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Selectmen minutes March 3, 2003
The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, March 3, 2003 at 7:32 p.m.

Present: James F. Morey, Chairman; James M. Hardy, Clerk; Eric W. Greene
        Michael Botelho, Executive Secretary
        Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant

George Samia, Town Accountant and David Walsh, Finance Committee met with the Board to go over the Governor’s 04 budget and town’s financial status for 04 budget.

Also present:
        Supt. Of Schools, Dr. Margaret Strojny
School Committee members: Jane Curley, Scott Hastings, Tom Hamilton, Lisa Forbes,
Fred Chapman
        Park Commissioner   - Robert DeChristopher
        Treasurer/Collector – Frank Savino
        Building Inspector – Robert Lundberg
        Board of Health member – John Keefe
        Board of Assessors members – David Phillips, Curtis Gluck, Michael Picklus
        Adm. Assessor – Cheryl Pooler
        Town Clerk – Marcia Weidenfeller
        3 Citizens
        16 High School students

Mr. Samia presented an analysis of the H1 Budget presented by Governor Romney last week.

Mr. Greene noted that Chapter 70 funding for the Regional School was placed into the Towns allocation and that this amount will have to go back to the Regional School. Also noted that there is a deficit in the Transportation budget; not sure of number but will change the assessment of each town.

Mr. Samia went over the worksheet for the 2003 budget noting the cut in Local Aid, certified Free Cash, etc. Noted that Free Cash will not be certified until October 2003   and would be available for the 2004 budget once certified.

Went over the 2004 budget, anticipated revenue, deficit in Snow Removal budget in ’03 budget; noted that town used one time revenues to fund ’03 budget. Noted fixed costs in health insurance, county retirement, regional school will increase. Also, explained costs in unemployment if there are layoffs in workforce. Went over a 5% budget cut across all departments.

Mr. Samia presented information regarding 2003 budget, reductions and deficit; 2004 preliminary budgets, reductions, fixed costs, etc. Noted that at this time the ’04 budget deficit is approximately 1.75 million.

A discussion was held regarding ’04 budget, fixed costs, reductions to budgets, etc. Speaking on behalf of the schools was School Committee Member, Scott Hastings, who explained some of the impacts to schools.

Mr. Hardy read impact statements received from town departments, Selectmen, Police, Fire, Treasurer/Collector, Accountant, Town Clerk, Planning/Building, Health, Highway, Tree, Park, Veterans, Council on Aging, Library which included school libraries and Assessors.

Cheryl Pooler, Adm. Assessor informed the Board that their office would realize a major savings by in-house revaluation; felt that thee could reduce the $50,000 article by $35,000 which could be used to reduce the ’03 budget deficit.

A discussion was held regarding School’s level services budget.

Board of Selectmen                              -2-                     March 3, 2003

At this time, a representative of the students attending the meeting spoke in support of the school budget.

Board thanked the students for their interest and invited them to continue to attend budget meetings.

Discussion was held regarding the budget process and what can be presented at this time. Mr. Greene admonished all that departments need to be analytical not reactionary; need to continue to make progress in the budget process.

Mrs. Pooler presented information regarding impact of override on taxes. Noted that as this is a revaluation year taxes will go down as valuations will rise.  Explained that without an override this year, there will be a tax rate of $12.33 (down from $15.48); with an override of 1 million there would be a tax increase to $13.51; with 2 million override an increase to $14.69; a 3 million override an increase to $15.87; 4 million override an increase to $ 17.05; 5 million override an increase to $18.23.

Mr. Walsh informed the Board that the Finance Committee would be meeting on Wednesday, March 5. Board requested that the Finance committee give a recommendation on budget for next week.

Mr. Hardy stated that there needs to be a strategy regarding an override; noted that the Board of Selectmen must vote to hold an override special election 45 days prior to the election; if it were planned to hold a special election on May 3, the Board would need to vote by March 17.

Mr. Greene stated that he felt that the Annual Town Meeting should be moved out to June in order to give town time to work out what is actual state aid and what actual budget reduction will be. May be able to use reserves and may not need an over-ride.

Mr. Hardy requested and Board agreed to hold a Department Head meeting on Wednesday, March 12, at 8:00 a.m.

Attendees exited the meeting at this time.

M/Hardy, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the February 24, 2003 meeting.

M/Hardy, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the application for an Entertainment License by Frank Cannizzaro dba Mockingbird Restaurant, 838 North Bedford Street for radio, television and instrumental music.

M/Hardy, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the appointment of Cynthia Hamilton as a Matron in the Police Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003.

Board Discussion

Board discussed letter received from Mary Ahern, Chairperson of the Historical Commission relative to Church Street complaint.

Mr. Hardy read the letter into the Record, as follows:

        Dear Members of the Board of Selectmen:

At the annual Town Meeting of April 7, 1975 it was voted by the citizens of East Bridgewater to name the entire length of Church Street(from Central to Union Street) as a scenic road according to the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 15C.
Board of Selectmen                              -3-                             March 3, 2003

At the meeting of the East Bridgewater Historical Commission held on February 24, it was brought to our attention by neighbors on Broad Meadow Drive that the Union Street end of old Church Street is being abused by persons driving four-wheel vehicles, ie Jeeps and pick-up trucks. It seems a dangerous situation to have the area defiled by deep ruts for the amusement of two or three vehicles, when this road is used by the award winning High School Track Team as a practice area and other citizens use it as a walking trail.

We respectfully request that you have the Highway Department place large rocks at the Union Street, Burr Land and Church Street entrances/exits. In order to keep this, one of the earliest streets in the town, in a pristine condition.

Very truly yours,
Mary Ahern, Chairperson

It was noted that included with the letter was a copy of the article designating roads in East Bridgewater as scenic roads.

Mr. Greene suggested that the road could be posted for no vehicles.

M/Greene, s/Hardy, a unanimous vote, move to request the Highway Department to place boulders at the entrances/exits of Church Street at Union Street, Burr Lane and Church Street and that the Highway Surveyor and Police Chief confer on acceptable wording for signs to be place at these locations that motorized vehicles are prohibited.

Mr. Hardy noted that he had received several calls from East Bridgewater residents, over the weekend, relative to odors in the Winter Street area. Noted that he heard on the news that Mayor Yunits is holding a meeting on Wednesday, March 5 at the Davis School to discuss the problems which are emanating from the Brockton Landfill and not the BFI landfill area on Thatcher Street.

Informed the Board that he has spoken to Robert Philbrick, Health Agent and he is planning to attend the meeting as a representative of the Board of Health. Mr. Greene stated that he would try to attend the meeting also.

Executive Secretary Report
1.      Referendum Questions – Town Counsel reviewed and corrected and they have been
        given to Town Clerk for printing.
2.      Workers Compensation matters – Town Counsel will have a report for the Board next week.
3.      North Water Street – Robert Lundberg is discussing solutions with owner.

M/Hardy, s/Greene, move to adjourn Open Session and go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing non-union contract and will not be returning to Open Session.
VOTE: Yes – Greene, Hardy, Morey; a unanimous vote in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

        Board of Selectmen

Town of East Bridgewater, 175 Central Street, East Bridgewater, MA 02333-0386
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