Upcoming Meetings

  1. Select Board MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm
  2. Open Space Committee MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm
  3. Finance Committee MeetingMon, Jul 23 07:00 pm

Selectmen Meeting Minutes — March 20, 2008—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Joe Judd. Other members present: John Payne and Bob Manners.

Acceptance of Minutes: A motion was made by John to accept the minutes of March 6, 2008 as presented. Bob seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Noteworthy News:
•John reported that efforts relative to town hall space issues are underway and moving forward with a lot of good ideas being brought forth.
•John also reported that the Planning Board and Zoning Board continue to move forward with the proposed by-law changes. He noted that there will be three informational sessions and a public hearing. The schedule is as follows:

Informational Sessions:
March 28, 2008 7:00 p.m. Fellowship Hall
March 31, 2008 7:00 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium
April 4, 2008 7:00 p.m. Shelburne-Buckland Community Center

Public Hearing:
April 11, 2008 7:00 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium
April 14, 2008 * 7:00 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium
* Possible continuation date

•Bob reported that winter weather continues to wreak havoc on the highway department's snow and ice budget. A recent repair to the department's Mack truck cost approximately $5,600.
•Joe made it known that today was "Fred Roger's Day" also known as "Community Spirit Day" and with that said; he was hopeful that we can all be "good neighbors."
•Joe contacted Arms Library Trustee, Jim Culleny as a follow-up to previous discussions with the town relative to ownership of the building and overall stewardship of the library operation. Although the Trustees have been busy with the most recent Library Director hire, they will be meeting next week and reporting back to the Board.

7:15 p.m. Alan Edmond RE: Farmer's Market - Mr. Edmond appeared before the Board to find out what steps needed to be taken if he wanted to establish a farmer's market in the area of Deerfield Ave. Mr. Edmond explained that if feasible, he would like to set up a farmer's market one day a week (Monday or Friday) starting the second week of May through the second week of October. The proposed hours of the market would be from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Mr. Edmond explained that he has received favorable response from the Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and neighboring businesses. While the farmer's market is operational, he is hoping to close the street to vehicular traffic. Following a brief discussion regarding all aspects of the proposed market, it was evident that the Board was supportive of the concept however, before proceeding any further; the Board requested that Mr. Edmond bring forth a specific proposal for the Board of Selectmen to review. The proposal should include letters of support from neighboring businesses; and a specified location for the market that allows access for all emergency response vehicles and does not eliminate too much parking.

Budget Presentations (Finance Committee: Jerry Dubie, Greg Oles, John Wheeler, Laura Sandvik and Lynne Benander)

7:30 p.m. Pete Hillman RE: Highway Department Budget - Pete's budget reflected an overall increase of 1% for salaries and maintenance (FY'08 $247,789 to FY'09 $253,756).
While his attempts to stay within the budgetary guidelines was to be admired, neither members of the Board of Selectmen nor the Finance Committee felt his proposed budget was realistic given on what was spent in the previous fiscal year and what his expenditures were to date. Everyone agreed that they would much rather see a more realistic budget rather than one that simply meets the budgetary guidelines. With that said, Pete was asked to revise his budget and base the figures on "actual" needs. The "snow and ice" budget reflected an increase of 2% (FY'08 $74,588 to FY'09 76,188). Pete spoke of the difficulties in predicting what the budgetary needs are when every winter is so different. Pete stated that in his 11 years as highway superintendent, he has been able to make the budget work however, this year has been extremely difficult; his budget reflects a deficit in excess of $56,000.
Capital Requests: seeking to replace the 1983 International with a used dump truck. Requesting a total of $35,000 ($20,000 from Chapter 90 and $15,000 from Stabilization); seeking $9,520 for the lease buy-out payment on the 2004 Toyota Tacoma truck; and $20,000 for a rear flail mower and a bucket attachment to be used on the 2002 New Holland Tractor. Bob explained that the tractor is too valuable to be used only for mowing. If the bucket were purchased, the tractor could be stored at Cowell Gym during the winter months and used for loading sand and snow removal. If the mower were purchased, the town could perform road-side mowing in-house eliminating the need for $4,095 in hired services.

8:15 p.m. Steve Walker RE: Police Department - Steve explained that he is prepared to work within whatever budgetary capacity he is given however, he felt obligated to bring forth the best possible budget. With that said, the salary portion of his budget reflects a 43% increase over last years' budget (from $115,682 to $165,980). He explained that the increase was directly related to the addition of a third full-time officer and associated benefits. Steve spoke of the various complexities of the town (glacial potholes, the business district, the rural area and the increase in "quality of life" related calls). He explained that current shifts cover 96 hours per week. If a third officer were funded, it would provide 19 to 20 hours of coverage per day with staggered shifts. Steve believes that staggered shifts are essential and provide officers the opportunity to communicate with one another about the events of any particular shift. Joe stated that the concept of a third officer is not a new one. Although he supports the concept, members of the Board and Finance Committee need to take a look at the "big picture" in terms of affordability and figure out how to pull it off.
The Police Department Expense budget reflects an increase of 15% (from $19,984 to $22,959). The increase is reflective of increased costs of gasoline, postage, training, uniforms and maintenance agreements. When asked about Community Policing funds Steve stated that he is hopeful that the town will receive approximately $45,000. He further explained that the money, if received, can only be used to supplement a department's community needs beyond what is regular (programs, equipment, and coverage at special events). Steve hopes to move away from using the fund as a necessity and use the money as it was intended. The Quinn Bill account reflects a 5% increase (from $10,318 to $10,883).
Capital Requests: purchase of a new cruiser $31,500

