BOS - August 21, 2007

BOS - August 21, 2007

Postby Suzanne Kane » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:42 am

Board of Selectmen
August 21, 2007

7:00 pm

1. Call to Order

2. Chairman’s Announcements

3. Citizen’s Forum

7:15 pm
4. Manchaug Pond Association

5. Manchaug Pond – Richard Linstrom

8:00 pm
6. Government Study Committee Presentation

7. Pine Grove Cemetery – Acceptance of Deed

8. Workers / Compensation Policy

9. Appoint Audit Sub-Committee

10. Open Government Bylaw Discussion

11. Minutes: March 20, 2007; March 20, 2007 Exec. Session

12. Administrators Report

13. Old / New Business

14. Executive Session – Collective Bargaining / Litigation

15. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:
Sept. 4th:
Webster St. 40B; ADA Report; Cable Request; Plumbing/Gas Inspector; ZBA / Cable

TBD: Skate Park Update; Fraud Policy; Personnel Policy; Financial Policy; Award Contract to Auditor

NOTE: Times are estimates unless denoted as a Hearing.
Douglas Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes – August 21, 2007
Approved April 1, 2008

1. Call to Order:
Chairman Mike Hughes called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.
In attendance: Vice Chair John Bombara, Paula Brouillette, Mitch Cohen, Scott Medeiros, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski, Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.
Others present:Government Study Committee-Lisa Mosczynski Chair, Dennis Bishop Vice Chair, Keith Menard and Derek Brown. Atty Walter Jabbs, David Schmidt-Manchaug Pond Association Chair and Phyllis Charpentier-Corresponding Secretary. Don Virostek, Atty Henry Lane, Richard Lindstrom – Sutton resident, George Kamuso and other citizens.

2. Chair Announcements: None

3. Citizen’s Forum: No One Came Forward

4. Manchaug Pond Association: Atty Jabbs, David Schmidt, Phyllis Charpentier came forward. Atty Jabbs Discuss/update on several revisions made for proposed watershed district. Latest draft revision of the Act incorporates most of the changes discussed with Whitin Watershed District, allows for participation and support by the Town of Douglas to pass the Act going forward. Town of Sutton declines to participate or support this Act, they were offered a voting seat and declined, and concerned with a quorum. The Act provides for an election, requiring 60% of the participants to vote in order to create a Watershed District. Asked residents present seeking support to stand.
Discussion: Legislature will look at Sutton not supporting the Act, affecting residents in both Sutton and Douglas, chances of the Act getting approved without that support and passed. Have support of the organization, people around it and would love Douglas’ support to move forward. Water level has to be maintained, reference made to Chapter 91, concern with Dam Safety when a 16’ draw down was ordered immediately July 4th weekend when the low level gate broke and they weren’t concerned about safety, fish in the ponds, septic systems with the change in the water table or camp grounds and/or dam repairs. Guilford okayed a 9’ draw down. Competition between DEP, ConCom and DEM block the ability to coordinate or change the laws.
Don Virostek As a member of the Board of Directors of the Whitins Association, ownership goes back to the 1800’s and it’s believed there is not a viable buyer for that dam other than the two watershed districts. Paula This Board did approve the previous watershed district unanimously and is in support in general for these watershed districts. Now having an unwilling participant, sets up a very difficult situation, have to look at this for the long term and a bad way to start a relationship. Unwilling to vote in support when we don’t’ have the support of the other town. Atty Jabbs Creation of this act as far as the participation of Sutton requires them to collect taxes. The right decision is to give these group of people the opportunity to vote whether or not they want to have a watershed district. Asking you to re-consider, for your support and the opportunity to vote.

5. Manchaug Pond – Richard Lindstrom (Handouts): Mr. Lindstrom, Atty Lane came forward. Mr. Lindstrom Not a water front property owner, was asked to represent his neighbor who has lake front property and he hired Atty Lane. Reviewed: letter dated Sep 21, 2006 re: Manchaug Pond Drawdown for Dam Gate Repair, letter dated 19th of August against the district, two page email from Rep. Jennifer Callahan who has the responsibility of the Manchaug Pond area, letter from Sutton ConCom Co-Chair Mark Briggs-taking no position on this matter. Re-iterated further facts, concerns, alternate non-tax ways, policy on promoting lake/pond management, goals and objectives as printed. Atty Lane Fairly clear the Sutton Board of Selectmen have concerns, historically the Great Pond as well as the dam is in Sutton and only the expanded portion is in Douglas, overall management of these important natural resources, and a significant source for maintaining flow for the Water/Sewer Treatment Plant. Any grant available to the Pond Association is probably more available to municipalities because they represent a larger community. The amount a land owner has to contribute is going to be taxed based on the value of the property. Not a matter of residency, it’s a matter of ownership. Take Sutton’s concern very seriously. The dam is in good repair as we understand, under dam safety regulations the owner has an obligation to have it inspected every five years and this one every two years, keep it in repair, no eminent threat or crisis here. We ask you not cede control of these resources to a limited amount of land owners and have the lake controlled by Sutton, not in the public interest to give the taxing authority to this small group of property owners in their town until we have a better understanding what the benefits and implications are with regard to the pond.
Atty Jabbs, David Schmidt, Phyllis Charpentier allowed to come forward again briefly to respond. Atty Jabbs It’s clear they do not want to have responsibility and liability of the dam. A small body of people having one vote per person, similar to how every town in the Commonwealth operates in a Democracy. There’s precedent for everything we’re doing. Watershed districts, several of them are great ponds have seen their water level drop and suffered loss in tax revenues. Even if a vote is taken today, it’ll probably be a year before this watershed district takes off. Manchaug group is asking for your support, there to protect your interest, if there’s a problem with the water flow this act requires us to support the Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant. Underlying issue is between those willing to pay a tax and take on responsibility as a group, those not willing and those who do not see what’s coming.
Mitch Vital importance of the preservation of the water flow for property owners, the sewer and protection for the dam. See this differing from the Whitin Reservoir project in 2 ways: 1-This body of water is a great pond, need to go through counsel-time and expense going forward is significant and feudal- and do some research before determining if this is the best course of action for the Town of Douglas. 2-Involves two towns, if it was the other way around, I would hope the Legislature would not act to push that upon us. If the town of Sutton turns around please come back, it has to be a solution that both towns buy into before it’ll work. Suggestion: Not to take any vote on this, have the Executive Administrator speak with the Administrator in Sutton and start to develop a purpose to find an acceptable solution to both towns in terms of what to do with this body of water for the reasons to make sure the property owners are sufficiently protected, the needs of the state are protected, and absolutely for the Town of Douglas to make sure that the water flow is both safe and proper for our sewer plant.
John In support of the association taking it over. I’d rather see multiple tax people owners have ownership of the dam than one person, you’re more protected. If something were to happen to Interface tomorrow, they’re gone, is it going to be two years before a new owner comes in and possibly lowers the water down. The state’s not going to let them do anything illegal. But agree with Paula and Mitch, it’s a delicate situation.
Mike H If Sutton was in support of it, I’d be willing to support it as well tonight. The fact that Sutton has spoken and aren’t in support of it, puts us in a position that we can’t act on it. Agree, if things were to change in Sutton, would be willing to discuss. Hear what you’re saying, probably does benefit the Town of Douglas, unfortunately that pond doesn’t just lie in Douglas, if it did it would make things easier and if they supported it. Doesn’t necessarily need to die tonight if we don’t take action on it. Unfortunately without the support of Sutton not moving forward whether we support it or not.
Douglas Residents We want to have a say about what goes on and need your support and represent us as residents and taxpayers in Douglas, don’t care what Sutton does, important to the people on that lake that we control it. Willing to pay our fair share and that’s based on valuation. We voted you people in. Because they don’t want it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.
Scott Agree with Paula and Mitch but would like to review the information received tonight. Postpone any action and revisit in terms of a vote at probably the next meeting.

Two minute recess while citizens left the room.

6. Government Study Committee Presentation (Handout): Members Lisa Mosczynski, Keith Menard, Derek Brown, Dennis Bishop came forward, Suzanne Kane. Brian Newark unable to attend. Lisa Here to give a brief presentation that summarizes the work conducted on behalf of the Town during the past year according to the Charge given and is reflective of the committee as a whole. Global recommendations that hold for the entire town’s organization reviewed in detail for effectiveness and efficiency. Presentations also given by Derek Brown and Dennis Bishop:restructuring and time frames, alterations with town government through bylaws (some inconsistencies found) or Mass General Laws, form a Charter Commission.
Questions / Discussion: Lisa The Committee met twice a month for the last year, did a lot of interviews on the side, donated many hours putting the back up and document together and thoroughly vetted what needs to be done. Recommendation as a Committee is that you should charge the Administrator right now with developing streamlined and restructuring scenarios that he can present to you and then you can decide whether to implement. Derek Decide whether or not you want to re-structure, and whether or not you want the Town Administrator to do it, a lot of responsibilities and adequate authority. Secondly- whether or not to go with a charter Committee, it doesn’t cost that much, and will take almost two years before it goes to legislature and complete that process.
Mike H Committee commended for their hard work and providing a lot of information to start with in terms of how to move forward, and pointing out how fragile our structure is. Schedule a workshop meeting where this is our only agenda item.

7. Pine Grove Cemetery – Acceptance of Deed (Handout): Mike G Brought to our attention about one and half years ago the Cemetery was not owned by the Town even though it was maintaining it. Article at last Town Meeting in May was approved, and authorized the Selectmen to accept that property, approximately two acres, last step is to accept the deed and needs to be recorded at the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. Requesting the Board vote to accept the deed for the Pine Grove Cemetery and sign associated documents. Short of a full title search all stipulations from Kopelman & Paige have been reviewed.
Motion- Mitch Cohen accept the deed on the Pine Grove Cemetery as presented.
Seconded- Paula Brouillette. All - aye.

8. Workers Compensation Policy: Mike G Reviewed and recommended by MIIA, Town Counsel, Town Accountant and School Business Manager. Thanked Suzanne for her creditable amount of work.
Motion- Paula Brouillette accept the Worker’s Compensation Policy as presented with the provision that there be a review of Permanent and Total Benefits as identified in the Kopelman & Paige memo of February 16, 2007, and if further action is required we’ll re-visit it.
Seconded- Scott Medeiros. All - aye.

9. Appoint Audit Sub-Committee (Handout): Mike G Three proposals received, invite them to do a presentation to the Committee comprised of: Board of Selectmen member, Member of FinCom, Executive Administrator, Superintendent of Schools (or designee), Town Accountant and Town Treasurer and recommend to the Board which firm to go with for appointment by the Board. Commitment of the Committee will probably will be one or two meetings with the auditing firms.
Motion- Mitch Cohen appoint an Audit Sub-Committee as recommended with Michael Hughes as member of the Board of Selectmen of the Audit Sub-Committee.
Seconded- Paula Brouillette. All - aye.

10. Open Government Bylaw Discussion (Draft Handout): Mitch Cohen reviewed a couple paragraphs of the draft and if adopted, Douglas would have the most open government in the Commonwealth. General purpose: If a member of the public wants to come in and request meeting minutes or video the Town has to honor that and provide information and access. Had discussions with Town Clerk and Town Administrator already, identifying costs and a primary concern with Town Clerk is storage space which she has already. Uncomfortable going to Town Meeting with this until we have all answers in place.
Scott Personally not completely sold on the need to implement something to this degree, goes into a level of unnecessary depth, adds to the complexity of what was heard from the Government Study Committee and don’t support it in the form of a bylaw. Re-iterating Mass General Laws the boards are bound by, a lot of this could be dealt with sending a formal letter reminding all boards and committees that they have legal ramifications to comply with, have these laws and need to provide minutes within a certain time frame.
Mitch By sending the minutes to one location, the official keeper of records, making them safe, the internet will make them accessible. Addition of a Committee is a gray area, cost will be minimal. The only way it works for everybody is with a bylaw. Scott Don’t have a problem coordinating a central location. Incorporate a policy that requires our boards and committees to file their minutes electronically with the Clerk so that can be placed on the website. Mitch Cohen Can only do that for boards that are under our jurisdiction. Don’t have authority over Town Clerk how she does her job. Stored on the website which is off site storage, would be relatively safe.
Primary goal is to see that the information gets to a central location and actively made available.
Mike H Make it operational, not costly, and able to follow through with what we say we’re going to do.
Paula Believe we’re unanimous on Open Government. Rather see documents electronically, can do a lot more than when you have paper and need space for paper. Support agendas, postings and minutes being electronic. Discussions needed to decide which meetings be videoed. Agree with Scott no need for a separate formal committee.
Mitch My intention is to work on this really hard for the next six months with Town Administrator, Town Clerk and affected parties, work out the details, so we be prepared to go ahead and act on it when brought to town meeting in May. Will give updates to the Board as they occur.
Consensus of the Board to move forward.

