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Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 12/27/2011
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
December 27th, 2011
7:30 PM
Call to Order – Chairperson Houten called the meeting to order at 7:40.  Present: Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Prentakis, and Town Administrator Mr. Singer,
Approval of MinutesMr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Cresta to read and initial the minutes to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 5-0-0.
Approval of Warrants - The Board approved a Payroll Warrant in the amount of $96,467. They also approved a Payables Warrant in the amount of $331,426, approximately ½ of which is the assessment for the North Shore Vocational Technical High School.  The third warrant was a school construction warrant in the amount of $400,636.  Mr. Singer added that although the school construction project is winding down, there will still be bill for at least six months.
Town Administrator’s Report
       The State Department of Transportation reports that the bridge deck work on North Main St. is complete.  It cost $150,000 to rebuild the entire concrete deck.  The rails and approaches are also new.
       The Town is looking forward to the State repaving most of Route 114.  This will be a $2 million project.  It has been 22 years since it was re paved and it shows.
       A contract has been awarded to Cross Construction to rebuild the wall in front of the cemetery adjacent to Town Hall.  This project was funded at last May’s Town Meeting and is proceeding quite well
       A contract has been awarded to Meadows Construction of Topsfield for repairs to the Library roof.  The project involves replacing slates and repairing damage from ice dams last winter.  A claim has been submitted to MIIA, the Town’s insurer, and the costs will be covered after the deductible is met.  The roof was warrantied for two years and the damage occurred in the third year.  There was a huge ice dam on the east side of the roof.  It crushed the gutters and the downspouts and also caused a leak in the Director’s office.  Mr. Cresta asked what precautions were being taken to prevent future ice dams.  Mr. Singer said that the ice guards on the roof are being removed, because they contributed to the ice build-up.  They were installed to protect pedestrians from snow falling from the roof.  However no one walks around the building in the snow and the overhang is sufficient to protect pedestrians.  The architect feels they are not necessary.
       The Governor has signed the 2011 Pension Reform Act.  This Act will cut future costs and ensure the viability of the system.  There are a number of changes to the retirement ages.  Full retirement for the majority of public sector workers will be raised to 67 from 65.  Group 2 workers will have a minimum retirement age of between 50 and 62.  Group 4 (Police and Fire) will have a minimum retirement age of 50 (up from 45) with full retirement at 57.  Pensions will be calculated based on five year averaging rather than three.  The changes, with the exception of the prohibition on “double-dipping” will only apply to new hires.
       The Town has conducted a GASBE 45 health care audit.  Health care costs need to be funded more accurately so that they do not affect the Town’s bond rating.
7:45 Public Hearing for a Joint Petition from MELD and Verizon to Relocate Two Poles, (P#56/1 and P#56/2) on Oak Avenue- Mr. Joseph Gleason, Attorney and Verizon Right of Way Agent, explained that Verizon wished to relocate pole 56/2 in a westerly direction to the corner of Oak and Stevens and to relocate pole 56/1  52” westerly to accommodate a new house at 14 Oak Ave.  Mr. Houten asked if the relocation would also include pole removal.  Mr. Gleason said that it would.  He said that the new pole must be in place before the old pole is removed but that there would be no double poles.  Ms. Jones noted that pole 56/1 has a street light.  She suggested that the light be moved to pole 56/2 which will be on the corner.  Mr. Gleason said that the Middleton Electric Light Department (MELD) would have to make that decision.  He explained that although the poles are owned jointly, what is on the pole is owned by the individual utility.
        Mr. Prentakis asked if 56/2 were being moved because of 56/1.   Mr. Gleason said it was.  56/1 had to be moved because of the new construction.  It will make turning out of the driveway easier.
        Ms. Lindberg asked if the poles were in the right-of-way or on private property.  Mr. Gleason said that he understands that there is a problem with the layout for Stevens Rd. and that the driving surface encroaches on #14.  The plan is to get the poles within the right-of-way.  Ms. Lindberg added that all the utilities have to move before a pole is taken down.  The electric service moves first and Verizon moves last.  There might be other utilities on the pole such as fire.  She is concerned that this might not happen in a timely fashion.
        Mr. Gleason had planned on coming tonight with an inventory of the double poles in Middleton but was not able to access the database.  He will get the report to the Town Administrator tomorrow.  He added that Verizon cannot control what the other utilities do.  He can provide the Town with the report and do his best to get Verizon crews out and to pressure any utility that is not moving ahead.  Mr. Cresta asked that, if there are a large number of double poles, the Board should ask the utilities to come to a Selectmen’s meeting.  Mr. Singer said that he has already asked Comcast to come in.  He added that the Middleton Fire Department’s alarm system would also be a factor.  Mr. Gleason warned that although the report is pretty accurate, the inventory is constantly changing.  Mr. Cresta asked about MELD’s double pole inventory.  Mr. Gleason said that Verizon’s report shows all double poles regardless of ownership.  Mr. Prentakis asked if Verizon was getting rent from the utilities using its poles.  Mr. Gleason said it was which is why it is unlikely that Verizon would kick anyone off the pole.  He added that the leverage lies with the Board of Selectmen.
        The floor was opened to questions from the audience.  A neighborhood resident said that he would like assurance that the poles are not being moved to other people’s properties.  Ms. Lindberg, who is on the Planning Board, said that that Board had made some changes to the right-of-way.  She said that nothing in that areas is where it is supposed to be, but every effort is being made to assure that the poles are in the right-of way.  She asked if the poles are moving in relation to the pavement.  Mr. Gleason said they will be parallel to where they are.  There are stakes in the filed if anyone wants to look.
        Mr. Cresta asked Mr. Gleason if Verizon had consulted with the Middleton DPW Superintendent.  Mr. Gleason said he was not sure.  Mr. Singer added that there had been problems when water lines were installed in this area in the 1980’s.
        Mr. Erik Cudmore spoke on behalf of Mr. Scott Odett who is building the new house at 14 Oak Ave.  He said he had been asked to tell the Selectmen that the current and proposed locations of the poles were on Mr. Odett’s property.  He said that Mr. Odett has a survey indicating this.  Mr. Singer said that he would have to present the survey.
        Mr. Gleason said that Verizon is asking for a location within the right-of-way.  If it turns out that the location is on private property, then Verizon will negotiate with the property owner.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to grant the joint request from MELD and Verizon to Relocate Two Poles, (P#56/1 and P#56/2) on Oak Avenue.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion.  Ms. Jones suggested amending the motion to add a recommendation to MELD to relocate the street light to the pole on the corner of Oak and Stevens.  Mr. Houten said that he would make the request of MELD.  All were in favor of the motion.
8:00 Request for Change of Manager on the Liquor License held by Middleton Motel Corp/d/b/a Candlelight Motel for Joe’s Place Restaurant at 319 North Main Street from Joe Verengia to Don Brown – Lori-Ann Deacon-Bunker spoke on behalf of the corporation.  She explained that Mr. Verengia was no longer able to effectively run the restaurant because of family problems.  Ms. Lindberg pointed out that the Change of Manager paperwork was not properly filled out.  Mr. Cresta asked who the current manager is.  Ms. Bunker said that it was Mr. Verengia.  Mr. Houten asked Mr. Brown if he had any experience in the restaurant business.  He said he had been helping out Mr. Verengia.  Ms. Lindberg asked Mr. Brown if he is employed by Middleton Motel.  Mr. Brown said that he was not.  Ms. Lindberg said that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) requires that the bar manager be an employee. Mr. Brown replied that when the bar becomes profitable he would take a share.  Ms. Lindberg pointed out that that means that he would have a beneficial interest.  The bar manager must disclose any beneficial interest in the business and he has answered no on the application.  Many other items are left blank.  She added that without a bar manager they will not be able to serve alcohol after midnight on December 31st and they will have to go through the time consuming process of applying for a new license before they can serve again.
        Ms. Singer said that the Town should not send the renewal application to ABCC because by their own admission the listed manager is not on site.  Ms. Bunker said that Mr. Verengia was still available.  Mr. Houten suggested that they take the change of manager application back and do it right.  Mr. Cresta added that the Town will make sure that they do not stay open without a manager.  The police will check that he is there.  Mr. Cresta asked if the renewal could go in with Mr. Verengia as manager and a new public hearing be held in January.  Ms. Lindberg expressed her skepticism that the manager would be there.  Ms. Bunker asked if the Board would like a statement from Mr. Verengia stating that he would be there.  Mr. Cresta said that by signing the renewal, he had made the statement that he would be there.  Mr. Houten added that if a policeman walks in and asks for Mr. Verengia, and someone says he is out of town, the corporation will be in a lot of trouble.  Mr. Houten suggested to Ms. Bunker that she get help from someone who knows how to do this.  Mr. Singer added that most people who do this use an attorney.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to renew the license with Mr. Verengia as the listed manager.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and the vote was 4-1-0 with Ms. Lindberg voting in the negative.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to allow the applicant to withdraw the change of manager application without prejudice.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Accept Resignation from Middleton School Building Committee – Mr. John Smith has submitted his resignation from the Middleton School Building Committee.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to accept Mr. Smith’s resignation.   Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Mr. Singer suggested that the Board not seek another member.  This will make the Committee smaller and reduce the number necessary for a quorum.
Appointment to Fill Vacancy on Conservation Commission through June 2012
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to appoint Mr. Tom Skinner as a regular member of the Middleton Conservation Commission with a term ending June 30th, 2012.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Mr. Prentakis asked that the Commission designate a new appointee to the Community Preservation Committee since Ms. Delmarsh, who has resigned from the Commission was the designee.
Acceptance of Donations to Middleton Food Bank
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to accept a Donation of $500 to the Middleton Food Bank from E.A. Stevens in Memory of Mike Clifford.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to accept a Donation of $500 to the Middleton Food Bank from Family Medicine Associates LLC.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Recommendation from Police Captain Assessment Center Members
        Chief DiGianvittorio expressed his hope that the Board would take a positive action on this recommendation.  He feels that the Police Department needs a second in command.  He pointed out that Middleton is currently one of only two Towns in this region that do not have a second in command and added that this position was created by an act of last May’s Town Meeting.
        On October 12th, four area chiefs with 100 years of experience between them spent a ten hour day evaluating the candidates.  One candidate rose to the top and he asked the Selectmen to accept the recommendation of the assessment center panel.
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion accept the recommendation of the assessment center panel..  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The motion failed on a 2 to 3 vote with Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg and Mr. Cresta voting in the negative.
Accept Resignations from Middleton School Committee and Masconomet Regional School Committee from Deirdre Donarumo and Schedule Joint Appointment Meeting with Both School Committees
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to accept the resignation Deidre Donarumo from the Middleton School Committee and the Masconomet Regional School Committee.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Mr. Singer explained that this action allows the positions to be formally advertised.  There is already interest.  The appointment has to be scheduled at a time that works for the School Committees.  For the Elementary School Committee position, the Selectmen and the four remaining members of the Middleton School Committee will vote.  For the Masco School Committee position, the Selectmen and the three remaining Middleton members of the Masconomet Committee will vote.  Since the terms end in May, the appointment should be made as soon as possible.  Mr. Singer will try to schedule the appointments for the January 24th Selectmen’s meeting.  Ms. Lindberg expressed her thanks to Ms. Donarumo for her many years of service.

Other Business
Winter Parking Ban – Mr. Prentakis pointed out that it was time for the winter parking ban.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to impose the winter parking ban effective December 28th and extending until April 15th.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Update on Library Town Common – Mr. Prentakis was asked to give an update on this project.  He informed the Board that the firm Marshal/Gary had been chosen as the architect. There have been two meetings with Principal Architect, Ben Gary.  On December 19th, he presented a preliminary plan for the Library.  There were a number of good ideas.  The next meeting is set for January 3rd.  The Library design may be established then.  The goal is to bring something to May Town Meeting.
Executive Session – Mr. Houten announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session under MGL Chapter 39, Section 23B, Paragraph 6, (to consider the lease or value of real property) and that the meeting would not re-open in public session.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Mr. Cresta voted yes.  Ms. Lindberg voted yes.  Mr. Houten voted yes.  The regular meeting was adjourned and the Board entered Executive Session at 9:00.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary