BOS - April 1, 2003

BOS - April 1, 2003

Postby Suzanne Kane » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:11 am

Board of Selectmen
April 1, 2003

6:00 pm

Budget Workshop

7:00 pm
1. Call to Order

2. Chairman’s Announcements

3. Citizens Forum

7:05 pm
4. School Bonds – Sharon Brotherton

7:15 pm
5. Water / Sewer Commission

7:30 pm
6. Suzanne Gagnon – Potter Road

7. Municipal Buildings

8. Minutes: • March 11, 2003
• March 18, 2003

9. Administrators Report

10. Old/New Business

11. Adjournment
Board of Selectmen
Budget Workshop
April 1, 2003
Approved April 15, 2003

1. Call to order:

Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 6:06 pm. In attendance: Paula Brouillette, Ron Forget, Edward Therrien, Executive Administrator Ken Mahony, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Other staff and citizens in attendance: Town Accountant Rich Mathieu.

2. Budget Review – by Department continued:
• Highway:
There was a question about Contractual Services; there is expenditure but it was not budgeted. Rich Mathieu stated this is a reclassification for uniforms.
• Highway Overtime & Extra (not snow): Rich Mathieu explained that Wages – Overtime line was moved to the Highway department account. He is not sure why it was placed as a separate department.
• Snow / Ice Control: Rich Mathieu noted that having the Snow and Ice budget less then the previous year is not a good practice. MGL will not allow you to over expend. He recommends that they pick one figure to increase by or level fund to at least the previous year. Shirley Mosczynski noted two areas that expenditure is greater than what was budgeted. Rich Mathieu agreed saying it was a terrible year for snow.
• Highway Improvements: There were no questions or comments on this account.
• Special Highway Sign Account; Highway Oiling; Highway Railings: There were no questions or comments on these accounts.
• Highway Bridges; Highway Sidewalks; HWY Dump Trucks w/Plows; Highway Pickup Truck ½ Ton: Ken Mahony reported that the Mechanic Street bridge has been closed so Highway could pour 5 or 6 yards of concrete to fill a hole. Shirley Mosczynski noted there is a Capital Item under HWY Dump Trucks w/Plow. Ken Mahony stated that will be coming out.
• Highway Machinery Maintenance: Paula Brouillette noted there is a Capital Item in this account. Ken Mahony stated it is the same as the other account; he’s not sure how it got in twice. Rich Mathieu noted that the summary page did show one out. He also asked the Board for the budget books back so he can update them now that Blackstone Valley Vocational School has their budget in.
• Cemetery: Ken Mahony stated we have a three year contract for grass cutting; they gave it a 1% increase for each year.
• Library: Shirley Mosczynski questioned the Full Time wages line. Asking if the expended amount is correct, is it as of the end of January; it doesn’t seem like there will be enough left. Rich Mathieu stated that it is correct. Shirley Mosczynski asked what the rate increase is. Paula Brouillette stated she figures it’s 8%. Rich Mathieu stated that the salaries do not fall in the regular schedule. Ken Mahony, responding to a line in the Library’s Mission Statement, under Goals for the coming year; this is the first he has heard of the air conditioning for the library. He stated he told Ann Carlsson he would be happy to get a grant, but it is not a good year to do this.
• Recreation: Ken Mahony stated that on April 15th Town Engineer Bill Cundiff will have a design plan for Martin Road. He stated they will sit and talk about the money they had held over. Shirley Mosczynski stated that she and Ken Mahony had met with State Representative Paul Kujawski. He had stated he doubted if they would see a budget from the State until mid June and expects a 15 to 20% cut. Rich Mathieu stated that would not be bad, except that includes Chapter 70 cuts. Concerning the Recreation budget: Shirley Mosczynski noted the Repair and Maintenance Supply line was over expended. Rich Mathieu stated they have given internal transfers to balance the budget, he will find out what this was.
• Veterans Service: Ken Mahony stated there is a proposal for a new Veterans Director which includes benefits. This would increase the budget by $1,800. Rich Mathieu stated this would work out if the new director submits his paperwork on time.
• Douglas Schools: Rich Mathieu stated he has the latest proposal and he thinks they will put a final one forward after Wednesday. Ken Mahony stated the 1.7 million could be 3 million. Shirley Mosczynski stated they talked about trying to get through without laying people off; need to ask Union personnel to take cuts by not taking a raise. Ken Mahony stated that we do have a large number of people that fall into that category. Paula Brouillette stated it would save $300,000 if the Union people would not take their raise. Rich Mathieu reported the good news that the Blackstone Valley Tech assessment for the Town is $30,000 less then last year. Noting they are being pro-active and not passing it on to the communities.

Ron Forget and Edward Therrien left the meeting at 6:35 pm for the Republican Caucus. Shirley Mosczynski stated that they no longer have a quorum; they are not making any decisions so they can continue with the review.

• Benefits & Health Insurance: Rich Mathieu stated this includes 12 new teachers and the possibility for 10 more. Currently there are employees that do not have coverage but times change and they may have to come to Douglas for insurance. Ken Mahony stated he has been working at not taking salary increases but he is not optimistic; stating teachers will be a problem.
• Debt Services: Paula Brouillette stated that she had gotten the debt services from Sharon Brotherton and she would like them in the budget book.
• Capital Outlay: Ken Mahony stated that he has received a request for warrant articles from Mitch Cohen that includes the Senior Center cover and VFW ramp. He had received suggestions that Valley Tech could help but he questions if a $50,000 enclosure is needed. Rich Mathieu stated that it is possible that there are grants available.
• Water/Sewer: Rich Mathieu suggested the Board of Selectmen sit with Water/Sewer and each Board to go over their budgets.

3. Recess:
Shirley Mosczynski called for a recess at 6:45 pm until the regular Selectmen’s meeting scheduled for 7:00 pm.

4. Adjournment:
Edward Therrien made a motion to adjourn at 9:40 pm. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Suzanne Kane
Administrative Assistant
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
April 1, 2003
Approved April 15, 2003

1. Call to order:

Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 6:06 pm for the Budget Workshop. In attendance: Paula Brouillette, Ron Forget, Edward Therrien, Executive Administrator Ken Mahony, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

2. Recess:
Shirley Mosczynski called for a recess at 6:45 pm until the regular Selectmen’s meeting scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Regular Meeting:
1. Call to Order:

Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 7:11 pm. In attendance: Paula Brouillette, Rich Preston, Ron Forget (7:20 pm), Edward Therrien (7:20 pm), Executive Administrator Ken Mahony, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Other staff and citizens in attendance: Town Treasurer Sharon Brotherton, Water / Sewer Commission Chair Robert Josey, Water / Sewer members Rick Colonero and Joseph Saster, Conservation Commission Consultant and Master Plan member Linda Brown, Open Space Chair Lisa Mosczynski, Mitch Cohen, Diane and David St. George, Deloris Colonero, Eileen Kelly, Dotty Vaillancourt, Tribune reporter Tom Mattson, and other citizens.

2. Chairman’s Announcements:
• Boston Post Cane:
Shirley Mosczynski stated that at the last Selectmen’s meeting the Board had presented the Boston Post Cane to Harriet Dexter, who at 98 is the eldest resident in Douglas. She did receive a call from Robert Parker, 9 Chestnut St., that his mother, Ardis Parker is the eldest resident and will be 100 on July 1st. In 1999 the family had taken her off of the censes when she entered a Nursing Home in another community. Shirley Mosczynski explained that this is the only way we have of knowing this information. She extended her congratulations to the family and wished Ardis Parker a Happy 100th Birthday on July 1st.
• CMRPC Trail Planning Meeting: Shirley Mosczynski announced that on Wednesday, April 30th from 7 to 9 pm, at the Douglas Municipal Center, the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission will hold a meeting to discuss a trail connection feasibility study for the Blackstone Valley sub-region of Central Massachusetts. She invited anyone that was interested.

3. Citizens Forum:
• Diane St. George:
Diane St. George, 5 Gilboa Street, came before the board. She has been watching the budget process and would like to thank all the Boards and Administrators for their hard work. She wanted to respond to the talk about possible revenues by bringing back school choice. She stated it is the Towns obligation to offer school choice. She stated, from the point of someone whose children choiced out; what was appealing to them was not just the education, but also the safety of roads, the Police Department, Fire Department and the library. She stated that it is in the evenings and weekends that she is concerned what is available. Children are going to hang out in the Town they go to school and make friends in. She stated a possible 15 to 20% budget cut is terrifying as a resident. She stated that it took a long time to get a Fire and Police department the Town could be proud of. She noted that she was probably preaching to the choir, but she does not want to see the Town in a crisis again. She stated that she is a supporter of education. She feels there is a line being drawn in the sand and she resents it. She stated she would appreciate the dialog to stop concentrating on education only, and continue with discussions about the Town. Again she applauded the Board on a job well done.
• Mitch Cohen: Mitch Cohen, 25 Marilyn Drive, came before the Board. He stated that three years ago there was a $43 million construction project. He feels a lack of communication and support between Boards caused the project to fail. He stated the Towns budget could be reduced by each department making cuts. He noted that out of 12 attempts at over-rides in Douglas, 9 failed. Mitch Cohen stated that the impact on an override, and using figures he had would mean collecting 19% over level capacity if it did not pass and 35% over if it does pass. He stated that operational over rides are permanent; they have a long term impact on residents. He stated he wants the school to succeed. He does not want to see ‘Us vs. Them’ and have it fail at Town Meeting. He asks that the Board works on it - keep meeting and keep talking, then we can get there.
Rich Preston stated he appreciated their comments, they were true and welcome. He said the budget needs more attention and discussion and hopefully they can work through it. Shirley Mosczynski thanked Diane St. George and Mitch Cohen for their comments and stated they will continue to work. She stated they are waiting for a final School budget, stating they meet one week from Wednesday. They haven’t talked about an over ride but it’s in the wings. All cuts will be looked at and considered before looking at an over ride.

4. School Bonds: Town Treasurer Sharon Brotherton came before the Board. She passed out a sheet documenting the Vote for the $14,000,000 Bond Anticipation Note. Rich Preston questioned the maturity date of April 7, 2003. Sharon Brotherton stated that was a typo and it should read April 7, 2004, She reported that she was notified by Moody’s Rating Agency that Douglas has maintained our A2 rating. She stated this is very good, bond agencies look at that. She stated the Bond Agency also ask about over rides and if we are planning to lay people off. Ken Mahony stated that Sharon Brotherton did a good job. Ron Forget made a motion to approve the Bonds as presented. Edward Therrien seconded the motion. All – aye. While the Board signed the Bonds, Sharon Brotherton reported that she had gone into Boston this morning to appear before the Emergency Finance Board. She stated that much of their questions were similar to the Bond Agency, they wanted to know how the Town is handling the crisis. When asked what the Emergency Finance Board is, Sharon Brotherton explained that there are certain things a Town needs their approval on for many different reasons. She has been before the Board three times in ten years. They make sure money is being spent on building repair. Ron Forget asked if anyone reflected on what the Bond would have been at a different time. Sharon Brotherton said that no one had, then explained that the rate to borrow money is low, but so is the rate to earn money, there is no advantage here.

5. Water / Sewer Commission: Water / Sewer Commission Chair Robert Josey, Water / Sewer members Rick Colonero and Joseph Saster came before the Board. They passed out a letter to the Board stating that they have come before the Board to discuss two issues they feel need to be resolved. One is communication with the Water / Sewer Commission and the other is who has responsibility of Water / Sewer projects. Joseph Saster spoke on the content of the letter. They are upset with a statement Ken Mahony made at the March 18 Selectmen’s Meeting when he said he had contacted the contractors for the Main Street Water Project and that he and Town Engineer Bill Cundiff would meet with the Contractors to discuss the project. He feels all communication should be directed to his Commission. He stated that the funds for the projects and engineers come out of their budget; they have many projects and have never gone over budget. Robert Josey went on to say that the road on Main Street is no worse then the back roads of Douglas. He has been in contact with the Contractors and work should start on Monday. He stated it will be quite a while for construction and then the roads will be re-paved. He went on to say that they have had complaints in the past from Contractors about Selectmen and Administrators asking questions of them when they should be going through the Water / Sewer Commission. Joseph Saster asked who is responsible. Ken Mahony stated that he is the one who signs the contracts and authorizes payments; he has a responsibility to the Selectmen. He stated that rather then building fences we should be building bridges. He has never issued an order; he does what is required of him. He assured them that he is not questioning their ability; if he is asked a question he will answer it to the best of his ability. Rich Preston stated that his question about the construction on Main Street was not for him, just because the road runs in front of his house; he has gotten many complaints. He did not feel it was appropriate for Mr. Josey to compare Main Street with the back roads of Douglas. He went on to say that as a Board, they are here with the Town Administrator; it is not unreasonable for them to ask Mr. Mahony for information. Ron Forget stated that it is no ones intention to take over anyone’s job; there is a compromise, or should be a compromise that the Selectmen talk to the Water / Sewer Commission through the Administrator. He stated that this seems to have blossomed into something that borders on posturing; we just need to work together. Joseph Saster stated they are elected officials – elected by the people and they have done a really good job. Shirley Mosczynski stated that she did meet with the Commission and Mr. Mahony on February 28th because of issues that the Commission felt they were not being notified. She said she has had many conversations with Mr. Mahony and has always instructed him to go to Water / Sewer with any questions. She hopes they get back on track. Mr. Josey again stated that they have had complaints about past Administrators, but not about Mr. Mahony. He then stated that for Ken Mahony and Bill Cundiff to go down and look at plans is a waste of money. Mr. Josey reminded the Board that the Water / Sewer Commission had loaned the Town $11, 000 and he wanted to know when they would get it back. Ken Mahony explained that the Town was in a funny position back then, he had explained that the $11,000 was eligible for a grant. If they did not have the $11,000 they could take it from a reserve fund and then add it to the project plan to get reimbursed from the grant. Mr. Josey stated that the Town Accountant had told him they would only get 45% back and they do not feel the water users should shoulder the cost. There was a consensus of the Board to have Rich Mathieu explore ways to raise those funds from other accounts and report back.

6. Suzanne Gagnon – Potter Road:
In the agenda is a letter to the Board, from Suzanne Gagnon, dated March 24, 2003; History of the Nelson Potter Farm by Deed; Map of Douglas; List of Public Roads, dated 11/8/40; Re/Max map of Douglas; Town Description of Potter Road; Street List of Douglas, dated December 27, 2000; Street data compiled from Douglas Library from 1941; Town Records; National Register Criteria Statement; description of Castle Caves; Massachusetts Historical Commission description of 22 Potter Road; National Register criteria for Potter Road; more maps; letter to Andrews Survey, from Suzanne Gagnon, dated March 17, 2003.
Suzanne Gagnon came to the Board stating there has been some dispute over the actual public length of Potter Road and she would like a final determination as to its length. Rich Preston asked if Community Development was aware of her request. Ken Mahony stated that they know about it, stating it’s been an issue for some time. Ken Mahony stated that he did not know she wanted it measured and asked Edward Therrien where to go to get it done. Edward Therrien stated the Department of Public Works, they gave it to us. Ron Forget asked what prompted the dispute. Suzanne Gagnon stated she does not know the only person to dispute it is the lawyer of her abutter, based on a survey done by Andrews Survey in error. She says her access is the public way – the lawyer says the public way ends at the bridge. Ken Mahony stated this sound like a case of “adverse position”. Shirley Mosczynski stated they need to know if Andrews is going to revise the plan. Suzanne Gagnon stated that she had stopped into his office today and he had given her a plan that was done in 1946 which says Potter Road is a public way. Shirley Mosczynski stated that if he knows his plan is wrong he is obligated to correct it. Ms Mosczynski said she would like the Towns determination on this. Ken Mahony stated he would like to pass this onto Town Counsel to see what our position is. Suzanne Gagnon stated that the original plan done by Andrews Survey in 1990 is wrong; it should be a public road up to the house. She questioned if the Town would be able to revise their description of the road whether or not Andrews revises his plan. Shirley Mosczynski stated he needs to correct his error. Paula Brouillette agreed that Town Counsel should go over this and keep Community Development involved. Ken Mahony stated he would have Bill Cundiff call Andrews and explain that he hears there is an error on the plan and ask if we can get it corrected. Consensus of the Board to have Bill Cundiff call Andrews Survey to ask that the plan be corrected at his cost and to have Mr. Mahony check with Town Counsel.

