Town of Otis
Select Board Meeting Minutes
July 9, 2019
Call to Order: Meeting was called to order at 7:02 pm in the Town Hall conference room. A quorum was present and the meeting was recorded.
Present: Select Board Chair Gary Thomas, Selectman Bill Hiller, Selectman Larry Southard, Town Administrator Becky Stone, Paul Reisinger, Terry Gould, Michael Ernst, and Nancy Crandall were present.
Review Meeting Minutes: The June 24, 2019 All Boards meeting minutes were approved by Bill as written, with Gary and Larry abstaining. The June 25, 2019 Select Board meeting minutes were approved unanimously with revisions.
Pole Hearing: Verizon representative Paul Reisinger presented a map and request for a pole to be placed on Reservoir Road jointly owned by Verizon and Eversource for mid-span support of the existing pole line. Bill asked for a copy of the map, since he would have to contact Verizon regarding fiber wires to be affected by the transfer of some of the cables. Bill will contact Verizon about an application regarding any of the town’s fiber wires to be affected for permission to attach to the new pole. Paul noted that he will let Al Bessette at Verizon know about the existing fiber wires going through there, as well. The Board unanimously approved the pole position and signed three copies of the order to be filed.
Letter to Town Collector for Sewer Commitments: Becky presented the sewer commitment letter for town residents on the sewer line. She explained the formula used to support her draft. The total sum for FY20 sewer charges is $66,450.00. The letter was unanimously approved and signed by all three Select Board members.
Appointment of Chief Procurement Officer: Gary made a motion that Becky be appointed the Chief Procurement Officer. Bill asked if the town has ever had a CPO and if it would be an annual appointment. Gary noted that the town has had a CPO in the past and that the position has typically been held by the Town Administrator. Becky added that the term would be in effect until revoked or amended. The motion was seconded by Bill.
Review and sign the Library and Museum Annual Agreement: Becky presented the annual standard contract and how payments will be made. Gary made a motion to accept and sign the contract. Bill seconded the motion.
Review and sign the Otis Rescue Squad Annual Agreement: Bill made a motion to accept and sign the contract. Gary seconded the motion.
Request to Transfer Funds: Becky presented a list of interdepartmental funds to be transferred for FY19. There was discussion about totals needed, where the funds would be transferred from and outstanding warrants to be posted. There was also discussion about reserve funds. The following transfer from Gas/Diesel was approved for the following for FY19: Office Supplies, $200.00; Police Department Salary, $3,500.00; Police Department Expenses, $300.00; Road Machinery Maintenance, $900.00; Town Garage, $1,400.00; Health Agent Backup, $1,000.00, for a total of $7,300.00. The Board signed the Request for Transfer. The Finance Board did not sign this transfer, because they thought it was not required of them.
New Accounting Software System: Becky asked when the Town Accountant would be training the department heads with respect to the new software system. Bill explained that Margaret is still training on how to use the program and working on account assignments. As soon as she is comfortable with the new program, she will meet with staff, which he expects it will be a couple of weeks. Bill added that department heads can continue to turn in vouchers the way they have been until Margaret is finished with training on the new system. They can use old account numbers and Margaret will take care of any corrections necessary when she is ready to do the conversion. Bill shared a Schedule of Bills Payable Form that he and Margaret are proposing the staff can use as a voucher, which is patterned after what they do in Great Barrington. He explained each information column and added that it can be handwritten or entered electronically. Bill reminded everyone that the process of a significant software conversion such as this takes time. Becky asked when expense reports for each department can be expected. Bill expects expense reports will be done this week or next. He added that the town just received the chart of accounts from Vadar in the past week.
Merritt Road Beaver Concerns: Some residents on Merritt Road have expressed concerns about how the beavers are managed on a portion of the road, which is a town right of way. Becky reported that the Board of Health checked and proper permitting procedures are followed when trapping the beavers. The Highway Superintendent did a site visit and inspection today following the complaints. He reported back on the procedure he has followed for many years to keep the road from flooding, which can typically occur at least twice a year. The residents would like to be notified when trapping occurs, but Becky explained that since it this is on a town right of way, rather than private property, the town is not required to notify abutters. The Board decided to extend an invitation to the residents to attend the next to discuss their concerns.
Open Meeting Law Violation: The Attorney General’s Office was notified by a reporter that the Board violated the Open Meeting Law. Becky informed the Board that she spoke to the AG’s office and they reminded the town to be cognizant about posting and holding meetings in accordance with the law, as well as how the Board goes into executive session.
Adjournment: At 7:51 pm the Select Board unanimously adjourned the Select Board meeting.
Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
- Pole position petition, order for location and map for placement on Reservoir Road, Job #1A3L4VX.
- Sewer Commitment Letter from the Board of Health to the Tax Collector dated July 9, 2019.
- Library and Museum Annual Agreement.
- Otis Rescue Squad Annual Agreement.
- Preliminary Schedule of Bills Payable form proposed for review by the Board.
- Letter from the Attorney General’s Office regarding Open Meeting Law complaint filed by Haven Orecchio.