Oxford - The first item on the Board’s agenda March 13 was a public hearing regarding a telephone pole relocation on Front Street. The request was to grant permission to National Grid and Verizon in relocating their jointly-owned pole beginning 140 feet east of the centerline of the intersection of West Street. As there was no public opposition, the Board voted unanimously to approve the request.
The next agenda item concerned the Town’s renewal note for the water company purchase which was presented by Town Treasurer Claire Wilson and Clark Rowell of Unibank. The note sale completion date request was for 3/30/12 and designated for legal expenses for the acquisiton of the Aquarion Water Company’s Oxford facilities, currently $550,000, to be increased to $750,000. It was also stated that the pre-trial date was set for May 8th but would most likely be moved months forward according to Chairman Jennie Caissie.
Ms. Caissie further indicated that the Town was fully aware of the expected legal costs involved in the acquisition proceedings. Additional notes and bonds were expected to be refinanced as well and Mr. Rowell mentioned that interest rates were at very low levels and very favorable results were anticipated as a result, saving the Town substantial dollars.
Mr. Terrence Cummings of the Oxford Historical Commission then presented his agenda for the upcoming 100th Anniversary of Clara Barton’s Burial to be held on Sunday, April 15th. The Anniversary agenda includes a military encampment, American Red Cross blood drive, and a re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam, which was the first major battle of the Civil War to take place on Union soil. It was noted that Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history with 23,000 casualties. The Massachusetts’ infantry sent 606 troops, of which 259 were wounded.
It was expected that Senator Richard Moore would be in attendance as well as the Oxford High School ROTC and the Oxford Honor Guard. Additionally, the evening before, Saturday, April 14, St. Ann’s Church on Route 12 in North Oxford would be hosting a showing of Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary of the Battle of Antietam. In the event of rain, all activities would become a scaled-down event to be held at the Middle School.
Christopher Pupka, Town Assessor, came before the Board to present information on the Town’s residential tax factor. It was noted that based on the average residential dwelling assessment of $221,100 the tax rate had increased to $13.89/thousand up from $13.08/thousand previously or, on average, a $90/annual increase. The motion to set the residential tax factor at 1.00 was passed unanimously.
Town Manager Joseph Zeneski requested the Board to accept relinquishment of the former School Dept Administration Offices located at 5 Sigourney Street effective 1/5/12. Following questions from the Board regarding building demolition and utility shutdowns, the Board voted unanimously to accept the property.
Town Clerk Lori Kelley had requested appointment of two individuals as election workers until August 12, 2012, and the appointment was unanimous. Corbin Rodriguez of Precinct 1 and Janet Chesties of Precinct 3 were appointed.
The Board approved requests for a 5K Road Race/Fun Walk from the Oxford Graduation Committee to be held on April 22 and a Little League Parade to be held on the same day, both of which were previously coordinated with Fire Chief Sheri Bemis and Police Chief Michael Hassett.
The Road Race registration will start at 8am and the race at 9:15am. The route begins at the High School then to Main Street to Federal Hill Road to Depot Road to Millbury Road back to Main Street and the High School. The Parade will begin gathering at 11:30am in the American Legion parking lot with a step-off time of 12 noon proceeding down Main Street and ending at the Community Center. School Committee members, Selectmen, and the Town Manager were invited to march and to participate in the opening ceremonies to be held at the Stanley Johnson Little League Field, North Oxford.
The Board was then asked to declare the week of March 12 – 18 “Girl Scout Week” and to sign a Proclamation in its honor. The Girl Scouts of the USA are proudly celebrating their 100th Anniversary. Chairman Cassie read the Girl Scout Proclamation in its entirety in honor of all Girl Scouts. The Board unanimously approved the declaration week.
An article for Town Meeting Warrant referring a zoning change at 95 Leicester Street to the Planning Board was approved. Following this approval, Mr. Zeneski advised the Board of their invitation to Community Reading Day to be held at Clara Barton School on April 13; an invitation from Senator Richard Moore’s office to attend a March 22 presentation/discussion on the State of Local Aid for fiscal year 2013 to be held in Northbridge; a Flower & Bake Sale to be held by the Oxford EMS Association on April 7 from 8am-5pm as well as April 8 from 8am-2pm at the Fire Headquarters at 181 Main Street; and an invitation to join Harrington Hospital’s President Edward Moore, Congressman Richard Neal, Senator Richard Moore, and others at the Harrington Hospital’s Hubbard-Webster campus on March 16 to announce a capital-fundraising campaign to construct a new Emergency Dept at the Webster location.
Mr. Zeneski also reviewed the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race/Walk sponsored by the Barton Center for Diabetes Education taking place on March 17th; Representative Peter Durant’s informal citizen’s office hours to be held at Town Hall’s 1st floor conference room on March 27th from 9-10am; and spoke of the upcoming application deadline submission of Friday, March 30th, at 4:30pm for the Hannah Harwood Fund Scholarship. The applications can be picked up at the Selectmen’s Office in Town Hall. The annual allotment of $1,200 is divided in half and paid in the first & second semester of school to the winning applicant who has chosen to enter the field of medicine or an allied health field.
A reminder was also given that the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting closes on Tues., March 27, at 4:30pm.
Town Manager Zeneski also presented to the Board an Article regarding changing the initial budget submission date to 45 days before the Annual Town Meeting instead of the current 90 day date due to the fact that more definitive budget numbers are available in the 45-day period. The Board unanimously agreed to sponsor the article. The Bay Path Regional Vocational High School’s addition/renovation project was then discussed, pertaining to wording on the Town Warrant regarding debt funding. Selectmen unanimously agreed to secure a spot on the warrant, as set forth in the Bay Path correspondence, for discussion.
Final business included a request by Selectman Dennis Lamarche to declare excess donated animal cages at the Animal Shelter for scrap metal sale. The 16 cages were extremely large and unusable and had been donated to the Town quite some time ago. The Board voted unanimously to declare the cages excess and saleable. The money generated from the cage sales would be placed in the Town’s general fund.
Selectman Lamarche also stated that he wanted Oxford citizens to know that the new Animal Shelter received an occupancy permit and is now open and under the management of the new animal control officer.
He further indicated that the Middle School project has its architects and building manager on board and that they are moving forward on the roof replacement. The remainder of the project that included new windows, a heating system, etc. is in review for next year. Additionally, the Town Manager’s evaluation is scheduled for May 1st by the Board of Selectmen.
Selectman Michael Voas then asked Mr. Zeneski about the natural gas piping/hookups to Town buildings along Main Street. Mr. Zeneski responded that the buildings without hookups included the Town Hall, Library, and former Police Station. Mr. Voas requested that Mr. Zeneski look into long-term savings from natural gas conversion of these Town buildings. Mr. Voas also requested that Manager Zeneski obtain estimates for conversion from National Grid.
Selectmen then went into executive session for contract negotiations and litigation.
- Wednesday, 21 March 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Selectmen