ACO resigns, street lights to go off
DUDLEY - John Lafleche, Bay Path Regional High School Superintendent, met with selectmen to present the facts about the upcoming district-wide vote for renovation of the 45-year old school. The basic premise came down to costs for Dudley property owners and this was based on a majority of positive votes for the renovation project to bring the school up to state and federal standards.
Dudley’s share of the cost breaks down to a $16/year increase in property taxes for the 1st year and $49/year thereafter on a 30-year bond. These rates are very conservative according to Mr. Lafleche, who said the rates were based on a 5% interest rate of borrowing, but that the anticipated true rate would be less. Total cost of the renovation is $73.8 million with a $46.5 million reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Association (MSBA). Dudley’s share of the cost is $2,838,633.
“For the 10-town district to leave $46.5 million on the table would not be right,” stated Mr. Lafleche. “If the district towns don’t approve the project, which we have been in line for the past 10 years awaiting, the district loses the financial assistance from the MSBA and then all district towns will be 100% responsible for the cost of repairs needed for the building now and over the next 5 years.” Special election for the project is scheduled for Thursday, October 4, from noon – 8 p.m. in each of the 10 district towns: Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, North Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Southbridge, Spencer, and Webster.
The board approved a new fee schedule for the use of the Dudley Senior Center/Municipal Complex; reduced and approved several charges for cemetery fees and allocations; and reviewed the Ready Bus – Workforce service request indicating that Dudley residents would not be able to participate in the program’s startup as financial facts must be brought before the board for prior approval.
Fire Chief Dean Kochanowski presented a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan put together by the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission with input from Nancy Runkle, Town Planner. The report deals with improving infrastructure due to events such as floods, tornadoes, blizzards, etc. and in the event of such disasters the Town would be eligible for grant funding from federal and state emergency management agencies.
Historical books donated by Mr. Copeland of Stevens Linen Company were presented to the Historical Commission by Selectman John Marsi. The books dated from the 1850’s and included ledgers, inventory lists, etc. Mr. Ed Bazinet advised the Board that the historical records were being stored in the Town’s climate-controlled vault for safe-keeping.
Selectmen also reviewed the Annual Fall Town Meeting warrant schedule, with the opening on Mon., 9/10; closing on Tues., 9/25; and posting deadline on Mon., 10/15.
Town Treasurer/Collector Richard Carmignani, Jr., along with Brian Boyle, the town’s health insurance consultant, then reviewed health insurance costs for the Board. It was noted that the Town is a member of a group composed of Dudley, Charlton, and Bay Path using Blue Cross/Blue Shield as opposed to the use of the Group Insurance Commission (“GIC”) plans. Mr. Boyle advised the board of current BC/BS health insurance premiums of $1,600/monthly vs. GIC’s rates of over $2,000/monthly. He presented positive information related to BC/BS as saving the town additional monies by not offering a cafeteria plan like that of GIC with multiple choices, premiums, and varying co-pays, which would become a constantly-changing series of monthly billings.
Selectmen also discussed special legislation to reimburse the town for out-of-district student expenses for a town resident-student who will attend a Norfolk High School. It was noted that annual expenses for tuition plus transportation would be approximately $45,000. Sharing transportation costs with a student from Charlton would save approximately $10,000 with a reimbursement rate of another 10%, the final annual costs to the town would be in the area of $33,344, according to Town Administrator Peter Jankowski.
Selectmen Peter Fox and John Marsi distributed a new Department Head/Employee Review System, consisting of an orderly graph of employee goals and objectives with associated benchmarks and timelines. Various planning, progress, and final rating phases would be used and implemented to ensure town employment goals and objectives were being met. The board endorsed the review system.
Animal Control Officer Sheila Donohue then came before the board to offer her resignation due to accepting employment in a full-time position. Ms. Donohue explained her reasons for departure, which included a small budget, long hours, low pay, and lack of clothing allowance. She was quick to point out, however, that all town departments she had contact with were polite, cooperative, and helpful. Volunteers at the shelter were praised as well. Board members appeared taken aback at her resignation but were relieved when Ms. Donohue offered to stay on until her replacement was found. She was commended by board members for her work as Animal Control Officer and was wished well in her future employment.
One of the last items on the agenda was the shutting off of approximately 100 streetlights around town. Chairman Jonathan Ruda stated that “the board was under mandate from town residents who voted at the last town meeting to reduce the street lighting bill by $11,243. The people have spoken.” Under direction from Police Chief Steven Wojnar, Fire Chief Kochanowski, and Highway Superintendent Danny Gion, street lights would be scheduled for turn-off in the very near future. If residents choose to “adopt-a-light” they may do so by contacting National Grid.
Additional agenda items reviewed by the Board included accepting minutes of their last meeting of Aug. 20th; appointing Wayne Resener to the Conservation Commission with a term to expire on 6/30/15 (Mr. Resener was not present); accepting, with regret, the resignation of William Fyffe as Library Trustee, effective 9/10/12; approving the transfer of an all-alcohol liquor license from Bill’s Café of Dudley d/b/a Koko’s to Coaches Corner, Inc. d/b/a Coaches Corner, owners Anthony and Melissa Paranto; granting one-day liquor licenses to Nichols College for 9/21/12’s Homecoming, 10/19/12’s President’s Society Dinner, and 10/19/12’s Donor Recognition Day.
Board members in attendance were: Steven Sullivan, Chairman Jonathan Ruda, Peter Fox, and John Marsi. Selectman Paul Joseph was absent. Also present were Peter Jankowski, Town Administrator, and Michelle Jervis, Administrative Secretary.
- Tuesday, 11 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News