BOS - January 5, 2015

BOS - January 5, 2015

Postby Suzanne Kane » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:57 pm

Board of Selectmen
January 5, 2016
Municipal Center Resource Room

7:00 PM

• Call to Order
• Pledge of Allegiance
• Chairman’s Announcements
• Citizen’s Forum

1. Approve Municipal Bond Sale

7:05 PM
2. Pole Petition # 20523800 – Davis Street

3. Joint Meeting w/Finance Committee & School Committee

4. Appointment – Capital Improvement Committee

5. Appointment - Strategic Budget Committee

6. COA Request

7. Safety Committee – 283 Southwest Main St. Fence

8. IT Update / Approve Inter-Municipal Agreement

9. T.A Goals

10. Minutes: Dec. 1, 2015 Exec. Session, Dec. 15, 2015

11. Town Administrators Report

12. Old / New Business

13. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:

Jan 19th:
Joint meeting w/EDC and WBDC

TBD: Govt Study Discussion; Update Master Plan; Housing Plan/Housing Authority
January 5, 2016
Approved January 19, 2016

Call to Order
Mr. Hughes called the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Resource Room of the Municipal Center.

Board: Mike Hughes (Chairman), Tim Bonin, Hal Davis, David Cortese, Kevin Morse (Vice Chairman), Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant)
School Committee: Scott Yacino (Chair), Cortney Keegan (Business Manager), Norm Yvon (Superintendent), Sonya Bouchard, Julie Moulder, Sherry Zetlan
Finance Committee: Pam Holmes (Chair), Brett Argall, Howard D’Amico, Jerry Kocur, Mike Hutnak, Ryan Hogan, Cynthia Shurick
Other Staff and Citizens: Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Clark Rowell (Unibank), Mike Fraser (National Grid), Mitch Cohen, Leslie Breault, Kathy Green, Anthony Ciccone, and other citizens and school employees.

• Pledge of Allegiance (00:06)

• Chairman’s Announcements (00:26)
There were no announcements.

• Citizen’s Forum (00:28)
No citizens came forward.

1. Approve Municipal Bond Sale (00:34)
In the packet is the General Obligation Municipal Purpose Loan of 2016 Bonds dated January 13, 2016 and a letter from Moody’s Investment Service dated December 23, 2015.
Mr. Rowell joined the meeting. He stated that the Town received seven bids on $4,096,988. Most of that amount is the remainder of the school project. The rest is from Article 8 of Town Meeting a few years ago: water systems improvement, purchase of equipment, and municipal center renovations. The winning bid was 2.13% with a maturity of 15 years. They are all serial bonds. The principle on the school project was moved up to keep the amount under the amount that would give a maximum tax rate impact. The Town was able to maintain their bond rating. Mr. Guzinski recommended approval.
Mr. Rowell walked the board through a summary of the motions.
Mr. Morse made a motion to approve the bonds as presented. Mr. Davis seconded the motion. All-Aye.

2. 7:10 PM: Pole Petition # 20523800 – Davis Street (10:32)
In the packet is a Petition for Pole Location, maps, related materials and memos.
Mr. Hughes opened the public hearing. Mr. Fraser joined the meeting. He stated that Pole 49 on Davis Street is leaning heavily. National Grid needs to run a guideline from Pole 49-84 across the street to pull Pole 49 back.
Mr. Morse made a motion to close the public hearing, Pole Petition #20523800, Davis Street. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. All-Aye.
Mr. Cortese made a motion to approve Pole Petition #20523800, Davis Street. Mr. Morse seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

3. Joint meeting with Finance Committee and School Committee (14:20)
The members of the Finance (FinCom) and School Committees (SC) joined the meeting. Mr. Yacino called the SC meeting to order at 7:16 PM. Ms. Holmes called the FinCom meeting to order at 7:17 PM. There was no specific agenda for this joint meeting. Mr. Hughes turned the meeting over to Mr. Morse.
Mr. Morse stated that his purpose in bringing these committees together is to discuss the Town’s financial picture, discuss the School Dept.’s needs and find ways to balance the budget without depleting the school’s and Town’s services. Mr. Hughes acknowledged the work of the Strategic Budget Committee.
Mr. Yacino spoke about the budget challenges faced by the School Dept. Eighty percent of the budget is salaries. Douglas’ per student spending is approximately $10,000 which is the second lowest in the State. For Special Education students in outplacements, the District is responsible for $40,000/student and beyond the $40,000, the State reimburses 70%. An increase of 1.7% in school budget does not cover the contractual increases in salaries. Mr. Yacino stated that the Douglas Teachers Union reentered negotiations with the SC, and they significantly reduced the Town’s contractual obligation. Office and administrative personnel followed suit.
Mr. Yacino spoke about the challenges facing teachers and staff and programs that have been/will be lost, including music and athletics. Mr. Yacino explained how the band program may be gone in 2-3 years due to lack of instruction and participation in the lower grades. Mr. Yacino spoke about the School Choice Account, from which all the school’s utilities are paid. Mr. Morse warned that if more services decrease, more students will opt-out.
Ms. Zetlan and Ms. Bouchard stated that they have started the budget process for FY17. Many new teachers have been cut. The teachers that remain have larger salaries because they have been in the district longer. Mr. Yacino stated that many of the school administrators have multiple responsibilities. The District is at the minimum percentage for administrative cost/student, once cost/student is averaged. In response to Mr. Morse’s question, Mr. Yvon stated that staffing is the last resource to be looked at when making cuts.
Mr. Morse would like the community to approach with ideas. He warned that a 2.5% override is not a solution. Ms. Holmes cautioned everyone to be realistic with budgeting: be realistic with salaries and benefits. Mr. Morse stated that the collective bargaining strategy needs to be kept, at maximum, at a 2.5% increase on salary structure. A unified message from these three committees needs to be sent.
Mr. Guzinski gave a history of the savings in health insurance that was negotiated three years ago. Health insurance will be reviewed again this year.
Mr. Hogan asked if override ballots could be for specific items to let people decide how money should be used. Mr. Hughes stated that the problem then is “fixed” for only one year.
Mr. Yacino spoke about the pros and cons of closing schools. Most of the savings would be utilities. Regarding regionalizing districts, the only town that responded to an inquiry was Uxbridge. Ms. Holmes suggested that each town specialize in a teaching topic.
Johna Peloquin, 10 Fairbanks Court, asked if the towns have any bargaining power with Blackstone Valley Regional Technical Vocational High School (BVT). Mr. Guzinski stated that there was a meeting of Town Administrators from the regional towns several years ago with the administrative team of BVT. Concern regarding acceptance policies was discussed at that meeting, however there was not a willingness to change the policy at that time. A discussion was held. Mr. Morse does not feel that focusing on BVT at this time would help Douglas’ budget. It was agreed that the Town’s assessment for post-secondary education is unconscionable, even though it is not illegal.
Charging parents for school transportation was discussed. The reasoning behind the lack of sidewalks at the high school was discussed.
Julie Bertone of 12 Monroe St., suggested that the primary school be used for students with severe special needs. The idea was favorably received. A discussion was held. Ms. Bouchard stated that the idea can be brought back to the SC and Nealy Urquhart’s input sought.
Mr. Davis proposed that the Town hire a full-time grant writer/development person.
Mr. Argall feels that many of the issues discussed tonight stem from the State regulations and polies. He would like Sen. Fattman and Rep. McKenna at these quarterly meetings.
Mr. Yacino stated the action items that have emerged from this meeting: the SC will continue the dialog with Uxbridge regarding regionalizing, the Superintendent will look into how much will be saved by vacating a school building, and turning a building into a special services facility.
It was decided to have the next joint meeting of these three committees on March 15, 2016.
Jim Saviano, 124 Wallis Street asked to know the criteria needed to evaluate whether or not to have a Prop. 2.5% override. He feels educating the public should start now to help assure a passage. Mr. Morse stated that the criteria would be a fixed dollar amount and a plan. He has been asking for true budgetary needs for years. Mr. Saviano suggested working backwards from a deadline date. Mr. Hughes stated that there is not enough time to be ready for the May Town Meeting. A discussion was held. Ms. Holmes suggested that Mr. Saviano talk to the public and take up a petition to bring to the BOS.
A woman in the audience would like to know, in a short amount of time, what ideas are being thought about for the FY16-FY17 budget. She feels that information needs to get out to the public so that they know that the issues are being worked on. She offered to come to workshops to work on solutions. Mr. Yacino explained how the SC is laying out a budget based on the required budget growth and a guess about revenues. He stated that the problem is that the financial means of the district are outpacing the ability of the State and Town to cover. A finalized budget is needed by April. Ms. Bouchard explained that budget workshops will begin in mid-January/February once the Superintendent’s budget is approved.
Ms. Moulder made a motion at 9:30 PM to adjourn the School Committee meeting. Ms. Zetlan seconded the motion. All-Aye.

A 10-minute recess of the BOS was called at 9:30 PM. The meeting resumed at 9:40 PM.

4. Appointment: Capital Improvement Committee (CIC) (2:29:01)
In the packet are related emails and memos.
Mr. Guzinski recommended the appointment of Melissa Morrison to the CIC.
Mr. Morse made a motion to appoint Melissa Morrison as a Citizen-at-Large on the Capital Improvement Committee for a term ending June 30, 2018. Mr. Bonin seconded the motion. All-Aye.

5. Appointment: Strategic Budget Committee (2:30:03)
In the packet is memo from Michael Guzinski dated January 5, 2016.
Mr. Guzinski stated that on December 15, 2015 the Finance Committee nominated Brett Argall as their second member on the Strategic Budget Committee.
Mr. Cortese made a motion to appoint Brett Argall as a member of the Strategic Budget Committee. Mr. Bonin seconded the motion. All-Aye.

6. Council on Aging (COA) Request (2:31:42)
In the packet is a letter from the COA Director dated December 17, 2015.
Mr. Guzinski stated that Patrice Rousseau is requesting approval to use funds in their donation account, including future donations, for entertainment, furniture and/or office supplies.
Mr. Morse made a motion to approve the authorization as presented. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. All-Aye.

7. Safety Committee: 283 Southwest Main Street Fence (2:32:52)
In the packet is a map, a letter from William Cundiff dated December 30, 2015 and related materials.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the Building Commissioner expressed concerns about the fence along the property, .i.e. sight distance for cars entering and leaving the driveway and the fence being within the Town’s right-of-way. The Safety Committee reviewed and discussed the issues at length with property owner, Anthony Ciccone. After review of the issues, it was the recommendation of the Safety Committee that certain sections of the fence should come down. It was also recommended that a tree next to the driveway be taken down. The Conservation Commission had no issue with the removal of the tree.
Mr. Guzinski stated that it would not be practical to move the fence that is within the Town’s right-of-way. Mr. Ciccone has been informed that if the BOS decides to allow the fence to remain in the right-of-way, it would belong to the Town. The Highway Superintendent does not feel the location of the fence would be a hindrance to snow removal or other general maintenance. Mr. Ciccone has agreed to remove 31’ of the fence from the east of the driveway and 36’ from the west of the driveway.
Mr. Morse made a motion to approve leaving sections of the fence, with the exception of the sections that the Safety Committee has recommended for removal. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. All-Aye.

8. IT Update/Improve Intermunicipal Agreement (2:37:11)
In the packet is an Intermunicipal Agreement.
Mr. Guzinski stated that a candidate has been found for the IT position. This person will be an employee of the Town of Northbridge.
Mr. Morse made a motion to authorize Michael Guzinski to execute the IT Intermunicipal Agreement once a final agreement has been approved by Town Counsel. Mr. Davis seconded the motion. All-Aye.

9. Town Administrator’s Goals (2:38:41)
In the packet are memos from Michael Guzinski dated February 14, 2014 and December 30, 2015.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the BOS has not met to discuss the goals since February of 2014. He recommended that the BOS set up a workshop in the next 4-6 weeks to talk about the goals. Mr. Hughes will work with Mr. Guzinski to come up with some possible dates.

10. Approval of the Minutes (2:40:36)
December 15, 2015: Mr. Morse made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 15, 2015 Board of Selectmen meeting as presented. Seconded by Mr. Davis. All-Aye.
December 15, 2015-Executive Session: Mr. Morse made a motion to approve and release the minutes of the December 15, 2015 Board of Selectmen Executive Session meeting as presented. Seconded by Mr. Davis. All-Aye.

11. Administrator’s Report (2:41:34)
In the packet is a memo from William Cundiff dated December 12, 2015.
Mr. Guzinski stated that State ground off 6” of asphalt from the Manchaug Street Bridge. Some testing and minor repairs were done, however the State will have to leave the posting of a 7-ton weight limit with the hope of coming back in the spring to bring it back up to prior levels.

12. Old/New Business (2:2:52)
Old Business: There was no old business.
New Business: Mr. Cortese congratulated Ms. Kane on her work on the desk calendars.

13. Adjournment (2:44:22)
Mr. Cortese made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:56 PM. Mr. Bonin seconded the motion. All – Aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 600
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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