Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
March 24, 2009
Regular Session 7:05 pm
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo
Energy Action Committee Update
Ms. Hardy explained that approximately a year ago the Energy Action Committee joined an organization called ICLEI.. Courtney Forrester explained that the organization is an association of local governments. Currently the membership includes 552 governmental entities in this country and 68 other countries worldwide. Making a commitment to the climate mitigation program is a five milestone process. The first milestone is to inventory emissions. The emissions inventory includes government operations within the community as well as residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and waste. The base year is 2007. Ms. Forrester explained that completion of the emissions inventory allows the governmental unit to prioritize target areas for reduction. Transportation is the largest sector of the carbon footprint (42%) followed by commercial, residential, and waste. Ms. Hardy said that the committee has been discussion what it has control over and how to choose an action plan. She said that it is necessary to understand what is feasible in setting a strategy. The Committee has discussed encouraging energy conservation through community outreach, education relative to home energy audits and actions to be taken in response to an energy audit. Ms. Hardy also noted that increasing the renewable energy portfolio could result in significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The use of performance contracting could save significant money for the Town. The Committee recommended looking into performance contracting as well as hiring an owners’ agent. It was explained that under performance contracting the Town signs a contract with an energy service company. That company does an audit and then lays out a plan for energy savings. These savings are guaranteed to exceed the cost of the changes. Mr. Heissner noted that a deal could be structured so that the ESCO would finance the project thereby eliminating the need for any capital outlay. Ms. Burns thanked the Committee and noted that the next step is for the Board to have a conversation about performance contracting. Mr. Paicos said that having done a project like this he had found it to be an opportunity to save quite a bit of money. He offered to help the committee figure out the next step.
Worlds End Culvert
Steve Sloan from The Trustees of Reservations informed the Board that field work has been initiated at the dammed meadows site. The Trustees are currently looking at land aboveground and underwater. The plan is to initiate the permitting process in April. The Trustees have submitted a grant request to Gulf of Maine Council which will be enough to address removal of outer culvert. A second, more substantial, grant opportunity is available through NOAA and the Trustees would like a letter of support for this grant application.
The Trustees have looked at several different models and all involve the removal of both culverts the replacement with open channels of ten to twenty feet in width. The primary resource goal would be to increase tidal flows and the public safety concern is to reduce the rate of flow of water through the openings. All engineering models would reduce the rate of flow. A twenty foot opening would reduce the rate of flow by 70%. There would be a bridge over the culvert that would allow clearance in the normal tide cycle. Mr. Sloan said that the Trustees are pursuing a grant in the $500,000 - $600,000 range. He also noted that a great deal of money was given to restore the marsh area and the proposed engineering models would reduce the flow but not to inadequate level that existed during the past fifty years when a twelve inch diameter pipe that brought water to and from the meadow to the harbor. Ms. Granahan requested renderings of the proposed changes. Mr. Sloan was invited to return in a month to discuss what would happen during the transition period.
Voted - to send a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in support of the Trustees of Reservations’ grant application for replace-ment of the Worlds End culverts.
The Library has submitted a Reserve Fund Transfer Request in the amount of $5,000 to install a battery back up to provide automatic door opening on the elevator during a loss of electrical power. This is in response to a recent event where individuals were trapped in the elevator for an extended period of time due to a power outage.
Voted - to recommend a transfer from the Reserve Fund to the Library R & M of Buildings account in the amount of $5,000.
Mr. Paicos explained that because capital investments are being put off due to the budget situation it would be prudent to increase the Reserve Fund to deal with emergency expenditures that might arise due to the delay.
Voted - to recommend a revised budget of $883,000 for the FY2010 Reserve Fund
Mr. Paicos reviewed the differences in the budget numbers for Recreation, Contributory Group Insurance and Insurance for Fire, Public Liability and Property Damage.
Voted - to recommend the following budgets for the FY 2010 budget:
Recreation Payroll/Total $59,000
Contributory Group Insurance $4,245,000
Insurance (Fire, Liability, etc) $422,500
Motorcycle noise: Mr. Paicos advised the Board that he had spoken to Mr. Toomey who reiterated that assistant attorney general and had reviewed the proposed by-law and said that it was highly unlikely that she would approve it because it conflicted with a mechanism in state law that already exists. The fact that the exhaust pipes do not match the label does not mean that they would necessarily give greater emissions. For that reason Town counsel feels that this is flawed. Mr. Englehart said that where he lives on Martins Lane he hears motorcycles for a distance of close to five miles. Mr. Englehart said the noise from trains and planes, motorcycles is a constant problem to people in the Martins Lane neighborhood. Mr. Hersey suggested stepped up enforcement in the area.
