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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — March 15, 2010—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall.

7:00 p.m. Special Town Meeting -- A special town meeting was held to consider five financial articles and two articles relative to high speed communication services (a copy of the warrant is attached) . All articles passed unanimously.

7:50 p.m. Public Forum - Chairman Payne called the Selectmen's meeting to order and briefly explained the purpose of the public forum. Other members present: Joe Judd and Robert Manners.

John turned the meeting over to Bill Sweeney as Presiding Officer. Bill clarified the difference between a Town Meeting and a Meeting of a Governmental Body and explained how the forum would proceed.

Financial Overview: John reviewed the town's financials; illustrating the downward trend in state aid and local revenues over the last few years. He asked those in attendance to think about the following questions:

1. How should the town fund large capital expenditures?
2. What buildings should benefit from $150,000 in energy efficiency and conservation monies (Cowell, Memorial Hall, or both)?

Highway Department and Building Infrastructure Needs: Bob discussed the Highway Department's need for new vehicles, more storage space, and the highway department's approach to winter road maintenance. He also discussed the need for replacement roofs for Cowell Gym and Pratt Memorial Library. He asked residents to consider the following two questions:

  1. Are residents satisfied with the level of services they are receiving from the town's highway department; particularly winter road maintenance?
  2. How would residents feel if the historical nature of Memorial Hall and/or the Cowell Gymnasium's interior is altered for the sake of energy efficiency improvements?

Police Department: Joe discussed the balance between weathering budget cuts and maintaining the current level of services. He also spoke of the town's efforts to find a suitable location for the police department. He asked residents to consider the following two questions:

  1. Further budget reductions will have an impact on shift coverage. How do residents feel about reduced shift coverage?
  2. What are your thoughts about the potential relocation of the police department?

Question, Answer, and Comment Period:

James Wholey of 435 Bardwells Ferry Road asked about the highway department's protocol for winter road maintenance. Highway Superintendent, Pete Hillman explained that every storm is different. The manner in which a road is maintained depends heavily on the type of precipitation received. Mr. Wholey complimented the highway department for their efforts noting that they do an excellent job.

John Pollard of 6 Barnard Road suggested that the Selectboard compile a list of capital projects. The list should include total cost of projects and terms of borrowing. Responding to some of the other topics discussed, Mr. Pollard indicated that the town roads couldn't get much worse in the winter months; that the Cowell Gymnasium should not be kept open during the heating season and; that the town should take another look at combining police departments with the Town of Buckland. Lastly, he questioned whether a third shift was necessary.

Robert Miller, 10 Grove Street stated that if he had to prioritize the order in which the capital needs of our town buildings were to be addressed, he would rank them in the following manner: Memorial Hall, Arms Library, and Cowell Gymnasium. He agreed that the costs to maintain the Cowell Gymnasium during the winter months are too high and suggested that the town close it during winter months.

Marion Taylor, 439 South Shelburne Road suggested that the town seek out all grant funding sources for the library. John Payne reported that the Pratt Memorial Building Committee is meeting on a monthly basis to discuss fund raising ideas as well as grant sources.

Laurie Wheeler, 71 Main Street serves as the Director of the Arms Library. She is looking for volunteers to assist the Pratt Memorial Building Committee with long range strategic planning.

Judah Hughes, 32 Mechanic Street indicated that he has been involved with recreational programs at the Cowell Gymnasium for over 11 years. To date, the Recreation Committee has raised approximately $4,584 in user fees. He believes that it is imperative that the town implement energy efficiency measures at the gymnasium; particularly insulation. He also indicated that the gymnasium and its programs represent a deep level of community connection and he would hate to see that lost.

Nancy Finn, 609 Mohawk Trail uses the gym during the day as a "senior" walker. She stated that the gymnasium provides a safe place to walk for seniors as well as for those individuals with physical limitations during the winter months. Participants of the senior walking group have recently donated money to the town over the last few months to help offset heating costs.

Ken Huff, 10 Warren Court credits members of the Memorial Hall Association for bringing so many wonderful events to the community. He would like to see energy efficiency and conservation measures applied to Memorial Hall first. He would also like the town to address the Arms library roof.

Lynn Benander, 127 Main Street reminded residents to focus on the overall energy savings rather than whether interior walls should be moved in 6 inches to accommodate insulation.

Jeff Johansmeyer, 33 Mechanic Street has fond memories of all three town-owned buildings (Memorial Hall, Cowell Gymnasium, and Arms). He would like to see the town make all three viable, efficient, and useable. Out of concern for increased liability to the town, he would also hate to see the town change the manner in which the town provides winter road maintenance. He also believes that Shelburne should maintain a local police department.

James Wholey, 435 Bardwells Ferry Road asked if the windows on the second floor of Memorial Hall are intact. John Payne indicated that the windows are no longer in place and their openings have been sealed.

John Payne reiterated an earlier question: What is more important usability or aesthetics?

John Walsh, 91 Main Street believes that energy efficiency is most important. Noting that simple air sealing measures can make a big difference. He also suggested the former Mole Hollow Candle site as a potential location for the police department.

Wade Bassett, Ashfield stated that he grew up in Buckland and spent a great deal of his time at the Cowell Gymnasium. As an adult, he volunteers his time to coach youth soccer and basketball. His son also enjoys the benefits of the recreation programs. The Recreation Department raised over $1,000 last weekend following a basketball tournament. The event drew over 100 participants. He would hate to see such a valuable building closed.

Prudence Wholey, 314 Zerah Fiske Road asked how much money would be raised if the town were to increase the tax rate by 5%. While respectful of residents and their desire to keep the town's buildings and maintain current levels of services; she wonders where the money will come from.

Debra Andrews, Bridge Street she indicated that it is difficult to answer some of the questions posed without having more facts and figures.

Larry Flaccus, 1394 Mohawk Trail inquired about the status of the town's commercial grade audit performed by Siemen's Building Technologies. John Payne indicated that the audit was complete and the town is awaiting their presentation. Larry suggested that the town create a list of capital projects and finance them by floating a bond.

Chuck Washer, 142 Patten Road suggested using the Cowell Gymnasium as a potential site for the police department.

Cherie Rankin, 52 Maple Street feels that the Arms Library is an essential aspect of our community as it is a place where all ages comes together to share. She would like to see more emphasis placed on fundraising.

Daniel Post, 127 Main Street is a member of the Energy and Efficiency Block Grant Committee; appointed by the Selectboard to implement and oversee the $150,000 grant. The Committee will meet for the first time this week and intends to hold a public hearing in the very near future that will provide residents with much more detail about the proposed work.

Barbara Goodchild, 383 Cooper Lane would love to see snow fences installed in the Patten area during the winter months. Drifting has always been a problem and the fences when installed, make a big difference.

John Schaefer, Charlemont came to the meeting to speak about the Cowell Gymnasium however after hearing discussion relative to energy savings, he felt compelled to share his experience. After implementing several energy saving measures, Berkshire East has saved over $50,000. He encouraged the town to invest in such measures as the savings are worthwhile.

Susan Flaccus, 1394 Mohawk Trail acknowledged the amount of expertise in the room and encouraged people to get involved so that the town could benefit from their knowledge.

John thanked everyone for their input.

Adjournment: Joe made a motion to adjourn at 9:10 p.m. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary

Warrant articles for March 15, 2010 special town meeting:

Article 1. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $12,175 from available funds; said sum
to be placed in the Veterans Benefits account # 001 543 5400 to supplement FY’10
operating budget, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Article 2. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $2,000 from available funds; said sum
to be placed in the Election’s Expense Account # 001 162 5400 to cover expenses related to
the unanticipated Senate election, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Article 3. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $3,600 from available funds; said sum
to be placed in the Buildings & Grounds Account # 001 422 5410 to reimburse said account
for a portion of the expenditures related to the purchase and installation of a new furnace
at the Village Information Center, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Article 4. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $32,552 from free cash to the Stabilization
Account # 01-5-950-000, or take any other vote or vote relative thereto.

Article 5. To see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of $5,000 from the Sewer
Enterprise Fund # 610-001-3550; said sum will be placed in the Sewer Pump Maintenance
Account # 610-440-5800 to pay for the Sewer District’s share of Engineering & Design fees
for the proposed reconstruction of Hope Street and a portion of Mechanic Street, or take
any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Article 6. To see if the Town will vote to approve the following resolution:
Whereas the technology and systems which deliver communication services to homes
and businesses have increased dramatically in capacity and transmission speed,
and the current communication infrastructure serving the Town does not reach all areas of
the Town with high-speed communication services,
the residents, businesses and institutions of the Town of Shelburne are at a competitive
disadvantage to other areas of the region, Commonwealth and nation, with the lack of
services hampering the development of business, education and industry, depressing real
estate values, and reducing development potential;
It is hereby resolved that the Town authorize the Shelburne Cable Advisory Board to
research and investigate alternative technologies and systems for the delivery of high-
speed communication services to all the residents, businesses and institutions in the Town
of Shelburne, and to make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen regarding the
potential structuring, acquisition, contractual agreements, implementation and financing
of such technologies, systems and services.
Or take any other action thereon.

Article 7.
To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into an Interlocal
Contract with other municipalities, under Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws
Section 4a, for the purpose of establishing a universal, open-access, financially self-
sustaining broadband communications system to provide communications services,
including high-speed Internet, telephone and cable television, to the residents, businesses
and institutions of the Town of Shelburne, or take any other action thereon.