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Minutes - February 2, 2004
7:30 P.M.

SELECTMEN PRESENT:  Gibson, Hughes, Widegren, Zeigler



OTHERS PRESENT: Town Administrator Wayne Melville, Assistant Town Administrator René Read, David Scannell, Bob Neese, Paula Champagne, Frank Sampson, Mary Jane Watson, Dr. Kocot, Bob Goodwin, Wil Remillard, Bob Goodwin, Bill Flynn, and others.
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER at 7:30 P.M. by Vice-Chairman Zeigler.


A.      Requests (2) for assistance from the Caleb Chase Fund.

Mr. Hughes motioned to approve the request in the amount of $500.00 to be paid to Nstar from the Caleb Chase Fund.  Mr. Widegren seconded the motion and so voted.

Mr. Hughes motioned to approve the request in the amount of $268.33 to be paid to Nstar from the Caleb Chase Fund.  Mr. Widegren seconded the motion and so voted.

B.      Gift of $100 from Dave Birtwell to the Carol Birtwell Memorial Swimming Pool Fund on behalf of his sister, Mary Jo McCann.

Mr. Hughes motioned to accept the gift of $100 from Dave Birtwell to the Carol Birtwell Memorial Swimming Pool Fund on behalf of his sister, Mary Jo McCann and send a letter to Ms. McCann notifying her of the gift.  Mr. Widegren seconded the motion and so voted.



A.      Annual meeting with the following committees in accordance with Section 7-3-2 of the Harwich Home Rule Charter:
1.      Board of Assessors

Mr. Scannell stated that they had gotten the bills out fairly early last year and the staff worked quite hard in accomplishing that.  He stated that they have two articles for Town Meeting this year -- one for the senior exemption and one for next year’s update which he pointed out is now state-mandated.   He also noted that there is one vacancy on the Board.

Vice-Chairman Zeigler asked if the yearly update requires the involvement of an outside firm every year rather than every three years as it is now.  Mr. Scannell stated that it would helpful to have an outside firm every year as the scope of this is much different now.  Mr. Scannell noted that the Paul Kapinos software is extremely helpful and they did go over it with the Taxpayers Association in detail and this presentation was broadcast on Channel 18.  He added that he felt the presentation went well and they had a lot of positive feedback on it.  He explained that it involves a huge database which they have to constantly attend to through all the deeds, building permits and other inspections.  He stated that the revaluation firm helps them once a year by analyzing the market changes and adjusting the tables to compensate for that.

Mr. Hughes asked Mr. Scannell how many people took advantage of the increase in the senior exemption last year.  Mr. Scannell stated that it was actually less than the year before and there are less than 60 people currently on the rolls taking advantage of this.  He noted that the Board is looking to increase the amount of the exemption again since last year was the first increase in over 20 years.  Mr. Hughes asked what the number of appeals were with the last round of tax bills and Mr. Scannell stated that it was approximately 200 which he noted was less than 2% and about 1/3 of them might have received an abatement in the 5% range.

2.      Board of Health

Mr. Sampson stated that Ms. Champagne and her staff do a tremendous job and they hope they can continue the current level of service in the face of staff reductions.  He stated that they adjusted their fee schedule which should increase revenues approximately $60,000 and he noted that they initiated a fee for title transfers.  Mr. Sampson also stated that they completed the Allen Harbor study and as a result of that, they are sending out flyers to educate the area residents on how they can reduce the number of raccoons in the area.  He explained that they changed their environmental regulations which will avoid a number of permits from coming before the Board unnecessarily.  He stated that they are taking another look at Flax Pond and hope to have a report on that soon and they have reinstituted a program to meet quarterly with the Water Department to discuss how they can coordinate their efforts with regard to water quality.

3.      Town Wide Water Quality Task Force

Mr. Sampson stated that their biggest accomplish last year was the completion of two reports which are the culmination of the first two years of sampling data done by over 50 volunteers.  He added that the reports are quite comprehensive and there will be a continuum of these reports every year as they get more data which will help to refine their knowledge of what is happening in the ponds and salt water embayments.  He noted that they will be holding a volunteer recognition day on April 29 at 3:00 and invited the Selectmen to attend.

Mr. Sampson stated that they proposed an article to do the modeling for the harbors which is an important part of their program and it is the only way to define that the harbors are severely impacted and then they can define what they need to do to bring the harbors back to where they were years ago.  He added that they are continuing to pursue a grant with the Wastewater Implementation Committee and the County for the study of Great Sands Lake for approximately $20,000.

Vice-Chairman Zeigler thanked the Committee for its time and recognized the tremendous volunteer effort.

B.      Brooks Academy Museum Commission – use of Article balance for engineering services relative to repairs at Brooks Academy.

Mr. Hughes stated that on January 5th they received a proposal from Coastal Engineering relative to some engineering work that needs to be done at Brooks Academy.  He stated that the total amount of the contract was $7,500 plus what was then termed reasonable expenses.  He added that there is about $8,000 left available to do this and they had a concern at that time about capping the reimbursable expenses.  Mr. Hughes motioned to authorize the Chairman to sign the agreement with Coastal Engineering and limit the cap of total expenditures to $8,000, which would be $7,500 plus a maximum of $500 in reimbursable expenses.  Mr. Widegren seconded the motion and so voted.

I.      At MMA Conference we were introduced to the idea of video streaming as an enhancement to our web site.  I have now been contacted by GCI Communications, Inc., who is requesting a letter of introduction from me to merchants in the Town as part of this promotional activity.  I believe that this is a good idea and recommend it to the Board of Selectmen.  I am asking you to authorize me to send the letter of introduction back to CGI Communications.

Mr. Melville also noted that we do need to check our technology to make sure it is compatible.

Mr. Hughes stated that he, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Widegren had seen a demonstration of this video streaming and what it has done for other communities.  He added that it is a great promotional tool and the company covers their expenses by asking the merchants to support a banner program for the Town of Harwich.  Mr. Hughes motioned to authorize the Town Administrator to send the letter of introduction to GCI Communications; Mr. Gibson seconded and so voted.


Mr. Gibson updated the Board on Harwich Civic Spirit day and noted that there is a tremendous amount of interest.  He reminded the audience that the date is scheduled for March 27 with set up time being from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and people can attend between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Mr. Hughes suggested advertising the event on Channel 18.  Mr. Widegren suggested that Mr. Gibson work with the art departments at the schools to create posters for the event.



        Future agenda items

Mr. Gibson stated that he had put a list of suggested future agenda in correspondence.  Mr. Widegren stated that the items should be put on the agenda and Vice-Chairman Zeigler agreed.  Mr. Gibson also suggested adding wind turbine distribution discussion to the list.  Mr. Hughes stated that he looked forward to having a presentation which should include the analyzed data as well as what it means in the number and size of wind turbines to produce the necessary energy.  Mr. Widegren suggested that Mr. Gibson talk to the Planning Board as the subject of wind turbines is not addressed in the by-laws.


Memorandum of Understanding between Harwich Council on Aging and Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, Inc.  – authorize Chairman to sign.

Mr. Hughes motioned to authorize the Chairman to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between Harwich Council on Aging and Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, Inc.  Mr. Gibson seconded the motion and so voted.



        Letter from Louise Pisciotta relative to repairs to Cross Street.

Mr. Melville explained that Lincoln Hooper has reproduced a list of projects that he had previously supplied to the Board and Cross Street is on that list with an estimated cost of repaving of $46,000 but these projects are subject to funding.  Mr. Hughes motioned that the Board respond by sending Ms. Pisciotta a letter with the list of projects attached explaining that we anticipate doing this project subject to Town Meeting funding.  Mr. Gibson seconded the motion and so voted.


Mr. Widegren noted that last week the Board lessened the number of members that they would put on the Community Preservation Act Evaluation Task Force.  He asked the Board to increase it’s representation by one.  Mr. Hughes motioned to increase the Board of Selectmen’s representatives to the Community Preservation Act Evaluation Task Force from 0 to 1.  Mr. Gibson seconded the motion and so voted.

Mr. Widegren motioned to appoint the following committee representatives to the Community Preservation Act Evaluation Task Force:

Finance Committee                               Brian Widegren
Housing Committee                               Ed McManus
Brooks Academy Museum Commission        Chris Woods
Historical Commission                   David Palmer
Real Estate and Open Space Committee    Robert Neese
Planning Board                          Larry Brophy
Housing Authority                               Senna Fernandez
Conservation Commission                 Marcy Ford
Selectmen’s representative                      Richard Houston

Mr. Hughes seconded the motion and so voted.


Mr. Hughes noted that he and Mr. Read expect to have a final version of the “Three-Cousins” RFP available for next week’s meeting.  Mr. Melville noted that he tried to determine when the three parcels were acquired by the Town and precisely how they are held.  He stated that the South Harwich Meeting House and the former West Harwich School are held by the Board of Selectmen but he has had trouble pinning down the particulars on the former Recreation and Youth Building.  He stated that he would follow up with Kopelman & Paige because they need to make sure that these properties are not up for a dedicated purpose or it would require Special Town Meeting action.


Vice-Chairman Zeigler adjourned the meeting at 8:27 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Steidel
Recording Secretary                            

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