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Selectmen Meeting Minutes
March 20, 2012 -- 3:00 p.m. -- Memorial Hall

Call to order: John Payne called the meeting to order. Other members present: Bob Manners and Joe Judd.

Media Present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent

Finance Committee Members Present: John Rees and Charlie Cohn

3:00 p.m. Cathy Buntin & Penny Spearance RE: Senior Center Budget - Cathy explained that the Council approved draft #5 of the Senior Center budget last week. The budget reflects a restructuring of staff and a minor reduction to some of the facility's operating expenses. The Friends of the Senior Center have agreed to contribute $13,250 toward operating costs. In the budget's present state, Cathy will cover both the responsibilities of the Director and the Director of Programming; working 40 hours a week until October 1st. Once a new Director is hired, the position will reflect 35 hours per week, the Director of Programming will resume its 30 hours per week, and the hours of the Outreach Coordinator will remain the same. Penny believes that the staffing structure will adequately serve the Center during its transition period. She also indicated that the Council will continually assess overall operations. Shelburne's proposed assessment for FY'13 is $69,994 (an increase of $15,299 from FY'12); much of the increase results from the loss of Colrain and an increase in the number of service units provided to Shelburne residents. Joe is hoping that the Masons are willing to negotiate a reduction in the rent. In closing, Joe indicated that he has been in daily contact with the Center and they are doing a tremendous job trying to sustain the Center in an unsettled time. "There is a great deal of positive energy and strong leadership," commented Joe.

Neither member of the Finance Committee had any questions.

Appointment of Senior Center Interim Director - Joe initiated the discussion by saying that Cathy has stepped up in a big way following Jamie Godfrey's resignation. She is currently juggling both the position of Director and Director of Programming at the Center. In light of the additional responsibility and workload, Joe presented a motion to appoint Cathy as Interim Director; that she be compensated at an hourly rate of $20.55 (40 hours); and that her increase in salary be retroactive beginning March 1st. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously. John echoed Joe's voice of appreciation for the stability and cohesiveness that Cathy has maintained at the Center during a transitional period.

3:30 p.m. Steve Walker RE: Police Department Budget - Before reviewing the
police department budgets, John announced that Bob will not be participating in the discussion.

Police Department Salaries: the budget reflects an overall 4.2% increase over last year. Steve explained that the increase is a result of cost of living/step increases and an additional week of earned vacation. At some point, Steve would like to discuss the need for additional funding so that all shifts are adequately covered.
Police Operating Budget: the budget reflects an overall increase of 4.7%. Steve explained that he budgeted an additional $1,250 for gasoline and an additional $350 for office supplies.

Capital Request: The Police Department is requesting a new all wheel drive vehicle for an estimated cost of $35,500. Steve intends to retire the 2005 cruiser with 130,000 miles. Steve has yet to be determined whether he will use the 2005 cruiser as a trade in; or sell it separately. Joe explained that the Department typically purchases a new vehicle every three years.

Last year, the Chief agreed to wait an additional year to ease the Town's financial burden. Finance Committee member, John Rees asked whether the Town was purchasing the car independently or collectively with other municipalities. Steve indicated that he intended to purchase the car independently but would be more than willing to explore a cooperative purchase if that option is available.

3:50 p.m. Whit Sanford RE: Pratt Memorial Building - it is become apparent that a Development Study is needed to determine the scope and cost of the library project. Whit indicated that she spoke with a representative of Margo Jones Architects to determine the cost of a Development Study and what it would include. Margo Jones Architects advised to plan on paying 10% to 12% of the total cost of the project therefore the study might cost $50,000 to $72,000. The architectural firm would assess the condition of the building, review previous reports, and studies, and produce a final report that states the condition of the structure, proposed remedies, provides specifications, plans & cost estimates to restore/repair/upgrade the structure, and recommends a maintenance schedule. The study could take three months or more to complete. The Town could apply to Mass Historic with the hopes of receiving funding for this purpose however, if successful, Mass Historic would participate in the selection process therefore further delaying progress. In an effort to expedite the process the Board agreed that it made sense to include an article on the town meeting warrant for up to $50,000 to cover costs associated with the Development Study and eliminate the article allocating $50,000 for project management. Finance Committee members agreed.

Review of FY'13 Budget: members of the Select Board reviewed the omnibus budget with the Finance Committee. The Planning Board's request for an $800 allocation for legal expenses was the focus of the discussion. Joe began the discussion by restating the Board's unwritten policy regarding the use of legal funds and the importance of scrutinizing its' use. He indicated that he would hate to set a precedent and allow an allocation for legal expenses within a department's budget however; he also recognizes the magnitude of the wind turbine by-law. While he still believes that the need for coordination amongst Boards is critical; he understands the Planning Board's need to have access to Counsel. John Rees agreed that the Planning Board will need legal guidance in order to proceed with the process correctly. John Payne assured Finance Committee members that legal counsel reviews every bylaw change before presented at town meeting. Once voted, the attorney General's Office must also approve the language. Bob explained that the legal expense account was established with the understanding that Boards and Committees could access it with the Select Board's approval. Rather than allocate an amount to a specific department, John suggested that the Board reduce the Planning Board's budget by $800 and increase the allocation to the legal expense account. John stated that the Board's policy for approving expenditures from the legal expense account should remain the Chairman's responsibility. Joe presented a counter offer. He suggested increasing the legal expense account by $600 and the balance of $200 remain in the Planning Board's budget for their use. John disagreed. Unable to reach an agreement, members decided to revisit the discussion at their next meeting.

