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  1. Open Space Committee MeetingMon, Aug 27 07:00 pm

Selectmen Meeting Minutes — October 6, 2009—3:30 p.m. — Memorial Hall.

Call to order: The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chairman, John Payne. Other members present: Joe Judd and Robert Manners.

Press Present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent

Noteworthy News:
Veteran's Benefits -- According to the Town's Veteran's Agent, Leo Parent, there has been a dramatic increase in requests for Veteran's benefits throughout Franklin County. To date, Shelburne is paying benefits to two eligible Veterans and/or their families at a rate of $1,400 per month. The town appropriated $6,000 in this line item account and will need to appropriate an additional $11,000 just to satisfy these two claims. Although cities and towns are reimbursed by the State; on average it takes 8 months before reimbursement is received. Depending upon what happens between now and the end of this fiscal year, John is suggesting that the town appropriate at least $20,000 in this account next year.

Order of Business:
Village Information Center Furnace -- Joe reported that the furnace at the Village Information Center is not salvageable. According to Joe, the heating technician who was called to repair the furnace determined, based on the age of the furnace and the magnitude of the repairs needed; that the system was no longer functional and attempting to make repairs would not be cost effective if indeed it was even possible. Paul Gifford, a member of the Shelburne Falls Area Civic Beautification Association obtained three quotes from heating contractors. They were as follows:

Tognarelli Heating & Cooling $4,894.00
White Heating $5,392.63
Rice Oil & Propane $5,769.06

Before making a decision, Joe provided the Board with a brief history of the building which was formally opened in 1991 as an information center. Since that time, the town-owned building has been maintained and financed through the Shelburne Falls Area Civic Beautification Association who leases the building from the Town for $1.00 annually. While the Shelburne Falls Area Civic Beautification Association has appreciated the use of the building, the lease recognizes that the Town is responsible for Maintenance and repair of the "major mechanicals" of the building.

Joe indicated that he looked into every avenue possible to fund the purchase and installation of the new furnace; he came up with five potential options:

  1. To use a portion of the town's Reserve fund (Town Accountant and Town Auditor advised against because the building is not used for municipal purposes);
  2. Close the Village Information Center until funds could be secured via a special town meeting;
  3. Ask the S.F.A.B.A. to pay a portion of the cost with the understanding that the town would seek reimbursement at a special town meeting (M.G.L. does not allow a town to enter into a contract agreement unless funding has been secured);
  4. Use housing trust monies generated from Community Development Block Grant Program (Joe spoke with John Ryan, Grant Administrator. Furnace purchase and installation is not a CDBG eligible activity);
  5. Allocate the funds from the town's Building & Grounds Maintenance Account and replenish at the next special town meeting;

Bob Manners was surprised to learn that the furnace was only 21 years old. He asked if it had been maintained on a regular basis.

Marion Taylor, representing the Shelburne Falls Area Civic Beautification Association indicated that the furnace is cleaned and serviced annually.

John Payne asked why the furnace failed. Although Joe did not have specific information relative to the problems with the burner, he indicated that he would obtain the information from the technician.

Given the limited financing options, Bob indicated that he was not opposed to closing the Information Center and relocating the tenants until the money could be appropriated. John made several inquiries with regards to accepting a loan from the S.F.A.B.A. and/or accepting donations. Town Accountant, Joyce Muka was called in to clarify the town's options (special town meeting, Buildings & Grounds Maintenance Account or a donation).

Marion Taylor indicated that her organization has donated for the last 20 years and although she understands the financial problems that the town is faced with however, the town entered into a lease agreement and they should honor it. She was opposed to closing the building as she felt it would cause the building to deteriorate.

When the matter was put to a vote, Bob made a motion to transfer the sum of $4,894 from the town's Buildings and Grounds Maintenance account for the purchase and installation of a HB Smith Series 8/3 oil fired cast iron boiler with tank-less water heater in accordance with the proposal provided by Tognarelli Heating and Cooling of Turners Falls, MA.; providing that maintenance records of the existing furnace illustrate that it was maintained and cleaned on an annual basis. Joe seconded the motion. Joe indicated that the Board will attempt to put the money back into the budget at the next special town meeting. Motion carried unanimously.

Siemen's Building Technologies RE: Investment Grade Audit -- in order for the town to take advantage of energy and operational savings throughout town-owned buildings, the Selectmen must contract with Siemen's Building Technologies authorizing them to complete an in-depth investment grade audit. The cost of the audit is approximately $1,300 and will take between 2-3 months to complete. Once complete, the Board can begin implementing improvements using projected energy savings to pay for said improvements. A motion was made by Bob to enter into a contractual agreement with Siemen's Building Technologies for the purpose of conducting an investment grade audit. The motion was seconded by Joe. After a brief discussion, Bob amended his original motion as follows: to enter into a contractual agreement with Siemen's Building Technologies for the purpose of conducting an investment grade audit providing that a source of funding has been identified to pay for said audit. Amended motion seconded by Joe. Motion carried unanimously.

Rebecca Compton, Harvard University RE: Lichen Study at Hill Cemetery -- Ms. Compton is a researcher at Harvard University documenting trends in both the species diversity and genetic diversity of lichen populations of Massachusetts. She has obtained samples from historic graveyards in Cambridge, Harvard, and Petersham and is requesting permission to access the Hill Cemetery so to continue her studies. She indicated that she will carefully remove fragments from the outer edges of the lichens using forceps. There will be no need for her to scrape or rub the gravestones. A motion was made by Bob to approve the request. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Daniel Lieberman RE: Appointment to the Open Space Committee -- Daniel Lieberman has requested that the Board consider him as a candidate for the vacant position on the Open Space Committee. He attended the last meeting of that Committee and feels that he can make a useful contribution. Before acting on the appointment, the Board will seek a letter of recommendation from the Committee's Chairman. No further was action taken.

Veterans Club of Shelburne Falls RE: Change in Manager -- a motion was made by Bob to approve the Club's request for change in manager (from Richard Dufresne to Greg Leuders). John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. The application will be sent to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission in Boston for final approval.
Other Business:

Access to Glacial Potholes -- Two educational institutes have scheduled visits to the glacial potholes over the next two weeks which will require access via the town-owned stairs. Now that the area is completely fenced in Bob suggested that the Board may want to explore assigning a police officer to that area while the field trip is in progress to prevent the general public from accessing the area while the gate is unlocked. Bob suggested that all costs associated with the police detail could be borne by the educational institute. No action was taken.

4:00 p.m. Robert Dean, Franklin Regional Council of Governments -- Bob appeared before the Board to discuss any potential "planning" or "municipal regional" projects that might be eligible for future technical assistance grant funding. The Board discussed a variety of ideas that included coordination and expertise for cable contract negotiations; the expansion of high-speed internet access to underserved areas; clerk of the works services to assist municipalities with energy efficiency upgrades; and regionalized services such as police, libraries and animal control.

Adjournment: a motion was made by Bob to adjourn the meeting at 4:50 p.m. Motion seconded by John. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary