|Home | About Scituate | Town Hall | Calendar|
Printer Friendly Layout
News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Advisory Committee, January 20, 2005
JANUARY 20, 2005
1. MEMBERS PRESENT: Wendy Ballinger, Chairman; Joe Armstrong; David Grace; Kathy Donahue; Dave Friedman; Scott Roberts; Constantine Constantinides; Tony Vegnani. MEMBERS NOT PRESENT: Al Bangert.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA. A MOTION was made by Mr. Grace to accept the agenda; this was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, the motion passed unanimously, 8-0.
3. REVIEW OF ENTERPRISE FUND BUDGETS FOR 2005 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.
Dept. 63 TRANSFER STATION. Mr. Roberts said that revenues are strong and the levy hit has been reduced over the last couple of years ($400,000 to $100,000). Cash on hand is $777,000, with $6464,000 in retained earnings, or “free cash”. The budget is up $132,000, $122,000 of which is pension and health care costs. There was a discussion about bulky waste and the scale used to measure it. Mr. Roberts said that the foreman was upgraded this year and this was offset by the deletion of seasonal salaries. Mr. Constantinides asked if the foreman’s increase is a step increase, and Mr. Agnew said that it is a grade increase. Mr. Constantinides asked about the contract with haulers; Mr. Agnew said that Seamass said they agreed to provide all hauling after the Town said they would pull out of the three year contract. Mr. Friedman asked about the closed landfill on Stockbridge Road; Mr. Roberts said that $75,000 a year is spent maintaining this, Mr. Friedman said that he would like to see this greatly reduced. Mr. Roberts said that some expenses for setup of the transfer station were included in the D&I figure, as well as the financing of the $130,000 scale. Mr. Friedman said that the purchase of a new loader hasn’t shown up in the capital plan, at what point will it be budgeted for. Mr. Agnew said that fees would have to be raised and Mr. Friedman said that perhaps that should be considered. Mr. Vegnani agreed; he also asked about the increase in the cost of bags, and Mr. Antoniello said that they bid for them. There was a discussion about the quality of the bags. Ms. Donahue asked about the length of time needed to pay off the scale. Mr. Agnew said that BFI has a hard to handle waste section. Ms. Donahue asked if the gas coming off the closed landfill can be collected and sold; Mr. Agnew said that the DEP requires testing of it and that it will only be useful for a couple of years, although it will continue to burn for 25 years. Ms. Donahue said that the transfer station is very well run; M. Armstrong agreed. Mr. Agnew said that Seamass gave him a price to take over running the facility; he said it would cost more to have them do it, but just a bit, and more than anything people like the way it is run as it is. Mr. Roberts asked if the override doesn’t pass, what would we use the $100,000 commitment from the levy. Mr. Roberts said that the transfer station is very well funded and this could be looked at. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to accept the budget; Ms. Donahue SECONDED the motion; the budget passed unanimously on a vote of 8-0.
Dept. 440 SEWER DEPARTMENT. Mr. Friedman said he met with the supervisor, Bob Rowland, and that increased expenditures on the debt accounts for the budget increase; other increases are relatively small. Referring to line 5309, Technical Services, he said the software is five years old and an increase is requested to have it serviced more regularly. He said that there are 24 miles of sewer pipe and asked how many miles have been relined. Mr Antoniello said that he could get this figure. He said that there are three pumping stations and the plant currently has a permitted capacity of 1.6 million gallons a day, and we are currently using 1.1 million. He said that the Greenbush section is coming on line this spring and the Cliffs phase is expected to come on line in the fall of 2006. Mr. Agnew said this is coming up to bid and he expects construction to start in May. Regarding the ongoing inflow and infiltration of the sewer system, the department has found 24 leaks and letters to homeowners will be written but this is time consuming. Mr. Antoniello said that a viewpipe requirement will be added for new construction to make it easier to spot leaks. Mr. Agnew said the total at the wastewater treatment plant has gone down. He said that it seems there are not as many leaks as we had thought; he explained how drainage system worked so sump pumps don’t go into the sewer, but that only 12 or so out of 60+ they investigated were problematic. Mr. Friedman said he wondered if Mr. Rowland was being aggressive enough, and Mr. Agnew said that the DEP won’t give a permit otherwise. Mr. Armstrong asked about the storm drain connection, and Mr. Agnew said that the alphabet streets are the only ones where the Town will pay for them. Ms. Donahue asked about conversion to low flow toilets; Mr. Antoniello said that this was done a few years ago. Mr. Constantinides asked about capacity and will it increase in the next five years. He asked if there is a plan prioritizing the neighborhoods to be sewered; Mr. Antoniello said that he can provide the most up to date version of this. There was a more extensive discussion of capacity. Mr. Friedman asked about rates, new user’s fees and betterment money, and there was a brief discussion about this. Mr. Freidman made a MOTION to approve the budget; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Roberts; the motion passed unanimously, 8-0.
DEPARTMENT 65 WATER. Ms. Ballinger read Mr. Bangert’s statement on this Department, in his absence. In the statement, he noted that the operation is well run but expressed a concern about the amount of overtime built into the schedule due to the current staff level; he pointed out that adding one full-time licensed operator would eliminate half of the overtime and fund the cost of the additional employee. Mr. Constantinides asked if any funding from the State could be applied for. Mr. Agnew said that with wastewater we are eligible for the State revolving fund so that we can borrow at two percent. Mr. Roberts asked if revenues are suffering with the recent wet weather. Mr. Agnew deferred to Ms. Gallagher, who said that we were $80,000 below what was budgeted last year. Mr. Roberts asked if the rates could be tied to the budgets. He said that water rates were raised 6 percent and sewer rates about 16 percent last year. He said that the Selectmen have to vote on this. Mr. Agnew said that water rates should go up about four percent a year. Mr. Friedman talked about overtime and said that this is the third year in a row that this situation has been obvious. Mr. Agnew said that of the $90,000 in overtime, $55,000 is clerical, for billing; $32,000 is for weekend and after hours repairs; $17,000 is for the leak detection program; and $7500 is for flushing water mains. Mr. Friedman asked if someone couldn’t be put on from Tuesday to Saturday, for example; Mr. Agnew said that it would have to be a new hire, as the union would not allow it otherwise. On a question from Mr. Vegnani, Mr. Agnew said that overtime is time and a half. Mr. Agnew went over the cuts he made to the department request; the largest cuts were in Line 5242, repair/maintenance, for cranberry bog diversion; and Line 5423, special agency supplies, for outside contractors to deal with water main breaks. Mr. Antoniello talked about remote meter readers; Mr. Agnew said that these are mostly used in cities. Ms. Donahue asked about the state limit; she said that we have 300 connects left before we meet the capacity. Mr. Antoniello said capacity withdrawal limit is often confused with connection limits. He explained how the State figures this out; they figure out the population increase and give a withdrawal permit. Mr. Agnew said that the figures they use are usually incorrect. Ms. Donahue asked about exploring new water sources; Mr. Antoniello said that this is being done, and a yield analysis of the wells is being updated. Ms. Donahue asked about the fact that sewering around Greenbush Pond will be diverting water from the pond and what the result will be; Mr. Antoniello said that septic system pollution is being diverted from the pond. Mr. Constantinides asked about Marshfield water; Mr. Agnew said that they charge us the same that they charge their own people. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to accept the budget; SECONDED by Mr. Constantinides; the motion passed unanimously, 8-0.
DEPARTMENT 661 WIDOW’S WALK GOLF COURSE. Mr. Vegnani said that the budget is straightforward, it is currently up 3.5 percent over FY04. He said that the debt was refinanced and it will result in a $500,000 saving over the life of the loan. He said that the lawsuit is still pending, and that the restaurant has not been taken over by the Town. He said that overall the golf course is well run but that revenue is difficult to project due to the fact that it is weather dependent. Mr. Grace asked about junior programs; Mr. Agnew said that the landing areas have been widened. Mr. Grace asked if tournaments could come here and Mr. Agnew said that this was not likely because of the difficulty of the course. Mr. Grace asked about the number of rounds played per year, is it going up or down; Mr. Agnew said he doesn’t know, he only pays attention to the revenue. Mr. Grace pointed out that other courses in the area charge a lot more. Mr. Agnew said that Green Harbor is fairly easy which is why it is popular; he said that South Shore Country Club has a restaurant and a large membership; he said that courses inland have 360 degrees while we have 180 because we are on the shore. Mr. Grace asked if an early bird schedule could be considered; Mr. Agnew said that such a schedule causes a huge problem with maintenance. Mr. Grace said that players are used to playing around that, and that a number of people would come out for that, and that they would come in to pay upon completion of their round; Mr. Agnew said that he would take this up with Mr. Sanderson. Ms. Donahue asked about capital improvements to the building or parking lot; Mr. Agnew said that he might do the drainage work to the parking lot, and landscaping on the front. Ms. Donahue asked about the trucks stored right beside the road and said that it is unattractive, we should make sure the appearance of the property is appealing. She also asked if there is a capital plan for the building; Mr. Agnew said that we don’t have enough parking area and there is no way to extend it. Ms. Donahue asked about marketing, and Mr. Agnew said that we paid $20,000 once for marketing and he thought it didn’t bring in one round of golf. Mr. Friedman asked about capital investments to date; Ms. Gallagher said that $36,500 has been spent. Mr. Agnew said that he would use the rest of the capital budget to pay for as many catch basins in the parking lot as possible. Mr. Friedman agreed with Mr. Grace that we should report number of rounds per year played. Mr. Friedman suggested giving out a sleeve of golf balls for each completed 18 holes as a gesture, as everyone always talks about how many balls they lose there. Mr. Armstrong asked if the balls would be embossed with the Widow’s Walk name, as this would be a good idea. Mr. Roberts asked about free cash; Ms. Ballinger said that there was a deficit of $343,798. Ms. Donahue asked where the legal fees come out of; Mr. Agnew said they come out of the Selectmen’s budget. Ms. Ballinger asked when the lawsuit will be resolved; Mr. Agnew said that it will be settled by June 30. Mr. Grace suggested inviting Golf Digest magazine back to write an article about the course; he said they were interested in the materials used to construct the course. A MOTION was made by Mr. Vegnani to approve the budget; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Roberts, and by unanimous vote the motion passed 8-0. Mr. Friedman pointed out that the management fee is actually a course maintenance fee.
4. REVIEW OF ARTICLES FOR ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.
Article 3. Free Cash. This article is unchanged from last year. On a MOTION by Mr. Grace, SECONDED by Mr. Roberts. In further discussion, Mr. Friedman asked how many years free cash has been the same, and Mr. Agnew said about five years. Mr. Agnew said that this is the amount the schools turn back every year. Mr. Friedman asked about the Stabilization Fund. A vote was then taken, and the article passed unanimously, 8-0.
Article 12. MGL Chapter 91 Liability. Mr. Agnew said that MGL Chapter Liability is mandated by the State. On a MOTION by Mr. Friedman, SECONDED by Ms. Donahue, the motion to approve Article 12 passed with a unanimous vote, 8-0.
Article 13. Conservation Fund. According to Mr. Agnew, this is the same as it has been for a number of years. A MOTION was made by Mr. Grace, SECONDED by Mr. Vegnani, to approve Article 13; the motion passed on a unanimous vote, 8-0.
Article 14. Revolving Fund Council on Aging. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to approve Article 14; this was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman; the motion passed on a unanimous vote, 8-0.
Ms. Ballinger asked Mr. Agnew about Article 23, Release of Restriction on 15 Torrey’s Lane; this was IPed last year by the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Ballinger asked if the legal question could be resolved before this article comes up again.
There was a discussion with Mr. Agnew about the accuracy of revenue figures. There was also a discussion about South Shore Vocational Technical School, which will be on the agenda for the January 27th meeting. Mr. Agnew said that we are paying $80,000 for three students. Mr. Vegnani said that he is trying to work out how they come up with their figures.
Ms. Ballinger said that the Planning Board has withdrawn their articles from next week’s agenda. She said their deadline is February 3, and the language must be locked down by then. Ms. Ballinger suggested that the budgets that have been held come back in for approval at next week’s meeting, including the school budget. Ms. Donahue asked about state reimbursements for the school construction projects; Ms. Ballinger said that Mr. Lynch expects to receive a portion in March and the rest in the fall. Ms. Donahue asked if this will affect the numbers, Ms. Ballinger said this has been factored into the financial forecast. There was a question about whether the interest will be reimbursed.
There was a discussion about the figures in the Revenues vs. Budgets document dated 1/19/05.
5. OLD BUSINESS. Mr. Roberts asked if the CPA figures will be available next week. Ms. Ballinger said that the CPC meets on Monday night and their figures should be available on Tuesday. Mr. Armstrong said that the Old Oaken Bucket project is now off with the CPA and that he had spoken with the owner of the property. He said they are voting on this on Monday night.
6. NEW BUSINESS. There was no business to discuss at this time.
7. ADJOURNMENT. A MOTION was made by Mr. Armstrong to adjourn the meeting; the motion was SECONDED by Ms. Donahue; all were in favor 8-0 and Ms. Ballinger adjourned the meeting at 9:40 p.m.
|Scituate Town Hall—600 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Scituate, Massachusetts 02066 - firstname.lastname@example.org|