Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes 2008
September 30, 2008
Regular Meeting – 7:00 PM
Mr. Riley, Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo
Joint Meeting with Advisory Committee
Citizen Survey Results Ms. Kitty Ward reported to the Advisory Committee on a survey she conducted. She had made an initial presentation at the Selectmen’s meeting of September 9, 2008. Ms. Ward advised this survey grew out of a discussion about low voter turnout in town elections with Mr. Rabuffo. It was suggested as a means to (a) demonstrate that the town cares about serving its citizens well; and (b) explore factors that may contribute to a disaffection or lack of involvement in two affairs and elections. She reported there were few compliments and the tone ranged from critical to hostile. Concerns were raised about the rising tax rate, increases in assessments, and the cost of government especially schools.
The Advisory Committee felt the response of 61 residents was very low. The Committee agreed that there is a need for future survey participation and the need for visible linkage of survey feedback back to the Board of Selectmen concerning their goals and objectives. Their recommendation was to conduct more aggressive surveys, such as the website, telephone surveys and more publicity in the newspapers.
Lincoln School Apartments Ms. Burns informed the Advisory Committee that there is an affordable housing crisis and Hingham and the Board of Selectmen are in support of purchasing the property. Mr. Riley advised this is right in line with an earlier town meeting vote that created an affordable housing trust. He believes it is the only way to guarantee the current 100% affordable units. Chairman Lauter advised that Mr. Innis, Advisory Committee member, had met only in an advisory capacity, only to gather information with Mr. High, President of the Corcoran Company. This meeting was in response to a letter of June 10, 2008 to the Selectmen advising that Corcoran is committed to maintaining the Lincoln School Apartments over the long term as 100% affordable. Financing would be with MassHousing under its Section 8 Preservation Loan Program. Mr. High’s letter also stated that if Section 8 should become no longer available, Corcoran Company would still be bound by the MassHousing regulatory agreement and by the requirement of the Town’s underlying comprehensive permit. Mr. Rabuffo and Susan Murphy, Planning Board Chairman also had previously met with Mr. High but did not received promised documentation from Corcoran Management.
Mr. Cavoores, of the Advisory Committee didn’t feel it was in the town’s best interest to purchase the property or own housing of any kind. He felt that the restriction already on the deed is the solution to the units remaining affordable. Mr. Cavoores expressed concern of the cost of maintaining the units affordable if the Federal Government subsidy was revoked. Other members of the Advisory Committee seemed favorable. Mr. High had said at one of their meetings that if Corcoran decided to sell the property, the town would have the first right of refusal. Ms. Murphy pointed out then it might not be in the town’s best interest, depending on the cost at that time and whether the affordability level would have dropped in the meantime. Ms. Burns said it is important to maintain the affordability of the property for the maximum amount of time, until the subsidy runs out, if ever, and the best way to do that is to purchase the property. Ms. Burns also said that the revenues generated are expected to pay for its purchase. Mr. Rabuffo commented that it is an asset to the town. The Advisory Committee will take a vote on the warrant article at their October 2, 2008 meeting.
Public Hearing/Grant of Location on the petition of Nationalgrid to install and maintain a gas service line approximately 305 feet, more or less of 4 inch gas main and 300 feet of 2 inch gas service in Collins Street, from the existing 6 inch gas main in East Street @
Collins Street easterly to Eastgate Lane and southerly to the new elementary school on Collins Street. Mr. Cooper representing Nationalgrid advised this petition was requested by Mary Mahoney, Project Engineer for the school construction building committee to provide service to the new elementary school under construction
Voted, to grant the petition of Nationalgrid to install and maintain a gas service line approximately 305 feet, more or less of 4 inch gas main and 300 feet of 2 inch gas service in Collins Street, from the existing 6 inch gas main in East Street @ Collins Street easterly to Eastgate Lane and southerly to the new elementary school on Collins Street.
