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Meeting Notes: Selectmen Approve Sale of Bonds, Agree to Consult Legal Counsel on MSH Cleanup

The Medfield Board of Selectmen met Tuesday to discuss the following town business.

The town of Medfield received some good news Tuesday from town treasurer Georgia Colivas after she informed the Board of Selectmen the town sold portions of its general obligation bonds to TD Securities LLC for an average interest rate of 1.265 percent.

“We did very well, we had 12 bids,” Colivas said at Tuesday’s selectmen meeting. “Our financial advisor was quite surprised that we had 12 bids. The highest bid’s interest rate was 1.4 percent. We got a very good rate.”

Selectmen finalized the town’s refunding process after signing documents presented by Colivas related to the Feb. 15 sale of general obligation bonds.

The $10,225,000 bonds dated March 1, 2012 were sold to TD Securities for $11,335,706. By awarding TD Securities the bonds, the town will save approximately $1.9 million over a 10-year period, which is the life of the bonds, according to Colivas. The refunding process is for bonds originally issued in April 2001 and March 2002, which carried coupons of 4.6 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

“In simple terms, what the town is doing is similar to what homeowners are doing,” Colivas said. “We are refunding our current debt to get a lower rate of interest without lowering our interest costs.”

The refunding of the bonds went to the following projects:

  • Phase I B sewer
  • Phase I C sewer
  • School renovation plans
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant improvements
  • Causeway Street water main
  • A portion of the latest high school construction project
  • Granite Street sewers

In fiscal year 2013, Medfield will see approximately a saving of $206,000 from the old net debt service to the new net debt service as a result of the refunding.

With the sale of the bonds, a portion of the town’s $9,545,000 general obligation bonds dated April 1, 2001 will mature on April 1, 2013 through 2021 and a portion of the $14,800,000 general obligation bonds dated March 15, 2002 will mature on March 15, 2013 through 2022.

Colivas said she anticipates another refunding in the near future for the remaining portion of the high school, middle and Memorial High School construction project, but the town will have to wait until those bonds can be called in September.

“If the rates stay the same, we can save some more money on interest,” Colivas said. “Those bonds were sold back in 2002 at a rate of 3.78. … When the town of Medfield is out there, people listen. We are very highly regarded out in that market.”

Selectmen Agree to Consult Legal Counsel Regarding Cleanup of State Hospital

The selectmen voted to approve two of the State Environmental Review Committee’s (SHERC) recommendations:

  1. Sign the town’s policy statement, as drafted by SHERC, to make clear the town’s stance regarding the cleanup of the Medfield State Hospital. The statement will be sent to DCAM and addressed to DCAM Commissioner Carol Cornelison.
    “[The policy statement] would be the town representing that the [C&D] area should be removed, completely excavated and [waste] removed and properly disposed of so the land can be restored to unrestricted use,” said SHERC chairman John Thompson. “That’s the bottom line of this policy statement.”
    Thompson said the statement simply lays the background of what the town’s concerns are for the C&D area going forward and that DCAM is planning to only cap this area. Thompson said the hazardous material should be completely removed given “this is significant to the water supply and to recreational uses and wildlife being in the Charles River Watershed.” “We thought it was important to put this out so everyone understands our goal is to have this material removed and not just leave it there,” Thompson said.
  2. Agreed with SHERC’s recommendation to seek legal counsel to better understand the town’s options regarding its standoff with DCAM over the type of cleanup that should be completed at the state hospital site.
    “The selectmen should look at what potential legal strategies there might be going forward that might apply some pressure on DCAM or establish whether or not the C&D area might be removed completely rather than left behind and capped,” Thompson said.
    Peterson supported SHERC’s logic.
    “We should be informed of what those options are and SHERC doesn’t have the expertise to tell us,” Peterson said.
    Thompson explained the recommendation does not suggest taking legal action against DCAM. The purpose of the consultation is to have a lawyer come up with options so that legal strategy may exist for the town.
    “We are simply asking for a clarification here,” Thompson said. “We don’t expect this to be a long task.”

40B Information Meeting on Feb. 28:

Town Counsel Mark Cerel provided more details regarding the Feb. 28 public information hearing on Chapter 40B and the affordable housing proposal on West Street.

“I reached out to several of my professional associates that are extremely [knowledgeable of] Chapter 40B,” Cerel said. One is Jason Talerman, who grew up in Medfield. He practices presently in Mark Grabowski’s firm and has an office in Millis. He was heavily involved in Chapter 40B cases at the height of the last real estate market. He offered to attend the meeting initially but when I got back to him with the date he has a conflict. Unless that clears, he’s not available.”

An associate Cerel is expected to have in attendance on Feb. 28 is Barbara Saint Andre of Petrini & Associates in Framingham.

“Barbara Saint Andre was also heavily involved in Chapter 40B,” Cerel said. “She is a respected land use attorney and she is available to attend.”

As for the meeting itself, Cerel cautioned there isn’t much that can be done in terms of the West Street project.

“There’s not that much to address,” Cerel said. “This is an opportunity that I offered to abutters and neighbors and towns people who had concerns. [We will] answer their questions as best we can.”

Town Treasurer Budget Requests:

Colivas presented the following FY13 budget recommendations to the selectmen:

FY13 request for entire treasurer budget: $150,918.

Treasurer/Tax Collector budget: FY13 request for salaries will be level funded at $84,573. Operational budget has a 6 percent increase for a total of $66,345. Colivas says the increase is due to payroll processing costs, which is increasing by 5 percent and bond as treasurer and bond as collector have increased.

Retirement budget: FY13 assessment will be $1,591,704, which is a 5 percent increase over last year’s appropriation. The town will make one payment in July, according to Colivas, to save $30,928. Those savings will be transferred into the town’s stabilization account.

Regional Vocational Technical School budget: FY13 assessment is $187,683. There is a $3,000 decrease from FY12 due to enrollment of one less student.

Medicare: Level funded for now. Colivas said because Medicare is affected by what happens with other budgets, this figure will be reexamined as the town gets closer to the Warrant Hearing.

Selectmen Approved the Following:

  • DPW Superintendent Ken Feeney’s request to execute Chapter 90 – final report for 100 percent reimbursement of $139,857 for the town’s purchase of a 2012 Mack dump truck.
  • Letter of resignation from Ted Wolfstich, Board of Water and Sewerage, associate member.
  • Jan. 17 meeting minutes with the following edit: “voted to approve unanimously to authorize the Lyme Disease Study Committee to continue the deer culling program for the hunting season Oct. 17 through Dec. 31, 2012.
  • Feb. 7 meeting minutes as submitted.
  • Medfield resident and event planner for Beginning Years, Nicole Lewis’ request for a one-day wine and malt beverage license for Saturday, March 3.
  • Zullo Gallery director William Pope’s request for a one-day wine and malt beverage license for Friday, March 2 7 p.m. to midnight.
  • Resident’s request for a one-day wine and malt beverage license for Feb. 25 event.

Other News

  • Medfield Board of Selectmen chair Osler Peterson suggested the board entertain the idea of appointing a citizen study committee to look at the issues of Chapter 40B in town and look at some of the other issues and report back to the selectmen. “Hopefully this [committee’s findings] could help us in the next [40B issue in town],” Peterson said. Selectmen Ann Thompson and Mark Fisher said they would think about the idea and revisit it at another meeting.
  • SHERC chairman John Thompson encouraged residents to attend the March 8 PIP meeting regarding the environmental cleanup of the Medfield State Hospital Property. The Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is expected to propose capping the 3.5 acre C&D area rather than completely removing the hazardous material from that parcel. “I think it’s important that people show up on March 8 and ask DCAM to clean the site up,” said Thompson. “It will be in Town Hall and starts at 7 p.m. Come and express your opinion on whether or not this land is worth restoring to its former condition.”
  • Town Administrator Michael Sullivan suggested the selectmen schedule budget appointments with the Council on Aging, Parks and Recreation and other town departments that have not been in to discuss their recommendations yet.
  • Sullivan said selectmen should start planning to review Town Warrant Articles and will likely have it on the agenda for their next meeting.

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