May 7, 2007
Present: Ed Melanson, Chairman; Harvey Nasuti, Vice Chairman; Ellen Friedman; Vida Holmes, Member
Absent: Dan Winslow, Member
Ed Melanson called the meeting to order at 7:05 at the Town Hall in Room 214.
Open Public Forum:
As only Jim Lehan, Selectman, was in the audience, Mr. Melanson deferred to the agenda item requiring Mr. Lehan’s involvement: Board Business, Review/Prioritize items the Board will address before July 1st.
The first item for discussion was a future advisory or intermediary Board to replace the Board of Public Works. Mr. Lehan stated that the Board of Selectmen would like to see the BPW continue in some capacity. Mr. Melanson reviewed his service from the original Ad-Hoc Committee in 2001 to the present Board, and stated that he feels he has contributed all he can, and would not seek to continue on a new committee, although he does appreciate that there is value in having some continuation. Other members expressed similar feelings, and Mr. Lehan suggested that perhaps they could all agree to be available as resources on an as-needed basis. Mr. Lehan also suggested that perhaps the Town Administrator and a Selectman could work with members over the next 5 weeks to get up to speed. Mr. Melanson
suggested that some of the original Ad-Hoc Committee members may be interested. Mr. Vito stated that the Town had restructured into a Department Public Works (DPW) with the help of the Board of Public Works, and now the DPW needed to restructure back into the town government; i.e., Director should report into Town Administrator. Mr. Vito suggested that a review of the list of tasks not completed, and a meeting once a month might be enough to finish up. Mr. Lehan suggested that one Selectman and the Town Administrator might serve as advisors in this capacity.
Returning to the list, Mr. Melanson stressed he felt it was important to get the DPW Superintendent position more fully functional, away from its current interim capacity, in order to free up the Director from overseeing day-to-day functions, and focusing more on “big picture” responsibilities. Mr. Melanson also expressed that hiring a DPW Superintendent now would be beneficial in transitioning the Department upon the retirement of the current Director.
Discussion continued with other items on the BPW’s list of items, beginning with rate review. Mr. Melanson stated that following through with rebates to water users should be a top priority. Another top priority would be a capital plan for the Water Division, such as finalizing additional sources for water, closing loops, etc.
Mr. Melanson asked if the Director or the Board of Selectmen would add, subtract, or reprioritize anything on the list. Mr. Vito stated that using old town a hall for water division storage is no longer on the table; old town hall has been taken over by the Fire Department.
Ms. Friedman inquired as to the status of the cell tower – ongoing.
Discussion continued with regard to road repair. Mr. Melanson observed that much of the problem with roads in town is due to water main and other utility installations, followed by incomplete repair jobs, and compounded by lack of funding for road program being voted at Town Meeting. Mr. Melanson suggested that when a water main project is proposed, the funding portion should include funds sufficient to return road to at least its original condition.
Mr. Vito stated that although $500,000.00 would have been optimal for Road Program, $300,000.00 was allocated, however, the 2.5% annual increase never happened. In fact, the $300,000.00 was sometimes chipped away, and now with oil and other fixed costs going up, the $300,000.00 is not buying what it used to. Mr. Vito stated that we are working on getting increased Chapter 90 funds by having roads accepted and recorded.
Before departing, Mr. Lehan proposed a joint meeting between the Boards to set the future direction without under-managing or micromanaging.
The meeting continued with agenda items.
Report from the DPW Director:
Town Meeting Articles:
The first DPW Article on the floor at Town Meeting will be
Article 10, Roof on Leachate.
Article 13, move funds from Old Populatic Sewer account into Road Program
Article 14, $314.000 to drill Gold Street supplemental well
Article 15, water loop on Maple Street
Article 16, $16,000 to complete GIS water layer
Article 17, $472,000 for Weber tank rehabilitation
Article 18, $161,600 meter replacement program
Article 19, IP – Sherwood/David insufficient info
Article 20, $52,000 Rte. 115 completion
Article 21, IP – Sewer Study
Article 38, Carlson Circle acceptance
Discussion continued with regard to the Franklin/Norfolk water issue in the School Street area. Mr. Vito reviewed the history of Well #3, and the end of negotiations due in part to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. Subsequently, Mr. Vito and the Franklin DPW Director discussed initiating a new agreement like the Old Populatic area agreement, with Franklin owning and administering all meters and then billing Norfolk, who in turn bills residents. The Franklin Council brought up the issue of water already used over the years, which put the brakes on the agreement. We cannot repay them with water, as their system is high pressure and ours is low pressure. Mr. Melanson reviewed the wording of the original agreement, which is believed to have stated repayment would be made
with water when Well #3 was built, with no stipulation of cash reimbursement in any event. If so, then legally, we are still in compliance, as we are not responsible for Well #3 not being constructed. Mr. Melanson also stated that we have already expended money on Well #3, which is now stalled due to Franklin’s DEP issues.
Master Plan & Community Preservation:
Bob Nicodemus entered to relay information from a meeting between the Master Plan Committee and Community Preservation Committee regarding land acquisition with around the new supplemental well site on Gold Street - the CPC could not be involved in purchase of the wellhead, but could be involved with purchase of the land around it. Mr. Nicodemus invited a representative from DPW to attend a CPC meeting on May 16 at 8:00 to discuss this, as well as to a Master Plan Committee meeting to discuss circulation of traffic around 1A/115.
Leak Detection: After much discussion, it was agreed that the Town has no legal responsibility for fixing leaks on the resident’s side of the curb stop.
Truck Bid: Mr. Nasuti made a motion based upon the DPW Director’s recommendation to award the bid to Minuteman, Inc. for a 2008 Ford F550 dump truck for the sum of $62,855.00 contingent upon Town Meeting vote. Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.
Highland Lake Dam: There was a brief discussion regarding the Highland Lake Dam. Mr. Vito informed the Board that it was a Private Dam; Conservation Commission should make determinations.
At 9:30 p.m. being no further business Mr. Nasuti made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.