Selectmen Meeting Minutes — January 3, 2011 — 7:00 p.m. —
Call to order: Chairman Joe Judd called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Other members present: Robert Manners and John Payne.
Acceptance of Meeting Minutes: Bob presented a motion to accept the meeting minutes of December 20, 2010 as printed. John seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Department Liaison Reports:
Highway -- the crew dealt with the first major snow storm of the year. With the exception of one plow frame needing repair; there were no significant problems. In order to facilitate parallel parking on Bridge Street following a snow storm; the Highway Department created eight (8) new signs which shall be placed along both sides of the street to alert motorists of the parking order.
Pratt Memorial Building Committee members are in the process of seeking quotes for a new furnace at the Arms Library. The town will also file a claim with the town's insurance company (Massachusetts Inter-local Insurance Association) with the hopes that a portion of the new furnace will be covered under the town's property insurance.
Census Forms -- residents are reminded that census forms have been mailed. Even if there are no changes; the Town Clerk requests that you return the form in a prompt manner. Failure to return the form will automatically place residents on the "inactive" voter's list.
Town Collector's Office -- is closed the week January 3rd through the 7th. Resident's wishing to make payments can do so either by mail; or by stopping by Town Hall and placing payment in the Collector's mail slot at Town Hall
Representative Paul Mark's Office -- called today looking for potential meeting space at Memorial Hall. His legislative aide inquired as to potential availability of large meeting room (one day per week he will call back with a formal request once his office develops.
7:15 p.m. Penelope Spearance RE: Appointment to Council on Aging - Penelope Spearance of South Shelburne Road appeared before the Board to discuss her interest in serving as a member of the Shelburne Council on Aging. Since 2009, she began participating in various programs at the Center (Strategic Planning, Listening Project, and the Neighbor to Neighbor Project). When she learned that Shelburne had only one representative to the Council; she decided to volunteer her services. Penelope believes that her background in education, conflict resolution, organizational dynamics, and teaching makes her a qualified candidate for the position. John brought forth a motion to appoint Penelope to the Shelburne Council on Aging; serving a three year term that expires in June, 2012. Bob seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
DOER Energy Efficiency Grant -- the Town received an email from Department of Energy Resources representative, Elise Avers reminding the Board that Shelburne's deadline for vendor selection to install the approved thermal efficiency measures is February 15, 2011; and per the terms of the EECBG contract, the deadline for complete installation of the project is June 30, 2011. John reported that he is in the process of seeking a consultant who will finalize the bid specifications for a fixed price. Energy consultant, David Ward has offered his services however; John is waiting to for an opportunity to discuss the project with a local individual who has expertise in this area. John would like to present the complete package to town meeting voters once the bid process is complete. Members of the Board discussed possible scenarios for financing approximately $75,000 of the estimated $225,000 project. John suggested using $25,000 from Stabilization and borrowing $50,000 in an attempt to keep the town's cash flow strong. Joe suggested taking the entire amount from Stabilization; providing there are no major capital expenses anticipated in fiscal year 2012. Before making any decisions, members of the Board will seek input from the town's accountant and members of the Finance Committee.
Town Roads RE: Discontinuance of Winter Maintenance - residents who have received notice of potential discontinuance of road maintenance will attend a meeting of the Selectboard on January 31, 2011 at 7:15 p.m. In the meantime, Bob and Pete will continue their research in preparation for the meeting.
Barry Goldstein RE: Fire Escape Proposal -- Mr. Goldstein indicated that both his attorney and the town's attorney are in the process of developing documentation necessary to protect both the town and the property owner from future liability and adverse possession concerns.
FY'12 Budget Directives -- another reduction to the town's local aid is likely to occur in fiscal year 2012. With that knowledge, Joe did not feel comfortable recommending a 3% increase in salaries. He did however recommend a 2% increase; with the caveat that operating budgets be level-funded. Following Joe's recommendation, a lengthy discussion ensued regarding whether to offer both a step increase and a merit raise to eligible employees or a step increase to those entitled and a merit increase to the rest. During the conversation, Joe cautioned Bob that as a part-time employee of the town, he should refrain from any discussion relative to salary. Although Bob agreed, he saw no harm in participating in the discussion relative to step increases and merit increases providing that he abstain from voting. During the conversation, Bob reported that employees of the highway department are unhappy with the current system. Those employees believe that it is unfair that certain individuals receive more of an increase than the rest. Joe disagreed noting that with the exception of one year; every employee has had the benefit of a step increase plus merit raise until they reached the twelfth step on the wage and classification scale. Regardless of what past practice has been; John did not want the Board to lose the ability to offer one or both. Finance Committee member and resident, Lynn Benander asked if the financial impact would be significant if the Board were to award the 5 employees both their entitled step increase and merit raise. Joe indicated that the financial impact was minimal.
Following the discussion, a three-part vote was taken as follows:
Operating budget: Bob brought forth a motion to request a level-funded operating budget. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Salary Increases: John brought forth a motion to offer a 2.5% step increase to all eligible employees; and a merit increase to the remainder of the employees at a rate to be determined. Bob seconded the motion. When it became apparent that members Judd and Payne were in disagreement; Bob recommended invoking the "rule of necessity" so that he could serve as the tie breaker. Outcome of vote: John and Bob were in favor; Joe was against.
Amount of Increase: John presented a motion to offer a merit increase of 2%. Joe seconded the motion. Outcome of vote: John and Joe in favor; Bob abstained.
Winter Maintenance of Memorial Drive -- to date, five of the six property owners abutting Memorial Drive have paid their share of the estimated cost to maintain Memorial Drive during the winter months. The one property owner who has yet to respond has received two mailings and two telephone messages. At their last meeting, Board members agreed that if one or more property owners failed to contribute; plowing services would cease; and remaining monies would be refunded. However, in the absence of a mutually agreed upon agreement and with more winter weather predicted for the weekend, members of the Board decided to notify each property owner of the circumstances; allowing them an opportunity to decide whether the all parties should continue utilizing the private contractor in the absence of the 6th property owner's participation; or discontinue the service altogether placing responsibility for cleanup in the hands of each individual property owner.
Comcast RE: Renewal of Cable Television License -- members of the Buckland and Shelburne Cable Advisory Committee received a letter from Stephen Fitzgibbons of Comcast indicating a willingness to meet and discuss the future cable related needs of the towns and work towards reaching closure on the outstanding renewal matters of the contract.
Breezeway Farm Consulting RE: Motion to Amend the 2009 Community Development Block Grant -- at the request of Breezeway Farm Consulting, Bob brought forth a motion to seek an amendment to the 2009 CDBG grant agreement so to use any balance of funding for the new activity of planning and engineering for the parking area at Highland Village in Shelburne and the property on Clement Street in Buckland which is also owned by the Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The grant amendment is subject to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development approval of the program amendment. John seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Hager Farm RE: Request to Remove Trees from Town-Owned Orchard -- the Hager Farm is requesting permission to remove one row of apple trees along the southwest property line so to create an access road for spraying. Bob explained that there are approximately 20-30 older trees located along the property line that are slated for removal. The Hager family leases the property from the town. Members of the Board would like an opportunity to consider the request before making a decision therefore, the matter will be tabled until their next meeting.
PUBLIC COMMENT: none
ADJOURNMENT: Bob presented a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m. John seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Posted to: Selectboard