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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Advisory Committee, February 3, 2005
FEBRUARY 3, 2005
MEMBERS PRESENT: Wendy Ballinger, Chairman; Joe Armstrong; Al Bangert; Constantine Constantinides; Kathy Donahue; Dave Friedman; Tony Vegnani; Scott Roberts. ALSO PRESENT: Rick Agnew, Town Administrator; Brendan Lynch, Treasurer/Collector; Laura Harbottle, Town Planner; Ann Burbine, Planning Board Chairman; Mary Gallagher, Town Accountant; Teri Garon, Director Business and Finance Scituate Public Schools; Gene Babin, Supervisor Water Dept.
1. CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Wendy Ballinger called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M. in the Scituate Town Library meeting room.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to accept the agenda, Mr. Friedman SECONDED the motion, the agenda was accepted unanimously 8-0 (Mr.Grace was not yet in attendance at the meeting).
3. REVIEW OF ARTICLES FOR ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.
Article 21. Zoning Bylaw Change Re. Water Resource Protection District. Ms. Burbine said that the Planning Board endorsed this article, and that it is a housekeeping article from DEP. She said that some feel it should be in the Townís general bylaws. Mr. Bangert asked about the zone affected; Ms. Harbottle said that it included the entire Water Protection District. There was a discussion about a new map, Ms. Burbine said that it has to be approved at Town Meeting before it can be used for reference. Ms. Donahue commented that she is in favor of this article. Mr. Friedman asked about how numbers 31. and 32. of the proposal might affect homeowners and small business owners who might be affected by it. Mr. Babin, supervisor of Water Department, said that one of his responsibilities is to inspect such areas, and he said that no businesses would be newly affected. Mr. Constantinides asked what brought this proposal about; Ms. Burbine said that DEP requested it. Mr. Bangert asked if this would affect ice skaters, and Mr. Agnew said that he took that part out. Mr. Bangert asked about the review of the new map; Mr. Agnew said that he expected a report back shortly, it will be evaluated for accuracy etc. and after it has been brought before the Townís water commissioners (the Selectmen) any necessary changes would be made to the existing water protection district and it would be brought before Town Meeting for approval. There was a discussion about canoers on Tack Factory Pond and if they would be allowed on the pond. Mr. Bangert made a MOTION to support Article 21, this was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, the motion passed 8-0.
There was a brief discussion about the light bylaw that was IPed last year.
4. REVIEW OF BUDGETS FOR ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
5. REVIEW OF ARTICLES FOR SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
Article 2. School. This article, sponsored by the School Committee, is to see if the Town will vote to borrow a sum of money to be added to Article 8 of the November 9, 1998 Special Town Meeting for the construction of the Jenkins School, or take any other action relative thereto.
Article 3. Senior Tax Program. This article is to see if the Town will vote to transfer $10,000 from free cash to fund the senior tax program, or take any other action relative thereto. Mr. Agnew explained the program, he said that many other towns in the area have done this. A good reason to create this program is that it will allow seniors to assist with the beach and transfer station stickers. He said that, for one, the mail in program is a big burden to the full time staff at Town Hall, and that the senior tax program would allow them to offset some of their property taxes by working part time for the Town. Ms. Donahue asked about the rate of pay, and who will run the program, Mr. Agnew said that it will be run through the Treasurer/Collectorís office. He said the seniors will be paid but that the pay will be used to offset their property taxes. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to support this article; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Vegnani, and the motion passed unanimously 9-0.
Ms. Ballinger returned to item 4 on the agenda, the revote of budgets changed by the Selectmen. She said that the five revotes can be moved as a unit. Mr. Grace made a MOTION to approve all revised budget figures (see below); the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Constantinides, and the motion passed unanimously 9-0. Mr. Lynch asked about funds for a second mailing machine to assist with stuffing envelopes with bills, there was a discussion about whether this could come out of the Cable Fund. Mr. Agnew said that the Selectmen would have to vote this. Ms. Donahue asked about the technology fund, computer for the library and town post office.
Dept. 135 Town Accountant: $145,325 revised to $144,325
Ms. Ballinger directed the committee membersí attention to the Revenues vs. Budgets dated 2/3/05. She said that the committee could make a recommendation to the Selectmen regarding the override amount. Mr. Agnew said that an override of $900,000 provides $594,000 for schools, $306,000 for the Town. Mr. Grace said that he doesnít see how the schools can survive on three and a half percent increases per year, considering special education costs, and that snow and ice and other possible overages should be taken into account. He said that we should try for a larger override and put any extra into the stabilization fund, as people are under the impression that there will be no further overrides for the next five years. Mr. Friedman said there is a risk in asking for too much. Mr. Agnew said that there is little chance that the override will be more than $900,000. Mr. Roberts said that he agrees with Mr. Friedman. Mr. Bangert said that he is of two minds about this, the governorís request for state aid to towns may not be approved, and that he feels it is a good idea to ask for enough so that some can go into a reserve fund. Ms. Donahue said that she agrees with Mr. Bangert and that we would have to be specific about what would be done with reserves. Mr. Agnew explained how the stabilization fund works; he said that you need a 2/3 vote at Town Meeting to withdraw money from the fund. There was a discussion about how state aid would be distributed from town to town, and whether Scituate might lose out. Mr. Vegnani said that he feels regarding the override that you take what you need and that it is something you have to deal with year to year if more is needed. He asked about the snow and ice removal budget. There was a discussion about the 66/34 school/town split and how flexible it is. Ms. Ballinger said that she is also of two minds, but that it would be difficult to ask for more than $900,000 and that historically overrides of more than $1 million are hard to pass. She said that it would be foolhardy to say that we wonít ask for another override for three to five years. She concluded by saying that we should urge the Selectmen to consider passing an override of $900,000. Mr. Bangert made a MOTION for a resolution that the Advisory Committee support an override at $900,000; Ms. Donahue SECONDED the motion, and the motion passed unanimously 9-0.
Article 15. Mr. Roberts made a MOTION to support this article for $300,000; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, and the motion passed unanimously 9-0.
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM PAST MEETINGS. This was deferred until next week.
7. OLD BUSINESS. Mr. Bangert suggested bringing up the CPA funding for the Scituate Marine Park landscaping again next week and ask for a presentation so that it could be revoted. Mr. Armstrong said that it would set a bad precedent to let them come back in because they were not properly prepared. Ms. Ballinger said that Mr. Bangert could have it put on the agenda if he wants to. Mr. Roberts pointed out that the Selectmen have approved it. Ms. Donahue said that the best we can hope for from the tenant of SMP is $15,000, and that this is not what was expected, it looks like we will be behind $50-60,000 per year, we may have to rent him another acre or two so that more boats can be stored there and more rent can be collected. She said that due diligence was not done at the time of purchase. Mr. Roberts said that this is a real issue; Mr. Bangert said that we could reopen the Waterways Enterprise Fund budget; he said we have the right to review the revenues. Mr. Grace suggested drafting a letter to the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Donahue said that she will draft a letter and circulate it to committee members. Ms. Ballinger said that she will request to be placed on the Selectmenís agenda with this issue when the letter is prepared.
8. NEW BUSINESS. There was no new business to discuss at this time.
9. A MOTION to adjourn the meeting was made by Mr. Armstrong; the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Friedman, all were in favor 9-0 and the meeting was ADJOURNED at 9:15 p.m.
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