Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
December 7, 2010
7:00 PM North Hearing Room
Present: Bruce Rabuffo, Chairman, John A. Riley, Laura M. Burns, and Ted Alexiades, Interim Town Administrator, and Betty Foley, Assistant Town Administrator
The Chairman called the meeting to order.
The Chairman read the names of Hingham residents that served in World War II in observance of the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The Chairman read a statement regarding a lawsuit filed against the Town relative to certain entities of Thomas Hastings'.
"The Town of Hingham has received notification of a Complaint from TH Claims LLC against the Town and various Town Officials.
At this point Town Counsel is analyzing the Complaint to formulate a response and plan of action. We also will be notifying our insurance providers and requesting their defense of the case. Town Counsel has advised that the named Defendants not discuss the case or its allegations with anyone other than counsel. As mentioned in previous communications, all documents and electronic materials that relate in any way to the matters should be preserved."
Comments / Questions from the public
Mr. Hersey asked Mr. Riley what happened to the rock that was removed from a worksite on 3A. Mr. Riley advised that it went to a crusher. Mr. Hersey thought that there was a by-law indicating that no rock should be removed but Mr. Riley advised that the by-law specifies loam and gravel but not rock. Mr. Rabuffo will meet with Mr. Hersey tomorrow to further address.
Mr. Charles Dale, of Turkey Hill Lane was present and accompanied by several other residents regarding an issue that is before the Planning Board in Cohasset. Mr. Dale indicated that there is a proposal before the Planning Board in Cohasset to construct a wind turbine on Turkey Hill. The proposal is scheduled to be approved tomorrow night if there is no opposition. Their research has determined that the proposed turbine is larger than the one currently located in Hull. It is proposed on property that is owned by The Trustees of the Reservation on Turkey Hill. While the energy and financial benefits will be realized by the town of Cohasset, all of the burden will be on the town of Hingham. Some of those burdens are: noise, visual, potential health, cutting trees to allow access to the site for construction. Mr. Dale requested the Board's assistance and has asked them to attend the Planning Board's meeting tomorrow night.
Mr. Rabuffo advised that he became aware of the issue yesterday as well and has talked with Town Counsel. Mr. Rabuffo also asked Mr. Alexiades, Interim Town Administrator to contact the town of Cohasset. Mr. Alexiades advised that he spoke with the Interim Town Manager, Stephen Lombard and he said he would keep Hingham in the loop during the permitting process. Mr. Dale advised that the permitting process ends tomorrow. Mr. Rabuffo confirmed that information. Ms. Burns advised she will be attending the meeting tomorrow night of the Cohasset Planning Board and will be joined by Mr. Alexiades.
Ms. Katy Lacy, the Community Planning Director, advised that the rights of the immediate abutters are the same, no matter what town they are in.
Chipotle Grille Change of Manager
Discussion: Chipotle Grille Change of Manager Common Victualler and Malt Beverages License.
Ms. Kathryn Goble was present and requested the change in management approval. Ms. Goble is the current manager at the Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Ms. Burns asked if this is the her first management position. Per Ms. Gobal it is, she is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State with a degree is Hospitality Management.
Vote: Ms. Burns moved to approve the request of Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill, 92 Derby Street to change the manager of their Malt Alcoholic Beverages License from Bryan Masse to Kathryn J. Goble, subject to approval of the ABCC.
Second: Mr. Riley In Favor: All Opposed: None
1. Community Development
Discussion: Ms. Katy Lacy, Director of Community Planning, advised that she prepared a level services budget with no cuts to expenses for salary or staff hours. She met with all department heads and then with Mr. Alexiades; they identified a $27,000 cut which is a 4.26% reduction, bringing the budget down to $607,413.
Mr. Rabuffo asked about services that may be affected as the budget cut. Ms. Lacy advised that there was a significant staff-up in 2006/2007 due to the volume of businessm which has since dropped off. There are also efficiencies in the form of shared positions and a shared administrator so no services will be affected.
Mr. Riley thanked Ms. Lacy for her work that ultimately reduced costs and improved services.
Ms. Burns also thanks Ms. Lacy for successfully putting five departments together and the benefits are evident.
Mr. Rabuffo asked about permitting levels. Ms. Lacy advised that permitting levels dipped in 2008 and then dipped very low in 2009. Currently they are back up to above where they were in 2008.
2. Board of Health
Discussion: Mr. Alexiades introduced Bruce Chapman, Executive Health Officer to present his 2012 budget. Mr. Chapman presented a level budget representing a 2.5% budget cut while keeping the same level of services. The cut is the result of reducing the hours of the Health Agent/ Sanitarian from 35 hours per week to 30 hours, saving the town approximately $6,500. The department has received an increase in permit requests but they are confident they can go ahead with the 2.5% reduction. Mr. Chapman also commented on the reduction in the fuel line item by 50% savings of approximately $900.
The fiscal year 2011 budget was $291,233 and the requested 2012 budget is $284,493.
Mr. Riley reiterated that the budget cut is the result in the reduction of hours for the inspector. Mr. Chapman confirmed that the hours will be reduced from 35 hours per week to 30 hours per week. The reduction is possible because of the number of the permits the town is receiving, not a transfer in responsibilities. It is also the reason the fuel budget can be reduced.
Ms. Burns asked if cutting the fuel budget in half is really plausible. Mr. Chapman has been monitoring the fuel usage for a year and feels very comfortable with the reduction.
Mr. Rabuffo asked about benchmarking in Mr. Chapman's report. Mr. Chapman advised that he compared Hingham with 17 other communities, including their departmental expenditures, town population, cost per capita, number of summer camps licensed, percentage of septic system vs. municipal sewer, number of food establishments licensed and the number of bathing beaches tested. Hingham sits in the middle in terms of cost per capita.
Mr. Rabuffo asked Mr. Chapman if the Board of Health had any needs in the foreseeable future that the Board of Selectmen should keep in mind. Mr. Chapman advised that the involvement in Emergency Preparedness, which wasn't part of his daily role in previous years, now takes up approximately ¼ of his time. It may be worth considering a part-time position in the future, approximately 10 hours a week. So far they have been able to receive grants but he would like to be ahead of the time when that grant money runs out.
3. Elder Services
Discussion: Mr. Alexiades indicated that the significant changes in the budget are regarding policy changes; moving program activities currently in the budget to a revolving account outside of the budget. Barbara Farnsworth presented a level services budget. A couple of changes from last year is that the fuel has been moved back to the town budget. There is a significant increase in dues which will be a onetime $2,000 charge every 5 years and will occur in 2012.
The fiscal year 2011 budget was $253,415 the requested 2012 budget is $215,981. They have submitted an additional request of $28,000 for the Senior Work-Off Program.
Mr. Riley asked about the tax work-off program. Ms. Farnsworth indicated that there is a request for an additional $28,000 allowing them to increase the maximum property tax abatement from $500 to $1,000. This year there were several people they turned away for the program and she feels the need for the program will increase. Four of the slots are allocated to people who are under 60.
Ms. Burns indicated that a conversation needs to be organized regarding the upcoming shift in population and the numbers or residents who will be eligible for elder services in the future.
Massachusetts School Building Authority letter relative to Middle School
Discussion: Superintendent Dorothy Galo and School Committee Chair Linda Hill advised that Hingham has been selected by the Massachusetts Building Authorityto begin the process of a feasibility study for the Middle School. The School Committee has received an email with a list of requirements to start the process. The requirements include:
• An initial compliance certificate – to be signed, among others, by the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
• Set of forms regarding enrollment and capital.
Following receipt of the documentation, they will set up a preliminary meeting to discuss scope, cost and cause.
Two teams from the MSBA did tours of the buildings Foster and Plymouth River. Two engineers visited the middle school to look at the physical plant, and investigate options. The School Department hasn't received any specific feedback from either of those visits. Some of the possibilities are: renovation, renovations with an addition, a new building.
The MSBA was provided with the town schedule, particularly the January 20 deadline for items which need to go before Town Meeting.
Mr. Riley asked about the templates that they need to complete. Dot advised that David Killory would fill them out and provide them to the Board of Selectmen. On the MSBA website there is a "Building With Us" link that provides background on the process and terms that are used. Mr. Riley asked if the initial compliance is dictated by the MSBA. Dr.Galo advised that it is very much dictated by them and developed by their attorneys and there is no willingness on their part for changes.
Mr. Rabuffo indicated that we would be getting an analysis from them regarding our options.
Ms. Burns pointed out that a warrant articles received by the January 20th deadline would only need to contain language about appropriating a sum of money, not an exact dollar amount. Ms. Burns and Mr. Rabuffo would like clarification on what the Feasibility Study entails. At this time it is unclear what the first meeting with the MSBA will provide. Per Dr.Galo, the first meeting is more of a brainstorming meeting.
Ms. Burns asked who would be attending. Dr. Galo advised that they want to have a broad range involved including the Board of Selectmen, finance committee, building committee and school department.
The Board voted, by roll call vote, to adjourn to executive session to discuss two items of litigation:
The first concerning the Conservation Commission and pending litigation:
Ms. Burns – yes
Mr. Rabuffo – yes
Mr. Riley - yes
The second concerning pending litigation vs. TH Claims:
Ms. Burns – yes
Mr. Rabuffo – yes
Mr. Riley - yes
Open session adjourned at 8:46 p.m.
Betty Foley, Assistant Town Administrator