Friday, December 3, 1999
Delay of action means selectmen look forward to busy December
The November 23 selectmen's meeting had a full agenda as usual, but at the end of the evening, more items had been postponed until the next meeting on December 14 than had been acted upon.
Revenue anticipation notes
Tax bills are out, but the town still needs "a lot of money to make it through December," said town treasurer Nancy Koerner as she had the selectmen sign $2 million in revenue anticipation notes at their November 23 meeting. Five banks bid on the notes and the sale was awarded to Community National Bank of Hudson at a rate of 3.85 percent. The notes, which will mature December 30, 1999 and cost the town approximately $5,700 in interest, will be repaid with the proceeds from the real estate tax collection, said Koerner.
MBTA resolution postponed
Should Carlisle pay for the Red Line? Under the pending FY00 state budget, the town of Carlisle and other communities would be required to become part of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) which would result in additional tax assessments. The selectmen debated whether they should sign a resolution expressing opposition to the town's inclusion in the MBTA, but postponed a final decision until they know the magnitude of the assessment.
Selectman Michael Fitzgerald was of the opinion that the town should not have to pay for a service that is primarily used by municipalities with direct access to the T. "Why should the town kick in additional amounts to pay for something the residents of the city of Boston use to get to work each day?" he asked. Selectman Doug Stevenson also felt that Carlisle should not be assessed more. "What we're already contributing [in tax revenues] is our fair share."
On the other hand, selectman Vivian Chaput felt that the inclusion of outlying towns, like Carlisle, in the MBTA encourages public transportation. "It is okay to assess ourselves for the privilege of driving to Concord or Billerica to take the commuter rail or to Alewife to get on the Red Line," she said.
Carriage Way decision postponed
The discussion of what to do with the town-owned lot off East Riding Drive moved forward slightly on November 23, but will continue at the next board meeting on December 14. Chaput raised the questions of whether it would be preferable for the lot to be part of developer Bill Costello's proposed subdivision and whether the town should be the co-applicant with Costello in putting the proposal forward. Chaput said that her goal was to insure a benefit for the town and to maximize the value of the lot. Fitzgerald stated that there needs to be a public discussion on how much development that part of town can bear and what the town will do with proceeds from sale of the lot.
Position on Hanscom postponed
At the request of a River Road resident, the selectmen will consider whether to take a formal position on commercial aviation at Hanscom Field. Resident Cathy Mayer urged the selectmen to follow the lead of other area towns and pass a resolution against using the airport for commercial flights. Mayer cited noise pollution, traffic congestion and the rural surroundings of the airport to support her request. The request comes in response to Massport's recent approval of commercial flights at Hanscom Field by Shuttle America.
The selectmen decided to invite representatives from Massport, the Hanscom Area Towns Selectmen (HATS) and the Hanscom Field Advisory Committee (HFAC) to hear all sides of the issue before the board takes a stand. Carlisle is not an abutter to Hanscom Field and is not a member of HATS, but is represented on HFAC by Concord Street resident Wayne Davis.
Y2K concerns delegated
The school committee has asked the selectmen for assurance that a contingency plan is in place to ensure that town employees and vendors will be paid in the event the town's software upgrades are not completed by the end of the year. The town's payroll and MUNIS software programs are currently in the process of being upgraded to become Y2K-compliant. While noting that the town's payroll is handled by an outside firm, Stevenson said that the school committee has raised serious concerns and that town administrator David DeManche needs to respond to the concerns point by point.
The selectmen and board of health jointly appointed Lisa Davis Lewis to fill a vacated seat on the board of health. Davis Lewis will serve until the next election in the spring.
The selectmen were also asked to appoint Joe Childs to the recreation commission. While exclaiming about Childs' obvious qualifications and numerous recommendations, the board was unable to make the appointment because of uncertainty about whether there was a vacancy on the RecCom. The board decided to follow through with the town clerk to devise a better system for keeping track of current membership on town committees.
According to RecCom director Carol Peters, the RecCom intends to ask voters at the next Town Meeting to increase the size of the RecCom from five to seven members. Peters reasoned that a larger RecCom could do a better job for the town with wider representation from the many activities they support.
The board gave permission to the Carlisle Historical Society to use the Clark Room from September 22 through October 22, 2000 for an exhibit entitled, "Made in Carlisle." This exhibit will consist of locally-made objects (not duplicating the art show at Old Home Day) from the years 1805 to the Bicentennial and coincide with a special millennium program by the Carlisle Cultural Council. Exhibit organizers Sarah Brophy and Stephanie Upton hope that the exhibit will encourage residents to share Carlisle items not previously exhibited. They have already identified an Edmund French painting they hope to include.
Important to the selectmen's approval were the facts that the exhibit dates do not conflict with any primary or election dates and that each object will be loaned with the understanding that the historical society and town are not liable for loss or damage.
Freedom's Way Heritage Association
The board voted unanimously to support the Freedom's Way Heritage Association (FWHA) in its efforts to apply for National Heritage Area designation that would include an area stretching from Lexington to Gardner, Massachusetts. FWHA is "a heritage-based association working to provide economic alternatives that support the area's economy while preserving its integrity," said Brophy, Carlisle Historical Society's liaison to the group. "It provides collaborative strength when communities work to protect open space, encourage heritage tourism or support responsible economic development. The association was established particularly because isolated efforts are not nearly as effective as a well-planned group effort." The towns of Lexington, Gardner and Arlington have also already voiced their support of the association.
The selectmen will wait to hear a proposal from DeManche before deciding on the administrator's future work arrangement, according to Stevenson. The board of selectmen and administrator had agreed to a part-time schedule for three months while DeManche assisted his wife in a business venture. That three-month period ended in November.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito