Selectboard Meeting Minutes 03/23/2021

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Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at 7:00 PM


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.


Topic: Selectmen’s meeting 3/23/2021

Time: Mar 23, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 817 7994 6914


Attendance: Chair Bill Hiller, Larry Southard, Gary Thomas, Heather Morgan, Brandi Page, Thom Garvey, Mark Lamanna, Therese Gould , Mary Ann Buchanan, Ann O’Donnell, Larry Gould, Sara’s iPad, Jim Crandall, Phil Magovern, Hal Kobrin, Roberta Sarnacki, Rona Knight, Diane Provenz, Susan Brofman, Sonia Morrison, Doreen Hoddinott, Lawrence Parnass and Christine Lawlor.


Call to Order:

7:00 PM


Approval of Minutes:

The minutes of March 9, 2021 were unanimously approved.


Animal Inspector:

Tonia Carrington was unanimously reappointed to the position of Animal Inspector.


Gravel Roads:

Tom Garvey spoke about the condition of the gravel roads this year, Becket Road being one of the worst. There are times he has to park and walk in about a mile to his house. This has been the case occasionally over the years but this year seems particularly bad. The Town is aware and Highway has done a great job trying to keep up with it. This is going to always be a problem and definitely some spots of the roads are worse than others. Tom questioned if there is more the Town should consider. These roads have been around a long time and most likely don’t have the appropriate base. Hal spoke to talk about the ongoing Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability planning meetings. This type of problem is exactly the type of thing towns are seeing worsen due to climate change. The Board agreed that this topic needs to stay on the radar and be revisited when we are considering future grant projects.


Complete Streets:

Rona gave an update about the Complete Streets meetings so far. Originally the Board had agreed to let Planning Board move forward with this and Bill stated he didn’t want it to take up Brandi and Derek’s time. As the process has started its evident that Admin & Highway participation is needed. Brandi is attending the meetings she is able to. As the draft list of projects takes shape it will be pushed out to Highway and Police and the Selectboard for feedback.


Flood Plain Bylaw:

Planning Board submitted a draft upgrade to our current bylaw for the Selectmen to review for approval at Town Meeting. The Board unanimously agreed to approve the draft and file the needed report back the Planning Board. The Public Hearing for both the Solar bylaw and Flood Plain bylaw is scheduled for April 5th.


Review of Town Meeting Articles:

Annual Town Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday May 18th. Brandi suggested starting at six instead of seven because we anticipate being outside. Jim Crandall will inquire with the State about borrowing lights. Bill asked if the meeting can be held inside at the school.  The school may not have enough parking. The Board agreed to the 6pm start time. Next up for discussion was a proposed article to adopt

Short term occupancy excise tax. It’s felt we have several properties in Town that are used as rentals and this would let the Town see revenue from that. Larry Gould mentioned that it is also useful to finding out where the short-term rentals are. Gary didn’t feel there are enough in Town to justify doing this. Bill and Larry voted to place this on the warrant, Gary was against. Third was a proposed article for retiree health benefits.  Bill stated this has come up before. Gary has mixed feeling and he’s not sure which way to go with it. Brandi stated that is the Town moved this article forward the minimum would be health insurance for the retiree only at a 50/50 contribution. This would be available for fulltime benefited employees who are vested after 10 years.  Bill mentioned that it makes working for Otis more attractive.  Bill suggests that they vote yes for the retiree only at 50 percent, Larry and Gary agreed.  Diane spoke about the articles for St. Paul’s. She would like to see any edits from Jeremia before the Board approves the final warrant. She is also pushing for an article accepting land at the rear of St. Paul’s.


Revolving Account for Police Details:

This has been brought up before. It’s felt that a revolving account for the police details will alleviate the officers waiting so long to get paid. Larry supports the revolving account so the officers on detail can be paid in a timely manner. He has had concerns brought up to him a few times. Terry spoke to say that she feels the paperwork has also not been done in a timely fashion.  If the officers don’t get the paperwork in and if the chief doesn’t get it done in a timely manner than this account is not going to help. Bill would like a system set up so it can be tracked how they are getting paid and their paperwork is getting in on time.  Bill is in favor of a revolving account along as some oversight to make sure paperwork is getting done. The Board unanimously agreed to move forward with this account and set the limit for the account at $10,000.


Review and Approval of Warrants:

On the Selectboard table for review and signing.


Any Topics Not Reasonably Anticipated:

Sonia wanted to thank the Board for their support of the schoolhouse.


8:11 PM