November 14, 2000

Approved November 28, 2000





PRESENT:           Mr. William McDevitt, Mr. Harold Lynde, Mr. Greg Farris


Also present:       Mr. James Pitts, Town Administrator, members of the press and general public.


ABSENT:             Ms. Deb Casey, Mr. James Hardy


Chairman McDevitt opened the meeting at approximately 7:20 pm.


Mr. McDevitt announced that a winter night parking ban for motor vehicles (except for emergencies) on public streets or highway would be in effect beginning December 1, 2000 through April 1, 2001 between the hours of 12:00 am and 7:00 am.




October 24, 2000


MOTION:             (Lynde/Farris) To accept the minutes of the October 24,2000 Board meeting as amended.


VOTE:                  (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.




Mr. Derrick Gagnon, 172 Marsh Road, read a prepared statement, which pointed, out his concern of contamination of well water.  He informed that he had an independent company test the water in which the results showed MTBE contamination (thirty times above the State’s recommended limit).   Once he received the alarming results he went to the Town Hall, where he received an unsatisfactory answer.  He then contacted the DES whom have been  very cooperative and given advice for water usage within his home and worked promptly to provide water and a filtration system.  Mr. Gagnon asked for the Board’s full commitment to follow the issue to the end.  He ended by asking if there was any Town Ordinance or State Law, which requires a property owner to inform abutters of well water contamination.


Mr. Lynde said his belief is when DES becomes aware, it is their responsibility to find the source of the problem.  Mr. Gagnon said he was concerned with people still drinking the water and asked why he hadn’t been notified of the contamination.  Mr. Lynde spoke of the problem on Irene Drive and said the Board had asked the State to become involved with that case, and said if the Board was aware of Mr. Gagnon’s problem, they would have also for the State’s involvement there as well.  Mr. Lynde went on to inform that due to the Irene Drive investigation, the Town has since implemented a well ordinance which requires sufficient testing of well water.  Mr. McDevitt added that there is no current regulation in Town.


Mr. Gagnon re-stated his question and asked if he hadn’t pursued an investigation, would the DES have notified him.  Mr. McDevitt told him it was really a question for the DES.


Mr. Farris discussed a past investigation (on Sawmill) in which two community wells were tested and found to be within a certain level.  He said because of the level, it was not required that everyone in the area be informed.  He said the question is if an individual finds the problem it is moral or legal, to which he felt it was a moral obligation.  Mr. Lynde added that his belief is that when the State received the information, they should set up a plan until the source is found.  Mr. McDevitt said the Board has (within the past month) encouraged people who own a private well to test their water.  He ended by informing that the ordinance did not cover existing wells, only new wells.


Mr. McDevitt said the Board is in the process of having a public health survey completed.  Mr. Pitts informed that the request had gone in.






MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To enter into a non-public session per RSA 91-A:3, II,a.

                              Roll call: Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes; Mr. Farris-Yes


The Board entered into non-public session at approximately 7:35 pm.


The Board returned to public session at approximately    pm.


MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To appoint Brenda Jensen onto the Conservation Commission with her                                   term running until April 1, 2003 or whenever her successor is chosen.


VOTE:                 (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.


Mr. Pitts swore Ms. Jensen in as a member of the Conservation Commission.




Mr. Don Foss informed that ads were placed in The Lowell Sun and The Eagle Tribune on October 22 & 29, 2000 for plow and sand trucks, to which there were no responses.  Three companies were called regarding leasing a truck.  He said the Town is in need of an additional truck.  He informed that he had located a 2001 Freightliner - F80 demo truck which would last approximately fifteen years.  He said there are four driver positions currently filled and already in the budget.  He broke down cost  comparison as follows:


To hire a truck -                                 $52.00/hr = $16,000 per year (which totals $240,000 over 15 years)


To lease/purchase 2001 F80 -         $84,143.68 total cost (expected life of truck is 15 years)

                                                            $21,035.92 annual payment for four years


Mr. Foss said if the F80 was leased/purchased, it would be available year-round.  He felt the acquisition of the truck was a public safety issue.  He said they were in need of a driver as well, and said the position has already been budgeted for. 


Mr. Farris noted that the 2000 budget expenditures contain $102,000 and inquired if a large portion could be moved at the end of December to make a large payment toward the truck.  Mr. McDevitt brought up the fact that the money may already be designated to another area.  He then asked Mr. Pitts if it were possible to obtain the money now.  Mr. Pitts said primarily a lease would have to be negotiated with no penalty for early payoff.  He said there could also be a clause, which states the lease is null and void if the money is not appropriated by Town Meeting.  Mr. McDevitt said he would like to give the Town an opportunity to vote on the issue.  Mr. Farris agreed with giving the Town the opportunity to vote.  He briefly discussed the options of purchasing now versus leasing.  Mr. Lynde reviewed the lease payments (and interest) and spoke of his desire to keep the Town’s rates consistent for the next few years.  Mr. Foss informed that the winter budget was about to begin and part of the 2000 expenditures would be spent at that time for such things as salt etc.  Mr. Farris said the review of the remaining monies wouldn’t be until the end of December.


Mr. Lynde made a motion for the Board to authorize for the Town to enter into a lease purchase arrangement with National Truck Office for the lease purchase of a FL80 truck with all-season body and front-plow frame with the understanding that we would be paid over a four-year period with an interest rate of 6.39%.  Further that we would seek to have two clauses in the lease purchase arrangement: 1) No pre-payment penalty and 2) Provision if Town Meeting votes down than the lease can be broken without further penalty.  Mr. Farris seconded for discussion.  He asked if the remaining money left over at the end of the year would be applied toward the principal.  He also asked if this would go before the Town as a Warrant Article or an Adjustment in the budget for new equipment.  Mr. McDevitt discussed the options and reiterated his desire to go before the Town.


There was a brief discussion regarding the options and the type of budget needed.  Mr. Foss said there were already three trucks budgeted for the season and the total amount needed for this year is $5,030.  Mr. Farris clarified from what year’s budget Mr. Foss was discussing and learned that it was the 2001 budget.  Mr. McDevitt believed the money should come from the surplus.


Mr. Pitts said there did the vendor, which already included the Town Appropriation Clause for a 90-day notice, provide a sample agreement.


Mr. Lynde went over the two options: 1) Not acquiring a truck and informing the Town of delays in


                                                                 2) Initiate the process in 2000 to quire a truck.


Mr. Foss suggested reviewing the budget for the lease.  Mr. Farris discussed the possible wording of a Warrant Article for purchasing out of surplus to not appropriate the monies twice.  Mr. Lynde said the options are limited.  He suggested entering into the lease purchase and then suggesting to the voters to buy outright next year to help save money in future years.  Mr. Pitts discussed the possible ways to draft the Warrant Articles and said he would check into it.


Mr. Lynde discussed purchasing the truck in total by placing sufficient funds in the budget for 2001.  He then withdrew his motion.  Mr. Farris withdrew his second.


Mr. Lynde then made a motion to enter into a lease purchase arrangement for a FL80 2001 freightliner truck with the appropriate equipment with NBCC National Truck, effective as soon as the paperwork could be arranged for 2001.  Mr. Farris seconded.  He asked the amount needed to enter into the agreement.   Mr. Foss said there was only one payment due this year in the amount of $10,517.96.


MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To enter into a lease purchase arrangement for a FL80 2001 freightliner truck with the appropriate equipment with NBCC National Truck, effective as soon as the paperwork could be arranged for 2001.


VOTE:                 (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.




MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To prepare a Warrant Article for Town Meeting that requests an appropriate amount of money to purchase outright the remaining balance of the FL80 2001 freightliner with the cost to be covered by the $16,000 difference already appropriated in the budget, to be paid from the Town’s surplus.


VOTE:                 (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 


Mr. Farris noted that through necessity, the Town was procuring a fleet of trucks and said he would like to see next year’s budget include a forecast of  future expenditures such as a facility to store the vehicles, maintenance etc.   Mr. McDevitt agreed with Mr. Farris and suggested it be added to the Board’s 2001 goal.  He also suggested that Mr. Pitts and Mr. Foss have a meeting to discuss a plan.






Mr. McDevitt said the Municipal Building Committee discussed several approaches to Warrant Articles and came up with two recommendations, one of which had no amount, the other was projected at approximately $30,000.  He said there was a suggestion to possibly raise the amount to $50,000.


Mr. Farris added that the number would either increase or decrease with the amount of research done.  He said there was a recommendation for broad research, which would bring the amount up to approximately $50,000.


Mr. McDevitt explained the reason for the research and the cost.  Mr. Larry Hall added that professional and technical help was needed to review the feasibility of usage for existing buildings.  He noted that payment was based on the level of research.  Mr. Farris said his reason for possibly supporting a Warrant Article (although $50,000 he was unsure of) was the preliminary number received for Sherburne School.  He discussed the different options that were presented.  He appreciated all the research and information provided. 


Mr. Lynde asked what the outcome would be from the Warrant Article.  Mr. Farris said the scope of the request is based on what it would cost.  Mr. Hall  said the goals were to review the stand-alone buildings, municipal use of Sherburne School, campus style approach with new buildings, the use of multi-purpose buildings and the use of existing structures.  He said there were parts, which the committee would not be able to do, such as the technical part and evaluation of the structures. 


Mr. McDevitt noted the time spent at Sherburne School and said the Police Department’s need was the most expensive part of the renovation because of the nature of the department.  He said the detailed run-through was informative.  He described the first phase of the plan, which was the ability to determine which buildings could handle renovations.  He said the second phase was design development.  Mr. Farris said that would be after the decision from the Town’s vote. 


Mr. Lynde asked if to outcome of the research would explain the cost, design and what it would take to build a structure.  Mr. McDevitt said there would be firm numbers at the time of the Town meeting in 2001.  Mr. Farris said his believe was the Municipal Building Committee would come before the Board with recommendations based on the research of the Committee and the Board.  Mr. McDevitt explained that the Sherburne project was understood, but other buildings would still need to be looked into.  Mr. Hall said that other communities and resources are being reviewed to better help with detailing the Town’s needs.  He said the purpose of the Committee is to investigate plans and designs that identify, justify and satisfy current and future municipal space and service needs and to make recommendations to the Board based on these findings.  He pointed out that the research and costs could be broken up so deciding which projects to pursue would be better understood.  Mr. Farris said the researchers were aware of the Warrant Article deadline.  He suggested that the Committee set up parameters as soon as possible.  Mr. McDevitt agreed that the parameters should be established and bids should be sent out.   He also noted that a Warrant Article should be put forth to change the existing purpose of the municipal capital reserve fund.  He said this would allow the money to be used for other purposes.  Mr. Farris said any monies raised for the research would come from the surplus. 


There was a brief discussion regarding the possible wording of the Warrant Article and how they should be laid out to elevate confusion.




Mr. McDevitt began by asking the Selectmen if they wanted to wait until a larger Board was present.  He said the remaining question is if there has been a certified plot plan submitted, to which Mr. Pitts shook his head no.  Mr. Farris added that a few fifty-gallon drums still needed to be removed from the property.


Mr. Farris asked if there had been any outward show of progress.  Mr. Pitts said the last report noted minor clean up had been done.


Mr. Lynde said he preferred to wait.   He said if the intent was to deny, he would like to clearly note the steps of action to be taken and inform of the consequences.  Mr. Farris said he agreed and reiterated his concern of the removal of the fifty-gallon drums. 


It was decided to hold off on further discussion until a larger Board was present.




Mr. McDevitt suggested that they be drafted in plain English for better understanding.  It was suggested to possibly add a brief explanation, to which Mr. Pitts said he would discuss with Legal.  He said in the past he’d been advised against adding explanations because of confusion and possible charges of taking a partisan position.


Mr. McDevitt suggested possibly mailing voters and explanation of what Warrant Articles are.  Mr. Farris suggested working in conjunction with the League of Woman’s Voters.




Mr. Greenwood requested a vacation between November 20 - 28, 2000 and asked that Linda Doherty be designated acting department head for that time.


MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To accept the request.


VOTE:                 (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.


The Planning Director, Vincent Messina handed in his resignation.


MOTION:           (Lynde/Farris) To accept the resignation effective November 6, 2000.


VOTE:                 (3 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.


It was noted that Clay Mitchell, an interim Planning Director, has been contracted from MRI. 






Mr. Pitts informed that the Lowell Association for the Blind is in search of volunteers to help on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for the adult drop-in program.  Questions should be directed to: 978/454-5704 or write to: 174 Central Street, Lowell, MA  01852.


Mr. Farris noted that the Municipal Building Committee would be meeting November 15, 2000.  He said Park & Recreation would be meeting Monday.  He noted that gym time was at a premium and recommended that persons be on time for scheduled games. 


Mr. Lynde discussed election day, and said the early open hours appeared to help.  He said there were a few people that came after 7:00pm, which were not able to vote.  He said additional outreach was needed to inform of the voting hours.  He said that Conservation would be meeting November 15, 2000 as well as November 20, 2000, which would be a joint meeting with the Planning Board.


Mr. McDevitt said that the Town budgets had been voted on with a $55,000 difference of what was requested and approved.  He also noted that October 30, 2000 the Budget  Committee had approved an operating budget for  $4,624,308. which would go before the voters in March.


Mr. Pitts said there had been a preliminary meeting regarding the Spring Street Extension and residents may see CLD performing preliminary surveying.


Mr. Pitts commended Sue Hobling at the Senior Center for the flu shot symposium.


MOTION:           Request for a non-public session per RSA 91-A:3, II,a.


ROLL CALL:     Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes; Mr. Farris-yes


Mr. McDevitt noted that when the Board returns, after the non-public session, the Board would not take any other action publicly, except to, perhaps, seal the minutes on the non-public session and adjourn the meeting.  The Board entered into a non-public session at approximately 8:20 p.m.   Also present was Mr. Pitts.


The Board returned to public session.


MOTION:           (      ) To seal the minutes of the non-public session indefinitely.


VOTE:                 (      ) The motion carries.




MOTION:           (      ) To adjourn the meeting.


VOTE:                 (      ) The motion carries.


The meeting was adjourned at    pm.


                                                                                          Respectfully submitted,


                                                                                          Charity A. L. Willis

                                                                                          Recording Secretary