BOARD OF SELECTMEN REGULAR MEETING
TIME: 7:00 P.M. TUESDAY, February 8, 2011
PLACE: BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING ROOM
PRESENT: Chairman William Braman, Vice-Chair Melissa Weise, John Desmond, Richard Norton, Nancy Talbot
ALSO PRESENT: Mary Tzambazakis (Town Manager), Thomas Martens (DPW Director), Cynthia LaBombard, Sharon Biskup (Ware Historical Commission), Steven McCarthy
Call to order by Chairman William Braman at 7 p.m.
Approval Minutes of January 25, 2011
Upon a motion duly made by Nancy Talbot with an addition to the Minutes of January 25, 2011 exact time of adjournment. 2nd by Richard Norton. All in Favor.
COMMENTS & CONCERNS
John Desmond - Expressed concern with regard to SAFER firefighter grant. The positions have been filled without the knowledge of Board of Selectmen. This procedure should have been transparent. Concern that in accepting Federal funds for this grant restricts Town from layoffs of firefighters during the time period of four years.
Melissa Weise – Update on status of Social Security Representative visiting the Town Hall. The Springfield Office has resumed visitation to the Palmer Town Hall. However, the Holyoke Office which oversees Ware, has not altered their position. Nancy Talbot is working on a letter to be sent to the Holyoke Office requesting resumption of service. Upon completion, this will be shared with the Board of Selectmen.
Request Adjustment to Mileage Reimbursement Rate
Chairman William Braman introduced this topic for discussion. The current rate is $.50. The new rate will be $.51. Vice Chair Melissa Weise questioned why it was necessary to follow Federal guidelines.
Upon a motion made by Selectman Richard Norton, request the Ware Board adopt the policy of adjusting IRS Announces 2011 Standard Mileage Rates Corrected on Dec. 13, 2010, to reflect changes for 2011
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2011 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2011, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 51 cents per mile for business miles driven. 2nd by Nancy Talbot. Vote: John Desmond: No Melissa Weise: No. William Braman: Yes, Nancy Talbot: Yes, Richard Norton: Yes. Three in Favor. Two Opposed.
Approve Ware Historical Commission appointment: Cynthia LaBombard
Chairman William Braman stated the Board of Selectmen actually took action in November but did not send Cynthia a letter. Cynthia happened to be in the audience this evening. The letter will be formalized and sent to you. Thank you for volunteering.
Upon a motion duly made by Richard Norton, request the Ware Board of Selectmen appoint Cynthia LaBombard to the Ware Cultural Council. 2nd by Melissa Weise. All in Favor.
Approve Hampshire County Health Group
Town Manager stated that Judy Metcalf, Director Board of Health met with the Quabbin Health Board last night to vote on joining the planning phase. Board approved.
Upon a motion duly made by Richard Norton, the Ware Board of Selectmen authorize the Town Manager to join the study. 2nd by John Desmond. All in Favor Aye.
Chairman William Braman directed Frances Wychorski to draft the letter for signature.
Request for Liquor License – St. Mary’s Church – Spaghetti Supper – February 12 & March 26, 2011
Upon a motion duly made by Richard Norton, the Ware Board of Selectmen approved the two separate liquor licenses for St. Mary’s Church February 12 & March 26, 2011. 2nd by Melissa Weise. All in Favor.
Approve Transfer of License – Jane Alden Convenience Store
Town Manager stated she spoke with liquor license clerk. The transfer of license has been advertised. The last step is signature by the Board of Selectmen. The Treasury office staff checked all taxes paid up to date.
Transfer for changing ownership. New Owner was present – Steven McCarthy
Upon a motion duly made by Richard Norton, the Board of Selectmen approved the transfer of license. Second by John Desmond. All in favor.
UPDATE NENAMESECK SQUARE
Chairman William Braman publicly thanked DPW Director and staff for heroic effort cleaning our roads in a historic snow season. The month of January had the most snow on record. The month of February already has in excess of 16” well on way to setting seasonal record.
DPW Director, Thomas Martens, publicly thanked David Tworek and crew. Mr. Tworek could not be here as he is worn to frazzle. The Highway Dept has received lots of calls on safety of roads and intersections.
Town Manager stated the community should be aware of key issues. There are only eight employees at the Highway Dept. During the course of a snow storm, it takes four hours to sand the roads and four hours to plow. The Highway Dept does call in Water and Sewer staff for additional support after their normal shift is complete. A large blower broke with a cost to repair of $1000. Saturday the sand and salt shed roof broke. The building inspector assessed the structure. Fire and DPW crews cleared the roof of snow and ice. The building is now secure.
Chairman William Braman stated that once the damage was identified and roof cleared, immediately brought in carpenter to reinforce supports. Neat job, well done.
DPW Director handed out a report – Nenameseck Square Traffic Improvements – to the Board of Selectmen and briefed the audience on the contents. (Support Documents)
DPW Director confirmed common knowledge on conditions affecting preservation of Nenameseck Square. He strongly recommended going with engineered solution (Lenard Engineering 2008). This plan does present long term solution, but could cost more than originally recommended. There is a potential for Chapter 90 funding. He appealed for acceptance of Historical commission. In best interest of town.
Sharon BisKup – (Historical Commission) The plans as discussed by DPW Director included the removal of tree. The Commission is opposed to having any part of Park or trees removed. The Commission sent a letter to the Board of Selectmen in December 2010 offering less intrusive solutions (Support Documents).
Town Manager – within the last few months, the PVPC presented a study of Main Street that indicated traffic pattern was a busy as Rte 5 in West Springfield. It is important to preserve our history, have to balance with what needs are of community and businesses. Unfortunately, with rising cost in fuel, trucks might get bigger. Solutions presented many problems to solve, engineering study is best option. Board will make final decisions.
Chairman William Braman stated this situation had been in grid lock for two years. The Park doesn’t look good to anyone and does not represent what a historic space should look like, engineering plan least painful way.
A discussion with regard to restoring the fountain to working order by the time of the 250th Anniversary Parade was encouraged.
Upon a motion duly made by Richard Norton, the Ware Board of Selectmen moved to accept analysis of Mr. Martens (DPW Director) as a solution to the preservation of Nenameseck Square. 2nd by Nancy Talbot. All in Favor.
Reschedule Water & Sewer Commission Meeting
(Next planned meeting March 15, 2011)
The Ware Board of Selectmen agreed to not reschedule the meeting cancelled on January 18, 2011.
TOWN MANAGER REPORT
Casino theater documentation finalized for demolition. Ready to go next week.
Fiscal Year 2012 budget process has begun. Dept Heads have been given instructions including reduction of 6.5%. Budgets are due by February 11, 2011. Health insurance will rise by 5.6% Executive Director, Paul Hills, will be retiring from Community Development in July 2011. There is discussion around combining this position with that of the Town Planner.
National Grid – A letter has been sent to the Operations Manager requesting all nails, tacks and staples be removed from utility poles in the Town of Ware. Preliminary discussions with National Grid staff indicated it may not be feasible to perform this request due to manpower limitations. A formal response to this letter is expected.
Selectmen Norton mentioned that it is possible for towns to collect revenue from poles.
Town Manager replied that the Assessors Office staff is aware of the Governor’s efforts for town’s to gain revenue from telephone pole tax. Upon passage of said tax, the Town is ready to act.
Town Manager discussed fee structure for Building Inspections and plans to analyze for potential update. Nancy Talbot mentioned 2007 as the last time the Board of Selectmen addressed this issue in a public hearing.
The Treasurer- Collector, Leigh Deveneau Martinelli will appear before the Board of Selectmen at the next regular meeting.
End of report.
Upon a motion made by Richard Norton, the Ware Board of Selectmen adjourned the regular meeting at 8:29 p.m. 2nd by Nancy Talbot