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Selectmen Minutes 11/16/2015



                                                November 16, 2015



The regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen was called to order at 7:00 PM by Chairman Soter with all members in attendance except Mr. Spencer.

Public Hearing – Eminent Domain Taking – Permanent Drainage Easement
Mr. DiMartino explained this Eminent Domain Taking is for a Permanent Drainage Easement approved by Article 20 of the May 2015 Annual Town Meeting.  This portion of property is located off Hartford Avenue, shown on the Assessors’ Map as Map 4, Parcel 46 and more particularly described in a deed to the Boston Edison Company (Eversource).  Mr. DiMartino stated that Eversource was notified of this taking by Certified & First Class Mail.  The purpose of the taking is for constructing, maintaining, operating, inspecting, repairing or replacing a Stormwater Quality Structure & Outfall.
Mr. Soter asked if there was anyone present to speak on this hearing with no one responding.
On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to close the public hearing.  
On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the Eminent Domain Taking for a Permanent Drainage Easement approved by Article 20 of the May 2015 Annual Town Meeting and further described this evening by Mr. DiMartino.

On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to accept the November 2nd minutes as submitted.

On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the placement of street lights on Pole #9, 10 & 11 Mechanic St. per the recommendation of Safety Officer Rolls.

Public Hearing – Sewer Rate Review
Mr. Soter read the public hearing notice.
Mr. DiMartino reported that billing for sewer is below the projections made when the budgets were submitted last year.  He went on to state that sewer expenses increased significantly this year due to rate increases from the plants that handle the Town’s sewage -- City of Woonsocket and Charles River Pollution Control District.  Both plants have undertaken major capital improvements to update the facilities and comply with new stringent EPA standards.
Mr. DiMartino stated he had wanted to defer sewer rate increases until the FY2017 rate review discussion, but noted it needs to be addressed now.  Therefore, he suggested a 20% rate increase on the service fee and consumption billing rate noting this should
Minutes of November 16, 2015
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generate $130,000 of revenue in FY2016.  If approved this evening, the average cost for a sewer customer using 90,000 gallons a year will increase from $835 to approximately $1,000 annually.  Mr. DiMartino noted the statewide average cost is $830 annually and stated Bellingham’s sewer rates are high due to the Town’s small customer base – 28% of water customers.

Tax Classification Hearing
Mr. Soter read the public hearing notice.  On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to continue this hearing at the conclusion of the Sewer Rate Hearing.

Mr. Soter asked if there was anyone present who wished to speak.  
Residents present at the hearing questioned how the sewer bills are calculated and suggested offering some type of incentive to get residents to hook into the sewer system.  They also noted this proposed increase would place the Town’s average sewer bill above the statewide average.

Under discussion, the Board stated this increase is not something they want to vote for, but needed because of the increased cost passed down to the Town by the City of Woonsocket and the Charles River Pollution Control District.
On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to close the public hearing.  On a Connor/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the 20% sewer rate increase as suggested by Mr. DiMartino.

Tax Classification Hearing (continued)
Mr. Laviolette presented the Board with information on the effect of a split rate from .88 up to 1.  Board members agreed with retaining the current commercial/residential split rate of .89 with a small business exemption of 10%.
Mr. Soter asked if there was anyone present who wished to speak.  Members of the small business community were present and thanked the Board for leaving the split as is.  Board members suggested they contact their State Rep. & Senator regarding an increase in the small business exemption.  The Selectmen stated they would support this measure and asked Mr. Fraine to forward a letter to the State lawmakers.
On a Martinis/Mayhew motion, the Board unanimously voted to close the public hearing.  On a Mayhew/Connor motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve a classification of .89 with a small business exemption of 10%.

On a Mayhew/Connor motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the list of License Renewals as presented this evening.





Minutes of November 16, 2015
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On a Mayhew/Martinis motion, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 PM.


Respectfully submitted,



Jacqueline A. Bokoski
Administrative Assistant