Finance Committee members left the meeting. They will meet with the Select Board on April 9th to conduct a final review of the annual town meeting warrant before it closes.

Ted Harvey, FRCOG RE: Expansion of Senior Center Services - Joe will be meeting with Ted next week to discuss the possibility of offering Senior Center Services to other interested towns. A possible expansion might include the addition of member towns or some type of a la cart payment for services in other towns. Joe will report to the Board once he has more information.

Wired West RE: Bylaws & Joining the Cooperative - Referencing an email from Wired Wet's Executive Committee Vice-Chairman, Reva Reck, John indicated that he understands the difficulty of trying to change bylaws so close to annual town meeting. He is pleased that the Executive Committee is willing to consider Shelburne's suggested changes as they are of legitimate concern. Initially, John was prepared to recommend that the town join in anticipation of a full bylaw review however, after discussing with fellow Board members; they decided to wait. John will draft a letter to Reva notifying her of the Board's decision. In the meantime, the Board will place an article on the town meeting warrant to establish an account and allocate $1,000 for Wired West Cooperative membership fees in the event they decide to join mid-year.

Citizen's Petition to Amend Zoning Bylaws RE: Wind Turbines - The Select Board received a petition signed by 45 citizens requesting three amendments to the zoning bylaws. The petitioners request that Select Board place the amendments on the annual town meeting warrant; that the Select Board submits the amendments to the Planning Board for review; and the Planning Board hold a hearing at its earliest convenience to review and report on the articles. The amendments if passed, would allow small scale wind farms for on-premise home or business use by special permit; excluding commercial scale wind turbines as allowable electric generating facilities within town. Planning Board Chairman, Matthew Marchese, was present for the discussion. He indicated that his board, by law, has 65 days from the date of notification date to hold a public hearing. If his board is able to schedule a hearing in early April, the board has a right to continue the hearing in order to obtain more information regarding the issues. Given the content of the petitioner's amendments, Matt did not believe his board would have sufficient time to research all aspects of the request. Bob manners pointed out that, if town meeting voters adopted the amendments without the Planning Board's having an opportunity to complete all of the necessary review requirements; the Attorney General's Office would more than likely reject them. During the discussion it was unclear whether a town official would have the right to ask voters to "pass over" voting on the petition articles, or whether that town meeting action would have to come from one of the petitioners. Following the discussion, Joe presented a motion to accept the petition as presented, to request that the Registrars certify that ten or more signatures are in fact registered voters of the town, to place the three articles on the annual town meeting warrant, and to forward to the Planning Board for their review. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Chris Myers RE: Appointment to the Council on Aging Advisory Board - Chris Myers of Maple Street has expressed an interest in serving once again as a member of the Council on Aging. Chris stepped down as a member of the Council in 2011 but continued to attend the meetings. He believes his experience may be of benefit to the Center during the transition period. Joe presented a motion to appoint Chris to an un-expired term of 2013. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously. Three vacant seats remain.

MIIA RE: FY'12 Loss Control Grant - Bob would like to submit an application to MIIA's Loss Control Grant Program with the hopes of receiving a 6' x 12' "Traffic Control Trailer" valued at $5,000. If awarded, Bob envisions that highway, police, and fire departments could use the trailer. The only cost to the town would be associated with registering and insuring the trailer. Joe and John were supportive of Bob's request.

Memorial Hall RE: Window Quilt Related Work - In order to accommodate the energy efficient window quilts; 15 window frames on the first floor of Memorial Hall need modifications to accommodate the quilt's tracking system. Steven Mizula of South Deerfield, MA submitted a quote in the amount of $2,900. Terry indicated that Mr. Mizula, when planning the modifications, was extremely sensitive to the overall aesthetics of the building. Joe presented a motion to award Steven Mizula the contract in the amount of $2,900. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.


Deborah Andrews sought clarity on the Board's "unwritten" policy regarding the use of legal counsel. John explained that when a Board Chair wishes to access Counsel, he or she must first seek prior approval from the Select Board Chair. Deborah, referring to the petition article discussion, also indicated that she had no idea that a voter could present a motion to "pass over" an article(s). She thanked the Board for all of their hard work.

Judy Truesdell inquired about eligibility for Veteran's benefits. Terry Mosher gave her the Veteran Agent's contact information.

ADJOURNMENT: Bob presented a motion to adjourn at 5:40 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Town Administrator