BOS - July 17, 2007

BOS - July 17, 2007

Postby Suzanne Kane » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:53 am

Board of Selectmen
July 17, 2007

7:00 pm

1. Call to Order

2. Chairman’s Announcements

3. Citizen’s Forum

7:05 pm

4. Chief Foley – New Fulltime Patrolman Appointment

7:10 pm
5. Don Bourque – Massachusetts Lions District 33A

7:20 pm
6. Webster Street 40B – Economic Development Committee

7. Approve Contract for Ch43D Legal Services

8. Approve and Sign Contract for Comprehensive Building Use Study

9. Octoberfest Appointment

10. Personnel Board Appointment

7:50 pm
11. Personnel Board – Approval of Personnel Policies

8:10 pm
12. Whitin Lake Association - Proposed Special Act

13. Health Insurance – Elected Officials

14. Designate two members to serve on FY09 Budget/Revenue Group

15. Minutes: January 16, 2007, February 13, 2007

16. Administrators Report

17. Old / New Business

18. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:
Building Use Study Contract, ZBA Fees, Government Study Committee Report, Acquisition of Pine Grove Cemetery, Skate Park Update; Fraud Policy; Worker’s Comp. Policy; Financial Policy; Award Contract to Auditor
Douglas Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes – July 17, 2007
September 4, 2007

1. Call to Order:
Chair Mike Hughes called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
In attendance: John Bombara–Vice Chair, Paula Brouillette, Mitch Cohen, Scott Medeiros, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.
Police Chief Patrick Foley, Officer Jared Yanis
Other Citizens: Hal Davis-EDC Chair, Paul Coussins-Delphic Associates, Mr. Bob White, Dave St. George-Personnel Board Chair and Ellie Chesebrough, Atty. Walter Jabbs, Eric Virostek-President of the Whitins Reservoir Association and Don Virostek-Association Board Member, Atty. Jonathan Eichman-Kopleman & Paige Town Counsel, Carol Gogolinski & other citizens
T&G Reporter-Steve Foskett, Tribune Reporter-Tom Mattson

2. Chair Announcements: Mike H- None

3. Citizen’s Forum: No One Came Forward

4. New Fulltime Patrolman Appointment (Handout): Chief Foley and Officer Jared Yanis came forward. Chief Foley - Town Meeting this year authorized to increase staff by two full timers. Officer Yanis will be attending a reduced full time (15 weeks) academy in Boylston starting August 6th, geared to those with college degrees, successfully passed the required entrance exam and qualifications and passed his PAT test. Need to get him appointed and sworn in prior to the academy. Paula participated in the testing process offered to all part time employees with a minimum of six months based on three criterias: written exam of 400 questions, oral interview with three Police Chiefs from outside the Blackstone Valley-resulted in 50 points and an internal evaluation-resulted in 25 points from our two Staff Sergeants and Lieutenant. Based on 175 points he scored the highest and reccommend him for the appointment. He will come out of the academy and begin full time service to the Town.
Motion – Mitch Cohen to appoint Jared James Yanis as a Fulltime Patrolman.
Seconded - Scott Medeiros. All - aye.

Invitation to Swearing in Ceremony by the Town Clerk this Thursday, July 19th at noon at the Police Department.

5. Mass Lions District 33A (Handout): Mr. Don Bourque (Vice District Governor) came forward - gave a brief history and purpose of the Lions Club program they want to form in Douglas. More known in Massachusetts for the Lazarus program (organ donor) they started 20 years ago. Cost to the Town is nothing, all volunteers and do special projects for the Town. Requesting permission to investigate potentially starting a club which is the largest service oriented club in the area. Like to keep as many members of the Town within the same community, generally have two monthly meetings and one board of directors meeting, invitation only to be a member, nominal fee to join is $60-65 and paid annually. Primarily look for someone who’s enthusiastic and loves the Town they live in. Leo clubs (Ages 12-28) the growing organization within the club, also impact the community.
Consensus of the Board support to explore and move forward with the Lions Club.

6. Webster Street 40B – Economic Development Committee: Hal Davis, Paul Coussins & Atty. Jabbs came forward: Mike G – Left off at the last meeting we wanted to get some feedback regarding this proposal from EDC and invited the Chair to relay their concerns.
Update/Discussion: Hal – Last Monday the Board unanimously voted to recommend the Board of Selectmen not approve the 40B Project at this location. At the time this project came in the Town had not completed the Carter Burgess Economical Study. One of the potential uses is a distribution facility with extensive truck traffic and not residential with children to worry about. Economic Development Commission feels this would detract from development of that area.
This is a small residential project that doesn’t do too much to add to our lower moderate income housing but creates big pain for Economic Development that’s why we voted against it. The reason the project didn’t go forward was because of statutory deadline. Housing is needed for Economic Development but not at this particular site. Adjacent to areas assigned 43D and possible to include this parcel. The Town rezoned that area industrial and would be happy to work with them. Mr. Coussins - Previously stated that the Industrial Commission did ask us to hold off on any development plans. Carter Burgess came in and did some study plans, they indicated that any commercial user to come into that property would want to develop in the back and use the front for access. We worked with the Development Commission for close to 2 years, spent a ton of money and the user never came about. We find there’s very little market in that area for development activity. We’ll be glad to sell and work with any commission that could put it together for that purpose or if a user or potential user is known. It won’t be 43 units as previously proposed and will work with Mr. Sullivan an abutter in the back to develop his property for commercial purposes that will have minimal access. We respectfully disagree that housing and commercial can not work together and can show you a lot of places it has. We’re asking the Board how best we can do this in a cooperative fashion. You approved the LIP application and we’ll have to see what it does and doesn’t do and continue doing it hopefully on a cooperative basis.
Discussion: Mitch – Concur with Hal and the Boards’ recommendation and not opposed to 40B and affordable housing, but at that location.
Paula – From an overall perspective if we have an owner of some property, who has not been able to develop it and looking to do a 40B, the only opportunity for us as a Town is to try and work cooperatively with the developer to get the best access we can for the back parcel.
Hal – Because of the endangered species problem the developer took more time, missed deadlines and that’s why the project didn’t happen.
Atty Jabs – I represent the land owner who is going to be the one who decides what happens to the property, move forward and does want to cooperate with the Town. He’s going to put together the most advantageous project for him and may not include a plan for industrial development. Most often coexist well together. Put all our common goals together in a project that works for all. We would prefer a LIP project. Industrial development will maximize the use, but don’t think the owner is willing to wait for the user to come along. Alternatives are limited so he has to go with the development project and he’s asking you to participate in it.
Mr. Cussins - We will entertain a LIP and during that process if a commercial/industrial tenant comes along as a potential user, willing to go that route. It’s not the permitting process we’re concerned about, it’s getting a user.
Hal – I think it’s the wrong way to do it. If the property owner wants, amend this expedited parcel, that doesn’t prohibit them from going forward with the 40B if they want and help them make it more marketable. There is legal access to the back property.
Scott – Look how we can roll this in to the adjacent parcel. We’re in the worst time period for selling houses.
Mike H – Zoned that area as industrial, designated 43D sites, that’s where we’re putting our efforts. The Board would like to see it developed commercially. Suggest you come back with plans that would benefit the industrial/commercial development along with what you’re looking to do residentially, layout to look more industrial friendly, discuss advantages with Hal, joining the 43D process. The Town received a $150,000 grant to work on those parcels. Open to anything you want to present to the Board as far as housing.
Consensus of the Board Set up date with Mike G to allow them to come back with some sketches, generalized/best/worst case plans.

7. Approve Contract for Ch 43D-Legal Services (Handout): Mike G – As the Board is aware, as part of the $150,000.00 grant, awarded as part of the Chapter 43D designation, part of the grant provisions allow $30,000.00 to be used for legal services to assist the Town in formulating regulations and bylaws to set up an expedited permitting process for those parcels approved by Town Meeting. The draft agreement between the Town of Douglas and the firm of Blatman, Boborowski & Mead, LLC, breaks out the terms and services the firm will provide for this project. Recommending and asking for the Boards’ approval of the contract for consulting services.
This firm helped in getting the grant approved for the Town in the first place.
The Accountant will sign the “not to exceed $30,000.00 amount”.
Motion - Mitch Cohen to approve the agreement between the Town of Douglas and Blatman, Boborowski & Mead, LLC, as presented, and authorize the Chair to sign on the Boards’ behalf, not to exceed $30,000.00. Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye.

8. Approve and Sign Contract for Comprehensive Building Use Study: Mike G – Permanent Building Committee has been working diligently over the past year, planning the future of the buildings in the Town of Douglas and has put together an RFP that went out to the architectural consulting community. Committee reviewed two proposals received and meeting with the consultant they’d like to proceed with, received a scope of services they’re comfortable with and asking the Board to approve a contract of $50,000.00 with the firm to do a building study in the community. Mr. White, Chair of the committee came forward – List of specific departments to be reviewed has been defined including Cable Advisory and Public Access. It’s a comprehensive study of all the departments within the Town. The School Departments and Water / Sewer getting input directly from them. As part of the study the architects will be going around to all departments as to what their needs would be.
Motion - Scott Medeiros approve the contract between the Town of Douglas and Durland & Van Voorhis Architects, Inc. for the Comprehensive Building Needs Assessment Study.
Seconded - Mitch Cohen. All - aye.

9. Octoberfest Appointment: Suzanne – Marylynne Dube was recommended by the Octoberfest Committee for a three year appointment ending June, 2010.
Motion - Mitch Cohen appoint Marylynne Dube to the Octoberfest Committee as presented. Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye.

10. Personnel Board Appointment: (John Bombara recused himself). Mike G – This is a Board of Selectmen appointment, position has been advertised for several months, FinCom appointed Ellie Chesebrough as one of their appointments to fill a vacancy. Stephen Alger applied for the position and as point of disclosure; he is the spouse of Jane Alger a full time employee. There would be some votes and acts he’d have to recuse himself on and will speak to him regarding items he can and can not participate in if appointed to the Committee and have him sign a disclosure.
Motion - Mitch Cohen to appoint Stephen Alger to the Personnel Board as presented.
Seconded - Scott Medeiros. All - aye.

11. Personnel Board – Approval of Personnel Policies: Dave St. George & Ellie Chesebrough came forward. Mike H – Commented on the excellent job they did.
Dave – Started working on this two years ago. Bylaws passed, now working on the policies and procedures. Discussion: Internet Usage/Privilege, Open Meeting Law, Phone Calls. Mike G – Suggested in saving time, if the Board would like extra time to go through this and with two new members on Personnel Board to also review them, come back on August 21st. The Board can give a list of concerns and forward to Personnel Board to review, make the necessary changes and come back with a product everyone is satisfied with. Has been reviewed by legal counsel. Get feedback back to him by August 7th, forward to Personnel Board, schedule from there.
Consensus of the Board to bring back to the August 21st meeting. (Get info by Aug 7th.)

12. Whitin Lake Association – Proposed Special Act: (John Bombara recused himself and left the table). Atty. Jabbs, Don & Eric Virostek, Atty. Jonathan Eichman came forward (Handouts & Discussion): Mike H – Hoping to resolve this this evening so we can move forward. Atty. Jabbs – Reviewed and highlighted major significant changes made in the draft of the Act pursuant to the Boards’ request with discussion:
-Limited and more specifically identified in response to concern of Eminent Domain Power
-Language change to insure the kind of flow across the dam to the Mumford River to provide the necessary water to the Town of Douglas Water/Sewer Treatment Plant-exception would be the “Dam Safety Act”
-Membership changed from three to a five member body-four elected and one voting member from the Town of Douglas appointed by and serves at the will of the Board of Selectmen, no liability or obligation to the Town regarding that member
-Issue regarding who will pay for the initial meeting when the District was being voted on. The Whitins Reservoir Association will provide the Town with a letter stating the Association will defray any costs the Town might have with regard to that initial meeting. The District can not incur any bills prior to its existence so we can’t say in the Act that the entity will incur the bill.
Atty Eichman – Reviewed the changes and are in accordance with what we asked for. Reference Section 3-S, language for the Water/Sewer Treatment Plant, suggested in black and white language to the effect that “the District shall take no action which would result in the flows going beneath the level required by the plant”. In the middle of the language there’s a phrase “As of the date, this act” I interpret that to mean limited to the flow the plant requires now, so if the plant were to be expanded the Districts duties do not expand correspondingly.
Mitch- Something needs to be in there that recognizes the size/use of the plant will increase/change and how to resolve that and future needs addressed in a reasonable fashion.
Atty Jabbs - As I understand you currently don’t have any rights regarding flowage, you’re down stream. Whatever rights you currently have, you’re not loosing with regards to this Act. Can’t say to you that in the future we’re going to supply you with every ounce of water you’re ever going to want. We’re not limiting any of your rights and not leaving it open ended.
In the future all parties should sit down and discuss issues with all the dams.
Don Virostek – The Association doesn’t want to own that dam, we’d rather Interface stay exactly where they are, and if they stayed there, you’d have far less than what you have now with this Act.
Discussion continued:
-Town Appointed Member: Remove from “for an indefinite term” to “shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Selectmen”.
-Water/Sewer and Conservation have been forwarded a copy to review.
-District providing assessed reimbursement: Whatever your basic costs of assessments are, any additional costs above that would be borne by the District. The cost of piggybacking is paid by Watershed District.
-District determination: Map from assessors and everyone having access to the Whitin Reservoir. Definition in the Act states you have to have access rights either deeded or water access. Provision to “opt out” based on no access or water rights and not on the water.
Atty Jabbs - We will be submitting this regardless of whether or not we get the vote today. We have a limitation with the General Court and would like the Boards’ support and a general letter stating support of the general idea and general act as presented. Need to get this moving to get it in this session of the legislature.
Motion - Mitch Cohen the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Douglas support the Special Act establishing the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District in the Town of Douglas in general as presented, subject to later ratification following recommendation of Counsel.
Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye.

Letter in support will be given from the Board of Selectmen for the Legislature.
Don Virostek – as soon as the Whitin Water Shed District forms, I can assure you will have a very compatible partner in the municipality and its works.

