from Board of Selectmen’s Goals and Objectives Meeting
Minutes Accepted on 9/7/2010 by a vote of 5-0
Held August 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Blackstone National Putnam Room
In attendance: Chairman Richard Hersom, Vice-Chair Kevin Geraghty, Clerk, Michael Chizy, John Hebert, Ryan Fattman, Town Administrator Jim Smith, Secretary Deb Jacques
Meeting called to order at 5:40 pm followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Town Administrator Jim Smith began the meeting discussing the 2 largest focuses over the past year:
The School Building project which was a major accomplishment and the 1.2 million dollar MORE 146 road work project. Other projects included the Whittier APR, the Manchaug Library lease to Puckihuddle and the ELC Solar Project. Currently, there is an RFP out for Cell Towers. Jim is compiling a list of names for the Master Plan Committee and is interested in the boards’ ideas and looks for suggestions on possible committee members. Jim would also like a Selectman to sit on the committee. He says it will be an intense 6+ month process with bi-weekly meetings. This will be an agenda item on September 7th for more discussion. Jim briefs the BOS on significant issues with developing Shaw Farm. Due to the 4 certifiable vernal pools the entire site is limited to development. These vernal pools carry setbacks and
if not adhered to could trigger the Army Corp. of Engineers to become involved. If we stay within the Category 1 setbacks, 25% of the farm could be buildable. This could house a highway barn, a public library as well as playing fields for sports. Gates Leighton will brief the BOS in the near future.
OPEB Liability: There is a need to prefund future health care expenses for retires. Jim says there are two ways to approach this: create a trust fund and use Medicare Part D reimbursements as well as some free cash as funding sources or reduce benefit levels for retires. We are conservative with our health care plan at 70/30.
Senior Tax Work off Program: Jim states this is not an overwhelming problem but will take under advisement comments from the BOS. We may need a cap at some point but to get in to income levels may be tricky. This program has brought a lot of value to the town and it is not a budget buster.
Blue Jay Restaurant- current owner filed to rezone site potentially the possibility of a Store 24. It is a residential area and there is concern that this could be considered spot zoning. The Governor just signed in an Act Relative to Economic Organization Development granting an automatic extension on any permits active between Aug 15th 2008 to August 15th 2010. This would allow the current owner to build a restaurant on this site.
Jim feels we have a great group of people in place. He goes on to say we are financially very strong and Sutton is a model in the Blackstone Valley. Jim would like to see Sutton become a triple A rating community.
Green Community: Mike reviews the criteria to become a Green Community. He goes on to say 35 towns have already taken advantage of this resulting in grants for their communities. The Stretch Code (Building Codes) is one of the requirements that has some areas that concern Building Inspector John Couture but all agree that by holding new construction to higher standards and energy efficiency is a good thing. Also discussed were Wind Turbines and the need to buy American.
Kevin is focused on attacking the goals already started. It is critical to keep moving forward with momentum. Communications is important as well as the ongoing renovations at Camp Marion. Great things have happened there and we need to just keep driving forward.
Strongly agrees with Kevins comments on need for better cell service. Another hot button issue is the Bee Hive building located at the corner of Singletary and Boston Road. Ryan feels there is potential and history in this building, this may be a project for the Master Plan Committee. Ryan also feels that within the next 10-20 years, 146 will explode and questions the possibility of regionalizing our Planning Director Jen Hager with the Town of Uxbridge. The BOS as well as TA Smith all feel Jen is so valuable to our town that would spread her to thin. Jim expresses how valuable she is to him and says that at times, Jen acts as his assistant with the ongoing projects as well as future projects.
Cell Tower is a key issue.
John would like to see more training for employees. He commends Jim on the training provided recently. He feels it is good for the morale of the employees.
Also discussed was a vision for the school system campus to have a resource officer available for any issues that may arise. Jim agrees and says that would be a very valuable position to have.
Endorses all that has been discussed. Rick agrees with Kevin saying driving forward with the current projects is very important and goes on to say that a Master Plan makes sense for the town of Sutton and feels that within a 2-3 year period, Route 146 will be a hot bed of activity. Rick feels Sutton lacks the resource needed to market our town. We need to add resource information to assist the Planning Dept. in marketing our town.
Rick thanks Jim for a great year.