NEW SALEM SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES
Monday, March 4, 2012 Selectboard Office, Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355
Convened: 7:00 P.M.
Present: Selectboard: Randy Gordon (Chair), Wayne Hachey & Cathy Jones Town Coordinator: Nancy Aldrich Selectboard Clerk: Sharon Field Highway Department: Tom Swan Dog Officer: Gail Spring Resident(s): Ken Bright Athol Daily News Reporter: Jared Robinson
The Selectboard Reviewed and signed the Following:
Vendor & Payroll Warrants. Minutes from February 19th Meeting.
Request for Use of OAB – Amy Fagin has requested the use of the OAB for an art exhibition. She would like to display and give guided tours of art work from the Beyond Genocide collection. Beyond Genocide is a collection of 44 pieces depicting the history of genocide. Her date requirements are somewhat flexible but she has requested to use the building from April 1st for three months. She will be responsible for all the art work, and will also volunteer to use her time there as the Historical Committee’s representative for the obligatory time necessary for them to have the building used. The Selectboard and Amy will speak to The Friends of Historic New Salem (FHNS) and the Historical Commission about the requirement for hanging articles on the walls.
Highway Department Update & Snow & Ice Budget Approval – Tom Swan told the Selectboard that because of the number of snow storms there have been, the Highway Department is out of money for salt and sand. As of now the budget is over by $5,522.05. Cathy Jones made a motion to approve the deficit for spending on snow and ice removal. Wayne Hachey seconded the motion. The motion passed. Tom also told the Selectboard that today the Highway Department will be putting down gravel on Neilson Road. Tom has not started any work on the new truck, a Peterbilt, as he has not received the Chapter 90 forms as of today. He is also waiting for parts, with prices for the body work. The truck costs are $155,000, with Tom doing the additional work needed himself. If Tom were not doing the work the truck would cost between $250,000 and $300,000.
OAB — New Draft of Lease – Jean Derderian, the Chair of the Friends of Historic New Salem, did not attend the meeting and so the issue was not discussed.
Request from Joan Wickman Regarding use of 5 Year Rolling Average to Calculate
Assessments – The Selectboard discussed the issue of a rolling five year average to calculate the assessment for schools on the request of Joan Wickman. The School Committee and the Finance Committee are currently looking at the issue. Wayne Hachey made a motion to move forward with changing the language in the Swift River School Agreement to include use of a five year rolling average to calculate assessments. Cathy Jones seconded the motion. The motion passed. Information on Phone Costs to Review – The Selectboard reviewed FY13 phone costs for the budget for the phone for cell, data and land lines. The budget set for FY13 did not include internet costs and this will need to be added to the FY14 budget. The Finance Committee is concerned about the cost and will be discussing it at the Budget Hearing. The Selectboard also discussed the installation of broadband for the Town. NBI is installing only the fiber optics cable, and it should be active by June or early July. Wired West will not be ready for about a year. There is a question as to who will be providing the service until Wired West can do it; the cost for Crocker is questionable. The FRCOG may be able to help with costs and needs.
Letter from Orange Selectboard Chair regarding Collective Bargaining at Mahar – One representative from each Selectboard is needed for the regional Collective Bargaining at Mahar. The Orange Selectboard has a member who has volunteered.
