Last week, the Board of Selectmen approved a charge for a new committee: the Town Property Review Committee. Members agreed to start recruiting applicants for the 3-5 resident members.
This winter, the board decided to create a Standing Building Committee, more recently renamed the Permanent Building Committee. The purpose would be to look at town buildings and property to evaluate their best use.*
Apparently, the name was problematic. Last week, Town Administrator Mark Purple explained that creating a “permanent committee” requires a bylaw. A committee created (and dissolved) by the board to complete a specific purpose is an ad hoc committte. Thus, it’s new official name.
The committee’s function comes out of discussions around the public safety building. The board created a Public Safety Committee to evaluate the building needs for police and fire. Some members were concerned about how the current stations would be used if those departments relocate. That prompted questions about the status and best use of all town facilities.
Last Tuesday night, member Paul Cimino emphasized the importance of the committee for the future of the town. He pointed to:
the impact it can have on millions of dollars worth of town owned property, that frankly we don’t have the best handle on, in terms of what we have, what it’s worth, what it’s available to do, what uses it can reasonably be put to in service to the town, or what other disposition of it we might make. And where the proceeds of any of those dispositions can be directed.
The board hopes to appoint members in June. Chair John Rooney asked the board to recruit volunteers particularly suited to do the work. He explained that it was how the Main Street Design Working Group was formed:
For better or for worse, we essentially handpicked residents in town who after we approached them they indicated their willingness to do that and then we created a short list, if you would, and then we voted on them at the next meeting.
Rooney said the public should be invited to volunteer. But he also encouraged selectmen to give their ideal candidate names to Purple, so he could reach out to them.
The number of citizen at large positions is still to be determined, with preferred range of 3-5.
The Chair plans to discuss applicants further at their June 2nd meeting and hopefully vote on June 16. The committee will be asked to prepare for work to be considered at the next Annual Town Meeting.
TOWN PROPERTY REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Town Property Review Committee shall be made up of at least five (5) members, all appointed by the Board of Selectmen, as follows: Town Administrator, Facilities Director, and at least Three (3) Citizens-At-Large. The Citizen-At-Large positions shall be filled by residents of the community who are willing to volunteer their time in assisting with the study of existing Town-owned buildings and/or other real property, and helping to determine their future needs, use, and/or disposition, for further consideration by the Board of Selectmen. . .
SCHEDULE The Town Property Review Committee shall be appointed in June 2015, and shall perform the work as detailed in the charge in time for consideration at the April 11, 2016 town meeting. The Committee will be expected to provide periodic reports of their findings and recommendations to the Board of Selectmen during the Fall and Winter of 2015-16. It is the intention of this Board of Selectmen to maintain the Committee throughout the term of any recommendations that may be undertaken as a result of their work. Appointments will be for one-year terms.
*Purple did clarify for members that if the committee wishes to evaluate school properties, it would need to work in conjunction with the School Committee.