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Selectmen’s Meeting — April 3, 2007—3:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

The meeting was called to order at 3:10 p.m. by Vice-Chairman Joseph Judd.  Other members present were: John Payne.

Appointments: none

FY’08 Budget Review:
The Board reviewed Scott Sawyer’s overview of the fiscal year 2008 budget.  After factoring in proposed cuts from last week’s meeting, the town currently has a balanced budget.  Joe is still hoping that the MTRHS District will reduce Shelburne’s assessment by approximately $60,000 producing an even better financial situation for Shelburne.  The School Committee meets again on April 11th.  Cuts recommended by the Board last week to be presented to the Finance Committee on Thursday include the following:

 
Requested:
Recommended:
Treasurer’s Expense:
$2,350
$2,100
Town Clerk’s Expense
$2,353
$1,603
Shade Tree Maintenance
$8,000
$6,500
Shade Tree Replacement
$700
$600
Board of Health Salaries
$5,390
$2,333
Arms Library
$29,568
$20,331
Police Department Salaries
$120,682
$115,682
Police Department Operating
$22,984
$19,682
Audit Town Records 
$7,500
$0.00*
Police Cruiser
$6,000
$0.00**

*Terry reported that because there is a carryover balance of $9,173, it will not be necessary to appropriate any additional funding this year.

** The town purchased a new cruiser in 2005 with Community Policing funds therefore,
a new cruiser will not be necessary until next year.

Total cuts represent $36,394 savings.

Review of Capital Requests:
The following capital requests have been included on the annual town meeting warrant: telephone system $4,000; Cable Advisory Legal Fees $5,000; Land Preservation Speaker $1,000; Highway Truck lease Payment $4,100; and Mohawk’s Capital Request $100,824.
With the exception of the MTRHS Capital request, all articles (if passed) would be funded by taxation.  The MTRHS request will be funded using Stabilization funds; leaving an account balance of $229,335.

Those items not recommended for funding are: Arms Library deferred maintenance $19,000 (despite repeated requests, library trustees did not feel the need to substantiate budget request with actual quotes for repair); library roof replacement $90,000.  Joe stated that he had a conversation with Arms Library trustee, Dick Parmette and even he agreed that the $90,000 repair would only serve as a “band-aid”.  Arms Library trustees have submitted a request to place an article on the town meeting warrant authorizing the Town to borrow money for the roof repair.  Their request will be brought before the full Board and the Finance Committee Thursday evening however, both Joe and John felt that the request was rather open ended having not dollar amount.

Items that have yet to be considered for funding include clerical help for town boards.  Joe discussed whether or not we need to look at the need for clerical help on a broader basis (for all town boards).  Terry Mosher suggested that because the Planning Board is the only Board so far to have brought forth a request for assistance, the Selectmen should authorize them to utilize their expense account to hire clerical help (as done in the past).  The Planning Board typically carries an operating budget of $700 and rarely expends money throughout the year.  Using those funds, they could hire a part-time clerk at $12.00 per hour for approximately 4 hours per month to record and type their monthly meeting minutes.  Later in the meeting when reflecting on the overall budget in its “balanced” state, Joe and John decided not to pursue additional funding for clerical help.  The Board would suggest to the Planning Board that they utilize money from their operating expense account to hire part-time clerical services.  The matter would be revisited next year if needed.

Review of Warrant Articles:
Currently there are 31 articles on the warrant.  Of the 31 articles, three were submitted by the school district to amend the regional school district and two were petitioned by the citizens of Heath to amend the agreement.  John asked who would speak to the articles submitted by the Town of Heath.  Joe offered to speak with Pam Porter (a school committee representative of Heath) for suggestions.

In addition to the 31 articles, Terry has received four more to date.  They include:

Arms Library Trustees: request to authorize borrowing for Arms Library Roof repair – to be discussed Thursday evening.

Lorena Lonergan, Colrain:

  • Resolution to instruct the Town Clerk to send notice to the Governor and local representatives regarding funding of our local schools;
  • Article to adopt the provisions of MGL Chapter 59, section 5K whereby property taxes of persons over the age of 60 can be reduced in exchange for volunteer services to the town;
  • Article to adopt the provisions of MGL Chapter 60, section 3D whereby towns would establish a fund for the purpose of accepting donations for property tax relief for senior citizens and disabled taxpayers.

Both Joe and John expressed concern for the process that enables anyone to place an article on the town meeting warrant with little or no explanation.  Both felt that the presenter should appear before the Board and the Finance Committee to present their request well in advance of town meeting so that officials can determine whether or not they support the article; and to become more educated about the article’s intent well in advance of town meeting.  Joe will contact Ms. Lonergan to see whether or not she would be willing to withdraw her proposed articles until next year to allow for some dialogue between her and members of the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.

OTHER BUSINESS:
Senior Center Van Driver Position RE: Internal Posting – one resume has been received for the position of Senior Center Van Driver.  Robert Szafran, a resident of Colrain has been employed by the Senior Center as a part-time driver for the last six years.  The Board suggested that Mr. Szafran be invited to attend our April 10, 2007 meeting.

Rainville Property RE: Right of First Refusal – it has come to light that Mr. Rainville removed his property from Chapter 61A in 2005.  Since that time, he has paid taxes based on “full and fair value” of the property.  In an attempt to determine whether or not Mr. Rainville’s property is subject to the “Right of First Refusal” process and how much he is obligated to pay in rollback taxes, the Town Collector contacted Dan Murphy of the Department of Revenue for clarification.  According to Mr. Murphy, had Mr. Rainville paid his rollback taxes in 2005 and the lien on the property was released, the property would not be subject to the “right of First Refusal” process; however, because that did not occur, the property is still subject to the right of first refusal process.  As for the amount of rollback taxes he is obligated to pay, Mr. Murphy will have to research further.  The Town Collector believes that the landowner’s failure to pay the rollback taxes at the time the property was removed from the Chapters was merely a lack of understanding on his part.  Everyone agreed that the Assessors should develop an informational sheet to be included in the annual mailings outlining the Chapter-related laws and the processes involved.

Invoice for Legal Expenses Incurred by the Town – Terry Mosher presented an invoice submitted by MacNicol & Tombs to the Board highlighting six dates that involved telephone charges with outside (non town-affiliated) parties.  The Selectmen agreed that the town should not be held responsible for those telephone calls.  Terry will contact Donna MacNicol’s office to have those charges removed.

Goody & Clancy RE: Urban Rivers Program – Terry was contacted by a representative of Goody & Clancy (the consulting firm who hosted the Urban Rivers Program Charrette) last Saturday in Buckland.  The firm is hoping to schedule a joint presentation of that planning session either on Wednesday, April 25th or Wednesday, May 16th.  The presentation should last approximately 1.5 hours.  Both Joe and John indicated that neither date worked for them.

Cemetery Commission – now that the Hill Cemetery has been designated as a historic site, Joe would like to pursue the possibility of forming a cemetery commission to oversee/manage the site and to secure grant funding for the care of the site.  Rather than placing an article on this years’ annual town meeting warrant, Joe will spend some time this year investigating whether or not a commission is necessary.

A motion was made by Joe to adjourn the meeting at 5:10 p.m.  Motion seconded by John.  The next afternoon meeting of the Board will be held next Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 3:30 p.m.  Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary