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BoS - May 14, 2019

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:39 am
by Suzanne Kane
Board of Selectmen
May 14, 2019
Municipal Center Resource Room

7:00 PM

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

1. Meeting with Department of Conservation and Recreation
Commissioner Leo Roy, Senator Fattman, and Rep. McKenna
• Wallum Lake State Park and Douglas State Forest Mgmt. Update
• Douglas State Forest Maintenance Trust Fund
• Ridge Trail Maintenance
• Tree Health and Forest Fire Mitigation Plan
• DCR Land Purchases
• DCR Southern New England Trunkline (SNETT) Rail Trail Update
• Moving Forward

2. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:

May 21st: Ambulance Receipts Policy (1st Reading), ConCom Appointment,
Axmen Soccer Request for Sign at VFW, Pole Petition,
Sign P.I.L.O.T.’s approved at Town Meeting

June 4th : Annual Appointments
May 14, 2019 - BoS Minutes.pdf
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May 14, 2019
Approved June 4, 2019

Call to Order

Chairman Kevin Morse called the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.

Board: Kevin Morse (Chair), Tim Bonin (arrived 7:30 PM), David Cortese (Vice Chair), Hal Davis, Mike Hughes, Matt Wojcik (Town Administrator), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant-Absent)
Dept. of Conservation & Recreation: Leo Roy (Commissioner), Jennifer Stowe (Regional Director), Cary VanderDecker (Field Operation Team Leader for the Blackstone Complex)
Other Staff and Citizens: Senator Ryan Fattman (left 7:47 PM), Representative Joseph McKenna, Fire Chief Kent Vinson and other staff and citizens.

• Pledge of Allegiance (00:07)

• Chairman’s Announcements
There were no announcements.

• Citizen’s Forum (00:27)
No one came forward.

1. Meeting with Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR): Commissioner Leo Roy, Senator Ryan Fattman, Representative Joseph McKenna (00:34)
Comm. Roy, Sen. Fattman and Rep. McKenna joined the meeting. Mr. Morse stated that he is discouraged by the length of time it takes for DCR to respond to Douglas. Comm. Roy stated that Mr. Wojcik now has his cell phone number and urged him to contact him. He stated that Ms. Stowe, as Regional Director, can be Douglas’ initial point of contact.
Wallum Lake State Park & Douglas State Forest Management Update (52:00) - Mr. Morse stated that the BOS would like to have the tree at the reservoir with the rope swing removed. Mr. VanderDecker replied that they were hoping the ice would be thick enough over the winter to drive a tractor on it so that the tree could be pulled out, however the weather did not allow for that. He is afraid that if he cuts the dead trees down now, he would not be able to get them back to shore.
In the meantime, Mr. Morse asked that there be more patrols in the area to dissuade people from using the swing. Ms. Stowe will speak to the District Ranger. Comm. Roy asked Mr. VanderDecker to plan to cut the trees and asked Ms. Stowe to increase the patrols.
Douglas State Forest Maintenance Trust Fund (06:08) - Comm. Roy said that he submitted Douglas’ request for payment to Accounting, and it got lost. He has now established a connection for reimbursement between Mr. Wojcik and Jason Silva in the Accounting Dept.
The current balance in the trust is $41,376.83. Sen. Fattman has filed an amendment to the Senate Budget to increase the out-of-state fee by $5 statewide.
Ridge Trail Maintenance (11:46) - Comm. Roy had not heard of the issue until Douglas raised concerns. Comm. Roy has visited the site and, compared to many other DCR managed roads, this one is in “pretty good shape.” Mr. Wojcik stated that the Town has been to the Ridge Trail at least four times since the snow has melted and has graded it, otherwise it would be impassable for emergency vehicles.
Comm. Roy stated that, from a park perspective, a serious motivation to improve the road does not exist. Mr. Wojcik is concerned, since the road does not belong to Douglas, who would be liable if there is a fuel spill or an injury. He has asked DCR in the past for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Douglas to be able to do the work to keep the trail open. Comm. Roy stated that DCR entering into an MOU with Douglas for ongoing maintenance is “absolutely something we could do.”
Mr. Wojcik’s ideal situation is to have DCR pave the road and Douglas would maintain it from then on. A discussion was held.
Tree Health & Forest Fire Mitigation Plan (20:21) – Comm. Roy outlined how the drought and gypsy moth infestation over the past two years has been difficult for the forests. He stated that the fire risk has been low this spring. Every June they do a defoliation and mortality forest flyover. Generally speaking, the health of the forest is good. It is largely a no-touch forest.
Mr. Wojcik stated that parts of the forest come up against residential areas, and he feels there should be a fire plan in place for those areas. Chief Vinson joined the meeting and stated his opinion that the forest floor needs to be monitored closely. Comm. Roy suggested that the Bureau of Forest Fire Control drill with Douglas Fire Dept. Comm. Roy talked about the Firewise program that works with homeowners to help them evaluate their fire risk.
DCR Land Purchase (33:32) – Comm. Roy spoke about DCR’s land acquisition program and the letter received from the BOS.
Comm. Roy stated that there had been some conversations between the DCR Land Acquisition staff and Douglas’ Tax Collector regarding the 13-acre parcel that DCR is now looking to purchase. This parcel has some tax delinquency and DCR was under the understanding that the property owner was interested in the land going for conservation and was going to pay the back taxes. Mr. Wojcik stated that two years’ worth of taxes are in lien, and he asked that DCR act as a partner to collect that money before the sale closes.
Mr. Morse stated that when DCR acquired the Sullivan property, there was an agreement that DCR was not going to acquire any more land in Douglas. Comm. Roy stated that he was unaware of the arrangement. Comm. Roy stated that he would honor the agreement to contact the Town before DCR negotiates to acquire more property in Douglas.
Mr. Morse stated that there are landlocked pieces of land surrounded by DCR property that Douglas would not object to being purchased. Comm. Roy stated that DCR would be interested in those properties.
Mr. Wojcik stated that the Assessor has assembled a packet of land owned free-and-clear by the Town of Douglas that either abuts or is surrounded by DCR or State land. Regarding land of unknown ownership, the Town is currently in Land Court trying to resolve those issues.
Regarding the Sullivan property, Mr. Wojcik stated that the Town was promised a gift of 11 acres of that property that runs along Rte. 16 along the Webster border. Town Meeting voted to accept that gift. The Town has still not received a plan. The Town has filed an eminent domain taking. Sen. Fattman explained the history of the purchase. The Town currently does not need anything from DCR.
Sen. Fattman stated that he and Rep. McKenna have asked the Dept. of Revenue (DOR) why would the State purchase more land when the line item for PILOT reimbursement has not been changed. The Chair of the Revenue Commission has put forward a mechanism to not purchase land without the corresponding funding to continuously reimburse the town. The BOS asked that Comm. Roy be an advocate for improving the PILOT program.
Southern New England Trunkline (SNETT) Rail Trail Update (56:43) – Comm. Roy stated that DCR is moving forward with the plan to pave and improve the SNETT. They have issued the contract for the design and permitting of the project, which will be ongoing through the end of 2020. Construction would not begin any earlier than spring of 2021, contingent on funding.
Moving Forward (46:31 & 1:02:58) – Sen. Fattman expressed the BOS’ desire to have Comm. Roy attend a BOS meeting in Douglas before and after the summer season to review what worked for the park and what did not.
Chief Vinson asked if DCR could share with him a calendar of Special Use Permits for the State park so that EMS is aware. Comm. Roy asked that Ms. Stowe and Mr. VanderDecker share that calendar with Mr. Wojcik, Chief Vinson and Police Chief Miglionico.

2. Adjournment (1:06:32)
Mr. Hughes made a motion at 8:06 PM to adjourn. Mr. Bonin seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary