Town of Otis
Select Board Meeting Minutes
November 26, 2019
Call to Order: Meeting was called to order at 7:03 pm in the Town Hall conference room. A quorum was present.
Present: Gary Thomas, Bill Hiller, Larry Southard, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, Jeff Gamelin, Steve Nelson, James Crandall, Marjorie Wilke, Diane Dyer, Sue Brofman, Donna Rich, Celeste Watman, Mike Thiemann, Jeff Reynolds, Sonia Morrison, Susan Ebitz
Introductions were made of Heather Morgan (Selectmen’s Secretary) and Brandi Page (Town Administrator)
1. Review of Select Board Minutes. October 21, 22, 29 and November 1, 5, 12, 2019
• Gary, Bill and Larry approved all minutes with the exception of a requested change to the minutes of October 21. The October 21 minutes were not approved.
2. Board of Health:
• Steve Nelson came to talk about a septic repair and well testing. He said that there are green cards on neighbor’s wells and the wells have been tested. Regarding 196 Kibbie Road the repair will be the same as 192. It perked across the street. Owners are aware. Highway supervisor has no problem with them drilling under the road. Jim has no issues.
• Vote- The board unanimously approved proceeding with the plan. There were no objections.
3. Assessors. Tax classification hearing:
• Jeff Reynolds from RRG spoke for the Board of Assessors (BOA) regarding the Tax classification hearing. The Selectmen received documentation. For FY 2020 there are no overrides of Proposition 2 1/2. For Fiscal year 2020, the levy limit is $5,344,437. Mr. Reynolds also spoke that the purpose of a tax shift would be to give the residents a break and put more of the burden on the commercial and industrial tax class. The BOA recommends that the Select Board adopt a single tax rate to be applied to all classes of property in Otis. Larry Southard, as a business owner questioned whether he should be recused. After a discussion it was it was decided that Larry did not have to recuse himself.
• (Vote) Proposed motion, “The Otis Select Board votes in accordance with M.G.L., Ch. 40, Sec. 56, as amended, the percentage of local tax levy which will be borne by each class of real and personal property, relative to setting the Fiscal Year 2020 tax rates and set the Residential Factor at 1.0, with a corresponding CIP shift of 1.0, pending approval of the town’s annual tax recap by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue”.
• The board unanimously approved.
4. Review and Approval of Warrants:
• Warrants were signed
5. Approval of 2020 Select Board Meeting Schedule:
• Looks good. (Vote) The board unanimously approved the 2020 Select Board Meeting Schedule.
6. Reviewing MRF Contract
• Jimmy Crandall spoke about the MRF contract and how much it is going to cost to get rid of recycled products, $93.50 per ton, and $12.00 per household. He suggested adding it onto the sticker price. Current cost of a sticker is $50. The contract will need to be signed by 1/31/2019. It was recommended not to sign it now. Wait to see if a better deal comes along. If the contract is not signed by 1/31, the offer may change. The contract is for five years. Larry questioned whether or not there were any other options regarding recyclables. Every town is being hit with additional costs. There is a lot that needs to be discussed regarding the transfer station. Bill suggested forming a committee. There was a discussion if only one Selectmen should meet with the transfer station or all three. It was decided that all three Selectmen would be involved in discussing the contract and recycling. It also needs to be discussed how stickers will be handled. Concern regarding having money at transfer station was also expressed.
7. Library clarification (Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of original posting – added 11/25/2019 at 11:15 AM)
• Diane Dyer as well as other Library Board members attended the meeting looking for clarification from the Selectmen regarding who will be paying for their internet access. As of now, the town is still paying for the library’s internet access. The library will need to opt into the municipal ring in for the bill to be paid through the town’s budget. If they decide not to join the municipal ring the library will have to go it on their own (tech support and pay their own bill). The Otis Library is not currently tied into the town’s server because the library’s connection is not secure. The Library Board members have various concerns and would like to keep their technician. This is the reason they are hesitant to opt in. It was suggested that if they opt in and the town takes over the maintenance, the library could hire their technician to teach computer classes. The Library feels that its responsibility is to their patrons and they are not comfortable with losing their technical support person. After a long discussion, the Library Board members decided to keep their technical support person and not join the Municipal ring. The Library would like in writing what John would do to their computers, what type of upgrades, what kind of troubleshooting he would provide and when he would be available. Bill mentioned that if they have a problem they could also call Larry. Larry suggested the library write up their concerns so they are on paper and can be addressed. The Library Board members would like to be part of the process. Bill and Larry are willing to meet with the library. Bill suggested that a representative from the Library come to the Technology Committee meeting.
8. Historical Commission
• The Historical Commission will be having a walk through the section of Otis that is proposed to be listed on the National Register of Historic Districts. The walk will take place December 12 at 11 am from Town Hall. The question of whether power can be added to the gazebo was brought to the Selectmen. There is no money for it this year but possibly next year. Sonia stated that she does not believe the building use committee and planning board have been meeting. The Historical Commission would like to meet to discuss shared use buildings. Sonia feels the planning committee should have input. Larry is looking at need vs want vs budget. Sonia feels the community is interested but a meeting needs to be scheduled so the community can have input. The Historic Commission would like a committee. It was suggested that the Planning Board creates a committee. Berkshire Planning Commission grant a possibility to pay for a feasibility study.
The Select Board unanimously adjourned the Select Board meeting at 8:23.
Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
1. MDEP Contract
2. Meeting Schedule 2020
4. Tax Classification Hearing presentation
5. Signed Classification Tax Allocation FY 2020