Select Board Meeting Minutes
Otis Town Hall
November 10, 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.
Attendance: Select Board Chair Bill Hiller, Selectmen Gary Thomas, Selectmen Larry Southard, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, Terry Gould, Allen Hanig, Celeste Watman, Kay Rice, Lyn Obrien, Diane Provenz, Sonia Morrison
Call to Order
Approval of Select Board Minutes from October 27, 2020
Minutes from October 27th were unanimously approved.
Review and Approval of Warrants
On the desk to be signed
There is extra money in the budget since the town’s holiday party will be canceled due to Covid. Bill asked Brandi to look into what the town can do for the Veterans. Brandi mentioned replacing the medallions at the cemetery in recognition of the Veterans. The AMVETS are in favor of the idea. It was recommended to go with aluminum medallions. The Select Board unanimously agreed to purchase the medallions and flags and to send a letter of acknowledgement to the AMVETS that states the gift of the medallions would be made in their name.
Upcoming Diversity Training Opportunity
Diverse Otis would like the town’s employees and volunteers to participate in a diversity training. Brandi found an online training that is free of charge. She is willing to coordinate a day and time for the town’s employees and volunteers to participate in the training. The Select Board unanimously approved.
St. Paul’s Donation Agreement
There has not been an agreement between a donor that would like naming rights and the town. The town is waiting for the donor’s lawyer to get back to Jeremiah. Diane mentioned that she received an email from the donor on October 27th that stated the donor is waiting for a written draft from Jeremiah. Diane is disappointed that it took two weeks for Jeremiah to reach out to the donor’s attorney. She would like a better line of communication in the future.
Award MLP Bid
Certex was the lowest bidder. The agreement was awarded verbally but the contract still needs to be signed.
Milone & Macbroom Contract, Reservoir Road Culvert Project
The town awarded the design bid to Milone and Macbroom. Jeremiah is okay with the million-dollar limit on liability if the Select Board is okay with it. The Select Board unanimously approved the contract and authorized Brandi to sign the contract.
Michael Ernst Resignation Letter
Michael has been active in the Town for many years and has been on multiple committees. The Select Board would like to send him a letter of appreciation for his many years of service. There was some discussion regarding if a gift of some kind should be sent along with the letter. The Board agreed that a gift should also be given. Terry commented that he serves on the Finance Board so there will be an opening until his term is over. The position will need to be posted. Bill recommends requesting a resume along with the application. The Select Board accepted Michael Ernst’s resignation letter.
Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of the original posting.
Sonia wanted to update the Select Board on the grants they are applying for. Once a grant is ready to submit, they will send it to Brandi, Larry and Select Board for approval. They are applying for a construction grant for the East Otis school house. They are also possibly applying for a pre-development grant for St. Paul’s Church. The Otis Preservation Trust will be applying to the Feigenbaum Foundation.
Allen Hanig who lives on West Center Road joined the meeting. He wanted to discuss the height of West Center Road that has been newly paved. It is higher than his driveway and it’s causing the trailer hitch on his truck to scrape. He also believes his car would not be able to enter his driveway. He stated the drop from the road to his driveway is about a foot to a foot and a half. Mrs. Hanig cannot walk out of the driveway because it is too steep. Derek has already been in contact with Mr. Hanig and will be delivering some gravel. The homeowners are concerned that the problem won’t be fixed to their satisfaction. They would like pavement instead of gravel. They would also like it to be done as soon as possible. Garry mentioned that the pavers still have some finish work to do. Brandi will follow up with Derek.
Diane wanted to know if there was any new information regarding the Erbe house. The occupant was given a letter stating that they needed to vacate the premises but they have not left. The Selectmen do not know what the building is going to be used for. Suggestions on building use should go to Brandi. Sonia spoke about the building use committee starting up again. Gary mentioned that the purchase of the building had gone to town meeting but the Select Board made the decision on how the building would be used. Bill made a motion to give Brandi the authority to work with Jeramiah to have the occupant removed. The lease ended on June 30, 2020. The Select Board unanimously agreed.
With Covid getting worse it was suggested that Town Hall be closed to the public after Thanksgiving. Gary suggested that the department heads might want to start meeting again to discuss Covid issues. Brandi was wondering if town hall should go back to appointment only. The food pantry is now only open on Wednesday 10 – 12, it is contactless and everyone wears masks.
Brandi gave an update on the tax rate. The assessors should be submitting their new growth soon.
Diane would like to know how much revenue the Erbe house has generated and what the expenses are.
Garry would like to talk about Town Hall hours due to Covid at the next meeting.
Respectfully submitted by,
Selectmen Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
Milone & Macbroom Proposal
Michael Ernst Resignation Letter
Update from the Historical Commission