Town of NewSalem Selectboard

Meeting Minutes

September 23, 2019

Stowell Building, New Salem, MA 01355

Convened: 7:00 pm

Present: Randy Gordon, Wayne Hachey, Jean Derderian, Selectboard; Nancy Aldrich, Town Coordinator; Ken Bright

Selectboard Reviewed & Signed the Following:

Ø Payroll & Vendor Warrants

Ø Chapter 90 Paperwork

Ø SAFE Grant Application

Ø Cemetery Deeds

Discussion Items

Recreation Fields & General Recreation Committee Update

Nancy reported that unfortunately Tamara was not able to make it as planned and the committee wasn’t able to send anyone else to report.

Debt Exclusion Vote/Letter to Town Clerk

Nancy reported that subsequent to the Special Town Meeting a Special Town Election will need to be scheduled. The Town Clerk has indicated that Tuesday, October 29, 2019 is suitable for such an election. The Selectboard saw no reason not to concur and signed the necessary paperwork.

New Drone Services from FRCOG

FRCOG has contracted with three different firms to offer drone services so that topographic survey’s, mapping, and other services can be provided to communities in the county. There are a number of uses for drones. The charge is between a $150 to $350 an hour, but the companies are able to set up agreed set prices for a specific project should the need arise.

All Boards Meeting & Perambulation

Wayne noted that along with an All Boards Meeting the Selectboard should also schedule its perambulation. Nancy noted that Chief Cuneo has the GPS coordinates of the markers. Wayne recalled a few officials who can assist in the process. Jean suggested some dates. Wayne concurred that it should be broken up over several dates. It was agreed to ask the Fire Chief is he can assist. Otherwise Nancy turned discussion back to the question of an All Boards Meeting. It was suggested to schedule an All Boards Meeting tentatively for Monday, October 28, 2019. Nancy suggested having pizza on hand to feed those who attend. The Selectboard agreed.

Branch Bridge Road Update

A call has been received reporting on some further issues on Branch Bridge. A recent party occurred there and residents continue to request the road be addressed in some way, such as closure. Wayne noted that he’s gone down recently and there is a bit more trash then what was observed the last time it was checked. Nancy provided a map of that area of town which the Selectboard reviewed. She elaborated on her research as to the ownership of the surrounding land. Should the road be closed the land would revert to the surrounding land owners. The road has no significant value to response for EMS per the Fire Chief. Randy clarified as to the question of patrols at that end of town. Nancy responded that the issue is resources and time. Randy noted that even if the road is closed there is no assurance that the partying and other issues happening down there will stop. Certainly there is a concern with activity in that area and obviously the concerns of the citizens who live there should be carefully considered, but the town should not act rashly. Jean felt that if closure is to happen it should be because it makes sense to do so. In the meantime, having a higher town presence could be helpful. She further suggested some signage and adoption of fines that might help.

Randy noted that if people are dumping already and possibly engaging in other elicit behaviors in that area signage may not help and fines require enforcement. Nancy expressed the feeling that this is something that should be thought about, in the meantime the residents from the area are asking to be put on the Selectboard’s agenda again. It may also be wise to invite Board of Health to attend in such an event. The town is doing the best that it can with limited resources, and consistent and repeated efforts have been made to improve the conditions of that area. Ken noted that the matter is certainly complicated. The big problem is reliable communication, you cannot send one officer down there alone and the town has limited police resources. The State Police are also unlikely to be of substantive help. Plus, if you close the road and send police in to enforce, there could be other problems from those who might flee. He inquired about what Athol might be willing to do to help. Nancy responded that she has put in a call to the Athol Town Manager as most options will likely require some sort of inter-municipal cooperation. Staying engaged and attempting to come to some mitigation should be pursued. In the meantime, it was agreed to consult with the Police Dept. and Highway Dept.

Chapter 90 Paperwork

Nancy reported that an issue arose with the Chapter 90 paperwork and this lead to a situation where the Town Treasurer was worried about a possible $40,000 deficit as a result of lost funds. Nancy intervened and MassDOT was willing to help resolve the issue. The town will still get reimbursed for work done in anticipation of the Chapter 90 funding and the $40,000 issue the Treasurer was concerned about was resolved. Nancy then reported on the various roads that received paving. West Rd, Neilson Rd, and Shutesbury Rd all had parts that were paved or repaired. Seeing no reason not to sign the paperwork in question the Selectboard determined to do so.

SAFE Grant Application

Nancy provided the Selectboard with the paperwork. This only had to be signed by the Selectboard Chair. Randy saw no reason to not do so, but had an inquiry about language referring to Wendell. Nancy responded that Randy would sign for New Salem and Wendell will sign for their part.

Cemetery Deeds

Nancy provided the Selectboard with cemetery deeds previously provided by the Cemetery Commission. The Selectboard saw no reason not to sign the deeds.

Speeding on South Main Street

Randy reported that some citizens have expressed concern about speeding on South Main Street. They have requested that the Police Dept. step up enforcement and look into traffic calming. Wayne noted that there are clearly posted speed limit signs on the street. Randy agreed reporting that Chief Camden has agreed to adjust patrols. It’s unclear how much a blinking sign would work as a deterrent but it might be something to consider at some point in the budget. Nancy noted that a lot of towns are installing flashing speed limit signs that are solar powered. Jean had some concerns about permanent light signs, but still felt that a temporary portable one might be amenable. The town had one, but it needs repairs. Nancy suggested seeing if one of the portables can be borrowed from a neighboring town.


The Selectboard considered the minutes from August 26, 2019 which the Selectboard determined to approve. The minutes from September 9, 2019 were tabled until the next meeting

A motion to adjourn at 7:50 pm was made by Wayne. The motion was seconded by Jean and passed by majority vote.

Respectfully Submitted

Jakob K. Hamm, Selectboard Clerk