Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 1/11/2011
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
January 11, 2011
7:30 PM
Call to Order – Acting Chair Cresta called the meeting to order at 7:30.  Present: Mr. Cresta, Mr. Houten, Ms. Jones, Mr. Prentakis and Town Administrator Mr. Singer.

Approval of Minutes - Mr. Houten made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Prentakis to read and initial the minutes of the December 7th meeting to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 4-0-0.

Approval of Warrants - The Board approved Payroll Warrant 28 in the amount of $155,444 and Payables Warrant in the amount of $255,308.  The payroll warrant includes monthly firemen’s snow overtime and DPW and police reserve overtime for the December 26th storm as well as regular payroll.  The payables warrant includes the demolition of 11 South Main St. and storm related expenses of $18,085 for contractors.  The total cost of the storm was approximately $30,000, including sand and salt, contracts and town employees.

Town Administrator’s Report:
_       Tomorrow night’s meeting with our Representatives to update the Town on the status of the state budget has been canceled due to the impending storm.  No new date has been set.
_       On Thursday from 12:00 to 2:00, there will be a party to honor Betty Heckman for her 32 years of service to the Town as the Animal Control Officer.
_       The Town has received a note from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as a follow up to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) preparation of the Town’s Hazardous Mitigation plan.  MEMA has reopened funding for hazardous mitigation.  Representatives of the Town will be attending a workshop on this matter.  The deadline for application for a grant is March 4th.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made available $12.5 million to MEMA for hazardous mitigation.  This money cannot be used for deferred maintenance.  It must be used to mitigate an existing problem, such as the need for a larger culvert for the stream at the end of River St. or the situation on Perkins Rd.  This is not a lot of money statewide.  If the Town does get a grant, it will have to fund 25% of the project.  This would be an issue for Annual Town Meeting if there is time or for a Special Town Meeting.
_       The annual Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) meeting is coming up.  The program books are in tonight’s packet.
_       The Council on Aging has received three donations which should be acknowledged under the Gifts Act.  Danvers Bank has given the Senior Center a large screen HD TV to replace the TV which had burnt out.  The value of the gift is $1500.  On March 3rd, the Council will be hosting a thank you luncheon to representatives of the bank have been invited.  Selectmen are also invited.  The Council is looking into acquiring a WII system for exercise to go along with the new TV.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the gift of a large screen TV from Danvers Bank. Ms. Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.
        Mr. James Vining has donated $500 for the Middleton Food Pantry and James and Joanne Vining have donated $4500 to the Council for the Outreach program.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the gift of $500 for the Food Pantry from Mr. James Vining. Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.  Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the gift of $4500 for the Council on Aging for the Outreach program from James and Joanne Vining.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.
        Mr. and Mrs. Vining will also be honored at the March 5th luncheon.
_       Mr. Houten asked about the work on the library stairs.  Mr. Singer said that the granite has arrived from South Dakota.  The contractor is doing the form work.  The weather will be a factor in getting the work completed.
_       Mr. Singer reported that an amazing amount of progress has been made on the new school.  Window installation is continuing.  Ms. Jones noted that when she toured the school on December 15th, she could just see the skeletons of the classrooms.  She visited again today and considerable progress has been made.  Tile is up on the walls.  Mr. Singer added that the interior work including drywall, painting, and masonry are all going on.  Roof top units have been installed.  The kitchen equipment will be installed soon.
        Work is progressing on the large bid package for furnishings.
        The project is 63% to 64% complete.  Mr. Cresta asked if the project is still on target based on milestones.  Mr. Singer replied that a few weeks have been added to the schedule but it is still on target for a September opening. The clean up and landscaping in front of the building will come later.  There is a little trouble with exterior glass.  One of the sub-contractors is not as timely as wanted but the architect and general contractor working with them to get the job done.
_       Mr. Cresta referred back to the warrant and asked about the snow budget.  Mr. Singer said that the Town is still in good shape budget wise.  The Town plans on 50 inches in a season and does not underfund.  The Town has about $240,000 appropriated.  Middleton will not have a problem unless we have a storm like this every two weeks.  Last year just the Town was just a little over but was able to take money from elsewhere in the DPW budget..  Cost comes when we have to call in contractors for storms over 4-5 inches.  Mr. Cresta noted that he felt that during the last storm the Town was well served by the DPW and by its contractors.

Application to transfer Victualer’s license at J. C. Grill Pizza/Convenience Store at 223 North Main St. to Antenor Francisco – The new owner is not planning any changes to hours of operations.  Mr. Houten asked the new owners if they would be working there themselves.  They said that they would.  He asked if they had previous experience working at a Dunkin Donuts.  They said that they currently worked at this location.
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to transfer the Victualer’s license at J. C. Grill Pizza/Convenience Store at 223 North Main St. to Antenor Francisco.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.

Proposal by Middleton Boy Scouts Troop 19 to re-affirm property use rights at Recreation Park (so-called) in conjunction with the formation of a new non-profit organization to be named “Middleton Scouting for Boys”
        Jeff Hoffman, Joe Lackie and Ted Butler represented the Middleton Boy Scouts.  Mr. Singer explained that there was a need to clarify the status of the Boy Scout cabin.  In 1946, the Scouts received Town Meeting approval to build the cabin.  Mr. Singer read the article from the 1946 town meeting.  At a subsequent Town Meeting, there was action concerning allowing the cabin to be connected to town water, but there has been no Town Meeting action on this property since 1954.  The Scouts have plans to move forward and wish to re affirm their right to be on property as they make investments in the building and seek to raise money for that purpose.  The original article is pretty vague.  The new school project means that school facilities including the baseball field, basketball courts, the parking lot and the playground will be moving closer to that cabin.  There is a need to establish a defined site plan for the area on which the cabin is sited.
        Mr. Butler explained that the issue came up because the Scouts started to do necessary repairs to the building.  They realized that maintaining the building properly was going to cost more than anticipated and that the Scouts would need to fundraise to do it.  In order to fundraise, they need a clear definition of ownership.  Mr. Lackie did research and found that though the Scouts had approval to build the cabin, nothing established their right to ownership of the property. They need the approval of the Town for some long term ownership arrangement.
        The compelling reason is that they wish to approach organizations for donations and these organizations will expect a clear definition of the parcel.  The building sits on town property, so a legal arrangement to lease property for a set length of time is needed.  Ms. Jones asked if everyone was certain that here had been no lease or purchase agreement prior to 1946.  Mr. Butler said that there was nothing in writing that anyone could find.  Mr. Singer concurred.  Many thought that the area was restricted as a park.  Research found that this was not the case.  There are no encumbrances, so Town Meeting can decide how the land will be used.
        Mr. Singer has asked the school architect, Mr. DiNisco to create a rectangular cut out for the Scouts.  There is a floodplain and wetlands nearby.  He will get multiple variations of the proposed plot plans and distribute them for feedback.  He noted that this is an opportunity to finish out our projects at the same time and make the whole area shine.  Mr. Hoffman pointed out that prior to the school project, no one knew the building was there. Now it will be more visible and this provides an opportunity to make it more attractive.
        The purpose of this presentation is to ask Board to put the reaffirmation of this use on the Annual Town Meeting warrant. The Town would then issue a license.  The Town may lease public lands for more than 10 years with Town Meeting approval.  This lease might be revocable for a greater need but Mr. Singer can’t imagine what that need might be.  This is no different than the right of way granted by the Town of Danvers.
        Mr. Houten suggested that the Scouts might want to also get an easement so that the property is not landlocked.  They might also need an easement for the water line since it goes under town land.  Mr. Butler would like the property line to abut the parking lot. Mr. Singer pointed out that all uses have to be compatible.  He thinks that this area, which includes a pond, is a perfect learning area for the school.  Mr. Hoffman said that the Scouts would like clean out brush to make it more useable and to bring back the skating pond.  Any actions would require Conservation Commission approval.
        Mr. Cresta asked the Scout leaders to talk a little about the proposed non-profit.  Mr. Butler replied that they have just started pursuing this process.  They will need to seek state and federal status.  The Boxford Scouts have done this and have provided a step by step plan. Mr. Prentakis asked if donations could be made to Troop 19.  Mr. Hoffman said that small donations could be made to the troop but to solicit larger funding from organizations, non-profit status is wanted. This is to support scout activities at all levels.  Mr. Cresta said that he has seen the list of proposed work and it is ambitions and expensive.  He appreciates their efforts.
        Mr. Cresta asked if the Town’s agreement would be with the non-profit or with Troop 19.  Mr. Singer felt it would be with the troop since all permits up to now have been obtained by them.  Town council will advise.  
        Mr. Cresta asked when the warrant will be finalized.  Mr. Singer answered that if he Board votes tonight, this would be an automatic insertion, with the language to be worked out later.  Mr. Prentakis asked when the actual language and plot plan would have to be ready.  Mr. Singer replied that it should be ready by the 2nd week in March.  The plan will have to be reviewed by the Planning Board and other regulatory boards.  He suggested that the Scout leaders make an appointment with the Building Inspector.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to place said article, when formed, on the Annual Town Meeting warrant.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.

Request by Middleton Stream Team to use athletic field behind Memorial Hall for May 1, 2011 Earth Day festival
        Mr. Singer explained that the Board has received a letter from the Middleton Stream Team requesting the use of the field behind Town Hall for their annual Earth Day Festival.
        Ms. Jones made a motion to grant permission to the Middleton Stream Team to use the field behind Town Hall for the annual Earth Day Festival.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 4-0-0.

Review and Discussion of Massachusetts “Green Communities” Program and possible formation of a Committee (through Town Meeting) to pursue State designation
        Mr. Singer explained that there are many efforts going on state wide if the Town wishes to pursue them.  There will be more information at the upcoming MMA conference.  These efforts could work hand and hand with conservation programs that the light department is involved in. He pointed out an interesting article in Commonwealth Magazine that discusses the green agenda and looks at what the State’s plan is.
        Being a certified “green community” requires the Town to meet five criteria.  They include:
                Purchasing energy efficient vehicles,
                Establishing a benchmark to reduce baseline energy costs by 20% in five years,
                And certain right of siting designations.
        Middleton doesn’t currently have any specific zoning for wind turbines.  MIT is looking at a test tower. A resident could also come in with a proposal.
        Having this designation would open up certain grant programs to the Town.  Mr. Cresta said that it makes sense to have the conversation but he would like to know what is out there for those who are designated.  At a future meeting, the Building Inspector will be speaking to the Board about the Stretch Code. Energy star program
        There is also an option for MELD to assess a charge to put into a fund for energy improvements for the whole town.
        Ms. Jones said that she is thrilled to see this effort being proposed.  She is particularly interested in street lights and would like to see 20% reduction in lights..  She also feels that there are opportunities for wind turbines in town.
        Mr. Singer pointed out that the new school is twice the size of the old school and has air conditioning which the old school did not have.  However, due to the energy efficiencies, the energy costs are expected to be only slightly more than the cost for the old building.

Other Business
        Mr. Prentakis noted that the Board had changed the hours in Memorial Hall with the idea of assessing the new hours after a period of time.  He would like to have some feedback on how this is working for the next meeting.  Mr. Singer asked for input from the general public.
        Mr. Prentakis also asked that the charter review be on the next meeting’s agenda.
Adjournment - Mr. Houten made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:50.
Brian Cresta, Clerk
Middleton Board of Selectmen