Selectmen Meeting Minutes 03/11/2014
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
March 11, 2014
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Prentakis called the meeting to order at 7:43.  Also present were Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Ms. Lindberg, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Minutes – Mr. Cresta made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 25, 2014 regular meeting.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant 1436 totaled $169,739 and contained some overtime in the Police Department and the Department of Public Works.  It also included the monthly part–time and overtime in the Fire Department.  The Payables Warrant totaled $713,355. It included $366,760 for Purchase of Power, $161,733 for Health Insurance and $19,871 for the annual support and licensing fee for the MUNIS software.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to approve the warrants.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
  • Pike Messenger – Mr. Singer reported that former Conservation Agent has received the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) Environmental Service Award.  Mr. Singer read a letter from Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association.
  • Filming in Middleton – A home in Middleton will be used for the filming of a movie titled “The Whole Truth” and starring Daniel Craig and Renee Zellwinger.  The producers will meet with the Town to determine if there are any public safety issues such as a need to block a public way.
  • Sports Complex at North Shore Agricultural/Vocational School – A developer has proposed an indoor hockey and soccer complex on State owned land at this site.  The legislative delegation representing the towns involved with the school met at the site to discuss the filing of the legislation that would be necessary to enable a 25 year lease for the site.  Mr. Singer offered to put an article in support of the complex on the Town Meeting Warrant but it would be too late since the legislation must be filed before then.  The Town could still have input if the Board wishes.  The developer has done a similar complex in Bedford on MassPort property and pictures of that were available.  Mr. Cresta asked if any outdoor fields were involved in the complex.  Mr. Singer said that the complex would not contain outdoor fields.  It would take up the space of one of the fields on the site.  He also asked if Masco could use the complex.  Mr. Singer said that there would probably be extra time but all nineteen communities would be vying for it.  The developer would have to get back their considerable investment by renting it out during prime time.  Ms. Lindberg noted that this is being done by a private developer and asked if it would be coming before the local boards.  Mr. Singer said that it would not, because it is a Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) project even though it is being developed by a private entity.  However, the Town wants the same Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement as was negotiated in Bedford.  Mr. Prentakis added that the PILOT still needs to be based on value.  The law does give the Assessors the ability to send an” In Lieu of Tax” bill since it is a private entity even if it is not negotiated.  It is good that there is the model of what has happened in Bedford.
  • Building Commissioner’s Report – The February report is in the packet.  Fifteen permits were issued with fees totaling $101,758.  There were no new home permits in February.  Eight months into the fiscal year, there has been $19 million of new valuation. This will have to pick up in order to achieve the $30 million that was planned on.
Appointment of Regular and Alternate Member of Recreation Commission - Letters of interest have been received from two candidates, Michele Nowak and Kevin Noyes.  Both candidates have previously served as chair of the Commission.  
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to appoint Kevin Noyes as a regular member of the Recreation Commission and Michelle Nowak as an alternate member of the Recreation Commission with both terms expiring June 30, 2014.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Request from Veterans Services Officer, Ted Butler, to Issue a Proclamation for Middleton to Become a “Purple Heart Community”, and to Proclaim August 7th each Year as “Purple Heart Day” in Middleton – The packet contains a letter from Mr. Butler explaining this request.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to issue a proclamation for Middleton to become a “Purple Heart Community”, and to proclaim August 7th each year as “Purple Heart Day” in Middleton.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approve Sewer Billing Rate for SESD Operations and Maintenance Charges to Middleton for FY 2014 – The packet contains the breakdown for this calculation.  The rate of $1.37 per hundred cubic ft. includes a small allowance for administrative expenses and bad debt.  This bill is issued in the Spring and the bill for construction costs is issued in the Fall.  Mr. Singer said that there is no point in issuing the bills quarterly.  This year, Mr. Ferrara was able to get Danvers to provide the necessary information earlier than usual.  This means the bills can go out in April.  They are due in June.  Ms. Lindberg asked how the rate compared to past years.  Mr. Singer replied that it was about the same.
        Ms. Jones made a motion to approve a Sewer Billing Rate for SESD Operations and Maintenance Charges to Middleton for FY 2014 of $1.371 per hundred cubic feet.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Report on DCAMM’s Response to Town’s Alternative Landscaping Plan for DYS Regional Complex – Mr. Ferrara went over the original plan.  DCAMM has provided a revised plan.  The major points are:
  • The area designated as Existing Tree Buffer (ETB) 1A will remain and be augmented with additional plantings to provide screening at a lower level than the existing trees which are quite tall.
  • ETB 1B is too close to the building to be kept.  Food and Agriculture is willing to allow work on their property during construction but is not willing to give up any land.
  • ETB 2A will be saved.  A retention wall is proposed to replace the grading that would have required tree removal.
  • The detention pond that was proposed for ETB 3 will be split in two.  This will preserve ETB 3 but ETB 2B will be lost.  The roadway has been relocated to be further from the trees.
  • Additional trees are proposed between the site and Deacon Drive.
The consensus is that DCAMM has worked in good faith with the Town.  The Conservation Commission has issued a letter of support.  It will be critical to continue to monitor the work.  DCAMM would also like feedback from the Selectmen.
Ms. Jones asked why the Power Plant site was not being considered for the detention basin.  Mr. Ferrara said there were problems with buried rubble and with the elevation.  Mr. Singer added that to get the right elevation they would have had to encroach on Food and Agriculture land and that was not going to be permitted.  Ms. Jones did express her relief that ETB 3 would be preserved.
        Mr. Cresta asked if the lights from the facility would be a problem for the neighbors.  Mr. Ferrara noted that this is a LEED certified facility and that means that there should be no light spill over.  He said that is what is to be hoped for while recognizing that it is a large facility.
Mr. Prentakis asked if the DCAMM representatives on the work group were confident that they could convince the decision makers to go along with the new plan.  Mr. Ferrara replied that though he could not be sure of that, he did have some confidence based on the work that had gone into it and the agreement of the architect and landscape architect.  Mr. Singer said that he felt that there should be no increase in cost and perhaps even a cost savings due to not having to cut down all those trees.  This should offset the additional cost of the retaining wall.
        Mr. Prentakis asked if construction had been started.  Mr. Ferrara said that they could start as long as they don’t touch any trees.  Mr. Prentakis also asked how the neighbors on the work group felt about the new plan.  Mr. Ferrara said they appear to be pleased with the progress.
        Mr. Prentakis said that he felt that Mr. Ferrara could give DCAMM positive feedback from the Selectmen.  Mr. Singer commended Mr. Ferrara, Ms. Schmitz and Ms. O’Leary for coming up with good, achievable alternatives that have no large cost impact.  Mr. Ferrara said that he would get back to DCAMM expressing a positive response from the Board of Selectmen.
Review of First Draft of Fiscal Year 2015 Warrant Articles Transferred from Capital Budget and Special Projects Review Meeting on March 8th – Mr. Singer noted that the articles are still taking shape.  Some discussion is still needed on wording and amounts.  An effort has been made to combine articles for the sake of time.  Five street acceptances are possible depending on the Planning Board.
        A draft of the Warrant is in the packet.
        Article 5 will be the recommendations of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee.  The base budget is $153,413.  The Committee will not meet until March 31 and will make additional recommendations at that time.  This is a placeholder.  The Town expects to get $38,750 in matching funds from the State.  Mr. Prentakis noted that the State is releasing its guidelines today.  He doesn’t expect them to be lower than the 25% that the estimate is based on.  The Town has received just over $700,000 in matching funds through the CPA which has been very important in open space acquisition and support of the Library.
        Article 5A pertains to the Rails to Trails proposal.  A group walked with Jim Hattrup, the President of Iron Horse, a group whose mission is to convert abandoned railroad tracks into usable recreational trails.  The purpose was to identify the first phase that could be developed.  It seems logical to start in the middle, which is the Center St. parking lot near the Howe-Manning School.  From there the trail to Essex St. is 3700’ and is perfectly flat.  The trail width varies from 6’ to 10’ and averages 9’ because of the utility poles.  This is currently an electrical right of way belonging to Danvers.  Both Danvers and Middleton Electric would have to agree to this.  The cost of paving would be $10,000 to $15,000 per 1000 linear feet.  Motorized vehicles would be prohibited.
        The section of the trail from Maple St. to the Danvers town line has problems because of the bridge over the Ipswich River on Maple St.  Replacing it is beyond the capacity of the Town.  Design work was started in the 1990’s but given up because there was no funding for local projects.  At one point, the Town had access to a pedestrian bridge that was left over after a project on the Cape, but that is gone.  Replacing the bridge would be a $2 million project and is not high on the State’s replacement list.
        Ms. Jones asked why paving rather than stone dust.  Mr. Singer replied that paving was less maintenance than stone dust.  If stone dust was used and then the decision was made to pave, the stone dust would have to be removed.
        There will be an abutters meeting on April 17.  Mr. Singer urged the Selectmen to attend.
        Mr. Cresta asked if there would be bollards at the street crossings to prevent motorized vehicles from entering the trail.  Mr. Singer said that the trails had to be kept open for access by MELD.   He feels that with more people using the trails the motorized vehicles will stay away.
Article 6 contains the various Revolving Funds.  There are two new funds, the Stormwater Management Revolving Fund and the Roadway Acceptance Revolving Fund.
Articles 7, 8 & 9 are smaller capital items for the Fire Department
Article 10 is for training two new Firefighters/Paramedics.  The $30,000 represents labor replacement costs.
Article 11 is for a new pumper for the Fire Department.  It is assumed that the trade-in on the old pumper will be $10,000.
Articles 13 & 14 are for new computers for the elementary schools.
Articles 15 & 16 are the usual Chapter 90 (highway funds) articles.
Articles 17 & 18 are capital items for the Police Department.
Articles 19 through 25 are from Department of Public Works.  Article 22 is for building renovations and equipment purchases for multiple departments in the building.  Article 24 is for a GIS system.
Articles 25 through 29 are potential street acceptances.
Article 30 pertains to the purchase of 4.6 acres on Natsue Way currently owned by Richardson Green, Inc. and adjoining the Emily Maher Park at the Transfer Station.  Half of the funding to purchase this land could come from existing funding available as surplus from previous debt service.  Acquiring this land will allow the Town to develop recreational facilities adjacent to 45 acres of conservation land the Town already owns.  Mr. Cresta added that this would be a big step towards the Town’s recreational needs.  He added that in case this article failed, there should be an alternate article for planning services for re-using the capped landfill.  Mr. Singer said that there would have to be a more complex article and a detailed explanation.
Article 31 would purchase the land adjacent to the entrance to the Hagan Property which the Town owns and abuts the Town Common land.  This is in a very early stage and might not be on the warrant this year.
Other articles are routine.  An article might also be needed in order to transfer the Town’s Other Post Employment (OPEB) funds to the State’s retirement fund.
Close Annual Town Meeting Warrant to Citizen Petitions
No petitions were received this year
        Ms. Jones made a motion to Close Annual Town Meeting Warrant to Citizen Petitions.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Review of State’s Biennial Update of (SHI) Subsidized Housing Inventory Measuring Community’s Attainment of Affordable Housing Goals of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40B - The packet contained a letter from the Department of Housing & Community Development listing the Town’s Affordable Housing inventory. This is an issue when times become better for development and comprehensive permits (Ch. 40B) might be sought.  There are at least eight units that have either not been built or have been built but not sold.  Ms. Lindberg noted that Sheldon Circle which has an affordable component is not counted.  There are also group homes whose location is confidential.  Mr. Singer said that he will be responding to the letter with comments on these omissions.  The Town’s percentage, based on the 2010 census, is 4.82%.  The Town has grown by about 200 units since then so the percentage is lower.  Mr. Singer pointed out that the Town is not going to achieve 10% so it will continue to be open to comprehensive permits, but the market is not there and the septic issues are an impediment.  Ms. Lindberg noted out the problem of people eligible for affordable housing not being able to qualify for mortgages.  There has been a long standing effort to reform 40B but it does not seem to be going anywhere.
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.  In Mr. Houten’s absence, Ms. Lindberg called the role. Mr. Cresta voted yes.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Mr. Lindberg voted yes.  The Board entered Executive Session at 9:25.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
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Timothy Houten, Clerk