SELECTMEN’S MEETING

SEPTEMBER 19, 2005

 

 

Chairman Perkins called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.

 

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

Selectman Wiksten was absent.

 

 

SELECTMEN’S MINUTES

 

Selectman Andrews made a change to a motion that he had made at the September 12, 2005 meeting.

 

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

            VOTED:  To approve the Minutes of September 12, 2005 as amended.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

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

            VOTED:  To approve the Executive Minutes of September 12, 2005.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES

 

Meeting (cont.) – Mitigation Plan for 232 Old Centre Street

 

Chairman Perkins read a letter from Kevin Walker, K&J Engineering, requesting the meeting be continued.

 

It was the consensus of the Board to continue the meeting to next week.

 

Meeting with Virginia Landis – Chairman, MJHS Reuse Committee – RE:  Update

 

Ginny Landis was present.  She explained that this project has been ongoing since 1998.  She said there are many “key players” that have helped with the project.

 

Ms. Landis said the purpose of the building reuse will be for kindergarten and support services for the School Department.  Each classroom will be 1,000 s.f. as opposed to the now 500 s.f.  To date, $452,400.31 as been spent in association with the project.

 

Ms. Landis said that bids were received last Thursday.  The lowest bid was submitted by Paul J. Rogan for $9,422,414.  She said the construction costs had been estimated at $11 million.  All other bids were between $10.3 million and $10.7 million.  Based on this information, the Committee is using $10.3 million as the construction cost figure until the lower figure is confirmed with Paul J. Rogan.

 

 

Instead of the $13.5 million that was thought to be needed for the project, it is now $12.8 million.

 

Ms. Landis explained that, in 2001, $9,54,219 was appropriated for the project.  The difference being $3,253,781.  State reimbursement, although expected to be adjusted, is $2,168,073.  Therefore, the total increase for the Town is $1 million.

 

Ms. Landis explained that $2.5 million is for outside costs such as architects, advertising, furniture, equipment, and contingency.

 

Ms. Landis told the Board that the 79% reimbursement from the State is no longer available for new projects.

 

Ms. Landis said she is asking for the Board’s support for the Article on the upcoming Special Town Meeting Warrant.

 

Selectman Andrews publicly thanked Ms. Landis for her efforts.  He noted that the Committee had held off going to Town Meeting for additional funding until this time.

 

Ms. Landis thanked Sue McCusker for her help in dealing with 85 contractors during the bidding process.

 

Ginny Levesque, Principal of LDL and School Street Schools, told the Board that the MJHS building will be used to house the kindergarten program, OT/PT facilities, and offices for the principal, nurse, etc.  She said no other district offices will be in the building.

 

Supt. Sullivan told the Board that the LDL could be used to house people who would be considered to be central office personnel who are now scattered through the schools.  He said School Street School will maintain a presence of students with Pre-School and Head Start.

 

Supt. Sullivan explained that the Flora Clark School, which now houses the Superintendent, and 10 other people, would be vacant for the possible use by maintenance.

 

Chairman Perkins asked if this project would “keep us away from building another school”.

 

Supt. Sullivan said that enrollment projections are currently lower than what was projected 5 – 6 years ago.  However, he said the Town will need to look at adding onto the High School, or building a new elementary school at the NMS.

 

Discussion ensued on the Full Day Kindergarten Program.

 

Jeff Stevens, former principal of LDL and School Street Schools, explained that this is no longer a “play time” as many would remember.  He said the State has made expectations within the Framework that are almost impossible to accomplish in a ½ day program.

 

Anita Rodriguez, Principal at the Goode School, agreed.  She explained how the full day K program readies children for first grade.  She also noted that kindergarten is now mandated by the State.

 

Selectman Andrews asked about the Town’s bond capacity.

 

Chairman Perkins said he had spoken to Judy MacDonald who expects the Town to remain at an “A2” rating.  Based on this, the bonding for this article will not affect it, and can be done without asking for an override.

 

Neil Rosenthal, a member of the MJHS Committee, told the Board that the Town is lucky that the increase from a couple years ago is so modest.

 

Selectman Bond asked what the economical risks are.

 

Mr. Rosenthal said he didn’t see any.

 

Mr. Healey said the risk would be to not go forward and lose the 79% reimbursement from the State.

 

Selectman Bond asked if the State money has been put aside.

 

Ms. Landis said the Town is in receipt of a Commitment Letter from the State.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle asked if there was any indication of the difference full day K has made on MCAS testing.

