Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
December 2, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo, Mr. Riley
Questions from the Public – Mr. Hersey voiced support for Animal Control Officer Leslie Badger on her handling of the dog incident. He further praised the efforts of Ken Corson, Harbormaster, and Mark Gryllis, acting head of the Building Department.
Tax Classification Hearing – Lane Partridge, Director of Assessing estimated rate is $10.75/1000 for 2010. If rate is split, business rate should be higher since residences are 86% and business is 13%. To save $110 per average residential value would cause businesses to increase $1,724.48. Recommendation by Assessors is to have one rate.
Mr. Rabuffo reported to the Board that this confirms the February 2009 analysis. Mr. Riley asked Mr. Partridge to discuss the methodology for computing the commercial rate. Ms. Burns then commented on the need to attract business by not placing an extra burden on them.
Voted - to continue to tax all classes of properties at a single rate with a residential factor of one.
Ms. Burns asked Mr. Partridge to explain how proposition 2 ½ works. The formula is last year’s tax levy + 2 ½ % increase + an allowance for new growth + any override.
Assessors are current in values as of January, 2009. Houses are physically inspected once every 9 years. Last year’s tax rate was $9.95. The estimated $10.75 is based on current projections to be confirmed.
Selectmen’s Parcel Design – Affordable Housing Trust Gretchen Condon and James O’Brien, Trust member. The original plan for this parcel was withdrawn as a result of the housing market. However, the 2005 Town Meeting authorization still governs this development.
The plan is to take the property through the permitting process in order to have it shovel ready for a future developer. The RFQ was discussed to qualify the proposal. The permitting process, having been done in advance, would make it easier for the developer, once, designated to proceed.
Mr. Rabuffo asked what would happen if the development was never completed. Mr. O’Brien stated that the cost to the Trust would be $40 to $50,000. The plan is to recover that money once a developer is chosen. The proposed design is for duplex – townhouse. The Board of Selectmen will review the RFQ for discussion on December 7th. (Mr. Paicos joined the meeting at 8:00 PM). There was discussion on development of this site and how it would relate to the adjacent Housing Authority property.
Mr. O’Brien updated the Board of Selectmen on the Lincoln School Apartments. He stated that the financial projections are being exceeded, and that the design for the needed improvements is well underway.
Dennis Friedman, Advisory Committee member, questioned the style of the design for the Selectmen’s parcel. Mr. O’Brien responded that it would be in keeping with a New England home concept.
Town Administrator’s Report – (1) Main Street Highway – loam and seed is the preferred repair/improvement to the recently completed state project. The crushed stone alternative was a better maintenance solution but historic appearance seems to be preferred. The cost to restore it is estimated at $40,000. There would be an additional cost to maintain the historic appearance. Representative Bradley arranged for the contractor to pay 75%; the town will pay $25% of the repair costs.
At this moment, neither the Hull, nor the Hingham selectmen, seek any work for improving the Washington Boulevard corridor. A citizens group has been lobbying for improving the safety on the road. The State has said it has approved the monies for the Rotary but when it will commence is a question. Significantly, the 3A Rotary competed with the Exit 15 Derby Street improvement. Mr. Paicos offered that a discussion on priority – Rotary, Exit 15, or both may be necessary.
Public Hearing – Packaging Center, Inc. d/b/a Stop & Shop on their application to change officers and directors on their Retail Package Goods Store All Alcoholic Beverages License. Attorney Neil Mooney represented Stop & Shop.
Voted - to approve the application of Packaging Center, Inc. d/b/a Stop & Shop to change their corporate officers and directors, subject to the approval of the ABCC.
Executive Officers Reorganization – Mr. Paicos apologized for the delay in getting the
plan to the Board of Selectmen. He further stated that he was sensitive to the need to reduce the staff. He said David Basler, and Ted Alexiades did the summary. His analysis is drawn by comparison to other towns of similar size, and he offers two major scenarios.
Scenario One: Eliminate the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and establish Town Accountant. Savings would be $80,000
Scenario Two: Replacing the Town Administrator with an Executive Secretary. Savings about $50,000.
Conclusions: Hingham does not need 4 positions at the top; it needs to restructure the Town Accountant, CFO, Assistant Town Manager, and HR Director.
Other cost-savings proposals:
Accounting Clerical Staff: Identified issue is we are doing 100% verification. Do we need to? Savings is potentially $30,000.
Police Details: The Town Administrator thinks there is a lot of clerical time employed to manage this.
Payroll Preparation: Treasurer’s work, possible efficiency in moving all payroll tasks to Treasurer’s Office.
Selectmen’s Office: Most towns have Human Resources; but the Town Administrator recommends a clerical position for human resources.
Benefits Administrator: Costs should be shared by school department, as this position also serves the school department.
Staff: The report proposes a number of changes to various activities. Proposal to implement beginning January 1, 2010.
CATV: The Board of Selectmen discussed clerical supports for initiating the government channel and agreed to adjust temporarily the hours of a part time employee to administer the government channel.
Voted - to authorize $21,788 for equipment in Selectmen’s Hearing Room.
Voted - $2,000 for modulator, $2,000 for wiring installation, and $40,000 for equipment (camera’s, monitors, etc) and to revisit the operating budget associated with bringing TV capability both live and taped to the community.
The Board emphasized the need for transparency and openness by both elected and appointed town boards at their meetings.
Adjourned: 11:00 PM Bruce A. Rabuffo