Information from Police Chief on 2006 Ford Expedition – Chief Camden has requested to purchase a new vehicle with a smaller engine to replace the 2006 Ford Expedition they currently use. The Expedition is getting 7-10 miles per gallon and is in need of repairs. A new vehicle such as a Ford Escape could replace the Expedition. The Expedition was purchased with a grant. The Selectboard suggested that the Chief put in an official request to the Fin. Com. Animal Control – The title for Dog Officer has been changed to Animal Control Officer. Gail Spring who is currently the Dog Officer told the Selectboard that when she took this job it was with the understanding that she would just be responsible for dogs. She voiced her concerns and told the Selectboard that she is not capable of killing an animal if it is rabid, injured or sick, which the Animal Control Officer is responsible for. She has asked the Police Department to help her on occasion when she needed back-up and they have refused to help. Gail said that the Police Chief doesn’t want to help her but in the surrounding towns the police do back up the Animal Control Officer. Perhaps a co-person could be appointed. Cathy told the Selectboard and Gail that at a recent meeting at the FRCOG this subject was reviewed. She said that the position requires a training program that is scheduled to be held on Thursdays for 12 weeks. Nancy will have to check to see if the program is paid for by the Town. Meanwhile Gail will speak to Michael Cahill at the Agriculture Department about the position and training. It was suggested that a letter asking for someone interested by helping Gail in being an assistant or a job share be sent out.
FY14 COLA’s – The Finance Committee has asked the Selectboard to recommend what the COLA is to be for FY14. Nancy told them that Wendell had decided to make the COLA 2.3%. The Town Treasurer, Gabe Voelker is recommending the COLA be set at 2.0%. The Selectboard reviewed the processes for granting raises to employees and then reviewed the Federal cost of living and what the FRCOG is recommending. Wayne Hachey made a motion to apply a 2.0% COLA for the FY14 budget. Cathy Jones seconded the motion. The motion passed.
OAB Alarm Monitoring Proposal – The current cost for the monitoring system at the OAB provided by Zap Electrical costs $800 a year. A possible alternative was suggested by the Fire Chief, who is investigating the
costs. He believes that a system could be put in that would require a phone line and would have an initial cost of $2,000 but wouldn’t have an annual fee. The Selectboard will discuss this further with the Fin. Com.
Policy Regarding Sales Tax – The Town Accountant has informed the Selectboard that a number of purchases have been made with the town credit card that have tax applied to them. The Accountant said that all purchases made with that credit card should be tax exempt. The Selectboard discussed how some Departments are dealing with vendors that will not give a purchase an exemption and that if that continues we will not be able to do business with them. Nancy will prepare a new policy regarding sales tax reimbursement for the Board to sign at an upcoming meeting. School Regionalization Study Committee – At a recent School Regional Committee meeting the Committee asked for an appointment to be made for that Committee. The request was approved at a Town Meeting, but the appointment hasn’t been made. There is a question as to who should make the appointment, the Selectboard or the Town Moderator. Nancy will discuss this with the Town Moderator and report back to the Selectboard.
Oldest Citizen – Annually the Town has presented the oldest resident of New Salem with an award. The Selectboard is responsible for presenting that award each year. The award consists of a pin and certificate, along with their name being added to the golden cane members.
Request for Letter of Support Regarding Solar Goals – Daniel Felzon has sent a letter on behalf of the leaders of the Green Committee. They are asking the Selectboard for their support and signatures on a request to the Governor asking him to increase the goal of the state to be connected to one gig of solar power per community by 2017. All the members of the Selectboard signed the letter.
February 19th Warrant Signature Change- Nancy informed the Selectboard that the signature page of the last Warrant is missing. She would like them to check to see if they might have it; if it isn’t found they will need to sign another one.
Old Business: Wayne informed the Selectboard that a meeting of the Stowell Committee scheduled to be held did not take place and will be rescheduled. New Business: At this time the Cultural Council does not have a member that will take the responsibility of signing bills or for mail. Because of this an appeal got approved that shouldn’t have because the mail was not picked up in time. The Selectboard is concerned that the Cultural Council doesn’t have a member willing to sign for the bills and mail. It was decided that Nancy will now do it. Meeting Adjournment: Wayne Hachey made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Cathy Jones seconded the motion. The motion was passed and the meeting ended at 8:35 pm
Other Documents Used: None.
Next Meeting Date: The next Selectboard meeting is scheduled for March 18th, 2013 at 7pm.
Respectfully Submitted, Selectboard Clerk, Sharon Field