Town of Otis
Select Board Meeting Minutes
June 25, 2019
Call to Order: Meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room. A quorum was present and the meeting was recorded.
Present: Select Board members Bill Hiller and Larry Southard, Town Administrator Becky Stone, Jim Wilusz, Chris Tryon, Anita Brucker, Gene Brucker, Peter Sullivan, Mark Amanti, Terry Gould, Michael Ernst, Walter Engels, Derek Poirer, Sonia Morrison, Diane Provenz, Rich Phair, Chris Bouchard, Bill O’Brien, Dan Hamill, and Nancy Crandall.
Review Meeting Minutes: The June 11, 2019 Select Board meeting minutes were approved with one revision. Becky commented and disagreed with one sentence, which stated that when the Highway Superintendent was originally hired, a CDL was not a requirement by the town for that position. She disagreed and stated that this was an opinion rather a fact, so the sentence was removed from the minutes.
Board of Health: 24 South Gate Island Road: Jim Wilusz explained to the Board that a septic variance would be needed at 24 South Gate Island Road for an existing failed septic system at the Paulsen residence. He and Chris Tryon from Berkshire Geo Technologies shared the septic plans and explained the details of the existing wells in the area. They also explained that a Jet Vac system would be installed and will include a small swale and some stone to slow down any possible runoff during a major storm. They were looking for a size variance to make the system smaller and a separation variance to lower the top of the field, which is allowed by code. Abutters from 30 South Gate Island Road, Gene and Anita Brucker discussed their questions and concerns. Jim assured them that all their concerns will be met and addressed. He explained that the watershed and their property will be protected, especially because the new enclosed underground tank and system has more innovative and advanced technology and function better than older systems. He also explained that no retaining wall would be necessary. All the surrounding wells in the area have been located. The system will meet the proper setbacks from the wells and property lines, as well. No additional conditions other than the normal permitting will be attached to this variance. No well testing will be necessary.
Knox Trail Inn: Peter Sullivan and Mark Amanti asked for clarification on revised entertainment permit fees discussed at the June 11th Select Board meeting. They felt the increase would be a difficult adjustment and they would prefer not to have to pass on a cover charge to their clientele. Rich, Chris, Bill and Larry discussed the background and details of M.G.L. Title XX, Ch. 148, Sections 10A & 26G1/2 established by the State Fire Marshall. They explained how the Fire Department may set a fee of $25 per event, because they are responsible for filing permits and inspecting items, such as fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and sprinkler systems, but the Select Board can set a fee, as well, but no more than $50 per event. It was noted by Rich that the Knox Trail Inn already has a company that inspects and maintains their Ansul fire suppression system. It was agreed that there will be a charge per event fee and fees for FY20 were discussed. Because the Board doesn’t want to cause a hardship or discourage business at the Knox, so the rate for them for FY20 was raised from $100 this fiscal year to $500 for this fiscal year. The Select Board decided, too, that the matter regarding their rate will be revisited on July 1st next year.
Appointments/Reappointments: Conservation Commission Alternate position is vacant. Council on Aging has a vacant position. Don Hawley held 3 positions which are now vacant: Delegate So. Berk. Waste, Energy, Building Use Subcommittee. Inspector Deputy Clerk is a vacant position. Karen Fink is expected to be on the Investment Policy committee, waiting on her form. Police Sargeant position is vacant. Jennifer Catalone was approved as a Rec Commission Alternate. The Sanitation Inspector Assistant position is still vacant. George Mabee was approved to be on the Technology Committee with 2 other vacancies on that committee. Sara Skibski is expected to be on the Zoning Board, waiting on her form.
Poll Worker for FY20: The Select Board approved the request by the Town Clerk for the additional Poll Worker, Ed Sepanski, to be added to the list for FY20.
Highway Department: The Select Board accepted the resignation of Kyle Pettibone, Highway Department Laborer. Advertising discussed and decision was the minimum requirement would be a CDL Class B, Hoisting 2B. Additionally, the brush mower we are getting from Eversource will require a 4G License, so applicants will be asked if they possess a 4G license. Derek let the Board know that currently there are 2 employees willing to go for a 4G License.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission: This delegate nomination was tabled until the next meeting when all the Select Board members will be present, because Gary is away on vacation.
Highway Department: There were no bids to consider for the surplus equipment. There was discussion and it was decided that it should be reposted for $12,000. New grader quotes were discussed for a John Deere and a CAT. Becky explained the procurement process and legalities, and what the auditors would be looking for, such as specs. She also explained that the town can purchase equipment through a co-op and is not required to go with the lowest bid when going through a co-op. Derek agreed that a low bid might reflect a poor product. Larry and Bill asked Derek to spell out the specs he would like to see for the grader. Derek’s initial opinion was that John Deere graders are more user-friendly. He has also looked at graders that other towns have been using. Bill suggested that the purchase be tabled until Gary returns. Larry asked about a warranty and Bill explained that the town has been going with extended warranties on equipment such as this. Larry asked about financing and it was explained that Karen would shop around for the best financing option. Prices, which include extended warranties, are $375,650 for the John Deere and $320,690 for the CAT. Bill and Larry agreed with Derek to move forward with ordering the John Deere, since prices could change and lead time to order is 6 months. Tyringham Road and Chapter 90 work was discussed. There is a punch list for the project. Mass DOT has to approve the work for Tyringham Road. Derek needed 2 signatures from the Board for project approval to use the Chapter 90 funds. Larry and Bill signed the paperwork. After approval, the job will then have to go out to bid.
Police Department: The Police Chief Contract was discussed, approved and would be signed following the meeting when Gary returned from vacation. Bill proposed that the contract include “the Board of Selectmen in conjunction with the Town Administrator” on all pages of the contract, in order for them to be involved with evaluations and reviews and to have input on the Police Chief’s objectives and goals, as well. There was also discussion regarding the job description of the Police Chief, which will be attached to the contract.
Requests to Transfer Funds: Michael noted that there is $25,000 left for snow and ice labor and removal and should be enough to transfer to cover most of the overages. Bill noted that there is $19,000 left in Heat and Furnace. Michael noted that Road Machinery Maintenance overages of $8,000 can be transferred from General Highway, Building and Bridges. Chief’s salary will come from Police Department salary. Terry explained that the town has to front the money for Veteran’s Benefits, but 75% would be reimbursed. The transfer paperwork would be ready to sign by Wednesday afternoon of this week.
Review and Approval of Warrants.
Cultural Council: Sonia asked the Select Board if the town could get permanent power out to the gazebo for future events. Becky suggested that it should be a FY21 expense. Michael explained that the FY20 budget is already set. Bill said that it may be possible, so he would like Jim Crandall to get a quote for them to consider for permanent power out to the outdoor gazebo.
Bill shared letter that needs to be sent to Sean Buckley about Vadar regarding the broadband installation. The deadline for submitting the letter is June 30th in order to receive funds from a state grant.
Dan asked how he should inventory the old AEDs. He asked if he could give them to Rec. Bill directed him to give them to Jim Crandall.
Diane Provenz suggested that the town should do something to publicly acknowledge and commemorate the 21 years of service given by Don Hawley as a Selectman.
Adjournment: At 8:26 pm the Select Board unanimously adjourned the Select Board meeting.
Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
- Copies of M.G.L., Part I, Title XX, Ch. 148, Section 10A & Section 26G1/2.
- Police Chief’s Contract for FY2020.
- A copy of the request from the Town Clerk for one additional Poll Worker for FY2020.
- Chapter 90 paperwork for Tyringham Road.
- Letter to Sean Buckley regarding Vadar for state grant purposes.