Select Board Meeting Minutes
Otis Town Hall
February 23, 2021
*This meeting is being conducted remotely through Zoom. You must check back within 24 hours of the start time for a link to join.
Pursuant to the Governor’s March 12, 2020 order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, Sec 18, this meeting is being held via remote participation to the greatest extent possible. Every effort is being made to ensure that any member of the public may access the meeting in real time, via technological means. Agendas will be amended to show the link and participation code to access the meeting no sooner than 48 hours before. Recordings and/or draft proceedings of the meeting will be available on our website as soon as possible.
Attendance: Chair William Hiller, Selectmen Larry Southard, Selectmen Gary Thomas, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page (please see documentation for additional attendees)
Call to Order.
Approval of Select Board Minutes, Feb 09, 2021
The minutes from February 9th were unanimously approved by the Select Board.
Community Center Account, continued
Bill Hiller did some research and did not find anything stating St. Paul’s was to be used as a Community Center. Bill does not feel comfortable with authorizing use of the money without taking it to town vote. Brian Crandall talked about the town’s original plan for a community center. There were a few ideas one of which was for a large project most likely to be located at 100 Acre Park. The Town set aside 5,000 each year at Town Meeting for this account for the purpose of a community center. The legality of the account was brought into question. Since then, no additional money has been added to the account. Brian feels it should go back to town meeting to decide how the money should be spent. Sonia brought up that she believes the account was started before the plans were made for the project Brian spoke of. Sonia does not believe the money will need to be moved to a different account. Gary Thomas also feels that it is not repurposing the money. Larry Southard agrees with Bill that it should to go to town meeting so the town can decide what the money is used for. Diane wanted to thank Gary for remembering the account and bringing it to their attention. Diane suggested an article be put on the warrant saying St. Paul’s would be used as a community center. She feels the community is behind the Historical Commission. Historic was in support of the decision being made at Town Meeting. A motion was made that while the Board of Selectmen has the authority they are in favor of the decision going back to the voters at Town Meeting, motion seconded, Bill and Larry in favor, Gary not in favor. Motion Passed. Diane requested that The Board express their support in the article.
Grant Application Requirements for East Otis School House
The town will need to secure an additional 25% or roughly 42,000 to ensure cash flow during the project. The money will need to be appropriated by town meeting. Brandi confirmed that according to the grant application the vote needs to happen by May 17th. The Town’s meeting is May 18th. Brandi doesn’t know if they will waive the deadline by one day. Diane mentioned there is money in the OPT account that could be used to cover the 25%. Sonia does not believe there is any wiggle room on the date. Sonia is suggesting that the OPT account be the guarantor until the town vote. It was decided Sonia will be the liaison between Mass Historical and the Town. Sonia will not have the authority to sign. Brandi will follow up with Jeremia regarding the article and OPT piece. Sonia clarified the grant is to take care of the building. Other funds will come into play to make the building compliant and address lot changes. The Historical Commission is not concerned because of their success so far with their fund raising. Terry Gould also spoke. She feels that after getting this grant Historic will be able to get other grants. They will have more time. Bill is concerned about the compliance part and wanted some clarification as to what that locks the Town into. Sonia said that should have the dollar amount be the next meeting.
Board of Health Fees
The Board of Health fees include, septic systems, wells, camps, food service, tobacco etc. As we are building things into the new online permitting software we need to look at which of our fees are too low and need to be raised. Brandi had our listing of our fees and some examples from other towns. Some businesses pay more than one fee. The Board wanted a better idea of what impact it would have on businesses with multiple fees if we approved increases. Tabled until the next meeting.
Erbe Building, Legal Fees
The town is looking to remove the person who is occupying the Erbe building. Gary feels the legal fees are high, but the town does need to move forward. Jeremiah recommended the legal counsel because the town needs someone who is experienced. A question came up about offering the person money to vacate. Jeremia had confirmed that it is legal to do. The Board unanimously voted to authorize Dan and Brandi to negotiate with the occupant of the house and if not accepted to process the retainer to legal counsel to move forwards with eviction.
Re-opening, Coronavirus Rate
The Council on Aging would like to resume having haircut and foot care appointments in the town hall. The Board unanimously agreed.
Review and Approval of Warrants.
Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of the original posting.
Diane would like to have All Board meetings again. She feels it benefits the Town. Bill thought it was agreed to be started in April. Brandi mentioned wanting to start having a working group once a month with department heads. Diane feels it’s important to have communication with other Boards. Gary had recommended that the All Boards meetings stop because of low attendance. Gary is willing to try it again. Larry suggested they try a quarterly meeting instead of once a month. The Board voted unanimously to start meeting quarterly the last Monday of the month with the first one in April.
Sonia wanted to thank the Board for starting All Boards meeting again.
Respectfully submitted by,
Selectmen Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
Town of Otis Client Fee Agreement
Documentation on St. Paul’s Church
List of Meeting Attendees
List of Attendees Feb 23, 2021
Elaine & Dan Hunter
Shari Lamanna (Joseph Lamanna)
Otis Preservation Trust