In Brief… Board of Selectmen July 13

| July 19, 2017

In Brief . . .

Board of Selectmen July 13


Hiring processes approved

Selectmen voted to approve the hiring process for a new public works director. A hiring committee of Town Administrator Don Lowe, Selectman Jonathan Keep, the town planner, town treasurer/HR director, and a disinterested public works chief from another town will screen the candidates for the Board of Selectmen’s final choice. Lowe said there were 11 candidates so far and several “look promising.” Selectmen also voted to convene in special meeting Tuesday, July 18 at 5 pm to interview the top candidate for town treasurer. There was some urgency as she has another offer in hand and greatly impressed the hiring committee of Lowe and the finance team. With the selectmen’s approval, an offer will be made contingent on reference and criminal background checks. “I can’t say this enough, there’s a dearth of qualified candidates for town accountant and town treasurer positions,” declared Lowe in requesting the special meeting. The new town treasurer will not also be the human resources director, Lowe said.

Hometown Heroes program approved

Selectmen voted to approve a new program called Hometown Heroes put forward by Bolton Loco with the support of Bolton Parks & Recreation. The program will create banners honoring Bolton military veterans and active duty personnel to be hung along Main Street on utility poles under the American flags during the same times the flags are up in May, July and November. Bolton’s Economic Development Committee will purchase the brackets for the banners. The program is similar to one in Leominster, said Karen Regan of Parks & Rec. The complete Hometown Heroes plan has been posted on the Bolton Loco Facebook page.

Land released

Selectmen voted to release 9.3 acres owned by Joseph Kovacs on Harris Farm Road from Mass. General Law Ch. 61A and to decline to purchase it after no town boards expressed interest. “Chapter land” is typically used for agriculture and receives tax breaks. Kovacs said agricultural use on the property ceased in 2016, and taxes have reverted to the full rate. He said he is selling the property, and the buyer expressed no interest in farming.

Longevity pay approved

Selectmen voted to approve $100 in longevity pay for Town Secretary Linda Day (29 years), Police Chief Warren Nelson (24 years), and Assistant Assessor Cynthia Bradbury (21 years). Employees with over 20 years of service are eligible for the annual payment per Board of Selectmen approval.

Year-end budget transfers approved

Selectmen voted to approve year-end budget transfers to the snow and ice account of $216,287.

Registrar appointed from list

Defying town counsel opinion and the town clerk’s preference, selectmen voted to appoint Vaughn Mackie of Wilder Road to the Board of Registrars. Mackie was on the list submitted by the Democratic Town Committee. Town counsel had opined that selectmen had the option to choose registrars from lists submitted by town political committees but were not obliged to, per Mass. General Law Ch. 51, sec. 15. This was Town Clerk Pam Powell’s opinion, too, and she wanted the selectmen to appoint the assistant town clerk, per Bolton tradition. Selectmen Chairman Tom Frain, an attorney, disagreed with town counsel. Only Democrats had submitted a list. Frain said the Board of Registrars had unilateral authority to appoint an assistant registrar, and the assistant town clerk could be appointed to that post. Powell made no comment.

Community Preservation Act floated

At the suggestion of Selectman Jonathan Keep, selectmen agreed to revisit the Community Preservation Act. Passed in 2000, the CPA is a state matching program that offers municipalities fiscal flexibility when spending on three broad categories: open space and recreation, affordable housing and historic preservation. Local CPA projects are funded by a property tax surcharge of 1 to 3 percent, and real estate transaction fees fund the state match, which changes according to how much a municipality commits. Even without knowing the state match, it’s worth “starting a dialog” seeing as how Bolton has plenty of projects that would qualify for funds, Keep said. Town Administrator Don Lowe said he has already booked Kate Hogan, Bolton’s state representative, and Stuart Saginor, executive director of the Community Preservation Coalition, an advocacy group, to the selectman’s meeting September 28 to discuss the CPA’s current parameters. According to Al Ferry of Pinewood Road, it’s not entirely accurate to say Bolton has twice turned down the CPA. The first time it appeared at Town Meeting, he said, town counsel at the time introduced complications, so it was passed over. The second time, he said, it passed at Town Meeting but was voted down at the ballot box.

Sign approved

Selectmen voted to approve an upgrade of the sign at 563 Main St., known as Bolton Corners. The size and height of the sign will remain the same, with an addition for UMass Memorial medical group, which will be opening soon in the space vacated by Clinton Savings Bank. The contractor said that space has been renovated with room for three doctors. A temporary sign “wrap” will announce the new medical practice with a phone number for new patients.

Category: NEWS

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