11. Minutes: March 20, 2007: Motion - Mitch Cohen approve the meeting minutes of March 20, 2007 as presented. Seconded – Paula Brouillette. All - aye. Abstain - Scott Medeiros & John Bombara.
-Executive Session March 20, 2007: Motion - Mitch Cohen move to approve and retain the Executive Session meeting minutes of March 20, 2007. Seconded - Paula Brouillette. All - aye. Abstain - Scott Medeiros & John Bombara.

12. Administrators Report: Mike G (Handouts)
-Letter/Douglas Historical Society:
Thanked for the letter of support for the Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund received. Welcomed to take a guided tour at the E.N. Jenckes Store.
-Letter/Dolores Colonero: Commended John Furno who headed the Girls Softball Tournament and volunteers at Soldiers Field Ball Park.
-Letter/School Superintendent Nancy Lane: Invitation received for School Department personnel annual opening day exercises September 4th, 2007 beginning at 8:30 am in the High School cafeteria.
Mitch Cohen, Paula Brouillette, John Bombara & Scott Medeiros plan to attend.
-Meeting with Town of Webster update: Attended with Dennis Croteau, Bill Cundiff, Hal Davis met Town Manager and officials to discuss a Water/Sewer agreement between the two towns. Discussions went very well, indicated there should not be any problems with working together to set aside capacity for the Town of Douglas as part of this process for water and sewer. Next step is for the Board to approve disclosure documents for Kopelman & Paige to work on the contract as they represent both communities. Hopefully have an Intermunicipal Agreement that both towns can sign on to. Then work with landowners to fund water and sewer on that side of Douglas.
-Community Sign/Policy: Request the Board discuss at next meeting for the Board to update the policy last done three years ago for sandwich boards. Spoke to Kent Brotherton who did the sign, should not be difficult switching from 4 to 6 inch lettering.
-Post Office/Senior Center Parking Lot Completion: Under budget, early and looks great. May be a few minor punch list items left.
-M.O.R.E. Meeting/Worcester: Will attend tomorrow. Hosting a meeting involving the group insurance commission to discuss aspects of the new legislation.

13. Old / New Business
Old: John Bombara - ZBA:
Minutes discussed at last Board meeting.
Paula Brouillette - Financial Budget Meeting: Mike G Early September. Paula and Scott to let Mike know of their availability.
Mike Hughes - Keyless Entry: Mike G Needs more research.
New: Paula Brouillette – CMRPC Meeting: Will attend tomorrow. Conversation about the P&W Rail line and status of Woonsocket to Providence link. Will bring information back to the next meeting.
Paula Brouillette – Blackstone Valley Meeting: Tentatively Wednesday, September 19th or 26th at 7:00pm. Agenda items to include the Rail and status of Rte 146 and how it will be developed in the future. Mike to send out invitations to the Town Managers/Administrators of the eleven communities in the Blackstone Valley. Paula is working on a letter to the Boards of Selectmen. Not sure of the location yet. Approximately 100 people. Will update next week.
Scott Medeiros – Building & Facility Resignation: Documentation in the office of the abrupt resignation letter of the Chair received today. Unaware of details to date, on the email list because of being a previous member of that committee and contacted by Dan Heney-Vice Chair of that Committee with concerns relating to meeting minutes. Allocated funding last July for a meeting minute taker/person/secretary who has left. In the middle of a comprehensive study, the chair has been quite active, membership has been sporadic and not sure what roll we can play if any in trying to facilitate a transition. Suggest not accepting Bob White’s resignationm, loosing a very knowledgeable, committed person. Scott will visit Mr. White, per his invitation and see if any issues can be rectified. Advertise for another minute taker to step in to cover multiple boards and make the position more full time.
Mike G To contact Mr. White tomorrow, see if there’s anything that can be done to support him or any issues that need to be resolved that the Board can help with. Mitch Hard to find volunteers and harder to find those of his caliber.
Mitch Cohen – Daniel Harlow/Cable: Has taped meetings for the last two years, this is his last meeting and is simultaneously training.
Mike Hughes – Mike Guzinski Goals: Schedule a workshop for September 11th at 6:30pm.

14. Executive Session: Motion- Mitch Cohen to go into Executive Session at 10:42 pm for the purposes of Collective Bargaining and leave executive session for the sole purpose of adjourning. Seconded- Paula Brouillette.
Roll Call Vote: Mitch Cohen-aye, Paula Brouillette-aye, Mike Hughes-aye, John Bombara-aye, Scott Medeiros-aye. All - aye.

15. Adjournment- Mitch Cohen at 11:04 pm. Seconded – Paula Brouillette. 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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