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Minutes - March 12, 2007
MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2007
7:00 P.M.

SELECTMEN PRESENT:  Cole, Marsland, Piekarski, Wilkins


OTHERS PRESENT:  Town Administrator James Merriam, Deputy Chief Flynn, David Ryan, Carolyn Carey, Jeff Carter, Polly Hemstock, and others.

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Wilkins.


A.      Accept donation to Police Department from Dennis/Harwich Lions Club

Sandy Fife, President of the Dennis/Harwich Lions Club, presented Chief Mason with a check for $2,500 which Chief Mason noted would be used to refurbish the radar traffic trailer.  Ms. Fife made an appeal for Harwich citizens to join the Lions Club.  Mr. Piekarski moved to accept the donation by the Dennis/Harwich Lions Club to the Police Department for public safety service enhancements.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.


A.      Approve annual renewal of Common Victualler license for Seafood Sam’s
B.      Minutes – February 20, 2007 Regular Meeting
C.      Request for assistance from the Caleb Chase Fund

Mr. Cole moved to approve Items A & C on the Consent Agenda.  Mr. Piekarski seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

Mr. Cole moved to approve the minutes with changes on Page 6 in conjunction with Articles 18 and 28 that “to act fully thereon” be relocated in the paragraphs where it makes more sense.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion.  The motion carried by a 3-0-1 vote with Mr. Piekarski abstaining from the vote.


Mr. Merriam delivered the following report:

Fire Inspector Position
Please find attached a memo from Chief Remillard, Deputy Chief Flynn and me regarding the Fire Inspector position and how the Town may make Management changes for this position and others in order to work more efficiently and less costly for the Town. Some of these changes will require new language within the existing union contract.

Long Pond Treatment
Brewster Town Administrator Charlie Sumner advised me that their Conservation Commission approved an Order of Conditions which approved the project but postponed the work until next Fall. With the Board’s concurrence, I will ask Representative Peake to assist Harwich-Brewster to encumber the $150,000 earmarked grant from DCR until the new fiscal year.

Peake Postings
Attached is Representative Sarah Peake’s postings to keep us updated from Beacon Hill.

Cat-in the-Hat
Last Friday, I participated in our Elementary School’s Read Across America along with 30 other participants in reading a Dr. Seuss book to a pre-kindergarten class in honor of Dr. Seuss’ 50th birthday.

Chamber of Commerce
I met with the President and Executive Director on Wednesday to coordinate activities. Harwich will be featured (34 page spread) in the Cape Business magazine for the July-August issue. This will be a great opportunity to promote our community during the peak tourist season This meeting generated an idea to improve our web site to inform residents of vacancies on our various committees and contact information for membership consideration. I have asked Foster and Sandy to partner on this project.  I met with the Board of Directors on Thursday morning and Sue Leven and I have accepted invitations to speak at their March dinner meeting at the 400 East next Tuesday. Sue will focus her remarks on the East Harwich planning process.

Annual Town Meeting Warrant
The warrant is complete and prepared as your Board had voted last Monday, except that the Debt Excluded omnibus article has been split back into 5 separate articles. I consulted with Chairman Wilkins, Town Accountant Dave Ryan and the Finance Committee, all of which concurred that the articles should match the Ballot questions. The reference regarding Prop 2.5 was deliberately omitted and will be inserted, as is Harwich’s tradition, into the motions.

The Board agreed to include the Fire Inspector Position on the following week’s agenda.


A.   Request for transfer of stock by William R. Coffin & Sons, Inc. d/b/a Plum’s Package Store (continued from last week)

Mr. Marsland read the hearing notice into record and noted that this is a continuation from last week.  Chairman Wilkins opened the hearing.  John Coffin, Manager of Plum’s Package Store, appeared before the Board.  Mr. Cole questioned the requested share distribution noting that the current total share is 82 and the new shares total 80.  Mr. Coffin pointed out that 2 shares are going back into the company treasury as noted on the application.  Mr. Piekarski moved to close the hearing.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.  Mr. Cole moved to approve the application for amendment of liquor license as presented.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

B.      Recreation & Youth Commission’s Rules and Regulations

Mr. Marsland read the hearing notice into record.  Chairman Wilkins opened the hearing.  Jeff Carter highlighted the changes from last year.  Mr. Cole noted that “are” in Item 11 should be changed to “is.”  Mr. Marsland requested that a revised date be added.  Mr. Marsland moved to close the hearing.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.  Mr. Cole moved to accept the revised Beach Rules and Regulations.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion.  Upon Mr. Merriam’s recommendation, the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.


Finance Committee updates
Included in your packets are the updated votes in the one liners by the Finance Committee. I have deleted the $7,000 copier from the articles and intend to add to our operating budget in amendment #3. They voted Yes 5-1 to support the Chamber of Commerce request for $12,000 to promote Harwich. Attached is a copy of the Chamber handout. They re-voted the article (No 5-1) for infrastructure design and construction of the old Rec building, reduced the Human services article amount from $76,500 to $57,250 by deleting $5,250 from the COA Senior Dining Program (why fund our own budget through this article?) and $14,000 for Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless. FinCom also met with the Chase Library Association. They had 813 card holders last year and 798 this year, of which 289 last year and 295 this year are from Harwich. The new Dennis Library has impacted upon their children’s program. Circulation was 6,654 last year and 6,357 this year. When asked what would happen without Town financial support, they answered that the Library would close within one to two years. Attached is a copy of their budget. Dave Ryan received quotes on the Munis Chart of Accounts and GASB 34 update and amended his request to $41,800. The Finance Committee has voted not to recommend several CPC articles. CPC Chairman Jack Brown has called to inform me of his disappointment and hope that your Board would support their requests and that the Finance Committee would reconsider its positions.

FY 08 Budget
Dave Ryan, Dave Scannell and I have updated the FY 08 budget through amendment #2, see attached. Also, I have provided a spreadsheet prepared by the Assessor’s Office listing all of the General Overrides which have passed going back to 1989. Their information came off the DOR website.

We have provided our consultant, Terry Curtin from Donahue and Associates with responses to all of his questions, clearing the way for Terry to release the RFPs for bidding the Property and Casualty policies. The proposals are due on April 25th.  The Chapter 32B Insurance Advisory Committee met on Thursday to hear a presentation from MIIA. They also discussed my draft MOA regarding Coalition Bargaining under MGL Ch.32B section 19. They intend to discuss it further with their respective union leadership. They also discussed MGL Chapter 32B section 18 and its placement on the Special Town Meeting warrant. Dolly Parkhurst explained that 79 out of 95 retirees not on Medicare are under 65. I explained that I have requested this information directly from Blue Cross who has this information for Part A coverage in their coordination of benefits.  I also provided a copy of the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group’s rates for FY 08, which was set on Wednesday. They will be discussing Harwich’s option to join at their March 28th meeting. Tufts Medical Plan has also asked to quote us.

Wil Remillard has written a response to the issue of regional cooperation with Chatham which was referenced in this past week’s newsletter. Wil was compelled to set the record straight.

Managers’ Meeting
I attended the monthly Managers meeting which was scheduled for Clancy’s but due to a fire, was relocated to Scargo’s. John Klimm was proud that Barnstable was given the Cape’s first AAA rating by Standard and Poor’s Rating Service. He indicated that they were convinced that Barnstable is no longer relying on the seasonal tourist industry but has a year round sustainable economy. They have a Municipal/School Finance Director who has made good strides to improve their financial condition from the 1990’s when they were experiencing annual school shortfalls of multi million dollars.

Harbor Revenue and Expenditures
At my request, Dave Ryan has prepared a the attached spreadsheet which indicates that the Harbor Revenues have exceeded the expenditures substantially in the past three years and is poised to do so this year.

Joint Dispatch
Chairman Wilkins, Chiefs Mason and Remillard and I met with Police and Fire union representatives on Wednesday to discuss how best to implement the joint dispatch proposal. The unions requested an MOA to discuss the proposals between the parties. Attached is a draft MOA for this purpose which has been shared with the two affected unions.  

Harwich Portuguese Men’s Club
Polly Hemstock has provided me with a thick packet of information pertaining to my request of the Housing Committee to review the title to this property at 59 Queen Anne Road. As per the Housing Committee’s recommendation, I’ll forward to Attorney Ford.

Meetinghouse Road
Assistant Water Superintendent Bruce Cahoon advises me that the Harwich residents of Wayside Road have been seeking town water since 1991, whereas the Brewster residents on the same street have Brewster water. This subject was not raised during our discussion with the residents.

The Board agreed to discuss harbor revenues and beach management at the following week’s meeting.  Mr. Cole requested that the Waterways Committee and Harbormaster be notified.

Mr. Merriam outlined Budget Amendment #2.  After discussion, Mr. Cole moved to approve the amendment without Item #II of the amendment.  Mr. Piekarski seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.


A.      Lower Cape Cod Community Development Corporation application for Affordable Housing Special Revenue Funds (second vote)

After the Board discussed the request with Polly Hemstock of the Lower Cape Cod CDC, Mr. Marsland moved to indefinitely postpone pending title review by Mr. Ford.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion.  Ms. Hemstock inquired as to the procedure for the request if it is brought back to the Board and the Board responded that per the policy, two consecutive meetings would be needed again.  The motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

B.      Building Permit for stairlift at Brooks Academy – authorize Chair to sign

Mr. Marsland moved to authorize the Chair to sign the Owner’s Authorization on the Building Permit.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

C.      Acceptance of lease payment and approval of RFP for Jenkins Bog

Mr. Marsland moved to accept the lease payment of $556 from Ray Thacher, Jr. for the Jenkins Bog use and approve the new RFP for leasing out Jenkins Bog.  Mr. Cole requested that the motion be split into two motions.  Mr. Marsland withdrew his motion.  Mr. Marsland moved to accept the $556 payment from Ray Thacher, Jr. for the leasing of Jenkins Bog.  Mr. Piekarski seconded the motion.  Mr. Cole recommended that in the future they need to be able to verify the figures and Mr. Merriam noted his preference for a fixed bidding process.  The motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

Mr. Cole moved to approve the RFP for the lease of the Town-owned cranberry bog known as Jenkins Cranberry Bog.  Mr. Piekarski seconded the motion.  The Board pointed out editorial changes to Mr. Merriam.  The motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

D.      Approve Budget Amendment #2

This item was acted on under the Town Administrator’s Report.


A.      S&J Exco, Inc. bills for landscaping

Mr. Merriam explained that Carolyn Carey has asked whether she can process several bills from S&J Exco, Inc. for bark mulch previously delivered to the Community Center.  He noted that the materials were ordered by Don Milbier and spread by his company.  Mr. Merriam further explained that two of the invoices have been paid, one for $675 which was charged to the Community Center budget and one for $434.70 which was paid for by the Friends of the Community Center.  He stated that he wouldn’t recommend that Town money be used to pay for these invoices.

Carolyn Carey clarified that the money the Friends group paid was not for this project but rather it was for the rose garden.  She stated that in no way did she want to obligate the Town and she was simply questioning if the Board wished to pay these bills out of the Community Center Gift Account.

Mr. Ryan recommended that the bills be paid from the Gift Account and Mr. Cole agreed stating that this small business should not be held hostage to the things that went on with this project.  Mr. Piekarski stated that he does not believe we should pay these bills as it was not a Town-approved project and sets a precedent.  He encouraged the Board to check with Town Counsel if they are considering paying the bills.  Mr. Cole agreed that they should check with Town Counsel as well.  Chairman Wilkins stated that through the Acting Town Administrator’s office, the Board set a procedure in place regarding any future purchases.  He requested that Mr. Merriam check the file to see when that was put into motion and then bring that information back to the Board for further discussion.  Mr. Marsland pointed out that there may be an opinion from Town Counsel already.  The Board went on to discuss the possibility of setting up a purchase order system by next fiscal year with Mr. Ryan.  The Board referred this item back to Mr. Merriam for more research.

B.         Municipal Partnership Act

Chairman Wilkins noted his preference to wait on this item until Mr. McManus returns and the Board agreed.

C.         One-liner/warrant review

The Board agreed to take positions on articles at the following week’s meeting.  Chairman Wilkins requested that Mr. Merriam look toward scheduling a joint meeting with the Finance Committee the week after that and have the Community Preservation Committee in at that time.


Mr. Piekarski requested that Mr. Merriam acknowledge receipt of a letter from Paula Myles regarding commercial wind towers and let her know that her concerns are being directed to the appropriate parties.  Mr. Marsland noted that Ms. Myles’ letter will be read at the Planning Board’s hearing on this matter.


Mr. Cole moved to adjourn at 9:08 p.m.  Mr. Piekarski seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-0 vote.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Steidel
Recording Secretary

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