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Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — April 19, 2007—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Call to Order:  Chairman Manners called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Other members present: Joe Judd and John Payne.

Acceptance of Minutes: a motion was made by Joe to accept the minutes of April 3rd, April 5th and April 10th, 2007.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Noteworthy News:
Highway – Bob reported that Shelburne’s roads held up well despite the torrential rains.  Although there were minor washouts, the crew did a fantastic job keeping the bleeders and culverts open.  Pete estimates approximately $17,000 in damage. 
Police – Joe reported that the Chief has been away this week attending Incident Management Training.  With the help of fellow officers, minor renovations have been made to the police station.  A counter area was installed so to limit public access.

OLD BUSINESS:
Wilbert L. & Bertha Rainville RE: Right of First Refusal – the 120 day deadline for the town to act on their “Right of First Refusal” is July 2, 2007.  Being that the Board has not heard from other town Boards, John suggested that a “reminder” memo be sent out seeking a response by May 17th.

NEW BUSINESS:

Request for Transfer from Reserve for Legal Fees – the town’s legal expense presently has a balance of $786.94 with an invoice pending for updated law books.  Given the ongoing controversy and the increased need for legal counsel a motion was made by Joe to seek a transfer from the Reserve Account in the amount of $2,700 providing that members of the Finance Committee are in agreement.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Sanford Jenks RE: Resignation from Route 112 Byway Committee – Mr. Jenks submitted a letter of resignation from the Route 112 Byway Committee citing health reasons.  A motion was made by Joe to accept the resignation with regret.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Stantec RE: Bid Award for mechanic Street Sidewalk and School Street Reconstruction – seven bids were received and opened on April 11 for the above referenced project.  The bids have been reviewed by Stantec Consulting Services and are found to be in order.  According to Grant Administrator, John Ryan, the construction budget available for this project is $526,753.  Based on this information, Stantec is recommending that the Board of Selectmen award the low bidder; Freitas Construction of Ludlow, MA in the amount of $428,698.20.  A motion was made by Joe to award Freitas Construction the bid in the amount of $428,698.20.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

CORRESPONDENCE:
F.R.C.O.G. RE: Housing Inspection Data – for informational purposes only.  No action taken.

7:00 p.m. Finance Committee (Jerry Dubie & Greg Oles) RE: Review of Proposed Omnibus Budget – Joe highlighted the areas of the omnibus budget that had been recommended for budgetary cuts.  Members of the Finance Committee were in agreement stating that they felt that this year’s budget was a “huge” improvement over last year’s and were pleased that Shelburne was not facing an over-ride especially in light of the problems that other Franklin County towns are facing.  The Mohawk Trail Regional high School budget was discussed at length.  Joe reported that the School Committee meets on April 25th and he anticipates a reduction in Shelburne’s assessment as a result of that meeting.  If in fact that occurs, the warrant article will be reduced on town meeting floor.
A motion was made by Joe to accept the omnibus budget as presented.  John seconded the motion.  Discussion: Before finalizing the vote, John recommended removing money from line item # 810 142 to a new budgetary line item account entitled: Housing Inspection Program # 510 030.  Everyone agreed.  Motion carried unanimously.

Town Clerk RE: Scholarship Letter of Support – being that the Board decided not to fund the Town Clerk’s $775 request to attend the Town Clerk’s Institute, they agreed to send a letter to the Municipal Clerk’s Institute Scholarship Committee with the hopes that Beverly may be eligible for enough funding to cover her first year costs.  A motion was made by Joe to send a letter.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

7:30 p.m. Town Moderator, Jim Stacy and Finance Committee RE: Review of Annual Town Meeting Warrant Articles – the group reviewed the 49 proposed warrant articles; rearranging the order of some of them with the hopes that they would be presented while the majority of town meeting voters were still present.

There was lengthy discussion relative to the two petition articles submitted by Arms Library trustees.  The first article requests that the Board of Selectmen and the Arms Library Trustees work together to resolve ownership status of the building before the end of 2007.  Joe spoke of the antiquated agreement that dates back to 1914 which deeds the building to the inhabitants of Shelburne.  The deed is also specifies how the library will be maintained.  Given the current arrangement, the town cannot authorize borrowing on the library’s behalf, cannot seek a feasibility study or repair the roof as the building is not under the town’s jurisdiction.   Joe envisions a rather “simple” solution; suggesting that the town take over ownership of the building and the trustees continue to manage it under some formal agreement.  The second article seeks the appropriation of an additional $9,237 to supplement associated operating costs for fiscal year 2008 (this amount was cut from the Arms Library budget.  If funded, it would allow the library to be open an additional four hours on Wednesdays).  Two members of the Board of Selectmen (Bob & John) as well as members of the Finance Committee were supportive of this article.  Joe defended the petition article stating that voters should have an opportunity to say whether or not they want to fund it.  Joe suggested that the article be subject to a Proposition 2.5% over-ride vote; everyone else disagreed.  John aired the following concerns:  “After having worked so hard to balance a budget, you are asking us to go back and allow an over-ride?  Given how tight our budget is, the idea of cutting $9,237 is mind boggling. I totally support the Arm’s Library’s rights to petition but it goes against our Board’s struggles to balance a budget.”  Jerry Dubie noted that the request represented a 30% increase in their budget in exchange for more services.  “We can’t afford more services,” noted Dubie.  Because the article does not specify where the money is to be taken from, the Moderator stated that it is up to the Board of Selectmen to sell whatever option they would like to see exercised on town meeting floor (i.e. Proposition 2.5% over-ride, Stabilization or budget cuts).  Although a vote was not taken, Joe was the only one in favor of an over-ride vote; noting that it would be pennies on the tax rate.  Rather than make a decision, John suggested that the Board wait and see what the outcome of the vote is, and decide what the best course of action is at their next meeting on the following Thursday.

Other discussions included the petition articles submitted by the Town of Heath.  The Moderator was unsure who would move the articles being that they were submitted by nonresidents.  Terry Mosher indicated that there was initial concern that the content of the articles would compromise the legality of the Regional School District.  Both Terry and the Moderator will try and seek further clarification.  Lastly, there are several petition articles that are by-law related; some of which have financial implications with no funding mechanism; some that go against state statue and some that do not specify whether or not they are intended to be a town by-law or a zoning by-law.  Attorney MacNicol will be present during the meeting to assist the Moderator with procedural-related matters.

Continuation of Annual Town Meeting – in the event town meeting is lengthy, the Moderator will recommend that the meeting be adjourned and reconvened at a later date.  Due to conflicts in schedules, the recommended date of recommencement is Tuesday, May 8th.

OTHER BUSINESS:
MTRHS RE: RED Circuit Breaker – MTRHS District member towns are sending a letter to legislators seeking support for the RED Circuit Breaker Proposal.  The Superintendent’s Office is requesting that Shelburne Selectmen sign the letter in support of this effort.  Members of the Board as well as members of the Finance Committee were supportive of the concept.  A motion was made by Joe to add Shelburne’s name to the letter.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:
Richard Dils – told Bob that he should be ashamed of himself for wearing his hat while sitting in front of an American Flag.  Mr. Dils stated that the flag was dedicated to veterans who died serving this country and that Bob should honor it by removing his hat.
David Schochet – asked about the pending visit by Chinese delegates.  Bob spoke about our recently formed “sister village” relationship.
Richard Dils – asked what is being done about pending appointments to the Open Space Committee.  Joe responded by stating that he has spoken to Mr. Dils approximately three times concerning this matter and the answer is still the same.  Joe also told Mr. Dils that he takes issue with the fact that Mr. Dils called him a liar.  Dils asked about the numerous phone calls between the two of them alleging that Joe stated that he would “make it happen”.  Joe responded by stating that situations have occurred as of late that have suspended all appointments to the Open Space Committee.
Richard Dils criticized the Board for forwarding resident Rita Jaros’ letter to the Chief of Police without an investigation. Joe informed Mr. Dils that the reason that the letter was forwarded to the Police Department was so that the matter could be investigated.  Mr. Dils contends that Ms. Jaros did not hear those words because he did not say them.  Mr. Dils feels that his rights as a citizen have been violated and that the town was complicit in slandering him. As a result, Mr. Dils suggested that the town should “hang on for the ride.”   
Margaret Payne – thanked those who make an effort to speak civilly and respectfully to one another and who continue to work for the welfare of the town.  She encouraged everyone to attend the annual town meeting.
Jim Wall – defended Mr. Dils alleging that he has been “mistreated” by the Board of Selectmen.  He accused senior member Judd as having done “nothing” and allowing junior members with less experience to “rule the roost.”  Mr. Wall alleges that the Board of Selectmen has created these problems by their unethical conduct.  He reminded the Board that he had advised them to speak with Mr. Dils about the alleged statements made before bringing the matter to the Chief of Police.
Karen Gould – stated that on the night she spoke with Selectmen Judd, she made it clear during that discussion that she was inquiring about to the six pending appointments to the Open Space Committee and that Joe had indicated to her that appointments would be made.  In his defense, Joe stated that when he spoke to Ms. Gould about pending appointments he was referring to the Route 112 Scenic By-way Committee; and in fact, Ms. Gould and Mr. Dils were appointed the very next day. 

Adjournment: a motion was made by Joe to adjourn the meeting at 9:35 p.m.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary