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Selectmen's Minutes 11/29/04
The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Monday evening, November 29, 2004.
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As a quorum was not present at 7:30 p.m., Clerk, David L. Walsh announced that as Mr. Greene had not arrived, the meeting would be held as a Public Discussion and that when Mr. Greene arrived the regular meeting would be called to order.
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Present for the discussion were the following:
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        Finance Committee members:
        Peter Hamilton, Chairman; Sally Feeney, Clerk; Anthony Costello; Eric Glass;
Albert Mondeau; Robert Coulter
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Town Counsel, Robert Kerwin
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Town Administrator, George Samia
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Administrative Assistant, Karen Grabau
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School Committee member, Scott Hastings
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A general discussion was held regarding the Budget Process for the upcoming 2005 budget.
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Mr. Walsh explained that he and Mr. Greene had attended a Department Head meeting last week. Noted that this will be a difficult year as there will not be a utilization of one-time funds this year. All Departments have been asked to submit a level funded budget minus 3% with impact statements as to what this reduction will mean to the department; all budgets must be returned by December 23. Noted that Board members will be active in the budget process; departments will be broken up between the Selectmen.
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Mr. Walsh stated that their will be discussion regarding each budget with the Selectmen, Finance Committee and Department Head. All departments have been asked to set their priorities. Also noted that this year there will be no under-budgeting; noted that line items such as gasoline, heating, utilities, insurance must be fully budgeted; noted that already aware that these items will be higher.
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Mr. Hamilton questioned whether the prior year’s budget process calendar would be significantly changed; noted that last year budgets were to be submitted by the middle of January; asked if the Board planned to change all the dates and move them back by two weeks.
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Mr. Samia noted that it was possible that the process would be moved back depending on what happens once the budgets are turned in.
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It was explained that the 3% figure was the difference between the budget with the one-time use funds and the actual budget. Noted that the figure was also predicated on State Aid being level funded. Noted that the Governor has already announced a shortfall in the State’s budget. It was also noted that the budget is based on use of Free Cash.
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Mr. Walsh noted that the salary increases would have to be absorbed within the level funded budget with the 3% decrease. Also noted that the Board will be looking into any cost savings that can be accomplished by combining departments, i.e. creating a DPW. Noted that they need to maintain services but it may mean loss of personnel within some departments.
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Mr. Hamilton stated that the Finance Committee has set up the liaisons to each department and he will forward a copy of the liaisons to Mrs. Grabau by the end of the week.
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Board of Selectmen                              -2-                            November 29, 2004
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Mr. Hamilton asked if the Board plans to hold weekly department head meetings on Tuesdays. Mr. Samia explained that he holds a meeting weekly with the department heads of the larger departments but could include all departments. Mr. Walsh stated that he planned to meet with each of the departments he is liaison to, for discuss on their budget and would be inviting the Finance Committee liaison to the meeting.
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Mr. Walsh stated that he hopes that the community will continue their involvement; need to work together this year; noted that the community needs to understand the budgets and the process; hopes that residents will actively participate in the budget process. Noted that he hopes that the community will be well informed and that they will understand the budgets prior to town meeting.
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Mr. Walsh invited Town Counsel, John Stuebing and Robert Kerwin to explain Open Meeting and Open Forum issue.
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Mr. Kerwin reminded all that this was a Public Discussion and not a formal meeting.
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Mr. Stuebing explained that the Board had requested an opinion relative to the Open Forum portion of the weekly meetings. Explained that Open Forum is an opportunity for individuals or groups to give information to the Board. Need to keep in mind that the Open Meeting Law states that all meetings must be open to the public but is not open for debate or political statements or endorsements.
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Atty. Stuebing went over the 7 points governing Open Forum
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Mr. Greene arrived at 8:05 p.m. and the weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was called to order and opened at 8:10 p.m.
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Present: Eric W. Greene, Chairman; David L. Walsh, Clerk
        George Samia, Town Administrator
        Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant
        John Stuebing, Town Counsel
        Robert Kerwin, Town Counsel
        
M/Walsh, S/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the November 22, 2004 meeting.
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Mr. Walsh read a letter from Nancy Steen, Troop Advisor for Cadette Girl Scout Troop 235 requesting the Board to allow them to place a collection container at Town Hall to collect food items for the East Bridgewater Food Pantry during the month of December.
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M/Walsh, s/Greene, a unanimous vote, move to approve the request of Nancy Steen, Troop Advisor for Cadette Troop 234 to place a collection container for donations to the East Bridgewater Food Pantry from December 1 to December 31, 2004.
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Mr. Greene asked if letter have been sent to the Land Use Committee members regarding the committee status. Mr. Samia stated that he would check with Mrs. Johnson tomorrow and see those letters are sent out.
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Mr. Samia reported to the Board on the selection of a Police Chief. Explained the selection process, i.e. application process and review, oral interviews before a panel of area police chiefs and a recommendation by panel. Noted that according to his employment contract as Town Administrator he makes an appointment, notifies the Board of Selectmen of the appointment and the board then has fifteen days to disapprove with a 2/3 majority vote of any appointment.
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Board of Selectmen                           -3-                                      November 29, 2004
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Noted that his letter of November 29 notifies the Board of his intent to appoint Sgt. John Cowen as the Police Chief effective on or about January 1, 2005, contingent on successful contract negotiation.
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Mr. Walsh noted that the fifteen day period would end on December 13; requested that whoever is elected Selectmen on December 7th be given a packet for review.
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Reminders:
        Christmas on the Common – December 4
        Town election for position of Selectmen – December 7; polls open 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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M/Greene, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to adjourn meeting at 8:30 p.m.

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