7. Municipal Buildings:
The Board brought their Municipal Buildings Evaluation booklets. Ken Mahony asked Rich Preston if he agreed with his evaluations as documented in his letter, dated March 11, 2003. Rich Preston asked what is next. Shirley Mosczynski asked Ken Mahony to explain what was meant by “floor plan being prepared” in item E. Mr. Mahony explained that he has an architect doing a floor plan and he should have it by the end of the week. He stated it would cost about $11,000. Shirley Mosczynski asked if the Board had voted on this. Ken Mahony stated that he had mentioned that he would be doing it and doesn’t think it’s a big cost. Shirley Mosczynski asked where the money is coming from. Ken Mahony stated it’s coming from the money allocated to do the work on the buildings. Ron Forget stated there is no money at this time to make use of any of these buildings. He said he had thought we were going to get an outside firm to tie in with down town improvements. Ken Mahony stated that Shirley Mosczynski brought in someone that was interested in the building and he asked for floor plans. Rich Preston stated he was pleased with the section of Mr. Mahony’s letter that addressed space needs, but what he was looking for was who needs more space. His concern is he doesn’t want us sitting on our hands for another decade; it is important that we plan so we are acting and not reacting. We need to accommodate growth; not just in offices but meeting rooms. Paula Brouillette agrees with Ken Mahony and Rich Preston; plan now when we don’t have the money. She stated one item not mentioned is additional school space; need to look at spaces we have and the best way to use them. Ken Mahony suggested also looking at restructuring internally; some communities are using banks for collecting taxes. He does not see a problem doing this project if they put a 2 ½ priority on it; we are not in any hurry but do want to get it done. Rich Preston stated that was satisfactory to him as long as it remains on the burner. He asked that Mr. Mahony keep the Board informed on discussions and progress. Paula Brouillette asked Ken Mahony to also project out ten years giving an example of the Post Office; the lease will be up, will we still use the building for a Post Office, parking, etc. She stated this is a start, now they need details; what elements do they look at. Shirley Mosczynski stated she would like to see the parcel of land the buildings are on. Ron Forget stated that the Police may someday move and we don’t know what the school is going to do. He stated they should look at this building as the center of Municipal government, not other buildings. Paula Brouillette stated she feels the biggest issue is educational space. Rich Preston stated he is not concerned if it is used for school or government, just as long as we are not sitting on our hands.

8. Minutes:
• March 11, 2003:
Edward Therrien made a motion to approve the minutes of March 11, 2003 as amended. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.
• March 18, 2003: Rich Preston made a motion to approve the minutes of March 18, 2003 as amended. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.

9. Administrators Report:
• Government Accounting Standards Board - GASB 34:
Ken Mahony stated the audit is being updated.
• Mechanic Street bridge: Ken Mahony reported that the Mechanic Street bridge has been closed so Highway could pour 5 or 6 yards of concrete to fill a hole.
• Town Meeting: Ken Mahony reported that they will not have the budget ready for Town Meeting; he is requesting that the Board delay the Town Meeting. Stating if they do that – take the big ax out. He explained that they have done every thing they can and he does not know what the adverse effect will be. Paula Brouillette stated it could go either way. The problem with pushing it out; no matter what time frame is done, you end up going to the wire to get it done. She said they need to make a decision in April or May about opening the school. That decision can’t be made if they push the date out. Paula Brouillette requests bringing to a conclusion – if we need an over ride, what will it be? Ron Forget agrees with Paula Brouillette but not on what we are going to over ride on school. He feels cuts should be made on both sides – there should be no sacred cows. Shirley Mosczynski stated that is why she says we need to keep going forward with the budget; haven’t gotten the final from the School and we need that. Shirley Mosczynski would like the whole Board at the Finance Committee budget reviews. She said they all need to work at this. Ron Forget asked if it wouldn’t be wise to let the Finance Committee go through the budget like they normally do, then after they get the School Budget; the Board would go through the budget and decide to make cuts before putting an over ride to the Town people. Shirley Mosczynski stated there are a lot of things to look at before they can make a final decision. Ken Mahony stated if they divide the revenues; the Town is in balance; they gave 1 ½ million to the School already, if we take 20% cut of our money he feels we could live for a year with that. He stated that if we are asked to cut salaries here, it’s not fair to do it here and not at the School. Stating that most people are not getting a COLA any way. He stated he does not think we need an over ride for the Town. Connie Verge has 6 or 8 people who are close to retiring, things like this will take time and that is why he has asked to push out the date; to give them more time to give them choices. Ken Mahony stated that if we don’t see the States budget until May, we are helpless. Paula Brouillette stated they need to still understand where we are at that time; if we have a budget at that point, by the 15th , sit and understand what the request is from education side so we know if there will be a need for an over ride and how much. Rich Preston asked Ken Mahony if he has gone to the Department Heads and asked them to run scenarios. Ken Mahony answered yes, they have prepared for operating expense cuts up to 20%. He feels with 5% and some additional cuts – we can make it. He stated some Departments can give it – some can’t. Ken Mahony stated we need to look at Police, Fire, and Community Development. Paula Brouillette asked if we could set up a joint meeting at their April 15th meeting. Ken Mahony said to just put it on the agenda and see if some one wants to come. He said he also wants to put the articles on the agenda.

10. Old Business:
• Safety Committee:
Paula Brouillette asked about the traffic at the School. Ken Mahony stated the Police Chief is out, but the Safety Committee will have a meeting on Monday. Shirley Mosczynski stated she would like a written report.
• Federal Funding: Paula Brouillette asked if we know what the value of Federal Funding we will get from the snow storm. Edward Therrien explained that amount will be 75% of what we spent from that one storm. He is working on it.
• Web Site: Shirley Mosczynski asked if Ken Mahony has the policy for the Web Site yet. Ken Mahony answered that nothing has been done yet.
• Goals and Objectives: Shirley Mosczynski asked for a brief overview of the Goals and Objectives at their next meeting.
• Net School Spending: Shirley Mosczynski stated that in the Minutes of March 18th, Ken Mahony had asked for the Net School Spending figures from Connie Verge, do we have them? Ken Mahony stated no, he does not have revenues or Chapter 1770.

New Business:
• Local Studies Program:
Rich Preston reminded everyone that the Government week will start the second week in April. They will be bringing in local officials to speak to the students on Monday at 7:30 am. On Thursday, April 17th from 8:00 am to 10:30 am, all the departments will be at the High School.
• Granutec Trailer: Rich Preston asked if the trailer that Granutec was putting together is finished, if so he would like to put together a presentation. Ken Mahony stated it is, he is waiting to talk to the Chief. Shirley Mosczynski asked Ken Mahony to put something together once the Chief gets back.
• ZBA Request: Shirley Mosczynski stated they had received a letter from ZBA requesting direction concerning a member who is not attending meetings. Her suggestion is to have them talk to the individual and ask him to give a letter of resignation if he can not attend meetings. Ken Mahony stated they can set a policy that if an individual misses a set number of meetings they can be dismissed. Paula Brouillette stated that should be part of the Annual Appointment process this spring, they should set a policy. Suzanne Kane will contact ZBA Clerk Christine Mitchell.

11. Adjournment:
Edward Therrien made a motion to adjourn at 9:40 pm. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Suzanne Kane
Administrative Assistant
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 617
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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