 

Supt. Sullivan said there are no results yet.

 

Jeannie Martin, School Committee Member, noted that children are leaving kindergarten able to read and write.

 

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

VOTED:  Given the increasing population, lack of classroom and office space, prior votes of Town Meeting, the Town’s current bonding capacity and ability to not have to seek a tax override or debt exclusion, the historical significance of the Memorial Junior High School, also known as “the old High School”, and the responsible endeavors of the Memorial Junior High School Building Committee, to support the article for the Early Childhood Center at the October 17, 2005 Special Town Meeting.

            Unanimous Vote.

Selectwoman Brunelle sat she has sat on the MJHS Committee since 1998, and originally was not convinced this was the right thing to do.  Since then, after speaking to teachers, she’s convinced it is the right thing to do.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Request to Sign Warrant for Unlicensed Dogs – Town Clerk

 

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

            VOTED:  To approve and sign the Warrant for Unlicensed Dogs.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

There was no ‘Old Business’ discussed tonight.

 

SELECTMEN’S BILLS

 

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

VOTED:  To pay the bill submitted by Thevenin, Lynch, Bienvenue, LLP, in the amount of $11,000.

Unanimous Vote.

 

TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Tax Classification Hearing and Town Meeting

 

Mr. Healey had suggested the Board consider delaying Special Town Meeting to October 24th, to hold the Classification Hearing on October 17th.  However, the IT Director learned today that the Classification Hearing may be further delayed because Vision Appraisal can’t provide a solution to a problem with a rollover of information.  He said another article for temporary help may have to be added to help with the situation.

 

Roger Brunelle was present.  He said he had had a discussion at 4:45 PM today with the software company.  The database cannot be reconstructed because of the damage that was done.  Information will go back to July 30th.  All information since then will have to be re-entered.

 

Chairman Perkins asked if the information had been backed up.

 

Mr. Brunelle said the information was backed up correctly, but the corruption was in the database which is stored on the server in the system. 

 

Selectman Bond asked what is needed to avoid this situation happening again.

 

 

 

Mr. Brunelle said “communication”.  He explained that, in the past, departments have worked with the IT Department as a group effort.  Any adjustment of data base information was backed up before a rollover was done.  This didn’t happen in this instance.  He said that the tendency of the departments is to become educated in certain processes over the years that effect their department.  They end up handling the situation.  In this case, notification was not given to the IT Department prior to the execution of the rollover.

 

Mr. Brunelle told the Board that, when a rollover is done, which is not an uncommon process, the information should be verified immediately to see that the data came over correctly.  He said the rollover was done on Friday, and checked on Monday by the Assessor’s Office, who saw the problem, but “didn’t know how big the problem was”.  The IT Department wasn’t notified until Tuesday.  By then, back ups had been rewritten.  Mr. Brunelle further explained that the last clean back up with July 30th.

 

Mr. Brunelle said he met with Barbara Erickson to discuss how to resolve the problem.  He said if the information isn’t approved by the State by December 31st, there will be a problem.

 

Selectman Bond asked if Mr. Brunelle could appear before the Board next Monday with a solution, and a time frame.

 

Mr. Brunelle said he would.

 

Selectman Andrews asked if there was a written protocol for Department Heads of things they need to do with the computer system before adding hardware/software.

 

Mr. Brunelle said there is not a “final document”.  He said multiple documents have been issued to Department Heads over the years.

 

Selectman Andrews said, as a Board, the Selectmen need to start looking at this situation, and fixing this problem.

 

Mr. Brunelle said the problem is complacency.  He said the rollover has been done for 11 years and there have been no problems.  He said “this person knows you back up before you rollover”.  He said there is a tendency of “having faith”.

 

Selectman Bond asked if it would make sense to do a backup monthly.

 

Mr. Brunelle said this is costly, noting it costs about $9,000 for tapes to back up 90 days on the AS400 system.

 

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

VOTED:  To meet with the IT Director and the Assessor/Appraiser next Monday for a report of a solution, including cost and how it gets staffed, and when it will be completed.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Selectman Andrews said an outside audit needs to be done on the entire computer set up.  He suggested, after Town Meeting, the Board’s Secretary and/or Town Manager should canvass other towns for protocols in place, and get outside contractors to come in and quote on providing an audit of our system.

 

Library’s Requested Budget Supplement

 

Mr. Healey recommended approval of the Library’s $36,000 budget supplement article, noting there is a chance the Town would lose $30,000 in State Library Grant money.

 

Health Department Press Release

 

The Board was provided with a copy of a press release from the Health Department on the West Nile and Equine Encephalitis mosquito risks.

 

Meeting at State House

 

Selectman Bond told the Board that he had met with Representatives Canessa and O’Brien last week to discuss Chapter 70 monies specifically for the Town of Middleborough.

 

Letter from IT Director – RE:  Trash Fee Policy

 

The Board received correspondence from Roger Brunelle in regards to the billing for the trash fee.

 

Discussion ensued on what action the Board had taken in regards to the billing.

 

The Board’s Secretary reviewed prior meetings, and noted that an actual vote to send a separate bill for trash was not taken.

 

Selectman Bond said the concern was for putting the trash fee on the same bill with the water and septic payments because there is a late payment penalty for the water bills.  He said he would not have a problem with a single billing if information on the penalty is footnoted.

 

Mr. Healey said the Water Department was going to provide something to visually look at.

 

Chairman Perkins said he had not seen or heard anything.  He said a separate bill would end a lot of confusion.

 

Mr. Brunelle said there is not a “water penalty”.  He said there is a penalty for the bill not being paid in 30 days.  This sits off by itself, and doesn’t say “water penalty”.

 

Mr. Brunelle explained that a separate database would have to be maintained if a separate trash bill was sent out.  He said this would also require separate entries at the Collector’s Office.

 

Selectman Andrews asked if Mr. Brunelle had a recommendation.

 

Mr. Brunelle suggested adding a 3rd line to the current water/wastewater bill.  He said separate databases will require maintenance of 2 databases.

 

Selectman Andrews said, issuing 2 bills, leaves a greater potential for mis-billing.

 

Mr. Brunelle said it would also cost about $11,000 per year to collect and enter information in the database.

 

Jane Lopes asked what would happen if a family decided to pay the “trash fee” instead of the water bill.

 

Mr. Brunelle explained that the Treasurer/Collector assigns payment.  If she designates, the trash fee will be taken first, followed by the wastewater, and then the water payment.

 

Selectman Andrews asked why an alteration to 1 database couldn’t be copied to another.

 

Selectman Bond explained that there are 2 different databases, with 2 different fields.

 

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

            VOTED:  To issue one bill for water, sewer and trash.

            VOTE 2 -1 (Selectman Andrews against.  Chairman Perkins did not vote)

 

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

VOTED:  To ask the Town Manager to re-examine the presentation of the bills/invoices for water, wastewater and trash, and to make it “user friendly”, and to bring it back before the Board in 2 weeks.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Jane Lopes asked if the stickers were available.

 

Mr. Healey said they are due to arrive before the end of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER

 

Date for Classification Hearing

 

There was no further discussion on this.

 

2004 Audit Report

 

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

VOTED:  To invite the 2 financial officers to meet with the Board on October 3rd to discuss the Comments for Improvements on the 2004 Audit Report.

            Unanimous Vote.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle also suggested the School Department be invited.

 

Mr. Healey was asked to provide a copy of a sign-off form from the Auditors to the Board.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

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

VOTED:  To accept the disclosure from Town Counsel regarding a Conflict of Interest concerning a triangular parcel of land at the corner of Oak Street and Center Street, with the caveat that he will inform the Board if anything further comes up.

Unanimous Vote.

 

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

VOTED:  To accept the changes to the ‘New Employee/Increased Hours Form’ as proposed by the Town Accountant, and to add a line that a narrative is required to explain the need.

Unanimous Vote.

 

Mr. Healey told the Board that the Town Accountant has said she was unaware that this was a new responsibility of hers.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle explained that the Department Head will fill out the information on the form for the Town Accountant to verify.

 

ü      Selectman Andrews questioned the $7.00 admission charge for the Soule Homestead Harvest Fair.

 

Jane Lopes explained that this is the major fundraiser for all other programs.

 

Selectman Andrews also asked what the process was for renting out Pratt Farm.

 

Selectwoman Brunelle explained that the Farm is under the care, control, and custody of the Conservation Commission.

 

Mr. Healey said he would check with the Conservation Commission to see if there is a policy.

 

 

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

VOTED:  To enter into Executive Session at 9:52 PM, not to return to Open Session, to discuss Pending Litigation and Contract Negotiations.

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

            VOTE 4 – 0

 

 

 

 

                                                           

Diane Henault, Secretary

BOARD OF SELECTMEN