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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — March 10, 2009—3:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Call to Order:
Chairman Bob Manners called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. Other members present: John Payne and Joe Judd.

Town-Wide Telephone Notification System - Joe has been in contact with a representative from Swiftreach Networks, Inc; a vendor that provides a town-wide telephone notification system like the one we currently have through Connect-CTY. Joe is trying to arrange for a demonstration so that a determination can be made as to the quality of their product. The town currently pays $2,995 annually to Connect-CTY and is engaged in a three-year contract which expires February 15, 2010. Swiftreach Networks Inc. contends that their product is comparable and will cost the town $1,800 annually.

Bolio Property, 69-73 Bridge Street RE: Foreclosure - Joe continues to have preliminary discussions with parties representing the Bolio property and its pending foreclosure. He reported that he is waiting to hear from an independent appraiser so to determine the value of the Bridge Street property. In speaking with Attorney MacNicol, Joe explained that the town has the option to pursue the property via a "unique purchase acquisition." This process would allow the town to file for the land acquisition through the Registry of Deeds; providing the towns' "unique" circumstances were acceptable. The proposed acquisition would then be brought before annual town meeting voters to see if they would authorize the Board to spend up to a specific amount for said purchase. Board members agreed that a presentation to include financing and potential uses will be instrumental in order to determine whether or not the acquisition is in the best interests of the town. Joe intends to meet with members of the Finance Committee to obtain their opinion and will continue to pursue appraisal and financing options.

Farm Animal and Machinery Excise Ballot Question - Several years back, annual town meeting voters across the state (including Shelburne) approved an article at the recommendation of the Board of Assessors that authorized the elimination of farm animal and machinery excise tax. Although this particular tax was eliminated, apparently the action taken by various municipalities was not legally binding.

In recent months, the Department of Revenue has notified cities and towns of a new option regarding local assessment of farm animal and machinery excise that was enacted as part of the 2008 Dairy Preservation Act. This new option allows cities and towns to legally eliminate the excise tax providing a referendum question is placed before voters and is approved by a two-thirds vote. As a result, the Board of Assessors have requested that the Selectmen direct the Town Clerk to place a referendum question on the election ballot that will allow the assessors to stop assessing farm animal and machinery excise in subsequent years. A motion was made by John to direct the Town Clerk to place the referendum question on the election ballot. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Zoning Board RE: Guidelines for Keeping and Distributing Minutes - the Zoning Board of Appeals is in the process of creating guidelines for the keeping and distribution of their meeting minutes. Before adopting the guidelines, they asked that the Board of Selectmen review and make comment. Members of the Board reviewed the proposed guidelines and felt comfortable with them as presented. No further action taken.

FY'2010 Budget Overview - the Board reviewed the budget overview for FY'10 and despite the Governor's reduction in local aid; they felt comfortable moving forward with the level-funded version of the omnibus budget. As an exploratory measure, Joe asked the Treasurer to determine the overall savings if the Board were to decide to change the town's health insurance contribution from 75% to 70%. The Treasurer indicated that the overall savings would be $8,609. During the discussion, Joe reiterated that despite what some employees may think, these exploratory measures are being looked into so that employees are able to retain their jobs. Given the town's current financial standing, members agreed that unless the town's financial picture takes a turn for the worse and jobs are threatened, the town's contribution will remain unchanged. Given the limited time remaining for budget presentations and final preparations, the Board agreed to forgo presentations from departments with smaller budgets providing that they were level-funded.

Adjournment - John made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:08 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary