Town of NewSalem Selectboard

Meeting Minutes

October 22, 2018

Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355

Convened: 7:00 pm

Present: Randy Gordon, chair, Wayne Hachey, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Nancy Glick, Sue Turner, Cemetery Commission; Ken Bright;

Selectboard Reviewed & Signed the Following:

Ø Payroll & Vendor Warrants

Ø Cemetery Deeds with Cemetery Commission

Discussion Items

Franklin County Tech School Collective Bargaining Negotiations Representative

Nancy reported that there are negotiations with the teacher’s association and if the Selectboard would like, they can send a representative to be part of a process that decides representation to the bargaining table. Nancy noted that usually one of the bigger towns gets the honor. In that light, it was felt unnecessary to send a representative.

Municipal Commission on Disability

A letter has been received from the Commonwealth on whether the town would be willing to setup the commission and establish handicap parking with enforcement. Nancy noted that Wendell has done this and had trouble finding anyone to sit on the commission. It was determined to postpone setting up such a commission for the time being.

Sale of Cemetery Lots in Center Cemetery

Nancy and Sue addressed the Selectboard regarding the sale of lots in the Center Cemetery which have been approved by the Cemetery Commission. They confirmed that the deeds are in proper order and the lots are ready for sale. There are 9 deeds in total to be approved. Wayne and Randy signed where necessary for the Selectboard. It was noted that ever since it was resolved that there was indeed suitable land available in the Center Cemetery for burials many citizens have been overjoyed at the opportunity, which had appeared foreclosed, to be buried in the historic cemetery. This has also allowed cremated individuals to be buried in the cemetery as well. Including one citizen who had wanted to be buried in the Center Cemetery and whose family has waited nearly 20 years to have the opportunity to honor the decedents wishes.

Special Town Election

The cost according to the Town Clerk would run about $950 to $1,000. Randy felt that the town has a lot of other things it could do with that money and felt it would be more prudent to wait until the next annual election. Wayne agreed noting that if he or Randy were unable to discharge their duties or were forced to retire prior to that election a Special Election could still likely be called at that point.

Preservation Massachusetts Requests for Recognition on Most Endangered Historic Resource List

Nancy reported on a letter informing the town that the Town Hall has been included on the list and as a designation. This is an honorary designation to help the town obtain grant funding. Listing does not entitle any resources to the town. Jean Derderian was confident that it would help with grant funding applications as it helped the Old Academy Building.

Public Disclosure Notice Preliminary Approval of Property Values

Nancy provided the Selectboard with the latest list on the evaluations and where things stand. The Tax Classification Hearing should be scheduled within the next month.

Stowell Building Gutters, Water, Police Station, Septic Design, and Gutters on Building

Nancy reported on her work to have estimated provided for replacement of the Stowell Buildings gutters. Wayne then reported on a perc test that was done. Fortunately, it went well.

Mahar & Petersham Regionalization Plans

Randy reported on continued efforts to regionalize between Petersham and the towns that are part of Mahar. This is causing some issues considering the one person, one vote rule as understood by the Federal Courts. This may require the School Committee members needing to have weighed votes. Still, it appears that there will be no noticeable difference. There is a lot of minutiae that has to be worked out still, but mostly the big issue appears to be the way that they add members to the committees. This has prompted discussion of whether members must be elected or could be appointed. Randy noted some of the complications relating to this and some of the other larger picture questions such as where grades will be and whether they would have to be moved out of one school into another. So there are a lot of questions like that. But most of the change is simply in the attempt to regionalize. Warwick had a representative present as Warwick has some long term thoughts about possibly switching from their existing regional schools to Mahar. Wayne was rather certain Warwick has at least an elementary school, but otherwise regionalizes from there. Randy returned discussion to the size of the School Committee membership noting that the bigger the group gets, the less efficient it can be in some cases and the more it requires weighing of the votes. It also reduces the competitiveness of the elections. Nancy interjected to ask about whether this will need to happen at town meeting and what the timeline is. She noted that if a Special Town Meeting is required that will have to be planned for. Randy responded that the timeline isn’t yet definitive. Discussion ended shortly thereafter.

Accounting Matter

Nancy reported that the Town Accountant has reported a possible problem with how the money was accounted for from the last Special Town Meeting which allocated funds for highway equipment repair. It was erroneously assumed that the money would go into the Highway Departments FY18 budget. Unfortunately, the funds were not made a distinct line item and encumbered into RY19 as they should have been. This has since been rectified, but there could be some issues audit wise and possibly require further town meeting action at a later date.

Winter Road Maintenance – Letters & Road Inspections

Nancy reported on the winter road maintenance letter. Roads will be inspected in early November. If a road meets minimum standards by December, then no winter maintenance will be done to it. Nancy then spoke about some logistical pieces of this including ensuring that there is space on dead end roads to ensure that equipment can turn around. Wayne highlighted three roads, Stonehill Rd, Michael Ln and North Spec Pond Rd, that are of concern for logistical issues.

Old Home Day Sign

Nancy reported there may be an issue, as a result of OSHA, for the Highway Department to take down the Old Home Day Sign. It would likely require a bucket truck and multiple highway workers. Randy suggested that it might not be that difficult to take it down depending on how high it is actually hung. Wayne noted that the OSHA rule usually applies after five feet in height.

Letter with Orange

Ken requested a letter be coauthored with Orange to the resident who lives on Daniel Shay’s Highway whose property straddles the town line regarding the sale of goods and products on the side of the highway. There is a problem with parking. Randy asked if the business is licensed. Nancy was uncertain, but noted that the parking issue is certainly controlled by the fact that Daniel Shay’s is a state highway and parking is prohibited. Wayne suggested that they would need proper parking off sight. Randy returned discussion to whether this is operating as a business and whether there is proper licensing and if proper taxes are being paid. Nancy responded they might have a DBA with either town, and suggested the Town Clerk be asked. She further noted that he might classify it as a tag sale and that raises a question of whether there is anything in the by-laws addressing that. Ken suggested that matter be pursued further and thought it might be worth copying Representative Whipps. This prompted some discussion of activity that occurs in Orange at Crimson Acres right down the street where auctions have occurred. This too can cause parking on the highway side. Nancy returned discussion to New Salem suggesting that Chief Camden be asked to look into the matter.


The Selectboard approved the minutes from September 24th, 2018 and the minutes from October 9th, 2018.

A motion to adjourn at 8:15 pm was made by Wayne. The motion was seconded by Randy and passed by majority vote.

Respectfully Submitted

Jakob K. Hamm, Selectboard Clerk