SELECTMEN’S MEETING

SEPTEMBER 22, 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 Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle, the Board

VOTED: To approve the Minutes of September 15, 2003

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: To approve the Executive Minutes of September 15, 2003

Unanimous Vote.

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

Public Hearing (cont.) – Special Town Meeting Warrant Articles – Articles 1, 2, 6, 13, 17, 24 & 25

The Board continued their discussion of the Articles for the September 29th Special Town Meeting. The Board had held several articles for more information.

Article 1

Mr. Healey told the Board that the supplemental budget request had been updated to reflect Linda Thomas’ sick leave buyback.

Mr. Healey told the Board that the Town has received the reimbursement for the school transportation from the State. This is $244,000. Because it is an ’03 receipt, the DOR has agreed that they would allow it to be included in our Free Cash figure even though it arrived after the books closed.

Mr. Healey said the additional money will allow a supplement to Article 1 to include the mold remediation. As a result, the Stabilization Fund will "not have to be tapped".

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if the Free Cash would be certified by next week. Mr. Healey said it would.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked what the latest estimate was for the mold clean-up.

Dr. Walsh told the Board that it is still an estimate at this point. She said further testing was done this morning, and results should be back on the next day or two. She also told the Board that some seats in the auditorium will have to be replaced. The total estimate to date is $247,000. She said she would have a better idea tomorrow.

Chairman Perkins asked about legislation to help the towns that have had this problem. Dr. Walsh said that the MMA and the Superintendent’s Association has sent surveys. She said there is a possibility of using some emergency money at the State level.

Mr. Healey said the Board also needs to decide what to do with the Town Clerk & Accountant’s position. The Board will discuss this later in the meeting.

Selectman Eayrs asked how the motion for the supplement will be made.

Mr. Healey said he is waiting for a call from the Moderator. He said the Finance Committee will make the main motion, and then a member of the Board will amend the motion to add the supplemental budget appropriations.

Mr. Healey provided a handout with the FinCom’s recommendation for supplementing budgets, and the Board’s. Selectman Eayrs asked if each line item will be read. Mr. Healey said that would be decided by the Town Moderator.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked that sub-totals be given after each department’s supplemental budget.

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

VOTED: To support Article 1.

Unanimous Vote.

Article 2

The Board did not have a figure for Unpaid Bills from the Finance Committee. The School Department has requested approximately $67,000 for a Middleborough Gas & Electric Department Bill, $1,700 is for the COA, and $2600 for the DPW clean-up.

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

VOTED: To ask that Department Heads provide copies of any requests for unpaid bills or supplemental budget requests to the Board of Selectmen.

Unanimous Vote.

Mr. Healey noted that the Town Planner had provided a letter for a possible supplemental budget request for copy paper.

Chairman Perkins said no action would be taken on Article 2, as the exact amounts are not known.

Article 6

This Article is in regards to GASB 34. Selectman Rogers said that Sandy Bernier’s response had provided information as to the need for this Article. However, he still requested an explanation on how the original $30,000 was spent, and how much additional money has been spent. He said he wanted an explanation of why this was costing so much.

Selectwoman Brunelle explained that the original contract did not include an updated of the fixed assets after June 30th. She said this update would include drainage systems for the Water and Wastewater Departments. She asked that it be determined, if possible, what portion should be assessed to those departments as a direct or indirect offset.

Selectman Rogers suggested the Board hold on this article until further explanation is received.

Article 13

This article is for the cost to mediate the contaminated soil at the DPW.

Mr. Healey said he still did not have the numbers yet. He said there was a probability that this article would be tabled.

Selectman Wiksten asked if the extra money from the Grant could be utilized for this. Mr. Healey said there is some money, but not enough to deal with it long-term.

Article 15

This article would purchase a school bus and a pool cover for the Park Department.

Selectman Eayrs noted that a vote taken last week had ended in a tie.

Selectman Wiksten said the vote had been to support all three articles: 15, 16 and 17.

It was suggested that each article be voted on separately.

Selectwoman Brunelle said that she understood the need for the articles, but questioned bonding to this level with the fiscal crisis. She said a plan of action needs to be developed to tackle the financial crisis. She suggested not bonding anything for the next couple of years, and looking for alternative funding. She said Free Cash could be used for the smaller items.

Selectman Rogers said that the article doesn’t necessarily require bonding, but possibly a temporary note. Selectwoman Brunelle said the Town would still be paying interest.

Selectman Eayrs asked the School Department if the bus was needed. Dr. Walsh said yes.

Dr. Bob Sullivan, a Park Commissioner, said the pool continually needs upgrading.

Discussion ensued on developing a Town-wide plan for capital buildings.

Selectman Rogers noted that the Capital Planning Committee only supports advance projects that the Town needs.

Neil Rosenthal disagreed with Selectwoman Brunelle, noting that the Capital Planning Committee currently submits a plan. He said $2.1 million has been the optimal number for bonding.

Selectwoman Brunelle suggested that there should be separate allocations for buildings, equipment and maintenance. She said maintenance should not be part of bonding.

Mr. Healey noted that the bonding on these items won’t hit until FY ’06. He said there is flexibility in the short term debt service budget.

Mr. Healey said that maintenance on buildings has been deferred for a long time, and cannot continue.

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

VOTED: To support Article 15.

VOTE 4 – 1 (Selectwoman Brunelle opposed)

Article 16

This article is for remodeling, reconstructing, or making extraordinary repairs and other site improvements to the Park Department, School Department, Town Hall, and Financial Office Building.

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

VOTED: To support Article 16.

VOTE 3 – 2 (Selectwoman Brunelle and Selectman Wiksten opposed)

Selectman Wiksten said he opposed the Mayflower-Burkland paving for $115,000 and the High School gym floor at $107,000. He felt these items could wait.

Article 17

This article is to purchase modulars for the High School.

Dr. Walsh told the Board that there has been much discussion at the School Committee level regarding this article. She said the need is still there as there is overcrowding and inadequate situations. She said there has also been discussions regarding the former Junior High School. She said it is unlikely that there will be reimbursement for the next 8 – 10 years.

Dr. Walsh said that the needs have to be looked at again. She said the goal is to look at all buildings for the next 3 – 5 years. She said she did not want to request modular classrooms this year, and then have additional requests next year. She said the School Department needs to prioritize.

Dr. Walsh noted that, even if modulars were approved, there would still be a need for staffing, resources, desks, and technology. She said this would not be possible with the FY’05 Budget.

The School Committee will discuss this at their meeting on Thursday, and will make a recommendation for Town Meeting.

Articles 24 & 25

Darrin DeGrazia, Chairman of the Affordable Housing Sub-Committee, was present. He told the Board that Article 24 will be tabled. This is the Affordable Apartment Housing Bylaw. He said more work needs to be done on the language of the article, and should be ready for the Spring Town Meeting.

Mr. DeGrazia told the Board that the Hearing with the Planning Board on the Family Accessory Apartment Zoning Bylaw will continue tomorrow night. He said the language has been reworked, at the suggestion of Town Counsel.

Mr. DeGrazia said the Bylaw will address a shortcoming in the Zoning right now.

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

VOTED: To support Article 25.

Unanimous Vote.

NEW BUSINESS

Update on Budget FY’04

Mr. Healey provided the Board with information on Early Retirement. He said this would result in at least a short-term gain. He said the multi-gain depends on whether or not you can not backfill positions. He said this would take reorganization and reduction in staff.

Mr. Healey presented several different possible scenarios.

Early Retirement for the Building Department would allow Bill Gedraitis to retire, and Bob Whalen to take over as the Building Commissioner. Mr. Whalen’s current position would not be filled. Mr. Healey noted that Mr. Whalen had been "hired with a view" because he had taken courses and, with additional courses, would be certified as a Building Commissioner.

Mr. Gedraitis’ current salary is $64,000, whereas Mr. Whalen’s would be $54,000. Mr. Gedraitis would receive his sick-leave buyback over three (3) years. By not filling Mr. Whalen’s position, costs for health insurance would also be saved. He said this would last until there was a need to refill the position – at least 2 – 3 years, depending on how much more work the Building Department takes in.

Selectman Eayrs asked what the consequences would be of not filling the Assistant position.

Mr. Gedraitis said there is enough work for two (2) people. He said Mr. Whalen would have to prioritize. He noted that he had previously worked 15 – 20 hours of overtime each week. He said Mr. Whalen would be capable of running the Department.

Chairman Perkins noted that health benefits would still be paid for two (2) employees, and if the position is refilled, would increase to three (3). He also noted the overtime.

Mr. Healey noted that Town Meeting action is to accept enabling the Act. He said it would authorize the Board to decide whether to implement under the program. If Town Meeting doesn’t approve this by October 1st, the Board can approve it by November 1st.

Discussion ensued on the Town Clerk & Accountant position. Mr. Healey said the analysis he provided recommends that the position be split. The Assistant Town Clerk would move to the Clerk’s position, and the Assistant position would not be filled. Ms. Bernier’s sick-leave buyback would be split over a three (3) year time frame.

Mr. Healey noted that the current budget is underfunded. It will only provide until February 20, 2004 (Ms. Bernier’s retirement).

It was noted that the current Assistant has occupied the position for a number of years, and is familiar with the Clerk’s position. Ms. Bernier has recommended that she is capable of climbing to the Department Head’s position. This would also require a change in the Non-Union Bargaining Agreement, as the Town Clerk is not currently listed as a Department Head.

Selectman Eayrs asked about contracting out the Accountant’s position.

Selectwoman Brunelle said that State Law requires a Town Accountant. Mr. Healey said he would check with Town Counsel.

