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Selectmens Meeting Minutes 01-08-2013
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
January 8, 2013
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Cresta called the meeting to order at 7:30.  Also present were Mr. Houten, Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Prentakis, Town Administrator Mr. Singer and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Minutes – Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 12th meeting and of the December 18th Special Meeting.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants –Payroll Warrant #1327 was presented totaling $409,523 which includes the bi-weekly School Department payroll of $256,923 and small amounts of overtime in a number of departments including some time for snow and ice removal.  Payables Warrant #1327 totals $897,505.  About one third of that, $311,529, is for purchase of power.  $275,521 is for health insurance and $132,438 is a bond payment.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to approve the warrants.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
        Bostik - Mr. Singer referred the Board to the December 19th letter from Bostik Plant Manager Nat Weiner, reporting on their compliance with the Middleton by-law requiring that an independent risk and safety analysis be done at their facility.  They appear to be in full compliance with the by-law.  Bostik will be doing the assessment annually even though the by-law only requires that it be done every three years.  This is a testament to their continuing commitment to the Town to rebuild the plant.  They have invested millions on state of the art safety equipment.
        Medical Marijuana –Rep Speliotis’ office acknowledged receipt of the letter from the Board asking for a delay in the implementation of the medical marijuana law.  They will be responding more fully to that letter.
        Water Withdrawal Permit – Mr. Singer noted that the packet contained a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) dated December 22nd.  Mr. Singer explained that four years ago at the height of the recession, the State enacted the Permit Extension Law which granted an automatic extension to all permits.  In additions to development permits, this included the Town’s Water Withdrawal Permit.  The Town, in conjunction with the Town of Danvers was in the process of renewing the permit which had originally been issued in the 1990’s, and had submitted an application when this occurred.  The permit was extended until August of 2010 then extended for another 2 ½ years.  Now DEP has extended the Permit until January 15th 2015, with regulatory review to begin in 2014.
This means that the current withdrawal and conservation conditions will be frozen, and that sufficient water supply is in place for a small amount of development including that along East St.  Public Works Superintendent, Mr. Labossiere and Assistant Town Administrator, Mr. Ferrara will be attending meetings with DEP to discuss finalizing the framework for permit renewals.  The process is called the Safe Water Management Initiative (SWMI).  This will bring together the entities being regulated (the water suppliers), the environmental groups and the State Agencies to find the right framework for renewing the permits.  There is a give and take between the environmental groups who want the State to ratchet down the water withdrawal to create healthier basins and rivers in the dry times, and the water suppliers who need water for their communities and for future growth.  SWMI seeks  to apply the latest science to the permits.  Middleton and Danvers were among the first to apply to have the model implemented and will see the results of that analysis in a few weeks.  This is preferable to having something imposed by the DEP.
        Boy Scout House Lease – This should be on the agenda at the next meeting for the Board’s approval
Presentation of Middleton Community Service Award to Lynn Murphy, former Chair and 15 Year Member of Board of Appeals - Chairman Cresta welcomed members of the Zoning  Board of Appeals (ZBA), the Building Commissioner Mr. Bienvenue, and long-time  ZBA chair and current Town Moderator Ms. Lynne Murphy.  He asked Ms. Murphy to come forward.  He noted that a lot of good work gets done by a lot of volunteers.  One of the most difficult jobs is serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals which requires making important decisions that affect neighbors, friends and colleagues.  Ms. Murphy was not only a ZBA member also but got the Town started on revamping the By-laws and served on the By-Law Review Committee.  These actions have allowed the Town to maintain its character while encouraging growth.  On behalf of the Board, Mr. Cresta presented the Middleton Community Service Award to Ms. Murphy and presented her with a chair with the Town Seal.
Current ZBA chair, Ms. Pizzelli thanked Ms. Murphy for her years of service and her inspiration and presented her with flowers.  Ms. Lindberg added her thanks.  Mr. Prentakis complimented her not just on her understanding of the technical aspects of the by-laws but also her ability to articulate the reason for changes and communicate that to the voters at Town Meeting.  Mr. Singer added his praise for the fifteen years he has worked with her.  He noted that she has given more than 300 nights, often many hours long, over fifteen years.  And added to that are the many site visits she made.  Ms. Murphy thanked the Board of Selectmen and the ZBA for their support and added that it had been an honor to work with the many professionals in the Town.
Appointments to the Bylaw Review Committee – Mr. Cresta brought two candidates forward for appointment to the Bylaw Review Committee.  The first is Former Town Moderator and long-time town official Henry Tragert.  The second is Planning Board member Beverly Popielski who wished to be appointed as the Planning Board’s representative.  Mr. Cresta noted that the terms would expire June 30, 2013.
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to appoint Mr. Henry Tragert as a member-at-large of the By-Law Review Committee and Ms. Beverly Popielski as the Planning Board’s representative to the By-law Review Committee for terms expiring June 30, 2013.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Acceptance of Donations of $1,000 from Family Medical, $1,400 from Bostik presented by Mike Keefe and Diane Bee, $500, $500 and $500 from anonymous donors to the Middleton Food Bank – Mr. Cresta noted that at a previous meeting, the Board had made an appeal for funds for the Middleton Food Bank.  Many businesses responded, though the need is still there.  Tonight, the Board will accept 5 donations.  They are:
$1400 from Bostik (Mike Keefe and Diane Bee were present representing Bostik
$1000 from Family Medical Group and
three $500 gifts from donors who wish to remain anonymous.
Under Massachusetts General Law, the Selectmen must take a formal vote to accept the donations.  Mr. Cresta added that he would like to thank the representatives of Bostik who are here.  As a longtime member of community Bostik has always stepped up when needed.  Mr. Keefe said that Bostik appreciates the opportunity to help.  He has been to the food pantry and admired the work they are doing.
Mr. Cresta introduced Mr. Frank Leary has been keeping the Food Pantry in operation since the beginning and he asked Mr. Leary to give an overview of the work they are doing there. Mr. Leary said that he felt this is about neighbors helping neighbors.  The food donations are important but monetary donations provide continuity.  He added that he never thought there would be hunger here, but last week 39 or 40 families came in and there are new families every week.  Mr. Leary thanked everyone for their donations.  He wanted to be sure everyone knows that the Food Pantry is at the Middleton Senior Center and is open to anyone from Middleton, on Friday afternoons starting at noon.  Anyone who wishes to donate food should get in touch with either Mr. Frank Leary or Mr. David Leary.  Checks should be made out to the Town of Middleton with Food Pantry in the memo.  Mr. Singer added his praise for the work of the Food Pantry.
Ms. Jones made a motion to accept donations for the Middleton Food Pantry of $1400 from Bostik, $1000 from Family Medical Group, and $500 each from three donors who wish to remain anonymous.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Application of Joseph Mazzochie of 6 Dolan Drive for Class II Used Car Sales License without Storage – Mr. Cresta noted that the Board had before them an application for a Class II Used Car License for North Five Auto Sales.  He asked Mr. Mazzochie to introduce himself and his business.  Mr. .Mazzochie said that he had lived in Middleton since 1994.  He is applying for a pocket license which would allow him to buy at auction as a hobby.  He works full-time for the MBTA.  He has been working with a partner but his partner wants him to keep his own books so he has to form own company.  He once had a small lot in Everett but gave up license when that property was sold.
Mr. Cresta noted that Middleton has two Class II licensees with storage.  One seems to be vacant.  Mr. Mazzochie said that no cars would be stored in Middleton.  He might be storing cars at a lot in Shrewsbury.  He is going to bring cars to the auctions for someone else who has a lot but doesn’t want to go to the auctions.  Mr. Cresta asked what happens if the car doesn’t sell.  Mr. Mazzochie answered that the car would stay at the auction.  No cars will be coming back to 6 Dolan Dr.  Mr. Houten said that he doesn’t like pocket licenses.  The buyer has no place to go with a problem.  He asked why Mr. Mazzochie didn’t get a license in the place where the lot is.  Mr. Mazzochie said that it is all wholesale.  He can’t get the license in Shrewsbury because he doesn’t live there.  Ms. Lindberg commented that the Board has given a number of these licenses here.  She added that as long as no cars come to Middleton, she has no problem with issuing one.  Mr. Cresta asked if he had inquired about the lot on North Main that appears to be vacant.  Mr. Mazzochie said that he had tried but had received no response.  He added that he works full time and that the business on North Main St. would require a lot of work.  Mr. Singer noted that the Class II license for the North Main St. location had been renewed.
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to grant Joseph Mazzochie of 6 Dolan Drive a Class II Used Car Sales License without Storage.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion.  The vote was 3-2-0 with Mr. Houten and Mr. Prentakis voting in the negative.  Mr. Cresta voted yes with the warning that if any cars were stored even for a night, the Board will quickly rescind the license.
Mr. Cresta suggested that the Board have a discussion in the future of these types of licenses.  His concern is that it is competition for the businesses in town that have overhead.  Ms. Lindberg added that the Board should promulgate some further regulations that would go over and above the State.  Mr. Singer agreed that not having local rules makes it difficult to deny a license when there are existing licenses in Town.  There is no limit in statute for the number of car lots but they are not allowed by zoning except where grandfathered.  The grandfathering allows a certain lapse of time before being rescinded.  Once there were 4 or 5 lots but they have shut down one by one.  Mr. Prentakis asked whether the clock on the discontinuance starts when the license expires or when the property is vacant.  Mr. Singer said that the clock probably won’t start until December 2013 unless the Board wants to rescind it for non-use.  The lease was for $7500 a month so this is a valuable property to the landowner.
Notice by Property Owner Douglas Hart of First Refusal Opportunity to Purchase 9.43 Acre Parcel under Mass General Laws Chapter 61, Section 8 located at 11 Thunder Bridge Lane - Mr. Cresta noted that the Board has received correspondence from Mr. Douglas Hart, the owner of property at 11 Thunder Bridge Lane.  He is planning on selling the 9 ½ acre property and is offering the Town Right of First Refusal under MGL Chapter 61, Section 8.
Mr. Cresta asked Mr. Prentakis, who is Chair of the Board of Assessors to clarify the proper procedure.  .Mr. Prentakis replied that for the formal 120 day period to begin, the Town needs to receive a formal notice of intent to sell, accompanied by an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement with an actual sale price which is not dependent on any condition or zoning change such as sub dividing the property.  He suggested sending the Harts a letter indicating that this correspondence does not comply with the Chapter 61 notification requirements but thanking them for giving the Town advance notice.  If there is any interest on the Town’s part, that can be discussed when they are further along.  Mr. Cresta noted that this would require discussion before the Land Acquisition Committee.  Ms. Lindberg pointed out that, by law, they must give the Town Right of First Refusal.  They need to understand that before they enter into a Purchase and Sale Agreement.  The Town could hold up the process for three months while it made a decision.
Mr. Singer said that it was not clear whether the entire parcel, including the developed lot is being offered.  Ms. Lindberg said it is one parcel but Mr. Prentakis noted that only the excess land enjoys the reduced tax status under Chapter 61.  Ms. Lindberg said the offer would have to be for the whole parcel.  The Town could then sell off the house lot.
Mr. Prentakis explained that the excess land is valued at $15,000 an acre, but is reduced to 25% of value by its Chapter 61 status. The valuation for tax purposes of the 8 ½ acres is $27,000 rather than $108,500.  The Hart’s asking price is $775,000 for the entire parcel.  The law does cover contiguous land not covered by the exemption.  Mr. Singer will respond to the Harts.
Update on Middleton’s Response to New Statutory Requirements under Conflict of Interest Law for Mandatory Employee Training - Mr. Cresta asked Mr. Singer for a report on this.  Mr. Singer reported that the statute has been updated and this mandatory training could be required for 350-400 individual in Middleton right down to volunteers who put in a few hours at the Senior Center and Library, or contractors who for occasional work for the Town.  Mr. Singer is working with the Town Clerk to see who can be exempted under the statute. The training requirements are not small.  There is a lot of material to read and the test must be taken on a regular basis.  Mr. Singer asked Mr. Ferrara to elaborate.
        Mr. Ferrara reported that all municipal employees defined as anyone who performs a service for the Town or holds an office is subject to the requirements.  He is now trying to determine who can be exempted.  Volunteers and seasonal positions which do not exercise any decision making can be exempted.  Mr. Singer pointed out that action must be taken to make them exempt.
Mr. Ferrara added that the reading and taking the test take about an hour.  The Town will take care of making sure its employees are in compliance and the School Department will take care of theirs.  The information will then reside with the Town Clerk.  The testing is set up to be completed on-line, but some employees may not have that access.  A number of sessions will be set up at the Library so employees can take the test.  Mr. Ferrara and the Town Clerk, Ms. George will facilitate these sessions.
Mr. Cresta noted that the deadline for everyone to take the test is April 5th. After the Board determines who it will exempt, the Town will know how many people need to take the test.  He asked what the consequences are if someone has not completed the test by the deadline.  Mr. Ferrara said that was not clear but they would work to make sure everyone is in compliance.  Mr. Singer added that the requirement is to take the test every two year.  Most people took the test two years ago when the only test available was aimed at State employees.  Now there is a test aimed at municipal employees.  The program also allowed an individual to keep trying until they got the right answer, making it a learning experience.  Now the intent is to make sure everyone reads the statute, and understands restrictions such s not accepting gifts over $50 and not taking advantage of a privilege not avail to others.
The problem is that when the legislature imposes this on Towns, large numbers of people are involved.  Andover compiled a list of 3000 people who would be subject to these requirements before the exemptions.  Mr. Singer read the list of categories which Andover is exempting.  However, at the end they have only exempted about500  individuals out of the 2500 who were initially subject to the requirement.  Mr. Cresta said that the reasons for the Conflict of Interest Laws are obvious. Though the Town might want to exempt those who might be put off volunteering by the additional burden, he would like to provide them a summary.  Mr. Ferrara replied that there will be a packet that can be handed out to everyone.
Ms. Lindberg pointed out that this is an unfunded mandate and is a considerable task for the Town Clerk.  Mr. Singer noted that money was added to the Town Clerk’s salary because someone had to be appointed to oversee compliance.  If there is a complaint, the first question the State Ethics Committee would ask, is was the individual informed of the law.  Ms. Lindberg asked if the Board could decline to re-appoint someone who had not complied with the requirement.  It can be made a condition of employment, but you don’t have that with ability with volunteers. Mr. Prentakis asked if taking the test once would suffice for multiple positions.  Mr. Ferrara said that it would.  
300 individuals in Middleton are subject to the requirement and 100 have taken the test.  Mr. Ferrara is also working to make sure everyone who needs it, has received a copy of the Open Meeting Law and signed the acknowledgement of receiving it.  The Conflict of Interest Law and the Open Meeting will be included in a handbook for all new employees and volunteers.  Mr. Singer said that the Board will receive a list of exemption before the next meeting.
New Business
Mr. Prentakis said that in the budget talks last February, he though there was a cardboard compactor planned for the Transfer Station.  The paper bins were closed when he was at the Transfer Station on Sunday.  Mr. Ferrara said that the DPW Superintendent has the compactors on order.  The Vocational School is doing some electrical work for the project.  One trash compactor has been replaced and the other will be replaced soon.
Adjournment Mr. Houten made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:45.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
Christine Lindberg, Clerk