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Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 02-28-2012
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
February 28th, 2012
7:30 PM
Call to Order – Chairperson Houten called the meeting to order at 7:45.  Present: Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Prentakis, and Town Administrator Mr. Singer,
Approval of MinutesMr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Ms. Jones to read and initial the minutes to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 4-0-0.
Approval of Warrants - The Board approved a Payroll Warrant in the amount of $366,335 including a school payroll of $263,591 and a Payables Warrant in the amount of $234,355 of which $131,750 is for payroll deductions and $17,013 is for the materials for the fire protection system at the Police Station.
Town Administrator’s Report
Mr. Singer reported the following:
       Two applicants have submitted letters of interests to serve as alternates on the Council on Aging.  They are Barbara Tilton and Joan Shea-Desmond.  The Board may take action at its next meeting
       The Fire Chief has requested that the ambulance billing rate be reviewed.  This will require an action at the next Selectmen’s meeting.  The reimbursement is affected by various pieces of legislation.  The $350,000 to $400,000 collected annually, supports the Fire Department operating budget and is also used for ambulance replacement.  It is important to make sure the revenue is sufficient so that the services are being paid for by the user rather than the taxpayer.
       Middleton Fire Chief Frank Twiss is a candidate for appointment to the State 911 Commission.  This would be a prestigious appointment.  The Commission has eleven members and must have a fire chief and a police chief as well as a number of ex-officio members.  It would be an honor for Middleton to have him on the Commission especially in view of the Regional Emergency Communication Center opening in Middleton and funded by the State 911 Commission.  Mr. Singer passed around photos of the RECC construction.  It is 30% to 35% complete and is expected to open on schedule.
       The list of double poles has been received from MELD.  It does not include School St. or Pleasant St. because of on-goingr construction.
       The Capitol Budget meeting will be Saturday, March 3rd at 8:00 AM.
Request to Name Two New Streets in Olde Boxford Estates LLC - Attorney Nancy McCann represented the developer.  This is a 15 lot subdivision on the former Nathan Property off 70 R East Street.  Both streets are cul-de-sacs.  
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to name the longer street Norma Way and the shorter street Kassiotis Lane.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Application to Transfer Victualler License at 223 Maple Street from A&M Motors Inc. to Lisha and Norali Fuel LLC, Mr. Ramanlal Patel, License Manager – Mr. Patel and Mr. Barberis were both present.  Mr. Patel said that he has applied for and received a cigarette license from the State.  He is seeking to transfer all licenses from A&M Motors.  
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to transfer all licenses from A&M Motors to Lisha and Norali Fuel LLC.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Discussion with Middleton Legislative Delegation –The Honorable Representatives Bradley Jones, Bradford Hill, and Theodore Speliotis were present.
        Representative Hill reported that the repaving Route 114 project (Mass Highway Project #606126) will be a FY ’13 funded project and will go out to bid in December 2012.  The work should begin in early 2013.  He will forward the scope of work to Mr. Singer.  Mr. Singer said that it is good to know that it is on the Transportation Infrastructure Plan (TIP) and that the design is 75% complete.  Route 114 is the lifeline of the town.  There was a partial overlay done on the southern part of the road a few years ago.  This will be a $1.7 million or more project.  He added that the State has done a wonderful job on the North Main St. bridge project.
        Representative Hill also said that Ch. 90 aid in the Governor’s budget is $200,000,000.  It may be cut from this high.  Representative Jones added that last year there was an additional free standing bill.
        Mr. Prentakis expressed his frustrations over Middleton paying $200,000 annually for the MBTA while only getting minimal service.  Rep. Hill pointed out that the proposed fare increases and weekend service cuts are bad for his constituents in the rest of the district.  Tourism is very important to some of his towns and cutting weekend service will destroy the tourism industry.  Rep. Jones added that one cent on the sales tax is reserved for the MBTA.  However that revenue has fallen short of expectations.  If that revenue had come in as expected, the MBTA would not have a problem now.  North Reading pays $300,000 - $400,000 and they have no direct service.  He feels that unused snow and ice money may be re directed to the MBTA.  The State collects 2 ½ cents per gallon from Underground Storage Tanks, which generates $65,000,000 annually.  This money was supposed to be used for gas station clean up but there is usually surplus and that might be directed to the MBTA.  Ms. Jones asked how the MBTA assessments are calculated.  Rep. Jones answered that the formula is based on population and proximity to Boston.  He said Middleton falls into the category of fringe communities which are un-served but assessed.  Rep Hill said that some type of reform of the formula is expected within a couple of months.  Rep Jones added that the legislature is just trying to get the MBTA from this year to next and will deal with the formula in the future.  Mr. Singer noted that the Town is just looking for some equity.  He hopes that when the formula is changed, towns like Middleton will be held harmless.
        Representative Hill said that Chapter 70 aid for Middleton will remain the same. The Governor’s budget contains $145,000,000 for Chapter 70.  Two thirds of the districts will not be getting any increase.  Rep. Hill’s priority is to look at the formula.  Rep Jones said that most of the increase is going to bring districts up to foundation funding.  He also said that the hold harmless policy is costly.  Town that are held harmless do well while growing towns are always a year behind.  Mr. Singer asked if the hold harmless policy could be applied to regional school transportation.  He said Masco is losing $130,000 on a base of $474,000.  Rep Jones said that two districts were added but the amount remained the same, so there is less money for each district.  If more money is added to the budget, there are a number of places it could go including the special education circuit breaker.  Rep Hill said that he is not convinced that the $130,000 cut will actually happen.  Mr. Singer said that Masco budgets with the conservative amounts so they always end up with a surplus which they feel they should use.  Rep Hill said that he feels the Masco Regional Transportation reimbursement will be 56-57%.
        Unrestricted General Government aid should stay the same.  Payments for State owned land remains the same.  The Ways & Means Committee has concerns that the Governor’s budget is too high but there will probably be no cut to Ch. 70
        State revenues are up $800 – $900 million but Medicaid has eaten up the increase in revenue.  The difficult economy has resulted in increased case load.  Special Education Circuit Breaker reimbursement will probably be 72% after the severe cuts last year.  Local aid will most likely be what you see in the Governor’s budget.
        Rep. Jones asked if the MSBA was on track with reimbursement.  Mr. Singer said that Middleton was one of the first projects to be processed.  There were problems with some mandates.  For example, the inclusion of fly ash in the concrete, which was a MassCHPS requirement, caused a curing problem which resulted in problems with adhesives.  This required an expensive remediation totaling $115,000 in change orders.  MSBA is not agreeing to the change orders for reimbursement.  Aside from that, the overall experience has been excellent.  The timely reimbursement has resulted in lowering borrowing costs.  Middleton will be abe to do the fina borrowing this summer at record low rates.
        Mr. Singer brought up the proposed DYS facility proposed in Middleton.  DYS has met with Town Officials and are very cooperative.  The funding is in the Capitol Budget and it will be built in a few years
        Representative Speliotis introduced himself.  The district he represents (13th Essex) will include Precinct 2 in Middleton in 2013.  He spoke about the North Shore Vocational School/Essex Agricultural School project which is proceeding very well.  He mentioned that the traffic plan for the School is being finalized, and wants to make sure that any concerns that Middleton residents might have are addressed
        Mr. Singer brought up the Essex Regional Retirement System.  He pointed out that four out of the five board member’s terms expire at the same time.  He would like to see those terms staggered and he gave the representatives a letter to that effect.
Request from Town Clerk to Appoint Election Warden and Election Clerk of the Polls
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to appoint Ilene Twiss as Election Warden and Eileen Bakoian as Election Clerk.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Request to Insert Two Zoning Bylaw Amendments into May 8th Annual Town Meeting Warrant
1)      Proposed Amendment to Middleton Zoning Bylaw to replace Section 8.1 Floodplain Overlay District FPOD with a new section 8.1 to comply with Section 1361 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 as amended
Background - Prior to July 3, 2012, Middleton is required, as a condition of continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to adopt floodplain management regulations that meet the standards of Paragraph 60.3 (d) and reference the new final flood elevation determinations within the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
        Building Commissioner Richard Bienvenue explained that the maps have been sent out and must be inserted in the by-law as an overlay.  Review by the Planning Board and Town Counsel may result in changes.  This article may not make it to this May’s Annual Town Meeting.  
        Updating the by-laws is necessary because without the update, homeowners may not be able to purchase flood insurance.  Existing flood insurance may not be renewed.  Homeowners may not be eligible for Federal Grants and disaster assistance.  Middleton may have a few hundred households affected by this change.  The current by-law is barely a page.  The new by-law will be 5 ½ pages.
2)      Proposed Amendment to Middleton Zoning Bylaw to modify language in Section 9.5.1 Site Plan Review (Administration and Procedures) to clarify that all permits including special permits, and use and other variances shall not be issued until a site plan has been submitted and approved by the Board of Appeals.
Background – Mr. Bienvenue explained that Town Counsel has asked for the addition of some language for special permit and use variance.  He asked that the “permit” be changed to “special permit, variance or use variance”.  There had been disagreement over whether the ZBA can hear a use variance before it sees a site plan.  It might do this so as to save the applicant the expense of preparing a professional plan, if it is a rejection.  The Town would be at a disadvantage if the applicant comes in later with an inadequate site plan.  This does not preclude an applicant from coming to the ZBA and asking for an advisory opinion.
        Mr. Prentakis made a motion to refer these two by-law changes to the Planning Board to follow procedures under MGL Chapter 40, Section 5A.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion an all were in favor.
Inclusion of the Land Use Acquisition By-law passed in 2000 into the Town Code – Mr. Prentakis explained that this article proposed by the Master Plan Committee was passed in 2000 but then not included in the Town Code.  Mr. Singer explained that this is a housekeeping matter.  It does not require a public hearing and just requires a simple majority vote at Town Meeting.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to include an article on the Annual Town Meeting to include the Land Use Acquisition By-law passed in 2000 in the Town Code. Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Adjournment – Ms. Lindberg made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  All were in favor and the meeting was adjourned at 9:10.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary