Roof Dangers: Important Safety Information
(February 4, 2011) The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has issued guidelines and helpful advice regarding how to deal with excess snow on your home or business roof. Click here.
BOS Meeting Features Productivity and Civility
(February 1, 2011) In striking contrast to the last Board of Selectmen’s meeting, last night’s was both very production in terms of getting business done and generally cordial despite occasional verbal digs made by selectmen against the media and various town players.
“There are a lot of liars in town,” said board chairman Ken Foley who also stated the town is operating “business as usual” and that “nothing has changed” in terms of town employees and municipal government.
Many items on the agenda were quickly approved including: reimbursements for road repairs covered by Chapter 90 funds, issuing an annual report of all liquor licenses granted last year, a payment to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for the purposes of operating the Blanding Library, issuing an letter of support to a group home applying for federal HUD funding, granting an exclusive arrangement to Century 21 to represent the town in selling property, and allowing RePAC to install remote control cameras and audio/video equipment at the senior center where meetings are either broadcast live or recorded.
In terms of a request made for the BOS to release minutes from their executive sessions, chairman Ken Foley tabled the issue saying, “we have to see what we can release or not.”
The board also agreed to post a job opening for the position of a full-time certified building inspector. With potential to be a revenue producing source, it will be imperative to have a full-time town employee running that department of town government.
It was reported the town has already exceeded its snow removal budget of $200,000 and is running a deficit of over $15,000.
Resident Bonnie Kelley addressed the board and was commended by Foley for following the established protocol for filing a request to be put on the agenda. She was there to ask questions about the current lack of a personnel board or committee. At present Rehoboth town government does not have an employee dedicated to human resources or personnel issues, nor a volunteer committee to examine personnel and policies.
According to town bylaws, there can be a personnel board with five members - three appointed by the town moderator, one by the BOS and the fifth by the finance committee.
Mrs. Kelley remarked that she would volunteer to serve on a personnel board if one was formed and encouraged residents to participate in town government by volunteering to serve on town committees, boards, and councils.
Consultant Peter Fine updated the board on the town’s solar energy projects and presented a sample version of an informational sign that will be displayed at the Senior Center to explain their solar energy system. While the center’s system is now complete and working, the one on the highway department building is still waiting for National Grid to essential “throw the switch” and activate the system.
Both selectmen addressed the old business of RePAC’s request to lease more space in the town office annex building on Anawan Street. Foley said he had met with town office personnel to determine their own needs before trying to meet RePAC’s need for additional space.
Selectmen Don Leffort introduced an idea to solve the space problem by eliminating the town office voting precinct which will free the large room currently used for that purpose (as well as a conference room for meetings). Instead all municipal meetings would be conducted at the senior center, although it was mentioned that building is actually more costly to operate than the town office building.
The two issues that have recently ignited controversy and media coverage were saved for the end of last night’s meeting.
In regard to pursuing the process of increasing the number of selectmen from three to five, Foley said he was personally opposed and the issue was “not going to happen as written.” Instead he and Leffort “are going to sign a document that will go to the state house and then put a non-binding referendum on the April 4 town election ballot.”
Mrs. Kelley responded by saying that plan will prohibit “enough time for meaningful discussion” to take place among residents.
The meeting finished with a statement by Foley that he felt the various departments in town government were operating well without any problems. “There is no turmoil,” he said, while adding he had “not heard of any problems from town employees” while conceding there have been a “few issues in the police department.”
On Thursday morning, the executive board of the BOS will meet to make a decision about what, if any, action will be taken with regard to police chief Stephen Enos. An announcement will be made after that meeting.
Selectman Leffort concluded by saying he and Foley were both trying to do the best job they could for the town and residents would undertand better if they knew what was really going on behind the scenes. “Trust me,” said Leffort cryptically, “I would spill the beans right now, but I can’t.”
TRIAD’s Love in a Mug Fundraiser Postponed
(February 1, 2011) With what is being called a “storm of historic proportion” coming tomorrow, TRIAD’s annual Love in a Mug Fundraiser scheduled for February 2 at the Senior Center has been postponed until March 30, 2011.