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Selectmen Meeting Minutes 
October 2, 2012 -- 3:00 p.m. -- Memorial Hall
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Call to order: Bob Manners called the meeting to order at 3:20 p.m. Other members present Joe Judd and John Payne.

Media Present: None

3:20 p.m. Dan Haynes, Scanlon & Associates & Town Collector, Maureen Pike RE: Tax Collection - As noted in prior audits, the town's auditing firm, Scanlon & Associates have recommended an aggressive tax collection policy. Auditor, Dan Haynes explained that Massachusetts General Laws provide specific timetables for liening and foreclosing properties for non-payment. He noted that the Town has not been performing these procedures as aggressively as permitted by statute. As a result, delinquent receivables are high, free cash is reduced, and the Town risks losing a secured interest in the property should it be sold; or the taxpayer files for bankruptcy. Dan indicated that some towns hire outside firms to assist with delinquent collections when staffing is limited. More recently, one town sold receivership of their delinquent properties to a third party; removing the town entirely from the collection process. Town Collector, Maureen Pike first reported that all delinquent motor vehicle excise tax is now in the hands of a Deputy Collector. She indicated that enacting the tax title process for delinquent real estate taxes requires the publication of the taxpayer's names in the local newspaper. She did not think that the Select Board would want this nor did she think it was fair to publicly embarrass those who are trying to make payments. Dan reiterated that the process established for acting upon delinquent receivables is entirely up to the Town. Bob indicated that he did not like the overall atmosphere of the discussion. Because the Collector is an elected position, Bob reminded fellow members that the Board does not have the authority to "tell" her how to proceed. Instead, Bob suggested offering resources to help her. John reminded Bob that the Board is responsible for the overall financial position of the Town and tax collections have been a criticism of the auditor for several years. Bob redirected the discussion by asking Maureen how the Board could help her. He suggested tools for automation, software updates, and additional hours for her assistant. Maureen requested time to think about the Board's offer. She acknowledged that residing in Shelburne and knowing the personal circumstances of delinquent taxpayers, makes it difficult to follow through with tax title procedures outlined in M.G.L. Her practice has been one that errs on the side of empathy; she indicated that she takes action following a three-year period of delinquency; noting that many Collectors in small towns use the same time frame. If the Board would like her to take the aggressive approach; she will place all delinquent properties in tax title (with the exception of those who have a payment agreement). Joe described the Board as "empathetic" and agreed that it would be embarrassing to publish names in the newspaper especially when so many are "our friends and relatives." He encouraged the Collector to take some time to research firms specializing in tax title collection, on-line banking services to allow residents to make payments via credit cards, and to calculate how many more hours she will need for her part-time assistant and suggested that she meet with the Board in a month or two to discuss her progress.

Other Business:
Overtime Policy - In response to a recommendation made by Scanlon and Associates during an audit this year, the Board revised the Town's over-time policy to reflect overtime pay policies stipulated in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The policy revision no longer allows highway employees to use vacation, sick, or personnel time to represent time "worked"; employees must "work" 40 hours before overtime is paid. Joe indicated that he met with highway department personnel and they are not happy with the change. In response, Joe spoke with U.S. Department of Labor representatives as well as officials from surrounding towns. Those discussions revealed that Shelburne's new overtime policy is the standard for many. Although Joe is not seeking a policy change; he would like to find some form of compromise for the crew. Judging by the reaction of the highway crew, John suspects that payment of overtime after 40 hours of time not necessarily worked; has become an expectation. In fairness to the taxpayers, John was not in favor of changing the policy. Joe requested that the Board schedule a meeting with Highway Department personnel to hear their concerns and perhaps find a compromise.

Highway Department RE: Use of Time Clock - given some privacy issues surrounding timesheets, Joe is considering the installation of a time clock at the highway garage. He asked Auditor, Dan Haynes how he felt about the use of a time clock. Dan indicated that a time clock definitely adds a layer of control when monitoring an employee's time however, there are ways to manipulate the system if not monitored closely.

Highway Department RE: Clothing Allowance - Joe presented a motion to re-instate the "clothing allowance" policy for highway personnel effective immediately. The policy allows full-time highway department personnel to purchase up to $150 in work-related clothing each fiscal year. Employees are required to purchase the clothing at a store designated by Town (Outlet Store, Chapman Street, Greenfield, MA). John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Joe indicated Mark will create a new budgetary line item within the Highway Maintenance budget next year for the clothing allowance allocation.

Waterfield Design Group RE: Bid Protest - Craig Miller of Waterfield Design Group notified Terry last week of their decision to protest Shelburne's decision to award the 2012 contract for Engineering Services to Weston and Samspon Engineering. The basis for their protest is a "casual and indifferent" approach to reference checks conducted by Breezeway Farm Consulting, Inc. After speaking with the Attorney General's Office, officials from both Shelburne and Buckland agreed that a second round of reference checks was necessary. Buckland Town Administrator, Andrea Llamas conducted an independent evaluation of both firms over a three day period; using a list of suggested contacts provided by Waterfield Design Group and information provided in each proposal. Andrea attended the meeting to present her findings. She reported that each firm received excellent references however, the majority of references contacted on behalf of Waterfield Design Group were design, and streetscape projects therefore, in the absence of relevant projects (full construction); she was unable to make a fair comparison. When applying all aspects of the evaluation criteria outlined in the request for proposals, Terry and Andrea agreed that Weston & Sampson proposal was in fact highly advantageous. Following a brief discussion, Joe presented a motion to proceed with the work outlined in the 2012 contract between the Town of Shelburne and Weston and Sampson for Engineering Services. Joe stipulated that the vote is contingent upon Buckland's approval Thursday evening. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Board of Assessor's RE: Appointment of Alan Coutinho, 406 Taylor Road, and Shelburne -the Board of Assessor's recommended the appointment of Alan Coutinho to fill the current vacancy on their Board. Alan has agreed to accept the appointment and serve until the May, 2013 election. If Alan wishes to remain on the Board for the full term; he will seek election for the final two years.

Cowell Gym Tag Sale - the Town received a total of $260 at Saturday's tag sale. John reported that Auctioneer, Michael Budrewicz looked at the remainder of the items but was not interested. John will temporarily store the fitness equipment that the Police Department wishes to keep in his barn until the remediation work is complete. Jim Richardson will remove all scrap metal and John will attempt to find an interested buyer for the electronics. The remainder of the surplus material will either be sold, given away, or disposed of.

Memorial Drive Winter Maintenance Agreement - Bob has authorized Joe to speak with Donna MacNicol regarding the indemnification clause of the agreement to see whether there is room for compromise. Joe reported that he and Attorney Parsons will continue to discuss the agreement however; should snow fall before the agreement is finalized, Joe would like the Town to continue maintaining the road in the same "spirit" as the original vote intended. John would prefer to hold "feet to the fire." If vested parties cannot reach an agreement; he recommended that the Town not plow. Bob agreed noting that the "spirit" of the original vote was with the understanding that a written agreement would be in place.

Adjournment: John presented a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:00 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Town Administrator