BOS - June 7, 2005

Moderator: Suzanne Kane

BOS - June 7, 2005

Postby Suzanne Kane » Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:43 pm

Board of Selectmen
June 7, 2005

6:00 pm
• Water / Sewer Site Walk

6:30 pm
• Informational Workshop

7:00 pm
1. Call to Order

2. Chairman’s Announcements

3. Citizen’s Forum

4. Regional meeting in Oxford – “More Local Aid Needed”

5. Old Elementary School – Future Use

7:30 pm
6. Marci Benoit – Budget Issues

7. Chamberlain Lots

8. Town Use: Douglas Police Department

9. 2005 Annual Appointment Review

10. Minutes: April 19, 2005

11. Administrators Report

12. Old / New Business

13. Executive Session: Litigation and Contract Negotiations

14. Adjournment

Future Agenda Items:
June 21st
7:15 pm: Mass Electric – Mike Peterson
7:30 pm: Pole Petition
2005 Annual Appointments
Consider release of certain Executive Session Minutes
Board of Selectmen
June 7, 2005
Approved May 16, 2006

• Water / Sewer Site Walk:

The Board of Selectmen did a site walk of the Water / Sewer Treatment Plant renovations at 6:00 pm.

• Informational Workshop:
Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 6:54 pm. In attendance: David Furno, Paula Brouillette, Rich Preston, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Michael Guzinski went over the following items:
• Municipal Agreement with Uxbridge
• Ladder Truck – going out to bid
• Rt. 16 project – Mass Highway
• Property / Casualty / Workers Comp. Insurance bids
• NERS training at Fire Station
• Town Website
• Old Elementary School

The Selectmen moved their meeting to the Resource room.

1. Call to Order:
Madame Chairman Shirley Mosczynski called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm. In attendance: David Furno, Paula Brouillette, Rich Preston, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.

Other Staff and Citizens: Town Engineer William Cundiff, School Committee Chair Shirley Downs, Former School Committee member Ann Brunson, Susan Leuci, and Marci Benoit, Town Clerk Christine Furno, Town Account Rich Mathieu, Marie Bean, Katherine Elles and other citizens.

2. Chairman’s Announcements:
• Elections: Shirley Mosczynski
thanked everyone who took part in the Annual Elections and Annual Town Meeting.

3. Citizen’s Forum:

No citizens came forward.

4. Regional meeting in Oxford – “More Local Aid Needed”:
In the agenda is a letter to the Town Administrator, from the Town Of Oxford, dated May 27, 2005, re: Local Aid Symposium; and a story from the Telegram & Gazette, dated May 25, 2005, entitled, “Regional meeting is set on need for more local aid”. • Michael Guzinski read the letter from the Town of Oxford. Shirley Mosczynski asked if there was any more information as to where the legislation is with their final budget figure. Michael Guzinski stated the legislation figures for Douglas have not changed. He believes this meeting is more for FY07 State Aid. Shirley Mosczynski asked that a copy of the letter be given to the School Committee and the Finance Committee. Shirley Mosczynski, Paula Brouillette, Rich Preston, and Dave Furno plan to attend.

5. Old Elementary School – Future Use:
In the agenda is a memo to the Board of Selectmen, from Suzanne Kane, dated June 3, 2005, re: Item 5 – Old Elementary School. • This item has been postponed until June 31st.

6. Marci Benoit – Budget Issues:
In the agenda is a memo to the Board of Selectmen, from Suzanne Kane, dated June 3, 2005, re: Item 6 – Marci Benoit – Budget Issues. • Marci Benoit of 30 Towle Court, Marie Bean of 133 Chestnut Street, and Katherine Elles of 61 Pond Street came before the Board. Marci Benoit stated she came to the Board in behalf of the children. She is petitioning in accordance with the referendum procedure for a Proposition 2 ½ override as outlined in the Ballot Question Guidelines from the Department of Revenue, page 3, She read an article in the paper about the growth of Douglas which stated that Douglas is projected to grow 42.3% by 2020. The reason for the petition is due to what she feels is ‘backward steps’ the Town is taking. She would like to see unification between the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee. They are asking $750,000 for a Proposition 2 ½ Override. She would like a commitment from the Board to take a vote and place the voting procedure on the agenda for their next meeting. She does not want to pay more taxes – but Douglas is growing at a fast pace. Marie Bean stated they received information about cuts at the School. With the override they are hoping to bring back some of the teachers and programs and keep class sizes down. She stated that she doesn’t want to pay more taxes. She stated that she and School Administrator Connie Verge have been looking into tax relief for senior citizens. The letter they received stated that there were 47 “pink slip” given out. The letter went on to state that there would be $482,082.00 of expense cuts if an over ride was not done. Rich Preston stated he would like to review the material and follow through what ever legal avenues are available to them. Educating the public is very important. He suggested Marcie Benoit communicate to the other voters who are not convinced of the values of this. He had a question about Marie Bean’s letter which had staffing cut numbers; is this letter from the Superintendent of Schools? Katherine Elles stated the letter is from Connie Verge to resident Steve Pucci and she has copies for the Board (letter handed out; to Steve Pucci, from Connie Verge, dated June 6, 2005). Rich Preston questioned if it was a letter to one individual who had questions for the Superintendent? Katherine Elles confirmed that Steve Pucci asked Connie Verge what was going to be cut. Rich Preston asked School Committee Chair Shirley Downs if that was correct. Katherine Elles handed a copy of the letter to Shirley Downs. Shirley Downs stated this was the first she has seen the letter. Rich Preston stated he is not trying to put her on the spot – he would just like the validity of the number. Former School Committee member Ann Brunson stated she was copied on several letters that came out of the school – they did not give any numbers. What the school did was take teachers who did not have professional status to determine who they could keep and who they could not keep. Rich Preston asked if they are not necessarily looking at 47 teachers then. Ann Brunson again stated the letter she had did not have numbers. Shirley Downs stated they were not given a number – she had heard it was 52. There were not only non professional status, but also professional status – there were senior teachers that were given pink slips and programs were cut. Rich Preston asked if she thought there was a high probably that there would be cuts in those numbers. Shirley Downs stated she does not know – the Committee received the information Friday afternoon. They have not had a discussion with Connie Verge or as a Committee on the information. Paula Brouillette stated she is not sure how many of the people at this meeting were at the joint meeting with the School Committee and Finance Committee a month ago. At that meeting she asked one question of Connie Verge about half a dozen times and she never received an answer to that question. She would still like an answer to that question. She would like to work in the community to meet all needs. She agrees that looking out for the children is very important – sitting on the Board of Selectmen, they are trying to look out for all the residents of Douglas, including the children. Being an analyst, she is concerned that these numbers do not add up and she would like someone to explain them to her. She had asked at the joint meeting for the numbers to be explained and they still have not explained why there would be 47 pink slips. In one sense, this is not their realm looking at the School budget. The School Committee does a great job in managing that. She believes at this point that they can reach a common ground, but until they get numbers they agree on it is going to be difficult. This is not just a Douglas problem, it’s a Massachusetts problem. The funding from the State side has not been at the level it’s been historically. As a Board they can not have their first choice be to look at just the residents of Douglas and have that be their solution, they need to look at all options. They can’t just say an override of $750,000 will be the answer. The last gap between the proposed budgets was $1.5 million if she is presented a budget that changes by 50% in a month’s time she is concerned because she doesn’t understand the process. They all want to solve this problem. She would like to see them start working on getting some agreement on numbers so they can start working on the real problem and how to fix it. Katherine Elles agreed with Paula Brouillette that there are a lot of unanswered questions – but she still thinks they should not lose sight of what the real expenses are, what has been put in front of them right now, total expenses of $12.3 million. She tried to explain the School budget stating what they have done is subtracted the choice, and grants – other means of income coming into the system. She feels that’s a question mark because it’s very possible they may exceed the $1.3 million or they may not make the $1.3 million. That brings them down to the $11,086,000 that was presented to the Town. She added up all the expenses that Connie Verge gave which adds up to $482,000 with the explanation from Connie Verge as to what she plans to subtract. That comes to $10.6 million; less funds from Town brings them to $9.6 million. They put a petition for $750,000 – if they look at the numbers presented to them it should be more like $975,000. She agrees there are a lot of questions. She is an accountant and she understands how to do budgets. She feels everything should be explained in detail. She has been working with Connie Verge trying to get to the point of understanding all the question. They are trying to put this together and work with all the departments. Paula Brouillette stated, on the expense side; that very rarely has the Board of Selectmen looked at the expenses on the School side. The piece on the Town side they need to work on is the revenues. Speaking of the $1.3 million Katherine Elles mentioned and if it would happen or not – one of the questions the Board has had on the Municipal side are repeatable revenues. One of the issues has been that part of that $1.3 million may not be repeatable revenues – they have to be careful about building a budget on revenues that aren’t going to be there. She believes the expenses should be looked at on the School side. Having said that she still has a concern that the Towns support of education is $300,000 more than last year and does not understand why that necessitates a cut in existing staff. She knows there are contract increases and some other increases – but laying off 47 people is $1.5 million and it makes no sense to her. Ann Brunson stated she does not think the $300,000 will cover the actual contractual 3% increase – the bulk of the budget is wages and salaries. Paula Brouillette stated that Connie Verge told them at the joint meeting a month ago that the 3% contractual increases was $275,000. There were also additional steps. She feels that’s about right. She stated it would be great to all sit down and look at the same documents and agree or disagree and come to a consensus of what the facts are. Katherine Elles stated she looked at the figures line by line and put together a plan similar to the one the Blackstone Valley Vocational School put together that can help everyone who will be making the decisions understand what the numbers look like. She said they are here as parents tonight to try not to lose sight of the kids. She stated that Finance Committee Chair Pamela Holmes had said they should be looking at the FY07 budget in July. In July of this year she would be happy to come in and try to go over the Schools budget for FY07. Rich Preston stated he understands everyone’s frustration – he had asked the Superintendent at the joint meeting for a definitive number that included all contractual increases for all staff and faculty plus all additional operational increases, without increasing faculty and staff so he could feel comfortable helping develop a budget to at least cover the status quo. He was never given those numbers. His concern was at least covering the status quo so they were not talking about pink slips and here they are post budget and he still does not have those numbers. If they are going to ask for more money they should have confidence in the numbers and they don’t. Shirley Mosczynski stated that in order to convince the people of the need, there needs to be accountability. The accountability is not out there. Last year the School Committee agreed to cut approximately $110,000 from the budget and they were not sure how they were going to do it – it was going to be tight. Yet the following July 1st the Board was presented with a bill for $50,000 that they did not know about. And they are paying another $50,000 for that contract. The School said they were going to be short on money but yet they can spend $50,000 and then another $50,000. She stated she saw a report on books – approximately $180,000 but she’s not sure of the exact number an amount was put into the budget for books but only $20,000 or $30,000 was spent on books – where did the rest of the money go. This is what she means about accountability. These are questions that people ask them just as the School has parents asking why they can’t have things for their kids. Shirley Downs is the Chairman of the School Committee and they have not seen this letter. The Board would like to hear from the rest of the School Committee to see what their plans are. They are the ones that have to manage the School budget. The Board is willing to sit with them at any time to work together. That’s what they tried three weeks ago and they still did not come up with a solution. They still need to know where the money is coming from and where it is going. Marci Benoit stated she agrees and as a parent she will take responsibility of meet with the School Committee. She stated that the way the information came out should not be blamed on the Superintendent – a parent asked the question and she answered it. She agrees that accountability has to be held. The $50,000 was a mistake but it needs to be put behind them. She asked about the land that was taken and who is responsible for that. Shirley Mosczynski stated that was eminent domain and it was a lesson well learned that they do not, if at all possible, go with eminent domain again. They have to go forward, and Marci Benoit needs to go back to the School Committee. The School Committee is responsible for the budget and needs to make decisions with the information they have. The Board will take this under advisement. Marci Benoit read from page 3 of the Ballot Question Guidelines about placing referendum questions before voters which read that a Proposition 2 ½ question can be placed on a ballot by vote of the local appropriating body, not by Town Meeting. She stated that by them “petitioning it is defined by them the Board”. Michael Guzinski stated that it is true that the Board is solely responsible for calling for an override ballot election. They can not be forced to do so by a petition process; it can only be done at the discretion of the Board. A petition can be used as a guide or recommendation to be taken by the Board but it is not legally binding. It would take a majority vote of the Board and it would require a Town Meeting Vote and Ballot Vote. Rich Preston asked what vote would be needed to hold a Special Town Meeting and Special Town Election. Michael Guzinski stated that for a Debt Exclusion it would be a 2/3rd vote but for an operational override, which is permanent a simple majority is needed. Shirley Mosczynski again stated they would take it under advisement but they need to hear from the School Committee after they go through the paperwork from Connie Verge that was handed out. Paula Brouillette stated she believes that they should start looking at the FY07 budget process as soon as possible. She would like a commitment from the Board that they will work on that. She would like the Finance Committee and the School Committee also to work on the FY07 budget. The one issue they have had is that they have not been able to meet during the summer. She would like some sort of change so they can meet with the School Committee during the summer and nail some of these issues down and come into the budgeting season with a clearer picture of how they can support the budget. Marci Benoit stated they will work with the Board of Selectmen to accomplish that. Shirley Mosczynski directed her to work with the School Committee, stating the Board of Selectmen will work with the School Committee and the Finance Committee. Marci Benoit again read from the DOR document about placing a Proposition 2 ½ question on the Election Ballot. It states they can only be placed on the Ballot by the Board of Selectmen NOT Town Meeting. Michael Guzinski explained that it technically true. They don’t need a Town Meeting to put it on the ballot. A Proposition 2 ½ does not appropriate the funds – it only lets you assess the taxes beyond the Proposition 2 ½ limit. Once they have that ability they have to go to Town Meeting which is the only body in Town that can appropriate funds to a certain purpose.

7. Chamberlain Lot:
In the agenda is a Standard Form Purchase and Sale Agreement between the Town of Douglas and Thomas J. Tomkiewicz, d/b/a T.J. Mitchell Builders. Taken out of order due to time. William Cundiff explained the Purchase and Sales was for the 3 lots for Thomas Tomkiewicz. Providing they are signed tonight the closing will be July 7, 2005. Guerriere & Halnon, Inc. just surveyed the Beagle Club area – they should be getting that information in within the next couple of weeks. He will take that and use it to prepare a bid document – should be good to go in a month to two months. Rich Preston stated William Cundiff was going to present different sceneries. Was the road going to affect one of those scenarios? Were they going to revisit it eventually with the last scenario he presented? William Cundiff stated it was his understanding that he was going to hire a survey company to survey the area and put a design together putting the access road to the Beagle Club between two lots then re-bid lot three free of any encumbrances. Shirley Mosczynski confirmed that the Beagle Club access would be within the road access to the back property. William Cundiff concurred – if there is a future access road. Their frontage for the backland is 70 feet – it would lie within the 70 feet. Shirley Mosczynski stated that if all goes well they should recoup more than what they paid. She had a question on the rider, under item 36 it states “Douglas Town House”. Not sure if it makes a difference. Town Counsel prepared the document. Paula Brouillette made a motion to approve the Purchase and Sales Agreement between the Town of Douglas and Thomas J. Tomkiewicz, d/b/a T.J. Mitchell Builders as presented. David Furno seconded the motion. All – aye.

8. Town Use: Douglas Police Department:
In the agenda is an Application for Use of Town Property for the Douglas Police Department to use the Municipal Center Parking Lot, June 18, 2005 for a Bicycle Safety Program. • Shirley Mosczynski read the application with conditions/restrictions from Police Chief Foley and Fire Chief Gonynor. Rich Preston made a motion to approve the application as presented. Paula Brouillette seconded the motion. All – aye.

9. 2005 Annual Appointment Review:
In the agenda is a memo to the Board of Selectmen, from Suzanne Kane, dated June 3, 2005, re: Item – 9 Annual Appointments; a copy of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Local Cultural Council Regulations, section 2.04 Establishment of a local and regional cultural council; the 2005 Annual Appointments, and LEPC Members. • Suzanne Kane stated that this item is for the Boards review. Cultural Council membership has a maximum of 6 years. The Council must have 5 members. This is the last year for three members. They can take one year off and then return. All Boards / Committees with openings are posted on Cable. She explained the process…she sends letters out to each member who’s term is up as well as to the Chairperson of each Board / Committee. After some time, she calls those who have not responded and another letter to the Board / Committee Chair. Everyone is given ample opportunity to respond. The appointments will be on the Selectmen’s June 21st Agenda.

10. Minutes: April 19, 2005:
8:35 pm: The power went out. The meeting was continued just for item 11 and item13 - Executive Session by flashlight. The minutes will be moved to the next agenda.

11. Administrators Report:
Post Office / Senior Center Roof: • Michael Guzinski
asked permission to go out to bid for the Post Office / Senior Center Re-roofing. Rich Preston made a motion to authorize Michael Guzinski to follow procurement practices to secure bids for the Post Office / Senior Center Roof project. David Furno seconded the motion. All – aye.

12. Old / New Business:
Not done due to power outage.

13. Executive Session: Litigation and Contract Negotiations:
Rich Preston made a motion to go into Executive Session at 8:37 pm and to return to Regular Session for the purpose of adjourning. David Furno seconded the motion. Paula Brouillette – aye, Rich Preston – aye, Shirley Mosczynski – aye, and David Furno – aye.

David Furno made a motion to adjourn from Executive Session and return to Regular Session for the purpose of adjournment at 9:06 pm. Rich Preston seconded the motion. Paula Brouillette – aye, Rich Preston – aye, Shirley Mosczynski – aye, and David Furno – aye.

14. Adjournment:
David Furno made a motion to adjourn at 9:07 pm. Rich Preston 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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