NEW SALEM SELECTBOARD
Monday, February 4, 2013
Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355
Convened: 7:10 pm
Present: Randy Gordon, Cathy Jones & Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Joe Camden, Police Chief; Kathy Soule-Regine and MaryEllen Kennedy, Broadband Committee; Amy Fagin, Ricardo Conde, Bruce Spencer and Dave Gauthier, Energy Committee; Carol & Ken Bright
The Selectboard Reviewed and Signed the Following:
Vendor and Payroll Warrants Minutes from January 22, 2013 Meeting
Discussion Items Joe Camden met with the Board to update them on the latest Police Department activities. He noted that he has submitted the FY14 budget. It includes increased funding to support additional patrols. He also indicated that there are two town residents interested in joining the department; he will provide more information as soon as their background checks are complete.
The Police Department Annual Report for 2012 was forwarded to Nancy Aldrich. Joe briefly compared some of the crime statistics from 2011 to 2012, noting that residential break-ins increased from 1 in 2011 to 6 in 2012 while vehicle break-ins increased from 0 to 6 in the same period.
Police Department evaluations have been completed, and he has recommended 6 employees for raises if funds are available.
There will be K-9 training with the Orange Police Department this week. K-9s from the Orange Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office have been used a considerable amount this year. He will be writing a thank you to the Sheriff’s office for their help.
The FY13 budget is holding; patrols in the month of December were cut back to offset the additional funds needed to investigate the house breaks that occurred between mid-October and late November.
Chief Camden will be asking the Capital Improvements Committee about funding to replace the 2006 Expedition. His main concern is the rising cost of fuel, and he is looking for a more fuel efficient vehicle. The new vehicle is not needed immediately, but he wanted to get it on the list.
A number of items were recovered from the recent housebreaks, and on January 26th, the Athol Police Department allowed targets of these break-ins to identify their property; over 200 people attended. 1
Of the 6 families in New Salem who had been victims of the housebreaks, 3 were able to recover some of their property. The investigation remains ongoing.
Finally, Chief Camden voiced his concern over the state of the Police Department, which has had issues with dampness and mold for a number of years. He felt this represented a health issue for the officers, and would like to see the problem addressed. Various proposals for an alternate space for the Police Department were discussed, but at this point, no viable plan exists. The Board agreed to keep working toward solutions. In the meantime, Bruce Dunbar will be contacted to paint the walls with moldresistant paint; the idea of installing an air-exchanging unit was also discussed.
Kathy Soule-Regine and MaryEllen Kennedy, New Salem’s representatives to WiredWest, came in to update the Selectboard on the latest efforts of WiredWest. They noted a recent meeting on Saturday had been productive and positive. Major efforts are being made by the WiredWest executive committee to speak with legislators and Governor Patrick. They also discussed funding sources being explored by WiredWest, including a large loan Rural Utility loan. The Board was satisfied that efforts are moving forward, and they decided not to send a letter at this time to the Governor asking him about when broadband would be available in New Salem.
Members of the Energy Committee met with the Board to discuss the final steps that need to be taken to finalize the Green Community grant for the solar PV system. Now that the PV system is operational, it needs to be registered with the state and an aggregator chosen to sell our SRecs at auction. After reviewing information from a number of aggregators, the Hampshire Council of Governments was chosen; with a 4% brokering fee, they offered the best arrangement for the town. In addition, the fees will be reinvested locally. Amy Fagin noted that the money from the auction of these SRecs will be returned to the town when they are sold, minus the brokerage fee. Although the price fluctuates, it is estimated the town will see close to $8000 per year.
On another topic, the Energy Committee explained that they would like to apply for another grant under the Green Communities program to install heat pumps in town buildings with the goal of saving 75% of our current oil usage and to reduce CO2 emissions by 35-40%. Ricardo explained that this is new technology, not the old style heat pumps; the new generation will work in this climate to -15F. The Board approved their plans to pursue this grant money.
The Board then discussed the concept that Ricardo had proposed earlier to put up a net zero energy building on the site of the current Stowell Building. The plan would provide space for both the Police Department and for town offices. The Board decided to form a small committee to expand on these plans; upon motion made and seconded, the Selectboard unanimously voted to appoint a “Stowell” committee. Appointment slips for Wayne Hachey, Ricardo Conde, and Dave Gauthier will be signed at the next meeting.
Nancy Aldrich has spoken with Jean Derderian regarding the proposed changes to the Old Academy Building lease. Jean indicated both the Historical Commission and the Friends of Historic New Salem were scheduled to meet later in the week. Jean was put on the March 4th agenda to come in and discuss the results of these meetings with the Board.
The Board reviewed a list of possible projects for which the FRCOG might be able to provide District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA). Four projects were chose from the list and prioritized as follows: 1) Broadband Adoption; 2) Selectboard Continuing Education Workshops; 3) Study of Regionalization of Fire Services; and 4) Conference on Aging of Franklin County. The list will be returned to the FRCOG.
Seaboard Solar has sent an email indicating they are making good progress in getting interconnection agreement approvals back from National Grid. They have enough sites to cover the hosting requirements for New Salem and Wendell and will be moving forward with construction of the Solar PV systems.
Dave Briand has called to inquire about the status of J. Vaughn Road. He was told by the Planning Board, based on information they received from the Assessors, that the road has been discontinued. Tom Swan seems to feel the road is a town road up to the Quabbin gate. Wayne Hachey agreed to speak with the Assessors to see why they have listed this as a discontinued road.
The State has certified New Salem’s Free Cash at $343,763.
Joe Cuneo, Fire Chief, has requested permission to scrap the department’s ATV; he indicated it was in poor condition and not worth repairing. He would also like to get rid of the ATV trailer at the same time. The Board approved his request.
At the advice of our Financial Advisor, Gabe Voelker has asked the Board to approve putting a debt exclusion question on the May town election ballot. This debt exclusion would cover the costs of the Green Repairs to the Swift River School roof and boiler as well as asbestos abatement. If the debt exclusion fails, the funding will have to be included in the levy limit and will affect our ability to fund other departments. Upon motion made and seconded, the Board unanimously voted to place a debt exclusion question on the May ballot to cover the costs of the Swift River School roof repairs, boiler replacement, and asbestos abatement. Nancy Aldrich will send the formal written request to the Town Clerk.
The next Selectboard meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 18th, since Monday the 18th is the President’s Day holiday.
Upon motion made and seconded, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn their meeting at 9:12 pm.
Respectfully Submitted, Nancy Aldrich Town Cooordinator