Cotuit Fire District
21 December 2015 6:30pm
Fran: It is 6:30. I’m going to call to order the December 21, 2015 Cotuit Fire District Prudential Committee meeting. I’ll start with introductions. Could start with Mr. Daley.
Michael: I’m Michael Daley, Treasurer.
Laurie: Laurie Hadley, Prudential Committee.
Fran: Fran Parks, Prudential Committee.
Stan: Stan Goldstein, Prudential Committee.
Charlie: Charlie Eager, Clerk.
Fran: Thank you. Is there any public comment? It should be on.
Cynthia: Cynthia Gardner. Cynthia …
Fran: Is the light on, the green light?
Cynthia: No. Cynthia Gardner. There we go. Cynthia Gardner, 94 School St. Ms. Parks, on October 22, 2015, you received a letter from Fire Commissioner Ronald Mycock informing you of his resignation. Since that date, the Prudential Committee has held three separate meetings, and I’d like to know why it wasn’t discussed at your meeting, I’d like to know how you informed your fellow Committee members, and how the fire commissioners were informed.
Fran: Any other comment?
Cynthia: Well, I would like an answer to my e-mail that I sent you, because you did inform me that you discussed it and I’d just like to know when.
Fran: It’s on the agenda for discussion later, so we’ll take care of it then. Thank you.
Cynthia: Okay, thanks.
Fran: Any other public comment? Mr. Grassetti
Carl Grassetti: I would like to respectfully request that the committee fill the board vacancy and that they consider Cindy Gardner as an interim appointment. I think she’s a hard worker, well educated, and has a handle on the issues facing the fire commissioners. Thank you.
Fran: Thank you. Any other comment? Public comments closed. I’m going to go slightly out of order. I received a … Hopefully you all noticed the swag that’s on the front of the building. The boy scouts made that and I received a letter from them that’s signed by all the boy scouts and it says, “We just wanted to write a note of thanks for allowing the boy scout troop 52 the opportunity to use freedom hall for our meetings. You support and that of the Prudential Committee is invaluable to us and we appreciate the time, effort, and expense it must take to maintain the hall. It is a special historic, this building. We do our best to respect that at all times. For 3 years now, troop 52 has held a holiday fundraiser, which is somewhat unique. Unlike other units that purchase pre made wreaths and re-sell them for profit, we came up with the idea of making them ourselves for 3 years now.
On a Friday night in late November, the basement of freedom hall is transformed into something that rivals Santa’s workshop. We cut our green, hand tie ribbons, and the scouts assemble them into scout made swags. We spread out a tarp to avoid a mess and we also serve pizza. The workshop is in full swing for 2 hours and this year we made 60 swags, which we offer for sale at the post office and a local store. We wanted to recognize your faithful support by donating one of the very best swags to you and other hall, which we hope you will enjoy this holiday season. Thank you again for the consistent kindness both you and the committee show towards troop 52. We truly are grateful for your help.
That was very nice. Mr. Daley, the federal grant loan program. You said you were going to have a meeting about that?
Michael: I am. We did today as a matter of fact, madam chairman. We have finalized the application. It’s going to be for the tanks project, the $200,000 security project. I think it was actually funded in 2011. It has gone forward and the easement from the land trust for the water restriction. Total of $2,525,000. We qualify for 45% of that as a grant under the provisions of the program based on our demographics. The [crosstalk 00:05:30] … Perhaps maybe I can best explain … I have a cold. Perhaps I’ll just send you an email but nothing has changed much. Everything we have anticipated is in go mode. It’ll be a couple of weeks before the application is provided preliminarily and it’s probably a 90-120 day waiting period for approval. That’s pretty much the gist of it.
Stan: Just to clarify, Mike, at a 2 and a half, we’re getting roughly 800 for a-
Michael: No, if I had finished I would have said that they’re feeling is that the funding the feds are doing right now, they’re going through a federal budget cycle. They don’t know exactly what was in what was passed in the last 10 days. They are on a track of figuring out what’s available. It’s a competitive program. There’s 12 to 14 million dollars for Massachusetts. We’re asking for 2.5 of that 14. The regional office is advocating for our project. Amherst office will decide so it moves to a higher God in the chain of urban development once we get through this process, which is a 4 to 5 month process.
Stan: How much?
Michael: 4 to 5 months. Excuse me, so the application is pending. When we file it, we won’t send you a copy because it’ll probably contain about 600 pages.
Stan: Thank you.
Michael: The engineering firm is leading that and as of today, we pretty much all have our little list to check off and items to acquire and assemble but it’s all good news. The warning not to do anything until approved is very loud. That’s what they say. The tanks already have been bid and contracted for. It’s been getting strung along to avoid any transactions. The contract will need to be amended because it wasn’t bid using proper federal language. It’s a zero dollar change in order to add the fed’s language so it shouldn’t be a problem but it’s part of this 920 day window process we go through to get approved. Once it’s approved, we’ll work out the cash transactions later on.
It sounds like we’ll be able to go ahead and do some initial funding and then once everything is done, we’ll get our initial funding paid off and it will continue to receive payment from them to tie up the end of the project but the realistic end of the expectation he gave to us today was we’ll be qualified for 45. We should probably anticipate 20 so we’re talking over half a million dollars of free money to the fire district from the United States of America, at a minimum and as much as a million, 130, 140 if we do everything by the book and follow their rules. Then we’ll get less free money. That’s the tactic we’re going to continue to take. It’s very meaningful.
Stan: Yeah. Thank you.
Fran: We can’t do anything about reimbursing the land trust?
Michael: I had told them 90 days. As far as I’m concerned, that was good guidance. We can do anything. We can go get the money and take it out of the application and just pay for it but I don’t think we want to do that but there are tracks we can take, given a little bit more time and a little more understanding. The bank was unable to be there today so he still needs to get caught up and we need to have a conversation but the 90 day window that I had expressed the last time we met, was about 3 weeks ago, is still a good window. If they take their note in December, January, February, March, we should be hopefully tracking along something more favorable than the 90 days but there’s no guarantees. If we walk away, we can walk away but also this is a 40 year loan which we can’t get in the conventional market which helps lower the annual cost.
We can pre-pay it, which normally there’s penalties and so there’s a lot of goodness to this that we need to try to pursue.
Fran: Okay. Thank you. Policy advisor committee. Mrs. Hadley?
Michael: Are you skipping the next one?
Fran: Oh, sorry.
Michael: I don’t have anything with me but you did get a copy of everything that we submitted to the treasurer last month for the annual statement and if there are any questions or if you have concerns, we can follow up with you. Yes, sir?
Stan: I had some problem with my computer and I lost about 2 or 3 weeks of emails and one of them was yours. 1 or 2 of them was yours. Would you be kind enough just to re-send them to me? The ones you sent in the past 2 or 3 weeks?
Michael: Yeah. Would you just send me an email and I’ll just remind me to send you the one that I sent. It was a copy of what … It was actually the email that went to Charlie with all the statements and my part of the book.
Stan: Thank you.
Michael: I won’t remember tonight but send me an email and remind me.
Stan: Will do.
Michael: Okay. That ends-
Fran: Thanks. Now Mrs. Hadley.
Laurie: Okay. The policy advisory committee has had I believe 2 meetings. I haven’t typed up the minutes from the last one yet. I did ask to start out the last meeting by pointing out to them that what they had been discussing is quite a bit off track from what we had asked them to look at and Mr. Schaefer seems intent on educating the voters of the Cotuit Fire District rather than looking into the structure of the government. He had asked that Rich Boden be there. Both Rich and I expressed the opinion that we have tried many, many things over the last many, many years to get the attention of the voters to make them realize that this is money coming out of their pockets. They ought to pay attention to what we’re doing and it’s not been very successful.
I did tell them that I had spoken to a group of women at the library, the friends of the library. Every single one of them was very interested to hear about the fire district and several of them said, “I’ll be sure to be at the annual district meeting.” I didn’t see any of them here and they all understood that was where we raise the money that would come out of their pockets. As far as I’m concerned, there’s not much point in going any further.
We did discuss the booklet that the bylaw committee had talked about last year and it was suggested that perhaps because we can’t find anybody that wants to fund printing it and distributing it through the mail that we put it on the website and perhaps have some copies made that could be distributed through the library, the church, whatever, and that’s where we stand. If you want me to continue trying to get them to look at the structure of the district, I will let Mr. Shaefer know and he can call another meeting but right now, I don’t see the point.
Fran: Yes, I’d like to see another meeting. I think we had a couple of questions. 1, dissolving the fire commissioners, which other districts have done and going to a 5 person Prudential Committee and also looking at the water rates which are low. Yes, absolutely incredibly low. Mr. Mycock’s resignation. I believe I didn’t get his letter until the 1st of November. I went to the November meeting of the fire commissioners and they voted not to ask for a third person to be appointed to their board and I think this board should respect that. They seem to feel that they can work well enough together. The Prudential Committee has the responsibility of appointing someone but it doesn’t say that we have to. The bylaws do not say that we have to appoint someone, that we’re required to appoint someone and so if the board of … two people on the fire commissioners wish to not have a third person, I think that’s fine and considering that the last appointment that this board made was on a generated meeting Open Meeting Law a violation complaint, whatever, I don’t want to go back on that track and I don’t think that after our last experience we can just take 1 person who volunteers without going out and beating the woods and trying to find someone else.
I, quite honestly, don’t have time to do that and I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think it’s respectful of the decision made by the fire commissioners. Any other comments on that point? No? Okay. The painting for the interior of this room. All the green and any other green paint is going to start Monday the 28th and that should be done by the first week in January. I’ve contacted the budget blinds about our window shades.. Those are going to be on order. I’ve had 3 quotes for maintenance work on the HVA system. 1 is $800 for a year and that is GH Consulting or GH Plumbing that put in the system. Another was South Shore and that was $831 I believe and Franny Mechanical which was 400. I don’t think the Franny bid included the 2 air conditioning units but I still think it would be less than the other 2 so once I get the full number from Franny, I would like permission of the board if that comes in lower to go ahead and contract with Mr. Franny to do the maintenance for the HVAC system for Freedom Hall.
Laurie: I’ve always felt very comfortable hiring people who live in Cotuit to do the work in Cotuit and particularly if it’s the low bid.
Stan: Sounds like a plan to me.
Fran: Okay, great. Any progress on disposing of that extra furnace that we have in the business?
Stan: No, I think it’s just been too warm and in the holiday season, but I will get on it. I will make it happen. If we don’t get any bids then I’ll follow your path you’ve taken about declaring it excess. I have those emails. Just the last 2 weeks that I lost.
Fran: Yeah, and so Mrs. Hadley made a correction to the minutes of the November 27th meeting. The date had said December rather than November so she corrected that. Any corrections for the minutes from the November 16th meeting?
Fran: Could I have a motion to accept the minutes? Is there a second?
Stan: I’ll second.
Fran: All those in favor. Unanimous
Fran: Aye. Is there anything the committee would like to bring forward? Motion to adjourn second?
Fran: All those in favor. Aye, so moved.