Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
September 6, 2011
7:00 PM - Open Session
Central Hearing Room 2nd Floor, Hingham Town Hall
Present: John A. Riley, Chairman; Laura M. Burns; Bruce Rabuffo; Ted Alexiades, Town Administrator; and Betty Foley, Assistant Town Administrator
With a quorum present, Chairman Riley called the meeting to order and reviewed the order of the agenda.
Questions from the Public: There were no questions from the public.
Approval of Meeting Minutes for 30, 2011: Voted – A motion was made by Ms. Burns and seconded by Mr. Rabuffo to approve the open session meeting minutes of August 30, 2011. A vote was taken and all were in favor; the motion passed.
Middle School Update: Ray Estes, Chair of the School Building Committee, and Mary Mahoney, project manager for the proposed model middle school project, joined the Board. Mr. Estes publicly apologized for his response to Carol Meyer at the Board's last meeting. Mr. Estes distributed an informational packet containing Hingham Middle School Cost Estimate VE Exercise and additional attachments – Estimated Costs use for April Town Meeting, Budget Submitted to the MSBA, Cost Estimate Reconciliation Summary, Value Engineering Worksheet, and Value Engineering Summary Memo. Mr. Estes reviewed the development and purpose of the $50-57 million estimate; the recent receipt and reconciliation of two different actual cost estimates; the Committee's request for value engineering due to concerns over the high cost; the initial estimate of $64,042,549 prior to value engineering; the post value-engineering estimate of $61,749,189; the non-reimbursable items in the amount $2,113,500, including soil density/ground improvement, septic upgrades, field storage and toilet which ultimately may be removed, hazardous VAT tile removal, and soft costs; the project manager's qualifications; the inclusion of a contingency; the submission of $61,749,189 to the MSBA; the MSBA's confirmation of a 43.87 percent reimbursement; the post-value engineering total cost to Hingham residents being $35,587,012 at $290 per square foot; removal of full air conditioning on the value engineering worksheet; the intent to review every item in the budget with more detailed plans; and a scheduled meeting with the MSBA on Friday. Ms. Mahoney stated that the purpose of the MSBA meeting is to confirm budgets and the progress status of a special town meeting. Ms. Burns asked for clarification if demolition is included in the quoted budget; Mr. Estes stated that it is included. Mr. Rabuffo stated that a budget that begins with a "six" is not acceptable to him, and inquired if there is any historical project data regarding estimates versus actual costs. Ms. Mahoney stated any savings will result in a direct savings to the Town, a surplus was returned in connection with the East School, and over the last several years pricing on MSBA projects has been extremely competitive but it has ticked up in the last several months. Discussion followed regarding market pressure, bidding practices, the limited number of qualified contractors, competition with hospitals and high tech companies over contractors, and commodities and fuel pricing. Mr. Rabuffo inquired about the inclusion of a flat roof in light of the damage at the existing Middle School. Mr. Estes discussed the building design and design standards, and Ms. Mahoney discussed changes in the Massachusetts Building Code. Mr. Rabuffo inquired about the tax rate impact on homeowners; Mr. Alexiades stated that he will provide at the next meeting both the impact based on the average assessed value as well as a percentage so that each individual can do a personal calculation. Chairman Riley inquired about the bidding process and whether there will be a range to bid or whether an exact number will be given; Ms. Mahoney stated that law requires a single cost estimate, and she reviewed the process. There was no public comment.
High School Track/Tennis Courts/Field Update: Linda Hill, Chair of the School Committee and Ed Schreier, School Committee member, joined the Board and requested that the Selectmen include the Committee's proposed High School track/tennis court/fields study article on the warrant for the Special Town Meeting. Ms. Hill read aloud the proposed article. She distributed the Fields Project Timetable and reviewed the Timetable; the present conditions of the facilities; one end of track currently being 3 feet higher than another; the noncompliant status of the track; field usage and poor drainage; the development of a defined timeline; lost revenue from outside users; the total cost being $935,000; the tennis courts representing $60,000 with the expected life of the repair being five to seven years and another five to seven year fix possible after that; the ability to keep the traffic study in but absorb its cost resulting in a deletion of the cost; the track representing $600,000 for reconstruction, leveling, redoing the end areas and supplying appropriate fencing; the Phase 2 design being $275,000; and Roger Fernandes' assistance with the Phase 2 estimate. Roger Fernandes noted that the original estimate for Phase 2 was $200,000-210,000, and he recommended the inclusion of an additional $75,000. Ms. Hill, noting that she was here on Ms. Falvey's behalf, stated that the traffic study will address parking as well.
Brooks Robbins, Fearing Road, inquired if the MIAA has been involved in the process and regarding the quality of the facilities. Mr. Schreier stated that the MIAA had been involved regarding specific dimensions. Margaret Conaty, High School Athletic Director, stated that the MIAA has no jurisdiction on what this community would vote, and the National Federation of High School Associations sets distances and regulations. David Bailey, Main Street and previous lacrosse and soccer coach, provided public comment on current facility conditions, facility conditions in other towns, and the number of injuries sustained on home fields. Chairman Riley stated tonight's public comment should be limited to questions and not whether one is for or against the issue. Dennis Friedman inquired about the defined timeline mentioned by Ms. Hill. Ms. Hill stated that if the Committee is successful at Town Meeting, phase one of the track and tennis courts will go out to bid immediately; ideally track construction will be after lacrosse ends and it will be usable for part of the football season; for tennis, the resurfacing requires certain temperatures with completion this spring and summer; and with respect to Phase 2, the Committee will start working to procure a contractor or engineer to get detailed costs. Bob Daly, Hull Street, provided public comment, stating that he is an electrician and would like to encourage the use of local contractors. Ms. Mahoney reviewed the state procurement law requirement regarding open solicitation and the requirement for state certification.
Calling of Special Town Meeting/Insertion of Warrant Articles: Voted – A motion was made by Ms. Burns and seconded by Mr. Rabuffo to call a Special Town Meeting to be held on Monday, October 24, 2011, at 7:00 PM, at Hingham High School; to open the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting and insert the following articles:
• Model Middle School Article
• High School Tennis Courts, Track and Fields Project Article –
• Citizen's Petition Middle School Article
• Bathing Beach Bathhouse Lease Article
• Citizen's Petition Restoration of Swap Area at the Transfer Station Article
and to close the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting. A vote was taken and all were in favor; the motion passed.
Voted – A motion was made by Mr. Rabuffo and seconded by Ms. Burns to call a Special Town Election for Saturday, October 29, 2011 and to place on the ballot questions to exempt from Proposition 2 ½ the borrowing with respect to the Model Middle School Article and the High School Fields Project Article. A vote was taken and all were in favor; the motion passed.
Mr. Alexiades stated that the actual Middle School Citizen's Petition article as well as the corrected version put forth by the Board will be included; an article for the Bathing Beach bathhouse renovation is not included because state legislative approval first must be obtained for the lease; and the Citizen's Petition article for the Swap Shop must go forward despite interim arrangements. Bill Schrader, Seal Cove Lane, stated that he is the principal proponent of the Citizen's Petition article for the Middle School, and he strongly believes in there being a meaningful choice for taxpayers. He read aloud the proposed revised article. Mr. Alexiades explained that the original article as submitted would not have completed the intended objectives, and the Selectmen, on the citizens' behalf and with the assistance of Town Counsel and the petitioner, have put an additional reworded article on the Warrant. Ms. Burns clarified that the Board itself cannot change or modify a citizens petition article in any way after submission. Barbara Cook, Fearing Road, inquired if there is a cost estimate, if the intent is to breathe life into a 50 year old building, and as to the meaning of "out of available reserves." Mr. Schrader stated that he is in the process of getting the cost information. Mr. Alexiades stated that funding would be from the Fund Balance. Christine Falvey, Isaac Sprague Drive, requested an explanation of the Fund Balance and asked if a number is not needed for the October vote. Mr. Alexiades explained that articles often start without a number and during later discussions a recommendation is made. He also reviewed the Fund Balance. Warren Pelissier, Main Street, inquired whether or not Fund Balance funding would go to Town election because it is not an override. Mr. Alexiades clarified and explained the purpose of an override. Mr. Pelissier inquired if the Fund Balance could be used for the track and fields. Mr. Alexiades stated that it could but the article is not written that way. He explained the importance of the Fund Balance to the Town's AAA rating, Hingham's revenue sources, the Town's established reserve policy, and the balance as of FY2010. Mike MacDonald, High Street, inquired about available funds. Mr. Alexiades stated that this article is only asking for funds to complete a feasibility study and not for the work itself. Mr. Rabuffo stated that the plan is to hold discussions over the next few weeks and there will be opportunities for further questions.
Mr. Alexiades reviewed the Bathing Beach lease article, noting that a lease in excess of three years will be needed based on the proposed use, and such a lease requires Town Meeting approval and state legislation. He explained Article 97 regarding the use of conservation land for an alternative purpose.
Mr. Alexiades reviewed the Swap Shop and its interim operation in an alternative location. Ms. Burns discussed the temporary solution, the role of the Long Range Waste Disposal and Recycling Committee, the Committee's meeting on September 20th, and the invitation to anyone with an idea for improvement to attend the meeting.
Mr. Rabuffo and Chairman Riley encouraged all citizens to contact the Selectmen's Office earlier with respect to proposing warrant articles and for guidance on suggested language.
Modifications to the Inter-Municipal Agreement for the South Shore Regional Emergency Communications Center: Mr. Alexiades stated that this is an agreement between the towns, a similar one was signed several years ago, the original agreement included Hingham as the employer, special legislation was sought to put all four towns on equal footing, this agreement incorporates the new legislation that was passed subsequent to the signing of the original agreement, and the Center is hiring its own employees. Ms. Burns and Mr. Rabuffo noted it is a good change, and Mr. Rabuffo noted the need for cooperation from the Center's board of directors and the operational board.
Voted – A motion was made by Mr. Rabuffo and seconded by Ms. Burns to approve the modifications to the Inter-Municipal Agreement between the Towns of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and Norwell for a Regional Dispatch Center as presented. A vote was taken and all were in favor; the motion passed.
Selectmen/Town Administrator Reports: Ms. Burns requested an adjustment to the September 20th meeting schedule due to the meeting of the Long Range Waste Disposal and Recycling Committee. Chairman Riley announced an interfaith memorial service commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, at Old Ship Church on Sunday September 11th at 4:00 pm.
Adjourn Open Session/Executive Session: Voted – A motion was made by Ms. Burns and seconded by Mr. Rabuffo to adjourn to executive session, not to return to open session, for the purpose of discussing contract settlements with the Deputy Fire Chief and the Deputy Police Chief, and for the purpose of discussing strategy with respect to Conservation Commission related litigation because an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the Town. A vote was taken by roll call and showed as follows: Chairman Riley – yes, Ms. Burns – yes, Mr. Rabuffo – yes. The motion passed.
The open session adjourned at 8:59 PM.
Laurie Zivkovich, Clerk Pro Tem
Documents (a complete meeting packet of supporting documentation is on file and available for public review in the Board of Selectmen's office):
1. Correspondence – September 6, 2011
2. Open Session Meeting Minutes of August 30, 2011
3. Model Middle School Article
4. High School Fields Project Article
5. Citizen's Petition Middle School Article
6. Bathing Beach Bathhouse Renovation Article
7. Bathing Beach Bathhouse Lease Article
8. Swap Shop Area Article
9. Inter-Municipal Agreement between the Towns of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and Norwell for a Regional Dispatch Center
SUBMITTED AT THE MEETING:
10. Hingham Middle School Cost Estimate VE Exercise with attachments, submitted by Ray Estes
11. Fields Project Timetable, submitted by Linda Hill
Approved: September 13, 2011