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Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 12/28/2010
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
December 28th, 2010
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chair Lindberg called the meeting to order at 7:30.  Present: Mr. Cresta, Mr. Houten, Ms. Jones, Mr. Prentakis, Town Administrator Mr. Singer and Town Accountant Mr. Vanni.

Approval of Minutes - Mr. Houten made a motion and was seconded by Ms. Jones to read and initial the minutes to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 5-0-0.

Approval of Warrants - Mr. Vanni presented Warrant #19 for Payroll in the amount of $89,322 and Payables in the amount of $563,152.  Payables include $325,000 for purchase of power and $136,000 for the semi-annual assessment for North Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Town Administrator’s Report
_       Mr. Singer reported that the Town has received certification of the Town’s tax rate at $12.17 and unused tax levy of $693,000.  With hard work from the Assessor Mr. Swanson, the Accountant Mr. Vanni and staff, the two accounts were balanced so the bills could go to the vendor for printing on time.  The bills are actual bills rather than estimated bills.  This is important to the Town’s cash flow and also avoids major adjustments when the last quarter’s bills come out.
_       There is nothing unusual to report from the last storm.  Some touch up work still needs to be done.  Cost figures are not available as yet, but DPW Director, Mr. LaBossiere estimates the cost at $30,000 to $35,000.  The crews were on for 36 hours straight.
_       The Water Rights Agreement with Ferncroft that was being worked on was dropped off today.  This represents the termination of service with the water company that had been bought by the Flatley Co.  The agreement has been signed off on by Weston & Sampson and approved by Ferncroft.  It still needs to be reviewed by Mr. LaBossiere and by Town Counsel.  No problems are expected and the agreement should be ready for the Selectmen to sign at the next meeting.  Ferncroft needs to install some gate work to tie off the line that they will no longer be using but they will be saving money and will have a more reliable water supply with a direct connection to Middleton.
_       The Library Director Search Committee is about to go into the public stage of its deliberation process.  At least two applicants will be called back for final interviews.  The next meeting will be January 3rd with the full Board of Trustees at the Library.
_       Mr. Singer attended a full day meeting of the Essex County Retirement’s Board’s search committee for a new Director.  Four candidates were interviewed.  Three individuals will be called back for final interviews.  The next meeting will be at the Flint library on January 6th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM and will be videotaped and made available to the Towns in the district.  The appointment will take place in 2 to 3 weeks with the new Director to begin work as early as mid-February.  The fifth member of the Board, Andrew Maylor, has been appointed by the four elected members, including Mr. Singer.  Under the reform legislation, there is a long list of duties and responsibilities which the Board will undertake on behalf of the district
_       The Town would like to welcome back Jim MacDonald from his service overseas.  He will officially be back to work next week.  An informal welcoming coffee is planned.
_       Representative Hill, along with Senator Tarr, has invited the Board of Selectmen to a regional meeting to discuss state finances.  The meeting will be Jan 12th at 7:00 at Ipswich Town Hall.
_       The Town has received a notice from the State Lottery Commission that JC Pizza & Convenience on North Main St., has applied for a “Keno to Go” license.  The standard procedure is that if there is no objection from the local authority, the license will be granted.
Vote to renew all Alcoholic Beverage Licenses (on and off premises) for 2011 – Chairperson Lindberg explained that all renewals issued by the ABC were filled out.  She felt that there had been no problems with license holders so she asked for a motion to approve all the licenses as a slate.  Mr. Cresta asked about new rules that had gone into effect.  Ms. Lindberg replied that there was now a requirement to provide proof of liquor liability insurance.  Mr. Singer said that all license holders who needed to meet this requirement (on premise licenses only) had provided the necessary proof.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to renew all seventeen licenses.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was 5-0-0.

Approval of Cudhea Property Conservation Restriction – Ms. Vanessa Johnson, Land Conservation Specialist with Essex County Greenbelt, presented the details of the conservation restriction being granted to the Town for 58 acres of land off North Liberty St. belonging to the Cudhea family.  Mr. Peter Cudhea was also present on behalf of his mother.  Ms. Johnson explained that this land is a strategic link between open spaces in three towns.  It completes 1500 acres of contiguous open space encompassing land belonging to Essex County Greenbelt, New England Forestry, the Town of Middleton and the Boxford State Forest.  It includes streams, wetlands, and Pritchard Pond.  It is within an area designated as priority habitat by the Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program.  The restriction excludes the six acres on which the two residences are situated.  It allows sustainable forest management and, most importantly, allows public access on designated trails for non-motorized use.  She added that she and Mr. Cudhea were here tonight to seek approval and signatures from the board of Selectmen.
        Mr. Cresta asked how much of the land would have been developable.  Ms. Johnson said that though she did not have an exact answer she would guess quite a bit would have been developable since it is upland and has access roads.  Ms. Singer added that the Cudhea family has a long history of conservation and generosity.
        Ms. Jones made a motion to approve the Cudhea Property Conservation Restriction.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 5-0-0.

Review and Approval of Federal Grant Program Requirements and Timetable for Acquisition of Fire Department Tanker including reassignment of Engine 4 Tanker to the Public Works Department – Mr. Singer announced that the Town has secured Federal Grant funding of $200,000 to acquire a water tanker.  Fire Chief, Frank Twiss explained that the Fire Department had applied for a FY ’09 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.  Under the equipment portion of the grant, the department acquired a “Jaws of Life”.  They also applied for a vehicle grant to replace the aging tanker.  They explained the role the vehicle played within the Town and were awarded the grant in May.  The Town then developed a specification and went out to bid for the vehicle.  The bids will be opened on the 30th.
        As part of the grant requirement, the vehicle being replaced cannot stay in service to the Fire Department.  The tanker will be reassigned to the Public Works Department to water fields.
        Mr. Cresta asked about the pumper’s capacity.  Chief Twiss said that the vehicle can pump and draw 750 gpm and has a capacity of 2500 gallons.  Mr. Prentakis asked about the vehicle’s dimensions.  Chief Twiss said that the vehicle must be under 10’ high to fit on the first floor of the station.  It will also be half the weight and 20’ shorter than the existing tanker.  This means it will be more maneuverable that the older model.  This is definitely a piece that the Town needs in areas that have no public water supply.  Mr. Singer pointed out that when the Town acquired the existing tanker, only 50% of the Town had access to public water.  Now about 70 % of the Town has public water.  
        Mr. Singer asked about the timetable for acquiring the vehicle.  Chief Twiss said that the manufacturing window was about 240 days.  Chairperson Lindberg asked about the cost to the Town.  Mr. Singer answered that the Town would have a co-pay of $5,000 to $10,000.  This might require a FinCom transfer or the numbers might be ready in time to fit into the budget process.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to accept the Federal Grant for acquisition of a Fire Department Tanker and to reassign Engine 4 Tanker to the Public Works Department when the new tanker is available. Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 5-0-0.

        Mr. Cresta asked Chief Twiss if Middleton has been providing mutual aid to Lawrence.  The Chief answered that Middleton had only been to Lawrence 3 or 4 times since July.  Middleton is only called if a fire in Lawrence goes to a third alarm.
Review of FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Program for Middleton – Mr. Singer introduced Mr. Sam Cleaves, Senior Regional Planner for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).  In his capacity as regional planner for the North Shore, Mr. Cleaves has assisted the Town in preparing this plan which is required in response to the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.  Mr. Cleaves explained that municipalities must have approved plans in order to access certain Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant monies.  He noted that this did not affect Disaster Relief money.  He has been working with Chief Twiss, Public Works Supervisor, Bob LaBossiere, Conservation Agent Michele Grenier and Health Agent Derek Fullerton in developing this plan.
        The purpose of this plan is to make sure the Town makes good use of Federal resources. This is about natural disasters such as floods, brushfires, and storms rather than man-made disasters such as terrorism.  This is not an emergency response plan.
        The plan involves:
_       Identifying what the Town has already done such as zoning regulations, requiring retentions basins, tree trimming, street sweeping, catch basin cleaning and educating its residents, as well as what can be done in the future.
        GIS mapping of critical facilities such as public safety facilities, schools, churches, nursing homes, and cell towers, and water supplies - In Middleton, fifty four sites were identified.
        Identifying natural conditions such as flood plains, average snow fall.  This is where the local information such as what washed out in the last storm is so valuable.  As the community grows, new issues arise.  Most problems around here have to do with flooding.
        This information was used to develop a list of high and medium priority projects.  These include, among others:
High            A New Public Safety Building
Upgrading the generator at the Fuller Meadow School
Upgrading the culvert on River St.
Upgrading the communications facilities at the Police Station
Medium  Completing a digital database of wetlands
Working with Danvers to develop a fire road access road plan
Implementing the storm water management plan
        From here, the plan will go to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and to FEMA for approval.  Then it will come back to the Town for adoption.  Adopting the plan does not commit the Town to doing these projects, but it does make the Town eligible for grant programs, such as for the Public Safety Building.
        Mr. Singer asked if the Town could apply for grants for projects not on in the plan.  Mr. Cleaves said it would not preclude applying.  Everyone understands that things come up.  However, a significantly more complicated application would be needed for projects not in the plan.  Mr. Singer said that meant it was important to take the time to identify any potential problems and include them in the Plan.  Mr. Singer pointed out that what was in the Selectmen’s hands tonight, was just a summary.  The Public Works Superintendent has identified other projects.  Mr. Cleaves said that it is possible to add items but it is important to get the plan before MEMA and FEMA quickly, so as to get the Town in the queue.  Once FEMA approves the plan, the Town will be able to apply for grants.  It is hoped that the plan will be back to the Town within a few months.  No action is necessary from the Board at this time.
Appointment of Treasurer Collector Screening Committee and Other Related Business – Mr. Singer introduced Mr. Tony Rizzelli and Mr. Paul Gargano of the firm of Rizzelli, Clark and Associates.  Mr. Singer reminded the Board that the Town has received the resignation of Treasurer/Collector Kathleen McMahon.  Under statute the Town needs to have a Treasurer of Record to process payroll, sign checks, do banking and perform other financial functions.  .He asked Mr. Vanni to further explain the need to appoint an interim Treasurer.  Mr. Vanni explained that there are certain tasks such as making deposits and handling cash that the law prohibits the Town Accountant from doing.  This is so there will be checks and balances.  Therefore it is necessary for the Town to hire an interim Treasurer for these purposes.  He researched the Town’s options and recommends Mr. Gargano.  Mr. Singer said that the Town might need the additional assistance for a few months.
        Mr. Rizzelli explained that his firm usually acts as independent auditors for Towns but does occasionally do projects like this in Towns where it does not act as Auditor.  Since they usually act as auditors they are in a good position to help the Town with any issues pointed out by the Town’s own auditor.  Mr. Gargano introduced himself.  He has served as Town Accountant in Canton and has extensive experience with MUNIS, the accounting system the Town uses.
        Mr. Cresta asked how many hours Mr. Gargano would be working.  Mr. Singer said it would be one day a week plus as needed.  Ms. McMahon is coming back to help but is no longer the Treasurer of Record.  He also asked if Mr. Gargano was bonded.  Mr. Singer explained that this was a requirement for the position.
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to appoint Mr. Paul Gargano as interim Treasurer/Collector.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion.  The vote was 5-0-0.

        Mr. Singer said that the Board now needs to appoint a Treasurer/Collector Screening Committee.  He proposed appointing himself, Mr. Vanni, Former Town Accountant Robert Murphy, a representative from the Board of Selectmen and a representative from the Finance Committee.  He noted that the advertisement has been posted, and applications have been received.  He expects that the resumes will be in by mid-January but resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.  He said that he expected the entire process to take a month and a half to two months.  Ms. Jones offered to represent the Selectmen on the Screening Committee.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to appoint a Treasurer/Collector Screening Committee consisting of Mr. Singer, Mr. Vanni, Mr. Murphy, Ms. Jones and a representative from the Finance Committee.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 5-0-0.

Executive Session - Chairperson Lindberg announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session under Chapter 39, Section 23B, paragraph 3 for purposes of Collective Bargaining, and would not be returning to Regular Session.  Mr. Cresta, the Clerk called the roll. Mr. Houten voted yes.  Mr. Cresta voted yes.  Ms. Lindberg voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.
        Open Session was adjourned at 8:35.
Brian Cresta, Clerk