Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
July 1, 2009 @ 9:00 AM
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo, Mr. Riley
Voted to approve the minutes of December 2, 4, 15, 16, 2008 and minutes of May 5, 2009.
Cable TV Wiring and Equipment for Town Hall - Present: Cable TV Advisory Committee members Sandra Peavey, Chairman, James Dellot, Vice Chairman, Eric Connerly, Eric Gauthier, Amy Goebel, and Katy Gallagher Wooley. Ms. Peavey handed out the committee’s report recommending the purchase of cable TV-related equipment related equipment for Town Hall and Hingham High School using franchise fees from Verizon and Comcast. Ms. Peavey announced that she would like to see a new member appointed to the Committee due to the resignation of Guy Conrad. Ms. Burns said they have some great candidates to consider. Ms. Peavey pointed out that Ms. Burns had said in one or more of their meetings that “you wanted to make sure that before we started spending money on a public access channel that Town Hall was taken care of. This is in response to your request.” It has become very urgent because the High School is closed for the summer and Comcast has closed their studio in Norwell. Therefore, the Selectmen’s meetings could no longer be taped to be broadcast on Channel 10. Presently the Channel 10 bulletin is not working and there is no person assigned to keep the bulletin board up and running. Mr. Dellot has been talking to Steve Becker, the Town’s IT director, who has reset it a number of times, but it just keeps crashing.
Ms. Peavey explained that the report addresses the needs of the Government Channel to be operated from Town Hall, and equipment needed by the Educational Channel at the High School. The Committee’s recommendations are divided into six parts.
Part I – Playback for the Government Channel. The cost is approximately $11,000. Exhibit A listed the three bids. She was informed yesterday by the Town Administrator that there was a small room available in Town Hall, which they plan to use. 70 feet of cable will be required over to the head end which is a little closet. Once that is installed they will be able to run the bulletin board again and be able to insert the meetings tapes and run them. They would like to do that as soon as possible. Ms. Burns questioned would the equipment that is here stay here. Mr. Dellot said the equipment received from Comcast is going to the recycle bin as it is outdated and doesn’t work well. The modulator will stay and new feed will be run through the ceiling. It could be done in a day. Training will take longer, as it has to be decided who is going to be trained, who is going to be responsible, and who is going to be a back-up person. Ms. Burns expressed concern that it has been assumed that all of this undertaking will be handled by Steve Becker. Mr. Alexiades advised that is not his understanding, asking Steve to manage channel 10 is a tremendously different charge for him and his department, that would have to be evaluated, that is asking us to put a lot on his plate. Steve will help with the purchases and help out when needed. Ms. Burns said it will have to be straightened out who will be running the bulletin board in a technical capacity.
Part II – Editing Station for the Governmental Channel. This would enable them to edit programs from government agencies, e.g., public service programming from the police or fire departments, and filming of town events. Also needed is a mini-DV camera to convert tapes to DVD format. The committee also recommended the purchase of a DVD copier so that copies of taped meetings and other government programming can be made. Ms. Burns asked, why are recordings made on tape?? Ms. Peavey explained because the equipment is so old. Mr. Dellot said we are currently just using VHS playback at the High School to broadcast Selectmen’s Meetings on channel 22. The committee is proposing that the editing station, if we are still going to tape on VHS, convert the tapes to DVD. Everything will be digitized when the Selectmen’s meeting room is upgraded. Ms. Goebel mentioned that we are not recording straight on DVD or HD. She has found that is not reliable as yet for anything over an hour. Mr. Dellot has personally had issues with DVD camcorders, they are not as easy to edit off of. Mr. Dellot told Ms. Burns that we could broadcast from the Library. Ms. Burns also wanted to know if the Library could pick this up to take the burden off Town Hall staff until we figure out who is going to do it. Mr. Dellot advised there is no playback capability. It would cost about $1500.00 to rewire as there is no modulator at the Library. Mr. Alexiades said there would be a dead end when town hall is closed as there would be a lock down for security purposes. Mr. Dellot said he hopes that at some point all town facilities could take advantage. Ms. Burns referenced their proposal to buy a second playback station for the public access channel that would go ultimately wherever the public channel operates. Ms. Burns thought that theoretically speaking we could agree to your recommendation to lock in the price, but don’t buy it, until we need it. She supposed we could buy it and see if the Library would like to operate the public access channel on a short term basis. Sandra Peavey thought this was a good idea because we could probably get some programming that could be set into it. She also will talk with Linden Ponds also to see if they could provide some programming. Mr. Rabuffo advised that at his suggestion Ms. Peavey agreed to talk to the Library and that is what should be done to see what they could do. Mr. Rabuffo also mentioned he gave Ms. Peavey a contact name with WGBH who may be able to provide technical assistance
Part IV - Studio-In-A-Box. Ms. Peavey said that under Part IV, the modulator was estimated to be about $2,000 plus installation. There is already one at the Town Hall and it would follow wherever the public channel goes, which could be the Library.
The Studio-In- A-Box would allow live broadcast. Mr. Dellot advised that if an additional modulator was bought and there is a portable modulator associated with a Studio-In-A- Box, it travels with you and you could go live from any site. Ms. Peavey recommended purchasing Studio-In-A-Box. It will enable the town to tape other meetings besides the Selectmen’s and also go outside to broadcast events. Ms. Goebel suggested that volunteers could be used to tape these events. High School students could use it as a tool to complete their required community service.
Part III – Upgrade of Equipment in Selectmen’s Meeting Room. The current quality is not good. Ms. Burns remarked people were very concerned about the poor quality of the picture and the sound of the Selectmen’s meetings. The Committee remarked that the camera and microphone equipment are badly in need of an upgrade. It was also recommended that the cameras be connected to the Channel 10 headend so that Selectmen’s meetings can be broadcast live. The estimate for the upgrade is about $15,000 and the Committee is requesting the Board to issue an RFP for this work. In order to bid, bidders will have to come in to evaluate the existing equipment. Ms. Peavey asked the Board to make the decision to upgrade today. It was further explained that there were three bids listed on Exhibit A and if the cost of the project was under $25,000, it was only necessary to obtain three quotes. Mr. Alexiades said this would be paid for by cable franchise fees paid into the cable access the cable access grant fund. It was brought out that under the Franchise Agreement, the Selectmen are the licensing authority, and have the authority to use these Grant monies or designate someone else.
Part V - Wiring for other Town Hall Meeting Rooms. The estimated cost is about $5,000 to wire other rooms so that there will be the potential for live broadcast in the future. They were looking at three rooms and would have to sub out the final connection to one of the vendors that would be doing the installation. The actual headend would have to be installed by one of the technical vendors. Mr. Paicos thought we should authorize the committee to get started on these recommendations to replicate at least what we had lost. There is nothing that is precluding what we might want to do eventually.
Ms. Lauter of the Advisory Committee thought the Capital Outlay Committee should review this report as another pair of eyes would be a good thing. Ms. Lauter pointed out the Capital Outlay Committee always reviews any projects over $5,000. Ms. Burns agreed. Ms. Peavey and Mr. Alexiades will coordinate with the Capital Outlay Committee. Mr. Paicos pointed out that this is an unusual situation as none of the typical municipal finance laws apply in this instance, as this is a Franchise Agreement in which the Board controls the funds. This project doesn’t really need the approval of the Capital Outlay Committee but it was agreed it was a good idea for them to review the plans.
Part VI - Upgrade of High School Equipment for the Education Channel. Ms. Peavey pointed out that was listed in Exhibit C of the report. The total comes up to $27,229. If. If she can get some things from the other bidders it could become a lesser amount. The Committee recommends that the purchase of this equipment be approved for purchase this August in time for the opening of school in September. The High School will be receiving some equipment from Comcast, but Channel 22/29 needs approximately $30,000 in equipment upgrades that will not be available from Comcast. They will need three new cameras at a cost of about $12,000 each.
Voted – to approve the proposed recommendations from the Cable TV Advisory
Committee for the purchase of cable TV-related equipment related equipment for Town Hall and Hingham High School as defined in their report of July 1, 2009, for Part I, II, III, IV, V, and VI, pending review of the Capital Outlay Committee.
Mr. Guy Conrad wanted the Board to realize that this Committee really worked hard and did a very professional job. He requested that everyone involved visit other studios before making it final decisions. The Board thanked Mr. Conrad for all his leadership in this process.
Discussion on Special Town Meeting Petition – A citizen’s petition containing two Articles was submitted for a Special Town Meeting. The first Article asked voters to accept the school naming committee’s recommendation that the new elementary school building be named the East School and that the school library be named the Dorothy Galo Library. The second Article asked that the money for the cost of the Special Town Committee be taken from the School Department budget. Ms. Burns announced that the purpose of this meeting is to set a date and not discuss the content of the warrant. The earliest date it could be held would be July 27th, foregoing the mailing according to our by-law and publish the entire warrant two weeks in advance in the newspaper. The Moderator advised that since a large turnout is predicted, he felt it is necessary to reserve the gym, auditorium, and cafeteria at the High School, and the earliest date that all three rooms would be available is August 3, 2009.
Jerry Seelen, Chairman of the Advisory Committee and Irma Lauter, a member of the Advisory Committee were present. Mr. Seelen advised the Advisory Committee will open their discussions next week at their July 8th meeting. The proponents will present their Article to the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will accept comments and questions from their committee and the audience and do their final deliberations and vote on July 14th. Due to time constraints Mr. Seelen said his committee does not plan to have their recommendation ready to be in the warrant as this would not leave adequate time for public airing and address the concerns of all people involved.
Voted - to set the date for Special Town Meeting on August 3, 2009.
Possible Request for Additional Town Meeting Articles. Ms. Burns said that a request had been received from the Historical Commission to extend the delay of the demolition by-law from 6 months to 12 months for structures on the Historical Inventory. Ms. Burns, said as time was very short; she had a discussion with Mr. Macmillan the Chairman of Historical Commission, and informed him that she felt a matter of this nature, placing restrictions on resident’s homes, should be given more time for the discussion. The Board would not have the time to socialize the concept within the community. Mr. Macmillan agreed and proposed to withdraw the Article. Mr. Riley advised he heard that d the Community Preservation Committee might also be also planning to submit an Article. The Board agreed that if such an Article was proposed it should wait until the April Annual Town Meeting. Mr. Seelen agreed, saying the Advisory Committee needs adequate time to review articles before making recommendations.
Voted - to close the Special Town Meeting Warrant for August 3, 2009 and not reopen the Warrant unless something very compelling happens.
Wording of Town Meeting Articles – Ms. Burns pointed out that several residents have raised questions about whether the actions that are proposed in the Special Town Meeting are lawful or not. Town Counsel will be requested to issue an opinion on the contents of the warrant. Ms. Burns wants to be sure that the requested actions in the warrant are lawful should the Advisory Committee and the voters support it. The legal opinions and questions received from various voters will be forwarded to Mr. Toomey to ensure that what the petitioners want to accomplish is in fact possible. The Selectmen will meet with the Advisory Committee on July 8th to provide their input. July 14th the Board will discuss and vote on the Articles and the Advisory Committee will also meet on July 14th for discussion and vote.
2010 Budget - Ms. Burns questioned if it may be necessary to make adjustments in the 2010 budget, based on the budget that the Governor signed and is expected to be ratified
today. Mr. Paicos advised it appears tentatively like we have lost $100,000. He plans to
meet with Mr. Alexiades, Finance Director today to discuss this. Mr. Paicos felt that at this time there is no reason to act on a budget adjustment. Mr. Rabuffo asked if the State funding is cut from the Quinn Bill, would it impact the budget. Mr. Paicos said it may and that he is waiting for new information and this subject needs to be discussed in Executive Session.
Cable Bill – Special Counsel William Solomon had submitted two bills for his services for the Comcast Cable TV Renewal License and the PEG Access Services and Related Legal Contractual Issues, for the period of July, 2008 through March 2009. The Board thought these bills were very consistent and will be paid out of cable TV funds.
Voted to approve payment to Attorney Solomon in the amount of $16,362
to approve payment to Attorney Solomon in the amount of $1,936
Insurance Bids – Property and Casualty – At the June 23, 2009 meeting the Board had discussed the four insurance bids and agreed that further clarification was needed before a decision could be made to award the bid. Mr. Rabuffo wanted to know what the insurance companies were asked specifically to bid on. Mr. Paicos said they were asked to replicate as closely as possible our current coverage. Mr. Rabuffo said to him the crux of the matter is that on column four of Mr. Paicos’ detailed analysis sheet the amount shown is $456,291 versus $438,000. Mr. Rabuffo said that therefore why do we have to do anything, the price is the price and the only number that should matter is the price they come in on. Mr. Paicos explained that this was a very complicated process, as it was not a formal RFP, therefore, the bidders bid as closely as they could, and all put in features that were not asked for. Mr. Rabuffo advised he is still not convinced that all of the bids are comparable. It appeared to him that some bidders threw in extras and this is what is confusing the process here. He felt the bid should be awarded on exactly what was asked for. Mr. Riley mentioned he still has concerns on what is covered by the umbrella and felt it needs to be studied a lot further in depth.
Mr. Rabuffo said that in his mind, our current carrier’s bid, Richardson Insurance Agency is the low bidder, not MIIA. Mr. Paicos suggested that some of Mr. Rabuffo’s issues should be addressed in Executive Session. Ms. Burns thought it was not clear about the $5 million that was factored into the umbrella policy. Richardson Insurance had the breakdown but MIIA did not. Mr. Paicos suggested that if the Board does not feel they could accomplish an award, perhaps a consultant could be hired and allow the formal process to occur. Mr. Alexiades noted that both the Richardson bid and the MIIA bid come in under budget. Mr. Paicos recommended that the bid be awarded to MIIA. Mr. Rabuffo announced he is not ready to go forward on this matter, as he felt the bidders
changed the requirements on the bids when they responded and this is causing huge confusion. Mr. Alexiades said he has already requested our current carrier for a 30 day
extension to allow the Board more time to digest the bids. This discussion will be continued at a future meeting.
Voted, to be a participating community in the American Dream Downpayment initiative administered by Quincy Community Action Program.
Voted, to rescind the vote of June 23, 2009, appointing a Provisional Lieutenant and Temporary Sergeant to the Police Department.
Selectmen’s Reports – Ms. Burns reported that a question has arisen, whether or not it is required by the Community Preservation Act that a third party take a conservation easement over land bought with CPC monies. There will be further discussions on this matter. Mr. Rabuffo advised that the same issues still exists with the athletic fields and we need to get a longer term solution for field management.
Voted, by roll call vote to go into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation and not return to open session.
Ms. Burns, yes
Mr. Rabuffo, yes
Mr. Riley, yes
Marilyn A. Harrington
Adjourned: Regular Session 11:45 AM Clerk pro tem