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Meeting Notes: Selectmen Talk Dale St. School and Master Plan, Library Budget and State Hospital

The Medfield Board of Selectmen spent the majority of a two-hour meeting Tuesday discussing a statement of interest for renovations to the Dale Street School and fielding frustrations and concerns from residents over the Medfield State Hospital.

The Medfield Board of Selectmen met Tuesday night at Town Hall to discuss the following topics and issues in town:

Dale Street School Statement of Interest

Tim Bonfatti, a member of the Medfield School Committee and Permanent Building Committee and Bob Maguire, Medfield's Superintendent of Public Schools, met with the selectmen Tuesday to discuss a statement of interest they would like to submit to the Massachusetts School Building Authority regarding possible funding for renovations at the .

“As you may know, under the Mass. School Building Authority, [the state] provides significant funding assistance to towns for school projects that meet certain needs within their priority listing,” Bonfatti said.

Maguire and his administration have spent the past month identifying the priorities of the Dale Street School and are currently in the process of drafting its statement of interest to submit to the state’s School Building Authority. Medfield’s School Committee and Board of Selectmen must approve the statement of interest before it is submitted to the state. The deadline for submission is Jan. 11.

“The statement of interest is nothing about projects,” Bonfatti said. “The statement of interest is simply what is the problem that the school is facing. What is the condition of the school? Are there compromises to the program in the school? What’s the enrollment issues with the school? It really defines the problem.”

Bonfatti said while the work needed at the Dale Street School is not “an immediate priority” in terms of a of town facilities that includes the  and  stations and the ; it is worth discussing now because of the lengthy process that is required.

“[The state] takes [the statement of interest] and if it goes well, they go through about 270 days to do a series of other investigations before they begin the process to determine whether or not you are eligible to be put into the capital program,” Bonfatti said. “The reason why we are here [Tuesday] is that this statement of interest process has a very hard delivery date of January 11, 2012. If you don’t get your applications in by January 11, 2012, you wait a year and start the process a year later. If you miss a deadline to begin this process, you push the project off a year.”

Maguire agreed the Dale Street School may not be an immediate priority to the town but it has numerous issues that need to be addressed and the statement of interest is an important step in clearly identifying those issues.

“There are obviously, after 70-plus years of use, serious systems issues [with Dale Street School],” Maguire said. “We have issues surrounding electrical systems, the heating systems. It still uses a steam system with radiators in the building.”

Maguire said two priorities he and his administration have identified as significant issues with the Dale Street School during the statement of interest process are its need for renovation and an increase in program space.

“The two we are looking at very closely are replacement, renovation or modernization of school facilities systems such as roof, windows, boilers, heating systems to increase energy conservation and decrease energy costs per student,” Maguire said. “The other is replacement of or addition to obsolete buildings in order to provide a full range of programs consistent with state approval and fulfills requirements. A lot of that has to do with the school being built as a high school in 1942 and certainly some of the changes that have occurred in that time and the space requirements are currently constrained by that.”

Medfield Selectmen chair Osler “Pete” Peterson said he appreciated the forward thinking of Bonfatti, Maguire and the Permanent Building Committee.

“It’s good to be doing planning and I appreciate the fact that you’re undertaking it,” Peterson said. “It’s not without effort to do it, so thank you for that.”

While this process could ultimately lead to a building project for Dale Street School as part of a potential “master plan” being discussed by Medfield’s Permanent Building Committee, Maguire and Bonfatti stressed this statement of interest does not commit the town to a project and even if approved by the state, a project would still be years away.

“We would not be looking to come before the town to get any money related to even a preliminary design of the Dale Street School until sometime well into 2013,” Bonfatti said. “It’s something that really is just a prudent step to take now because we are planning on coming before the town with a master plan and looking for funding for first the and then the police and fire stations some time in the next year or so.”

Bonfatti and Maguire are expected to come back before the Board of Selectmen at its Jan. 3rd meeting and ask the board authorize the statement of interest. 

“We are expecting to have the [statement of interest prepared for the selectmen] in the next week or so,” Bonfatti said.

Medfield State Hospital Update

Town officials and residents discussed – and at times debated – the status and issues surrounding the property for 32 minutes Tuesday.

Residents Bill Massaro and John Harney expressed frustration and concern with DCAM and its inability to willingly work with the town and openly answer questions from concerned residents.

“It is somewhat frustrating,” Massaro said. “That they have not moved from all their initial positions. “At the last PIP meeting it was encouraging, they make all the right words in terms of wanting to hear what we have to say and wanting to have stakeholders meetings. But to date, the results of all of these solicitations of our opinions and concerns have not been very fruitful. As I have said before, I think they tend to blow us off.”

Massaro and Town Administrator Michael Sullivan continued to debate the at the site and whether that plan was in the best interest of the town’s taxpayers. remained a topic of discussion as did the town’s options for of the site.

Check back at Medfield Patch for more on Tuesday’s discussion regarding the Medfield State Hospital.

Assistant Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler said she had recently spoken to Allen Wiggin of DCAM, who has scheduled a follow-up technical meeting for Jan. 19.

There will also be a PIP meeting on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall regarding the status and issues facing the Medfield State Hospital site. Sullivan added John Thompson of SHERC is trying to schedule a meeting before the Jan. 12 PIP meeting so they can “decide how to handle the PIP meeting.”

Medfield Public Library FY13 Budget

Deborah Kelsey, the director of , presented their fiscal year 2013 budget proposal to the selectmen Tuesday, requesting an overall increase of 1.44 percent to its current budget figure with 1.9 percent of that increase to be used for operating expenses.

Street Light Program

Medfield resident Chip Lennon met with the selectmen Tuesday to discuss the issue of street lights in town.

“Some of [the street lights] aren’t working and some don’t seem to exist in certain places,” Lennon said. “I figured I’d [begin] a light program so to speak for streets or intersections where people say they don’t exist and hopefully get some interest to offset some costs and stuff like that.”

Lennon said he was encouraged by fellow residents to pursue a street light program after he was successful in his efforts over the summer to restore the water bubbler in front of Town Hall on Main Street.

“Everybody was like ‘well Chip, you did so well with the fountain and got that working, why don’t you see if you can get the lights going,’” Lennon said.

Selectman Ann Thompson said she had a talk with Medfield Chief of Police Robert E. Meaney Jr. recently and he agreed to give the selectmen an end-of-the-year traffic report for accidents and incidents.

“We should have it by the end of the year,” Thompson said. “That would give us whatever insight if there is a problem with lighting at intersections.”

Sullivan explained there is currently a feature on NSTAR’s website that allows residents to fill out a form and report a missing light in town.

“[Meaney] said the police do it periodically,” Sullivan said. “It takes about seven minutes for each light to fill out the form. When calls come into the police station to report a light out, they accumulate them and then fill out the forms and send them to NSTAR.”

Sullivan said Meaney had recently reported to NSTAR several lights out along Route 109 heading towards the Millis town line from Bridge Street down to the river.

“He called in to try and get those lights back in service,” Sullivan said.

Action Items

  • Selectmen voted to open the 2012 Annual Town Meeting warrant period. The period for submitting a Town Meeting warrant article closes in February.
  • Selectmen approved the Dec. 6 meeting minutes.
  • Selectmen voted to approve a two-year renewal proposal to participate in the MIIA Property and Liability and Workers’ Compensation Program for FY2013 and FY2014.
  • Selectmen voted to sign documents relating to residents Stephen and Lynn Browne’s conservation restriction.
  • Selectmen voted to approve common victualler licenses for , , , D’Angelo’s, , , , Medfield Donuts, , , , From Scratch (formerly known as Tock of the Town) and .

Licenses and Permits

  • Selectmen approved New ‘N Towne’s request for a one-day wine and beer permit for even on Jan. 10 to be held at the Center of Medfield.
  • Selectmen approved William Pope, director’s request for a one-day wine and beer permit for the “First Thursday” events beginning Jan. 5 through June 7.
  • Selectmen approved request for a one-day wine and beer license for the Parish Dance to be held Saturday, Jan. 28 from 7 to 11 p.m.
  • Selectmen voted to grant and 2012 liquor licenses.

Other Information

The Medfield Transfer Station will be open from Tuesday, Dec. 27 through Saturday, Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The town is encouraging residents to recycle after the holiday season. 

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