Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
April 3, 2012
Call to Order – Chairperson Houten called the meeting to order at 7:30. Present: Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Mr. Prentakis, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, Town Accountant Mr. Vanni and Town Treasurer Mr. Carter.
Approval of Minutes – Mr. Prentakis made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Cresta to read and initial the minutes of the March 22nd meeting to indicate their acceptance. The motion carried 4-0-0.
Approval of Warrants – Mr. Vanni presented the warrants. The Board approved a Payroll Warrant in the amount of $92,144 which includes $19, 427 for the Police Department. $6,072 for Police details, $11,093 for the Fire Department and $24,470 for the Electric Department. They also approved a Payables Warrant in the amount of $451,520 of which $315,185 was debt service. $92,424 was for the school including approximately $48,000 in transportation costs and $23,000 in SPED tuition.
Town Administrator’s Report
Mr. Singer noted that two items were removed from the agenda.
The first item was a request for a one day extension of the premises license for Maggie’s Farm. They did receive their ABCC approval on March 27 and the final sign-off is before the Board tonight. Since they have a full license, a one day license is not appropriate.
The second item was a discussion with Mr. Kenneth Way concerning pedestrian safety in Middleton Square. Mr. Singer has met with Mr. Way along with the Police Chief and DPW Superintendent. Since the State is in the process of doing a project on Route 114, this could be an opportunity to meet with the Traffic Safety Engineers and discuss some items such as the controllers which now belong to the State. They are 21 years old. Newer controllers have a count down so pedestrians don’t fear that they have to run across the street before traffic starts. This would be expensive. Mr. Singer hopes to meet with the District 4 Supervisor and Traffic Managers to discuss changing out all the heads in the Square. He would also like to see the lights changed to the newer version that provides a flashing red light for traffic when the pedestrian light is engaged.
Mr. Cresta commented on the difficulty of seeing cars that are coming north on 114 if you are turning left into the Central St. He wondered if the timing could be changed. This could have a ripple effect.
Ms. Jones noted that when drivers are making a legal right on red, they may not realize that the pedestrian light is engaged. She also said that she would like to see the same textured crosswalks in the Square as there are at Howe Station. Mr. Singer said that one problem is the crosswalks are only painted once a year usually at the start of the fiscal year. By this time of year, you can hardly see the paint.
Mr. Singer pointed out that 30,000 cars a day pass through the Square. It is definitely worth having the conversation. The DPW Superintendent has talked with the District 4 Traffic Manager and they are looking into the matter. Mr. Singer added that in the short term, the Town will look at getting the paint on the crosswalks sooner and getting some signage on the Town owned roads, since signage on Route 114 requires permission from the State.
Mr. Cresta suggested copying the legislative delegation on any correspondence with the District Highway Office. Mr. Singer said that he had already been doing that and they have been helpful.
The seasonal licenses are in the packet for signature tonight.
There is an MMA update on a piece of legislation that relates to how green energy projects can be taxed. Mr. .Singer suggests the Board review it as it could affect the Town’s ability to tax future projects.
Approval of the Location of the Shed behind How-Manning School as Requested by the M.Y.B.S.A. – Mr. Singer noted that the Board has a picture of the proposed shed, a 10’ by 12’ building with a gambrel roof. A location has been worked out that is convenient to all parties and does not interfere with sports or with the Boy Scouts.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to approve the location of the shed behind Howe-Manning School as proposed by the M.Y.B.S.A. Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Review and Approval of the Recommended FY 2012 South Essex Sewerage District (SESD) Rate – Mr. Singer explained that this is part of the annual task of assigning the rate which the Town must collect as the billing agent for sewerage in the Ferncroft area. The bill is received from SESD. There is a debt service or construction assessment portion of the bill which is apportioned by acreage and goes out in the Fall. The remaining $74,000 of the $105,000 assessment is based on actual usage. The service area includes the Hotel, the Verizon building, Ferncroft Tower, Ironwood, the Country Club and homes on Locust St., Mansfield and Nichols Lane. Mr. Cresta asked if the usage was determined by metering. Mr. Singer said that it was. The residential areas have private wells. Under the conditions of the sub-division approval, Danvers was allowed to put its meters on the private wells. Those residents can have a separate irrigation meter is they wish.
The rate per 100 CCF is calculated by dividing the amount to be collected ($81,688) by the approximately 6 million cubic feet of water used. This comes to a rate of $1.35 per 100 CCF. Mr. Cresta asked how often the bills were sent out. Mr. Singer said that they are sent out annually because most of them (the residential) are between $100 and $250. The Town does pay SESD up front. Mr. Cresta asked when the bills were sent out. Mr. Singer said that the construction assessment goes out between September and December. The usage bill will go out within a few weeks and are due by the end of June.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to set the SESD rate at $1.35 per 100 CCF. Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Final Review of the Annual Town Meeting Warrant – Mr. Singer explained that this is an opportunity to take care of any clean–ups or omissions in the Warrant. The FinCom will be meeting tomorrow and the warrant should go to the printer within the week. The following changes have been made.
The Assistant Collector/Treasurer position was omitted from the Personnel Plan. The job description has not as yet been finalized. There must also be a meeting with the Clerical Union as this is something which is subject to bargaining. There is no change in the budget since two part-time positions are being consolidated. The job description will come from the consultant who can take information from other Towns and come up with something that suits Middleton.
Mr. Cresta noted that the proposed job description includes being responsible for the complete payroll process. Mr. Vanni responded that the payroll would be linked to the general ledger and that the process would be automated. Mr. Cresta asked if the Town was still considering going to a bi-weekly payroll. Mr. Singer said that that was still in the plan for the future.
Mr. Cresta asked if the intention was to move forward with the new position in July. Mr. Singer said that it was, but that discussions with the Union still needed to occur.
Mr. Cresta made a motion to acknowledge the amendment to the Personnel Plan adding the Assistant Collector/Treasurer position at a salary range of $40,000 to $45,000. Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion and all were in favor.
On page 5, a change was made to the Finance Committee Budget so that the $70,000 reserve is correctly categorized as 5700 - Other Expenses.
The police budget has been amended per the Board’s vote at the Joint Budget Hearing. Mr. Cresta recalled that FinCom member Mr. Dow had concerns about overtime. The Chief is satisfied that the overtime is sufficient. If there is a problem, the FinCom is prepared to use its reserve.
The Masconomet line item has been amended as voted on at the Joint Hearing. Mr. Cresta brought up the increased capacity of the combined Agricultural and North Shore Vocational programs. Middleton should be prepared for increased enrollments at the higher vocational school price (1.8 times that of Masconomet).
The OPEB audit has been added to the Audit line item under Unclassified. Mr. Cresta asked if enough money had been allocated. Mr. Singer said that he would not know until he received proposals. If necessary he would go to the Finance Committee Reserve.
On page 15 there is a $250 change in purchase of supplies.
On page 16, there is no change to the CPA article but the finalized recommendations and the CPA report have been incorporated at the end of the Warrant. There are four articles which could potentially get funding from CPA funds. They are the windows for the Middleton Housing Authority project, the purchase of 121 East St., repairs to Old Town Hall and the Town Common/Town Center project.
On page 26, Article the $13,000 for Old Town Hall has been split out so it can be funded from CPA funds.
The wording of Article 26 (Town Common/Town Center) should be revised. Mr. Prentakis will send the correct working to Mr. Singer.
An article codifying the Land Acquisition Procedure accepted by Town Meeting into the Town Code has been added.
The articles have been renumbered, typos have been corrected and Article 27 has been reworded.
Nomination to Department of Agricultural Resources of Inspector of Animals Mr. Michael Plunkett for a term from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to nominate Mr. Michael Plunkett as Inspector of Animals for a term from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Singer pointed out that there will be another “off-cycle” appointment at the next meeting. The Veteran’s Service Agent also runs from May 1st to April 30th.
Update on Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) State Department of Public Health Mandate Effective July 1, 2012 – Mr. Singer explained that this mandate has been causing some concerns among cities and towns. Ever since the State began the implementation of 911 and Public Safety Access Points (PSAP), it has been the plan to go to the next step of having certified EMD available. The participants in the Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC) expected to be able to get a waiver until the RECC was up and running. However, the State 911 Commission seems unwilling to grant waivers. This certification requires 48 to 60 hours of training on top of the 911 training that personnel already have
Middleton has been able to make an arrangement with a local ambulance company, Northeast Ambulance which is located in Middleton. They have trained EMD personnel on staff. This saves Middleton from having to train 30 or more individuals in a skill that they will only use for six months.
The State 911 Commission applauded the opportunity to use a local provider. Mr. Singer will have more detail in a few weeks. Local personnel will continue to handle calls unless EMD services are needed. Then the call will go to the EMD center.
Both the State and Northeast Ambulance have been very cooperative.
Mr. Prentakis pointed out that if Article 26 passes, a portion of the brick sidewalk in Middleton Square will have to be replaced. This should be added to the discussion with Mass Highway. Mr. Singer added that other sections of the sidewalk are also in bad shape. He expects that the State will say that the sidewalks are the Town’s responsibility but it is worth asking. In any case, the sidewalks should be added to the Town’s five year plan.
Adjournment – Mr. Cresta made a motion to adjourn. All were in favor and the meeting was adjourned at 8:35.
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
Chris Lindberg, Clerk