Select Board Meeting
Otis Town Hall
October 27, 2020
*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.
Attendees: Selectmen Chair Bill Hiller, Selectmen Larry Southard, Selectmen Garry Thomas, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, BJ Obrien, Lyn Obrien, Celeste Watman, Larry Gould, Michael Rosenburg and Joe Mitchell (Eversource), Theresa Gould, William Taft, Karen Fink, James Crandall, and Chris
Call to Order
Approval of Select Board Minutes from October 1 and October 13, 2020
October 1st minutes were approved. October 13th minutes were approved with the revision of changing Bill to Larry Southard that did not attend the October 1st meeting.
Review and Approval of Warrants
On the table for review.
Pole Hearing Continuance, North Blandford Road
Michael Rosenburg and Joe Mitchell were in attendance on behalf of Eversource and also present for the petition were Sara and William Taft. Michael explained again that the original petition should have been submitted by Verizon. As Eversource came in later in the scope of the project it was an oversight that the petition was not then filed. These poles support voltage regulators and they are needed for the circuit. There was discussion and a later comment by Larry Gould as to the history in that area and what necessitated the regulators. Michael explained that Eversource is planning an upgrade to the circuit(s) in that area and as the engineers work out the specifics the regulator platform will ultimately be moved anyway. They expect that the Board will not approve this petition and are asking for a stay of removal. Instead of being required to remove the poles/regulator platform immediately they have asked to finish the engineering on the circuit upgrade and come back to the Town with the alternate location sometime in 2021. Bill spoke to clarify that when Eversource places any equipment including poles, guidewires and regulator platforms that Eversource is responsible should and injury or damage occur as a result of that equipment. Michael confirmed yes that is true. Eversource is the responsible party.
Sarah Taft spoke and began by thanking Joe for his call. They were told by their agent that an injury resulting from accessing the regulator via their property is a risk for them. The Taft’s would like a guarantee that the voltage regulator poles and platform will be moved in 2021 and Eversource is liable for any injury. The Taft’s would have also appreciated some communication with them from Eversource before placing the pole. Their biggest concern is that they may be uninsured because of the liability. Bill asked if a security fence is an option for safety until the pole can be moved. Joe Mitchell would like to continue to communicate directly with the Tafts to remedy problems with how the site was left and provide the Tafts with the assurance they seek. Larry Southard wanted to know if either Michael or Joe had been to the site. Joe has seen pictures and Michael has been there to see the site. Larry Southard expressed his displeasure at how the site was so poorly constructed. He expressed that he would have never have approved what Eversource did and wanted to know if the regulators are generally that close to the ground. Michael replied that they are typically higher and the slope of the bank at this site was a contributing factor. He also understood the negative reaction the bank removal and the trees that were removed. The Select Board unanimously agreed that the current pole petition is denied. When the new plan is available Eversource can resubmit the petition and the Board expects communication from Eversource through the process for the circuit upgrade and pole relocations. Larry Gould has some technical questions for Eversource. Brandi will pass along Michael’s contact information.
Board of Health, business complaints
There have been three separate complaints regarding an employee at Katie’s not wearing a mask. Jack has made the appropriate inspections and the owner has been advised in writing of the need to comply with the Governor’s orders. Brandi spoke to say the employee is now complying now with the protocols and recommends no action tonight. Further violations, if they occurred, could result in fines. Larry recused himself from the vote. Bill and Garry agreed not to take action at this time.
Treasurer, Borrowing Approval
Karen Fink joined the meeting to discuss a short term borrowing note that was taken out last year to finance a grader and highway truck. This is the third payment on the truck and first of five payments on the grader. The Town received five bids and awarded the borrowing to Greenfield Cooperative Bank. The borrowing was unanimously approved.
Regional School Agreement, 3yr vs. 5yr
Bill and Brandi attended the School Committee meeting on October 5th. Due to the increasing financial burden on Sandisfield it was brought up to see if both Towns had an interest in amending the regional agreement to utilize a five year rolling average vs the current three year average to assess enrollment. Terry feels that Sandisfield may not fully understand what the 3yr vs. 5yr agreement means. She also said a lot of thought went into the original agreement supporting the three year calculation and that should carry some weight in deciding to change it. The Board Unanimously agreed to leave it at 3yrs. Brandi will let Eric at FRRSD know of their decision.
Policy for snow closures
This policy is drafted to mirror the one currently in place in regard to bussing to choice schools when FRRSD closes for inclement weather. This policy states that if FRRSD closes due to inclement weather that the bussing will not run to any vocational schools even if they are remaining open. The Select Board unanimously agreed.
Solid Waste Hauling Bid Award
James Crandall spoke to say that the Town received four bids for solid waste services at our recent opening. Jim recommends the town award the contract to Waste Management as they came in as the lowest and most responsive bidder. He checked references and reports that other towns have a good rapport with Waste Management. The contract is for one-year with a mutual review and extensions at the second and third year. The Board unanimously agreed to award the contract to Waste Management.
Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of the original posting.
James Crandall brought up that the previous solid waste hauling contractor owns the paper compactor. They are offering to sell it to the town for $4,000. A new compactor cost roughly $20,000. The compactor is a 1997 model and needs about $3,000 worth of repairs. Jimmy would like to offer them $2,000 for the compactor. It was agreed that the town can’t do without a paper compactor and there is no money in the budget for a new compactor. Jimmy feels the old compactor could last until summer. The Board unanimously agreed to let Jimmy and Brandi negotiate a deal and they have the authority to pay up to $3,000 to purchase the old compactor.
The Elections/Board of Registrars would like to appoint Jonathan Hillman as an election worker. The Select Board unanimously agreed.
Brandi has not received many applicants for the Highway department’s open position. She feels the CDL license requirement may be a deterrent. She would like to advertise the position with the license being preferred instead of required. She mentioned that the salary would be lower if the person does not have the preferred license. The Board agreed to change the license requirement to preferred for this third position. Derek has confirmed he has a smaller truck this position can plow with.
Bill would like the new reimbursement form to say the Town of Otis on top of the page and the document should be dated and have a revision number. The new copier has arrived. The copier company tech will set it up. Bill would like the addresses imported into the new copier.
Larry asked for an update on the Norton culvert.
Respectfully submitted by,
Selectmen Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
FRRSD Budget Creation Process
FRRSD regional agreement amendment
Vocational Inclement Weather Policy