax Rates, Average Value (Current & Prior Year), Historical Average Values and Tax Bills (Res/Comm/Ind), History of Shifts, History of Single Tax Rate, History of New Growth & Chart, History of Substantial Commercial/Industrial Bldg. Activity, New Growth & Levy Limit (Current & Prior Year), History of Values by Class & Chart, Examples of Tax Differences (Prior Yrs & Estimated Current), Information on TIFS with Percentages, Approve FY 06 Tax Rates, Assessed Value by Class, and Statewide Averages and Rankings.

 

Ms. Erickson noted a decrease in Chapterland parcels as a lot of people are “pulling out” to provide residential lots.  She said this is not beneficial to the Town as it does not preserve land, and creates more house lots which taxes do not cover services provided.

 

Selectman Andrews noted that, for every dollar in residential tax revenue received, $1.16 is spent.  He said businesses don’t participate in many Town services, which provides a net gain.

 

Ms. Erickson explained, besides commercial, industrial, and residential taxes, there are also Personal Property Taxes.  She explained this is for non-manufacturing commercial properties which are taxed on furniture, fixtures, telephones, pipe lines, and anything else used for the business.

 

Ms. Erickson noted that residential properties have consistently gone up in value.

 

Selectman Bond explained that residential properties are assessed based on sales, and commercial/industrial properties are assessed based on a cost approach, market valuation, or income approach.

 

Ms. Erickson said the Commercial Appraiser that the Town has used since 1984 decides what the correct value is.

 

Ms. Erickson explained that the tax rate is determined by dividing the levy limit by the total value of the town.  From there, a shift factor is decided.

 

Selectman Bond noted that Proposition 2 ½ provides a formula for calculating the “pot of money” allowed to collect in taxes.  It then has to be decided who pays what portion.  Higher values mean higher taxes.

 

Ms. Erickson noted that a lesser tax rate from a previous year does not mean less taxes as values increase.

 

Discussion ensued on TIF Agreements. 

 

Ms. Erickson explained that, in exchange for a percentage break on taxes, businesses bring their business to Middleboro instead of neighboring towns with promises of certain things, such as preference for residents for hiring, or helping with the infrastructure.

 

Ms. Erickson noted that N.E. Sportswear received a 35% TIF exemption.  She said, over the life of the TIF, N.E. Sportswear is still paying almost $2.9 million.  The savings from the TIF is about $600,000.

 

Selectman Andrews said 11 companies with TIF agreements have provided $821,249 in taxes for 2005.

 

Chairman Perkins noted that companies also get a 5% investment credit from the State when given a TIF.

 

Selectman Andrews noted that Town Meeting has to ratify any TIF agreements.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that there is also a Committee which makes recommendations to the Board.

 

Chairman Perkins said TIFs are designed as incentives to get businesses to locate to the community.  He said nothing is being given away.

 

Selectman Andrews noted the bulk of the tax money comes from Campanelli Industrial Park and Middleboro Park at 495.  He said this was previously undeveloped land that paid minimal taxes, and could’ve been used for residential properties.

 

Ms. Erickson noted that Middleboro ranked “70” for tax rates for single family homes.  This was in the middle of all communities.

 

Chairman Perkins thanked Ms. Erickson for her presentation, saying it was the best presentation to date.  He said businesses need to be attracted to town as they provide substantial increases in taxes.  He said residential growth is sky rocketing, creating a fiscally difficult situation.

 

Chairman Perkins said he was in favor of a flat tax rate.  He noted the Assessors’ recommendation is moving in that direction.

 

Selectman Bond said he did not believe taxation was a marketing tool for attracting businesses, rather demographics are also needed.

 

Selectman Andrews asked Selectman Bond why it was fair for businesses to pay more than residents in taxes.

 

Selectman Bond said some businesses put more stress on the infrastructure, and services of the town are used in a different way.  He said businesses rely on people in the town to use their business and derive income.  He said a residential person needs to refinance or sell his property to realize his gain.

 

He said the problem with a split tax rate is that this conversation has to be made annually.  He said it is a philosophical problem.  He noted that, right now, a tax fee has been implemented for residents, as well as increased fuel costs.  He said the demographics cannot survive this.

 

Selectman Bond asked Ms. Erickson if a TIF Agreement can still be given if the commercial tax rate was 20%, 30% or 5% higher than residential. 

 

Ms. Erickson said yes.

 

Selectman Bond noted changing the tax rate has no effect on giving TIFs.  He also asked, when a TIF is given, where the burden lands.

 

Ms. Erickson said residential and commercial properties pick it up.

 

Mr. Healey, who had been attending the FinCom meeting, joined the Selectmen.  He said there is no justification for a split rate.  However, given the circumstances of the trash fee, and the increase in residential values, he suggested the split should remain at 10% this year, eventually moving to a flat tax rate.

 

Selectman Bond noted, to adjust the rate to have no impact on the residents this year, the shift would have to be increased to 30% which is not realistic.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Perkins closed the hearing.

 

Motion was made by Selectman Bond to leave the tax rate at the present 10% split.  There was no second.

 

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

VOTED:  To take the recommendation of the Assessors, moving to a 7 ½% differential, and to attain a flat tax rate within three years.

            VOTE – 3 – 1 (Selectman Bond against)

 

Meeting with Town Accountant and IT Director – RE:  Encumbrance & Payment Requests

 

This meeting was continued to November 7th at the request of the Town Accountant.

 

Meeting with Karen Jason – RE:  Barden Hill Road

 

Selectman Andrews abstained from this item.

Karen Jason was present.  She explained that, two months ago, the DPW had begun prepping Barden Hill Road to widen the road and restore the sidewalk which was constructed on a portion of Barden Hill Road.

 

Ms. Jason suggested taking out what was a sidewalk that had been put in 45 years ago, instead, loaming and seeding in front of the six effected houses on the street.  She said she had spoken to her neighbors, and submitted a petition signed by all but 2 families on the street.  She did not have the opportunity to speak to another resident.

 

Chairman Perkins asked if Ms. Jason had spoken to Don Boucher and the Town Manager.

 

Ms. Jason said Mr. Healey suggested she contact the Selectmen.

 

Chairman Perkins clarified that the neighbors are not opposed to resurfacing the road.

 

Ms. Jason said no, the issue is the sidewalk.

 

Mr. Healey said Mr. Boucher feels the sidewalk, which is in a buried state, should be restored.  He said the neighbors feel otherwise. 

 

Selectman Bond asked if there would be an issue in honoring Ms. Jason’s request.

 

Mr. Healey said he doesn’t oppose it, but Mr. Boucher is opposed to not putting it back because it has always been a sidewalk.

 

Selectman Bond asked which is more expensive, repairing or loaming.

 

Mr. Healey said repairing.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the money could be used elsewhere.  She said she was reluctant to go against the Highway Superintendent, but felt it made economic sense.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what would happen if, a few years from now, residents asked for the sidewalk to be reconstructed.

 

Mr. Healey said there have not been many sidewalks constructed over the past few years.

 

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

VOTED:  To continue repaving Barden Hill Road, removing the existing sidewalk, and seeding and loaming the areas in front of the six homes that abut the old sidewalk.

            VOTE 3 – 0 – 1 (Selectman Andrews abstained)

 

Hearing (cont.) – Request to Place New Poles – Verizon – Purchase Street

 

This was a continued hearing from September 26th at which time an abutter had concerns with the proposed placement of a pole in front of his property.

 

Daryl Crossman, Right of Way Manager for Verizon, said a new plan had been developed, which the abutter had no objection to.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Perkins closed the hearing.

 

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

            VOTED:  To approve the placement of Poles P10 through P17 on Purchase Street.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Meeting with Attorney Mark Bobrowski – Request to Upgrade & Relocate Existing Water Meter in Lakeville

 

Attorney Bobrowski presented a plan of the land on Bridge Street in Lakeville.  He told the Board that, about 2 years ago, his client, Bridge Street Realty Trust LLC, had obtained a Comprehensive Permit from the Town of Lakeville, with the condition that he obtain water.  At that time, an IMA was being discussed between Middleboro and Lakeville.

 

Attorney Bobrowski said that there is an existing house with an existing main on the premises.  His client is asked to relocate and upgrade the main to a slightly larger service with one (1) meter to provide service to six (6) duplexes, totaling 12 units, to be built to the Water Department’s specifications.  In return, a 53A gift of $1000 per unit would be given to Middleboro.

 

The water usage would expand to 1800 gallons/day.

 

 

Chairman Perkins said he was in favor of taking this under advisement.  He noted that negotiations with Lakeville are ongoing, and are close.  He said, with a successful IMA, the request would go to Lakeville first, and then to Middleboro.

 

Attorney Bobrowski said Lakeville has already given approval under the Comprehensive Permit Law.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the Board was looking for a letter confirming.

 

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

VOTED:  To take the request to upgrade and relocate the existing water meter on property located on Bridge Street, Lakeville, under advisement until such time as an IMA is finalized with the Town of Lakeville, or to further discuss the request if an IMA has not been completed by February 1, 2006.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Attorney Bobrowski noted that the Comprehensive Permit will expire in December of 2006.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Request for Parade Permit, Parking Ban, and Use of Fire Engine – Middleborough Christmas Parade Committee

 

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

VOTED:  To approve the request for a parade permit for the Christmas Parade to be held on Saturday, November 26, 2005 at 1:00 PM (Rain date November 27, 2005), and to allow a parking ban to be issued on the date of the parade on both sides of Centre Street, from the four corners to Pearl Street, from noon to 3:00 PM., and the use of a fire engine to escort Santa Claus.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Request for Above Ground Storage Permit – Sam White and Sons – 22 Recycle Way

 

Selectman Andrews abstained from this item.

 

Chairman Perkins read letters from the Building Commissioner and Fire Chief supporting the request.

 

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

VOTED:  To issue an Above Ground Storage permit for 10,000 gallons of diesel to Sam White and Sons, 22 Recycle Way.

            VOTE 3 – 0 – 1 (Selectman Andrews abstained)

 

 

 

Request for Common Victualer License – ‘Papa Timmy’s’ – 3 East Grove Street

 

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

VOTED:  To issue a Common Victualer License to Victoria Beuttel d/b/a Papa Timmys, 3 East Grove Street, for the hours of 11 AM to 11 PM, 7 days per week.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Request to Increase Appropriation for Town Meeting Article – IT Director

 

Roger Brunelle met with the Board.  He explained that the failure of the main server at the Police Department occurred on October 13, 2005.  He said the unit needs to be replaced, and asked to increase the appropriation for his article at the upcoming Special Town Meeting by $8,000.  This will purchase a server, and tape back up, and software and tapes.

 

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

VOTED:  To approve the request of the IT Director to increase the appropriation at Special Town Meeting to $54,790.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Selectman Andrews asked if the FinCom had also been notified of the increase.

 

Mr. Brunelle informed the Board that the FinCom had voted not to support the article.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Request to Approve & Sign Contracts – Water Superintendent

 

A request was previously made to sign contracts with Wes Gardner to do the water fixed assets update for GASB. 

 

Mr. Healey noted correspondence from the Town Accountant explained that the update for the General Government and the Water/Wastewater are two (2) separate issues.  He noted that Mr. Gardner has already completed the update for the Wastewater Department, and the money is already budgeted within the Water Department.

 

Chairman Perkins said he still had questioned.  He asked, if there is a module capable of doing this, why is it not being used?

 

Mr. Healey noted that the Accountant had only recently sent out a questionnaire asking departments to submit information.

 

Chairman Perkins said year after year the Town is paying for contractual work when it is capable of doing the work within the town.  He said it is a waste of money.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said the program is installed, the problem is inputting the information that has been gathered.

 

Chairman Perkins said Mr. Gardner was to supply data in an electronic format for the Town to update.

 

Mr. Healey said this was done. 

 

Chairman Perkins said he doesn’t know if it’s the Water Superintendent, Wastewater Superintendent, Town Accountant, IT Director, or Town Manager, who could resolve this.  He said all parties need to sit down to talk this through to resolve it before next year.

