Monthly Archives: May 2012

Recycling % is up

Mike Sullivan’s email to the Solid Waste Committee last week reported that recycling was up.  He attached a detailed spreadsheet.

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The updated recycling information, including April tonnange and May credit is attached. Looks like recycling rate has jumped to 26% to 27% recently from around 22% to 23%. Hope the trend continues.  Mike

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DEP tells me that the only real way to maximize recycling is to implement pay as you throw (PAYT).  The DEP website on PAYT  (http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/reduce/paytfact.htm)  lists Wrentham as being over 30% recycling rates on PAYT, Duxbury looks to have cut its solid waste budget by more than 50% by using PAYT (saving a couple hundred thousand dollars a year), and Needham trash dropped 50% when it went with PAYT.  We have implemented single stream and seen an uptick in recycling, but Duxbury too implemented single stream, and its graph showed modest effects from single stream, but a dramatic drop when PAYT was started.

I think the lessons are clear, that if we want to save the town the most money and to recycle the most, we really need to start PAYT.  The problem is that no one really likes PAYT, but even if we do not like PAYT we should really like the results we can get from using it, both is saving money and in doing our part to save the planet.

MMA alert this afternoon on the budget passed by the Senate

I received the following Massachusetts Municipal Association Alert this afternoon, along with a request to call the legislators about the Chapter 90 funds bottled up on a conference committee –

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SENATE COMPLETES STATE BUDGET DEBATE
Fiscal 2013 Budget Plan Goes to Conference Committee

On Friday afternoon, May 25, the Senate completed debate on its version of the fiscal 2013 state budget, with local aid clearly identified as a top priority for Senators.  The Senate budget follows the budget passed by the House in April, which also invested heavily in protecting and restoring key local aid and education accounts.

House and Senate action is expected today to formally establish the budget conference committee, which will have until the end of the month to agree on a final compromise plan.  While June 30 will be the ultimate deadline, most observers agree that the initial target date to reach agreement is June 20, which would give the Governor ten days to review the budget in time to sign it into law on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

The House and Senate each devoted $130 million more to local aid and education accounts than the budget submitted by the Governor in January.  Because each branch chose different ways of allocating the increases, the budget conference committee will need to resolve the differences during their deliberations.

Here are the key local aid items that will be resolved by the conference committee:

UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA): The Senate plan includes $900 million in unrestricted municipal aid, and the House plan devotes $899 million.  The budgets would provide a major increase over the $834 million recommended by the Governor ($66 million more in the Senate plan, $65 million more in the House budget).  The good news is that the House and Senate are united in their efforts to guarantee a substantial increase in the base for municipal aid.  The MMA applauds each branch, and will work to secure the higher level of funding.

CHAPTER 70 EDUCATION AID: The Senate plan includes a $180 million increase in direct school aid, and the House proposes a $163.8 million increase.  Each budget would guarantee a $40 per-student increase in Chapter 70 for each school district.  The Senate budget would add additional funds for “target share aid” to about 100 school districts.  Both plans are higher than the Governor’s $145.6 million increase, which would have level-funded about two-thirds of the school districts across the state.  The House and Senate budgets each represent significant improvement, and the MMA will be advocating for the Senate allocation.

SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER: The original budget submitted by the Governor in January level-funded the program at $213.1 million.  The House added $8.45 million, and the Senate is pushing for full funding, adding $29 million to bring the account up to the $242 million necessary for the state to meet its obligation to reimburse 75 percent of eligible expenses.  This is a vital account that benefits every municipality and school district across the state, and the MMA will be pressing hard for full funding.

McKINNEY-VENTO SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION MANDATE:  The House of Representatives made a major statement in their budget when it included $11.3 million to fully fund the McKinney-Vento mandate for the transportation of homeless students to their schools that was triggered when the state adopted the federal program. Earlier this year, the state Auditor ruled that this is an unfunded mandate, and urged state officials to fund the requirements of the program.  The House budget created a new line item in the budget to provide full reimbursement to cities and towns.  The budgets submitted by the Governor and the Senate contain no funding for the program.  The MMA will be advocating for the full $11.3 million.

COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT:  Both the House and Senate budgets contain language to expand the program, allowing cities and towns to expend funds to improve and renovate existing recreational facilities, and allowing communities to use non-property-tax dollars to meet a portion of their funding requirement (CDBG and other funds).  However, the House plan provides a powerful permanent mechanism to add up to $25 million a year in additional state funding on a recurring basis (devoting the first $25 million of any end-of-the-year budget surplus to the CPA program), while the Senate would provide a one-time $5 million transfer from the state’s General Fund.  The MMA and other stakeholders will be advocating for the House plan.

The MMA is analyzing the complete budgets passed by the Senate and House, and will be providing further information and updates.  In the meantime, please contact your legislators on the key budget items above, and urge them to support the maximum local aid increase possible.

On being a selectman

The Memorail Day events are one of my favorite things I do as a selectman.  We are remembering the right people, as we honor our veterans who gave their lives for our country.  Medfield’s speeches and programs are both delivered and presented in a properly respectful way.  Plus we all get in a good walk, before an excellent lunch provided by the Legion.  Yesterday Lt. Col. Todd Caruso returned to his hometown to deliver wonderful remarks and to make a gift to the town and the Legion of framed flags that he flew over Afganistan on 9/11/11.

I saw the fringe tree at the Medfield State Hospital while jogging on Sunday morning, and it was past peak, but still pretty.  The leaves had overgrown the flowers, and the flowers had started to fade.  It peaked a little over a week ago, as it was spectacular the Sunday before.

This morning I went to the MCAP meeting, to learn that the grant is still being processed by the feds and that  plans continue for the MCAP website.

DPW’s Memorial Day sewer fix gets a thank you

DPW gets thanks from the Wietrecki family -

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Dear Mr. Feeney:

I am writing you this morning to commend you and your staff. You see, yesterday at the height of the commemorations in town, my wife and I discovered that the sewer line on our street, Brastow Drive, was blocked. This discovery began earlier the night before with found water in our basement utility sink. Having thought the problem was internal, we waited to deal with it until the morning. As my neighbors awoke and began their water use, the level in the sink began to raise and we became more concerned. We called a router company and their quick response showed the issue to be in the street. Being a holiday their was no way to directly reach the Sewer and Water Department, so we called the Police Station. I received a confirmation call back from the Dispatcher that your team had been notified and that they would be contacting me after the parade. As soon as the music stopped, a member of your staff was on Brastow confirming the problem. He committed to getting a jet-truck in to correct the issue and followed up to ensure everything was taken care of. My wife, daughters and I would like to thank you and your team for your service to the town. This is one of the many reasons we are happy to call Medfield home.

By the way, my daughters are especially happy, as we had Sox tickets given to us for yesterday’s game, and your prompt attention to the issue allowed us to enjoy the game (my daughter’s actually made it on the Jumbotron). Thanks again, you will have our support if ever needed.

Best regards,
Steve Wietrecki

Starbucks to Mobil site

The Downtown Study Committee last night met with developers who are seeking to put a Starbucks at the site of the Mobil Station next to the Town House.  They are still working through the details.  A copy of their proposed Starbucks plan is attached.

It was reported that the new Dunkin’ Donuts at the old Friendly’s site would not include a Baskin Robbins.

Park Street Books is looking at a new site in Medfield.

Look for more outdoor dining this summer.  Outdoor seating for Medfield food establishments is permitted, despite some establishments having been told otherwise in the past.  The ZBA and Board of Health both reported to Kristine Trierweiler that no such prohibition existed.

Two trees to be planted in front of Larkins, where one had to be cut due to lifting the sidewalk.

Future plans:

  • more tree planting in the downtown
  • making the park by Baker’s Pond more of a garden
  • examining having utilities wires placed underground in the downtown
  • signage along Main Street for the Park Street businesses
  • faster permitting for new businesses seeking to open

Senate passes budget amendment effecting the MSH clean up

John Nunnari reported yesterday evening that the state senate had passed Sen. Timilty’s second budget amendment in an altered version, that appears below.  First, it calls for the “unrestricted use” standard, which I understand to mean that the dumped waste needs to be removed.  Second, the amendment calls for a result that “fully complies with the recommendations regarding flood plain restoration and management as described in the September 2011 Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report.”  The Board of Selectmen will met in executive session with our new environmental attorney at our 6/5 meeting, and since it was her idea to cite that Climate Change Adaptation Report, we will learn from her the ramifications.  My current understanding is that the report is aimed at restoring wetlands for flood storage, which would seem to argue for removal of the waste dumped into the wetlands at the MSH.

This was John’s email -

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Amendment was adopted.

john

2nd Redraft GOV 135

Medfield State Hospital Cleanup Plan

Mr. Timilty moved that the bill be amended by inserting after section 156 the following section:-

“SECTION 156A. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the division of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, shall review its cleanup plan for the site of the former Medfield State Hospital and report on whether it: (i) is based on a standard of unrestricted use for the site; (ii) fully complies with all state and federal environmental regulations and standards; (iii) fully complies with the recommendations regarding flood plain restoration and management as described in the September 2011 Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report; and (iv) addresses the concerns of the town of Medfield and of surrounding communities in the Charles River watershed. The division shall report its findings and any reasons for non-compliance or failure to address the concerns of the town of Medfield and of surrounding communities in the Charles River watershed to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives not later than October 1, 2012.

Sen. Timilty’s amendment for $5m. for MSH rejected

John Nunnari just reported that Sen. Timilty’s “Amend. 134 has been rejected. Nothing yet on 135.”

GOV 134
Medfield State Hospital
Mr. Timilty moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 1102-3205, by inserting at the end thereof the following:- “provided further, that not less than $5,000,000 shall be expended for the total removal of all toxic materials from the site of the former Medfield State Hospital to the extent that, upon completion of the cleanup, the land is not subject to any activity and use limitation and is suitable for unrestricted use”; and in the same item by striking the figure “16,250,000″ and inserting in place thereof the the following figure:- “21,250,000″

GOV 135
Medfield State Hospital Cleanup Plan
Mr. