The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, May 5, 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
Historical Commission members, Mary Ahern, Maryann Roan and Margaret Alexander met with the board and updated them on several ongoing issues.
Mrs. Roan updated the Board on the situation at 43 Central Street. Noted that the owner of the property has been informed of the by-law violation. Under the by-law the owner is barred from building at the property for three years. Noted that owner had obtained a permit for remodeling building, not to raze it. Noted that there are two articles on the town meeting warrant, which defines demolition; the second article requires any permit for a historical building must be brought to the Historical Commission before a permit is issued. Stated that Commission is waiting to hear from town Counsel as to whether fines can to be billed to owner.
Mrs. Ahern informed the Board that she is getting estimates on remodeling of Sachem Rock Farm house; is waiting to get into house to start cleaning of building. Noted that many residents feel that the building would be suitable as a cultural center; also looking into whether the building would be eligible for any grants.
Mrs. Ahern also noted that the blackboards have been removed from the Northville School and will be placed in the Town Hall.
Mrs. Alexander informed the Board that the East Bridgewater Garden Club has been planting bulbs at Sachem Rock Farm; also the Butterfly Garden is a work in progress.
A discussion was held regarding 43 Central Street. Mr. Greene suggested that the Commission try to negotiate a settlement with the owner. Mrs. Roan noted that the Commission has been waiting since February for an opinion from Town Counsel as to legality of fines.
Atty. John Stuebing arrived at the meeting.
Atty. Stuebing was asked about the fines relative to the demolition by-law. Atty. Stuebing explained that the Historical Commission could notify the property owner by letter of the fine.
Commission members thanked the Board for their assistance.
Town Moderator, Peter Spagone, Town Clerk Marcia Weidenfeller, Town Accountant, George Samia and Town Treasurer, Frank Savino met with the Board to finalize the Town Meetings to be held on Monday, May 12.
Board went over the articles for the Special and Annual Town Meetings noting who would present each article and whether the articles would take a majority or 2/3's vote. It was noted that Article 11 would need a correction in the numbers as the addition is wrong; Articles 6 &7 require a 9/10 vote; all other articles require a majority vote.
A discussion was held regarding Articles 17-20, which deal with land takings; Mr. Hardy will offer an explanation when he moves Article 17, for all four articles.
Board of Selectmen -2- May 5, 2003
Board went over articles for the Annual Town Meeting.
Mr. Spagone requested that an explanation of the budget process and "state of the Town" be given prior to first article. Mr. Hardy stated that he would do the presentation. It was also noted that Peter Hamilton, as Chairman of the Finance Committee would speak prior to Article 3.
Board went over the article; it was noted that within Article 3 the Debt Service line would need a 2/3 vote as part of this will be funded by a transfer of 1 million from the Stabilization Fund.
Mr. Greene noted that he would have a power-point presentation for Articles 6 & 7.
It was noted that Article 12 would require a 2/3 vote. Jeff Luttazi spoke regarding Article 12 and questioned whether the article was correctly worded. Presented the Board with several papers, which he proceeded to explain. Atty. Stuebing stated that these questions should be brought up on town meeting floor after the motion has been made. Mr. Savino stated that he will discuss with committee changing the method of funding from low interest WPAT loan to borrowing by town; noted that the WPAT loan places an additional workload on his office. Felt that it is more cost efficient to have town borrow.
Mr. Spagone noted that he has had several calls relative to holding a secret ballot for some of the articles. Noted that Article 13 was one of those that may be requested for secret ballot. Noted that Mrs. Weidenfeller is prepared for this; each voter will be given one ballot when they register; if additional ballots are needed, they will be passed out as needed.
A discussion was held on budget as shown in Article 3; Mr. Samia will have completed budget ready for copying tomorrow. Mr. Greene stated that he will move that the line item for SE Regional be reduced to FY03 level.
Mr. Spagone noted that American Legion Post 28 will do the opening exercises for the Annual Town Meeting.
Jeff Luttazi stated that he was not here to debate the merits of Article 12, but had concerns with costs; expressed concern that there was no peer review of the engineering company. Mr. Luttazi also explained the information he had given Selectmen and voiced his concerns and questioned the veracity of the information given to the Board and the Town by the Waste Water Study Committee; felt that there were many contradictions given over the last three years.
Open Forum was closed.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the April 27, 2003 meeting.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the request of James Barlow of Brendan's Pub to change the time of opening to 6:00 a.m. 7 days a week, from weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Sunday 12 noon to 1:00 a.m.
It was noted that there were some corrections needed in the April 30 minutes and the motion to approve the minutes was withdrawn.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the request of Mary Ahern, Chairman of the Historical Commission to appoint Diane Nordberg as a member of the Historical Commission effective immediately through June 30, 2006.
Board of Selectmen -3- May 5, 2003
Board met with Town Counsel, Atty. John Stuebing regarding process for implementing the recommendations of the Government Review Committee, i.e. Town Administrator, Town Planner, Recall, DPW
Atty. Stuebing explained as follows:
Town Administrator - 3 ways to change from Executive Secretary
1. Town Meeting votes to change vote of 1985 from Executive Secretary to Town Administrator; simplest method; Board would assign duties via a job description and can modify as needed.
2. Town By-law - allowed by statute; can amend at town meeting; would include chain of command, duties, etc.
3. Special Legislation - cannot be amended except by going back for additional special legislation; most cumbersome way.
A discussion followed regarding what would be best way to go. Mr. Walsh stated that he would like to see difference between a by-law and vote of Town Meeting. Board agreed that they will discuss this and be ready to present at the fall town meeting and then will go out for interviews. Mr. Hardy stated he would like to gather information as to what job descriptions are, etc.
Mr. Hardy stated that recommendations would be discussed at weekly meetings; agenda will note what will be discussed.
One-time action; models from other towns are available; would be drafted with town's specific needs; noted that within the recall procedure would be the grounds for recall, number of voters on petition, time frame to return petition, time frame to hold recall election, etc.
Mr. Hardy stated that will be at MMA tomorrow and will see if he can get town administrator and recall models for Board's to review.
Atty. Stuebing suggested that the easiest way to change would be by bring to town meeting change to make Highway Surveyor and Tree Warden appointed positions and then combine the two positions into one; could leave Water Department out for time being.
Mr. Walsh felt that the Board should have the steps in place to create a DPW; wouldn't want to not at least show intent to combine all departments. Mr. Hardy noted that the recommendation was to create a DPW consisting of the Highway, Tree and Water Departments.
A discussion was held regarding merging of departments. Mr. Botelho noted that there were collective bargaining issues, which must be dealt with concerning merging departments; noted that language was in new contracts which allow reopening of contract to bargain in case of merger.
Atty. Stuebing noted that by combining two positions now held by one person, it would be easier to change elected positions to one appointed position.
Need to create job description; place funds into budget; would be an appointed position.
Board of Selectmen -4- May 5, 2003
Mr. Hardy noted that the referendum questions clearly showed that the voters wanted to keep the town meeting form of government. Felt that the Board should show that they are not going to look to changing this.
M/Greene, s/Hardy, a unanimous vote, move to adopt the recommendation of the Government Study Committee and vote of voters that town meeting form of government will remain in place.
Mr. Walsh suggested that the Secondary Recommendations should also be placed on the agenda so that they are not forgotten. Noted that one of these recommendations was that the Government Study Committee continue and oversee the process. Suggested that anyone including committee members should notify the Board of Selectmen that they are interested on being appointed to the new committee.
Mr. Greene noted that he had a copy of a 1994 letter from DOR relative to charging rent for the Water Department building. Requested Town Counsel review letter and comment on opinion in letter. Mr. Stuebing stated that he was also looking into the funding to build that building.
New Recycling information available.
Memorial Day exercises on Common; Mr. Greene agreed to be the speaker.
Letter from Fire Department Lieutenant Keith McCartney relative to grant received by department to provide 50 bicycle helmets; will be holding a Safety Day on June 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Police Department. Will do helmet safety checks, bike safety inspections, give out helmet safety stickers for inside helmets with vital information; also the S.A.F.E. Trailer will be on display along with Fire Department Apparatus. Police Department will provide car seat inspections.
DARE Street Hockey Registration applications available at Middle and Central Schools and at Police Station. Registration ends May 23.
M/Hardy, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to belatedly proclaim April 1325, 2003 as Arbor Day in East Bridgewater.
Board members signed Proclamation.
M/Greene, s/Walsh, move to close Open Session and go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing litigation issues, collective bargaining and non-union contract negotiations and will not be returning to Open Session.
VOTE: Yes - Walsh, Greene, Hardy; a unanimous vote in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 10:05 p.m.
Board of Selectmen