WIT student projects on MSH

Associate Professor Charles Cimino of the Wentworth Institute of Technology orchestrated a display of his architecture students’ projects yesterday focused on the reuse of the Medfield State Hospital.   It turned out to be remarkably interesting to see what fresh eyes did with the Lee chapel and a couple of the surrounding buildings.  Colleen Sullivan took pictures and wrote a great article describing what was shown.    Click here to see her photos and article.

PURCHASE UPDATE  – The special legislation for the Town of Medfield to buy the Medfield State Hospital site has reportedly been through one committee hearing already in the legislature.  Shall we start a pool betting on when the town will actually get to buy the property.  I bet it will be 1/1/2015, getting in just under the wire before Governor Patrick leaves office the following week.

BoS agenda for 4/22/14

Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 7:00 PM

AGENDA (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

6:30 PM The Medfield Board of Selectmen needs to meet in Executive Session (closed session) for the purpose of discussing discipline or dismissal of employee

Appointments
7: 15PM Public Hearing-All Alcohol License Application from Teodoro Jauregui dba Soziala LLC located at 18 North Meadows Road

7:30PM Evergreen Way, Stonybrook Road, Spring VaileyRoad residents

Discuss proposed telecommunications tower located at Junction Street, Dover

ACTION
Final review Town Meeting Warrant Articles

My input to Reps on their budget deliberations

I just sent our state Representatives the email below to share with them my concerns and those of Massachusetts Municipal Association, as the House considers the state budget -

4/18/2014 12:34PM
Massachusetts Municipal Association’s budget positions
Denise Garlick. Shawn Dooley

Michael Sullivan; Kristine Trierweiler
===========================================================

Denise and Shawn,

I wanted to make sure that you were both aware of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s positions on the pending budget issues that you are facing in the legislature, so I have inserted below the MMA’s itemization, for your information.    Please know that when I attend the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s meetings, that I almost invariably find that my views align with those of the MMA.

Thanks in advance for looking out for Medfield’s interests.

========================================
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HOUSE DEBATE ON FY 2015 STATE BUDGET WILL BEGIN ON MONDAY, APRIL 28

Lawmakers Will Decide the Fate of 1,175 Amendments

Please Call Your Representatives Today on the Budget Amendments that Impact Key Municipal and School Priorities
The House is scheduled to begin debate on the $36 billion fiscal 2015 state budget on Monday, April 28.  The deliberations are expected to take several days, as Representatives have filed 1,175 amendments to make changes to H. 4000, the House Ways & Means Committee’s budget recommendation that was released on April 9.

Many of these amendments would directly impact cities and towns, including a number of welcome amendments that would increase funding for municipal and school aid accounts, and several unwelcome amendments that would have a negative impact on municipalities.  This Legislative Alert describes the most important amendments that will be debated.

Please contact your Representatives today: It is vitally important that you call your Representatives as soon as possible to secure their support for those amendments that would help your community, and ask them to oppose those amendments that would be harmful.  Lawmakers must hear from you on these issues.  Because of the great number of amendments, the summaries here are very brief.  Please contact MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at jrobertson@mma.org or 617-426-7272 x122 at any time if you have questions or need more details.

Read the proposed budget and amendments here: The House budget committee recommendation (H. 4000) and all proposed amendments are posted on the Legislature’s website at: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2015/House/WaysAndMeans

No amendments allowed on UGGA or Chapter 70 funding.  Because of the Budget Order adopted by House members earlier this month, amendments and debate will not be allowed on proposals related to the two main Cherry Sheet accounts, Chapter 70 school aid and Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA).  When the Budget Order was adopted, House leaders said that funding levels for these essential aid programs were determined by the Local Aid Resolution adopted by the House in March.  Thus, H. 4000 would provide a $25 million increase in UGGA funding, and appropriate the same Chapter 70 amount that the Governor filed in January, an overall increase of $99.7 million, with most cities, towns and school districts receiving anemic minimum aid increases of $25 per student.

Amendments related to all other municipal and school aid accounts and to law changes are allowed under the Budget Order, including the following amendments that are highlighted below:

KEY BUDGET AMENDMENTS ON SCHOOL AND EDUCATION FUNDING

Support Funding for Reimbursements for Charter Schools Losses
Under state law, cities and towns that host or send students to charter schools are entitled to be reimbursed for a portion of their lost Chapter 70 aid.  The state fully funded the reimbursement program in fiscal 2013, but is underfunding the reimbursements called for in state law by approximately $28 million this year.  The Governor’s budget would level-fund charter school reimbursements at $75 million, which would guarantee a shortfall of $29 million in fiscal 2015.  The HW&M budget would increase reimbursements by $5 million, to a total of $80 million.  This represents slight progress, but the program would still be underfunded by $24 million.

Shortfalls in the charter school reimbursement program cause major fiscal distress in every community that has a significant charter school presence.  Only a small fraction of the public school students attend charter schools.  Underfunding this program would force cutbacks for the vast majority of students who remain in the traditional school setting.

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 993 filed by Rep. Malia and 26 others to fully fund charter school reimbursements due to cities, towns and regional school districts by providing the full $104.3 million necessary to meet the state’s obligation.  The MMA also supports Amendment 124 filed by Rep. Moran and others, and Amendment 412 filed by Rep. Peisch, as each of these amendments also intend to fully fund this essential account.

Support Funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Transportation Costs
The HW&M and Governor’s budgets would level-fund reimbursements for the transportation of homeless students at $7.4 million, which is $7.5 million below the full reimbursement called for under the state’s unfunded mandate law.  Two years ago, the State Auditor ruled that the adoption of the federal McKinney-Vento law imposed an unfunded mandate on cities and towns.  The program was funded at $11.3 million in fiscal 2013 and cut to $7.4 million in fiscal 2014.  Level-funding the program would continue to impose a significant burden on those cities and towns that are providing transportation services to homeless children who have been placed in their communities by the state.

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 999 filed by Rep. Heroux and 38 others, Amendment 772 filed by Rep. Stanley and others, and Amendment 747 filed by Rep. Poirier and others.  All of these amendments would fully fund the $14.9 million in reimbursements due to municipalities and school districts for the cost of transporting homeless students from temporary shelters to school.

Support Net School Spending Equity Under Chapter 70
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 1166 filed by Rep. Fennell and others to allow all municipal and regional school districts, at local option, to count spending on health insurance for retired school employees toward the “net school spending” requirement under Chapter 70.  Unfortunately, current rules exclude these costs from net school spending in some districts, but allow the costs to count in others.  This year, there are harsh financial penalties facing many cities, towns and school districts unless the law is changed to provide parity for all communities.  This amendment would ensure equity by providing all cities, towns and districts with the ability to count insurance costs for their retired school employees.

Support Funding for Regional School District Student Transportation
Funding for school transportation costs is vital to regional districts and member cities and towns, particular in sparsely populated parts of the state. The HW&M budget would provide $53.5 million for regional school transportation reimbursements, which is $2 million more than this year and an improvement over the Governor’s level-funded budget, but is still nearly $7 million below fiscal 2008 levels and is far below the $78 million required for full funding. Decades ago, the state promised 100 percent reimbursement as an incentive for towns and cities to regionalize, and the underfunding of this account has presented serious budget challenges for these districts, taking valuable dollars from the classroom.

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 266 filed by Rep. Turner and 38 others, Amendment 493 filed by Rep. Naughton, and Amendment 619 filed by Rep. Kuros.  All of these amendments would increase transportation reimbursements to regional school districts by an additional $4 million to bring fiscal 2015 funding to $57.5 million.

Support Funding for Out-of-District Vocational Education Student Transportation
The fiscal 2014 state budget included a $3 million item to reimburse communities for a portion of the state-mandated cost of transporting students to out-of-district placements in vocational schools.  This account recognizes the significant expense of providing transportation services for out-of-district placements, as these students must travel long distances to participate in vocational programs that are not offered locally, and state law mandates communities to provide the transportation.  The HW&M budget would reduce this funding level by 50%, down to an underfunded level of $1.5 million (the Governor’s budget eliminated all funding).

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 543 filed by Rep. Lombardo to fully fund the $3.8 million cost of transporting students to out-of-district placements in vocational schools.

Oppose Automatic Approval of Regional School District Stabilization Funds
Please ask your Representatives to oppose Amendment 151 that would establish a system of automatic approval of the establishment of stabilization funds in regional school districts.  Chapter 71 of the General Laws provides a fair and reasonable approval process through which member cities and towns may authorize the establishment of a stabilization fund in the local regional school district.  Amendment 151 would allow a fund to be established if a member city or town did not call a Town Meeting within 60 days to reject the proposal.  Most stabilization funds are capped at a reasonable level, but the stabilization funds in regional school districts are allowed to grow at a huge level up to double the levy ceiling in member communities.  Because of the enormous amount of taxpayer dollars at stake, this automatic and expedited approval mechanism should be rejected, and towns and cities should have a full say in the process.

Support the Formation of a Foundation Budget Review Commission
The foundation budget school spending standard that guides Chapter 70 funding was first enacted as part of the landmark 1993 education reform law and has largely remained unchanged since that time.  In addition to the need to adjust the foundation budget to reflect the many substantial changes that have occurred in public education over the past 20 years, the current foundation budget structure clearly understates many key education expenses, and does not fully reflect the cost of operating modern school systems, as evidenced by the fact that cities and towns spend $2.1 billion more to run their schools than the amount called for in the foundation budget.

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 243 filed by Rep. Ehrlich and 33 others, and Amendment 771 filed by Rep. O’Connell and others, to re-establish the Foundation Budget Review Commission under Chapter 70 for the purpose of reviewing the way that the foundation budget is calculated.

KEY BUDGET AMENDMENTS ON MUNICIPAL AID ACCOUNTS AND MUNICIPAL MANAGEMENT POLICY

Support and Preserve Municipal Decision-Making Authority on Health Insurance
Outside Section 32 of the HW&M budget would unilaterally extend a 3-year freeze on changing retiree health insurance contribution percentages by an additional two years.  Under existing law, any city or town that used sections 22 or 23 of Chapter 32B (the 2011 municipal health insurance reform law) to implement plan design changes or join the GIC is prohibited from changing retiree health insurance contribution percentages until July 1, 2014.  Section 32 would extend that freeze for two more years, until July 1, 2016, for any municipality that adopted or is planning on adopting provisions of the 2011 municipal health insurance reform law. This proposed change would reverse planned contribution changes that have already been adopted by some cities and towns, and would delay the ability to take action on retiree contribution percentages in many others.

Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 498, which would strike Section 32 from the HW&M budget and preserve the decision-making power of cities and towns to determine health insurance contribution percentages for retirees.  Municipal officials have been operating in good faith under the current law, and it is unfair and unwise to interfere with their authority to act in the best interests of local taxpayers, employees and retirees.

Oppose Attempts to Circumvent and Weaken Municipal Personnel Laws
Please ask your Representatives to oppose Amendment 804, which would significantly weaken the smoking prohibition for public safety employees.

Because of special provisions in state law that established a work-related presumption for heart and lung disease for public safety personnel, state law mandates a no smoking rule for public safety employees.  Under Chapter 32 of the General Laws, any police officer or firefighter with heart disease and any firefighter with lung disease or lung cancer is automatically eligible for a disability pension, but the enactment of these presumptions included an absolute ban on the use of tobacco products because smoking and tobacco use is the primary and overwhelming cause of heart and lung disease and cancer. Under Section 101A of Chapter 41, employees who violate this strict prohibition are subject to dismissal.  This has been the law since 1988.

But Amendment 804 would reverse 26 years of standing law and personnel policy, and instead mandate that cities and towns offer a smoking cessation program to those who violate the policy and keep the presumption in place for these employees in spite of their use of tobacco products, with only a subsequent violation being grounds for removal.  All public safety personnel are aware of the no smoking rule, and violations must be addressed fully because the special treatment and protections that are in place were granted only on the condition that these employees refrain from tobacco use.  Amendment 804 would remove a very important taxpayer protection, and should be rejected.

Support Funding for Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT)
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 753 filed by Rep. D’Emilia to add $3.5 million to increase funding of payments to cities and towns in lieu of taxes for state-owned land (PILOT).  This is a particularly important Cherry Sheet program for the cities and towns that host and provide municipal services to state facilities that are exempt from the local property tax.  The Governor’s proposed budget would cut $500K from the program, and the HW&M budget would restore the $500K to level-fund the account at this year’s level of $26.9 million.  Amendment 753 would bring the account up to $30.4 million.

Support Funding for the Shannon Anti-Gang Grant Program
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 383 filed by Rep. Brady and 43 others to increase funding for the Shannon anti-gang grant program that has helped cities and towns respond to and suppress gang-related activities.  This amendment would add $4 million and bring total funding up to $8 million, which is the same level proposed by the Governor.

Support Funding for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 386, filed by Rep. Brady and others to increase funding of the Safe and Supportive Youth Initiative from $4 million to $9.5 million. The program seeks to reduce youth violence through wraparound services for those most likely to be victims or perpetrators, and is vital to violence prevention efforts in dozens of communities.

Support Funding for Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 427 filed by Rep. Fox and others to increase funding for youth summer jobs from $8 million to $12 million. This funding is critical to providing employment opportunities for at-risk teenagers in our cities and towns, especially with youth unemployment rates climbing.

Support Transparency in Water Management Regulations
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 70 filed by Rep. Peterson to require the Department of Environmental protection to appear before the Legislature’s Committee on the Environment, Natural and Agriculture to explain the terms and implementation of proposed regulations governing water management before the regulations can be finalized.

The state’s Sustainable Water Management Initiative proposes dramatic changes to permitting under the Water Management Act by establishing new biological categorizations and basing water withdrawal thresholds on new and unprecedented stream flow criteria. This regulatory scheme would limit water withdrawals, the main source of water system revenues, and at the same time increase costs for water suppliers by imposing additional mitigation measures.

KEY BUDGET AMENDMENTS ON CAPITAL SPENDING PRIORITIES

Support Funding for Dam and Seawall Repairs
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 1155 filed by Rep. Cantwell and others to appropriate $10 million for the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Fund.  There are approximately 3,000 dams in Massachusetts, most of which are in disrepair and causing damage to the environment and posing public safety risks. In 2011, the State Auditor reported that the state’s aging and neglected stock of dams poses a “significant threat to public safety’’ and requires an estimated $60 million in repairs.  Additional funding, along with the law enacted last year limiting the amount of nutrients in fertilizers, would go a long way toward improving the health of our lakes, rivers and streams.

Support Brownfields Redevelopment Funds
Please ask your Representatives to support Amendment 915 filed by Rep. Walsh and others and Amendment 121 filed by Rep. Moran and others to increase available funding for Brownfields redevelopment projects.  This funding is critical to the successful redevelopment of former industrial sites and will enhance local economic development efforts across the state, and improve the environment.  Amendment 915 would allocate up to $45 million from the fiscal 2014 year-end surplus to Brownfield projects, and Amendment 121 would provide a $30 million appropriation in the fiscal 2015 state budget.
===================================================

Best,
Pete
Osler L. Peterson, Attorney at Law
PETERSON | Law
580 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458
66 North St, PO Box 358, Medfield, MA 02052
T – 617.969.1500
T – 617.969.1501 (direct)
M – 508-359-9190
F – 617.663.6008

http://mysite.verizon.net/osler.peterson/

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MSH visioning report

The Medfield State Hospital visioning report is available, per email today from the Town Planner, Sarah Raposa -

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay in getting the final version of the report to you. It’s a large document so here is the link to download it from Dropbox. Let me know if you have difficulties accessing it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hmiznbxp6xbqyow/MSH%20VISIONING%20REPORT%20HSH-DF%20Final%2004.15.14.pdf

All the best,

Sarah

MCAP hits social media

Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) has entered the social media world.  Now you can easily follow MCAP on

MCAP Logo_1C_300

MEC’s ATM articles

The Medfield Energy Committee has provided the following explanation of its two annual town meeting (ATM) warrant articles, that if passed will allow Medfield to become a green community under the Green Communities Act -

Medfield Energy Committee

Recommends a YES vote on

Article #34

“.. .add new Section 19, Large-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District (PVOD)…”

 

  • Solar Photovoltaic is a very safe, proven, economical way of generating non-carbon, renewable energy
  • The purpose of this Section is to promote and regulate the use of commercial and municipal solar photovoltaic facilities within the Town of Medfield and encourage their location and use in a manner which minimizes negative visual and environmental impacts on scenic, natural and historic resources and to the residents of Medfield.
  • The purpose is also to provide adequate financial assurance for the eventual decommissioning of such installations. 
  • The by-right overlay district will be the IE district (the industrial area North of West Street)
  • Over 50 Massachusetts communities have passed by-right Solar Bylaws, including Sherborn, Medway, Dedham & Ashland
  • 30 Communities have reduced their energy costs by installing large-scale Solar generation on town land
  • Passage of this article puts Medfield one step closer to becoming a Green Community which would qualify the Town for a $148,000 grant
  • Passage of this Bylaw will facilitate Town interest in solar energy generation to further reduce Town energy bills. Estimated return on solar investment is 9 to 12%
  • Energy Committee & Town are studying Solar for Waste Water treatment plant, Town Garage and other locations.
  • Article #34 passed unanimously by the Planning Board and supported by the Board of Selectmen.

 

Vote YES on Article #34

====================================

Medfield Energy Committee

Recommends a YES vote on

Article #35

“…enact…“Stretch Energy Code”, for the purpose of regulating the design and construction of buildings for the effective use of energy…”

 

  • Stretch energy code promotes energy efficient buildings. Over 70% of Medfield energy use is for buildings
  • Added cost of construction is paid off by reduced energy bills.

Examples:

Large Home 4,462 sq. ft.

o       Added construction cost to meet code   $6,462

o       Energy savings                                         $1,455/yr

o       Return on investment                                22%

o       Increase in 30 yr. mortgage                     $471/yr

o       Annual net savings                                    $984/yr

Small home renovation 1706 sq. ft.

o       Added construction cost to meet code   $4,162

o       Energy savings                                         $583/yr

o       Return on investment                                14%

o       Increase in 30 yr. mortgage                     $302/yr

o       Annual Net Savings                                   $281/yr

  • Stretch energy codes eventually become State building codes. Current Stretch Code to be adopted as State code in July 2014.
  • Passage of this article on Stretch Energy Code puts Medfield one step closer to becoming a Green Community and qualifying the Town for a $148,000 grant
  • A no vote means NO $148,000 but the Stretch Code becomes law in July anyway.
  • Future editions of Stretch Code will continue energy and dollar savings balance.
  • This article saves money for homeowners, but builders and developers may not like that it adds cost to construction.
  • Article #35 supported by Board of Selectmen. Building Commissioner stands ready to enforce Stretch Energy Code

Vote YES on Article #35

MMA on Transportation bill

This today from the Massachusetts Municipal Association -

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE COMMITTEE AGREES ON $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90 IN FISCAL 2015

House & Senate to Vote on Transportation Conference Committee Report this Week

Ch. 90 Funds Should be Available Immediately After the Bill is Signed into Law

Early last night, the House-Senate conference committee reached agreement on the final version of the Legislature’s statewide transportation bond bill, and filed the compromise measure with the House Clerk. This sets up a final vote to approve the bill and send it to the Governor’s Desk this week. The House plans a vote on Wednesday, April 16, and the Senate plans a vote the next day. After that, the Governor will have 10 days to sign the bill.

Lawmakers have stated that they have written the final bill to include the so-called “terms bill” language that has usually passed as separate legislation after the Governor signs the bond bill. This is intended to eliminate the long delay between enactment of the bond bill and the official release of Chapter 90 and other transportation funds. Absent unforeseen developments, this means that the fiscal 2015 provisional Chapter 90 authorization letters will become official once the Governor signs the bond bill into law.

The sweeping 5-year $13 billion bond bill includes a $300 million Chapter 90 authorization for fiscal year 2015, matching the fiscal 2014 authorization passed last summer. In spite of the higher authorization from the Legislature, the Patrick Administration has already announced that they plan on releasing just $200 million. On April 1st, MassDOT sent provisional letters of authorization to cities and towns announcing that they plan on officially releasing $200 million after the passage of the transportation bond bill.

The release of the full $300 million Chapter 90 authorization continues to be a major issue of contention between the Legislature and the Governor, with lawmakers siding with local officials in support of releasing the full amount. The House chair of the transportation committee stated this week that the Legislature will continue to support $300 million for Chapter 90, and that the authorization would stay in place so that the current Administration or the new Governor in January could act to release the full amount.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in the House and Senate had each approved different versions of the statewide transportation bond bill that includes future funding for the vital Chapter 90 program for the maintenance and repair of local roads. The Senate bill included a $1.5 billion Chapter 90 authorization intended to provide $300 million in annual funding over the next five years, from fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2019. The House bill provided only one year of funding at $300 million for fiscal 2015. Language in the Senate bill included several new rules governing the use of Chapter 90 funds that would have reduced local flexibility to address municipal needs by imposing unnecessary and overreaching new reporting and accounting requirements. The House did not include this language.

The final compromise bill ironed out by the House and Senate conferees settled on the House’s one-year Chapter 90 authorization at $300 million, and softened the restrictions proposed by the Senate. The final bill states that a community will only be able to carry forward more than 50 percent of the allocated Chapter 90 authorization from one year to the next if the city or town submits a 5-year spending outline to MassDOT. Also, the bill includes language requiring MassDOT to provide “preliminary notice” of the Chapter 90 authorizations by March 1 of each year. This is a change from past practice in previous Chapter 90 bond bills, which included language requiring cities and towns to receive official notice of their Chapter 90 authorizations by April 1 of each year.

Clearly, municipal leaders have succeeded in convincing Representatives and Senators of the need to increase Chapter 90 funding to $300 million a year – that is a significant victory. Winning release of the full $300 million will continue to be a top priority for the MMA, and we will not cease until all of the funds flow directly to cities and towns. In addition, we will continue to monitor the state’s administration of the Chapter 90 program to secure timely notification and release of the funds to maximize planning and make full use of the construction season, and oppose any state rules to restrict local flexibility.

The MMA is continuing to analyze the details of the sweeping transportation bond bill, so please check the MMA website at www.mma.org for more information. Thank You.