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March 3, 2005
Special Session 7:10 PM
Ms. Tully, Mr. Edmundson, Mr. MacIver
Personnel Board Update
Mr. Puzo presented the Board two Memorandums of Agreement with the Superior Officers Association. The first agreement was for one year effective July 1, 2003 with no change. The second is a three year agreement covering the years 2004 through 2007. This agreement provides for 2% salary increases on July 1 and January 1 of all three years. Several other changes have been incorporated. An inequity in the previous agreement left the PS-4 out of sync with ranks below and above this has been addressed. Police detail rate changes have been modified consistent with wage increases. There is an indemnification provision to protect officers in the line of duty to the extent that the by-law does not. Mindful that the “2 +2” structure could provide a disincentive to a retiring officer the contract includes a provision to address that issue which will expire June 30, 2007. The Board thanked everyone for their efforts to reach a settlement that is fair and consistent with the Town’s ability to afford salary increases.
Voted - to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Hingham Police Superior Officers Union for the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2007.
Mr. Colon explained that the proposed solution to the conflict of telephone cables with the tunnel is to raise the cables above the tunnel. This work will begin in April 2005 and will take 6 weeks to complete. Letter sent has been sent as to what would happen in the event of an outage. In the conflict area there is a mix of copper and fiberoptic cables. In the event that something happens to the fiber cables, they can be restored in a matter of hours. Verizon representatives will be working closely with Mark Duff and there will be a database of the working lines in those cables. Crews will be working in manhole 8c in front of St. Pauls and in manhole 7 at the intersection of North Street at South. The block between North and South Streets on Central will be closed for 6 weeks.
Tax Exemption Warrant Article
The Board reviewed the various options for changes in the tax exemptions including income level, amount of exemption, age and asset limit. After discussion it was decided to recommend keeping the age of eligibility at 70 while increasing the allowable income level and amount of exemption to the statutory maximum. Mr. MacIver said that the Board would be open to feedback from the public regarding the changes.
Voted - to recommend that the amount of the exemption and the allowable income limit for real estate tax exemptions under MGL C.59, Sec. 5 (41C) be raised
The Advisory Committee joined the Board.
Mr. MacIver reviewed the Housing Article as submitted by the Housing Partnership. Mr. Gauthier explained that the housing proposed was targeted to people below but near the median income for the area which is presently about $86,000 per year. Affording a new home at that income is close to impossible in a Hingham when the average assessment is approximately $580,000 and the average sale price is greater than that. A 100% affordable home is something that someone making $86,000 per year could afford. The plan is to address homeownership at the 50%, 80%, 100% and 120% level. A public hearing on the proposal was held on February 26 at the North Street Chapel Church. The top issues of concern centered around traffic and schools. The community was concerned about egress from the development. There might likely be a problem with traffic in the area but this is a problem that the Town needs to confront globally and it will be addressed through a traffic study. It is not a good enough reason to nix the project. The Housing Partnership also suggested ranking the order of local preference. The LIP identifies four categories of people who can apply under local preference. The Board agreed with the concept of local preference but expressed concerns about the prioritizing the order of that preference. The Housing Authority has run the lotteries in the past but another non-profit agency could be designated as the lottery agent. The Board took the matter under advisement.
Ms. Bates explained that Hingham Nursery School identified the land adjacent to Lamberts Nursery Center after an 18 month search. Proposed school includes four classrooms, administrative space, play space and twenty parking spaces in the rear of the school as well as a live valet loop for drop off and pick up. It is felt that one driveway is safer than two parallel drives. A Coler & Colantonio traffic study concluded that there are no safety issues in using Rosemary Lane for the nursery school. The School Committee voted conditions addressing school concerns for the use of Rosemary Lane. The Police Department also outlined conditions, which will be met. The current population of the nursery school is 120, no more than 60 students would be in the building at any one time and the arrival and departure time of those classes would be staggered. Loop will store 12 cars and an additional eight could go through the line. The Wilder model of pick up and drop off will be utilized.
Mr. Alvarado expressed concern about the construction phase noting that contracts should prohibit deliveries during certain hours of the day. Mr. OBrien said he is not opposed to nursery school but is opposed to further development on the site. Lamberts operates under a strict variance with the intent to keep commercialism from creeping into the neighborhood. Other area residents expressed concerns about increased traffic and conflicts with walkers from the Middle School. Several residents noted the traffic backs up from Queen Anne Corner to Pine Grove Rd. on many afternoons. The Board took the matter under advisement.
Meeting adjourned 10:40 PM.
Betty Foley, Clerk