Board of Selectmen September 5, 2017
Karen Donahue called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.
Present were Joseph Pacheco, Marie Smith and Karen Donahue
Acceptance of the Minutes
Mrs. Smith motioned and Mr. Pacheco seconded to accept the minutes of the August 21, 2017 meeting as printed, Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
Department Heads & Committees
Fire Chief Jim Januse was present with promotions due to the retirement of Dep. Chief Denis Murphy. First is Capt. Fire Inspector Brian Lacivita who is being promoted to Dep. Fire Chief, Fire Inspector. Marsha Silvia was present to swear him in. With the Captain’s position open, he promoted Barrett Johnson to Captain. Marsha Silvia was present to swear him in. Jeff Kelleher was promoted to Lieutenant. Marsha Silvia was present to swear him in. Lieutenant Kelleher’s son Justin was recently put on the Call Department. The next promotion is Sean Carter to the position of Firefighter EMT. Marsha Silvia was present to swear him in. The Board congratulated and thanked them all for their service and promotions.
Public Hearing – Raynham Tavern LLC – Transfer of All Alcohol Restaurant License
Attorney Ed Brennan was present representing the applicant and he is asking that the liquor license be transferred. The applicant’s proposal is to build a banquet hall and a tavern on Broadway. No one was present to speak in opposition. Mr. Pacheco made a motion that it be approved as requested, Mrs. Smith seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
There were many people who were in attendance to discuss the ability of NOAH to remain in the North School.
Riley, a certified ACO who resides at 172 Dean St. in Taunton was present to address the Board. She is concerned that if they don’t have a space to function out of as an adoption center there is no place for cats to go. Cats can get out of control very quickly and become a public health concern. The arrangement that you have with NOAH is unprecedented and I can only find one other town in Mass. that doesn’t have a shelter and the only resources that are offered by the town is space I can’t believe it. I come from a town that’s smaller than yours and we have three ACO’s.
Linda Bracket, 26 Hidden Valley Drive, Raynham was present to address the Board. She is the Assistant Animal Control Officer in Raynham. She said that since stores are not allowed by law to have pet adoptions, they had been looking for a location to place cats. They have placed 600 cats and kittens in the last 3 years. They utilize the building about 2 hours a week. The people who are interested in adopting, are met at the door and escorted in and they pick out the cat and sit at a table to fill out they’re adoption paperwork and then leave. There are never more than 2 sets of people there at any time. No one leaves our eyesight so there is no reason to worry about security.
A resident of Raynham spoke saying she had an issue with many cats in the Judson Street neighborhood and she called Linda and she took care of it.
Nancy Cristie of 58 Paddock Road was present to address the Board and she called Linda when there were too many cats in her neighborhood and she took care of it.
Mr. Dick Schiavo of 218 Hickory Drive was present to address the Board. He wanted to make people aware that the adoption fee does not even cover the cost of the cats being spayed or neutered, let alone medications, food and litter. There is no profit made by the adoption fee, and the public does not have access accept for the one room being occupied and it is no more than 300 sq. ft. out of a building that is more than 6,000 sq. ft. There was a comment made about confidentiality, and having worked for the Town there are public records stored there and are confidential and the short answer to that issue is to lock the doors. We have a lot of confidential information here at Town Hall and we are able to keep the public in here at all times day and night because the information is locked up. So get a
lock and key. The subject was brought up to build an animal shelter and between land, building and people to staff it would be an enormous cost to the Town. My recollection back when the old North School Committee was formed, and I was here when it was formed at the approval of the Board of Selectmen and it’s my opinion that the Board of Selectmen have a lot of sway in how this works out. I believe that the North School Committee has some relationship to the Boards approval for its existence. The Animal Control Department, which is budgeted and coordinated by Adam Perry, is very much involved with the work that NOAH does. In some sense we could make a case that NOAH is an extension and part of the total Raynham animal control effort. I am here to support their continued use of a few hundred square feet of the old North School. The compassion demonstrated by NOAH’s commitment to helping animals find homes for orphaned, homeless and helpless
cats is heartwarming. I have no doubt that some can and will rationalize reasons for removing NOAH from the old North School, however, I believe the more constructive approach for all concerned is to permit NOAH to continue their good work at the old North School. There was an article recently in the Raynham Call that Linda Brackett had paid $170.00 out of her own pocket to replace a window in the North School and I’m sure that the Town would have come up with some means to help her. But I am going to use this occasion to ask people to make a donation, no matter how small, to make up for that $170.00 and to start that I’m going to donate $25.00.
Tracy Brockmeier, of 25 Village Road was present to address the Board and support Linda’s occupying the building.
John Teixeira, of 122 First Street was present to address the Board. He said there is no occupancy permit for that building and those are the rules. There has to be an occupancy permit, no matter how long they are in there for. Someone should look into it.
Mr. Pacheco wanted to clarify that. He spoke to the Bldg. Commissioner and Mr. Flaherty has as well and was told in its current state, for 3 or 4 hours a week he had no issues with it.
Adam Perry was present to address the Board. He said that Animal Control was given this space as a department this is the only space we’ve ever had. We work with minimal funding but we make the best of it.
Mrs. Smith said I am the only one in the room that has said no. What you do is wonderful, I have no objection to what you do. My objection is this when the town gave us $100,000 I spoke as did others, and what we said was we were using that building for storage because the Town Hall was busting out needing more room. Ok?
I’m not going back on my word on the Town because they are the legislative body in this Town. And I said storage, when storage is done so is the North School Committee then it reverts back to the Board of Selectmen if they choose to put cats, donkeys or pigs in there we don’t care. But until the storage is done, we don’t know how much room we’re going to need.
Audience member, not identified, the meeting in 2015 was to restore and repair.
Mrs. Smith replied, the comments that were made was why it was asked for.
Audience member, not identified, so there’s no notes there.
Mrs. Smith replied, no it doesn’t, but I can bring back the minutes from that meeting and tell you that that’s what was said it was going to be for. How many people go to Town Meeting? Wow! What about the rest of you, do you live in Town?
Audience member, not identified, you seem like a very angry woman.
Mrs. Smith replied, I’m not an angry woman, I am a frustrated woman because when I say something and it’s my word, I won’t go back on my word.
I’m a compassionate person, what Linda does is a great thing but not at this time or at that place. When the building is complete with the storage facility that it was meant to have in it, then by all means the committee is all done the Board of Selectmen will take it over, and they can do what they want with it.
Mr. Schiavo added I understand what Marie is saying. I was on that Board when the decision was made, so I can speak with a little bit of understanding of what the thinking was. I think that while certainly the Board made the decision to use this as storage, I never thought it was such a literal decision that it automatically precluded other possibilities. It was clear the direction was to store documents, so that was a directive but I certainly did not feel that precluded other possibilities and the reason why I didn’t and don’t now is because there is a lot of space there that’s unused and if we can get more utility out of it then we should find other uses for it. I agree that we should keep our commitment to put documents there but I personally do not believe that commitment precludes other
Mrs. Smith said, I completely agree with you that it doesn’t preclude other possibilities, but after the storage has been put in there. We don’t even know how much storage that we’re going to need. If the Police and the Fire and everyone brings there storage, is it going to be enough room?
Mr. Schiavo replied, my response to that would be why put the cart before the horse? We haven’t arrived at a point where we are in short supply of space and if we were, hypothetically if we’re approaching 5,800 sq. ft. of the 6,000 and we are going to see that we need 6,000 then that’s the priority, that was the commitment. But if we only get to 4,000 sq. ft. why should we throw them out in the meantime if we never know we’ll make 6,000.
Mrs. Smith replied, no one said they never had to be out in the meantime, my comment was until we know how much room we had. Did I go in that building and say get out of here?
Adam Perry replied, I believe you had Dave send us a letter that we would have to be out on a certain date. I believe that’s how this ball started rolling.
Mrs. Smith replied, I remember coming in here and being told, after the comment I made of finding animal poop in another room, finding cat cages in a hall, a closet that’s not part of where the space was being filled with things and I said I thought they were using a room? They’re now expanding.
Adam Perry replied, that closet attaches to our space and we put things in there. As far as the dog poop, that was an animal control issue that we picked the dog up at 11:00 p.m. and brought it to North School in a crate because Lakeville (shelter) is closed and somehow he got out.
Mrs. Smith said, I think that both you and Linda do a great job, but this is what I am going to do until the storage is complete.
Adam replied, you said plans don’t always go according to plan.
Mrs. Smith replied, this to me is a professional building, I don’t see that this is an operation that belongs in a professional building. I would like to see how much storage we are going to use. When we are done any town department can offer up a bid for whatever is left. There are 3 rooms upstairs, but they’re not handicapped accessible so that’s a problem, and no running water in the building and no bathroom facility.
Adam replied, we’re in there for 2 hours we don’t need anything like that.
Mrs. Smith replied, once the building is completely filled with whatever we have for storage.
Adam replied, but this was given to us as a department, I work closely with NOAH.
Mrs. Smith asked is NOAH a non-profit working under the guise of the Town of Raynham?
Adam replied, we’re working closely with NOAH.
Mrs. Smith asked, is she a non-profit or is she doing this for the Town of Raynham?
Adam replied, she is helping us the whole time, and before me the past two Animal Control Officers have used NOAH to bring our animals to, because we have nowhere to bring the animals. We have no shelter, no holding facility, and nowhere to bring our animals to. And when I came in, NOAH was there for us and we were always told to use NOAH. She makes no money from it.
Linda Brackett said, I just want to let you know what it costs for bills and a medical recap, for a female is $247.13 and for a male it’s $188.12 so the average cost for medical is $217.58 and this year we’ve had more females than males so our costs are higher. Our adoption fee is $225.00 and it can’t be any higher than that or we wouldn’t do any adoptions.
That doesn’t include food, litter or any additional medications. I want to go back to the night we picked up the dog, we picked up the dog and we drove to the North School in my car. That was an animal control issue, not a NOAH issue that was above and beyond what I have to do. There’s no place for cats in this Town, I take every cat whether it’s sick or healthy and nurse it back to health, I do that on my own. We have a lot of volunteers that are very skilled in what they do.
Audience member, not identified, do you guys have a percentage of what you have for storage over there? Because I’m just thinking why bring this up now anyway?
I don’t understand why this has to be done right this minute. Where are you going to put these cats if you kick her out of there? It’s going to cost a lot of money for this Town to have these cats euthanized.
Mrs. Smith replied, I can’t tell you this is the reason how much storage is going to be needed. We’re hiring a company to come in and catalog crate, put up shelves and put in the storage that is why I say, when the storage is complete, then you will know how much room is left in the building.
Audience member, not identified said so why kick her out now, why not bring this up when you figure it out?
Mrs. Smith replied, well if I can say that I was outvoted and that they stay here until we found out how much storage we had. I wasn’t even aware the letter was written for 30 days. It is a wonderful thankless job that they are doing, and that you all do. But you have to understand that if you say something to a town body, this is what you’re going to do you want to follow through with what you’re going to do. The North School Committee knew once that storage part was finished the committee was dissolved. If there is space left, they can come to the Selectmen and request space.
Audience member, not identified, I know what you’re saying I just think there is no point in doing it just now. I can’t understand why they can’t stay there until you get to that point.
Mrs. Smith replied, I think I just said that.
John Kelleher, 191 Elm Street East was present to address the Board. I’m on the North School Committee and I was at the meeting when the dog poop was found and I just want to clarify one thing, it says Mrs. Smith commented on the pet adoption program at the school, she stated that as soon as construction is started that NOAH should find another location to hold they’re adoptions. The problem is people think they’re going to be thrown out next week.
Mrs. Smith replied, you know what trouble we have been having getting construction going in that building. I don’t see the North School being anywhere near complete for 6 or 8 months.
John replied they think they’re getting thrown out June 30th, right? The painter is running way behind, the floor is supposed to be painted and sealed and that’s going to take time too.
Mrs. Smith said we’ve got a lot of miscommunication.
John replied, I think that if we met once a month to update them on it, I think that would be great. I would love to see them there for at least a few months, but how is it that Lakeville has a shelter and we don’t? They’re a smaller town. We pay them $15.00 a day? I think this was blown out of proportion.
Adam Perry said, I don’t think we’re just concerned about these first few months, as far as I was concerned, when I was given permission for the building I was given permission permanently. So we thought we had a place, we painted the walls and ceilings, we didn’t think it was a temporary place. We asked for one room and I don’t want to see it gone in 6 months.
Mrs. Smith asked, who told you that originally?
Adam replied, I was given permission through Randy.
Mrs. Smith said, not permanently.
Adam replied, I was told permanently and then I asked if we could paint the room and he came back and said we could paint the room and clean it up. And there was never a question of whether it was temporary or permanent.
Mrs. Smith said, I was never told it was permanent, the committee didn’t even know that you were going in there. I’ve only gone to 3 meetings and when I did go they asked me if I approved it. And then they walked me into the room and showed me and I said what is this? They told me what it was and I said I have no idea why they are here.
Adam asked, is there something we can change, is there something to vote on to make it permanent? Animal Control needs a location.
Mrs. Smith replied, I’m very sympathetic to your cause.
Adam replied, than help us out!
Mrs. Smith replied, you can stay there until the storage is ready to go in. Animal Control should be looking for a place to go of its own for the Town of Raynham.
There is Town land that’s available and what you have to do is go to the Capital Planning Committee with a set of plans, an idea, a cost and go from there and petition the Town Meeting to give you the money to build an animal shelter.
Adam replied, why would we want to do that when we have a perfectly good building that’s not even being used?
Mrs. Smith replied, I’m talking about an animal shelter.
Adam replied a shelter is a great idea but it would require a lot of costs.
Mrs. Smith said, Raynham is not a small town anymore we probably need our own animal shelter. And as the Animal Officer that should be the goal that you should have.
Mrs. Donahue said, I’m told that it would be between $6 and $7,000,000 to fund a new shelter.
Mary Beth Pettit of 49 Mary Lou’s Court she came in with her daughter who volunteers at the adoption site after watching on tv. She said Mrs. Smith I understand that you don’t want to go back on your word but, however, good leaders know when their decisions need to be changed. Right now, with NOAH you have a perfect fit for this town, the storage is not at its capacity if it were then we would have to find another space for them. But right now it’s not and a good leader knows when it’s not the right decision, maybe it’s not the best decision for the Town of Raynham.
Barbara Gallaher, who is also on the North School Committee was present to address the Board. She said that our intention for the school was to store the permanent records of the Town which are just taking over this building. There are certain records that you can never destroy in the Town and I agree with Mrs. Smith, you people do a wonderful job. I have known Mrs. Smith for 45 years and in that entire time she has devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer time to this time. Everything she has done is for the welfare for the Town.
Mr. Shiavo replied I was on the Board when the decision was made to renovate or destroy the North School and that initial decision was made without any consideration of storing records. It was voted to save the North School because it was a historical piece of the community and we looked for ways to justify it after we made that decision. And one of the ways to justify saving the building, was because it had historical value, because there were people who wanted to tear that building down, so we struggled to come up with a reasonable way to utilize that building. If we leave here tonight without a place for the Animal Control to operate out of, this town is in deep trouble. If the Town doesn’t stand behind them going forward they are making a strategic mistake. I don’t know why these
people do all that they do for a miserable $7,000 a year.
Annette Ryan of 2 Karena Drive in Taunton was present to address the Board. I’m a town employee of West Bridgewater and my question is why aren’t there documents getting scanned? We scan everything, we don’t keep records longer than 10 years, even the Town Hall had to clean up.
Mrs. Smith replied some of this paper is what we already have and I am told by the State that we must keep as permanent records. There is a company that we hired that will be giving us the information as to what we can do with certain records. But other records that we do have, we can’t scan and we will filling up the building with what’s ever left that has to be stored. How much room that’s going to take we do not know. We have an office downstairs with boxes piled high and we don’t know what’s going to be kept or not.
Annette said, the alternative is going to be super expensive.
Mrs. Smith replied, no one in the Town of Raynham has gone through the exercise of finding out how expensive it is.
David Donahue said we have an agreement with a company that will come in and look at what can be scanned or not, Mrs. Smith is looking at the big picture.
Elaine Carter of 59 West Lake Drive was present to address the Board. We need to have a space for adoptions of cats, most of us here are volunteers like me. We need to teach our children, like the young girl here who volunteers, that animals have a place in our society. We as the volunteers from NOAH are concerned about just having a space.
Mr. Pacheco thanked everyone for coming in, and said this issue has gotten a lot larger than I ever anticipated and as elected officials we all have our own opinions and on this issue Mrs. Smith and I are on different sides and she has her right to her opinion. But I think that what we should be focusing on right now is Raynham and I’m looking at a freshman back there crying and this is probably her first experience with Town government and this is how she’s having to receive us. Town government is here to do good, and be proactive not reactive, like most government is. Town government is here to do good things that’s what Raynham has always done. I’m fourth generation in Raynham Town government, my family goes back in this Town over 100 years and I stayed in this Town because I love
this Town and all of you are showing what Raynham is all about. There should be no question that these cats have a place to stay, one thing we have done is to tell every single department to live within their budget because when the times were tough, we weren’t laying people off. Personally, I don’t want to spend $1,000,000 on an animal shelter especially when we have one room now that is free to the tax payers. The Raynham Bond rating just got increased because of our sound financial planning and that there are no massive plans for expansion anywhere, but if we are talking about a $1m project, we are going to get downgraded and that means our taxes will go up. So there’s a larger picture to all of this here, and part of it is we have a room that is not being used for anything else right now, and I personally don’t understand why the cats cannot be there and I’m not entirely sure where this went off the tracks. When the North School Committee
first started I didn’t believe that the Town of Raynham should be in the business of holding real estate and I lost that vote. But when an opportunity presents itself, to use that building when it wasn’t being used except for target practice, I said sure, why can’t these cats go there for 1 day a week. It made sense to me. It’s literally sitting there as an eyesore to that neighborhood so we put somebody in there who’s adopting cats and doing good for the Town. I still see nothing wrong with that. Now, when the North School Committee started planning a survey went out to all department heads asking is they would utilize it for storage and it’s my understanding that Police and Fire said, no were not going to move our stuff there. And that’s why the comments I made to the newspaper that there is not enough storage to fill that building. If, or when that building needed full occupancy for storage, then I think it’s our
obligation as a Board to find a different place for NOAH but I don’t believe we’re at that point and I don’t know if we will ever be at that point. More and more the Commonwealth is allowing municipalities to go electronic as the lady from West Bridgewater talked about, we should be doing that. Unfortunately there are some aspects of this great town that we’re a little behind the eight ball on and we’re trying to address that too. But the bottom line is we have some great volunteers that, led by Linda are doing such a good thing, at no cost to the taxpayer. And I guarantee if that went to any Town Meeting for a vote, it would pass. So what I’m trying to figure out is, how we can move forward with this, how we can honor Mrs. Smith’s commitment from Town Meeting but also let NOAH and Animal Control peacefully coexist. And whether it’s on the first or second floor, I know you guys are flexible as to where you are going to be located
you just want a home. In my opinion we make a commitment tonight to keep NOAH there, that unless every single square foot of the building is needed for storage, and if and when we get to that point, then it’s our obligation as selectmen, to find an alternate site for them and not put it off. And in the future I hope you come back and stand strong for your principals. Mrs. Donahue thanked everyone for coming down. I think it’s a wonderful thing what you are doing for NOAH and you’re saving hundreds of cats. I don’t see any reason why you both can’t coexist the storage is still far away and I don’t believe it will be an issue. And the Town is moving in the direction of electronic storage so we won’t have the volume of paper at the moment. I would like to, with the Board’s permission, make a vote tonight that the North School will stay for storage and that NOAH can stay in some capacity in the building as far as we know
going forward for the unconditional future and then if for some reason in five or ten years we find out we need more storage, we’ll readjust it at that point, but I don’t think it would be an issue. Mr. Pacheco said I’d make a motion as such. Mrs. Smith said I can’t go along with the motion as stated, because you said at this time, permanently, unconditionally I can’t do that. I can say with all sincerity, that until storage is in there, we don’t know how much space we need, if we need the space, once the storage is there, then NOAH will have to find another spot. Mr. Pacheco said, do you want to do an amendment? I think that’s what you were going for Mrs. Donahue. Mrs. Smith said, I will put that as a motion, Mr. Pacheco said I will second that, and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
Town Administrator’s Report
Mr. Flaherty reviewed the Town Administrator’s Report. Regarding the Senior Clerk’s position in the Treasurer/Collector’ Office, two interviews were done earlier on Tuesday with a decision by Wednesday.
The vendor for the activation plate for the Town Hall has been selected and work will begin on Sept. 13th and the Town will be reimbursed through the ADA Grant by the State.
The Capital Planning Committee has received some requests and Mr. Flaherty will meet with Mr. Loftus on Wednesday and Thursday.
The work on the doors at the North School has been started but Mr. Flaherty is still waiting on the rest of the work to be done.
The next Selectmen’s Meeting will be held on Sept. 12th at 7:00 p.m.
The next Department Head Meeting will be held on Sept. 22nd.
A letter of resignation was received from John Cucinotta. Mr. Pacheco made a motion to accept with regret, Mrs. Smith seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
A license application was received from Colletti’s for Beer and Wine. Mr. Pacheco suggested a hearing be set for 2 weeks, which would be Sept. 19th at 7:00.
A letter was received from Michael King, Treasurer/Collector for the IPS Post Employment Benefit Trust Fund which has been recommended to the Town to help with the Town’s Bond rating. Mrs. Smith made a motion to accept, Mr. Pacheco seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
8:51 p.m. Mr. Pacheco motioned and Mrs. Smith seconded to adjourn for the performance of administrative duties, signing of Bills and Warrants and with an Executive Session to follow with no business to be conducted afterwards. Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.