Skip Navigation
Welcome to the official website for Harwich, MA
This table is used for column layout.
Harwich Town Seal
  • About Harwich
  • Town Departments
  • Town Calendars
  • Board of Selectmen
  • Boards & Committees
  • Agendas & Minutes
  • Reports, Data, Documents & Maps
  • Permits & Licensing
  • Community Links
  • Online Payments
  • Channel 18
  • Assessor's Searchable Database
  • Opportunities
  • Send Us Comments
  • Subscribe to News
  • Home Page

 
Minutes - February 23, 2009
MINUTES
SELECTMEN’S MEETING
GRIFFIN ROOM, TOWN HALL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2009
7:00 P.M.

SELECTMEN PRESENT:  Cole, LaMantia, Marsland, McManus, Wilkins

OTHERS PRESENT:  Town Administrator James Merriam, Assistant Town Administrator Nan Balmer, Chief Flynn, Atty. Shirin Everett, Atty. Kate Mitchell, Gerry Loftus, Leo Cakounes, Don Dickinson, Vickie Goldsmith, Donna Baldwin, Jack Brown, and others.

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

PUBLIC COMMENT/ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mr. Cakounes noted that March 14th is Harwich Civic Spirit Day in appreciation of volunteers and staff.  Mr. Cole suggested that “appreciation” be incorporated into the title.  Mr. Cakounes agreed and suggested that the Board look into that for next year.  Chairman Wilkins requested that a reminder notice be sent out indicating that the event is in appreciation of employees and volunteers.

CONSENT AGENDA

A.      Approve Minutes:
1.      February 9, 2009 – Regular Session
B.      Approve monetary gift from the Friends of the Harwich Community Center
C.      Approve new Class II Auto license for JC Auto Sales, 195 Queen Anne Road

Chairman Wilkins pulled Item B from the Consent Agenda.  Mr. McManus moved to approve the Consent Agenda and the recommended actions thereon with the exception of Item B.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.  

Chairman Wilkins noted that it has recently come to his attention that the Friends of the Community Center has shut down their operation.  Mr. Brown explained that the group had been struggling on many fronts and felt they no longer had a viable operation.  Mr. Merriam noted that the gift is being given before any expenditure.  Mr. McManus pointed out that it is a complicated procedure to close out a 501c3 organization and they either need to zero out their books for the purpose they were created or donate it to a similar-purpose organization.  Mr. Cole stated that he would like to get clarification as to the status of the organization and what role the Facilities Committee has in how the money it is applied.  Mr. Cole moved to table this item until next week.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

NEW BUSINESS

A.      Vote to convey property at Gomes Way to Habitat For Humanity

Atty. Everett explained that the Board is being asked to sign a deed conveying the Gomes Way property to Habitat for Humanity, a Land Disposition Agreement, and a Termination of Lease Agreement.  She noted that the deed includes a right-of-entry which means that if Habitat does not construct 13 units within 5 years and sell all the units to income eligible purchasers, the Town has the right to take the title back.  Atty. Everett further noted that the Land Disposition Agreement spells out in more detail what Habitat is required to do including construction and insurance obligations and the Termination of Lease Agreement is required as Habitat is no longer going to be the lessee of the property.  Atty. Everett added that there will be two Affordable Housing Restrictions that will be attached to the deed that will make sure the units will be permanently held for affordable housing purposes.  Ms. Everett took questions from the Board.  Mr. Cole requested that the text “Federal Express” be removed from the documents.   Mr. Marsland pointed out that his name is spelled incorrectly on the documents.  Atty. Everett as well as Atty. Mitchell, representing Habitat, agreed that the changes were not substantive and could be made directly on the documents and initialed so that the Board could sign them tonight.  Atty. Mitchell stated that there has been a considerable delay in starting the project as Habitat cannot begin construction until the financing is in place and there are grants that Habitat would like to take advantage of once these documents are signed.

Chairman Wilkins moved to vote to sign the deed conveying the Gomes Way property to Habitat for Humanity and to sign a Land Disposition Agreement with Habitat requiring them to use the property for affordable housing purposes in perpetuity and further, to sign miscellaneous closing documents affecting the conveyance of the property.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

OLD BUSINESS

A.      Review of Warrant Articles

Mr. LaMantia requested a placeholder article in the Special Town Meeting warrant to authorize the hiring of 2 day firefighters with the funding to be determined to improve dispatch time particularly in East Harwich.  Chairman Wilkins suggested that we notify both Chatham and Brewster that we are doing this and the Board discussed it with Chief Flynn.

Mr. LaMantia moved to forward the sign articles to the Planning Board and Town Counsel.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.  

Mr. LaMantia stated that we should have the petitioners in of all petition articles to see what they see as the source of funds.  The Board agreed to have the Real Estate and Open Space Committee in to discuss Articles 31 and 32, Fund Purchase of Land for Open Space Purposes.

Mr. McManus requested to put an article in the Special Town Meeting for the lease of the parking lot at Saquatucket Harbor as well as an article dealing with unexpended old warrant articles.

Mr. McManus moved to accept all the articles listed in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant as presented.  He noted this is separate from any position they might take on articles.  Mr. Marsland noted that Article 34 is not by petition but rather is a Board of Selectmen article.  Mr. LaMantia stated that Article 14 should identify that the HVAC system is for Town Hall.  Chairman Wilkins seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

B.      Budget Amendment #1

The Board agreed to bring this item back next week.  

C.      FY 10 Budget schedule

The Board reviewed and took no action.

D.      One Liners

The Board agreed that all action necessary was taken up under Item A, “Review of Warrant Articles.”

NEW BUSINESS (Continued)

B.      Vote to approve payment of $260,000 from Affordable Housing Fund for the HECH Quaker Lane project

Mr. McManus moved to approve the invoice requesting $260,000 for the Quaker Lane Housing Development in South Harwich from HECH, Housing for Every Cape Household.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 4-0-1 vote with Chairman Wilkins abstaining from the vote.

C.      Channel 18 Upgrade

1.      Vote to transfer up to $15,000 from the Cable Reserve Fund to complete the Channel 18 upgrade.

Mr. McManus moved to transfer up to $15,000 from the Cable Reserve Fund to complete the Channel 18 upgrade.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

2.      Vote to award a contract to Unique Media Systems, Boylston, MA for the installation of equipment at Channel 18.

Mr. Marsland moved to vote to award a contract to Unique Media Systems, Boylston, MA for the installation of equipment on Channel 18.  Mr. McManus seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.


3.      Vote to award a contract to Boreal Media Technologies, Hudson New Hampshire for equipment.

Mr. Marsland moved to vote to award a contract to Boreal Media Technologies, Hudson, NH, for equipment.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

D.      Vote to award contract to Perry Borden, Inc. for heating system at Fire Station 2

Mr. Marsland moved to vote to award a contract to Perry Borden, Inc. for heating system at Fire Station 2.  Mr. McManus seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

E.      Vote to proceed with filling Town Planner vacancy

Mr. Merriam recommended that the Board allow him to proceed with filling the Town Planner position.  Mr. Marsland suggested getting someone in on a temporary basis and Mr. McManus agreed adding that we could get one or more people in to help us get through current projects.  Mr. Merriam noted that he is already working with the Cape Cod Commission Director on this.  Chairman Wilkins instructed Mr. Merriam to proceed down that road.

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT

Mr. Merriam delivered the following report to the Board:

FY 10
Included in your packets is the FY 10 one liner spreadsheet with dollars requested and potential funding sources. Also included is Budget Amendment #1 for your consideration. Budget amendment does not include changes for electric rate decreases, potential gas tax increases or Federal Economic Stimulus money.

Teacher layoffs
Attached is a copy of the Boston Globe lead editorial for February 20, 2009 entitled “Not so fast on teacher layoffs”. The editorial refers to U.S. Senator Kennedy’s office stating that Massachusetts is due $889 million in fiscal stabilization funds that can be used for early childhood, elementary, secondary and higher education funding in FY 10 and 11. Additional funding is targeted for economically disadvantaged and special needs children. Therefore, we will await further information on how much of this Federal Stimulus money may be available for Harwich.

Conflict of Interest Seminar
We had to cancel the Conflict of Interest Seminar with the State Ethics Commission staff attorney scheduled for February 24th because we did not meet the minimum of 30 attendees.

Town Planner
With the resignation of Elizabeth Hude effective March 12th and a hiring freeze, I recommend that we proceed promptly with filling this position. I have added to your agenda under New Business.

Island Pond Grant Reimbursement
Mark Robinson, Executive Director of the Compact has offered to write a land conservation reimbursement grant application for our Island Pond purchase which could result in our eligibility for $185,000. I received the offer on February 13th with a deadline to accept by February 17th for the Compact to write the grant for $3,000 which I have authorized. The deadline for filing is March 12th but must include a completed Commonwealth Capital Plan and must assure the State that our 5 year Open Space Plan must be well underway and approved by the State by June. John Chatham has been working on the Open Space Plan and has a draft narrative plus half the tables complete. Engineering is assisting with GIS mapping updates.  We still have a balance of $18, 273 in the CPC funded article for this work. I have asked Paul Niedzwieki if Commission staff could assist us in meeting this deadline. See attached e-mail.

Mr. Marsland requested a placeholder article for Special Town Meeting dealing with the Texeira property.

With regard to the Assistant Town Administrator’s report, Mr. Cole commented on Carolyn Carey being given responsibilities for purchasing and questioned whether the idea is for her to become the Purchasing Agent for the Town.  Ms. Balmer responded yes and added that there will be more information next week including a revised job description.  Mr. Cole further questioned what Ms. Carey would be doing less of and Ms. Balmer responded that Ms. Carey believes she can fold it into her duties as long as we provide adequate support staff.  Mr. Cole pointed out his recollection that the Operations Review Task Force raised some questions with regard to the management structure in the Community Center and added that he doesn’t know whether this impinges on that.  Mr. Merriam stated that this is one way of allocating our resources so that we get the purchasing function addressed.  Mr. McManus stated that he has not heard the entire proposal but it still ignores some of the operational issues at the Community Center that we need to address and it may just be one of many changes that we need to consider.  Chairman Wilkins stated that he strongly believes there could be some managerial efficiencies there.

SELECTMEN’S REPORT

A.      Town Administrator Evaluation Reports Due

Chairman Wilkins stated that there will be a public evaluation of the Town Administrator on March 9.

Mr. McManus noted that a letter was received from Alvin Oickle in support of a stamp with the image of Captain Jonathan Walker.  Mr. McManus stated that Captain Walker was a native of Harwich, known as the man with the branded hand, for whom there is a memorial in Powderhouse Park.  He moved to send our concurrence that this would be an appropriate subject for a stamp as recommended.  Mr. Marsland seconded the motion.  Mr. McManus stated that he would speak to Mr. Bangert who has done a lot of research on Captain Walker and his activities which may add some important details to bolster the letter.  The motion carried by a unanimous vote.

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Marsland moved to adjourn at 9:32 p.m.  Mr. McManus seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Steidel
Recording Secretary







 
Virtual Towns & Schools Website