Friday, February 26, 1999
Grant money possible for Wang-Coombs
The selectmen have applied for a grant of approximately $300,000 to help fund the acquisition of the Wang-Coombs property off Curve Street should the town vote to purchase the property at the upcoming Town Meeting.
According to Wayne Davis, who was instrumental in putting the grant together with David Kelch and John Dalton, approximately 30 of the 43 acres will be placed under a permanent agricultural preservation restriction. In exchange for the restriction, the town would receive $10,000 per acre. Davis expected that the remaining 13 acres would be subject to limited development to offset the cost of acquisition. The total purchase price is $2.7 million.
The grant program is administered by the department of agriculture and the application can be submitted even though the town has not yet decided to go forward with the purchase. Davis hopes to receive a preliminary indication of whether the grant will be approved by the end of February. Final approval would occur in September and the town would receive the grant money
Although the $10,000 per acre does not come close to the market value of the land, the selectmen were grateful for the prospect of receiving any help with the purchase price. Selectman Burt Rubenstein asked Davis to confirm that the agricultural preservation restriction will not preclude use of the land for passive recreational purposes such as trails or as a public water supply.
Concerns voiced about Minuteman Tech
Minuteman Tech board member Sandy Ford appeared at the selectmen's meeting on February 9 to give an update on the school's plans to build an assisted living facility, residential hotel and new classrooms. Ford said that the project will be done in phases with the assisted living facility first. The school is in the process of obtaining local approvals for this phase of the project.
Selectman Vivian Chaput expressed concern about using public funds to build a private enterprise that would compete with other for-profit businesses. Ford assured Chaput that competitors in the industry look favorably on the school's project because they see it as a training ground for future employees.
Chaput also expressed concern that under the current assessment procedure Carlisle is paying more than its fair share of tuition and she does not intend to support enlarging the school so that more students will come who do not pay their share of tuition. Ford said that the school is working on getting a more equitable distribution of responsibilities among member and nonmember towns (he cited, for example, the school's recent decision to opt out of the school choice program), but did not give any guarantees about progress in the near future.
Appraisal for White property
Chaput reported that the Gleason Library trustees are urging the town to purchase the entire White property located next door to the library. The library needs additional space for parking and, while some consideration is being given to subdividing the White lot so that only the vacant land behind the house needs to be purchased, the trustees felt that the proximity of the property to the library would be useful to the town in the future. Chaput was concerned about the cost. The current asking price for the property, listed by Senkler/Hunneman, is $350,000, but this includes the cost of installing a new septic system. The selectmen instructed town administrator David DeManche to obtain an appraisal of the property.
Personnel board suggests merit increase
Concerned that the wages paid to town employees may be out of line with wages paid by comparable towns, the personnel board has asked for the institution of a policy which would allow department heads discretion to give one-percent merit raises to employees, provided their entire budget does not exceed guidelines set by the finance committee. The board also reported plans to conduct a wage equity study plan to determine where the town stands in relation to comparable communities on municipal wages. The selectmen had questions about how the merit raises would be implemented and concluded that department heads could give discretionary merit pay raises within the guideline budgets until the wage equity study is complete.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito