Select Board Meeting Minutes 12/08/2020

Printer friendly

Select Board Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

December 08, 2020

7:00 p.m.


*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: Chairmen Bill Hiller, Selectmen Gary Thomas, Selectmen Larry Southard, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, Edward Hotchkiss, Jeff Reynolds, Lyn Obrien, Patricia Richard, Celeste Watman, Ron Croziers, Terry Gould, Michael Thiemann, Diane Provenz, Galaxy S8


Call to Order

7:00 PM


Approval of Select Board Minutes from November 24th, 2020

The minutes from November 24th were approved with the following change to the section regarding Katie’s.  Larry Southard recused himself from the discussion and vote.  Change a member of the board to two members of the board witnessed the employee without a mask.  Add license suspension or possible closure.  Removed that it was unanimously approved, Larry had recused himself. Top of paper should be minutes instead of agenda.  Gary and Bill accepted the remainder of the minutes.  Larry recused himself from the vote.


Review and Approval of Warrants

On the table for review.


Appoint Don Fitzgerald as an alternate Building Inspector

The Select Board unanimously agreed to appoint Don Fitzgerald as alternate building inspector.


Pole Petition, New Hollywood Blvd #6B031015

A representative from Eversource did not attend the meeting due to technical difficulties on their part.  The Board decided to continue with the pole petition.  Eversource is requesting four new poles to be placed for new construction.  Abutter cards were sent out. There were no objections.  The Select Board unanimously approved.


Emergency Response Coordinator, SBREP Committee

Appointment of Dan Hamil as emergency response coordinator.  The Select Board unanimously approved.


Classification Hearing

Prior to the mailing of 3rd quarter tax billings, the Board of Selectmen hold a public hearing to determine the percentage of the Town’s property tax levy to be borne by each major property class. This responsibility and procedure is described in Chapter 40, Section 56 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Steps four, five and six of the Classification Hearing were discussed tonight.  Jeff Reynolds and Michael Thiemann were in attendance.  Jeff Reynolds presented to the Select Board. For fiscal year 2020 the levy limit was $5,344,437.  The Levy increase under Prop. 2 ½ is $133,611.  The assessors have tabulated new growth revenues of $28,872.  The excluded debt is -7,956.  There is a possibility that this number may be adjusted. The final levy limit for FY21 is $5,498,964. The levy to be raised is 5,278,102 leaving an excess levy capacity of $220,862.  The vast majority of the taxation burden falls to the residential class at just under 94 %.  The Board of Assessors recommends that the Board of Selectmen adopt a single tax rate to be applied to all classes of property in Otis. As of this afternoon, Gateway is showing a tax rate of $8.44 per thousand. Up ten cents from last year. All property classes were increased by 1.5 percent. The average tax bill will be $2,756 a change of $78.  There were no question from the Select Board.


The Otis Board of Selectmen 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 2021 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 voted to pass the motion.


Meeting Schedule and Key Dates for 2021

The meeting dates have been unanimously approved.  After a brief discussion, the Select Board all agreed to meet on December 22, 2020.  The Monday after July 4th the transfer station will be open.  Citizen’s petition deadline of April 28th.  The Select Board unanimously agreed. The transfer station will be closed on Veteran’s Day.  The Select Board unanimously approved.


Any topics not reasonably anticipated by the Chair at the time of the original posting.

Edward Hotchkiss from the Otis Woodlands is concerned that some of his neighbors might be hurting in these trying times.  Edward has started a program in the Woodlands to provide financial support for the food pantry but he would like to do more to help.  He asked the Select Board if they know of anyone who may need his help.  Nothing has been brought to the attention of Select Board at this time.  Some suggestions the Select Board had were for Edward to keep his eyes and ears open to see who is in need, he could put an ad in a local paper and Mr. Hotchkiss could stop at Papa’s Healthy Food and Fuel to talk to Larry regarding people in need.


Appointment of Jill Moretz to the Finance Board.  She will need to run in May for election.  The Select Board unanimously agreed to appoint Jill Moretz to the Finance Board.


Liquor licenses are up for renewal.


Public session for the cell tower will be held at 6 PM on January 12th before the Selectmen’s meeting.


Brandi stated there have been no response on the Highway position.


Sonia had a question regarding Historical Commission accounting.  The Historical Commission had agreed to pay for tree work.  Sonia was concerned the expense was taken out of the current budget instead of past budget.  Bill explained that it is all set.


Enter into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing the physical condition of an individual, specifically an accommodation of working from home due to Covid. The members are not expected to reconvene in open session.





Respectfully submitted by,

Heather Morgan

Selectmen Secretary, Town of Otis



List of Documents

New Hollywood Blvd Sole Cover Letter 6b031015

New Hollywood Blvd Sole Oder 6b031015

New Hollywood Blvd Sole Clerk Letter 6b031015


Tax Classification Hearing Report