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    Selectmen Meeting Minutes — July 20, 2009—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall.

    Call to Order: the meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman, John Payne. Other member present: Bob Manners. Member Joe Judd was scheduled to arrive a bit later.

    Acceptance of Minutes -- Bob made a motion to accept the minutes of July 6th and July 14th, 2009 as presented. John seconded the motion. Motion carried.

    Noteworthy News:

    • Main Street -- there is a construction "update meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Hall.
    • Annual Road Race -- scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2009.
    • Annual Bridge Dinner -- is scheduled for Sunday, August 16, 2009. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

    Department Liaison Reports:
    Highway -- Bob reported that the highway crew continues to patch various town roads. To date over 20 tons have been applied. The Main Street reconstruction project is progressing well. Sidewalks on the east side of the street should be complete by the end of this week providing the weather cooperates.

    Town Office -- John reported that the Gitsis project is progressing at a good pace. Weekly construction meetings are held every Monday at 11:00 a.m. in Memorial Hall so to keep the business district informed of the construction schedule. The foundation is being poured this week. Water main related work will take place after the August 8th road race so that the road surface is not compromised.

    John attended the Franklin Regional Council of Government's quarterly meeting last week. New officers were elected and Tom Sharp of Erving will serve as the new Council chairman. The F.R.C.O.G. is trying to determine what the differing implications will be for member towns regarding the Quinn Bill now that the State has reduced its reimbursements by $48 million dollars. The F.R.C.O.G. has also been attending public hearings sponsored by the Commissioner of Telecommunications to address numerous complaints regarding Verizon's quality of service. To date, two public hearings have been held and no one from the general public has attended. The third and final hearing will be held on August 3rd in Chester, MA. Anyone wishing to attend the hearing or forward written comments and/or concerns can contact Linda Dunlavy. So to facilitate the expansion of broadband services in rural communities, John reported that a series of 5 conduits are in the process of being installed along Route 91 from Massachusetts to the Vermont border. Lastly, the F.R.C.O.G. has reviewed several studies relating to the proposed Biomass plant in Greenfield. The studies indicate that the amount of wood necessary to operate the plant far exceeds the amount resources available.

    7:15 p.m. Public Hearing RE: Keystone Market's request for Change of Manager, Election of New Officers and Transfer of Stock -- Attorney Scott Cote of Greenfield, Mass appeared before the Board to explain the reasons for the liquor license transaction. After reviewing the application and hearing no opposition, a motion was made by Bob to approve the requests as presented. Motion seconded by John. Motion carried unanimously.

    7:30 p.m. Finance Committee RE: Proposed FY'10 Budget Cuts (Lynn Benander and John Wheeler) -- Now that the state budget has been adopted and local aid figures have been released, member Selectmen have been preparing for another round of budget cuts for FY'10. The Board presented their proposal for balancing the FY'10 budget to members of the Finance Committee. Their proposal calls for $56,300 in budgetary reductions and $10,336 in account transfers for a total of $66,636. After reviewing the proposal, Finance Committee members earmarked specific line items for further discussion. Once their questions were satisfied, the discussion broadened into other areas.

    Proposal to Close the Cowell Gym during Winter Months (Chuck Washer & Diana Hardina) -- Recreation Committee member, Chuck Washer indicated the gymnasium's wood floor would not withstand the influx of temperature during the winter months. He stated that the lack of heat would cause the boards to buckle and the fasteners to come loose. Joe Judd who had also consulted with a flooring contractor agreed. Members of the Recreation Committee are working to increase user fees, purchase new equipment, implement new programs and market the facility on the web site in an effort to help off set operating costs with funds generated by its' users. Chuck also suggested holding a joint meeting with the Teen Center and the Police Chief regarding their use of the building. Also mentioned was the need to service the furnace before the winter months; synchronizing the various thermostats and figuring out why the furnace kicks on so frequently. In closing, they indicated support of the Selectmen's proposal to reduce the Cowell Gymnasium's budget by $3,000 and use $9,136 in user fees to offset heating costs.

    Collection of Taxes -- John indicated that approximately $100,000 in delinquent taxes has been collected between FY'08 - FY'09. The Collector, working with the Selectmen, is in the process of coordinating specific collection actions for the remainder of the delinquent accounts.

    Revenues verses Expenditures -- Finance Committee member, Lynn Benander inquired about the town's current financial status and whether or not steps have been implemented to ensure that town expenditures do not exceed revenue collected. The Board indicated that a town-wide spending freeze is still in place and they do not anticipate that it will be lifted any time soon. The Board will be working closely with the town's financial department to monitor cash flow.

    Arms Library -- members of the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen are anxious to have a candid meeting with the Arms Library Trustees so to determine whether or not either party should continue to pursue steps necessary to dissolve the original library organization and re-establish the library as a town department. Laurie Wheeler who was present for the discussion will speak with her Trustees in order to pinpoint a meeting date.

    In closing, Lynn Benander thanked the Selectmen for an "amazing" job; referring to their efforts in balancing the budget. Both she and John indicated that the Finance Committee is supportive of their budget balancing proposal.

    After no further discussion, Joe made a motion to accept the budgetary reductions and fund balance transfers as presented and to begin preparing for a special town meeting in August or September. Bob seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously,

    Old Business:
    Bridge Street Parking -- Joe continues to work with the Police Department to establish new parking opportunities in the business district. Using conceptual photographs to illustrate specific locations, they have identified 11-12 new spaces. As soon as the Highway Superintendent returns from vacation, the crew will resume their efforts to implement changes. Joe is also considering the elimination of one of the municipal parking spots in front of the town hall; replacing faded signage and addressing the enforcement of "no parking" in the loading zone on Water Street.

    Open Space Committee RE: Proposed Policy for Chapter 61 -- before adopting the proposed policy, Joe recommended suggesting a provision that will allow for a more expeditious review (60 days) in the event it is obvious that the property is of no interest to the town or a non-profit agency; or is too cost prohibitive to pursue. Joe is concerned that if each case is held to the 120 day review period that pending sales could be adversely affected. A letter will be sent to Open Space Chairman, Larry Flaccus with suggested changes.

    New Business:
    Richard Warner, Memorial Hall Association RE: A Few Requests -- in a letter to the Board of Selectmen Richard Warner was seeking the following approvals on behalf of the Memorial hall Association:

    Permission to run a phone line to the concessions area of the theater lobby on the second floor;

    Permission to schedule limited hours of public access to the second floor box office for purchase of season ticket and tickets for some individual shows. Anticipate 4 hours a day; limiting hours to Fridays and Saturdays beginning August 21;

    Permission to show a live broadcast of the National Theater Company's -- "Alls Well That Ends Well" on Thursday evening, October 1st at 7:00 p.m.

    After review of each request, a motion was made by Bob to approve the installation of an independent phone line; approve established box office hours in Memorial Hall on Friday and Saturday's providing that town will be assured that bathrooms are kept clean and approval of the live broadcast show to be performed on Thursday, October 1st at 7:00 p.m. John seconded the motion. Motion carried.

    Walter & Cate Chadwick, Memorial Hall Association RE: Historical Photographs of Memorial Hall Theater -- both members of Memorial Hall Association appeared before the Board seeking permission to borrow three photographs stored in the town's vault depicting the Memorial Hall Theater at the turn of the 20th century. The photos would be taken to Forbes Photo in Greenfield where they would be handled by professionals; converting them to high resolution digital images. Once the photos are digitally copied, the originals will be returned immediately to the town vault. Memorial Hall Association would like to display the digital duplicates in the theater lobby and on the MHA website. Both the town and the historical society will receive complimentary copies. Following a brief discussion, a motion was made by Bob to approve the request. Joe seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

    Other Business:
    Abandoning of Two Plow Routes -- before the winter season is upon us, Bob would like the Board to make a decision regarding the winter maintenance of two private sections of road (Memorial Drive and a small section of former Route 2 adjacent to Clark's Corvair). The crew has historically maintained these sections of road even though they are privately owned. In the interests of saving time and money abutters were notified of the potential abandonment last winter.

    Annual Assessor's Meeting -- at the request of the Assessors, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a request to spend $99.00 so to allow members of the Board of Assessors to attend an annual dinner meeting.

    Adjournment -- Bob made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:48 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion approved unanimously.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Terry Mosher
    Executive Secretary