Monday, January 22, 2013
Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355
Convened: 7:00 pm
Present: Randy Gordon, Cathy Jones & Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator, Lindsey Washburn, Athol Daily News; Ken Bright
The Selectboard Reviewed and Signed the Following:
 Vendor and Payroll Warrants  Minutes from January 7, 2013 Meeting  Chapter 90 Reimbursement Requests  Council on Aging Formula State Contract  Fire Department S.A.F.E. State Contract

Discussion Items Randy Gordon inquired about evaluation forms and whether or not each department uses different ones. The Fire Department uses its own forms; all others have a similar format with different job standards tailored to the individual position.

It was noted that the side door in Town Hall was left open over the weekend; Randy was able to close. It was not known who had been in the building.

Joe Camden had asked about when the Police Department painting will be done. Nancy will try to coordinate the timing between Bruce Dunbar and Joe.

The Board reviewed the newest draft of the OAB lease. The biggest issue seems to be the costs to operate the building and how the Friends of Historic New Salem might contribute to these costs through some sort of annual rent. The general consensus seemed to be that the Board was willing to accept minimal rent with the understanding that if the Friends were to make a large amount of money, it was reasonable to expect some of the town’s costs to be covered. The idea of a percentage of the Friends’ profits was discussed, although this concept had been rejected by the Friends earlier. It was decided to send the latest draft of the lease to Jean Derderian, asking that she arrange a meeting with the Friends to discuss the document, propose what they feel is a fair and reasonable rent, and if they have specific objections to parts of the lease, to offer alternative language.

The Board briefly discussed the idea of a zoning moratorium on medical marijuana centers. They felt it was not necessary at this time.

Library Director Diana Smith has made a request regarding some minor repairs that need to be done in the Library. Wayne Hachey agreed to look at the items on the list to see if he could help. If we need to hire someone to do the work, Wayne will check with Diana to see if the payments will be handled through the Library budget or if they will need to be covered under the building maintenance budget. It was agreed that some money should be added to either the building maintenance budget or the library budget in FY14 to cover the costs of similar unexpected repairs in the future.

The Personnel Board sent a letter indicating which departments had completed employee evaluation forms. The Fire Department, Board of Health and Police Department are complete. They are still waiting for information from the Highway Department, the Library, and the evaluations done by Selectboard for department heads (with the exception of the Police Chief).

The Board reviewed a draft surrender policy being proposed by Gail Spring, the Animal Control Officer. She had suggested the Board look at this policy in light of the recent abandonment of a dog by a New Salem resident. The purpose of the policy would be to help the town recover some of the boarding/vet costs in the event that a townsperson is no longer able or willing to care for their dog and wants to surrender it to the ACO. Gail had done research with other towns and with the MSPCA on the matter, and she determined the Selectboard could adopt such a policy without town meeting approval, since it is a policy and not a bylaw. The Board, upon motion made and seconded, voted to adopt the policy as follows: “If a townsperson is no longer able to care for or keep a dog, they can bring the dog to the dog pound. (no strays)

We ask that the owner of the dog be present during the surrender. The owner can help with information that can help with said dog’s new placement. They must provide updated veterinarian information and records of shots, special needs.

The surrender fee will be $100 to help defray the cost of care while at the pound, and if no vet care records are available, an additional cost of $100 will also be assessed to get the dog up to date on shots and a health screening.

A sliding scale for these fees will be considered in the event of monetary hardship.”

The Board received a notice from Joan Wickman, Superintendent of Erving Union #28, that the Chair of the Selectboard or his designee shall participate and vote as a member of the School Committee for the purpose of negotiations with the Swift River Education Association. Cathy Jones was made the designee for this purpose. Randy discussed how negotiations have gone in the past, and he indicated the major focus for the Selectboard is to look at the impact of the agreement on the budget. Cathy received a copy of the current agreement with the SREA. The first negotiation session will take place on February 7th. Nancy Aldrich will notify Mike Yohan, Chair of the New Salem/Wendell School Committee, that Cathy will be the representative from New Salem.

Wayne gave a brief summary of a meeting he recently attended with the Board of Health regarding a situation in the center of town concerning the keeping of farm animals. Some neighbors had complained about the noise and were concerned that the free range chickens were attracting coyotes.

Wayne indicated the issue has been resolved—the owner of the animals has moved them away from the house and they will be fenced in.

Nancy asked the Board about the Sprint budget for next year and whether or not the additional charges now being covered by the Police and Fire Departments should be rolled into the cell phone budget. Further discussion with the Finance Committee and the individual departments will be needed. In addition, a chart showing 3 year averages for the Northeast area Cost of Living increases has been compiled by the Wendell Finance Committee. It might be a useful tool when determining employee COLAs, and it has been forwarded to New Salem’s Finance Committee for review.

Wayne indicated he was hoping to send a respectful letter to Governor Patrick reminding him of his pledge that the Town would have high speed internet by 2013. He will draft a letter for the Board to review at their next meeting.

Wayne reported that the Energy Committee was working to register the Solar PV system; this is the final step needed for reimbursement of the Green Communities Grant money.

Upon motion made and seconded, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn their meeting at 8:14 pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Nancy Aldrich Town Cooordinator