Chilmark Board of Selectmen October 18, 2016 Meeting Minutes
Present: Selectmen Chairman Warren Doty, Bill Rossi and Jim Malkin.
Tim Carroll, Pam Bunker, Rodney Bunker, Susan Murphy, Linda Coutinho, Robert Lionette, Melanie Becker, Edie Prescott, Alex Elvin, Ebba Hierta, Candy Shweder and Lynn Christoffers,
Chairman Doty said he had intended to hold an Executive Session tonight to discuss land acquisition but Town Counsel was not able to attend tonight. So instead of adjourning at the end of tonight’s meeting it will be continued to tomorrow at 8:00 AM, but only Executive Session and not to return to regular session.
Draft minutes from the Selectmen’s October 4, 2016 meeting were reviewed, corrections were made. Chairman Doty said that this was not a correction to the minutes but would like an update about the snow fencing to be installed at Menemsha to reduce sand accumulating in the parking lot. Mr. Carroll said that the Highway Superintendent is hiring his helpers to install the fencing. This project will be worked on next week. Chairman Doty said soon would be good before our next storm. Mr. Rossi moved to approve minutes as corrected. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion.
SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
At 5:10 PM Chairman Doty opened the public hearing for the Chilmark taxpayers to present their views on the issue of allocating property tax levy among the five property classes for FY2017.
Assistant Assessor Pam Bunker discussed all of the tax classes and the process:
The purpose of the Classification Hearing is to allow the Selectmen to be able to shift the tax burden between property classes. This doesn’t change the total tax levy for the community; it simply determines the share to be borne by each class. The five classes of Real Estate are: Residential, Open Space, Commercial, Industrial, & Personal Property. Once the Real Estate values and new growth are approved by the State, The Board of Assessors present this information to the Selectmen, who then vote whether to establish a split tax rate or to tax all properties at the same rate by adopting a single tax rate.
Before voting on the Residential factor I would like to briefly discuss the results from the fiscal year 2017 interim adjustment. The town’s total value for fiscal year 2017 is $ 3,159,458,900. The average assessment for FY17 is $1,350,000. The new growth and real estate values were approved on October 7th. The Town Accountant and I will be submitting the tax recapitulation package in the near future to have the tax rate potentially set by the end of November.
The Board of Assessors recommends that the Board of Selectmen adopt a single tax rate and vote to accept the residential factor of 1, for the town to adopt a single tax rate for FY 2017 for the following reason: 98% of the town is residential; the remaining 2% is commercial, industrial, & personal property. There is not enough commercial properties in town to have this be an option which would benefit the residential class.
There were no public questions or recommendations.
At 5:17 PM Chairman Doty closed the hearing. Mr. Rossi moved to adopt a single residential tax rate for FY17. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Up Island Regional School - report from the review committee:
Susan Murphy from the review committee gave a full report of the groups findings.
REPORT: In response to a request from the West Tisbury Selectmen, a group of Chilmark residents have spent time over the summer reviewing the documents the West Tisbury Selectmen’s School Task Force presented on May 31, 2016 at the Howes House. The Chilmark participants were James Malkin, Chilmark Selectman; Ellen Biskis, town accountant; Robert Lionette, Chilmark School Committee and UIRSD representative; Susan Murphy, Finance Committee member and former member of the School Building committee; Linda Coutinho, former member of both Finance Committee and UIRSD Committee.
We are aware that West Tisbury is concerned about the cost per student at the UIRSD and has discussed and is considering changing the cost formula between the three towns. The option of West Tisbury’s withdrawing from the UIRSD has also been examined. Chilmark has been asked to consider assuming more than our current 80% of the Chilmark School’s programs, debt, and capital costs.
We have reviewed the West Tisbury documents as well as detail provided by the Superintendent’s office. We offer a bit of history by way of background to our discussion:
In the 1860s Chilmark operated four schools and had a student enrollment of 160 pupils. By 1920 when the Cape Higgon School closed on the North Road, Chilmark operated just one two-room school house at Beetlebung Corner, traditionally known as the Menemsha School. When the Gay Head School closed in the 1960’s, the Gay Head students attended the Chilmark School.
West Tisbury built the beginning of what is now the West Tisbury School in 1973. Chilmark School added “the big room,” a 900 square foot addition to the Menemsha School building, shortly thereafter. Still, the Chilmark school population was straining its facility to the limits. It was at that time that the town of Gay Head, already sending their kindergarten students to West Tisbury’s kindergarten, agreed to send their students from grades one through eight to the larger facility in West Tisbury.
In the 1980s and 1990s the school enrollment in both Chilmark and West Tisbury increased steadily. The town reports from the year 1995 reflect that the Chilmark School enrollment was 61 students, and West Tisbury School’s was 410. West Tisbury completed a building expansion that year. The following year W.T. principal Bob Tankard expressed thanks for the creation of the new Charter School, because without it enrollment would be at 450. It was NOT during a period of declining school enrollment, as indicated in the Final Report of the West Tisbury Selectmen’s School Task Force, that Chilmark built a new school building. On the contrary, Chilmark students had a mere 15 square feet per pupil when it became apparent that the current facility, almost 150 years old at that point, was no longer
adequate. This figure includes the space of two additional classroom trailers that had been added to accommodate space needs.
Chilmark looked to capitalize on what it already had at Beetlebung Corner in order to keep the cost of its new school to a minimum. The Building committee incorporated the resources of the town’s public library and the community center building, both a short walk across the playing field from the new school, in order to create a “campus” that kept our school in the center of town – something quite unique to small towns looking to upgrade their school facilities. The Chilmark School continues to be a well-run, thrifty program offering a project-based alternative to the program offered at the West Tisbury School, serving the children of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury.
Report continued to next page
The UIRSD, created in 1994, specifically addressed West Tisbury’s desire that both Chilmark and Aquinnah would contribute to the capital expenses of their new addition. West Tisbury expanded its facility, and the formula seemed to offset West Tisbury’s capital costs satisfactorily. But the subsequent decline in enrollment which began at the turn of the millennium, instead of bringing costs down, saw an expansion of West Tisbury School’s overall operating costs.
While we agree that a look at enrollment figures is important, they are both volatile and a bit misleading. This year’s Kindergarten Class in West Tisbury is eight fewer than the previous year and is the second smallest group of the nine grades at the site. Moreover, birth rates, as supplied to the School Committee by NEASC, show no appreciable growth over the next three to five years. The ‘growth’ in the school is based on the increasing number of School Choice students (45 for this current year) and a large number of West Tisbury students who transferred this year from the Charter School into the West Tisbury site. The majority of the Charter School transfers are in the upper grades and will graduate in less than three years. Likewise, the very large sixth grade is in part due to the
largest graduating class the Chilmark School has sent to West Tisbury in more than a six year cycle. They too will graduate in less than three years. Unless the West Tisbury administration continues to aggressively court School Choice families there is no apparent reason to assume that the enrollment will increase. As a matter of fact, in three years there may be a net decrease in the West Tisbury school’s population.
When Chilmark entered the UIRSD, it did so with the express understanding that the Chilmark School would be the smaller of the two schools, offering a choice for parents whose children might thrive in its more intimate atmosphere. Never did we think that, just a few years into its existence, UIRSD members from West Tisbury would be calling for its closure. This has been a persistent theme from West Tisbury officials as West Tisbury sees its enrollment decline (34% since Bob Tankard was grateful for the Charter School’s inception in 1995) and its operating costs increase. This has created a hostile environment for the Chilmark School administrators and staff alike, who have been put in the position of having to defend and justify their very existence before a relentless faction that sees our
successful program as nothing more than excessive expense for the UIRSD.
We share the concern of the cost per student in the UIRSD. We believe the overall increase in the costs of operating the West Tisbury site are based not only on the declining enrollment, but also on the School Committee’s decision to expand programming as well as the astronomical growth in the Shared Services budget. Looking at the assessment model may be low-hanging fruit, but fails to address much larger and continually growing sources of our expanding budget. We encourage the UIRSC members to continue to analyze both the site budgets within the district as well as the Shared Services budget at the All-Island School Committee level.
We are committed to remaining in the UIRSD, and because of this commitment, we recommend that the Chilmark Selectmen engage with the selectmen from West Tisbury and Aquinnah, together with each town’s accountant, to re-examine the formula on which we based our initial UIRSD agreement. This is an important discussion, to be undertaken in good faith by all participants in order to mitigate further dissention among the towns in the UIRSD.
Ellen Biskis, Linda Coutinho, Robert Lionette, James Malkin and Susan Murphy
Up Island Regional School - report from the review committee continued…
Mr. Lionette said that this process is a healthy one; that formulas are meant to be reviewed and updated. Mr. Malkin recommended that the next steps would be to send a letter to the West Tisbury Selectmen with our report and our support of the recommendation of one Selectman from each of the Up Island Towns and their Town Accountants meet to review the figures and formula together and come up with a single methodology. Mr. Rossi supported this as well.
Mr. Rossi said it will probably take a week or two for the selection of committee members as they will need to process our recommendation. Mr. Rossi moved to accept the report from the review committee. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Chilmark Selectmen thanked the review committee for their hard work.
Chairman Doty asked Ms. Murphy what she recommends for the Chilmark School gutters.
Ms. Murphy said she will consult with Lenny Jason Chilmark Building inspector who was also part of the design committee.
Library Director Ebba Hierta presented the Selectmen with a request to change the hours of the Assistant Director/ Youth Services Position. Ms. Hierta said the recommendation is to increase the hours from 31 to 35 hours a week. Ms. Hierta gave supporting documentation for this recommendation. Mr. Rossi moved to approve this request to increase the hours from 31 to 35 hours. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Cape Light Compact-Municipal Rate RFP:
Mr. Carroll said Chilmark has been participating in municipal aggregation for quite a few years.
The municipal loads have been separated out from the residential and commercial loads on the Cape and Islands. We can get a better rate as a municipal entity. This proposal would be to include Chilmark in the RFP. Mr. Malkin moved to approve Chilmark being included in the RFP. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Menemsha Planning Update:
Peter Cook was present and reported the Planning Board is still gathering information from meeting with Boards, Committees and public entities. The Planning Board is working to gather some public safety plans to move forward with. The Planning Board is meeting next week and will be addressing this on their agenda.
Town Center Paths Update:
Mr. Malkin reported that Marybeth Grady has spoken with Stanley and Lanette Larsen, with the real-estate agency and the telephone company about their receptiveness to a change of how our paths are laid out. Marybeth also asked these entities for their input and suggestions for the path plans. Once the election is over Jennifer Christy will work with a plan utilizing materials from the MVC planner Bill Veno. Mr. Malkin said the committee will also talk with the Police Chief concerning public safety issues. This will then go to the Planning Board and then the Selectmen to place on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting.
Town Center Paths Update Continued…
Mr. Carroll said he has been in contact with Sean Sullivan at the Mass Highway of the State Aid available through “Complete Streets” program for this sort of project. Chairman Doty said that Bill Veno should be aware of that to follow up with this funding.
Compensation Classification Plan Update:
Mr. Malkin said there will be a Human Resources Board meeting tonight at 7:30 PM to continue completion of this project.
Squibnocket Project Update:
Chairman Doty said the town project has been approved and the Squibnocket Farm Homeowners Association was also approved but there was an appeal filed. The State DEP came to the island to Squibnocket for site visit concerning the appeal. Chairman Doty said there is also another aspect of the appeal that will come back to our Zoning Board of Appeals on October 26, 2016 at 5:15 PM. Chairman Doty concluded that the project is on hold until the appeal process has been worked through.
Chilmark Community Center (CCC)-Roofing Project:
Rodney Bunker (Maintenance Supervisor of Town Building) reported he received quotes for a roofing job at the CCC. The awarded contractor will:
- Replace the sidewall shingles on the gable end over the stage hip roof with grade A white cedar shingles.
- Replace hip roof shingles with 50 year architectural shingles.
The lowest bid for this project came from Jonathan Flaherty at $5,500.00
Mr. Bunker said he is confident with Mr. Flaherty and recommends the Selectmen award this project to Mr. Flaherty.
Mr. Bunker said there is a variable in this project of the hip roof swaying as it comes down from the peek to the edges of the roof line. When they remove the roof there may need to be structural repairs, we won’t know until we start. Mr. Malkin moved to award the project to Mr. Flaherty as Mr. Bunker recommended. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Mr. Carroll distributed information supplied by Mr. Bunker after meeting with Building Inspector Lenny Jason about the CCC vestibule project. This will be a weather break. Chairman Doty said with this revision there would not be any change to the handicap ramp or alterations to the interior.
Mr. Rossi moved to endorse the weather break plan as approved by Building Inspector.
Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Chairman Doty said the work that has been completed on the interior sliding doors and interior trim projects look very successful.
Town Treasurer-Retirement preparedness:
Melanie Becker (Town Treasurer) requested the Selectmen to approve allowing town employees to attend a retirement preparedness workshop October 24, 2016 either at 11:00 AM or 3:00 PM.
Town Treasurer-Retirement preparedness Continued…
Ms. Becker said that the Social Security representative has not been to the Vineyard in a very long time and this would be an important opportunity for the employees. Mr. Rossi said he supports attendance at this session for employees but recommends staggering attendance between the two times so the Town Hall can remain operational. Mr. Malkin moved to approve Ms. Becker’s request with discretion of department heads to make sure there is coverage in their departments. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Chairman Doty said we have an opportunity to do some paving this fall and the discussion tonight is what we would like to pave. Mr. Carroll gave an outline of the Chapter 90 funds for this paving. Items to be considered for the funds are the walkway and also parking lot in Basin Road area. $77, 9 37.00 is total about that we have not used yet. Mr. Carroll said the “Complete Streets” program also has funds to apply for. Mr. Carroll said the three items that came up for completion from talking with Highway Superintendent Keith Emin were:
- Squibnocket Road, but placed on hold till after Squibnocket Project is completed
- Top of Menemsha Hill and the Triangle to complete the North Road paving project
- 3,000 some odd feet to complete Middle Road paving project
Mr. Carroll said he has a quote for the Menemsha Cross Road 605 feet of paving at $65,898.00
The Middle Road paving section of 3,750 Quote is to cost $331,000.00
Chairman Doty said we don’t have the funds to do the Middle Road paving at this time. Mr. Rossi recommended using some of our free cash to complete this paving on Middle Road. Mr. Carroll said that we have not certified our free cash yet. Mr. Carroll reported that the DOR representative was here today for a site visit with our Accountant Ellen Biskis. Mr. Carroll believed we would have our free cash certified in the next few days. Discussion ensued concerning timing and waiting for Planning Board recommendations. Mr. Rossi recommended drafting warrant articles for these projects. No action was taken at this time.
Peter Cook of the Planning Board said he would be sure to have this on the agenda for their meeting this coming Monday in these terms to have something to you for the Special Town Meeting. Chairman Doty said paving will be on our next meeting agenda November 1, 2016.
Chilmark Community Center / Vineyard Independence Partnership:
Allison Berger submitted a written request that the Selectmen consider (as they have in the past) to waive the rental fee for the Vineyard Independent Partnership music potluck social.
Ms. Berger has already reserved the date and put a cleaning deposit of $200.00 at the Town Hall office. Mr. Malkin move to wave this rental fee. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion.
SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Hunting Town Land Permission:
Gary Demers has submitted a written request to hunt at Fulling Mill. Mr. Malkin moved to approve this hunting permission request. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Finance Committee (FinCom):
Robert Hannemann submitted a written request to be considered for the FinCom as they are in need of committee members. Mr. Carroll said that the Selectmen cannot appoint a FinCom member that there will need to be a joint election with the FinCom. Selectmen are thankful for Mr. Hannemann’s request and look forward to having him join the FinCom. Mr. Malkin recommended Mr. Hannemann to attend the Martha’s Vineyard High School Budget meetings as a member of the public and to assign Mr. Hannemann the MVRHS for budget review in the future when he is a FinCom member.
Documentary Film - Nomansland Island:
Selectmen’s office received a written request from Alex Bushe to film a documentary b-roll in Chilmark for background for the Nomansland film he is making. There would be only two people involved himself and one cameraman. This project would take place in the next two months. Mr. Rossi said he was fine with this request. Mr. Malkin and Chairman Doty were in agreement that Mr. Bushe’s request is approved. Chairman Doty recommended that Mr. Bushe interview Jane Slater for this project.
Menemsha Dredging Update:
Mr. Malkin reported that the gentleman from J-Way and John Packer both have been in contact with our Harbormaster Dennis Jason letting us know that the window to move the dredging pipe was the day it arrived last week. Planning for the dredging to start at the red buoy and work South. Mr. Malkin said our Harbormaster Dennis Jason reported that his contact with J-Way (the onsite project manager) is knowledgeable and seems better connected to the project. J-Way will try to start early (scheduled to begin 11/1/16). J-Way is running the pipeline along the West Basin rather than down Lobster Ville.
Mr. Carroll said when the pipe showed up he called the USACE and asked why we were not
notified. The USACE representative said that J-Way said it would not arrive for another week. Mr. Carroll said the telephone conference and site visit have not happened yet. Mr. Carroll clarified that the pipeline will go along the jetty to the Menemsha beach.
Chairman Doty stated the Chilmark Board of Selectmen request a site visit meeting with the project manager from J-Way and our contact with USACE.
Menemsha Pond MOU:
Mr. Carroll said he has included the Memorandum of Understanding. This MOU with Towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and the Tribe are being included in the agenda just as a reminder of our agreement to police pond and anchorage area. Mr. Malkin discussed items to be addressed with the three parties about buoying the channel and designation of joint anchorage area.
Mr. Malkin said that the Harbor will be putting $30,000.00 into FY18 budget for pilings rather than having them on warrant for Town Meeting. Also Harbor is separating electrical and plumbing maintenance repair out of the general maintenance to track them more accurately. Mr. Malkin said the Harbor may need a warrant article for the electrical fixtures on the Commercial Dock. Harbormaster Jason met with Mr. Colligan and confirmed it will be a complex project.
Harbor Budget Continued:
The gentleman who did the pedestals will have a joint meeting with Mr. Colligan and Mr. Jason near to Thanksgiving (when he is next coming to the Vineyard) to clarify what will need to be accomplished.
Mr. Malkin said we will need to buoy the area and asked who’s department that would come from the Shellfish, Harbor? Mr. Carroll said there will be yellow special purpose buoys along the corners of the Oyster Grant area. Chairman Doty said this should be done by the Shellfish Constable Isaiah Scheffer. Mr. Malkin clarified that this yellow buoy project will be coming out of Shellfish Department budget.
At the “Walk Around” there was discussion of designation “no boat” area rather than a swimming area. Mr. Malkin requested defining what department would be responsible for this; either Beach Department or Harbor Department. Selectmen discussed this and assigned this to the Harbor Department.
Chairman Doty said there is also the pumpout station to discuss. Mr. Malkin said there was reports of sewage smell once this summer, the odor has not reoccurred. Mr. Cooper reviewed the area and did not find any problem. Mr. Carroll asked to move forward in having the system air tested. If the test shows a leek we will go to the Board of Health immediately to get permission to dig and fix any problems. Selectmen directed Mr. Carroll to do what he discussed.
Public Safety Building Tours:
Chairman Doty said he has requested a chance for the Chilmark Selectmen to tour all of the Public Safety Buildings on Martha’s Vineyard in preparation for our building. Chairman Doty said especially with how the ambulance and fire apparatuses are integrated together. Mr. Carroll said please let me know the dates you would like to go and I will set the visits up.
Mr. Malkin said to make it clear that this will be a space utilization issue not an exterior building design issue.
Chairman Doty said Mr. Carroll recommended seeing if our town would be interested in considering small houses. Mr. Carroll asked for permission from the Selectmen to talk to our Building Inspector and Town Counsel about how our building code views small houses and have counsel take a quick look at the zoning complications this may bring up. Chairman Doty said we have land at Peaked Hill and is the Town interested in having three 400 ft sq houses there? Mr. Rossi advised to share this also with the Housing Committee and Planning Board.
USCG Water Line - License revision:
Mr. Carroll said the USCG submitted two revisions to the water line project license. The language changes are regarding revocation. Mr. Carroll said Town Counsel will get a chance to review this tomorrow morning. Mr. Rossi moved to approve and sign the license with the condition that it has Town Counsel’s approval tomorrow. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion.
SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Trucks for Highway & Police Department:
Vehicles for both the Police Department and Highway have been ordered and meet the specifications of the warrants. No action is needed at this time.
Chairman Doty said that Chilmark is holding early voting from 8:00 AM to Noon Monday through Friday till November 4th.
MOU with Aquinnah - sand allocation from dredging
Mr. Carroll said that the Aquinnah Selectmen are meeting tonight and we have sent up a MOU signed by Chairman Doty regarding sand from the dredging to be allocated for our project.
Floating Dock Update:
Mr. Carroll said he had a follow up with Bellingham Marine and now have the final design of sustaining up to 77 mile per hour winds and 8 pilings. Mr. Carroll asked for signature on the Quote with the drawings. The final design will be submitted for the final design. Chairman Doty moved to approve this plan. Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Oil Spill Drill:
Mr. Carroll said there will be an Oil Spill Drill involving USCG, EMD, Shellfish Constable, Harbor Department, Fire Department, TTA, Aquinnah and Tribe. This will be a two day program with the second day onsite in Menemsha on October 26th.
DEP -6 Tucker Trail:
Mr. Carroll said we have received a response from the engineer who applied for the dock that we requested not to interfere with our shellfishing area. Mr. Carroll said he would respond that if the 2 outside pilings were taken out of the plans and that the dock is removed seasonally the town was ok with this plan.
Menemsha Trash Removal:
Seth Karlinsky sent a revised proposal for winter trash removal in Menemsha. This would be $125.00 per week servicing the Big Belly trash barrels. Mr. Malkin moved to approve this proposal. Mr. Rossi seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
At 6:50 PM Mr. Rossi moved to continue this meeting to 8:00 AM tomorrow as an Executive Session to discuss land acquisition with town counsel and not to return to regular session Mr. Malkin seconded the motion. SO VOTED: 3 Ayes
Roll call, Doty: Aye, Rossi: Aye, Malkin: Aye
Minutes respectfully submitted by Diana DeBlase Approved 11/1/16
- Draft Minutes 10/4/16
- Tax allocation recommendation from Assessors
- Report from UIRSD Chilmark review committee
- Library Director request for more hours for a library position
- Cape Light Compact Municipal Rate RFP
- Vineyard Independence Partnership letter to use Community Center for social
- Request from Gary Demers to hunt land
Document List Continued…
- Rob Hannemann letter to be considered for FinCom
- Mr. Bashe request to film documentary about Nomansland
- Update from USACE Craig Martin about Menemsha Dredging Project
- MOU with Tribe Aquinnah and Chilmark about policing Menemsha Pond anchorage area
- Pumpout station memo from Board of Health and recommendation
- Specifications for 2 vehicles one for each Highway Department and Police Department
- Recommendation from Treasurer for employees to attend retirement planning workshop
- Community Center roofing bid and award recommendation from Mr. Bunker
- Smith Property revised quote for winter trash removal for Menemsha
- ComCast about their rates,
- Vineyard Power rent and lease for PV at Tabor House,
- DMF closer notice
- DHCD letter to Adam Turner MVC director