Town of New Salem Selectboard
January 3, 2017
Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355
Convened: 7:00 pm
Present: Randy Gordon, chair, Lisa DeWitt, Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Ken Bright, Planning Board; Cameron Woodcock, Athol Daily News Reporter
Selectboard Reviewed & Signed the Following:
- Payroll & Vendor Warrants
- Tree Committee Appointment
Additions to Website Regarding Public Records Requests
There is now information about public records on the website which helps the town conform with the requirements of the new Mass. Gen. Chp. 66 §10 which went into effect on January 1st, 2017. This includes email and phone contacts for records access officers, who are Nancy, Chief Camden, and the Town Clerk.
Annual Report Reminder
Nancy reported that she has sent out the reminders for the Annual Town Report to the various departments. This prompted discussion regarding the Selectboard’s report. Nancy ultimately agreed to draft the Selectboard’s report to go into the Annual Town Report.
FRCOG Local Officials Workshop – Municipal Actions on Marijuana Legalization
Nancy informed the Selectboard of a municipal action workshop for understanding the legalization of marijuana and the new law that went into effect on December 15th, 2016 after the passing of Question 4 at the ballot box in November. Wayne agreed to attend the meeting.
Proposal for a Tom Doody Day
Tom Doody is retiring from North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy and the group is requesting the town consider declaring a Tom Doody Day. Randy suggested the matter be considered for another meeting. Nancy agreed to look into the declaration and relevant precedent. Nobody present could recall a commemoration day in New Salem for a person in any recent memory. Lisa stated there would be no parade or any real special activity, just a one-time declaration on Tom’s day of retirement.
All Board Reminder
A date was set at the previous meeting of the Selectboard for the All Board meeting. The date is Monday, January 23rd.
Update on Highway Garage
Wayne reported on the current state of the garage. The garage is almost complete at this stage and Morten Building has completed their work. This means that the building is up, but the insulation has not yet been done since the electricians need to complete the electrical work first. A small modification was made to make the door electric and install more lights. Nancy then finished up the discussion by reporting on the Chapter 90 money and the remaining funds the town has for the project.
Internet Borrowing & Letter of Support for Crocker Communication’s Response to MBI’s Request for Proposals
Wayne had some questions regarding the Internet borrowing. There is a proposal by Crocker which would impact the need for borrowing. No town borrowing would be required, no bonds, no fees. Crocker would build the project, guaranteeing that 80 percent of all homes would be covered upon achieving a 50 percent subscription, eventually getting to 96 percent upon a 75 subscription rate. Crocker will offer consumer grade home improvement loans to help subscribers pay for the installation. Therefore, subscribers would not pay through taxes, but through Crocker. This would mean those who choose not to subscribe would not have to pay through their taxes. The Crocker plan would provide internet and telephone. Once the project is finished and paid for, Crocker would have monthly subscriber rates of approximately $85 per month. Crocker is asking for support from the town for this plan. Wayne noted that WiredWest is continuing to make attempts to get MBI approval for the previously proposed project. He further noted that MBI and Crocker have worked closely together. Nancy reminded those present that Crocker and MBI have worked in Leverett. Lisa clarified that each household pays for their own installation. Nancy stated that was correct. Randy inquired as to the upload and download speeds noting that the town shouldn’t engage in any system without knowing. Wayne noted the Federal minimums required for upload and download.
There was some ensuing discussion of speed and what Crocker is proposing. Lisa clarified as to the actual cost for the Crocker plan and how it would work. There was discussion of exactly how the build would be paid for. The WiredWest plan would be through town borrowing paid for by tax payers as well as the funds from MBI. Crocker’s plan would be essentially paid for through subscribers and installation for each household and the funds from MBI. Nancy reminded those present that this is a proposal and it is possible other providers could make proposals. Lisa expressed the feeling that the Broadband Committee needs to update the town on what’s happening. Nancy suggested that Broadband could do this in part at the All Board meeting. Wayne expressed some frustration with the town having to pay for the pole survey when the town doesn’t own the poles. MBI is paying for the survey, but it is still the towns money insomuch as it is the money allotted to the town for this project. Discussion then turned back to the Crocker letter. It is unclear whether the Broadband Committee is in full support of the Crocker proposal. Nancy noted that internet at any cost appears to be waning. Lisa agreed to that extent, noting that it would be nice for the town to avoid having to go out for significant borrowing. Since the letter is drafted by the Broadband Committee and has not yet been presented to the Selectboard, the consensus was to wait before making any decisions on the matter.
Mollie Freilicher was appointed to the Tree Committee. It appears that she was previously appointed to the Conservation Commission in error.
The Selectboards next scheduled meeting will be the Tuesday after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, which is January 17th, 2017.
The Selectboard considered the minutes from December 19th, 2016. The minutes were tabled until the next meeting scheduled for January 17th, 2017.
A motion to adjourn at 7:33 pm was made by Wayne. The motion was seconded by Randy and carried without objection.
Jakob K. Hamm, Selectboard Clerk