13. Health Insurance – Elected Officials (Handout): Mike G – Atty. Eichman really took no direct part, but since he is one of our attorneys, request he remain for this item. He has been briefed and may be able to answer some questions. (Mitch Cohen and Paula Brouillette recused themselves and left the table.) Mike H – Continuation of initial discussion on the 26th. Possibility of ending the health insurance benefit for Elected Officials who are currently eligible to receive the same benefits as employees working 20 hours or more a week. Initial discussion resulted in confusion regarding options, since done further research and consulted legal counsel to get a better opinion based on what we’re trying to do. Looks and appears that for Elected Officials currently receiving health insurance, they need to be considered eligible employees during the entire term for which they are elected, which means we can not end health insurance coverage until their current term is ended. If re-elected, they are not eligible for health insurance. We have one option and that’s how to approach it. Atty Eichman agreed.
Discussion: John – Talked to Leonard Kopelman of Kopelman & Paige personally. At the last meeting we chose the fourth option out of the four given to us about a month ago. Concerned with the seven people that still have the insurance, it’s a lot of money today, we just took $170,000 out of our stabilization fund to help pay for books for our kids and feel this is taking advantage of the tax payers in Town. Scott – Concur with some of John’s comments, it’s a large dollar figure for a very small number of people, somewhere near $80,000. Based on research somehow went from being able to buy into a plan when it was difficult to get your own insurance, then evolved into an equivalent type plan of a full time employee. Sense that the taxpayers in Douglas don’t realize their tax dollars are going towards this large expenditure and how a public servant can go far above what is warranted. Hope whatever action we take here tonight, the people who run for these positions and utilize it consider in these fiscally difficult times for the Town to take advantage of this benefit is not appropriate. Suggest we take some action that ends this process and keeps it from going on in the future. Mike H – Concur and unfortunate we weren’t able to take the action we had considered taking during the last meeting and were placed in a position that legal counsel gave us the idea and suggestion that we could potentially approach it from a number of different options we had discussion based on those options. Had we acted without further researching we might have made a bad decision. I think it’s an expense that the Town is not going to be able to afford. It would have helped in terms of the monies that we have to look at saving for the next fiscal year, to able to reduce health insurance by that entire number would have gone a long way to helping to reduce our dependents on free cash. Unfortunately we can’t do that.
Follow counsel’s advice and if we choose to end health insurance coverage, to do it in a way that once an elected official’s term ends, their health insurance ends with it.
John – So moved.
Scott – We’ve all committed verbally to working on financial policies and to reduce dependents on free cash, hope these Elected Officials consider self removal from the plan and consider another option personally so we can be consistent. Can offer COBRA for a period of eighteen months and/or allow them to get the discounted plan can be taken up at a later meeting if in fact there is one or a group purchase as a municipality.
Atty Eichman left the meeting.
Motion - Scott Medeiros We eliminate the eligibility for Elected Officials to participate in the health insurance plan the Town offers to full time employees for all newly elected officials. Additionally that existing seated Elected Officials shall loose their eligibility at the termination or expiration of their term and even if re-elected shall not be eligible, shall be treated as a newly Elected Official and not posses the eligibility. Seconded - John Bombara. All - aye.Paula and Mitch returned to the table.

-Kopelman & Paige Concern: Mitch – Informed the Board he had discussed this with the Chair prior and wanted to express a concern with receiving counsels’ advice that turns out not to be correct. This is the second time this has happened in just the last three months. We
had a question before counsel, Economic Development differed with that opinion-they were right and counsel hadn’t even read an updated guideline that was issued by the Department that oversees 43D. That put us temporarily in a very awkward position as did counsels opinion on this. It is unfortunate, there are many Elected Officials that will be affected by this but following the law is what you’re supposed to do. Unfortunate that very highly paid attorneys that we rely on for their expertise give us advice that doesn’t turn out to be very accurate. Request they be more diligent in the future. If we see more of these instances, open to more serious discussions down the road. Mike H – Certainly agree and based on the advice we got from counsel made to look foolish at the last meeting during the discussion with the health insurance issue. Would have handled it different and much less painful had we gotten good advice. To be faced with four possible options and then only one, is a big disparity. Also agree we need to have some discussion with our contact. We depend on the advice we get from legal counsel and their opinions and to be in a situation where we have to do research and second guess advice that we get is not a position to be in. I know there’ll be cases that it’ll be up to interpretation and opinion, but this was black and white. Scott – Send an informal letter stating we’re loosing confidence in their diligence and paying attention to details and concerned about the future. Maybe it’ll show some personal effort to alleviate our concerns and avoid us from having to consider soliciting input from other counsel.
Consensus of the Board – Mike G send a letter conveying concerns to Kopelman & Paige.

14. FY09 Budget / Revenue Group – Designate Two Members: Mike G – As discussed a few months ago, to start discussing some of the broader issues for FY 09. Intention and requesting to have two members of the Board of Selectmen volunteer to sit on the group about the issues we’re going to be facing. Expect these sessions to be more informal with back and forth discussions and come back to discuss this with the whole Board, with the best possible budget plan we can formulate. Hope to have this group meet for the first time in the month of August.
Consensus/Agreement for Paula Brouillette and Scott Medeiros to be the members.

15. Minutes:
January 16, 2007:
Mitch Cohen approve the January 16, 2007 minutes as presented. Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye. Abstain - Scott Medeiros and John Bombara.
February 13, 2007 (Joint with FinCom and Personnel Board): Mitch Cohen approve the meeting minutes as presented. Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye.
Abstain - Scott Medeiros and John Bombara.

