BOS seeking Main Street Design Working Group volunteers to resolve issues by June 18 state hearing

by beth on April 9, 2014

I haven’t had a chance to write about the Board of Selectmen meeting that took place last night. (I can’t do it justice, because I haven’t even had the chance to finish viewing it.)

But since the Town has released a statement asking for people to volunteer for a Working Group, I’ll give a quick recap of some of the related discussion.

At the meeting, selectmen John Rooney and Bill Boland debated the merits of a Working Group to resolve issues around the Main Street reconstruction project.

Rooney said that he believes it is important to continue working towards finding consensus on the project without losing state funding.

The town had requested to delay the state’s public hearing until October or as late as feasible. The state came back with a date of June 18, 2014. Rooney said that he would like to see if a committee (which Boland preferred to be a Working Group) could work through residents’ issues in time for that date.

The selectman noted that this group would have a different scope and goals than the committee proposed by David Parry’s citizen petition inititative. Rooney said that now is not the right time to research an alternative proposal.

Rooney reasoned that if the town is unable to find consensus on a plan before the state hearing, that would be the time to look at alternatives. He stated that he believed following Parry’s proposal would result in losing state funding.

This afternoon, the Town has posted a notice for 5-7 volunteers to help in this effort:

The Board of Selectmen seek candidates for a Main Street Design Working Group, to be appointed at their April 29, 2014 meeting. The group will be composed of 5-7 people who will meet frequently over the ensuing 8 weeks, review pertinent documents and plans, meet with local officials or their designees, and receive public comment. These meetings will be required to take place prior to the Department of Transportation meeting on June 18, 2014 regarding the project. Please submit a letter of interest and resume to the Board of Selectmen, 17 Common Street, Southborough, MA 01772 or via e-mail to selectmen@southboroughma.com. Candidates will be accepted until Friday April 25, 2014.

Tuesday night, Rooney and Boland also discussed dismay that a plan “remarkably similar” to the current plan was endorsed in 2008 by residents who are now vocal opponents.

They said that residents have a right to change their mind, but should acknowledge the real history of the project.

David Parry, who had been watching at home, appeared to counter some statements.

An argument ensued which you can read more about through Southborough Wicked Local’s coverage. Or you can watch the meeting online through Southborough Access Media. (Discussion of the Main Street project begins about 46 minutes in.)

1 Resident April 9, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Call it what they like, it will be a public body and subject to Open Meeting Law. I hope that the discussion about what to call it was not an attempt to sidestep transparency.

2 beth April 9, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Actually, in the past the town has clarified that Working Groups are not subject to Open Meeting law. (You can see a related post to other working groups here – http://www.mysouthborough.com/2013/11/05/planning-board-discusses-town-working-groups/)

The claim is that Working Groups aren’t a formal body and don’t have the authority to make decisions. Voting and public hearings are handled by the appropriate boards. I would venture that the BOS plans to have the group report to them at Open Meetings.

3 John Butler April 9, 2014 at 10:57 PM

To the extent that the Town creates groups comprised of citizens to deliberate public matters, those groups, regardless of what they are called (committees, working groups, whatever), are subject to the open meeting law. Whether they have or don’t have decision making authority is irrelevant to the open meeting law. Merely meeting to deliberate on a public matter after having been constituted by the Town for any purpose is sufficient to bring a group under the open meeting law.
In this case, however, I don’t think that they are intending by the naming to attempt an open meeting law circumvention because it would be just too blatant. Such an attempt would fail anyway.

4 Al Hamilton April 10, 2014 at 8:35 AM

I agree with John. There is no special exemption for “Working Groups” they are public bodies and subject to the Open Meeting Law.

“Public body has the identical meaning as set forth in M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18, that is, a multiple-member board, commission, committee or subcommittee within the executive or legislative branch or within any county, district, city, region or town, however created, elected, appointed or otherwise constituted, established to serve a public purpose;”

http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/940-cmr-2900.html#Definitions

There are numerous cases where citizens complained about “working groups” and they members of that group have been found to be in violation of the OML.

I am not, however, suggesting that the BOS was considering forming a “Working Group” for the purpose of avoiding the OML, just clarifying a point.

5 Resident April 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Exactly John & Al.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. If they try to short cut the process, it will only cast it into suspicion. They might as well not do it at all.

To be clear, I AM suggesting that the BOS might be considering forming a “Working Group” for the purpose of avoiding the OML.

6 Al Hamilton April 9, 2014 at 7:42 PM

If you are relying on mustering 1/3+1 at town meeting to kill the easements and thereby kill the project, I suggest that you think long and hard about what will be done in its place. This is the devil you know. As for the devil you do not know:

1. It might be possible to qualify for state funding without the easements. My understanding is that a number of these easements were put in place to satisfy the the design requests of the neighborhood (eg parking across from the commons). If easements are not required there is no role for town meeting in the decision process.

2. The town maintains about 67 miles of road. If we pay for it out of our road maintenance it would be hard to argue that the mile (and a little) in question is entitled to any treatment that is any better or worse than all the other roads that front all the other residents homes and businesses in town. That would mean replacing what exists.

3. The nightmare scenario is that we are somehow required to put in the turning lanes and/or the drainage but have to do it out of funds that were scheduled to maintain other roads in town. That would have a major impact on other road projects in town.

7 John Butler April 9, 2014 at 11:07 PM

I generally agree with your main point and particularly agree with point 2, Al. If the residents who live on this one mile of road are not willing to basically accept normal Town maintenance of their road, nothing more than any other road would get, then they should probably accept the State funding program. In that case they should be careful about taking actions that would damage the prospects for State funding.

It is not clear, however, that they would not in fact prefer normal Town maintenance to the State proposal. Therefore, on the other hand I, as a resident who lives elsewhere in Town, should not foist upon the residents of that one mile a highway design that those residents don’t want, just to save the cost of repaving their road in the same manner that I expect them to pay, when the time comes, to repave mine.

8 David Parry April 10, 2014 at 1:35 AM

Mr Hamilton now recognizes that a 2/3rds vote is required to get this project approved because of the 7 easements…. That is a huge hurdle and is probably insurmountable. Mr Hamiilton doesn’t like that at all, because he has been rooting for the State plan from day one. He doesn’t like it to the degree that he is now suggesting changing the plan in order to get rid of the easements. Sorry, Al, that is not possible. Easements are required and 2/3rds vote it is.

Mr Hamilton appears desperate to get his hands on this “free” state money, but he, and others, never recognize that the money comes with rules, and it is the rules which demand the excessive scale of the project and its large impact, which is inappropriate for our small town. The Selectmen were not properly made aware of the rules.

Then Mr Hamiilton tries to scare us into keeping the State funding, by raising the fear that there may not be a local plan that we can afford. Well, sorry, but that local plan has been out there now for several weeks. It is a local solution costing a tiny fraction of the state plan, and it can even start next year. We don’t have to wait another 4 years for State money we may never receive. There IS a local plan that works and it is minimal cost. If you don’t believe me, then please watch the TV replay of the Library meeting of April 9. Read the blue handouts. There are over 300 of them floating around town, handed out at all the meetings. The local plan has been reviewed and edited by most residents who abut Main St, and also by St Marks and Fay Schools. Some details need refining, but infinitely less details than in the State Plan.

Once again, there IS a local plan that we can use, and it is completely affordable. The fees for the engineering of Mr Hamilton’s state plan have already cost this town over $450,000 and are likely going to rise to over $1.5 million, according to the consultants themselves. . As Mr Phillips put it at the meeting of April 2nd: “This sounds like the most expensive free project in town history”. He certainly got a good laugh out of that truth.

The real question is this: Is it worth spending another $1 million in engineering fees, plus other costs, to finalize a state plan that most residents don’t want, that is extraordinarily wasteful, that cannot begin for four years at the earliest, and that may never get funded.? That is throwing good money after bad.

On the other hand, we could start immediately to finalize a local plan, and begin to implement it next year, starting with urgent road repairs. The road has been deliberately neglected for many years, to deliberately make it look bad and therefore help to justify State funding. We could design and implement our Town Center without having State bureaucrats breathing down our necks, and without their burdensome rules. We can do it OUR way, under ONE rule — do not decrease safety. One rule, as compared to thousands of state rules.. And we can do it at minimal cost. — namely a fair share of road repair funds allocated to this area in the same proportion as to any other area, just as Advisory Board Member john Butler has proposed. A simple fair share, please, that has long been denied the Town Center area. .. How can you deny that?

I think the take-home message from the April 2 meeting was crystal clear. “Thank you State, for the offer, but please take your state money and spend it more usefully on Route 9, where the major problem is”. That sounds remarkably like what Bob Meyer, the St Marks School, Director of Business Development, wrote back in February.

We all need to wake up to the fact that this State project is NOT going to be approved by the voters of Southborough. You cannot get a 2/3rds vote through Town Meeting for the easements. It is that simple. There were over 120 residents at the April 2 meeting. That number is more than the 100 required for a Town Meting quorum.

So we owe thanks to the Selectmen and the Library for arranging the meetings, which showed the residents what they needed to know. The residents are now more aware as to the impact.

As former Selectman Roger Challen said at the April 2 meeting …. “If I had known that the outcome would be like this, then I would never have authorized the engineering funds to begin with”.

As former Selectwoman Bonny Phaneuf stated at the same meeting; “We had no idea that the impact would be this great.”

Our Selectmen are not civil engineers and it is not their fault that we have this project without fully understanding it. The plans are 54 sheets long, and 3′ x 4′ in size. There has simply been insufficient explanation of what this project was all about. It started out simple and small, and it has morphed. 90% of it is not even needed, and we are lucky we can stop it now before it is too late. We simply need to cut our losses, retrieve as much information from the engineering plans as we can, and move on to a plan under our total, local control.

David Parry

9 Frank Crowell April 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

“That sounds remarkably like what Bob Meyer, the St Marks School, Director of Business Development, wrote back in February.”

They day I start listening to anyone from St Marks or Fay School on what should be done in this town will be the day after their PILOT contributions come close to the actual burden they place on all taxpayers of Southborough. That dollar figure is at least in the low six digits.

10 Tim Martel April 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

“[Selectman Rooney] stated that he believed following Parry’s proposal would result in losing state funding.”

Fear of losing State funding is not a good reason to vote against Mr. Parry’s warrant articles. I mentioned this at the library last night, and I’ll repeat it here. If Mr. Parry’s warrant articles do not pass, then it is likely that a large number of residents who oppose the State-funded project will attend the State 25% design session and loudly voice their opposition. That will do far more to jeopardize the State funding than passing a warrant article that creates a committee to “review the plan to see if its in the Town’s best interests”.

Al, I believe that one of the easements runs along Rt. 85. How a turning lane would be added without that easement is hard to figure. I also believe that the town owns the right of way, so I can’t see a scenario where the town is forced to have turning lanes – unless the BOS is the one doing the forcing. Correct me if I’m wrong.

11 Al Hamilton April 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Tim

It is not clear to me if we would be “forced” by the state to add turning lanes. There are all sorts of unfunded mandates that our benevolent overlords are fond of shoving down our throats.

What is clear to me is that we need to resolve the specifics of what we can and cannot do under a “local” plan.

If the local plan is to give the neighbors more or less what the rest of us get that is one thing. If it requires significantly more expense that is another.

12 Tim Martel April 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Agree with that, Al, and I don’t think the Main St residents want anything more that what the rest of us get on our own streets.

13 David Parry April 10, 2014 at 10:10 AM

COPY OF THE “LOCAL PLAN” — HOW TO GET IT ?
It is simple, direct, obvious, harmless, inexpensive, and the overwhelming majority of residents along Main St want it.

For those who want a COPY, please send an e mail to :
parrydavidw@aol.com.
I will send you back an outline..
It would also be helpful to have your actual real name, and address, so I can keep an accurate record.

Thank you.

David Parry

14 Paul Cimino April 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM

I am on record as not supporting the current State-funded design. I believe that the implications for our Town center (and therefore our Town as a whole) are too great. Yet, as I suggested to the panel at the Library last night, I think there may be a relatively simple solution that accommodates both Mr. Parry’s and Mr. Rooney’s ideas here.

For starters, I am not sure that the right question is as simple as “Do we want the current State-funded design, yes or no?” A better, more precise question is “Is it possible to modify the current State-funded design into something we as a Town can coalesce around in time for the State’s 25% hearing on June 18th?”

Answering that latter question is the aim of Mr. Rooney’s suggested Selectmen’s committee. That committee would be instructed to do some hard review work and then report back before the June 18th hearing. The major difference between Mr. Rooney’s committee and that envisioned by Mr. Parry’s article is, of course, the timing. Mr. Parry’s article currently calls for a report after one year, which, I believe, will torpedo State funding right out of the gate. To that prospect, some of you may say “yes, great!” But as I said, I believe we can easily accommodate both lines of thinking.

My suggestion is simply this: Mr. Parry could withdraw his article quite temporarily, which would allow Mr. Rooney’s committee to do its work, after which we can all see where we are in 8 weeks. If at that time we find ourselves with no appreciable ability to modify the current State-funded design, then a simple petition of 200 citizen signatures REQUIRES the Selectmen to schedule a Special Town Meeting within 45 days (and I have no doubt that those 200 signatures can be had in short order, and mine will be one of them). What all this means is that Mr. Parry can bring back his article at a Special Town Meeting that would be scheduled no later than July 31st.

So, while the postponement of Mr. Parry’s article would be very short, the effect of it would be very important, because it would keep State funding in play while Mr. Rooney’s committee works to see whether we can, in fact, have our cake and eat it too. That outcome isn’t necessarily likely, but with over $5 million at stake, why not try and see what’s possible? Because again, if we don’t like the result in 8 weeks, we can still follow through on Mr. Parry’s idea in very short order.

For that matter, let’s also remember that after May 12th our Town’s new 5-member Board of Selectmen can shut down State funding at any time.

Paul Cimino

15 Let Logic Prevail April 10, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I don’t like the whole plan, but Mr. Cimino’s logic seems pretty compelling. If we can change it, we change it. If not we dump it. Seems to pretty reasonable.

16 David Parry April 10, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Paul, as you say there are many possible ways to amend this article, to make it work to the greater satisfaction of most residents. We, the 160 citizens who put this “Citizen’s Petition” Article together, are now considering how to do this, and we will be considering this over the coming week, and we will confer with any Selectmen who is inclined to cooperate, — so that by the time of Town meeting there may be a solution that most residents will agree with. We welcome all suggestions. Thank you for yours.

David Parry

17 David Parry April 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Here is a VARIATION IN PROCESS, to consider, along the lines offered by Mr Cimino and Mr Rooney, who are trying to be helpful. I am NOT endorsing this variation (below), rather I am simply putting it out there, just as an example of what COULD be done. It is just one among many processes. And, believe me, one process orother, WILL be proposed at Town Meeting. It want to make that process as acceptable as possible to as many residents as possible, so that it passes overwhelmingly at townMeeting, and we can all move on.. .

Now to this particular Variation in process.
Most everyone seems to be agreeing that an official Review Committee is necessary, for two reasons.

(1) Because the State plan has multiple problems (scale, speed, width, visual impact, aesthetics, wetland impact, drainage, increased traffic flow to nowhere, giant intersection, unfair and resolved parking issues etc ), so therefore the State project needs a very though review — a careful second look.

ALTERNATIVES. There are other alternatives out there, but we have not yet come to them, because we have been fixated on the State funding, which comes with its State road rules. If we get rid of those State road rules, then we have almost complete freedom to do what we want, how we want, and when we want..i am hoping that you will shortly be able to see A LOCAL ALTERNATIVE, without state rules, on this very wevbsite MySouthborough. Perhaps this weekend. .

(2) The second (and equally huge) reason the Review Committee is essential, is because Town Meeting must approve all easements by a 2/3rds vote, so Town Meeting therefore needs advice from an independent Town Meeting Committee, appointed by the moderator, to advise on whether, or not, they should approve those easements.

(Sidenote: There are 7 easements. You will be able to view them, along with a summary of a possible LOCAL PLAN, on “My Southborough” this weekend.).

So we are essentially agreed that a Review Committee is urgently needed. The next question is much time will they be given to do a competent job on a complicated task. It has been suggested that the time be cut from a year to 6 months. Selectmen Rooney and Kolenda proposed that time frame and voted to ask the State to delay their 25% public hearing until after that 6 months was over — in late October. But the State refused, and insisted on a June 18 date . That meets their schedule, but not ours. That is not exactly cooperative.

Our Selectmen have so far accepted the June 18 date as “gospel”, which is just a few weeks away, and as a result they find themselves in a total quandary, verging on panic. Having already set up and held the major pubic reviews in Southborough, for the purpose of getting resident feedback, they got it very clearly, demonstrating that residents are not happy about multiple issues, and many would clearly prefer we say to the State “Thanks for the offer, but no thanks, it is not appropriate to our small historic town center”.

Two of the Selectmen heard the clear answer, Mr Rooney and Mr Boland. One of them is still away (Mr Kolenda). So far it seems ike the two who did hear the message did not like it. Mr Rooney is focusing on finding out if there is a possibility that, despite all the misgivings, might the State project be salvaged IF the offending components were removed. I sympathise because we residents went through this same situation for 8 long years, without an answer. Mr Rooney has repeatedly asked , again and again, of DPW and VHB engineers:, “Please tell me, without any more delay, once and for all:— please — Will the State agree to fund this project if we delete the offending parts and somehow figure out the rest?” But DPW and VHB engineers never give a direct reply, do they ? Nor do they even give a timefame for a reply. This has been going on months, since February. It may not be intentional, but it certainly appears that our DPW and VHB engineers are delaying because doing so offers them the only lifeline and glimmer of hope that their State project can still be salvaged, and their large engineering fees will continue ($450,00 to date, and only a third of the way to completion).

I predict we will not have clear answers until the week before the State hearing. But will most residents trust those answers, given the game that is being played here ? Even if the answer come back from the State as: “Yes, Southborough, we WILL agree to continue to fund your project, even with those items which you found to be so “offensive” removed from the project”. But then what?. We still have NO guarantee that the funding will remain in place for another 4 years . We can be dumped any month, any year, right up to the day of signing bids, because other more “worthy” projects (with legitimate, major traffic crises, come on line, as they surely will. ).

So our Selectmen are now effectively in panic mode. The unrelenting pressure of the State is driving them toward a decision in advance of the 25% State public hearing, At this hearing, ALL our residents are free to , and supposed to, give their HONEST opinion on the issues, — we don’t like it, or we do…. The hearing is supposed to get at the TRUTH. But It is now apparent that some Selectman want to “negotiate” a deal with the State, along the lines of : “Dear State DOT, Southborough wants to iron out some issues, and we would politely request that you, the State, please keep our reservation, our place in your long line, while we go back home and consider our easements and also OUR ALTERNATIVE PLAN, just in case you, the State, do NOT agree to fund us either now, or years from now. So please give us a break and keep us in lline, and we won’t complain too loudly at your hearing, right now. because that be embarrassing, and it might jeopardize our funding as well.”. .

I am sorry, but our residents are not that naïve, and they will ignore your negotiations and complain, loudly. Also the State is not that naïve. They want to fund communities which have their act together. We do not have our act together, let’s face it !. And we cannot get our act together by June 18. I fully understand the attempt by Mr Rooney to set up an “emergency working group” to figure it all out. He even had a tough sell to get Mr Boland to agree on the name (Working Group versus Committee). And our third Selectman continues to be been absent unavoidably, for several weeks. So how do you describe that kind of board? With 3 members, 2 don’t agree, the third is absent, and a majority vote is required to do anything.? How is anything going to be accomplished until we have 5 new Selectmen on May 12?.

Back to Mr Cimino’s suggestion:– that Town meeting votes nothing. Or Mr Rooney’s decision (so far) to vote AGAINST the Article proposing the Review Committee. In either case we are left with an “Emergency Working Group”, and a lot of very angry voters who are going to show up on June 18 and speak their minds at the State hearing….. just as Mr Tim Martel predicts will happen. I agree. They should. Loudly and clearly. It is no good delaying the decision to createt a Review Committee, because you are not going to get 2000 voters to force a Special Town Meeting in July, costing thousands of dollars, during summer vacation. It will not happen.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN, LOCICALLY ?

(1) The Selectmen should call State DOT and tell them the State hearing is off, we are not ready, and we will call you when and if we are ready in the future. If the result of this is that we lose our “reservation” , and move back in the line behind other more worthy projects, then so be it. What is a year or two delay in a gigantic project like this, which most residents don’t want at all, ever, and will affect our town forever..

(2) The Review Committee should be ceated by Town Meeting and should be tasked with two items:

(a) The Committee reviewa the existing State plan , but only to the extent of getting basic answers to whether the State will ever fund it without major missing parts. If “no”, it’s gone. If “yes”, we still have not solved the problem because the funding might be withdrawn later. So will NEVER be a f]definitive answer or guarantee of State funds. The Committee will have to struggle with whether it is worthwhile proceeding with the State plan, and consider the issue of the easements. They will tell us if they consider it to be “in the best interest of the Town”. .

(b) The Committee develops immediately a REAL alternative plan. A locally-funded plan, with just one rule: that we must maintain an equal level of safety , and not make it worse.

CHARACTERISTICS:
* Simple,
* Minimalist,
* Focus on traffic calming to slow traffic and restrict volume to avoid bottlenecks,
* Have as its prime goal the preservation and enhancement of our historic town character
* Focus on only the essentials: the 3 original problems: (1) sidewalks and parking from Middle to Latisquama, (2) drainage at the library, and (3) two left turns at the intersection, at the NEand SW corners, short in length with minimal stacking lanes on one or two cars only, to discourage increased volume. All other itsms are non-essential and should be left to Phase 2, in later years. No plan stops in year one.

COST: The local plan must be deliberately as inexpensive as possible, and attempt to use no more money than under John Butler’s sensible proposition of a “fair-share” of road repair money that is allocated town-wide for the other 67 miles of road. But this funding must take into financial accounting (a) the very long delays in spending any funds on Town Center for decades, and (b) recognize the very long-standing and unresolved problems which should have been resolved decades ago, and (c) recognize that items like Library drainage are not part of a “fair share allocation” out of a road repair budget, but are essential and should be allocated to a separate line item accounting.

PHASE ONE : The first task is to decide what sections of Main St need immediate repair / resurfacing in 2015, so those sections do not fall apart completely, and thereby cost us far more money later.

PHASE TWO: Any other wish list items, that might be added on in later years.

ONGOING PROCESS: The Committee can report in 6 months to the new 5 member Board of Selectmen , at a large special meeting in Cordaville Hall, to present an interim report. In fact no more than a “draft” for public input. It can “outline” a locally-funded plan, funded primarily with local repair money (as above), with a proposed schedule of priority resurfacing, and suggestions as to how to resolve the 3 original problems (listed above under para (b):The Committtee can finalize the plan over the winter, and re-present it again, revised, at the next Annual Meeting in 2015, with a definite schedule for 2015 improvements. And the Committee can stay in place and continue to manage the project implementation thereafter. It is a standing Committee until its job is done.

Now please understand that the above is simply one other alternative way to proceed. I believe it is more logical than the one we are on right now. Maybe you disagree. Fine. let me know please.

Consider it, and send me feedback.
I want to get this figured out BEFORE TOWN MEETING, NOT AT TOWN MEETING.
Here is my e mail: parrydavidw@aol.com.
Here is my cell phone : 774 249 8544.

Thank you
David Parry

dAVIOD pARRY
.

18 beth April 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Please note – While Mr. Parry has promised to share his information with me this weekend, I can’t promise that I will be able to post it this weekend.

I don’t normally post on the weekends. Since this is an issue a lot of people care about, and Town Meeting is so close, I will make an effort. But not having seen the “materials” I don’t know how difficult or easy it will be for me to get them up over the weekend.

19 Al Hamilton April 11, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Let me offer a simple proposal to resolve the entire issue that does not require extended study, special committees, or another year of acrimony and uncertainty.

My reading of the statues is that Town Meeting has 2 votes to take related to the easements, a majority vote to accept the easement and a 2/3+1 vote to appropriate the money to pay for the easements. (I could be wrong about this.)

Assuming I am correct, the crux of the issue is will 2/3 +1 of town meeting vote a sum of money to purchase the required easements. If 2/3+1 vote yes, that is a clear indication of substantial public support for the State Funded Project and the BOS can proceed secure in the knowledge that it has support for the actual acquisition of the land which would require a simple majority. If the 1/3+1 side prevails then the state funded project is probably dead. In that case the DPW under the policy direction of the BOS can schedule regular paving the same as any other street would get and we can proceed with business as usual.

Under this proposal we can proceed with the state hearing and any committee that the BOS wants to appoint to see if a compromise can be achieved. We should not spend any more money on design work until we are reasonably certain that we can secure the required easements.

We can schedule a special Town Meeting in either the summer or early fall where there would be a warrant article to approve the funds required to secure the required easements. I would be happy to sign a petition for such a meeting. Let’s resolve this fundamental issue and avoid another year of bickering and name calling.

20 Paul Cimino April 11, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Mr. Parry, your passion is undeniable. But it is 200 voters (not 2,000) that can compel a Special Town Meeting. [I know that was unintentional on your part.]

With $5+ million in funding and everything alse that’s at stake here, I’d like to believe that folks wouldn’t fail to support a short Special Town Meeting for one day in July just because it was summer vacation. But even if so, then let’s have it in September. The point is we can have it in short order, because with 200 signatures the Board of Selectman are compelled to have it, whether they want to or not. In other words, that power is always in the voters’ hands where it should be.

[As for the cost to actually hold a Town Meeting, especially a small Special, I understand that the cost estimates that people have long been using have been overblown, but I invite the Clerk’s office to provide an accurate figure.]

In any case, Mr. Parry is correct that I am indeed looking for the best workable solution here. And again, if the State-funded design cannot be appreciably changed, I do not support it. And finally, we should all remember that irrespective of the date of the 25% hearing or how it goes, the new 5-member Board of Selectmen can decline State funding at any time. After June 18th we are not locked into anything.

In short, I would much rather we choose to decline State funding if/when we are sure we don’t want it, rather than have it pulled from us before we have our best chance to decide.

Paul Cimino

21 Tim Martel April 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I think we need to have a better understanding of what the “State funded” plan will in reality end up costing the Town. Because if that cost to the Town (i.e. beyond 5 mil) is greater than the normal maintenance any other road in Town would get, then the 5 million is irrelevant. In fact, you could argue that, in that case, the 5 million is helping nobody but the State.

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