Voted - to recommend a vote of no action on the petition warrant article on motorcycle noise.
Thaxter Park Boiler Replacement: Mr. Paicos said the question is does the Town wish to expend Community Preservation Committee (locally raised) money on property owned by the state. Mr. Rabuffo remarked that it is a bad precedent to get in the way of the state taking care of its obligation. Mr. Watson said he understands the Board’s concern but the Housing Authority’s operating subsidy has not gone up in 15 years. At least three quarters of the residents have been long-term Hingham residents. The state has an annual capital program that the Town ranks very low in the order for receipt of money. Mr. Paicos’ concern is that this is a state asset that the state is not maintaining. By virtue of the state’s neglect the Town will have greater problem maintaining its own infrastructure. The Town’s funding this replacement would encourage the state to be more neglectful and continue their bad behavior. It is not the role of the taxpayers to rescue the state from its financial burdens. Ms. Burns said that she did not think that making a decision to fund this would have any impact on the state bureaucracy and its willingness to pick up their responsibilities. She commented that the state is deaf to what is going on at the local level. This action is rescuing the residents of Thaxter Park
Other Warrant Articles: Mr. Paicos advised the board that the recommendation for the current year Reserve Fund article was not yet ready for a vote. The Docks and piers by-law has been withdrawn by the Conservation Commission and the OPEB funding article is being withdrawn since there is no funding available.
Mr. Paicos said there is a question as to whether Hingham will get federal stimulus money and, if so, what will be done with it. DOE issued a memo saying that the Governor proposed that a certain amount of stimulus money be directed to public schools. This particular money created a lot of discussion since there are towns that are not on the list for receiving money. The Ed Reform Act required that schools be funded up to the foundation budget (driven by enrollment) It was the state’s responsibility to provide a certain amount of the foundation budget and the remainder came from the municipality. The Governor’s budget held money level for education aid. This meant that 166 towns would not meet foundation budget. There would be towns that needed more money than last year to meet foundation because of increased enrollment. The Governor said that he would use the stimulus money to bring the towns up to foundation.
Mr. Rabuffo said the money was announced on Thursday but Representative Bradley had said that the proposal to send this money is tied into tax increases that the legislature has not agreed to. The proposed $955,000 would seem to take the place of the override of $1.1 million but the Town does not know what is going to happen in terms of the $955,000 – it could be considerably less or even nothing. There is a possibility that some money could reduce the need for an override this year. The Board of Selectmen, Advisory Committee and School Committee have been paying attention to this are aware that this could cause confusion. If the money came in from the state for FY 2010 it would be used for an offset to the override. The School Committee voted a conceptual agreement at its meeting yesterday and Advisory Committee will be voting on the agreement this evening. The School Committee voted the theory of “when the dust settles, to the extent able they will offset the override”. The Board noted that this is a timing issue and it is also one year money so the full amount would still be necessary in the succeeding years in order to fund school operations for the fourth elementary school. There will be a joint statement available tomorrow morning.
Voted - to issue a joint statement with the School Committee and Advisory Committee regarding on the proposed override.
Voted - to sign the deed to accept a 15.37 acre parcel of land in the former Naval Ammunition Depot currently under the control of Mass Highway Department
Voted - to grant a License to Norman McCulloch, Cove Ballroom, pursuant to the Town of Hingham By-Laws to be a dealer in, and keeper of a shop for the purchase, Sale, or Barter of, old or second-Hand Metals and/or Old or Second-Hand Precious Metals at 20 Broad Cove expiring 12/31/09.
Voted - to renew the Auctioneer’s License of Scott McCulloch to conduct auctions at the Cove Ballroom, 20 Broad Cove Road, expiring 12/31/09.
Voted - to approve a temporary liquor license to Norman McCulloch for a Reunion Dance to be held at Broad Cove Ballroom on March 24, 2009.
Voted - to appoint Gary Nisbet to the Cultural Council for a three year term.
Ms. Burns noted that some of the stimulus money is from the IDEA grant to the public schools. The School Committee has voted to put a portion of that against the override for the three years of the grant.
Meeting adjourned 9:20 pm.
Betty Foley, Clerk