Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
May 4, 2010
Special Session 6:00 pm
Mr. Rabuffo, Mr. Riley, Ms. Burns
Mr. Rabuffo congratulated Ms. Burns and all the candidates who ran for election.
Continuation of a Public Hearing on the Request for a Grant of Location by National Grid
Mr. Regan, the Permit Representative from National Grid, explained that the lawyers are discussing the matter but no resolution has been reached as yet. It was pointed out that the Town is planning on reconstructing the road and there are existing mains with an extensive leak history. Once the road is redone ay leak repair will require extensive road work.
Mr. Riley pointed out that the provisions of the street opening regulations say that any road that is excavated for a repair must be returned to the same condition it was in prior to the repair. In the case of a newly paved road that would require milling curb to curb and paving to the nearest joint. Mr. Sylvester presented a copy of the letter sent to National Grid dated April 7, 2010 and suggested that these issues must be resolved or any excavation will mean reconstruction of the road. Mr. Riley suggested copying the Department of Public Utilities on all future correspondence on this matter.
Voted - to continue the Grant of Location petition of Nationalgrid to install and maintain approximately 1, 535 feet of 2 inch plastic gas main in Cottage Street beginning at an existing 3 inch gas main in Fearing Road and continuing to completion in Cottage Street approximately 880 feet of the North Street intersection.
Voted - to continue the Grant of Location petition of Nationalgrid to install and maintain approximately 1,425 feet of 8 inch plastic gas main in North Street. This main will be connected to an existing 6 inch gas main in Otis Street and continue down North Street to completion at South Street.
Voted - to approve the minutes of February 26 and March 16, 2010.
The Board voted, by roll call vote, to adjourn to executive session for purpose of discussing contract negotiations and to return to open session at approximately 7:00 pm.
Mr. Riley – yes, Ms. Burns – yes, Mr. Rabuffo – yes
The Board resumed open session
Common Cause E-Government Award
Mr. Alexiades introduced Kate Richardsson and Steve Becker. He recognized their efforts on the Town’s website. Mr. Rabuffo thanked them for a job well done, as did Mr. Riley. Ms. Burns said she remembered when the website was very rudimentary and now she regularly hears from people who are able to find what they want on the website. Mr. Becker said that his focus has been on planning and working on the network and without Kate’s help it would be very difficult to keep the website up to date. The Board congratulated both of them on an excellent job.
Mr. Riley said that it had been a great town meeting and a wonderful show of democracy and leadership by Mr. O’Donnell. Ms. Burns mentioned that the title Chairman of the Board came from colonial times when most houses had only one chair and when an important person arrived they sat in the one chair.
Ms. Burns attended the Plymouth County Advisory Board meeting. The Plymouth county Registrar of Deeds recruited her to go because there was a proposal to close the Rockland Office of the Registry of Deeds. There was a very interesting discussion and the board voted not to fund the courthouses. The state is supposed to pay the bills for the courthouses. The contract is subject to appropriation and it has not been funded. The courthouses are in terrible condition and there has been no money forthcoming from the state.
Mr. Rabuffo noted that there were a couple of votes that were very close, which is reflective of the good discussion here in Hingham. It is his concern that this may also be indicative of divisiveness and Mr.
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Rabuffo said the Town should find a way to come together and encourage unity. The Board will set aside time to discuss this at a future meeting.
Ms. Foley did a brief overview of revised Open Meeting Law. She noted the requirement for detailed agendas and the inclusion of all meeting materials as a part of the minutes. There will be a Municipal Forum scheduled for staff as well as board and committee members at which Town Counsel will review the updated requirements.
Mr. Rabuffo said he had asked Ted Alexiades to explore other ways to prepare the minutes for the Board of Selectmen. Mr. Alexiades noted that the minutes require well over 10% of Ms. Foley’s time. The meeting alone is often over 10% of the time then minutes are prepared at another time. The Conservation Commission had been employing an individual to prepare the meeting minutes at a cost of $150 per meeting. The main issue would be the funding of this service, which could be $7500. Mr. Alexiades said there is a need to do a cost benefit analysis and to find the money in the budget. Mr. Paicos agreed that the present arrangement is not the best. Mr. Rabuffo said this has to be cost neutral to the taxpayer. This would allow the Board to get current and use help on a part time, if not a full time basis.
Road Management Plan
Mr. Fernandes presented his recommended road management plan. There are 630 streets or roadway segments in Town. Each roadway is looked at individually to see if it is a candidate for full depth reconstruction. The list of roads to be paved this year is listed on the town website. Mr. Fernandes said funds for the Beal Street finish coat is from Shipyard mitigation but may not be completed this year since it may be advisable to put that off until the full depth reconstruction of lower Beal Street happens next year.
There are 140 miles of roadway in town and the survey information on these roads is on an Excel spreadsheet. The projects engineer and the assistant projects engineer update the survey annually. The selection of roads for reconstruction is not based upon the most vocal residents but rather an evaluation of the complaint in relation to other roadways in the town. There is a system behind the choices of which roadway should be done. The modern roadway managements system inventories all the roads; reduces them to segments; rates them; and determines the most cost effective intervention.
Mr. Fernandes explained that funding sources for roadway reconstruction and resurfacing include $547,000 annually from Chapter 90, $150,000 under Chapter 122 and $100,000 - $125,000 from the road building account in the Department of Public Woks budget. Additionally, there are PWED grants and, occasionally, mitigation money. With the exception of special allocations the amount of money from the state for road building has not changed in the past 7 years. Mr. Paicos noted that with no increase in the funding for roadwork the implication is that we can just do half what was done before. He said the solution is to begin funding things that have been chronically underfunded for many years. The Board agreed that the next challenge is to take a look at the roadway plan and see what it would take to get every road in town up to a good condition (6) standard.
Town Meeting Follow up
The Board discussed the need for follow up to items discussed at the Annual Town Meeting.
Town Meeting voted to authorize the use of Community Preservation funds to fix the last two boilers at Thaxter Park. The responsibility for the boiler replacement rests with the Housing Authority but the work needs to be done in the summer in preparation for next winter. Mr. Paicos and Mr. Rabuffo will follow up on this item. The Town Meeting also voted to create a Government Study Committee. The Moderator will make the appointments for this Committee. The Moderator and Board of Selectmen will jointly appoint members of the newly created Audit Committee.
The Department of Revenue has been notified that the Meals Tax was adopted and the paper work is in process. Pursuant to the Cushing Street traffic light discussion Mr. Rabuffo met with two chiefs, Roger Fernandes and Ted Alexiades to discuss what to do in interim. The possibility of a detail at certain hours was considered. Mr. Riley raised the question of how this would be funded. Mr. Fernandes advised that the raceways were not put in during the reconstruction of the roadway. A number of issues were raised relative to the Main/Cushing/South Pleasant Street intersection. Greg O’Meara suggested that doing something at Cushing Street may just move the problem to different intersections. It was also suggested that other intersections be studied and the study should show whether it is a matter of convenience or a matter of safety. It was further suggested that the Town use existing traffic light at
May 4, 2010
the Fire Station to cycle traffic at certain times. The scope of the study must be determined and a warrant analysis performed prior to any recommendation. Mr. Riley noted that it might be wise to consider that there is a steep hill on one side of the intersection and it may be that a light at the bottom of that hill could trigger the increased use of jake brakes in that area. A number of area residents who made other calming suggestions. It was noted that without funds to hire a traffic engineer it will be very difficult to go back to town meeting with suggestions.
The Cable television article will need follow up and the Board will request the Cable TV Committee to come back to the Selectmen in the near future. The Board would like to draft an article to create a stabilization fund for consideration at the next Annual Town Meeting.
The Chairman of the Naming Policy Development Committee has requested that the committee be discharged.
Voted - to discharge the Naming Policy Development Committee with thanks for the service rendered the Town.
Mr. Paicos thanked Ted Alexiades for an outstanding job as acting Town Administrator while he was gone. He also noted that the Police Department has five vacancies and there are two more coming. He said the Chief would like to move forward with the process. H4610 is the bill number for regional dispatch center legislation. It is hoped that this will move along quickly. The Lions Club has offered $1000 towards funding the Fourth of July fireworks overtime. The total cost of that overtime is approximately $6500 which still leaves a shortage of $5500 in the budget. Mr. Paicos suggested asking the Advisory Committee to provide funding and continue to work with Advisory to deal with this. Mr. Rabuffo said this issue has come up two times. This is an event that needs to be funded and, given the number of people who attend the fireworks, perhaps there are other charitable partners who could help out. There is a possibility to agree that we will pay for it this year with the understanding that we will migrate to a new method of payment. On the matter of the property and casualty insurance bid Mr. Paicos said he feels very strongly that the staff lacks the expertise to guide them in purchasing the insurance. It would be haphazard. The best, fastest and cleanest process is to pay the $12,000 and get the job done. Mr. Rabuffo recommended getting an independent group of people in motion. The recommended members of the group include Harry Wey, a retired insurance executive, George Ford, an attorney and former town counsel, and Bruce Thompson.
Meeting adjourned 9:40 pm.
Betty Foley, Clerk