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

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

Press Present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent, Diane Broncaccio, Greenfield Recorder

Acceptance of Minutes: Motion made by Bob to accept the minutes of November 23, 2009 as presented. Motion seconded by Joe Judd. Motion carried unanimously.

Noteworthy News: Joe attended a meeting related to the proposed boundary extension of the Shelburne Falls Historic District which is being considered by the Massachusetts Historical Commission for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Joe reported that the proposed expansion was well received by those residents in attendance.

Department Liaison Reports:
Highway -- Bob reported that he attended a public forum this afternoon regarding Shelburne's infrastructure needs. The purpose of the meeting was to solicit comments from the public and develop a list of priority projects for next year's CDBG application. Bob also reported on the first winter storm. He commended the Superintendent for a great job in minimizing the number of overtime hours while at the same time treating the roads effectively. If the highway department's budget had to be reduced for a second time as a result of further cuts to local aid, Bob reported that between $6,000 to $8000 (gravel & street sweeping) could be taken without adversely affecting the current level of public services.

-- Joe reported that he and Steve have been reviewing the department's budget earmarking areas that could potentially be reduced in the event the state imposes further budget cuts. Joe surmised that the only area that could be reduced is within the part-time help.

Town Office -- after reviewing budgets for the various departments in the town office, John reported that there is very little flexibility as the majority of the money is spent on basics like telephone, postage, electricity, heat, etc. He suggested that it may be time to ask Shelburne taxpayers if they are willing to pay more in taxes or; is it time to reduce the current level of public services.

7:15 p.m. Public Hearing RE: 2010 Community Development Strategy Document
-- John Payne read the hearing notice aloud at 7:15 p.m. The purpose of the hearing was to solicit input from the community, other agencies, Town Officials, and committees on potential projects or activities to incorporate in the community development strategy document. In preparation for this hearing, two separate surveys were created and made available to residents of Shelburne and social service agencies of Franklin County. The results of those surveys in addition to comments submitted by various town boards and committee members were incorporated into the CDS document. John Ryan of Breezeway Farm Consulting reviewed those changes with members of the Board of Selectmen. After hearing no additional comments from the public, John Ryan recommended that the Board adopt the revisions to the CDS as presented. The public hearing was closed at 7:33 p.m. Bob made a motion to adopt the community development strategy document as presented. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

CDBG Public Forums & Survey Data
-- John Ryan reported that this afternoon's public forums were well attended by residents, social service agency representatives, and town officials. The purpose of the three Buckland/Shelburne forums was to solicit comments regarding social service needs of the communities; infrastructure needs of Buckland and infrastructure needs of Shelburne. After hearing the comments made at this afternoon's forums and coupling those with over 71 survey respondent's replies, it is clear that infrastructure is a priority need in Shelburne. John stated that residents seemed truly appreciative of the improvements made so far without having an impact on the town's tax rate. Results of the social services portion of the survey were somewhat skewed. John explained that residents prioritized the "food pantry" program and the "elder self-sufficiency" program as their top two priorities. However, social service agencies who responded to the survey felt that child care and youth services should be made a priority. After a brief discussion a two-part motion was brought forward by Joe. First to accept the recommended target areas as: the downtown target area; and the entire Town of Shelburne; and second to seek funding for the following two social service components: food pantry and elder self-sufficiency. The motion was seconded by Bob. Motion carried unanimously.

7:30 p.m. Dale Putnam and James Gamache RE: Plowing Concerns -- both gentlemen appeared before the Board to discuss their concern for the town's decision to discontinue winter maintenance of a small section of road that runs parallel to their properties and provides access from their driveways to route 2. The small section of road owned by Mass Highway was once believed to be a rest area however the State abandoned its care over 20 years ago. James Gamache who purchased his property over 20 years ago approached a relatively new highway employee years ago when the section of road had not been plowed. The employee, assuming that it was part of his plow route began to plow it; it has been plowed by the town ever since. Although James fully understands the town's position to discontinue its' maintenance, he would like the town to contact Mass Highway and pressure them to take responsibility for their property. James indicated that the small stretch of road is used by quite frequently by motorists and he is concerned that if left unattended during the winter months it will become a bigger problem. He is also concerned with having to plow across an area of road owned by the state in order to gain access to and from Route 2. Dale Putnam, representing the Witness Kingdom Hall is concerned that the present situation is going to have an adverse affect on their ability to sell their property and will pose a bigger problem in the event of a catastrophic event (i.e. fire). A lengthy discussion ensued amongst members of the Board. Joe did not believe that the town was going to save "big" dollars by discontinuing the winter maintenance of this small stretch of road or Memorial Drive. He indicated that he was having a difficult time no longer providing a service that had been provided for over 20 years. John disagreed. He reminded fellow board members that employees are being held accountable for every dollar spent therefore the Board must be equally accountable. As an interim solution, the Board agreed to instruct the highway department to plow the road with the understanding that this may not be continued in the future. In the meantime the town will contact the District Highway Director at Mass Highway and request that they take responsibility for their property.

Memorial Drive RE: Town Labor verses Private Contractor -- a motion was made by Bob to authorize the Highway Superintendent to contract with James Richardson for snow removal and sanding services for Memorial Drive. Cost for said services will be $50.00 per plow; $15.00 for sand application. Motion seconded by John. During the brief discussion, Joe indicated that he was not in favor of hiring a private contractor. When the motion was voted, the results were as follows: 2 in favor; 1 abstention. Joe abstained; he is related to the contractor.

Lease Purchase of New Dump Truck Using Chapter 90 Funds - following an in-depth discussion concerning the overall economic climate, the present condition of the town's highway fleet and the lack of guarantee associated with the town's Chapter 90 funding, the consensus of the Board was that it was too great a risk to finance a new vehicle over a five-year period. No further action taken.

Request for Stop Sign at Intersection of Bridge Street and Mechanic Street
-- Bob reported that the word: "yield" has been painted on the roadway just before the intersection of Bridge Street and Mechanic. Bob is hopeful that the cautionary wording will alert motorists of pedestrian crossing ahead.

Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Application -- thanks to the efforts of Lynn Benander, Dan Post and several other volunteers, an application was submitted to the Department of Energy Resources on behalf of the Town of Shelburne with the hopes of receiving $150,000. If successful, the money will be used to implement energy efficiency and conservation measures in Memorial Hall and the Cowell Gymnasium. John reviewed the application with the Board. Bob felt that the overall application process was time consuming and seemingly last minute. He also felt that the goals of the grant application were somewhat inconsistent with the goals of the Board. Bob indicated that he would have preferred to have earmarked the money for Siemen's Performance Contracting project. John reiterated that if the town is successful in receiving the funding it can be turned back or perhaps reallocated if the Board does not wish to move forward with the suggested improvements.

Personnel Policies -- no action taken.

Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Directives -- although everyone agreed on a level-funded operating budget, there was a difference of opinion regarding salary increases therefore no decisions were made. Bob recommended a 2.5% increase across the board; John indicated that a 2% salary increase at a recent F.R.C.O.G. meeting was met with criticism and suggested a 1% increase; Joe suggesting giving only a step increase to those who are eligible. Before making any decisions, John will ask the Treasurer to provide information relative to the overall impact of a 1%; 2% or 2.5% increase.

Memorial Hall RE: Meeting Room Use -- Joe has offered to work with the executive secretary to develop a plan that will ultimately assign a meeting space and time to each of the various Boards that meet in Memorial Hall during the evenings so to eliminate any future scheduling problems.

Amendment to Weston & Sampson's Engineering Contract for 2009 -- a motion was made by Robert Manners and seconded by Joe Judd that the contract for engineering services between the Town of Shelburne and Weston & Sampson, Inc. for the Community Development Block Grant projects -- Main Street Phase 3 in Shelburne; and Franklin Street in Buckland, be increased by $17,500 to cover increased costs of providing final plans and specifications for the 2010 CDBG application. Motion passed unanimously.



ADJOURNMENT: motion made by Joe to adjourn the meeting at 9:50 p.m. Motion seconded by Bob. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary