The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, May 19, 2003 at 7:35 p.m.
Present: James M. Hardy, Chairman; Eric W. Greene, Clerk; David L. Walsh
Michael Botelho, Executive Secretary
Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant
John Haines, Highway Surveyor/Tree Warden met with the Board for an update on the Highway and Tree Departments.
Mr. Haines announced that the Town has been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Commission for the 5th year. Noted that this award is presented for work done to preserve shade trees. Informed the Board that Richard Swan has donated the cost of purchasing 20 Liberty Elm Trees, which are being planted in Elmwood. Noted that these trees are resistant to Dutch Elm disease.
Department is working on repairs to the Church Street fields.
Informed Board that the Tree Department has information available for residents regarding a new pest, the Winter Moth, which is infesting the area. Noted that he will place fact sheets at Town Hall for residents to pick up.
1. West Union Street - work this week will be on sidewalks, which will include handicap access at various places along street. Sidewalk will be continued to Laurel Street.
2. Harvard Street - engineers have completed survey and will be going over plans regarding drainage, problem areas, etc. Hopes to begin work by mid summer.
3. Cheryl Drive - has received proposal from engineers for work.
4. Streets - looking for ways to upgrade streets without completely rebuilding.
5. Winter Storms - will receive $44,000 reimbursement for Presidents Day storm; 75% reimbursement for labor and 100% reimbursement for supplies, etc. Noted that $250,000 was spent for winter storm related costs.
Mr. Haines stated that he would like to thank George Samia for his assistance in putting together the information for the storm reimbursement. Also stated that the reimbursement would not have been successful without the work of Nancy Feeney and Ricky Hacker, as they worked on recovering the information needed for the reimbursement application.
1. Addressing potholes - have crew working on these.
2. Street Sweeping - work started on April 1; trying new process this year, have divided the Town into quadrants; will complete one section of town before moving to next section, will review at end to see if this is a more efficient way to do sweeping.
3. Brush Cutting - working on cutting back brush, etc.
4. Roadside Mowing - trying to catch up with roadside mowing, have two machines this year and expect the time frame to be cut in half.
Mr. Greene questioned what was being planted at Fire Station. Mr. Haines explained that during the repaving project the crab apple trees were transplanted, but two did not survive. In process of planting four crab apple trees.
Further discussion was held regarding work on West Union Street relative to final top coat, sidewalk work, handicap access points, etc.
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Ken McCloud, questioned when Crescent and Bridge Streets would be redone. Mr. Haines explained that these streets would need to be a capital project and that due to the budget, no capital projects were approved this year.
Mr. McCloud also questioned the Board as to the status of the Eastern States Steel property. Board members explained what had been done at the site, the newly finished survey of the property and what Board is pursuing.
Mr. Greene requested Mr. Haines remain until the Board moved the action item relative to the handicap parking space in center, as he had questions regarding this.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, move to disapprove the request of the Highway Surveyor to place one handicap parking space at 31 Central Street.
Mr. Haines explained that the handicap space originally in center was eliminated due to need for fire lane; owner of Village Nook is agreeable with space in front of his establishment.
A discussion was held regarding parking problems in center, parking in no parking area in center, etc.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to amend motion and move to approve creating one handicap parking space at 31 Central Street.
Ken McCloud, Stone Meadow Drive questioned why no signs were put up around town to advertise the town meeting last week. Stated that he did not know about the town meeting; felt that there was not enough notice to residents. Gave the Board a town map showing areas he felt that signs should be placed.
Mr. Hardy explained that this is under the Town Clerk's jurisdiction and that the Board would bring this to her attention.
Mr. McCloud also expressed his concern regarding the secret ballot, which was held at the town meeting. Felt that it left a bad impression with residents. Mr. Hardy explained that a motion was made from town meeting floor to hold a secret ballot and that the Town Moderator, who controls town meeting, went with the motion, which was voted.
Mr. McCloud asked how an article could be rescinded. Board explained that he would need a petition, worded correctly and signed by 100 registered voters. Suggested he talk to the Town Clerk for more information.
Open Forum closed.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the April 30, 2003 meeting.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the May 5, 2003 meeting.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the rescinding of the hiring freeze and allow all departments to hire to the level of budget with no new positions to be created.
Board requested that all departments be notified of this vote.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve supporting H2912.
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Mr. Botelho explained the reasoning behind the submission of the bill to the legislature and reasons for the Board to support it.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to petition the General Court to enact the special legislation to designate the chief of police as appointing authority, as voted at town meeting.
A discussion was held regarding the legislation. Mr. Walsh noted that he has been approached by several residents, who opposed the legislation and has told them that they can contact their representatives. Mr. Greene noted that he has never seen special legislation that has not passed, but noted that no legislation is irrevocable.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve awarding the contract for office supplies to Staples Business Advantage, Framingham for a period of two years.
Mr. Botelho explained that Staples was the lowest bidder with a discount on general office supplies of 72.25%. Noted that furniture, electronics, etc. are not included in the discount.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the request of Anthony Shields to place a sign on the Town Common to advertise the DARE Summer Street Hockey, said placement to be under the direction of the Tree Warden.
Mr. Greene noted that the sign in the center at the water trough, looks to be very unstable and felt that the Water Department should be notified that the Board would like the sign moved to a new area, possibly at the top of the hill.
1. Memorial Day Ceremonies on Common at 10 a.m. followed by Chicken Barbeque at Commercial Club.
2. Recycling information for street side and at Recycling Center available at town hall.
3. Rep. Teahen Office hours - Friday, May 23, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Greene requested that the Board vote to allow Allan French, Bay Circuit Alliance, to discuss use of the old railroad bed from Spring Street to the Bridgewater line with the MBTA. Noted that this is the area, which is needed to continue the Bay Circuit walking trail.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to authorize Allan French to act in an ex-officio position for the Board of Selectmen to talk/negotiate with the MBTA for use of the old railroad bed for the Bay Circuit walking trail.
Mr. Hardy stated that the Board needs to begin the process to prepare for the new position of Town Administrator. Explained that he has put together a timetable for the Board to use. Has been working on collecting samples of job descriptions and ways other towns has instituted the position. Suggested the following schedule:
Through June 6 Collect samples
June 9 - June 23 Board discussion
Decide on Process
June 30 - August 25 Develop job description/bylaw/legislation
Develop Town Meeting Article
Fall Town Meeting Seek approval
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Mr. Walsh stated that he would like to see copies of job descriptions from towns where the position had been established for a while. Felt that these are job descriptions that work. Also requested that the Government Study Committee be invited to meetings as they may have information, which will assist the Board.
Mr. Hardy requested Mr. Botelho to invite Dr. DeSantis to the Board's June 9 meeting to take part in the discussion relative to the town administrator position.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, move to close Open Session and go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing non-union contracts, collective bargaining and litigation and will not be returning to Open Session.
VOTE: Yes - Walsh, Greene, Hardy; a unanimous vote in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Board of Selectmen