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Minutes - May 26, 2009
MONDAY, MAY 26, 2009
7:00 P.M.

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

OTHERS PRESENT:  Town Administrator James Merriam, Assistant Town Administrator Nan Balmer, Chief Flynn, Chief Mason, Sgt. Considine, David Ryan, and others.

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


Anita Doucette, Town Clerk, swore in the following elected officials:

        Larry Ballantine, Selectman
        John O’Brien, School Committee
        Jeannie Wheeler, Library Trustee
        Elizabeth Drewes, Library Trustee


A.      Vote to approve application for Road Race for B.A. Event Promotions on October 4, 2009.
B.      Accept resignation of Pauline Ashton from the Treasure Chest effective May 31, 2009
C.      Appoint Planning Board representative to fill vacancy on the Town Water Quality Task Force

Mr. McManus moved approval of the items on the Consent Agenda and the recommended actions thereon.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and commented that although he is deeply involved in Item A, he has no financial interests.  The motion carried by a unanimous vote.


A.      Discuss speed limits on Great Western Road subject to State approval

Chief Mason explained that this proposal would make the speed limit uniform at 35 m.p.h. on Great Western Road in Harwich and reduce it to 25 m.p.h. for a 2/10 mile stretch in Dennis.  Chief Mason and Sgt. Considine took questions and comments from the Board.  Mr. McManus moved to approve of the recommendations of the Police Department establishing traffic zones on Great Western Road in Harwich.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.  Chairman Wilkins instructed Mr. Merriam to write a letter to the Chief confirming the vote.

B.      Town Administrator’s six-month goals

Mr. Merriam noted that after working on the goals with Mr. LaMantia, they added a column of weighted values coming up with a cumulative weight of 100% and a point schedule tied in with the performance review.  He outlined the categories including Budget and Financial Management noting that he hoped to work with department heads on performance based budgeting and aligning a new chart of accounts under MUNIS.  He noted that Mark Abrahams had put in a good proposal at $28,000 but the Finance Team is urging that it be deferred until 2010 as the timing is not right and the cost is not appropriate.  He stated that we need to focus on the Five-Year Plan and quarterly tax billing.

Chairman Wilkins commented that almost three years ago we started having conversations with the School regarding sharing financial management resources as well as human resources.  He stated that he has seen no headway which is unacceptable to him.  Chairman Wilkins stated that if they don’t want to have a conversation with us then he wants their Board to make a motion at a Board meeting that they don’t want to enter into conversations with the municipal side of government to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale by developing some sort of strategic plan for coordinating the financial management of schools and municipality and coordinating the human resource management between school and municipality.  Mr. Merriam responded that he would press the issue and ask for a vote of the School Committee.  Chairman Wilkins instructed Mr. Merriam to draft a letter and bring it back to the Board.  Mr. Cole pointed out that some progress has been made between the School and Town in the area of financial management and that should be taken into account.

With regard to the Harwich Center Initiative, Mr. McManus requested to put on the list getting out the RFP for the survey work that was approved at Town Meeting.  Mr. Ballantine asked for the target dates to be in chronological order by category.  He noted that the assignments are not related to the organizational structure.  Mr. LaMantia suggested adding School Committee under Comparisons with Other Towns.  He also asked for a forecast of key things for the balance of the year.  He stressed that Performance Based Budgeting is critical and recommended getting a three person committee together with good experience to work with Town Administrator to look at job descriptions and pull together various personnel policies.  Mr. Ryan recommended holding off on Mr. Abrahams’ proposal for another year.

Chairman Wilkins suggested that after their reorganization meeting they re-work the evaluation policy.


A.      Vote to award contract for engineering services for Old Post Road private road improvements to J.M. O’Reilly & Associates, Inc.

Mr. McManus moved approval.  Mr. Cole seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

B.      Vote to sign letter regarding Cora Nickerson Road Right-of-Way

Mr. Merriam explained that the Board received a letter from Ron Anderson of 10 Great Woods Road who states that he is concerned about protecting right-of-ways for 7 of his neighbors and himself to Long Pond and believes that the Board should play a role in protecting these rights.  Mr. Ballantine explained that they had come before the Conservation Commission to do some landscaping and from a conservation aspect everything was positive but they were directed to the Board of Selectmen for the right-of-way issue.  Mr. Merriam noted that he had drafted a letter from the Board indicating that this it is not an issue that the Board has jurisdiction over.  Mr. Merriam pointed out that the neighbors could get together and negotiate to change the location of the easement and file an amended right-of-way at the Registry of Deeds and Mr. McManus noted that they could file in court to enforce their right-of-way which would prevent the property owner from doing anything to prohibit their use of the easement.

Mr. Cole moved to approve the Chairman signing the letter as written.  Mr. Ballantine seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

C.      Begin to identify Board of Selectmen goals

Mr. LaMantia stressed the need to establish some priorities and Mr. Ballantine commented that the goals should be as specific as possible.  Mr. Cole suggested that the Board members come back next week with their own expanded list of what they would like to accomplish and after they get the goals straightened out they can discuss how to implement an evaluation scheme.  Mr. LaMantia noted that the Board members should select two or three goals each rather than produce an expanded list.  The Board agreed to bring this item back.


Mr. Merriam delivered the following report to the Board:

Massachusetts Day
I have accepted an invitation to attend a Massachusetts Day on June 23rd by Senator John Kerry at the Russell Senate Office Building. I attended a similar event in the 1980’s from Senator Kennedy.

Wind Turbine/ Solar Panel
Barry Worth, Larry Cole, Nan Balmer and I met with Weston and Sampson representatives Steve Wiehe and Mike Hanlon to understand the sizing and local financing of a wind turbine. We all then met with Cape and Vineyard Coop representatives Maggie Downey, Mark Zielinski and Jeff Bernstein to understand the Coop financing. We’ve asked for comparative numbers from both. We believe that the Coop will credit Harwich with 90% of energy with 10% returned to the Coop members. However, we believe that Coop may finance with less expensive interest rates. It is also unclear what the Coop financing will be after the 20 year lease expires. We did not invite Brewster or Chatham as their efforts can be addressed through the Coop. The Coop is working with Brewster and Weston and Sampson met with Chatham officials.  I did meet separately with representatives of homeowners abutting the High School who have concerns if a wind turbine was built at that location.  From our meeting yesterday, Weston & Sampson is going to complete the grant application under our existing contract. We have previously completed and billed for all work associated with the feasibility study to date, so I would like confirmation of your authorization to proceed on this task under our existing contract.  The Weston and Sampson charts show the 2,000 kw turbine as the most cost effective size but the tip of blade height is 500 feet, or 100 feet higher than our new by-law allows through a Special Permit. The 1,500 kw turbine has a 389 foot height which fits within our by-law. The 1,500 kw turbine produces 3.3 annual kWh energy or approximately 75% of the total annual municipal load. Then the policy question is whether to seek a second turbine, and if so what size. If the second turbine is a 1,500 kw, then the surplus electricity is credited to the COOP members.  We are still awaiting a determination of the legal issues; however, COOP attorney Jeff Bernstein has received a determination by the General Counsel at the Department of Energy Resources, but not from the Inspector General. We are still uncertain regarding whether legislation is required for either bidding or length of contract.  

From Steve Wiehe at Weston and Sampson Re: $600k MTC grant application
A side bar discussion I had with Maggie was that it we would work toward the June 4 submittal date for Block 1, but if we miss this date, we would look to make the Block 2 offering planned by MTC shortly thereafter. We will wait to hear the feedback from Maggie’s upcoming meeting with Carter Wall before we stipulate how many and what size turbines to include on the application (i.e. one or two 1.5 MW wind turbines) in that MTC is likely developing some feeling as to how many applications they might receive and for what dollar amount. My guess is that if they have a large number of applications and a large dollar value, they may suggest that smaller is better, as with CREB allocations.

Cora Nickerson Road
Your Board received a letter from Ron Anderson from 10 Great Woods Road seeking assistance in protection a deeded right of way to Long Pond. Attached is a draft response which respectfully declines because Cora Nickerson Road is a private way.

Great Swamp Bog Lease
John Chatham provided me with a copy of the draft lease with Leo Cakounes.  John hopes to have the lease approved by the ConCom and Leo for consideration at the BOS meeting of June 8th.

Harwichport Pizza License
I received a call from an investigator at the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission who has told me that Harwich Port Pizza’s liquor license application/public hearing will have to be redone due to the fact that Mr. Sotiri never changed his license with the ABCC when he became incorporated.~ He did tell me that the license passed muster in the Licensing Division but that the Investigations Department is requiring the license to be handled as a transfer from Mr. Sotiri as an individual to Harwich Port Pizza Inc.~ He also explained that the application should not be for a new license but rather as an “Upgrade”.~ I did point out to the investigator that “Upgrade” is not even one of the selections on their application form or matrix.~ He instructed me to “write it in.”~ I will work closely with him to make sure the new application is exactly as they want it in order to expedite this license.~ He is returning the entire application package to us and I will proceed when I receive it.

Chairman Wilkins requested that Mr. Merriam have Mr. Ford come back soon with a report on the Downey property.

Recreation Director
Attached is a letter from the Harwich Recreation Department, Youth, Park and Beach Commission which recommends that Eric Beebe be appointed permanently to the position of Recreation Director. The Commission is scheduled to perform its review, followed by mine next Thursday.

Update on Recreation Facilities
Just wanted to let you know that at a Recreation Commission meeting last night, the commission voted to use $6000 from the Rec. Revolving Fund to pay for bleacher repairs at Whitehouse field, involving new vinyl covers to be placed on all the wooden planks making up the bleachers to protect them from having to be totally replaced.~ Also, the commission voted to use $2000 out of rec. budget line item expenses 5430 to put up fencing in front of the benches at Brooks Park baseball field.~ These need to be put in as soon as possible for safety concerns.~ There is currently nothing blocking the benches from line drives etc.~

Performance Based Budgeting
I have asked the Finance Team for their recommendation regarding the Mark Abrahams consultant contract and have been advised that the $28,000 cost proposal is too high and timing is off and that we should delay this work. I have temporarily removed it from your May 26th agenda.


Mr. Cole moved to adjourn at 8:47 p.m.  Mr. McManus seconded the motion and the motion carried by a unanimous vote.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Steidel
Recording Secretary

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