BOARD OF SELECTMEN
TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013
The regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen convened at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were Edward A. Maia, Dr. Richard M. Smith and Edward S. Harrison. Also present was Town Administrator Gretchen E. Neggers. Mr. Harrison made a motion to go into executive session at 6:00 p.m. to discuss pending litigation – M.G.L. 30A § 21 (3). Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED. At 7:00 p.m. Mr. Harrison made a motion to adjourn from executive session to return to open session. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED. The media was now present.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Acceptance of Meeting Minutes:
Dr. Smith made a motion to accept the meeting minutes for March 12, 2013 – open and executive sessions. Mr. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Monson Boy Scout Troop 168 – Town-wide Clean Up and Town-wide Tag Sale Discussion:
Joanie Simmons, representing Boy Scout Troop #168, approached the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Simmons noted the Town-wide Clean-up is scheduled for Saturday, April 27th, and the Boy Scout Troop is requesting use of Dave Grieve Park on that day to hand out trash bags, gloves, vests, etc. They would like permission to hang a banner at Dave Grieve Park beginning on March 28th.
The Town-wide Tag Sale is scheduled for Saturday, August 31st, which is the Saturday before Labor Day. The Boy Scouts are requesting permission to use Dave Grieve Park on that day to sell their maps. They also would like permission to hang a banner across Main Street starting on August 16th.
Ms. Simmons said she will notify the Police and Fire Departments for both events. In regard to the Town-wide Clean-up, Ms. Simmons said she will contact the Board of Health to identify the procedure for any tires and hazardous waste.
Ms. Neggers noted the Fire Department bucket truck currently isn’t working; therefore they might have to make private arrangements, or forgo the banner.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to approve the Town-wide Clean-up and Town-wide Tag Sale, as proposed, and for the placement of the banners as described, as long as there’s no conflict in scheduling. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Town Clerk Nancy Morrell – Discussion of Special Elections:
Town Clerk Nancy Morrell and Assistant Town Clerk Mary Watson approached the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Morrell explained she was here tonight to discuss the combining of elections. The up-coming schedule calls for a Special Primary on April 30th, annual Town Election on June 11th and Special State Election on June 25th.
Ms. Morrell provided the Board of Selectmen with a comparison handout detailing the expenses, based on the State Elections 2012 and the Annual Town Elections for 2012, as attached. Ms. Morrell noted if three separate elections are held, there is no need for an additional worker. If a Special Primary is combined with the Annual Town Elections, like the Town of Palmer chose to do, Monson would need to hire twelve new untrained workers as each election has to be treated as a separate election, more tables and chairs would be needed and there would be less room for the voters, she would also need to order ballots in another color so they could be separated at the end of the night and two sets of absentee ballots; therefore it would cost more to hold combined elections, with the only saving being on the
one Police Officer needed. Ms. Morrell said she feels two elections together would also be too confusing for the voters, as they would have to get back in line after voting on the first ballot, to receive a different ballot to vote in the second election.
Ms. Morrell said she has a State account that she is willing to take the money from, so she won’t have to use any funds from the regular budget. Ms. Morrell explained if the State mandates an election, they are supposed to pay for it, however the State decided now they will pay for only three hours from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to hold three separate elections. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Bylaw Committee Chairman Mary Watson – Request to Clarify Role of Committee:
Bylaw Committee Chair Mary Watson approached the Board of Selectmen and noted the goal of the Bylaw Committee is to assist Commissions and Boards in preparing bylaws for Town Meetings, however they are unsure how to move forward with the requested bylaw proposed by the Monson Rotary Club.
Mr. Maia noted the Board of Selectmen took no action on the proposed bylaw when it was presented to them, as it wasn’t in any formal format for approval.
Ms. Watson said in her research, she found the Boards of Selectmen approve the concept, and once that has been approved it goes to the Bylaw Committee to help develop the language for the Town Meeting, which would then come back to the Board of Selectmen for approval for placement on the Town Meeting warrant.
Mr. Harrison and Dr. Smith agreed they wanted to wait on the Skateboarding bylaw requested by the Rotary Club to further look it over. Ms. Neggers noted the Rotary is scheduled to come in to meet with the Selectmen at their next meeting. Dr. Smith said he would like the proposed bylaw prior to the meeting.
Mr. Harrison made a motion, general bylaws be submitted to the Board of Selectmen who will approve or disapprove conceptually whether or not they want to pass it on to the Bylaw Sub-committee. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Ms. Watson asked to be placed on the agenda for the April 9th Selectmen’s meeting for a public hearing regarding two proposed bylaws.
The first bylaw being proposed is for second hand articles pawnshop dealers and collectors. This was a bylaw that went to Town meeting last May and was defeated. The committee has worked with the dealers in town to propose a new bylaw that the Committee feels fits based on their suggestions.
The second bylaw is the renewal or granting of licenses that are affected by non-payment of local taxes and fees. This bylaw is designed to not allow licenses or permits to be granted or renewed if local taxes or fees are outstanding.
Approve E-911 Regional Dispatch Consulting Agreement:
Police Chief Stephen Kozloski approached the Board of Selectmen. Chief Kozloski reiterated what has transpired.
Chief Kozloski said an Inter-municipal agreement must be approved at a Town meeting and noted some towns are putting a place holder on the warrants for this, should it be ready by then.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to approve the professional service agreement between the Town of Monson and UMass Boston relative to the regionalization of the Police regarding the E-911 service. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
May Town Meeting
- Schedule Special Town Meeting Within Annual Town Meeting
- Open Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrants
- Approve Standard Annual Town Meeting Articles
Mr. Harrison made a motion to schedule a Special Town meeting within the already scheduled Annual Town meeting on May 13, 2013. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to open the warrant for the Special and Annual Town meetings. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Mr. Harrison read the list of standard warrant articles into the record.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to place the articles, as attached, on the Annual Town meeting warrant. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Approve Ambulance Bill Abatement Policy:
Ms. Neggers noted Fire Chief McDonald has forwarded this request as an internal policy for the department, which spells out the procedures and process to be used on the collection of fees such as how many bills are sent, how many notices, and establishes an income eligibility for bills to be written off if insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid doesn’t pay for it.
Mr. Harrison made a motion to approve the ambulance service billing and collection policy as submitted by Fire Chief Laurent McDonald. Dr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously VOTED.
Local Governance Review Committee – Update:
Ms. Neggers said after the aggressive campaign to engage the public in Monson into taking a look at our government structure which dates back, other than the municipal finance department, one hundred years or so ago, by volunteering to serve on the Local Governance Committee she felt the town wasn’t going to be able to muster enough volunteers to activate the committee.
Ms. Neggers said only two people expressed an interest in serving on the Local Governance Committee, Water/Sewer Superintendent Craig Jalbert and resident Sandra Dodson.
Ms. Neggers said she received an interesting email from Marilyn Contreas of DHCD, showing some of the state resources available.
Ms. Neggers said she gave the Board information on technical assistance provided by the Division of Local Services, which is, primarily financial management assistance, and added they will come in to look at specific issues in towns.
The Board agreed to have Ms. Neggers contact the aforementioned to see about free consultant help and look at potentially establishing some type of town charter. Ms. Neggers added she feels it’s very unfortunate the community can’t take this on themselves, but said honestly, we are struggling just to function at this point in certain areas because of our structure, and it causes difficulties.
Mr. Maia said he would really like to see if we could get some free help, and he would like to bang the drum, at Town meeting, when other town Boards meet, etc., to get the word out that volunteers are needed to serve on Boards and Committees because the needs today don’t meet what we are doing, it’s ineffective, a lot of wheels spinning.
Dr. Smith said he respects Mr. Jalbert, but his personal opinion is it’s better to have this committee comprised of non-town employees, so there won’t be any accusations of anything bias taking place.
Mr. Maia felt there shouldn’t be any members from other Boards, and no town officials, on this committee either, that it should be completely a resident driven committee.
Finance Director Deborah Mahar was in the audience and said she doesn’t think people understand what a Governance Committee is. Mr. Maia replied that could be part of the problem.
Mr. Maia said he would like to investigate the free assistance for now and table this until the first meeting after the warrants are closed and the budget is done, then develop a draft description of what a Governance Review Committee really is and get it out through the press as a press release.
Fiscal 2014 Budget Development Status:
Finance Director Deborah Mahar approached the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Neggers explained the budget development process noting Ms. Mahar sends out the forms in the beginning of December asking the departments to submit their budget requests to her by December 31st; and all departments were asked to submit level services budgets.
Ms. Neggers said the budget requests came in at $23,244,691.00 and noted our estimated revenue that we anticipate the town generating next year, though State Aid, local receipts, taxation, etc. is $22,194,823.00 with a variance of $1,049,868.00 that we don’t have to meet the requests.
Mr. Maia said his priorities are public safety and education, and didn’t feel it was necessary to keep going over priorities every week, and that his priorities are not to worry about who’s going to get laid off and who isn’t. Mr. Harrison agreed he wouldn’t argue against that statement.
The Board of Selectmen agreed they wanted to see the full-time police officer’s position restored.
Dr. Smith felt it was unfair to put additional hours in for the Town Clerical position when others are getting cut.
Mr. Maia felt with the potential for the casino in Palmer, the new Town Office/Police Facility, MDC, etc. it is essential to keep the Town Planner.
Ms. Neggers said these recommendations will be taken back to the Finance Committee.
Approve Snow and Ice Deficit Spending Authorization:
Ms. Neggers said this request is no longer needed, as Mr. Morrell said he still has $5,000 left in the budget for this.
Correspondence was read and completed.
At 8:45, Mr. Harrison made a motion to adjourn from open session. Dr. Smith seconded and it was so VOTED.
Edward S. Harrison, Clerk