9:45 p.m. Margaret Fitzpatrick, Liquor License Hearing RE: "Ollie's Down Under" - the hearing was opened by Joe Judd. He read the hearing notice aloud and turned the discussion over to Margaret Fitzpatrick. Margaret stated that she owns the 10 Bridge Street building, she has been in the restaurant business for 27 years, and has held a liquor license for 9 years. John asked how she would ensure that alcohol is not being served to minors. Margaret stated that all of her employees are "tip" trained; she has maintained a good clean record with no infractions; and she utilizes veteran employees. Joe asked for any public comment. No public comments heard. The hearing was closed at 9:50 p.m. A motion was made by Bob to approve the liquor license. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

9:55 p.m. Beverly Neeley, Town Clerk Budget Presentation - Beverly presented the following budgets:

Town Clerk Salary -- FY'08--$17,483 -- FY'09--$17,920 (2.5% increase)
Operating Expense -- FY'08--$ 1,603 -- FY'09--$2,400 (Clerk's conference)
Election Expense -- FY'08--$5,600 -- FY'09--$7,900 (3 elections)
Constable -- FY'08--$60 -- FY'09--$60
Preservation of Records -- FY'08--$3,000 -- FY'09--$3,000

Capital Request: the electronic ballot box currently being used was purchased in 1997. After the 2008 Presidential election, parts, service and support will no longer be available. Beverly is seeking a new ballot box for $6,500.

Policy for Recording of Meeting Minutes and Fulfilling Requests for Public Records - now that many of the town's public officials have had the benefit of training on the Public Records Law and the Open Meeting Law, the Board is ready to bring forth a policy concerning recording and maintaining meeting minutes and responding to requests for public documents. Attorney Shawn Williams reviewed the policy and aside from a few suggestions relative to cost; he indicated that it was a good document. Bob inquired about a form that had been created for the purpose of making records requests. Terry indicated that although the form was not part of the policy, she would make it available through the Town Clerk's office in the event someone wanted to make their request in writing. After no further discussion, a motion was made by Bob to accept the policy as presented. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Senior Center Lease Agreement - Joe provided each member with a copy of the draft lease agreement and reviewed those areas affected by change. He asked that each member review the document and bring forth any additional changes for discussion at their next meeting.
Franklin Land Trust RE: George Randall APR Application - still waiting to receive comments from the Conservation Commission.

Proposed Police Department Relocation - after having given the matter a great deal of thought and recognizing the many demands on individual members of the Board, Joe proposed that a committee comprised of residents be formed to research and report back on each and every suitable site in an effort to establish a new location for the Shelburne Police Department. Once the information has been gathered, Joe would like to hold a series of public hearings before bringing the matter forth at the annual town meeting in 2009. Without divulging anyone's identity, Joe indicated that he has begun to approach individuals that he believes would be beneficial to the committee. He would like to see a Committee comprised of 7 individuals. After a brief discussion, a motion was made by Joe to proceed with the formation of a committee. John seconded the motion. Bob, who had received approval from the Ethics Commission to speak on the subject matter (see New Business, first item), expressed frustration concerning the lack of a short-term solution. Bob feels that the Police Department's space concerns are immediate and shuffling the town offices around will not solve the problem. He recommended that the town take immediate action and not wait until a suitable long-term location is found. He suggested relocating the department to an existing town-owned facility; naming the Cowell Gymnasium as a possibility. A lengthy discussion ensued about pros and cons of the potential short-term use of Cowell Gymnasium or the Town of Buckland's facility. Bob did not favor the Buckland location for many reasons. In the spirit of compromise, both Joe and John agreed that short-term solutions could be added to the Committee's task list. Motion carried unanimously.

Economic Development Committee - Joe will be facilitating a meeting Monday evening between the Shelburne Falls Military Band, the Historical Society and Trinity Church representatives for the purpose of discussing the possible relocation of the Military Band's rehearsal hall which is currently located on Memorial Drive. The concept of relocating the building was proposed by Attorney Kevin Parsons who is helping to facilitate the redevelopment of the 33 Bridge Street site on behalf of the owners Nick and Fani Gitsis.

Robert Manners RE: Public Disclosure Forms Concerning Proposed Police Station Relocation - after speaking with a representative from the Ethics Commission regarding his ability to participate in discussions relative to the proposed relocation of the police station, Bob completed a "Disclosure of Financial Interest Form" and a "Disclosure of Appearance of Conflict of Interest Form" for the Board's review. After review of both forms, a motion was made by John indicating that neither Bob nor his family possesses any property and/or spaces that could be considered for purchase and/or lease by the town for possible use by the Shelburne Police Department therefore; he should be allowed to participate fully. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried: two in favor, one abstention.