16. Administrators Report: Mike G – Updates / Discussion
-Community Sign:
Completed and encouraged all to take a look at the sign in front of the Fire Station. Brotherton Lettering did a great job. Fire Chief and Highway Superintendent are going to do some landscaping around it. Formally thanked the Firefighter’s Association – donated $1,000.00, and the Octoberfest Committee - donated $500.00 towards the project.
-Meeting with Webster Water/Sewer Agreement: Set up with the Webster Town Officials at 2:00 pm August 13th in Webster Town Hall. Will attend with Bill Cundiff-Town Engineer and Dennis Croteau-Water/Sewer Systems Manager to talk about some of the detail issues in regards to developing an agreement between the two Towns. Both Douglas and Webster Town Meetings approved/authorized the Boards of Selectmen from each community to enter into negotiations to negotiate and ratify an agreement in the area of the 43D parcels. Webster has some surplus sewer capacity and possibly water for us for Economic Development in that region. Will meet again in the fall once some language has been put together. Some of this is contingent on development in Webster near the town line and have been in contact with some of those developers to hopefully assist in this process.
-Letter to the Fire Chief (Handout): From Executive Office of Public Safety Department of Fire Services. Mike G – Read the letter informing Firefighter Paxton Lepage is the recipient of the Martin H. McNamara Award given to the outstanding student of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Call/Volunteer Firefighter Training Class #017. Proud to have Mr. Lepage working with our Fire Department and that he was the #1 student in that class.
Consensus: Mike G to send letter from the Board congratulating him on his outstanding achievement.

17. Old / New Business: Update / Discussion
Old: Mitch – ZBA Fees:
Scheduled to meet with ZBA. They need to do some research.
Mike G – Requested via email, ZBA to reschedule as soon as they have their answers.
Consensus to schedule on next agenda and have Mike G check with the Town Clerk on the status of the ZBA member resigning.

New: Paula - Health Insurance: Recommend the Board instruct Mike G to look at options. Looking at the GIC-State level insurance, potentially would not decrease our current level of spending, but would insure going forward the percentage increase from year to year would not be increases we’ve been seeing the last five to six years. Mike G – Can update the Board in Executive Session the status of the contractual agreement with the Teachers, they have not formally ratified or signed the contract yet.
Consensus of the Board to have Mike G look into currently what we’re paying, what we would pay with less carriers than what we have and what we’d be paying with the GIC System.

Paula – CMRPC: Being the rep, through conversations with director Larry Adams and other Selectmen, there is an interest to start looking regionally at common issues: Commuter Rail option for P&W Railroad in the valley and growth of Route146. Interest from a CMRPC standpoint to have a Blackstone Valley Board of Selectmen meeting and to present information they look at from a regional basis. Looking for the input from this Boards whether we want to participate as a Town to look at some of the more regional issues in our area. Also talked with Hal Davis-EDC Chair about having a regional economic initiative. Towns within the valley have varying degrees regarding economic development. Hoping to organize in late August, early September to have a regional Board of Selectmen meeting.
Consensus of the Board: Paula will communicate the Boards support to Larry Adams.

Paula – Traffic Study and ZBA Fee Schedule: Conversation earlier regarding Route 16 and several hundred trucks a day, this is exactly the issue why, without a fee schedule we can’t do a Traffic Study. If we do, we’re going to ask the taxpayers of Douglas as opposed to the applicant to do the study and the impact. This has been dragging for two years, approved and supported by Town Meeting for three years and we need to get those fees developed before we get a project. For example North Street and Gilboa will need one.
All agreed the need for the ZBA Fee Schedule to be completed.

18. Adjournment- Scott Medeiros motion to adjourn at 9:38 pm.
Seconded – Mitch Cohen. All – aye.

Respectfully Submitted;

Jane L. Alger
Administrative Secretary
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 613
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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