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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — May 10, 2010—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall.

Call to order: John called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Other members present: Joe Judd and Robert Manners.

Media present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent

Noteworthy News:
Town Elections: Monday, June 14, 2010; polls are open from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Department Liaison Reports:
Police Department -- in light of recent complaints, Joe has requested that the police department reestablish efforts to ticket vehicles that exceed the two hour parking limit on Bridge Street. Joe indicated that a few of the repeat violators are business owners and/or their employees. Before instituting the "no tolerance" ticketing campaign; John suggested that violators first receive a warning.

Highway Department -- Because of high winds, the crew has been very busy over the last several days cleaning up trees and fallen limbs. Given the potential for serious damage caused by fallen trees, John suggested that the Tree Warden make periodic assessments of trees located within the town's right-of-way; removing and or trimming potentially dangerous ones in an effort to minimize damage. Given the costs associated with such maintenance, members of the Selectboard will look for ways to bolster the shade tree maintenance account. Bob reported that the crew will begin patching roads this week and; two road signs are reportedly missing (Bassett and Taylor); presumably stolen.

Town Office -- working hard on collecting delinquent taxes; warning letters sent resulted in, partial payments and established payment plans. John also reported that a nine month accounting of the town's budget indicated that revenues are at approximately 75% and expenditures at 68%.

7:15 p.m. Western Mass Electric Company and Verizon New England Pole Hearing RE: Bardwell's Ferry Road -- John read the hearing notice aloud. Western Mass Electric Company and Verizon New England are seeking permission to place two jointly owned poles on the southerly side of Bardwell's Ferry Road and three jointly owned poles o the northerly side of Bardwell's Ferry Road, starting one hundred, eighty-five feet from the existing pole numbered 6/76. Don Fish, representing Western Mass Electric Company explained that the reason for installing the poles is to provide electric power to the railway signal for Springfield Terminal Railroad. Following a brief question and answer period and after hearing no comments from the public; John closed the hearing at 7:20 p.m. Bob made a motion to grant the request to install five utility poles on Bardwell's Ferry Road as presented. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

7:30 p.m. Franklin County Home Care Corporation (Donna Liebl and Mary Johnson) -- At the request of the Selectboard, Donna and Mary agreed to attend this evening's meeting to discuss the many services that Franklin County Home Care Corporation (FCHCC) provides to qualified residents of Franklin County. Their overall mission is to help elders and persons with disabilities remain in their homes safely, comfortably, and independently for as long as they are able, and to support their caregivers as they try to balance the competing needs of family, work, and self. As a local resource, FCHCC knows what services and options are available in Franklin County and the North Quabbin area. They can also access information regarding elder services anywhere in the United States. Services such as adult family care, home care, meals on wheels, home repair programs, transportation, and family caregiver grants (just to name a few) can be accessed by calling (413) 773-5555 or via the internet at www.fchcc.org.

OLD BUSINESS:
Municipal Parking Spaces -- Dialogue continued as to whether or not the town should relinquish one of the two municipal parking spots located near the front entrance of Memorial Hall. After hearing opposing views presented by fellow members Joe and Bob, John recommended that the town retain the two municipal spots for the time being. The Selectboard will revisit the topic in six months.

Stained Glass Gift for Memorial Hall - Bob reported that Nancy Katz and Mark Liebowitz will present a colored "template" of the proposed design to the Board before proceeding with the work.

Energy Committee Update (DOER Grant & Siemen's Energy Group) -- John attended last week's meeting of the Energy Committee and reported that Siemen's Energy Group seems to be backing away from its original proposal; offering a less significant conservation program. The Committee feels that the fundamental shift in Siemen's program is a result of DOER's recent energy conservation grant program. Being that the Franklin Regional Council of Governments is ultimately responsible for the performance contracting program (i.e. Siemen's Energy Group); John will contact Bob Dean to gain more insight.

NEW BUSINESS:
Memorial Hall Association RE: Request to Use Town's Record Storage Room -- Members of the Selectboard denied a request brought forth by the Memorial Hall Association to use the town's record storage room as a shared office space. Because several of the records stored in that location are of confidential nature; they must be secure at all times. The Board agreed to revisit Memorial Hall Association's request if more space becomes available in Memorial Hall.
Bank of Western Massachusetts RE: Payroll Service -- The Town Treasurer and Executive Secretary met with representatives from Bank of Western Massachusetts on two occasions to learn more about their payroll service offerings. While there are many benefits to utilizing the services of Bank of Western Massachusetts, the cost of their program is approximately $1,270 more than what the town is currently paying. Before making a decision, members of the Selectboard would like to invite Bank of Western Massachusetts representatives in to their next meeting on May 24th.

Recap of Annual Town Meeting -- approximately 55 town voters attended last week's annual town meeting whereby all twenty-three articles successfully passed. Members of the Board agreed that opening the meeting with a financial overview of the proposed budget is beneficial. Further discussion led to the possibility of placing three non-binding referendum questions on the town's election ballot to gather consensus in the following areas:

  • Shall Annual Town Meeting begin at 7:00 p.m. rather than 7:30 p.m.?
  • Shall the Town hold annual Town Elections on the 3rd Tuesday in May rather than the 2nd Tuesday in June?
  • Shall the Town pursue special legislation that will allow newly elected officials to take office on July 1st?

Joe presented a motion requesting that the Town Clerk place three non-binding referendum questions on the town's election ballot providing that there is enough time to do so. Bob seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Members of the Board also discussed the role of the Finance Committee and the need for more involvement.

Lastly, John wanted fellow Board members to think about potential guidelines for placing articles that are not Selectboard sponsored on the annual town meeting warrant. John was referring to the Mohawk Trail Regional High School District's request to place an article on the town meeting warrant so to create a Stabilization account. Although the request arrived two months in advance of town meeting, the Selectboard never received a presentation from the school district or the Town's school committee representatives; nor did they discuss the article's merit amongst themselves or with members of the Finance Committee. John suggested that the Board discuss potential guidelines at their next meeting.

Newly Revised Open Meeting Law Requirements -- After reviewing revisions to the Open Meeting Law, John indicated that he feels as though the changes are out of sync with the reality of how small towns operate. Not only will the changes have a financial impact; but already burdened staff and/or volunteers with limited hours will be accountable for carrying out the requirements. John offered to draft a letter to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments that will address the Board's concerns as well as request that their organization play an intermediary role on behalf of Franklin County towns.

Katherine Porrovecchio RE: Request to use Arms Alumni Float -- a request submitted on behalf of the "All Alumni Arms Academy Reunion" to use the Arms Academy building replica float for their June 26th parade was unanimously approved by the Selectboard. The group would like to take possession of the float one week prior to the parade, allowing time for decorating, etc.

Resignation of Part-time Reserve Office, Timothy Budrewicz -- Chief Walker received a letter of resignation from part-time patrolman, Timothy Budrewicz effective May 10, 2010. Tim intends to continue furthering his career in law enforcement and credits Chief Walker for playing a significant role in his career. Joe made a motion to accept the resignation with deep regret. John seconded the motion. Motion passed: 2 in favor; Bob abstained.

Chief Walker RE: Request to Appoint Phillip Malone, Reserve Patrol Office -- both John and Joe indicated that they have had an opportunity to meet independently with Mr. Malone and agreed that he would serve as a welcome addition to the department. After no further discussion, Joe presented a motion to appoint Phillip Malone as a "reserve" Patrol Officer for the town. John seconded the motion. Motion passed: 2 in favor; Bob abstained.

CORRESPONDENCE:
Mass Historic Commission RE: Shelburne Falls, National Register of Historic Places -- The Selectboard received notification that a nomination to increase the Shelburne Falls Historic District boundary has been accepted by the National Park Service, Department of Interior, for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This nomination places no restrictions on the actions of a private property owner providing that no state or federal funds, permits, or licenses are involved, and as long as no local ordinances governing such changes are in effect.

PUBLIC COMMENT -- none voiced.

ADJOURNMENT: Joe presented a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary