The weekly meeting of the Board of Selectmen was held on Tuesday evening, January 9, 2007 at 7:35 p.m.
Present: Peter A. Hamilton, Chairman; Theresa McNulty, Clerk; David L. Walsh
George Samia, Town Administrator
Karen Grabau, Adm. Assistant
Glenn Tattrie and Gordon Hatfield, Capital Improvement Needs Committee made a presentation on the Committee’s suggested long term proposal for funding capital needs and implementation of a Capital Project Stabilization Fund.
Mr. Tattrie explained the Committee’s history and inability to fund major projects in last few years. Noted that at this time there are significant issues/needs, which have a cost of over 51milliion; will ask for a 1.25 million override, which will be specified for placement into a Capital Project Stabilization Fund.
Mr. Hatfield went over the guidelines to be established for the Capital Project Stabilization Fund. Noted that this concept will allow the Town over several years to address the various projects and fund them without any additional overrides. Fund will be established by a town meeting vote on a new town by-law.
Mr. Samia explained that once the by-law is approved and the Fund established the Annual Town Meeting would have an article before the town budget article to fund capital projects with the established Stabilization Fund. This will allow voters to see where those funds are being used and that they are not being used for operating budgets. Noted that town has reached a point where projects are too larges to fund without an override. Also noted that the last several years the town has had a balanced budget.
Mr. Walsh noted that the Town has never had an override; has voted three debt exclusions, town hall which is no longer on the books, capping of the Bridge Street landfill and Middle School addition, which are still being paid off.
Mrs. McNulty noted that over the last few years all small towns have suffered cuts and have faced cuts to maintenance budgets. A long-range plan is needed, which will be affordable to homeowners; this plan will not pit departments against each other; all projects can be funded.
Mr. Tattrie noted that the Committee has looked at all options available to the Town and found that this was the best plan to address the many needs and minimize the effect of residents.
Mr. Walsh presented a visual explanation of the plan, showing the cost of funding to taxpayers. Noted cost to taxpayers of funding major projects, options available and cost of override for Capital Stabilization Fund and funding of all projects through fund.
A general discussion was held regarding the proposed Capital Improvement Stabilization Fund, long-term plans, impact on taxpayers and how Free Cash has been utilized over the past several years.
Board expressed their thanks to the Capital Needs Committee for their work.
John Haines, DPW Director, met with the Board to discuss deficit in Water Department operational budget and need to increase water rates.
Mr. Haines gave a background on the development of the water system in East Bridgewater, noting that many of the water mains were originally placed in the early 1900’s.
Board of Selectmen -2- January 9, 2007
A discussion was held regarding the rate structure study report. It was explained that the water department budget was looking at an $80,000 deficit for FY08; rate structure is not supporting the operational budget. Mr. Haines notes that the town has approximately 100 miles of water mains; replacement cost for 12” mains is $150.00 per foot.
Mr. Haines explained the water meter replacement program; 50% of households have been replaced; need to be more aggressive on replacement of meters; noted recommended replacement if every 15 years. New meters being installed are radio controlled; will eliminate need for all water department employees doing readings manually.
A discussion was held regarding how deficit will be addressed. Mr. Samia explained that the plan would be to use Free Cash to fund deficit and then set new water rates to cover the operational budget.
Mr. Haines stated that they need to continue reviewing the water analysis and system review and develop a long-range plan for the water system, rates structure, etc. Board agreed to continue reviewing the reports and to continue discussion at future meetings with Mr. Haines.
A discussion was held regarding a well head protection act; Mr. Haines stated that he is working on a proposal and will discuss same with Town Counsel; needs to put proposal on Annual Town Meeting.
M/McNulty, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move to approve the minutes of the January 2, 2007 meeting.
M/McNulty, s/Walsh, a unanimous vote, move that the maximum useful life of the departmental equipment to be financed with the proceeds of the $225,000 borrowing authorized by the vote of the Town passed May 10, 2004 (Article 23) is hereby determined pursuant to G.L. c.44 S7(9) to be 10 years.
TOWN ADMINISTRATOR REPORT
Copy of Leland Farm Report given to Board members
Copy of MMA Annual Meeting package given to Board
Census forms sent out; must be returned to Town Clerk
Christmas Tree curbside pick-up January 27
Letter from W. Bridgewater Selectmen re: locating station in their town; need to check
any potential effect on E. Bridgewater
Mr. Hamilton announced that a new business has leased the former Shaw’s warehouse.
No one was present
Board of Selectmen -3- January 9, 2007
M/McNulty, s/Walsh, move to close Open Session and go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing personnel issues and will not be returning to Open Session.
VOTE: Yes – Walsh, McNulty, Hamilton; a unanimous vote in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
Board of Selectmen