BOARD OF SELECTMEN
JANUARY 7, 2014
Present: James Wettlaufer, Michael Kennedy, Lynn Arnold
Wettlaufer called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM
MOTION 01072014-1: To accept the December 23, 2013 minutes as amended. Motion made by Arnold, seconded by Kennedy.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Ken Ference of the Board of Health stated he found no laws pertaining to a shallow wells running out of water. It is a temporary situation and there is nothing the Board of Health can do. If the homeowners are concerned with the quality of the water they should collect a water sample when the water returns and have it tested. Other than the homeowners drilling an artesian well, there is not much else they can do.
Kennedy stated he didn’t think that sounded correct.
Wettlaufer stated he was concerned because it is the town that is lowering the lake that is causing the shallow wells to dry up. Since they had no water a solution would be to supply water to the residents as we did when we lowered it four feet.
Kennedy asked how long a residence came be without water.
Ference did not know. Mass General Laws did not say, but it is a temporary situation and it is the homeowner’s problem. They should look into an artesian well as opposed to the shallow well.
Kennedy stated he would look further into the Health Regulations. It didn’t sound right that a home can be without water.
All Boards Agent
Wettlaufer read a memo submitted to the Board of Selectmen by the interview panel, which consisted of Lynn Arnold, Pat Caron (Conservation) and Sarto Caron (Zoning Board of Appeals).
Two candidates were interviewed for the position. The interview panel selected Sharon Ashleigh for the position.
MOTION 01072014-2: To appoint Sharon Ashleigh to the position of All Boards Agent for a term expiring June 30, 2014.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Response to Grossi Request-Commercial Development
Kennedy stated he followed up with the concerns about the spill that occurred at the commercial truck yard and read the DEP reports and all legal responsibilities of parties involved were followed. Several of the statements made at the last meeting were false; there was no contamination of the lake. He was in full support of the lake residents but after doing his own research he is changing his vote about the commercial property and will fully support it. If people are truly concerned about the lake being contaminated it is the milfoil filling in the lake and pesticides that encourage the growth, he is making the following proposals; eliminating the use of pesticides within four hundred yards of the lake, secondly to have the Board of Health examine homes within two hundred yards of the lake, test and
report and keep track of the septic systems and grey water and tight tanks to ensure they are just that, around the lake. If people are truly concerned about the lake being contaminated and excess weeds and milfoil growing, then he proposes the lake should be a wind lake, eliminate the use of motor boats.
Arnold stated that there is a line item currently for treating the milfoil. How would this be proposed?
Kennedy stated to put an article in the warrant.
Dori Ference stated it was the most ridiculous thing she ever heard.
Wettlaufer stopped her from commenting, stating this was not the time for public comment.
Ference continued stating she can’t speak. She can’t comment.
Wettlaufer stated it was not the time for public comment. And she should also be careful of what she says as well as Arnold should be careful because these things may go before the Planning Board which both are on. He stated it was an ethics law.
Ference asked him if he wanted to talk about ethics.
Wettlaufer explained that Norcross Wildlife Foundation has sent the Town a municipal gift of $5,000. This year $4,000 of the gift is for unrestricted use and $1,000 of the gift is to be used to support the Holland Elementary School’s annual Bourndale trip in the fall.
Wettlaufer stated that in years past Norcross has given the Town $5,000 for unrestricted use and gave the school their own $1,000 for their use.
Open Meeting Law Website
Information on an Open Meeting Law website was given to the Board for consideration.
Wettlaufer asked why we would need to use an outside website when the town has their own website.
Bishop explained the Town Clerk had come across the free website and it is very user friendly and also keeps all agenda postings and minutes within compliance of the open meeting law.
Kennedy stated that it appears the website was free in 2012, and is no longer free of charge.
Wettlaufer stated he would rather use the town website just make it more accessible. He stated it would be worth seeing if Virtual Town Hall could do some type of training since there are employees that have not been trained on how to use the website. Bishop is to call Virtual Town Hall and ask about refresher training
Special Permit Applications
The Quinebaug Valley Bass Anglers submitted a 2014 Special Use Permit Application for the use of the boat ramp and Hamilton Reservoir for July 13, 2014. The event is planned for ten vehicle and ten boats. Wettlaufer confirmed the date was open.
Motion 01072014-3: To sign the Special Use Permit Application for the Quinebaug Valley Bass Anglers for July 13, 2013 by Wettlaufer, seconded by Arnold.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Wettlaufer stated a Special Use Permit was submitted to the Board for a Winter Ice Fishing Derby by the CT State Prison Employees Union, Local 391 for January 25, 2014. The application indicated there will be forty vehicles, fifty to one hundred participants and more than twenty five ATVs and/or snowmobiles. Due to the limited parking spaces at the boat ramp and no on street parking is permitted he wanted to confirm where they intended to park the overflow vehicles. He stated if they planned on using PJs or the Maine Attraction parking lots, they must have permission from the owners prior to the event.
The Board agreed they would like their questions answered prior to signing the application.
Kennedy asked about the safety of the ice, Wettlaufer stated it was not the Towns responsibility.
Hampshire Council of Governments Electricity Contract
Wettlaufer stated HCOG Power has sent the town a new electricity contract and has indicated we will not be getting the savings we had a year ago due to the unpredictable electricity markets. The contract includes a 9.0 cent per kWh price and it is usually estimated on the high side to be safe. The town ends up paying less than is typically predicted.
Motion 01072014-4: To sign the Hampshire Council of Governments, Hampshire Power fixed price electricity contract by Wettlaufer, seconded by Arnold.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Wettlaufer stated the Highway Department submitted a Chapter 90 Project request for the completion of the Wales Road project.
Motion 01072014-4: To sign the Chapter 90 Project Request for Wales Road by Wettlaufer, seconded by Arnold.
VOTE: ALL in favor
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Arnold explained that PVPC has a new free program Grant Finder, to help towns find grants and RFPs. The town needs to select one person to be the contact for the website and can have up to three users for the website.
Wettlaufer suggested Amy Bishop, Executive Secretary be the initial contact person.
Bishop asked who would be the ideal users.
Arnold stated she would be interested in being one the three users since the Planning Board is always looking for grants.
Wettlaufer suggested JoAnne Higgins, the Highway Clerk.
Kennedy suggested someone from Police or Fire.
Dori Ference stated she would like to comment on Kennedy’s statements. She stated she took offense to what he said. What happened at the lake, happened. She walked out her door, saw stuff floating and Ken Ference took a sample. She didn’t need to be disciplined like a five year old. She is a taxpayer and Kennedy works for her. As a taxpayer she feels he is overstepping by supporting a business that may or may not be supported by the citizens. His proposal of making the lake a wind lake is the most insane proposal she has ever heard. The lake is the only thing that keeps this town running. She feels Kennedy’s concerns are more for a business than for the residents.
Ray Aquillo from 14 Brandon Road asked the Board if Herb Holden was still operating at the gravel quarry.
Wettlaufer answered he is no longer there. He also added that the lake residents are not the only people in town who pay taxes. He asked Ference if she would not state that again because it is insulting. If she continues to say things like that she will create a border was between the lake and non-lake residents. She has not been in town long enough to remember town meetings when there were problems like that. He does not want to go back to the time at town meetings where it is us against them
Ference stated people need to start attending meetings more.
Wettlaufer asked what meetings?
Ference stated the Select Board meetings.
Wettlaufer and Kennedy stated that they are open to the public.
Danielle Philabert from 1 Brandon Street asked again about the oil spill and the response time.
Kennedy answered the spill was handled within the MA DEP guidelines. He was not qualified but the DEP is and the report clearly states no oil went into thewater, lake, stream or near a water source. They are the experts and not here to allow contamination. If she wanted to question the DEP go right ahead, but he believes that that spill was handled properly.
Philabert commented that his parents must have not taught him there are always two sides to a story and you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
Wettlaufer asked if there were any other comments.
Warrants in the amounts of $74,574.75 – Payroll and $6,731.07 – Vendor were signed and delivered to the Treasurer
Motion 01072014-5: To adjourn the meeting at 7:51 PM by Kennedy, seconded by Wettlaufer
VOTE: All in favor