Select Board Meeting Minutes 05/12/2020

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Select Board Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

May 12, 2020

7:00 p.m.

*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.

  • Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm remotely through Zoom. A quorum was present.


Present: Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, Garry Thomas, Bill Hiller, Larry Southard, Rona Night, Patricia Richards, Lyn O’brien, Sonia Morrison, Ken Meyer, Tom Ragusa, James Crandall, Terry Gould, Geoff Pigman, Diane Provenz, Mike Lindon, Lynn Pyenson (Twenty participants in all)

  • Minutes from 4/28/2020 were unanimously approved


  • There were no warrants to be signed
  • Paul’s Insurance and Maintenance Items

The town’s insurance company is requiring work to be done on the church or the town may lose the insurance coverage on the church. The insurance company would like siding put on the front of the tower to prevent water damage and tree limbs trimmed.  One quote for the removal of five trees will cost $5,225.  There was discussion about the original intent that the Town would not have to spend money on this building. Historic is going to think about what money they can come up with. The insurance company allows 45 days to do the work. Brandi is going to see if the insurance company will give the Town an extension in order to get the work done.


Lynn Pyenson treasurer of the Otis Preservation would like to fundraise to raise the money for the church when the time is right.  Lynn would like to put a thermometer sign outside of the church to show how much money has been raised following town’s regulations.


  • Forester for Forest Stewardship Plan

Request to have the discussion tabled until the Board of Selectmen can research the two stewardship proposals.  All agreed to table the discussion until the next meeting.


  • Contract with BRPC for Health Services

BRPC is the host agency for Berkshire Public Health. The Town has had Porchlight/Lee VNA for years. They recently closed. The cost to the town will be $2,500 for FY 21.  Jim Wilusz and Jeremia have checked the contract and they are comfortable with it.  The price is less than Porchlight. All voted to accept contract.  Garry will sign the contract.


  • Re-opening Plan

The state has rolled out Workplace Safety Standards that we all have to comply with as we reopen. Places will self-certify that they meet the standards. Only if there is a complaint will oversight at the local level happen.  It was suggested that Town Hall employees discontinue working remotely and start back to work on Monday, May 18th.  The Town Hall will not be open to the public yet.  The Select Board unanimously agreed to have the Town Hall employees return to Town Hall on Monday, May 18th.

There has been no direction from the state regarding town beaches as of today.  When the Governor indicates it’s safe to open beaches then Jim can get the Sanicans.  The Board voted unanimously to have Jim proceed when the Governor decides to open beaches.

  • Memorial Day Activities

The Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled but there will be a wave parade. The parade will be on the 24th and start at 10:00 am. The route has been posted to the website. Jim Higgins has been working to include a private wreath and salute as well.

  • Caucus Reminder

The Caucus will be held on May 20th, 7am – 8pm outside, weather permitting. Social distancing is maintained.  Lyn has talked to maintenance to make sure everything will be sanitized.


  • Final decision on Complete Streets, Norton Rd Extension

Jeremia has advised the Select Board not to go ahead with the Complete Streets proposal.  He feels we would be in violation of it. Two of our main arteries are state highway and don’t qualify. Rona Knight would like to review Jeremia’s letter.  A decision was made to table the discussion until the next meeting to give Rona Knight a chance to look at the letter. The Board unanimously voted no on adopting Norton Road Extension as a Town Road. Ken Meyer expressed his disapproval with the Board decision.

  • Budget number change

There was good news from the school. Their transportation contract came in lower than expected. Our assessment was reduced by 54,580. Vote to reduce the FY21 school budget line. Unanimous approved.

  • Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of the original posting.

Vote to reduce the Town’s Assessment for FRSD.


Rona Knight expressed that the Planning Board would like to work closely with the Select Board. They would also like to work on the master plan. Brandi informed them no capital requests are going through this year. There is enough money in their normal budget for any small revisions the master plan may need.  Bill would like to see something from MGL on how often you have to update the master plan.  It was completed five years ago. Rona will get the documentation. Bill suggested that some of the planning members be put on other committees and the building use committee go back to planning. The Select Board voted to disband the building use committee and bring it back to the planning board.


Larry Southard expressed concern that officers doing road detail may not be getting paid in a timely manner.  The Town had previously talked about a revolving fund and decided against it. Brandi will look into how other Towns process the detail pay.


Diane Provenz shared that the Historical Commission is going to produce a film about the Knox trail.  They would like to have their funds roll over to next year if possible because of the virus situation. Carrying over money to the next fiscal year is the same this year as it has always been.  Diane suggested acknowledging Kendra from the school for everything she has been done.


Meeting adjourned at 8:34

All voted to adjourn the meeting.


Respectfully submitted,

Heather Morgan

Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis



List of Documents

Letter from Insurance Agency

Estimate for Tree Work

Town of Otis Public Health Nursing Quote for FY21

Email from Jeremia