Highway Superintendent RE: Request to Spend in Excess of Annual Appropriation - in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 44, section 31D "Snow and ice removal; emergency expenditures; reporting requirements, Pete Hillman notified members of the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee that his budget currently reflects a deficit balance of $56,556.28. Pete requested permission to spend up to $75,000 in excess of available funds for snow and ice removal activities in fiscal year 2008. A motion was made by Bob to authorize the spending request. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Jerry Dubie asked for a vote of his members. All five members voted in favor of supporting the request.
Highway Garage Roof Leak - according to the Highway Superintendent, the leaky roof was discovered Friday. Although the specific area of the leak cannot be determined, there is interior damage to the insulation and sheetrock. The town's insurer has been notified of the leak and Pete is in the process of obtaining quotes for a new roof.

Request for Transfer from Reserve Account RE: Survey Work - a few years back, the Town was granted an easement by Trinity Church so to allow for waterline and roadway improvements on Water Street. When the description of the easement was provided to the Town by Dufresne-Henry Engineering, it inadvertently included the entire parcel. Therefore, when votes were taken at town meeting based on the description and said votes were recorded at the registry of deeds, unbeknown to the Selectmen or Trinity Church, the entire parcel was being conveyed to the Town. In order to rectify the error, Attorney MacNicol is suggesting that the Town survey the property so that proper descriptions of the conveyance can be obtained and brought forth at the annual town meeting. Estimated cost for the survey work is $1,500. The request was reviewed by members of the Finance Committee and a vote was taken as follows: 4 members approved; 1 member left the meeting early. Request approved. The money will be placed in the Highway Maintenance account until survey work has been completed.

Kevin Parsons RE: Gitsis Realty, LLC Request for Tax Increment Financing Exemption - Attorney Parsons, representing Gitsis Realty, LLC explained that the owners are in the process of planning, designing, pricing and jumping through all the hurdles with the intent to rebuild at the 33 Bridge Street location. Attorney Parsons stated that this is a very expedited process as construction is slated to begin in late June or early July. Within a month, costs of the project will be determined and financial feasibility will be examined. In anticipation of the project, Attorney Parsons has submitted a letter of intent notifying the town of their intention to apply for a Tax Increment Financing Agreement. Once the details of the project are known, Attorney Parsons is hopeful to make a presentation to the Selectmen within the next two weeks. In response to Finance Committee member questions, Attorney Parsons provided a brief overview of the proposed four story building. No further action taken.

Ivy Palmer RE: Community Farmer's Market - Ms. Palmer submitted a letter to the Board seeking permission to hold a farmer's market on the Baptist Corner Lot on 53 Main Street. The market would take place on Friday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Memorial Day through Columbus Day. According to Ms. Palmer, the Trinity Church Executive Board has given their full approval and support for the market. Ms. Palmer anticipates up to 15 vendors. John indicated that he was pleased with her proposal and would like its' appearance to provide the public with the perception of a "good quality" market. Members of the Board also discussed parking concerns, the proposed construction schedule and an earlier request for a farmer's market on Deerfield Ave. Ms. Palmer indicated that she is aware of Mr. Edmond's Deerfield Ave. proposal. She stated that there will be a meeting of the vendors on March 28th and if the majority would like to operate at the proposed Deerfield Ave. location; then the majority would rule. In closing, the Board wished Ms. Palmer well with her endeavors and thanked her for notifying the Board of her plans.

Budget Working Session - now that all budget presentations have been heard, Joe suggested that the Board meet on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. to begin review of the FY'09 budget.

Comcast RE: Renewal Cable Television License - the March 10th letter was in response to an earlier letter signed by Selectboard Chairman's Judd and Racz which represented a series of questions and requests for information on behalf of both towns; relative to the renewal of the cable television license. John suggested forwarding a copy of the letter to Glenn Cardinal, Cable Advisory Committee Chairman for analysis. No further action taken.

Kevin Parsons: Mr. Parsons commended members of the Board of Selectmen for their public service to the town. Mr. Parsons extended a special thanks to member John Payne for the incredible amount of work he has done to bring forth revisions to the town's zoning by-laws.
Kevin will be attending a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 which represents a continuation of the Gitsis Realty, LLC special permit hearing. He is hopeful that members of the Zoning Board of Appeals will look favorably on the application so that the project can move forward.

With all due respect to member Bob Manners, Kevin encouraged the Board to stop worrying about boundaries (referring to utilizing Buckland's site as a potential police station); noting that response time is more important than location. Kevin believes that the town should start thinking about creating cooperative entities as a means of pooling expertise and saving money.

Lastly, Kevin suggested some areas of the Senior Center lease that should be looked at carefully.

Adjournment: a motion was made by Bob to adjourn the meeting at 10:58 p.m. Motion seconded by John. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary