Monday, April 29, 2013
Stowell Building, New Salem, MA

Convened: 7:00 pm
Present: Randy Gordon, Cathy Jones & Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Gabe Voelker, Don King, Chuck Hartwell, Finance Committee; Hendra Reidy, Edith Watson, Connie Blakley, Larry Blakley, Judy Jewett, Council on Aging; Ken Bright

The Selectboard Reviewed and Signed the Following:

Vendor and Payroll Warrants  Annual Town Meeting Warrant  Letter of Support for Joan Wickman, Union #28 Superintendent

Discussion Items The Board met with members of the Finance Committee to discuss the best way to inform people of the upcoming debt exclusion vote. They decided to send a newsflash via the New Salem News, providing a background of the Swift River School boiler/roof project and a brief overview of what a yes or no vote will mean to the budget. Nancy will review information with Gabe Voelker.

Members of the Council on Aging met with the Board to see what progress had been made on correcting health and safety issues in Town Hall. Nancy Aldrich reported that the following steps had been completed:  The Building Inspector has issued certificate of inspection showing occupant limits for each level; these will be posted in the building  Emergency egress signs showing the nearest exit from a number of locations in Town Hall have been completed and will be hung up by the end of the week  A company to perform the inspection of the cooking hood in the kitchen has been located; the inspection will be scheduled as soon as possible  A hand washing sink has been installed in the kitchen  The Custodian has agreed to handle several tasks identified by the Fire Chief’s report, such as maintaining clear passageways down the stairs and in mechanical rooms  The septic system has been inspected and needed only minor repairs to bring it up to code; these have been completed  The remaining tasks will be taken care of in the coming weeks, but it now appears that the building can be opened for public use; these tasks include placing poles or jersey barriers in front of the propane tank, fixing the door knob and adding a railing to the back door, and placing moisture absorbing bags in the downstairs area to help control humidity levels.

The Council on Aging members thanked the Board for their quick action on getting the Town Hall reopened, and they are pleased to once again be able to hold their monthly luncheons in the cafeteria. 1
The Selectboard was informed that the Friends of Historic New Salem have signed the lease for the Old Academy Building. The Board had signed the document at a previous meeting in April.

Randy Gordon expressed his opinion that the Selectboard should limit their use of social media when talking about Town business. He noted that Board members can only represent themselves on social media sites and that they can’t speak for the whole board. Some individuals in town, however, have misinterpreted what has been said via emails or on Facebook, creating hard feelings. It was agreed that the Board will not respond via social media or get caught up in any back and forth email conversations. If someone has a question or complaint for the Board, they will be directed to contact the Town Coordinator and be placed on the Selectboard meeting agenda to address their concern.

Nancy Aldrich spoke with the Cemetery Commission regarding the fallen tree at Branch Bridge Cemetery; the Commission is aware of the problem and will be taking steps to have the debris removed.

The Board of Health has been asked to join the Wachusett Medical Reserve Corps, and they wanted input from the Selectboard before making a final decision. The Board reviewed a document outlining the purpose of the Corps, and agreed it would be helpful to the town to join.

The Board was reminded of several upcoming meetings:  May 1st will be an applicant briefing in South Deerfield regarding FEMA funding for the February 8-9 snowstorm; Nancy Aldrich will attend  May 7th, a final Hazardous Mitigation Plan Update meeting will be held at 6 pm in the Stowell Building; Joe Cuneo, Joe Camden, and Cathy Jones have all indicated they will be able to attend.  May 16th at 7 pm, there will be a meeting at the FRCOG office to discuss the Accounting Program; Nancy Aldrich and Cathy Jones plan to attend.

The Finance Committee had raised several questions regarding the Town’s Solar PV system. Members of the Energy Committee responded via email.

The Board reviewed the Annual Town Meeting Warrant. Nancy Aldrich noted that the article about changing the number of members on the Personnel Committee had been rejected by Town Counsel, since the article called for a number of committee members to vary, and the attorney felt this would not pass legal muster. The ATM Warrant was signed.

The Board set their meeting dates in May as the 13th and 28th (the second meeting being on a Tuesday due to the Memorial Day Holiday.

A brief discussion was held regarding the progress of the Stowell Committee. Finding the right balance between meeting and office space remains an issue, as does what to do with Town Hall in the future. The Committee will continue to grapple with these issues as they move forward.

Sheila Hunter, principal of Swift River School who will be retiring this year, will be presented with a plaque at the Annual Town Meeting, thanking her for her service and acknowledging her contributions. Randy agreed to work on the wording and get back to Nancy.

Upon motion made and seconded, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn their meeting at 8:25 pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Nancy Aldrich Town Cooordinator