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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Board of Selectmen, Janaury 4, 2011
MINUTES OF MEETING
MINUTES OF MEETING
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
JANUARY 4, 2011
Present: John F. Danehey, Chairman; Shawn Harris, Richard W. Murray,
Patricia A. Vinchesi, Town Administrator
1. The meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA
Mr. Murray made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to ACCEPT the Agenda for January 4, 2011. SECONDED by Mr. Harris. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
3. PENDING LITIGATION (Executive Session)
The Board of Selectmen entered into Executive Session for purposes of Pending Litigation via roll call at 6:06 PM.
4. 7:00 PM/ RESUME REGULAR SESSION/ WALK-IN PERIOD
Regular Session resumed at 7:05 PM.
5. DISCUSSION/ VOTE/ MOVIE & COMMON VICTUALLER LICENSES / South
Ms. Michelle Hardy, South Shore Cinemas, explained that her company took over operations of the cinema at Mill Wharf Plaza on January 1, 2011. Mr. Vegnani asked for clarification. Ms. Hardy stated that Patriot Cinemas left the building in late December 2010 and that South Shore Cinemas purchased the equipment.
Mr. Norton made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to GRANT a Movie License and Common Victualler’s License to South Shore Cinemas, LLC, One Mill Wharf Plaza. SECONDED by Mr. Harris. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
6. UPDATE/ STORM/ December 26 & 27, 2010
Community Response to Storm - Mr. Danehey thanked Police Chief Brian Stewart, Fire Chief Rick Judge and Mike Breen, Supervisor of the Highway & Public Grounds Division/ Department of Public Works, for being present at tonight’s meeting and for all the work they have done in regard to the most recent storm. All those present in the Selectmen’s Chambers applauded these gentlemen. Ms. Vinchesi noted the television coverage depicting the effects of this most recent storm on our community. The storm event lasted for approximately thirty-six hours and she thanked the public safety departments and the Department of Public Works (DPW). “We should be very proud, as a community, that no lives were lost. The money spent for training our personnel has been well worth it.” She especially thanked Bruce Johnston, Jr. and George Cook, Highway & Public Grounds Division employees, for saving thirty people via a DPW front-end loader. The loader is “shot” due to salt water, but the residents were safely evacuated – so it has been all worthwhile. Ms. Vinchesi noted that one of the first evacuees was a Building Department employee, Nicole Harris. Even though she was temporarily displaced from her home, she came to work on the Monday after the storm, when the Town offices were closed, to offer her assistance. Ms. Vinchesi offered her sincere thanks to Deputy Chief John Murphy, Fire Department, who worked steadily through the storm along with the Fire Chief and the Police Chief and the many personnel from those departments. She noted that the Chiefs did not rest during the storm recovery efforts and they both responded to calls just like their line officers. Ms. Vinchesi noted the assistance of Mr. Rick Sullivan, the new cabinet Secretary of Environmental Affairs, who saw the situation in Scituate and provided loaders and operators from DCR.
She also thanked Representative Jim Cantwell for all his work on Scituate’s behalf. Representative Cantwell was in the Town offices on Monday, December 27th trying to get National Grid to come to Scituate. Mr. Danehey made special noted of the firefighters who waded into the deep water to fight two house fires during the “dead of the night with waves coming over”. Mr. Vegnani thanked the Chief Judge for setting up the shelter at the High School. He announced that various relief organizations to benefit residents that have been displaced. Dance Carousel and the Jenkins School are two sites where items are being dropped off. Chief Judge announced that a fundraiser would be held at the Barker Tavern on Saturday, January 15, 2011 to benefit those displaced by the storm. Mr. Danehey stated that community response has been “phenomenal”. Residents who are away during the winter months have given up their homes to people who have been displaced. He also thanked Ms. Kathy Judge and Firefighter Elena Cheverie for all their help.
Structural and Building Assessment Update – Ms. Vinchesi asked Mr. Neil Duggan, Building Inspector/ Zoning Enforcement Officer and Mr. Kevin Cafferty, Engineering Division/ DPW, to come forward. She noted the following important items: (1) the temporary patch on the seawall breach was completed today. The Town had an excellent response from contractor Steven Lynch, who has done work in Scituate before. The cost of the temporary patch is over $40,000 and she reassured everyone that is a solid patch and “people should not worry”. (2) The Lighthouse sustained approximately $30,000 of damage and an entire shed, next to the Lighthouse, must be replaced. Mr. David Ball, President of the Historical Society, is working on this. (3) Mr. Duggan is working on remediation efforts for over 400 homes with structural and other types of damage. These homes are in the process of being inspected to make certain they are safe for residents to return home. Twelve inspectors along with the Department of Public Safety are checking homes on a number of roads in Scituate. Some of the homes needed additional electrical “shut offs”. She noted the excellent job Mr. Duggan has done in coordinating this enormous effort between a number of agencies and individuals. Mr. Duggan stated that his work began on Monday morning when it became obvious that the usual “hot spots” (Cedar Point, Humarock, Sand Hills and Minot) had been affected by this storm. He called in his inspectors that day. He noted the difficulty in assessing these homes when so many of them are unoccupied at this time of year. Power shut offs were a particular problem due to the lack of response by National Grid. Mr. Duggan did note that National Grid has been very helpful in more recent days. Four severely damaged homes were “shut down”. Other badly damaged homes have been “posted” and the Town is waiting for the homeowners to get in touch with the Building Department. He noted that the Building Department’s secretary, Nicole Harris, was evacuated from her home at 3 AM when her basement flooded and gas was coming up into the house. Her electrical circuit box was under water. After a big storm in 1991, National Grid moved very fast in assisting the Town. They did not move quickly during this storm. Mr. Duggan thanked all the inspectors, local electricians and the Department of Safety. He noted that when he needed four inspectors right away, four electricians showed up in his office ready to be deputized and go out and work. They gave up their own work to make this sacrifice for the Town. Mr. Duggan thanked the Police and Fire Departments, the Town Administrator for her support. He also thanked Ms. Harris.
Ms. Vinchesi noted Mr. Cafferty’s work in getting the sea wall shored up. Mr. Cafferty stated that he hired the contractor because he had prior experience with sea walls in Scituate. The contractor pushed out the concrete where the breach occurred and placed very large stones there. The contractor also went out on the beach in some areas and placed stones up against what remains of the sea wall. This is a good spot for the stones because they will divert some of the power of the waves. Three hundred feet of work was done to stabilize this area. The Conservation Commission was consulted on this work, as well. “This area is actually stronger now.” The breached wall was rated “b” on the sea wall priority list. Mr. Cafferty stated that it “actually did its job during the worst of the storm and in that regard we are lucky”. Mr. Danehey noted that the 3 AM high
tide on December 27th really did the most damage. Mr. Cafferty stated that the sea wall survey would be updated soon. Mr. Murray noted that this was actually not an unusual storm event. If the storm had been longer in duration or this had been labeled a “d” wall – things could have been far worse. Mr. Danehey thanked Mr. Duggan and Mr. Cafferty for all their hard work. He also noted a contractor who had been hired to help clean up Scituate after the storm to only lose one of his maintenance buildings to fire on December 28th.
Payment of Costs – Voter – Request of Department of Revenue – Ms. Vinchesi explained that the Town is in the process of itemizing costs for DPW and public safety response. This includes all overtime, equipment and contractor costs (12 private contractors have been working in Scituate since last Tuesday, December 28th). One DPW loader suffered severe salt water exposure during the rescue efforts and the Fire Department lost a Pumper. The latter was a vehicle that appeared on the Capital Plan as recommended, but yet not approved to be replaced. The High School being used as a shelter will also contribute to costs incurred. The following agenda item this evening deals with the need to deficit spend. “We know that we have this liability and will satisfy it in the future, but it needs to be paid now.” The original amount being requested was $400,000, but that was upgraded to $500,000 today. This situation will probably be revisited in two weeks.
Mr. Danehey thanked Ms. Vinchesi for all that she has done over the past ten days. She has been directly dealing with issues since the storm began on the afternoon of December 26th, has traveled to the “hard hit” areas in Town with the Chiefs and has done a “phenomenal job for this Town”. She has been “fielding” calls in the office and has constantly been out in the “field” for the benefit of the Town. “Thank you very much. Excellent job.”
Ms. Mary Jenkins, 22 Sunset Road, spoke about the packet she submitted to the Selectmen at the beginning of the meeting. She noted the black and white photographs from the 1930’s depicting the sea wall located between First and Second Cliffs (along Edward Foster Road) and the fact that there were no homes located along this section of wall at that time. “The wall was placed there to protect Scituate Harbor and the mossers.” Ms. Jenkins noted a newspaper article from 1979, which spoke, of additional work being done on this wall as a federal work project after the blizzard of 1978.
Mr. Danehey stated that the DPW has examined the integrity of the wall. The next phase will undertake an assessment of the work to be done, if any, and how it will be funded. “This section of sea wall is on private property.” It is his understanding that this same section of wall was disturbed by a spring 2010 storm. He assured everyone present that the Town officials are very concerned with safety as it relates to the sea walls.
Mr. Dick Eckhouse, 12 Meetinghouse Lane, stated that “regardless of where the money comes from, the Town has a responsibility to protect its infrastructure. We need a plan on how to protect the Town.” Mr. Danehey assured the audience that the Town officials need the reports from the engineers to determine exactly where things stand. He respectfully disagreed with Mr. Eckhouse’s declaration and stated that the Town certainly does have plans – both short and long term plans. Mr. Vegnani concurred and noted the fact that the number one Capital Planning project is, in fact, sea walls. “It is a long term plan that has to be fixed in small chunks.”
Mr. Jim Carey, 138 Edward Foster Road, owns property at the exact location where the wall was compromised. He understands that there are funding issues and how the various sea walls are rated. He expressed concern over and read from a letter he recently received from the DPW telling him that he must take action right away to repair this wall. He felt
the request was unreasonable and he has conveyed those feelings to the Town officials via e-mail. Mr. Danehey stated that it is the Board’s understanding that this sea wall rests on the homeowners’ properties. Mr. Carey stated that the Town has done work in this area in the past and that work “may have caused some of the issues”. Mr. Danehey stated that the Town is under no legal obligation to continue to do more work even if they did some work there originally. “The property owner received a benefit.” Mr. Carey believes the work was of benefit to the Town and the community. Mr. Danehey reminded that a Fire Department pumper is “down” and huge overtime costs have been incurred by the Police and Fire Departments due to the storm. “Should we fix this wall instead of addressing these needs. Do we fire teachers in order to fix this wall? Should we fix this wall instead of the wall at Lighthouse Point? This latter wall is a public wall and this one is not.” Mr. Danehey understands that this is the audience’s neighborhood and that there is a boatyard, Maritime Center, etc. “You don’t receive the telephone calls at night about the school aged children and the Public Schools. What are we going to cut to address these issues? What do we do? We will assess this situation and arrive at a long term solution.” Mr. Carey was glad to hear that the Town would be assessing the situation rather handling it via a “demanding letter”. Mr. Murray again stated that it is a “private sea wall”. Mr. Carey responded “in your opinion”. Mr. Murray stated that “we are all on the same side and none of us have any money”. He noted scientific information regarding the impact of the sea walls, revetments and resulting wave action on Scituate’s coastline.
Mr. Ken Conway, 15 Eagle Nest Road, asked (1) how the Town determined this sea wall is on private property – ownership to the watermark and (2) how can the Town require a homeowner to make a repair on their own property? He takes offense to this type of directive. Mr. Danehey suggested that each property owner read his or her deed. “You own to the low water mark. If a wall is on private property – it is a private wall.” To
Mr. Steve Bjorklund, 15 Captain Daniel Litchfield Road, stated that private sea wall owners could make a decision to remove their seawall and make First Cliff an island!
Mrs. Carey, 138 Edward Foster Road, stated that they do not have the money to repair the sea wall. She wonders what the Town will do in terms of the boatyard and Maritime Center. “This is a $7 million piece of property that benefits the entire Town.” Mr. Ken Loring, 11 Conroy Terrace, has inspected this piece of sea wall and feels it is very close to “going south” in the next storm. He encouraged the engineers to install a
7. DISCUSSION/ VOTE/ PAYMENT FOR LIABILITIES INCURRED IN EXCESS
Mr. Murray made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen APPROVE the incurrence of a $500,000 liability in excess of appropriation as permitted by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 44, Section 31 and with the approval of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. SECONDED by Mr. Harris. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
8. DISCUSSION/ FY 2012 BUDGETS
Chief Judge read the Department’s Mission Statement. Mr. Danehey asked how the Department was progressing on its FY 11 Goals and Objectives. Chief Judge stated that one of the Department’s yearly goals is that no one suffers serious injury on the job and that has been achieved over the past year. The Fire and Water Departments have worked together successfully on upgrading the old hydrants. Mr. Vegnani asked about the Personnel Accountability Program. Chief Judge stated that it is a means of keeping track of personnel at a fire scene. Mr. Danehey noted that the second ambulance greatly benefits the residents of the Town and also generates money. The Chief concurred and added that response times are much better. Mr. Murray noted the “Risks and Challenges” section of the budget in terms of the Department being short two employees and the resulting “drain” on the overtime budget. Discussion continued on the optimal number of fire personnel on a shift. The differences between the Department’s and the Town Administrator’s budget recommendations were discussed. Line 5241 Repair/ Maintenance was reduced by $8,000 by the Town Administrator and moved over to Personal Services overtime because one of the firefighters is also a very good mechanic. Overall this saves money. Mr. Vegnani noted this Department’s hard work during this most recent storm event. Did you have everything you needed in terms of personnel and money, budget-wise? Chief Judge answered “yes” to both questions, but also stated that it can be quite a challenge when “everything hits”. Discussion continued on the excellent job done by the firefighters rescuing residents from their homes during the storm. The “storm suits” were discussed and the fact that Department just received a grant for four more suits so they can be available for two shifts. Mr. Vegnani asked if the Fire
Chief Stewart read the Department’s Mission Statement. Mr. Danehey asked if the Chief would highlight some of this past year’s goals and objectives. Chief Stewart stated that the Department has upgraded its policies and procedures manual, completed a memorandum of understanding with the Air Force/ Fourth Cliff property, Lojack “safety net”, interfacing of traffic issues with the Department and various Town departments, received a $8,500 traffic enforcement grant, coordinated with Town Administrator’s office on the Special Event Application, participated on the Beach Sticker and Waterfront Zone Committees, Safe Routes to School, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, July 3rd and 4th enforcement issues and improved the situation out at “The Spit” where this past summer the Police were a presence. Chief Stewart listed three grant awards for his Department totaling approximately $50,000. A regional 911 dispatch system was discussed.
Mr. Danehey noted that the Town Administrator’s recommended “bottom line” is approximately $26,000 less than the Department request. Some of the items that the Town Administrator reduced were medical supplies, clothing, mileage reimbursement and seasonal salaries. Chief Stewart stated that beach sticker revenues might be able to pay for the summer officer checking stickers at the beach parking lots. Mr. Danehey asked why police cruisers are constantly left running? Chief Stewart stated that the cruisers have a lot of electronics that must be left up and running at all times. A mechanism can be activated so the cruiser cannot be stolen. Discussion continued on the care the cruisers are getting after being exposed to salt water and air during the most recent storm. A thorough power washing and a “once over” at a local car repair shop is in order for each vehicle. Mr. Murray asked about “Insurance Restitution”? Chief Stewart explained that this is a policy the Town collects on if an officer is out on an injury. Discussion continued on the two vacant, but funded positions in this Department. The Chief also noted that the Traffic Enforcement Officer, Mark Thompson, recently graduated from a accident reconstruction course. In addition, Officer Thompson handles all traffic accidents that may occur on his shifts.
Mr. Vegnani asked if the Chief felt his Department lacked either personnel or resources during this most recent storm event? Chief Stewart stated that some of his officers were away on vacation, but ultimately – enough personnel answered the call to work. Some
equipment and clothing was lost. The Department currently has 28 officers and one of those officers is out on an injury and another is out on the Family Medical Leave Act. The Police Department is operating with 26 full time officers, 5 summer officers and 3 permanent intermittent officers (the latter may work shifts). Ms. Vinchesi stated that the Department is understaffed and she will consider filling the two, funded positions after the Police contract is settled. This Department is understaffed according to comparable “benchmark” communities. Chief Stewart stated that the Department had forty officers in the early 1980’s. There should be two officers per 1,000 people, which would mean 36 officers for Scituate. The cost for Animal Control was basically level funded. It includes the Animal Control Officer’s salary and some Animal Shelter expenses in exchange for the services it provides. Mr. Norton noted the fine work of the Animal Control officer.
9. ANNUAL LICENSE RENEWALS
Mr. Harris made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to RENEW the Common Victualler’s License for Ronnie Shone General Store for 2011. SECONDED by Mr. Vegnani. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
Mr. Harris made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to RENEW the Common Victualler and Hawker Peddler Licenses for Hammer Head’s Grille for 2011. SECONDED by Mr. Murray. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
Mr. Harris made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to RENEW the Hawker Peddler’s License for Roman McCall for 2011. SECONDED by Mr. Murray. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
Mr. Harris made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to RENEW the Class II License for Scituate Shell for 2011. SECONDED by Mr. Vegnani. Discussion – Mr. Murray asked that the Zoning Enforcement Officer check on the number of vehicles allowed for sale and the placement of such vehicles on the property. No further discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
10. OTHER BUSINESS
Mr. Vegnani reminded that there are various opportunities for people wanting to donate items to storm victims. Jenkins School and Dance Carousel, located in the Harbor, are two locations. Also, there will be a fundraiser for storm victims on January 15, 2011 at the Barker Tavern.
Mr. Vegnani read an e-mail from Animal Control Officer, Kimberly Stewart, thanking Scituate Police and Fire Departments and the Scituate Animal Shelter for assisting with saving and housing animals displaced during the storm.
Mr. Murray made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to ACCEPT the Minutes of December 27, 2010. SECONDED by Mr. Norton. No discussion. Murray, Norton, Harris and Danehey voted. Mr. Vegnani did not vote. (4-0)
Mr. Murray made a MOTION that the Board of Selectmen VOTE to ADJOURN the meeting at 9:25 PM. SECONDED by Mr. Harris. No discussion. Unanimous vote. (5-0)
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
John F. Danehey, Chairman
Richard W. Murray
Joseph P. Norton
Anthony V. Vegnani
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