Friday, November 14, 2008
Board of Selectmen shorts, November 10
• Mosquito Control at Town meeting. Jeff Brem of the Board of Health (BOH) presented a request to add an article to the Warrant for Town Meeting in January to join the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (see “Is Carlisle ready for mosquito control?” Mosquito, October 10). Brem noted that since two birds have been discovered in Carlisle carrying the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that can be fatal to humans, the BOH now unanimously supports administration of mosquito larvicides. Brem said that the vote could not wait until May Town Meeting because larval controls must be administered in early spring. He said the larvicides are safe to humans, “This is the really effective way, not to deal with the adult mosquito but with the larval mosquito.” The matter will be taken up at the next BOS meeting.
• Financal Warrant Articles. Dave Model of the FinCom requested space on the January Town Meeting Warrant for two fund transfers. The first would move $75,000 in Free Cash to the Stabilization Fund to shore up the town’s reserves. Two other $75,000 transfers would be planned for the next two years to raise reserves to about 10% of the budget. To prepare for the school project, he explained, “It’s pretty important for Carlisle to take the long view and make sure our bond rating is strong when we need it.”
The second article would transfer $250,000 in Free Cash to a new special-purpose fund designated to offset future changes in Carlisle’s assessment at the high school. Due to large class sizes, Carlisle expects its assessment to rise over the next few years to 31%, which would mean as much as $600,000 more in assessment to Carlisle (and less to Concord) before any budget increases are factored in. The BOS will discuss these proposals at their next meeting.
• Cost-of-living raise. Donna Allman reported the Personnel Board is unanimously recommending a 2.5% cost-of-living increase for non-union town employees “after due consideration of our fiscal environment and the need to supply some kind of raise.” It was noted that unlike the teacher’s contract which supplies “steps” (raises for experience) every year and reaches the top in 12 years, the Town Hall employees step up about every three years and require 27 years to reach the top.
• Tax hearing. A tax classification hearing was held, and, in keeping with historic precedent, Assessor Melissa Stamp recommended a consistent rate for commercial and residential taxes. She noted commercial is such a small percentage of the tax base that a higher rate would have almost no impact on what residents pay. The BOS voted to approve.
• Pollution monitoring. Testing at the police station, which became a DEP site in the 1980s when petroleum pollutants were found in groundwater, was recently completed. This testing is conducted every five years to monitor for status. No active remediation is needed at this time, and the site will be retested in five years.
The police chief would like to clean up the shed containing pumps no longer needed for the DEP pollution site. It is expected a Reserve Fund transfer of about $5,000 would allow for the removal and disposal of the pumps and some barrels of carbon. Alan Carpenito pointed to the potential danger of a spill as the barrels age, “It’s time [for them] to go.” The town is periodically fined for its noncompliance with DEP regulations at the site at a rate of about $700 per year, reported Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie, and this fine will be anticipated and added to the transfer request.
• BOS fee collection. A review of Site Plan fees collected to date showed the town has never collected the full fee. Fees were first implemented in 2001. This historic information was requested to serve as future guidance after a BOS decision to waive fees for Ferns’ expansion was challenged by the Planning Board.
• Technology. Bill Tice reported that the Technology Plan will be released soon and the Wireless Request for Proposals is expected to be ready in a few weeks. He said Comcast is raising its rates in February.
• CEF auction donation. The BOS voted to allow “A Ride Home in a Police Car” to be auctioned at the Carlisle Education Fund auction November 15 as requested by the police chief.
• Proclamation considered. Silver Star Families of America, a private organization, has asked towns to adopt a proclamation making May 1 a day of recognition for the wounded and ill of the armed forces. McKenzie noted “the idea behind it is very good” but some states had declined to participate. Further research will be done on the organization and the issue taken up at a later date.
• Recognition. COA van driver Gordon Hardy is retiring. He has held his position since 1999. A vote was held to present a proclamation honoring his service. ∆
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