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Selectmen Meeting Minutes 02/25/2014
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
February 25, 2014
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Prentakis called the meeting to order at 7:35.  Also present were Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Mr. Houten, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Minutes – Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 11, 2014 regular meeting and the January 28, 2014 executive session.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant 1434 totaled $114,985 and contained some snow related overtime.  The Payables Warrant totaled $2,732,402.  The majority of that is the quarterly assessment for Masconomet of $2,095,225.  The warrant also included $462,847 for Purchase of Power and $28,685 for snow plowing.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the warrants.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
  • Snow Budget – The Town has now spent $315,000.  There is probably another $4,000 or $5,000 in fuels bills.  The original budget was $242,000.  Mr. Singer recommends that the funds be raised from reserves through a Special Town Meeting.  It seems unlikely there will be any bailout from Beacon Hill.  The Selectmen did authorize the expenditure in excess of budget as did the FinCom.  The Town does have enough salt for one more storm.  Supplies are tight
  • By-Law Review Committee – There is a memo in the packet summarizing the actions of last night’s By-Law Review Committee meeting.  The Committee voted to ask to take more time to look at changes to Sections 4.0 and 10.0 of the Zoning Bylaw regarding changes to dimensional requirements as proposed by the Building Commissioner.  They also reviewed the proposal to increase the number of members on the Industrial Review Committee and voted unanimously to endorse that proposal.  That proposal will go on to a Public Hearing by the Planning Board.  Mr. Prentakis noted that the Board of Selectmen had voted to put dimensional change issue on the ATM at the last meeting.  He asked if any action was now required.  Mr. Singer said that it is the Planning Board that has to take the action.  They could vote to endorse it in spite of this recommendation but that is unlikely.
  • Capital Budget – The budget will be ready for the March 8th meeting.
  • Health Care Rates for FY 2015 – The increase for Masconomet was very low.  This could reduce the increase they have built into their budget.  The Town’s increase was not quite so low but still there is still saving and the Town is looking for more ways to save.  Mr. Singer said that he looks forward to working with Masconomet to reduce the increase in the budget.  Mr. Prentakis, who is on the Masco School Committee, noted that Regional Transportation Aid is  $32,000 less than expected..  Mr. Singer believes Masco will be saving $300,000 in health care costs.
Request to Appoint Robert J. Marino of Saugus, MA as a Reserve Police Officer by Chief James DiGianvittorio – Chief DiGianvittorio introduced Mr. Marino.  He was a thirteen year veteran of a Police Department in the western part of the State, and is currently employed by the Department of Criminal Information Systems.  He is looking for part-time work in the Police field.  His resume is in the packet.  Mr. Prentakis asked him if his current job had regular hours.  Mr. Marino replied that his hours were 8:45 to 5:00.  However he does have flexibility and his supervisors know that he could be working here and they approve.
        Mr. Cresta made a motion to appoint Mr. Robert J. Marino of Saugus, MA as a Reserve Police Officer for a term ending June 30, 2014.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Quarterly Financial Report
        Half way through the fiscal year, Local Revenues not Reserved for Direct Appropriation are at somewhat less than 50%.  However, Motor Vehicle Excise which is a large part of this category is primarily collected in the second half of the year.  The first commitment is 8.9% higher than it was last year.  Mr. Singer expects that the Town will more than meet the $1,370,000 amount that was budgeted for Motor Vehicle Excise.  All other items are pretty much on target or trending higher.  Motel Revenues which come through the Department of Revenue (DOR) go up one year and down the next but Mr. Singer believes it comes out even.  Mr. Cresta asked if we know what the real amount should be.  Mr. Singer says that it does run around the $132,000 which is budgeted, but it depends on the economy.  There are 100 rooms at the Double Tree and another 40 rooms at the Candlelight.  Mr. Prentakis asked if Double Tree does break it down by community.  Mr. Singer said that they supposed to and he feels it has gotten much better over the years.
        Receivables from previous years are close to 100%.  There has been a lot of action in foreclosures.  There is $599,000 held in tax title, of which 15% to 20% is attributable to one individual.  This has come down considerably due to the work of the Tax Collector.  
        The third sheet showed the appropriations from the Community Preservation Act.
        Next month, there will be more information on the regular budget.
        Mr. Prentakis asked if any departments, aside from snow removal, were having budget problems.  Police and Fire are always tight with absences and training expenses.  Mr. Singer said that Veteran’s Services is the only one that will require a transfer.  The amount is $25,000.  These are expenditures that are required by State Law.  However, this will be reimbursed by the State nest year.
Request to Insert an Amendment into the ATM Warrant for Chapter 56-6 (Meetings) of the Middleton Code and Town Bylaws to Authorize the Use of “Town Meeting Time, A Handbook of Parliamentary Law” (published by the Massachusetts Moderator’s Association) as an alternate to Robert’s Rules of Order for the Governance of Town Meetings – Mr. Singer explained that this comes out of a recommendation of former Town Moderator, Mr. Tragert.  This would supplement Robert’s Rules of Order, not replace it.  Robert’s Rules does not apply well to general open meeting.  This was written by Town Moderators and Attorneys and is more practical.  It has been accepted by a number of Towns as an alternate.  Mr. Prentakis added that this Handbook explains Robert’s Rules with clearer examples of how the rules work.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to insert an Amendment into the ATM Warrant for Chapter 56-6 (Meetings) of the Middleton Code and Town Bylaws to Authorize the Use of “Town Meeting Time, A Handbook of Parliamentary Law” (published by the Massachusetts Moderator’s Association) as an alternate to Robert’s Rules of Order for the Governance of Town Meetings.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Request to Insert ATM Article to Accept Updated State Legislation Authorizing the Transfer of Middleton’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust Fund to the State’s Pension Reserve Trust Fund (PRIT) for Investment Purposes – In 2013, PRIT’s return on investment was 15.4%.  It has averaged 10% to 12% over the past ten years.  The Town is restricted to Ch. 44 investments which have only been getting about 1%.  The amount in the OPEB fund is about $550,000.  This was done a few years ago, but it is necessary for the Town to accept the update to State Law in order to actually do the transfer.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to insert an article into the ATM warrant to accept updated State Legislation authorizing the transfer of Middleton’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust Fund to the State’s Pension Reserve Trust Fund (PRIT) for investment purposes.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Review of Annual Liquor License Fee Schedule – Mr. Singer explained that these fees have not been changed since 1994.  In that time the CPI has increased 48.5%.  The packet contains a survey of the fees in nearby Towns and an analysis of how much revenue different increases would generate.  Mr. Singer also explained that though there once was a cap on these fees, that was eliminated a number of years ago.
        Mr. Houten said that he would like to see the Restaurant All Alcohol license fee raised to $2500 and the Restaurant Wine & Malt license fee raised to $1500.  He feels that the other license fees are in line with other Towns.  Mr. Prentakis added that he feels the Innholder License fee should also be raised to $2500.  Ms. Jones noted that the Danvers rate for Innholder skews the average.  This affects Double Tree.  Danvers currently charges twice as much as Middleton.  The other Innholder is the Candlelight.  Mr. Cresta would like to have a change of license feel.  It is a lot of work for the office.  Mr. Singer said that he was proposing a $100 fee.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to raise the alcohol license fees as follows:
Restaurant All Alcohol to $2500,
Innholder All Alcohol to $2500
Restaurant Wine & Malt to $1500, effective January 1, 2015, and
to establish a change of license fee of $100 effective March 1, 2014.
        Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Report of Last Week’s Special Meeting between Conservation Commission and DCAMM and DCAMM’s Response to Town’s Alternative Landscaping Plan for DYS Regional Complex, (if any are received by meeting) – Mr. Prentakis said that he was very impressed by the presentation put together by Ms. Schmitz, Ms. O’Leary and Mr. Ferrara, and by Ms. Schmitz’s delivery.  The response from DCAMM was encouraging.  A work group was formed.  Ms. Jones also commented that it was a well-run meeting and she was impressed with the number of people who came.  Mr. Singer said that the pressure by the neighbors made all the difference.  Mr. Prentakis noted that Senator Tarr and Representative Speliotis offered staff to participate in the work group.  Mr. Singer added that Representative Jones had also made calls to DCAMM on the Town’s behalf when the Town asked that the work stop.
        Mr. Ferrara will chair the work group.  Ms. Schmitz, Ms. O’Leary, and abutters Carrie Gulino, Chet Pazdziorney and Dennis O’Brien will represent the Town.  There will be seven representatives from the State Agencies and the architectural firms.  Mr. Ferrara said the first meeting will be Monday March 3rd, at 6:00 PM.  The primary focus will be to save as many trees as possible.  There are about 150 mature trees on the site that are at risk.  They are also seeking a relocation of the detention basin to the old power plant area.  There are 65 trees there.
        Mr. Prentakis noted that the truck route issue needs more work.  The Town had requested that the trucks be routed through State Hospital property which has less traffic and easier turning radii.  Mr. Singer said that it appears that truckers were given a map with the two alternatives but were not actually directed to use the State property alternative.  There are still issues to work out with them.
Executive Session under MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, Paragraph 6 (to consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate)
Mr. Prentakis announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session under MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, Paragraph 6 and would not be coming back into open session.  Mr. Houten called the role. Mr. Cresta voted yes.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Mr. Houten voted yes.  The Board entered Executive Session at 8:20.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary

__________________________________
Timothy Houten, Clerk