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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — February 24, 2009—3:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

The Meeting was called to order by Vice-Chairman, John Payne. Other members present: Joe Judd. Bob Manners arrived at 3:20 p.m.

3:00 p.m. Glenn Cardinal, Cable Advisory Committee RE: Comcast Cable Negotiations - Glenn reported that since the signing of the informal denial, Comcast has offered the following contract enhancements:

Approximately 9.9 miles of line extension (6 miles in Shelburne; 3.9 in Buckland); a $400,000 investment; Original contract offered 3 miles per town.
The line extension is expected to take place over 2.5 years.

In order to qualify for a line extension the contract language pertaining to household density has been changed to 15 subscribers per mile. The original contract called for 30 subscribers per mile.

The definition of "long drop" has been changed to reflect 200 feet. The original contract defined "long drop as 125 feet.

A discount for Senior Citizens is doable; senior citizens will have to request such discounts in writing to Comcast.

Comcast's financial contribution to Falls Cable will be $15,000 up front along with an additional 5% of the revenue generated from each subscriber's bill over a ten-year period. In the previous contract, Falls Cable received $46,000 up front; in addition to 2-3% of the revenue generated from the subscriber's bills in the first 6 years and 4% of the revenue generated in years 7-10.

Following Glenn's presentation discussion amongst Board members ensued. Bob asked about the cable lines that presently run by the homes of rural residents; yet those residents are unable to receive Comcast's service. Glenn indicated that he would speak with a Comcast representative to find out what it would take to get those households "wired."

John felt that the contract with the proposed enhancements was "mediocre" at best. He expressed concern for those residents who have businesses and cannot access Comcast's services. Glenn reminded members of the Board that there is language in the contract that allows residents to negotiate with Comcast on an individual basis for an expansion of services. Even though there is a cost to be borne by the resident, the more subscribers he or she gets involved; the less the overall cost. John indicated that he would like to speak with the Cable Advisory Committee about the possibility of working with neighborhoods to help them negotiate extension of services through Comcast. Glenn cautioned that some areas may be too remote and therefore too costly for negotiation. He indicated that there provisions in the law that state; if costs are exorbitant, towns cannot force a provider to make services available.
Glenn will keep the Board apprised of his findings. Members of the joint Cable Advisory Committee are scheduled to meet Wednesday evening to review Comcast's contract enhancements. No further action required at this time.

Final Review of Special Town Meeting Warrant - in preparation for the March 19th, special town meeting, the Board reviewed the one article on the warrant that proposes a series of reductions to several of the town's operating accounts. The proposed reductions are necessary to balance the town's budget following the Governor's recent cut to the town's local aid. Following review of the article, two minor changes were brought forth by John; at the request of the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk would like her expense account and the Treasurer's expense to reflect a "general expense reduction" rather than specify the cancellation of a conference. After no further discussion, a motion was made by Joe to approve the article; inclusive of the two minor changes. John seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously. With the Board's approval, Bob indicated that he would send a town-wide telephone message reminding residents of the special town meeting. Members of the Board agreed that a telephone message was a good idea.

Bank of Western Mass RE: Notice of Bolio Property Foreclosure - Joe is in the process of scheduling a meeting with the bank and representing attorneys to discuss the possibilities of the town purchasing the property. Joe indicated that the bank seems very interested in helping the town and is willing to put together a buy-sell agreement that is contingent on annual town meeting approval. If voters are supportive of the purchase and the town obtains a long-term loan, Joe wonders if other infrastructure improvements should be considered at the same time (i.e. Arms Library Roof). Joe intends to speak with the Finance Committee Chairman so that their Committee has an opportunity to discuss the proposal.
Mutianyu - Sue Sylvester is planning a spring trip to our "sister" village in China. Anyone interested in going may do so at a rate of $3,000 per person.

F.C. Tech School RE: Surplus Oil - Bob contacted the Franklin County Tech School to express Shelburne's interest in obtaining some of their surplus fuel oil and was informed that it had already been spoken for.

Resignation of Fiscal Officer, Scott Sawyer - the Board received a letter from Scott dated February 17, 2009 indicating his intention to resign from his position of fiscal officer effective immediately. Joe stated that he had an opportunity to speak with Scott and his decision is final. Joe made a motion to accept Scott's resignation with regret. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Replacement of Fiscal Officer - Upon hearing the news of Scott's resignation, John contacted the town's auditor, Dan Haynes and Linda Dunlavy of the F.R.C.O.G. to see if they had any suggestions for temporary replacement through June 30th. Dan had an individual in mind however she declined the offer due to time constraints. Linda scheduled an on-site meeting to include Bob Dean, John Payne, Terry Mosher and Joyce Muka of their accounting department. Joyce is very familiar with the City & Town software; and after reviewing the town's warrants and payroll files, she was confident that she could do the job. The F.R.C.O.G. is proposing that Joyce provide 6 hours of service per week beginning March 3 through June 30 at a rate of $42 per hour. John indicated that the remaining balance in the Fiscal Officer's salary account is sufficient to cover costs through the end of the fiscal year. After no further discussion a motion was made by John to hire Joyce Muka of the F.R.C.O.G. Accounting Department for the remainder of fiscal year 2009 at a rate of $42.00 per hour. The motion was seconded by Joe. Joe would like an opportunity for the Board to meet with Joyce and suggested a meeting next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Although Bob will not be able to attend, both John and Joe will be present. After no further discussion, the motion was put to a vote and passed unanimously.
If the Board is interested in continuing with the accounting services via the F.R.C.O.G., the town would have to purchase their "Fund-Ware" software for $3,000 with an annual maintenance fee of $1,000. John suggested that the Board continue to explore the possibility of sharing financial departments with the Town of Buckland.

FY'2010 Budget Process - Bob wondered whether or not enough time is being allotted for individuals to present their budgets. After a brief discussion members of the Board decided to leave the schedule as is for the time being. The Board will begin meeting Tuesday afternoons on a regular basis so to begin their in-depth review of all budget requests.

Appointment of Citizen's Advisory Committee RE: Main Street Phase II - a motion was made by Joe to appoint the following individuals to serve on the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the reconstruction of Main Street Phase II

Ed Cahill, 86 Main Street
Jonathon George, 87-89 Main Street
John Walsh, 91 Main Street
Kara Ballentine, 95 Main Street

The motion was seconded by John. Motion passed unanimously. The project will be advertised for bid in mid-March with an early April bid opening.

Assessor's Request to Spend $600 for Map Updates - the Board of Assessors is requesting permission to spend approximately $600 on mapping updates and an additional $80 to bind their 2007 deeds. Assistant Assessor, Bruce Kaeppel explained that there are approximately 12 different boundary changes that need to me made to the assessor's maps in order to keep them current. By updating the maps on an incremental basis, it will ensure their accuracy for the 2011 revaluation year; a requirement of the Department of Revenue. The Board indicated that once the special town meeting is held in March and necessary cuts are approved, the spending freeze will be lifted allowing departments to make expenditures as needed. Bruce indicated that he has no problem waiting until mid March as it will allow him to search for the best price.

FEMA Reimbursement for Ice Storm - Bob reported that the Highway Department may receive approximately $47,000 for storm recovery and tree/brush removal costs; a much higher amount than anticipated. Bob is not sure when the money is expected to be paid out but he is hopeful that it can be split between the Highway Department's Maintenance Account (to allow for tree removal and brush chipping) and the Snow and Ice account.

STRAP Grant - Bob reported that Pete Hillman met with an engineer from SVE Associates to discuss the proposed Brook Road work. Before applying for the STRAP grant, the town must have plans and design specifications in order to qualify. Once the cost of design specifications and plans are known, Bob will report back to the Board. Joe suggested that Bob contact the towns of Greenfield and Colrain to see if they would be willing to share in the cost.

Town-wide Telephone Notification System - Joe reported that he spoke with a representative of Swiftreach Network; a provider of town-wide notification systems at the MMA trade show. Although the town is in the final year of a three-year contract with Connect-CTY, Joe felt it would be worth having Swiftreach Network provide a demonstration of their product to various town officials who utilize the system. Swiftreach Network's product is approximately $1,800 less than Connect-CTY. Joe will speak with Terry Dun to schedule a demonstration.

Fines for Possession of Marijuana - the Town Clerk is now receiving fines for citations issued by the police department for possession of marijuana and is uncertain what to do with the money. John instructed the Town Clerk to maintain a spreadsheet of the fines collected and turn the money over to the general fund until further clarification is obtained from the police department. Joe will speak with Chief Walker.

Adjournment - a motion was made by John to adjourn the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary