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Selectmen Meeting Minutes 09/10/2013
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
September 10, 2013
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Prentakis called the meeting to order at 7:30.  Also present were Ms. Jones, Mr. Houten, Ms. Lindberg, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Minutes –Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the minutes of the August 13th meeting.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant #1410 was presented totaling $166,941.  All items are typical.  There are two Payable Warrants.  The one from the School Department totals $33,045.  The regular Payable Warrant totals $784,102 and includes $320,000 for purchase of power and $107,135 for paving expenses.
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to approve the warrants.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
       Maggie’s Farm – The packet includes a report from the Police Chief concerning the parking situation at Maggie’s Farm Restaurant.  The Town has not received any formal communication from the restaurant’s management about restriping and reformatting their parking lot.  They have put up a sign.  Mr. Singer asked the Board to review the report and let him know if they wish to bring this matter up again.  He will need a week or two to send out notices to abutters.
       Building Commissioner’s Report - The packet contains the report for July and August.  Permits include 9 new homes, 3 foundations and one commercial application which is for the Goddard School at the corner of East. St.  The total valuation for these permits is $5,723,000.
       121 East St. – The field has been cut by John Stasinos who has cut it for years.  He does not want to hay it anymore because of the invasive species.  Over the winter the Board should work with the Conservation Commission to find another agricultural use for the property so that the vista will be kept open.  When the State leases agricultural property, the lease typically goes for three to five years so the farmer knows that they will have a return in investment of tilling the land and growing crops on it.  The abutting owner Mr. Riddle has begun demolition of a garage which is sitting on an approved house lot.  As an abutter, the Town was notified.  That has been an approved lot for a number of years.
       Election Warden Vacancy – There is a vacancy for this position as a result of Ilene Twiss being appointed Assistant Town Clerk.  There is a letter in the packet from the Town Clerk.  This appointment will probably be on the agenda for the next meeting.
       911 Grant - The packet also contains a letter addressed to Sheriff Cousins dated August 30th, announcing the third consecutive award from the State 911 Department to the Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC).  The grant is for $477,984 and will be used to complete equipment purchases as the Center opens and additional towns cut over.  Middleton is now scheduled to cut over at the end of September.  At that time everything should be ready including remote cameras at the Police Department for times when it is closed. The cut overs for the first two towns had some minor issues which are being addressed.  They are deferring a bit until they are comfortable that everything is 100%.
The Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is moving ahead with construction of the permanent 250’ radio tower.  There is now a temporary 130’ tower on the campus of the jail.  The new tower will be visible around the region.  It will meet all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.  Since this is a State project the Town has no permitting authority.  The Tower is key to making sure the RECC is able to communicate with outlying towns such as Amesbury, Beverly and Essex.
Mr. Prentakis asked if the Town will incur any financial costs due to the delay.  Mr. Singer replied that Middleton’s dispatcher is on the State payroll even though she is still physically here.  The Town is incurring some costs on weekends but that is under discussion.  Mr. Singer hopes there will be no financial impact.
       Auctions - A second Public Auction of Town owned property will take place at 3:00 on Thursday September 12th at the Library.  It will mostly consist of some smaller lots that are not considered buildable.  The only buildable lot is 18 Oak Rd.  The Town has dropped the requirements for extending the road and water line which it placed on the lot at the last auction.  The minimum bid will be $110,000 which will cover the outstanding taxes and costs.  It will be up to the developer whether they wish to bring public water to the site or drill a well.  Selling this property is important for reducing receivables and the proceeds would go to Free Cash for FY ’15.  More importantly it would get the property back on the tax rolls.
Mr. Ferrara reported that the auction of surplus property was held today.  This included items taken by tax title.  In spite of extensive advertising and invitations being sent to twenty auctioneers and antique dealers, attendance was very low.  The Town will have to reassess what it can do with these items.  Mr. Prentakis asked if the Town could sell the items through a consignment shop.  Mr. Singer said he is looking into how that could be done within the requirements of the procurement laws.  He feels that it was important to see if citizens had any interest.  Mr. Singer added that the total value of the items is less than $5000.
       Congratulations to Middleton School Department – Mr. Singer wished to recognize the Middleton’ public school system for the achievement of being ranked 27th in the State by Boston Magazine.  Dr. Creeden explained the criteria they used.
       Division of Youth Services project on Gregory St. - Mr. Prentakis asked if any response has been received to the issues brought up at the last meeting.  Mr. Singer said that no response has been received.  The Town hasn’t even received simple things like detailed plans.  He has asked Middleton’s legislative delegation to follow up.
Appointment of Council on Aging Member - The applicant is Dr. Joan Shea-Desmond who is currently an alternate.
Mr. Houten made a motion to appoint Dr. Joan Shea-Desmond as a member of the Council on Aging for term to end June 30, 2016.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Appointment of Alternate Plumbing & Gas Inspector – The applicant is Mr. Peter Sakelakos who is currently the Plumbing and Gas Inspector for Danvers.  
Mr. Houten made a motion to appoint Mr. Peter Sakelakos as Alternate Plumbing & Gas Inspector for a term ending June 30, 2014.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Presentation to Members and Past Chairs of the Middleton School Building Committee in Recognition and Appreciation of Successful Completion of Howe-Manning School Construction Project – Mr. Prentakis noted that after a ten year effort, the new Howe-Manning School is open and the students are in attendance.  The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has conducted its financial audit, approved everything and closed out the project.  This is one of the first projects to go through this process and Middleton has handled itself very well.  It is important to recognize that this has been a 10 years effort.  The first Committee that looked at needs made a presentation to Town Meeting in 2001.  Rick White has the distinction of being the only person to be a member of every committee from that one to this final one.  Over time the Committees were able to convince the Town that the students were coming and to come to a decision about where to site the school, before the Town finally approved the current building.  Mr. Prentakis acknowledged the past chairs, Bob Porteous, Bob Murphy, Paula Lanfranchi and Chris Lindberg as well as the current chair, Frank Fitzgerald.  He also recognized the work of Tri Town Union Superintendent, Bernie Creeden and the Tri Town Union staff.  In order to recognize those who were part of the effort, the Selectmen have made Certificates of Appreciation with a picture of the new school.  Mr. Prentakis asked individuals who were present to come forward.  Those present were:
       Teresa Buono who was also long time chair of the School Committee,
       Scott Downs who joined when the current location was chosen,
       Mindy Wogan who also served on School Committee and now serves on the Master Plan Committee,
       Vinnie Miller who brought his construction expertise,
       Dr. Creeden who also accepted for others in the central office,
       Dr. Fitzgerald who chaired the final committee and presented its reports at Town meeting many times and
       Bob Porteous, who was a past chair.
Honorees that were not present included Beverly Popielski, Rick White, Vice-Chair of the current Committee Anne LeBlanc-Snyder (who is now an alternate on the Zoning Board) and past Chairs Bob Murphy, Paula Lanfranchi and Jill Mann
Mr. Houten presented the Certificates to the Selectmen who have served on the Committee, Nancy Jones, Chris Lindberg and Kosta Prentakis.
Mr. Prentakis encouraged committee members to continue to serve the Town as many have already done.
Dr. Fitzgerald thanked the Town for their support of this project and also thanked the Selectmen.  He noted the importance of everyone working together.  This Committee stood on the shoulders of the previous two building committees.  He especially thanked Mindy Wogan for the grass roots efforts she created.  
Mr. Prentakis also recognized the late Rick Kassiotis who was the Selectmen’s representative to the Committee at one time.
Departmental Updates and Status of Capital and Special Projects – Mr. Singer explained that this is the first in a series of updates from the various Town Departments on their operational issues, budgets and any capital projects.
Director of Public Health, Derek Fullerton reported for the Board of Health and the Conservation Commission:
Mosquito Issues – This summer has been very busy dealing with the threat of West Nile Disease.  This is the first time that the virus has been found in a mosquito in Middleton.  Fortunately the mosquito was a type that is identified as bird biting rather than mammal biting.  The Board of Health was very proactive as it saw that the virus was moving closer.  There have now been three consecutive weeks when mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile Virus have been found in the trap in Middleton.  The Board has followed the advice of the Northeast Mosquito Control District and authorized adulticiding as well as continuing their efforts to encourage personal protection.  Topsfield had its first mosquito test positive for West Nile last week.  Mr. Prentakis asked if that was also a bird biter and Mr. Fullerton said it was.  He added that Middleton is still at the lowest risk level.  Now that it is getting colder, mosquito activity will diminish, particularly after a hard frost.  However any mosquitoes surviving inside can still carry virus.  He added that he will be happy to see Middleton move over to the Regional Emergency Communications Center so that reverse 911 can be used for public health warning.
Thunder Bridge – The bathing beach season is over.  The beach was only shut once for elevated bacteria levels after a rain storm.
Food Inspections – There has been an increase in residential permits for home based kitchens.  These mostly involve goods such as brownies. Mr. Prentakis asked if there were any issues with the Farmer’s Market.  Mr. Fullerton said there were very few issues and they were mostly educational such as the need to refrigerate eggs.  This year also saw the ability to accept SNAP benefits.  They can be turned into Market Bucks and people who are not carrying cash can also purchase Market Bucks by credit card.
Flu clinics – Middleton’s Public Health nurse, Tracy Mello, is able to buy vaccine privately rather than wait for the State allotment.  The Health Department hopes to have an early season clinic in late September.  They also have school based clinics.  Later in the season Ms. Mello will offer a flue clinic for the Masco teachers in addition to Middleton teachers.  Mr. Prentakis asked if there were any multi town opportunities.  Mr. Fullerton said that Boxford and Topsfield use the Visiting Nurse Association so they have to wait for the State to make vaccine available.  In the past the Towns have cooperated on a H1N1 Clinic and also assisted with a flu clinic at North Shore Shopping Center that was run by Peabody.  Mr. Prentakis asked if the Town were reimbursed by individual’s insurances.  Mr. Fullerton said they are receiving $3000 – $4000 in reimbursements and will also be receiving reimbursement from MassHealth.  They are using a service, Commonwealth Medical, which takes a 5% commission but saves the department many hours of paperwork.
New Programs - The Middleton in Motion campaign is working with the schools on a healthy eating initiative.  They are giving the children plates that show what healthy portions look like.  Mr. Fullerton showed the Board the plates.  He is also continuing to work on getting the planning office ready for when the Planning Coordinator is brought on board.
Tic issue - Mr. Singer asked if there were any updates on the issue of students at Essex Agricultural School and North Shore Vocational School (NSVT) developing tics. Mr. Fullerton reported that the State Department of Public Health (DPH) has done air quality testing at NSVT.  They reported results which are pretty similar to regular high school.  Higher levels of irritants might be expected because of the use of more chemicals in a vocational school.  DPH also tested the East St landfill and found no issues.  The DPH medical examiner will be getting medical records from any students suffering these problems who have consented to turn over their records.
Rail to Trails – At this year’s first meeting the Danvers planner will be coming to talk about her role in the Danvers Rails to Trails project.  Danvers would like Middleton to support a grant they are working on.  Middleton’s portion would run from the Danvers line to DeBush Ave.  For the first phase, the trail would be surfaced with stone pack which is what is being used in Danvers. This is suitable for riding a bike or pushing a stroller but not for roller blading.  Eventually the trail would be paved like it is in Peabody.  Mr. Fullerton hopes to come to the May Town Meeting with a request for some design money.  Mr. Prentakis observed that Danvers businesses have taken advantage of being close to the trail to encourage trail users to stop and perhaps grab an ice cream.
Building Commissioner, Richard Bienvenue reported for Inspections and Zoning Enforcement – Mr. Singer thanked Mr. Bienvenue for the hundreds and hundreds of hours he spent during the construction of the school.  Many times he and the other inspectors had to be at the school even after hours and on weekends.  
Assistant Building Inspector – Long-time assistant Scott Vandewalle has left for a job with the City of Malden.  He has offered to help on a part time basis until the Town can find a replacement.  He would like to thank Mr. Vandewalle for being such a help to the Town. He has received a number of applications for the job.  The individual needs to be a certified building inspector.
Building Report – Five houses are going up in the Falite sub-division right now.  Another one is under construction on Mill St and two on School St. are finished and recently sold.  There are also some major commercial upgrades in progress including:
MK Services and Middleton Aerospace both on South Main - The only part of that building that is not rented out is the front.  The owner is looking for an anchor for that space.  The space is less than 10,000 sq. ft.
189 North Main will be complete in a week or so.  It is a dramatic change and should house six businesses.  The final paving will not be done until next spring.
Salem Metals is taking ownership of the former Kirba Distributors Building on Lonergan Rd.  This is still in the planning stages. Mr. Singer commented on the clean-up that they have done adjacent to the Riverfront.  This area has been a traditional dumping ground and subject to debris being left when the River rises.  
Mr. Prentakis asked if Mr. Bienvenue is getting inquiries about development on vacant parcels.  He answered that people are actively looking for space.  Empty storefronts are being filled.
Capital budget – Mr. Bienvenue reported that the two new vehicles for himself and the Health Director, should be here in the middle of next month.  He is also working on the filing system and looking at how to back up files so they are safe from fire.  He is working with Mr. Ferrara and the Town Clerk, Ms. George to better centralize files.  Mr. Prentakis asked if the information can be stored digitally.  Mr. Bienvenue replied that regulations still require that the Town keep all paper files until a house is demolished. Mr. Ferrara had some discussions with the State.  They do allow microfiche but that is obsolete technology and the Town doesn’t want to invest in it.  Mr. Prentakis asked if forms were available online and could they be filled out online.  Mr. Bienvenue said that they can be filled out online but not filed online.  The forms still need to be signed.  
Sign By-law – Mr. Prentakis asked how enforcement of the sign by-law was going.  Mr. Bienvenue said that the A-frames have pretty much disappeared.  He hopes the new Planning Coordinator will work on this.  Mr. Singer added that if all goes as planned, he will be able to make a recommendation for this position at the next meeting.
Vote to Accept Stanton Foundation Grant for Establishment of a K-9 Unit within the Middleton Police Department - Chief DiGianvittorio passed out his report.  In June, a representative of the Stanton Foundation made a presentation to this Board.  Mr. Singer and Mr. Ferrara reviewed the material presented.  The Chief presented a budget summary.  The $25,000 grant covers the first three years of the program with some contingency for FY 2017.  The second page of his report contains his estimate of the cost of the first two years after the grant is expended.  The only issue is that there will be some cost incurred so the handler is able to take some time off.  
The Chief noted that since the presentation in June, there have been three incidents in Middleton that have required the assistance of the Jail’s canine unit.  There is a clear need for the Town to have its own unit.  More and more of the incidents in Town are drug related.
The Chief indicated in June that five officers were interested in making the commitment to being the dog handler.  He has narrowed that down to two officers.  The Boston Police Academy will now decide which of the two the best candidate is.  They will look at the officer’s residence and also interview their families because they will all be involved.
Mr. Houten made a motion to accept the $25,000 Stanton Foundation Grant for the purposes of obtaining a Police Service dog and training a handler.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Adoption of Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance of Taxi/Limousine Licenses under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 22 - Ms. Lindberg asked if anyone in Middleton had expressed an interest in obtaining a livery license.  Mr. Singer said that there had been no inquiries but they had not really advertised that they were available. There may be one firm in Town that is doing business without a license.  The company only needs a license in the Town in which it is based.  Cabs from other towns can pick up and drop off here.  The Town wants to give residents the comfort that drivers have had background checks.  These regulations have been taken just about word for word from Danvers’ regulation.  The requirements include a Certificate of Insurance including workers compensation.  The Company must list its drivers and the Town will do CORI checks on them.  Mr. Singer added that they tried to make the insurance requirements reasonable so as not to be an undue burden.
Ms. Lindberg made a motion to adopt the presented Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance of Taxi/Limousine Licenses under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 22.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Executive Session under MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, Paragraph 6 (to consider the purchase, lease or value of real property)
Mr. Prentakis announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session and would not be coming back into open session.  Mr. Houten called the role.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Ms. Lindberg voted yes.  Mr. Houten voted yes. The Board entered Executive Session at 9:00.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
Timothy Houten, Clerk