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Selectmens Meeting Minutes 04-23-2013
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
April 23, 2013
7:30 PM
Call to Order – Chairman Cresta called the meeting to order at 7:45.  Also present were Mr. Houten, Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Prentakis, Town Administrator Mr. Singer and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Chairman Cresta called for a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent events in which four lives were lost and numerous others injured.
Minutes –Mr. Prentakis made a motion to accept the minutes of the April 9th meeting.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant #1342 was presented totaling $109,241.  Payables Warrant #1342 totals $263,138.  Mr. Singer added that there is a third warrant for a School Building Project payment to an electronics vendor.  Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the warrants.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
       The Tri Town School Committee is meeting tonight at the Proctor School to look at the plan for succession in anticipation of the retirement of Dr. Creeden which is anticipated for next year.  The Committee plans to begin advertising in January and expects the search process to take six months.  They hope for a three month overlap when Dr. Creeden and his successor will work together.
       Kearsage Energy - The items on the Zoning Board of Appeals upcoming agenda include a continuation of the application from Kearsage Energy for a solar farm on property owned by Richardson Dairy.  Negotiations between Kearsage and the Middleton Electric Light Department (MELD) are progressing.  Issues of connectivity, purchase of power and the Town’s interest in a fair and legal tax agreement are getting closer to resolution.  Mr. Singer hopes there will be a deal to purchase power, but only if the price is right for the rate payers.  He feels that there has been positive movement on price, and better movement on the tax negotiations.
       Meeting with Legislative Delegation – A number of actions have been started as a result of the meeting with the Town’s legislative delegation at the last Selectmen’s meeting.
1)      An amendment (#817) was inserted in the Budget instructing the Division of Capital Management (DCAM) to purchase the Farley lot for additional parking for the Jail.  The original language put some financial responsibility on the Town.  Mr. Singer felt that the town should not be saddled with any cost for a private transaction and the costs should be assumed by the seller and the buyer as is usual in real estate transaction.  That language was removed.
2)      Representatives Jones and Speliotis filed an amendment that would give Middleton financial relief from the 11% increase in its Masco assessment due to a quirk in the Ch. 70 formula.  They tried to craft a solution that would be specific to Middleton’s issue.  Mr. Ferrara spoke with Rep. Speliotis who said that there is really not enough time to craft a good solution.  He will work with the town to figure out what in the Ch. 70 formula caused the problem.
3)      More research is being done regarding the former Essex County land that is the subject of Article 30 in the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) Warrant.  Research is zeroing in on whether the desired protections are already in place on some of the parcels.  Once Town Meeting takes action, the Town will be able to file a formal request with the legislature.
       Auction of Town Owned Lands – This auction will be held on May 16 at 3:00 PM at the Flint Public Library.  It will be conducted by Mr. Robert Murphy, who is Custodian of Town Lands, in cooperation with the Town’s Tax Title Attorney.  Eight parcels that were acquired for non-payment of taxes will be auctioned. There will be extensive advertising.  Though the Town does not normally certify that the properties are buildable, two of the lots do contain houses that will need to be removed, so considerable interest is expected.  These properties represent receivables in excess of $200,000 which the Town would like to have off its books before the end of the fiscal year.
       FEMA Declaration - The February 8th & 9th Blizzard has been declared eligible for disaster relief.  The Town should get $75,000 in reimbursement.  The funds probably won’t be available before the end of the fiscal year and may take six to ten months to process.  The Finance Committee will have to take action to transfer funds to cover the overage as previously approved by the Board of Selectmen.
       Storm Water Management Reporting – The Town has submitted the required annual report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) summarizing the storm water detention, drainage and control activities the Town has engaged in, in compliance with new Federal regulations.  Mr. Singer added that the Town will be looking at some additional storm water compliance by-laws that will be required by the EPA.
       Guard Rail Project on Rte. 95 – A portion of this project is in Middleton.  A total of four miles of guard rail will be installed in the median to prevent cross over accidents.  Of 27 accidents in a certain period, 11 were cross over accidents.
Request for Naming of Six Roadways in Ridgewood Estates Subdivision off East Street by LAR Property Management, LLC - Attorney Jill Mann represented the developers.  One of the seven roads is already named East Meadow. Dr. because it connects with that road in the neighboring East Meadow sub-division.  Mr. Cresta noted that Mr. Houten and Ms. Jones constitute the Boards sub-committee on street naming and asked for their recommendations.  Ms. Mann had color coded the streets on the map.  They are currently designated A through G.  The largest road is A.  D is the next largest.  Mr. Houten said that the recommendations were:
Road A Simcha Rd.  Though the camp was called Camp Simcah, the recommendation was for Simcha.  Ms. Lindberg pointed out that Simcha mean joy.
Road B Doyle Rd.
Road C is already East Meadow Dr.
Road D LeBlanc Lane (Ms. Mann expressed concern that LeBlanc may already be a paper road.  Mr. Singer said that the Selectmen can change any name, so they can rescind the paper road name and rename it.
Road E Butler Dr.
Road F Farley Dr.
Road G Clinch Circle.
Mr. Prentakis made a motion to adopt the recommendations of the sub-committee.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Application of TPG Contract Services LLC d/b/a Doubletree by Hilton Boston North Shore, 51 Village Road, Middleton, MA to Transfer the All Alcohol Innkeepers, Victualler, Entertainment, and Automatic Amusement Licenses from Sage Restaurant Manager, LLC, (with no change in existing approved Liquor License Manager Kate Brill-Daley) - Attorney Gregg Demakis represented the petitioner, TPG.  Kate Brill-Daley, the Liquor License Manager was also present as well as Manish Pateer who is now the General Manager.  Mr. Demakis explained that the property owner is changing the management company from Sage to TPG.  The owner of the property is LVPCP, LLC who purchased the hotel in March of 2011.  They own 11 other hotels, 2 of them in Massachusetts.
TPG is constantly ranked as one of the top hospitality management companies in the country and manages 64 hotels in 23 states including 17,500 hotel rooms.  The primary principals of TPG are James & Elizabeth Procaccianti, whose family has been in this business since 1964.  Other principals of TPG are Mark Bacon, Robert Leven and Gregory Vickowski.  TPG will operate all facilities including the water park.  Mr. Demakis listed the licenses they are asking to have transferred.  He indicated that the Board was familiar with Ms. Brill-Daley.  He introduced Mr. Pateer.  He has worked for Doubletree for a number of years including four years managing the Doubletree Hotel in Bedford MA.
TPG is a larger company and has more resources than Sage.  It is also local (Cranston RI) and has a number of hotels in Massachusetts.  Sage was based in Colorado.  The Regional VP Peter Dory is only an hour away.  Their specialty is giving loving care to hotels.  Mr. Dory asked that the attorney communicate to the Board his absolute commitment to come to the Board of Selectmen whenever something needs to be done.
Mr. Cresta addressed a question to Mr. Pateer.  He wanted to be sure that even though the Liquor Manager reports to the General Manager, she would have final say in matters that affect the Liquor License.  Mr. Pateer agreed that she would.
Mr. Prentakis asked if they knew of any liquor law violations at the hotels which TPG currently manages in Massachusetts.  Mr. Pateer said he did not know of any.  Mr. Prentakis also asked if any of the principals of TPG had any real estate interest in this property.  Mr. Demakis said they did not.
Mr. Pateer said that he had worked for Double Tree for six years.  He has been the Liquor License Manager in the hotels he managed.  He has TIPs training.  When he managed the Doubletree in Bedford they were inspected every month and he is very comfortable with Massachusetts regulations.  He has just started with TPG today.
Mr. Prentakis asked how often TPG shifts managers.  Doug Conig, who is the Manager of the Doubletree in Providence answered that the hospitality industry has high turnover.  General Managers usually stay three to seven years.  TPG has a high retention rate.
Mr. Houten asked if there were any amusement machines in Middleton. Ms. Brill-Daley answered that the Amusement Center is in Danvers.  The Water Park is in Middleton.  The juke box and pool table have been removed.  They don’t need the amusement license anymore but it has already been paid for.
Mr. Cresta expressed his appreciation to Mr. Conig for coming from Providence and he also appreciates the comment form the Regional VP about always coming to the Board.  He just asked that they keep the Board in the loop.
Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the Application of TPG Contract Services LLC d/b/a Doubletree by Hilton Boston North Shore, 51 Village Road, Middleton, MA to Transfer the All Alcohol Innkeepers, Victualler, Entertainment, and Automatic Amusement Licenses from Sage Restaurant Manager, LLC, (with no change in existing approved Liquor License Manager Kate Brill-Daley).  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Update on Tobacco Control Program – Middleton Health Agent, Derek Fullerton introduced Ron Beauregard who works for Merrimac Valley Tobacco Control.  He has worked with Middleton for 12 years as part of the Healthy Communities Program which is funded by the Department of Public Health (DPH).  He has been helpful to Middleton in keeping the Town up-to-date on new regulations.  He spends a lot of time in retail establishments educating sales personnel on how to keep youth from getting tobacco.  He also does compliance checks.  Middleton has a very low rate of violations averaging less than one per year.  Middleton does have policies in place that allow for the revocation of a permit for multiple offenses.  Mr. Fullerton asked Mr. Beauregard to give his annual update.
Mr. Beauregard reported that Middleton is one of 17 communities in the collaborative.  It began 15 years ago with six communities and is a great example of regionalization.  Twelve retailers in Middleton have permits to sell tobacco.  His work gives Mr. Beauregard an opportunity to emphasize educational aspects of tobacco control.  Everyone wants to curb youth access.  Certainly smoking has decreased in recent years.  Massachusetts has the 5th lowest rate of smokers.  However, 18.2% of the population or almost one million adults are still smoking.
Some products such as small cigars have gone down in price and can be purchased for under a dollar.  Loose cigarettes are now prohibited because it is recognized that lower cost means more access.  Cigars are not subject to that regulation but Middleton does have a regulation requiring a minimum pack of 4 cigars.
The health care cost of smoking is estimated at $3.5 billion with $1 billion of that coming from the Medicare program.  Mr. Beauregard appreciates working with the retailers and feels he is not in an adversarial relation with them.  Smoking rates have gone down since he has been in this job.  Right now, he is emphasizing the number 27 which is the age an individual is supposed to look in order to not be asked for ID.  He hopes to come into Middleton to talk about flavored tobacco which is now popular among high school age users.  FDA has prohibited sale of flavored cigarettes but flavored chewing tobaccos and cigars are still allowed.
Mr. Cresta asked if the program were still funded through the tobacco settlement and cigarette tax put into place by a ballot initiative. Mr. Beauregard said that the program is funded from the General Fund.  Mr. Cresta asked if some of the revenue from the current proposed increase in the tobacco tax would be designated for tobacco control.  Mr. Beauregard did not think it was designated for control but rather for costs related to smoking.  Mr. Cresta noted that eventually price reduces usage and the revenue stream that supports the program will go down.  Mr. Beauregard responded that he is fine with working to put himself out of business.  Each time the tax is raised, smoking rates have gone down.  Mr. Cresta asked about the regulation mandating a minimum price for cigarettes and what that price was.   Mr. Beauregard responded that the regulation is very convoluted and he can’t say what the minimum price is for any particular product.  The regulation is enforced by the Department of Revenue.
Ms. Jones who teaches 6th grade asked about programs aimed at that age group.  Mr. Beauregard said that he does not work with curriculum though he does talk with teachers about the tobacco products that are meant to appeal to a younger audience.  He recommended California Tobacco Programs’ website with has interesting commercials.
Mr. Cresta thanked Mr. Beauregard for all his work.  Mr. Beauregard noted that under Mr. Fullerton’s leadership, Middleton has enacted some of the best regulations about smoking in public places and is at the forefront in addressing sale of cigars and requiring signage.
Update on Regional Emergency Communication Center (RECC) Transition Planning - Mr. Singer reported that he attended the monthly meeting of the Financial Oversight Committee.  The project is moving along nicely.  The last physical component to be put in place is the radio antenna.  The Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) and the State 911 Commission have worked out their differences and authorized the construction of the tower.  This will enable the final software and hardware to be installed and to be tested.  The project is a little behind. The cut overs should take place between June 30th and the fall.  Funds will be available to Towns that didn’t budget for expenses past June 30.
Personnel are still being hired.  The State added a large component by transferring all North Shore cell phone 911 calls from the State Police to the RECC.  That doubles the necessary personnel from the original 17 and means that hiring and training will take longer.  There will also be a few IT positions required so someone will always be on-site to support the sophisticated hardware and software.  
A Sub-Committee is in place to report back on procedures for additional communities joining the RECC.  Other communities are interested now that they see that the physical plant is built and the $16.20 per capita rate is holding. The RECC has capacity is serve a population of 200,000.  Current participating communities have a population just under half that.  A mechanism must be in place to add additional communities in a smooth and equitable manner.
Parking for all that staff will be partially resolved with the acquisition of the MIT lot.  That project is moving on separate track.  It may not be in place when the Center opens so temporary parking may be needed.  Right now, Manning Rd. is lined with construction vehicles and parking is very tight.
Update on Middleton Housing Authority Window and Siding Construction Project on Locust Street - Mr. Singer noted that there is material about this project in the packet. The request for the $100,000 CPA funds authorized by Town Meeting, will be processed in next week’s warrant.  Mr. Singer and Mr. Ferrara did tour the project.  The low bidder was Meadow Construction.  The project included additional siding, painting and electrical work.  It is 90% done and represents a significant improvement to the 20 year old buildings.  Mr. Singer feels it is a good use of CPA money.  The overall construction cost was $236,000 including alternates.  There are also additional soft costs such as architect’s fees.  The Town contributed 35 to 40% of the project cost.
Mr. Cresta commented that this is the kind of cooperation that would not happen under the plan to regionalize Housing Authorities into large State controlled entities.
Mr. Singer added that this was successful local project.  The low bidder was a local company who was also the low bidder for the re-roofing of Town Hall
Request from North Shore HOME Consortium to Continue Middleton’s Membership for a Three Year Cycle beginning on July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017 for Budgetary and Planning Issues – Mr. Cresta asked if this were the program whose funds Middleton usually designates to another agency.  Mr. Singer responded that this program brings the Town about $16,000 to $17,000 a year.  This small allotment is usually donated to an agency such as HAWC.  He added that this is an example of a successful regional effort.  The larger cities apply for federal funds that are not available to smaller communities.  The Consortium was set up just before the County was dissolved.  It is automatically eligible for these funds and over the twenty years that the program has been in place, it has brought in about $85 million to the member communities.  Mr. Singer feels it is important to have every town participate in order to keep the program going.
Mr. Houten made a motion to continue Middleton’s Membership in the North Shore HOME Consortium for a three year cycle from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.  Mr. Prentakis seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Discussion and Possible Action on Right of First Refusal Notice from North Shore Technical High School Committee for Land and Buildings at the Log Bridge Road Campus under Chapter 463 of the Acts of 2004 – Mr. Cresta noted that at a previous meeting, the Board had discussed a memo received in February from the North Shore Technical High School Committee regarding their property in Middleton.  As host community, Middleton has the right of first refusal to purchase the property at fair market value.  Middleton has until June to decide if it is interested.  Mr. Cresta would like to move towards a decision and let the district know if the Town is interested.  The packet contains a map of the property and a copy of the appraisal.
        The property consists of 88,000 sq. ft. of building on a 13.5 acre campus.  Mr. Cresta added that the sale of the property would offset some of the cost of the new school.  His opinion is that the property does not meet the town needs nor its financial abilities and he would like to see the property back on the tax role.  Mr. Prentakis added that the Master Plan Committee recommends that the Town not pursue this purchase.  Mr. Cresta wanted to state to the district that the Town wants to insure that whatever results from the sale is appropriate for the Town.  Ms. Lindberg noted that it is zoned M1 and would be a good business area.
Mr. Houten made a motion that the Town not exercise its right of first refusal to purchase the North Shore Technical High School Land and Buildings at the Log Bridge Road Campus.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Singer added that he has already had calls from interested parties.  Acting now gives the district more time to market property, hopefully to a use that will create new jobs.
New Business
Ms. Jones would like to offer more information about the individuals whom the streets in the Ridgewood Estates sub-division were named after.  Mr. Robert Doyle was a well-known individual in the community dating to before World War II.  Mr. Eugene LeBlanc was a member of the Board of Selectmen.  He and his family have donated many hours of service to the Town.  Ted Butler is the current Veteran’s Agent and George Farley was the previous Veteran’s Agents.  The Clinches are a longtime family in town who have served in many capacities.
Ms. Jones would also like the Board to know about a program at the Library tomorrow which will feature an outstanding young man in 6th grade.  He has a program on Ch. 99 called Hanging with Harrison.  His program which discusses the history of farming in Middleton will be part of an ice cream social at 6:00 at the Library.
Next meeting - Two members are not available on May 7th.  If there is pressing business a short meeting could be scheduled for before Town Meeting.  If there is no pressing business, the next meeting will be after the Town Election and will include the annual reorganization.  
Adjournment - Mr. Houten made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  All were in favor and the meeting was adjourned at 9:00.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
Christine Lindberg, Clerk