Lincoln Maritime Discussion – Present: Mike Cataldo, Neil Martin, Jim Randall and Nick Pedone, trustees of the Lincoln Maritime Center, (LMC), Robin Aborn, President of the Hingham High School Rowing Club. This meeting was to discuss their financial status. At a previous meeting held September 16, 2008, their statements were not submitted to the Board in time for a review before the meeting. There is a condition in their lease that requires LMC to submit an annual report along with their financial information. The financial report showed that their total equity (retained earnings) were $418,083 in 2006 and on September 30, 2007 were $397,736, amounting to a loss of $20,347. Mr. Cataldo said this report included an endowment of $100,000 of which only the earned income can be used.
At the last meeting, Ms. Aborn, requested that the User Fee of $3200 be eliminated in exchange for services. Mr. Riley discussed the letter that was sent to the LMC on September 19, 2008 which noted that under the lease the Town of Hingham retains the right to use Barnes Wharf and the buildings on it; the Hingham Public Schools Athletic Department is an agency of the Town; no payment is required from the Public Schools or its athletic teams for the use of Barnes Wharf or the buildings on it. The letter also suggested that the Center entertain making a contribution to the schools as consideration for the favorable lease arrangement. Mr. Riley asked if LMC had a problem with this decision. Mr. Cataldo replied the LMC is very appreciative of the lease and very proud of the role of bringing adult and youth rowing to Hingham. He commented that to help getting the program started, they provided launches, rowing shells, storage, and helped with their fund raising efforts at no extra cost in order to allow them to operate at the lowest possible cost while they developed a foundation for future growth. Mr. Cataldo said LMC has donated nearly $500,000 in structures to the town in consideration for the
favorable lease terms. He pointed out that the user fee covers only a fraction of what it costs LMC to support their activities.
The Center had gained approval for a lease on Steamboat Wharf largely in reaction to the overcrowding on Barnes Wharf associated with the rowing program. Mr. Cataldo mentioned the LMC is not interested in limiting the size of the rowing program in order to reduce interference or stay in compliance with the no growth zoning mandate regarding parking. The LMC Board of Trustees would like to have a substantive discussion with the High School Rowing Program and the town with all options on the table. Mr. Cataldo said the LMC did accept their offer to build a dock in lieu of fee and are still willing to do but are not ready to do so yet. The LMC further advise that they would consider assigning the Steamboat lease and donating the nearly $20,000 spent on engineering and permitting to the town so that they can have any space required to safely conduct their activities. Mr. Riley expressed concerns about turning Steamboat Wharf back to the town. He felt a lot of issues would need to be resolved, including the planned improvements.
Ms. Aborn would like to see this situation work out amicably. Her goal is to see more communication between the LMC and the High School Rowing Program. The Selectmen recommended that the LMC and the High School Rowing Team make a list of all their issues, have a meeting with all involved parties, and work together to find a solution.
Voted - to sign a contract with AmbuPro EMS of Fall River, MA for the purchase of the AmbuPro Ambulance Reporting System in the total amount of $51,480.00
Voted - to approve a temporary liquor license for the Hingham Community
Center, for their Annual Cabaret on January 29, 30, and 41, 2009.
Voted - to appoint Edmund Demko to the 375th Anniversary Committee.
Voted - to approve a temporary liquor license for the Country Club Management Committee, for a golf tournament, on October 6, 2008.
Selectmen’s Reports - The Selectmen announced that the budget process will be starting and they look forward to get through this difficult process. Ms. Burns attended the Elder Services lunch for seniors 90 years or older. Last Saturday the Board held its first outreach meeting at the Library. Members of the Harbor Development Committee and the Harbormaster were present along with some residents to discuss harbor related issues. A lot of good ideas were presented at this energized meeting. Mr. Rabuffo reported that Route 228 reconstruction is up to South School and the remaining portion will be completed next spring. Mr. Riley announced Ms. Burns will chair the next two meetings.
Adjourned: 9:50 PM Marilyn A. Harrington
Clerk pro tem