Motion was made by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Chairman Perkins to authorize the splitting of the Town Clerk and Accountant positions to coincide with Ms. Bernier’s retirement, and to post each position.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if a Charter change would be required.

Mr. Healey said these positions were split prior to Ruth Caswell taking over both.

Because of the uncertainty, Selectman Eayrs withdrew the motion, and Chairman Perkins withdrew the second.

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

VOTED: To instruct the Town Manager to create job descriptions for a Town Clerk and a Town Accountant, and to research and reaffirm that no Charter change is necessary.

Unanimous Vote.

Chairman Perkins asked Mr. Healey to provide the Board with a complete packet regarding the Early Retirement Bill, including everyone who is interested.

Request to Rent Town Hall Auditorium – Nemasket River Productions

Merrie Mizaras was present. She requested a waiver of some of the custodial fees while the set is being prepared. This would be on October 17th, and October 18th. She noted that the organization had previously used the Auditorium for a play, and had no problems. She said the request was being made because of the cost.

Selectwoman Brunelle noted that there is a provision in the policy that, if a meeting is going on, a custodian would not be needed. She said the group would have to be out by the time the meeting had ended.

Because the set will be built on a weekend, it will be necessary for someone to open and close the building. Selectman Wiksten, Selectman Rogers and Chairman Perkins volunteered to do this if necessary. Numbers will be given to Ms. Mizaras.

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

VOTED: To waive the requirement of custodial services for Saturday, October 18th and Sunday October 19th, for building the set, subject to a Board member being available to open and close the building.

Unanimous Vote.

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

VOTED: the following:

Unanimous Vote.

Request to Appoint Wardens – Middleborough/Lakeville Herring Fishery Commission

The Board was given three (3) names to fill two (2) positions. They were: Mark Brochu, Joe Runci, and Ron Burgess.

Motion was made by Selectman Eayrs and seconded by Selectwoman Brunelle to appoint Mark Brochu and Joe Runci.

Discussion ensued on the motion.

Selectman Wiksten noted that, currently, Mr. Runci and Mr. Burgess are Wardens. He suggested they should be reappointed. He questioned why this would be changed. Selectman Rogers agreed.

Selectman Eayrs said his motion was to vote for those people that "showed up". Selectman Wiksten noted that this is not a requirement.

Selectwoman Brunelle said the Board had run into the same problem a couple years ago. At that time, it was suggested that Observers rotate to the Wardens. Selectman Eayrs agreed.

Selectman Wiksten said he did not have a preference, but said he had a "feeling of loyalty" to the members who have served and continue to serve.

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

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

VOTED: To appoint Joe Runci and Ron Burgess as Wardens for a three (3) year term.

Unanimous Vote.

It was suggested that a letter be sent to the Herring Commission asking that they "rotate" the applicants for Wardens.

Mr. Brochu noted that he was not given the opportunity to make a comment regarding the appointments. Chairman Perkins apologized.

Request to Appoint Volunteer Observers – Middleborough/Lakeville Herring Fishery Commission

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

VOTED: To approve the following appointments for Volunteer Observers for a one-year term running from October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004.

Luke Leonard Tom DeBrum

Cliff Chausse Dave Cavanaugh

Dave Lemmo Harold Atkins

Mark Brochu Michael Kenney

Thomas Dexter

Unanimous Vote.

 

Request to Approve Financial Office Building Request for Proposals

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

VOTED: To approve and issue the RFP for the Financial Office Building.

Unanimous Vote.

OLD BUSINESS

There was no "Old Business" to discuss tonight.

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

There was no further discussion of the Town Manager’s Report.

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

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

VOTED: To pay the bill submitted by the W.B. Mason Company, Inc. in the amount of $21.08.

Unanimous Vote.

OTHER

St. Luke’s Hospital

The Board received a request from Attorney Robert Kraus to issue a letter approving the change in the project at the former St. Luke’s Hospital from condos to apartments.

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

VOTED: To provide a letter of approval regarding the change in the project at the former St. Luke’s Hospital from condos to apartments.

Unanimous Vote.

Sidewalk on East Main Street

The Board received a letter from Marie Latour regarding the sidewalk on East Main Street.

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if there is a Bylaw regarding sidewalk obstruction. Mr. Healey said there is in regards to "downtown" work on buildings. A Sidewalk Obstruction Permit is required.

Selectman Wiksten questioned whether the sidewalks on Elm Street or Courtland Street would qualify for the Permit. He asked if a dumpster on either of the sidewalks would be tolerated.

Mr. Healey reminded the Board that a vote had been taken last week regarding this issue.

Chairman Perkins asked that Mr. Healey respond to Ms. Latour.

CORRESPONDENCE

There was no discussion on "Correspondence".

 

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

VOTED: To adjourn at 9:10 PM.

Unanimous Vote.

 

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN