Select Board/Finance Committee

Tuesday, November 7, 2023, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Town Hall
A meeting of the Selectboard

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Meeting of Selectboard

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Tom Hankinson, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Patricia Duffy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Melissa Colbert, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • : Don R.
  • Tim S.
  • Susan M.
  • Rich B.
  • Bethany S.
  • Tanya C.
  • Jono N.
  • Maureen I.
  • Jim F.
  • Eva G.
  • Jimmy G.
  • Kathy S.
  • Rich N.
  • Silas B
  • Ben E.
  • Carol H.
  • Phil C.
  • Isaiah R. For the Select Board: Tom H.
  • Melissa C.
  • Pat D.
  • Margie M.
  • Lisa S.
  • and George B. for the Montague Reporter.

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:00 PM

Meeting closed: 10:08 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Appointments

    • 7:00 : Field Building-- Don Robinson

      General Discussion...
      Don Robinson requested a meeting with the board after reading in the Montague Reporter that Richard Nathhorst had appeared before the board at the previous meeting to ask for additional funds for support for additional CPA applications. Don (a member of the committee) felt that the committee had not decided (by vote) to request that expenditure. He was frustrated that Richard went ahead without what Don had perceived as the committee’s blessing.
      Melissa read a letter from Anne Fergusuon, who stated that she understood and supported Richard’s request and felt that his request was, in fact, what the committee had determined was the next step. Kathy Stoddard agreed with Anne. Richard was given time to respond.
      The committee will try to remember to take formal votes in the future to ensure concrete understanding of the committee’s plans

    • 7:30: Lilly Rosene-- speeding on Shutesbury Rd.

    • 7:45: Bob Hopley--Putney Rd. paving bill

      General Discussion...
      Bob Hopley came in to explain that the Putney Road association had, more or less, divided the bill for the paving of the road among land owners and since the town owns 3/5 of an acre at the end of the road, the Select Board received a bill. This has never happened before for any other road services or from any other private road associations. The board explained that it was not even their decision to pay the bill, but town meeting’s. Pat suggested a compromise whereby parking spaces be allocated at the end of the road because currently there are no trespassing signs. Eva also said she had been told not to walk on the road because she didn’t live there. Bob was advised to meet with his association again and see if it could be split among them or come back during budget time to meet again and request an article on the ATM warrant. The bill was for about $1,100.

    • 8:00: Finance Committee-- FY '25 budget

      General Discussion...
      Finance Committee—Phil Carter, Bethany Seeger; Isiah Robison
      The Finance Committee met with the board to decide budget guidance for FY’25. Phil said that the CPI for the northeast was at 3% and trending down. Usually, that is what gives the board a place to begin to consider what is right for the town. Isaiah suggested that it be much lower stating that actual inflation, to Leverett residents, is higher. Steve Weiss thought that the “rate of inflation” be considered depending on what departments are spending money on instead of a blanket number. Several thought that could cause animosity among boards and departments.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To set the budget guidance at 2.5%. Vote: 2-1 in favor for the Fin Com. Motion made by Pat to set the budget guidance at 2.5%. Vote for the Select Board 3-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

  3. Business

    • Appoint interim Con Com Agent

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To appoint Erin Jacque as interim Conservation Commission Agent at $28/hour for 2-4 hours/week. Vote: 3-0 in favor. .

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To appoint Erin Jacque as interim Conservation Commission Agent at $28/hour for 2-4 hours/week. Vote: 3-0 in favor. .

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

    • Appoint Kate Rice to the Recreation Commission

      General Discussion...
      Motion: To appoint Kate Rice to the Recreation Commission: Vote 3-0 in favor. Melissa resigns.

    • Appoint Town Forest Exploratory Committee

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: Motion: To appoint the following people to the Town Forest Exploratory Committee: Don Ogden; John Moruzzi; Juniper Katz; Thom Masterton; Stewart Olson; Eric Donnelly; Sean Mahoney; Eva Gibavic; Ben Eddy; Jimmy Grogan; and Bill Stewart. Vote: 3-0 in favor. .

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

    • Approve minutes of October 24

      General Discussion...
      The minutes of October 24 were approved.

    • Approve the Village Coop Beer/Wine License

    • Increase mileage reimbursement?

      General Discussion...
      Shelly Hicks appeared before the board to ask if they would increase the mileage reimbursement from .44/mile to the current IRS figure of .65.5/mile. The board will take it under review, Margie will see what other towns pay and it will be addressed at the next meeting.

    • Micro-grid feasibility grant

      General Discussion...
      Margie and Richard Nathhorst asked for the board’s support to apply for a $15,000 grant to complete a feasibility study of a micro-grid for municipal buildings.

      MOTION, moved by Melissa Colbert, seconded by Patricia Duffy: . Motion: to support Margie and Richard Nathhorst’s application for a $15,000 micro-grid feasibility grant.

      Pass: Aye: Melissa Colbert, Patricia Duffy, Tom Hankinson.

    • Rattlesnake Gutter Rd discontinuance petition

      General Discussion...
      Rattlesnake Gutter Road was discussed again. Steve Weiss and Eva Gibavic would like the board to ask the “county” to discontinue it so they can apply for money to have it repaired as a recreational area. Several in the audience think it should be reponed and maintained by the town. Tighe and Bond are meeting Steve and Eva to talk about what they could possibly do to shore up the sections that are falling into the ravine. The board will wait until that meeting happens, then revisit. Steve asked if the board could guarantee that if it was discontinued, that the town highway department would maintain it with town money. No guarantee was given.

    • Review STM motions

      General Discussion...
      The motions for STM were reviewed.

    • Sign contract with UMASS

      General Discussion...
      A contract for the COA Service Navigator Grant Project was signed with the UMASS Center for Program Evaluation.

    • Update on Cave Hill Rd. dog meetings

      General Discussion...
      Melissa and Tom spoke with neighbors on Cave Hill about barking dogs in a 60-day post-order revision update. Tom met with Jimmy Grogan, who gave him a new spread-sheet of details about when the dogs are barking and disturbing him. Melissa spoke with Ursula Humphrey, the dog owner. Ursula felt that they have absolutely been adhering to the revised dog order; is worried about the level of surveillance that they feel under, and worries that sometimes Jimmy may hear other dogs in the neighborhood barking. Tom was frustrated that a neighborly solution has not been found and the board will meet with the neighbors for another meeting.

  4. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Lisa Stratford

Minutes approved on Thursday, Dec 7, 2023