Selectmen Meeting Minutes — January 31, 2011 — 7:00 p.m. —
Call to order: Chairman, Judd called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Other members present: Robert Manners and John Payne. Media Present: Cameron Graves, Shelburne Falls Independent
Acceptance of Meeting Minutes: John presented a motion to accept the minutes of December 20, 2011 as presented. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously. John presented a second motion to accept the minutes of January 18, 2011. Joe seconded the motion. Motion passed. Bob abstained from the vote; he was not present at that particular meeting.
Special Town Meeting, February 14, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall
Department Liaison Reports:
Pratt Memorial Library Building Committee has received two proposals for replacement and installation of a new furnace. The Committee is seeking a third proposal before submitting them to the town's insurer.
F.R.C.O.G. -- Member towns should be receiving the F.R.C.O.G.'s fiscal year 2012 budget request soon. The Regional Service Assessment is level-funded for 2012 however; Shelburne's assessment will go up slightly; a result of increased statutory charges. The F.R.C.O.G. and Franklin County towns are working together to submit an application to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for a health district planning grant. Grantees will be eligible for five year implementation grant for the shared health department. Shelburne's Board of Health member, Deb Coutinho has agreed to represent Shelburne throughout the process.
University of Massachusetts Keystone Training -- the spring training program will take place on Thursday, April 14 through Sunday afternoon, April 17, 2011 at the Harvard Forest in Petersham. The Keystone project is a competitive program that selects and educates forest owners and community leaders who have significant impact on their communities. Deadline for application submission is March 1, 2011.
Highway Department -- the Highway Superintendent is seeking applicants from part-time drivers whom possess CDL licenses. The Highway Superintendent will utilize qualified applicants for winter cleanup in the event one or more of his drivers are unable to work. Part-time winter drivers receive an hourly rate of $16.45.
Massachusetts Municipal Meeting -- Joe attended the annual MMA Trade Show in Boston last week. He heard the Governor's presentation relative to cuts in local aid. First round cuts indicate that Shelburne will lose $13,401 in local aid.
Town Office Staff Meeting -- Joe met with Town Office staff last week to discuss a variety of topics. As a result of that meeting, Department Heads and Board members should anticipate a change to personnel policies relative to vacation notification. Currently employees are required to notify their supervisors one week in advance of taking a multiple-day vacation. The revision would require two weeks advance notice. Once the policy revision is drafted, Department Heads and Selectboard members will review and provide comment.
7:15 p.m. Residents Meeting RE: Proposed Discontinuance of Road Maintenance -- approximately eight residents attended the meeting representing Percy Robert's Road; Stoddard Road; and North-South Road. Residents from Gould Road and Swimming Pool Road did not attend. Stephen McCabe of Percy Roberts Road read a prepared statement outlining his various concerns. Alex Bogel of 20 Stoddard Road indicated that if the town were to discontinue maintenance of his road he would no longer have legal access to his property. Larry Flaccus of North-South Road contends that if the town were to discontinue maintenance of his road; his property values would be adversely affected. All of the residents agreed that discontinuance of town maintenance would place undue financial burden on everyone; devalue their property; and could potentially jeopardize the town's ability to provide residents emergency services, such as police, ambulance, or fire. After hearing each of the resident's comments; John surmised that one solution may not fit all. Members of the Board thanked everyone for attending. Joe emphasized that everyone's comments were noted; and each resident would be notified when a decision is made.
8:00 p.m. Finance Committee and Moderator RE: Review of Special Town Meeting Articles (James Stacy, Moderator attended; no one from The Finance Committee was present) -- Members of the Board reviewed the eight warrant articles to be brought before special town meeting voters on February 14, 2011. No objections were voiced.
DOER Energy Efficiency Grant -- John reported that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has granted Shelburne a third extension providing that they receive assurance from the Town indicating that Shelburne will proceed with the energy efficiency project regardless of whether town meeting approves an additional $75,000 to supplement the work. Under the new guidelines, Shelburne must begin installation of energy efficiency improvements by June 30, 2011 with final completion of installation (including submission of all required EECBG reports to DOER) by August 15, 2011. In an effort to move the project forward, John proposed allocating between $7,500 - $10,000 to hire general contractor, John Godwin and Chris Farley of Austin Design to gather necessary specification data and develop the bid packages. F.R.C.O.G. representative, Bob Dean indicated that once bid packages are ready, there is grant money available to assist Shelburne with the entire procurement process. John provided member Selectmen with a proposed timeline for the project; a breakdown of costs; and some professional background information on John Godwin of Buckland. John stressed that until the bids have been received; the town needs to remain flexible in terms of how the money is spent; particularly the list of improvements slated for Memorial Hall. John suggested two separate motions:
John brought forth a motion to hire John Godwin and Chris Farley of Austin Design to write bid specifications for the DOER energy grant conservation measures at a fee not to exceed $10,000. Joe seconded the motion.
Discussion: Bob felt that allocating funds to hire a consultant without the privilege of meeting the individual(s) was deviating from past practice. After having already spent $7,500 on Consultant, David Ward for the same type of work; he asked what assurances the town had that this money would be well spent.
John acknowledged Bob's concerns and agreed that it would have been nice to have both gentlemen in however both had prior commitments. Given the timeline; he felt the Board had no other choice but to act now rather than later. As for assurances, John realizes there are no guarantees and if this project were not of substantial benefit to the town; he would have ended it long ago. Rather than spending town funds, John suggested using DOER funds to pay all or a portion of the costs.
Joe echoed Bob's concerns however felt that it was prudent to move the project forward.
After no further discussion, members of the Board voted as follows: Joe and John yes; Bob -- no. Motion passed 2 to 1.
John brought forth a second motion to give DOER assurances that Shelburne will implement EECBG-funded energy conservation measures to the extent of funds received from DOER, regardless of Town Meeting approval for town funding of energy conservation work beyond the DOER funded measures. Joe seconded the motion. Members of the Board voted as follows: Joe and John --yes; Bob -- abstained. Motion passed.
Tom Wilson RE: Closure and Decommissioning of Vermont Yankee -- Tom Wilson and Harvey Schaktman appeared before the Board with a petition signed by 14 residents of Shelburne. The petition requests that the Selectboard review and consider signing a proposed letter concerning the scheduled closure and decommissioning of Vermont Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont. The letter expresses concerns regarding the potential impact on area towns of this closure, particularly with respect to the workers, environment, and safe cleanup issues during the final months of the plant's operation and multi-year decommissioning. Boards of Selectmen in other towns in the tri-state region are also being asked to sign the letter. Once signed, the group who submitted the petition will ensure that agencies with operational oversight authority over Vermont Yankee will receive the letter. After having had the opportunity to review the letter, Bob indicated that he would be more comfortable bringing the matter before town meeting voters. John agreed that he too would rather let the "voice of the town" decide rather than three of its' representatives. Harvey Schaktman encouraged the Board to act sooner than later. Joe suggested tabling the decision until their February 14th meeting to allow more time for public input. No decisions made.
Department of Agricultural Resources APR Program RE: Consideration of 97 Acres -- Samoriski, Little Mohawk Road -- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 7, section 40I requires that the Department of Agricultural Resources notify the local Board of Selectmen of the State's intent to purchase, rent, sell, or significantly change the use of one or more acres of real estate in a municipality. Pursuant to that section, the DAR is considering acquiring an interest in approximately 97 acres of land for inclusion in the APR program as an Agricultural Preservation Restriction. Section 40I also requires that the proposal be made public in a local forum. Joe read the DAR's notice of intent aloud. No additional action is required.
Zoning Board of Appeals RE: Request to Place Proposed By-Law Revision "Home Based Businesses" on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant -- members of the Zoning Board have dedicated the last 4 months to develop a "Home Based Business" by-law that is clearly stated, fair to applicants, fair to neighborhoods and will reduce the burden on the local ZBA by allowing applicants who meet specific criteria; to proceed without the need for a special permitting process. Members of the Board asked for an opportunity to review the proposed by-law change before acting upon it. The Board will act upon the proposal at their February 14th meeting.
Weston & Sampson RE: Recommendation to Award Mass West Construction -- Ten (10) bids were received and opened on January 20, 2011 for the Hope Street Reconstruction Project/Franklin Street Reconstruction Project -- Phase 2. The three (3) lowest bidders were as follows:
Mass West Construction, Granby, MA $427,589.60
A. Martins & Sons Construction, Ludlow, MA $434,829.95
Caracas Construction Corp., Ludlow, MA $455,302.50
Each bid has been reviewed in its' entirety. Weston and Sampson recommend that the town issue a letter of intent to award the contract in the amount of $427,589.60 to Mass West Construction, Inc.
Bob brought forth a motion to award Mass West Construction, Inc. the contract for Hope Street Reconstruction Project/Franklin Street Reconstruction Project -- Phase 2. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Weston and Sampson RE: Proposal for Engineering Services ($9,900) - DHCD has approved a program amendment request to allow funds remaining from the FY'09 CDBG grant to be reallocated. Breezeway Farm Consulting proposed using the remaining funds to develop design drawings and technical specifications for betterments to two properties owned by the Housing Authority (Highland Village, Shelburne and 37 Clement Street, Buckland). Accordingly, Weston and Sampson submitted a proposal for engineering services to the town which includes: scope of services; proposed fee; and a proposed schedule. Weston and Sampson will complete the proposed work by March 31, 2011 for a fee of $9,900. After review of the proposal, Bob brought forth a motion to approve the document as presented. John seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Memorial Hall Association RE: Possible Improvements to Memorial Hall Theater -- in the absence of a scheduled appointment, representatives of Memorial Hall Association (Marion Taylor, Rich Warner, Jessica Murrow, and Rebecca Campbell) patiently waited for an opportunity to speak with members of the Board. Marion Taylor indicated that their group has a long list of improvements that they would like to discuss with the Selectmen. Of most importance is a coordination of efforts between energy efficiency measures at Memorial Hall and some of the Association's proposed improvements. Marion Taylor and Jessica Murrow indicated that some of their wish list items include: reconnection of plumbing, septic, and heating; so to allow for the installation of bathrooms and reactivation of radiators in the theater. They emphasized the importance of being kept informed of the town's intentions for the first floor (i.e. insulation and wall build-out) so that their efforts could be coordinated at the same time. Rich Warner stressed that Memorial Hall Association's improvements are rather non-invasive and would have minimal impact on the first floor. Given the lateness of the hour, Joe suggested that the Board tentatively schedule to meet with members of Memorial Hall Association on February 14, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.
Adjournment: John brought forth a motion to adjourn at 9:22 p.m. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Posted to: Selectboard