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Finance Committee Minutes 03/27/2012
TOWN OF HARWICH
FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Small Hearing Room, Town Hall
Meeting, 6:00 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Present: Skip Patterson, Chairman, Pete Watson, Noreen Donahue, Pam Groswald, Bill Greenwood, Rich Larios, Jon Idman
Not present: Dana DeCosta, Open Position to Replace Peter Hughes
Also Present: Jim Merriam, David Ryan, Linda Cebula


  • Call to Order
Skip Patterson, Chairman of the Finance Committee called the meeting to order at 6PM.
  • Approval of Minutes
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes of March 19, 20, and 22 with one edit to correct the spelling of Larry Ballantine’s name in the March 19, 2012 minutes.
Vote - Yes 7, No 0.

  • CPC Articles
Jack Brown, Chairmen of the Community Preservation Committee presented.

  • Article 40 – Harwich Affordable Rental Housing Assistance Program
  • Valerie Foster presented as subject matter expert
  • 47 houses have been help already
  • A waiting list of 20+ is pending
  • The help is for working and unemployed families, elderly and handicapped, who live or work in Harwich
  • $100 to $350 a month per family as needed
  • People can be on the program for 3 years and are re-evaluated yearly
  • The program is in the 2nd year of the 1st round
$300,000 would help 10 – 20 people for 3 years

  • Article 41 – Brooks Free Library: Phase 1 Restoration and Preservation Historic “Brooks Building”
  • Joanne Brown and Matt McCaffery presented as subject matter expert (Jack Brown recused himself for this and the following article)
  • Phase 1 is a focus on the front side that faces Rte 137 - $39,000
  • Repair and replace door, gutters, ornamental shingles, remove paint buildup, columns, deck
  • Phase 2 is for the front of the Cape Cod 5 building - $25,000
  • Phase 3 is for the sides and back of the Cape Cod 5 building - $25,000
  • Article 42 – Digitize 1949-1958 Microfilm of Central Cape Press Newspaper
  • This is historical information of Harwich and is very informative
  • About 4,500 pages to digitize so the cost is $1 a page
  • Article 43 – Preserve and Digitize Historic Photos at the Harwich Historical Society
  • Jack Brown presented
  • $1,900 to digitize the photos
  • Future plan is get them on the internet for access by all
  • Article 44 – Fund Phase III Historic South Harwich Meeting House Preservation
  • Judith Ford and Jack Brown presented
  • This phase needs $144,000 and is for:
  • ADA Code Upgrades
  • Sprinkler System
  • Water Supply
  • Stairway to bottom floor for Bathroom
  • The previous 2 phases were for:
  • All new windows
  • Refurbishing of the outside
  • Septic system
  • Cable, electric
  • Parking
  • The inside was gutted – new ceilings and walls
  • They found the original stencils and plan to bring back the original colors
  • The chandelier is in Wayland and has been restored by the Yankee Craftsman.  It has been entirely redone and is a phenomenal piece.  
  • The expectation is that the building will pay for itself as it will be sought after for events for rental.  The hope is that funds will go back to the Town.
  • Article 45 – Preservation, Restoration, Re-assembly of Historic Crowell Barn/Workshop
  • Patty Smith, Gerry Loftus and Jack Brown presented
  • The original barn is being returned to Harwich after it was sold
  • It will be housed on the west side of Brooks Academy
  • Elmer Crowell, world famous bird decoy carver, started to carve at 50 years old
  • Elmer was born, lived, raised his family and died in Harwich
  • This is the barn he carved in and the interior will be original along with the boards that have his stamps on it that he tested before stamping his decoys
  • The building will not have heat or plumbing but will have basic electricity
  • In the refurbishing, the roof and exterior will be new.  The trim will have to be painted every 5 year
  • Estimated maintenance costs will be $1,000 a year and expect it to come from donations
  • Pictures will be hung in the barn and refer people to the Academy where some of his decoys will be on display.  Some of his decoys have sold for $1 million each
Jack then took this opportunity to discuss his concerns with the Town’s lack of focus on maintenance.  Preservation is needed sooner as maintenance is not being done to keep up all of the assets that Harwich has.  As a town, we need to put our hands around this issue soon.

Jack provided the committee with an update on the Muddy Creek project and the opportunity for CPA funds to cover this.  He has spoken to the Executive Chairman of the CPA and the fact that it is needed to protect the marshes and bugs in the area along it and the upstream effect.  The CPC is meeting on April 5, 2012 and then the Board of Selectmen are meeting on April 9, 2012.  Jack is also working with Jim Merriam to finalize the wording for the request.

  • Vote Articles
ATM:
Motions were made and seconded on the following articles with the indicated vote:
  • 40 – Harwich Affordable Rental Housing Assistance Program
A & A – Yes 7, No 0
  • 41 – Brooks Free Library: Phase 1 Restoration and Preservation Historic “Brooks Building”
A & A – Yes 7, No 0
  • 42 – Digitize 1949-1958 Microfilm of Central Cape Press Newspaper
A & A – Yes 7, No 0
  • 43 – Preserve and Digitize Historic Photos at the Harwich Historical Society
A & A – Yes 7, No 0
  • 44 – Fund Phase III Historic South Harwich Meeting House Preservation
A & A – Yes 7, No 0
  • 45 – Preservation, Restoration, Re-assembly of Historic Crowell Barn/Workshop
A & A – Yes 7, No 0

  • Executive Session
None

  • Updates from Town Administrator/Finance Director
Linda Cebula advised that the current posting process will be discussed by the BOS within the next 2 weeks.  She will keep us updated.

  • Old business
Article comments – Skip will check with Dana to get a copy of the comments he has done so far so that we can proceed with them at the meeting on March 29, 2012.

Pam advised that she met with Carolyn Cragin regarding the MRSD budget.  The funds requested in the warrant article must be sufficient to complete the project and to ensure there will not be a shortfall to finish the project.  The Finance Committee is concerned by the increase in the amount needed for the building but will wait to hear the specifics from the MRSD committee on April 4, 2012.  Other points noted:
  • The MRSD building department is requesting $68 million
  • The BOS has voted to support the article at $60 million
  • FinCom will plan to meet with the BOS after the April 4, 2012 meeting with the MRSD so that we can discuss to come to a mutual agreement between both groups.
  • Carolyn Cragin is retiring and David Ryan provided history concerning this.  Dr. Cragin was going to retire 2 years ago, however, the Chatham Superintendent was also going to retire so a deal was made with Dr. Cragin to remain through the regionalization of the schools.
  • New business
  • Jim Merriam advised that he has worked on the ballot and hopefully we can remove the Muddy Creek article from it.
  • Jim also advised that the town is moving forward with the plan to regionalize Dispatch for Fire.
  • Adjourn
7:45PM


 
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