 

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

VOTED:  To ask the Town Manager to sit down with all parties, and to submit a report to the Board by the last Monday in January 2006 on the implementation of a plan.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle said that $7,500 was approved at Town Meeting.  She said the Water and Wastewater should be combined with the General Government.  If the appropriation is not enough, it should be apportioned to the Water and Wastewater Departments.

 

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

            VOTED:  To sign the Contracts with Consultants to Management.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Special Town Meeting

 

Mr. Healey said motions for the articles will be assigned to Board members.

 

More Bad Financial News

 

Mr. Healey informed the Board that the “New Growth” figure is $482,652.  In June, $725,000 was tentatively budgeted for this.  He said this means the Town needs to find as many ways as possible, as soon as possible, to boost Local Receipts. 

 

Mr. Healey said he plans to call a Department Heads meeting right after Town Meeting to ask for proposed ways to increase local receipts, and to talk to the School Superintendent about options available to the School Department.

 

 

 

Good News

 

Mr. Healey told the Board that the Peirce Trustees have donated $132,000 to purchase three (3) one-ton trucks with snow plows for the DPW.

 

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

            VOTED:  To send a letter of thanks to the Peirce Trustees.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

 

There were no bills to pay tonight.

 

OTHER

 

Request to Sign Letters – Community Housing Plan

 

Chairman Perkins told the Board that he had spoken to the Town Planner regarding a request for him to sign letters to resubmit the Community Housing Plan.  Three (3) typos were corrected, and there was a change in reference to a chart on pg. 32.

 

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

            VOTED:  To authorize the Chairman to sign the letters.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Meeting with Permanent Cable Committee

 

Chairman Perkins noted that the Board had not received a response from the Cable Committee in regards to negotiations with Verizon. 

 

A meeting will be scheduled with the Committee and Attorney William August for an update as soon as possible.

 

Appointment of Member to Committee for Stable Regulations

 

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

VOTED:  To appoint Selectman Andrews as the Board’s representative to the Stable Regulations Committee to replace Mr. Wiksten.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Finance Committee Meetings

 

Members of the FinCom were present.  Selectman Andrews suggested that they consider meeting on an alternate date, as both Boards currently meet on Mondays.  He said this would allow them to attend one another’s meetings.

 

Steve Studley said the FinCom would “take this under advisement”.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

v      Selectman Andrews noted correspondence from Colby Fisher, a student, asking the Board members to make a recommendation on who he could write about for a school project on elected heroes.

 

Selectman Andrews suggested Rudolph Giuliani and the 911 attacks.

 

v      Town Counsel has advised the Board that 4 members are needed to hear a WRPD Special Permit request.  It was also noted that the same members must be present for any continuance.

 

v      Town Counsel confirmed the request for an increase in the Law Budget.

 

v      Announcement was made for a controlled burn on October 29, 2005 at 87 Fuller Street.

 

v      It was noted that the IRS has increased the Standard Mileage Rate to 48.5 cents per mile.  The Board took no action.

 

v      Mr. Healey will respond to complaints from Susanne and David Dagese regarding the Tispaquin Realty Corp. Earth Removal on Rocky Meadow Street.

 

Mr. Healey said he had already explained that trucks cannot be kept off the streets.  The Order of Conditions only regulates the Earth Removal Project.

 

v      A letter from Rep. Steve Canessa in regards to a Community Policing Grant will be forwarded to the Police Chief.

 

v      Information on municipal mini-grants from Buzzards Bay Action Committee will be forwarded to the Town Planner, Conservation Agent, and Highway Superintendent.

 

v      Selectwoman Brunelle suggested checking for outstanding taxes or municipal charges when the Town is informed by the State of an application for KENO.

 

v      Mr. Healey will forward Information regarding a new program at SEMASS to Don Boucher.

 

 

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

VOTED:  To enter into Executive Session at 9:40 PM, not to return to Open Session, to discuss Litigation and Contract Negotiations.

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

            VOTE 4 – 0

 

                                                           

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN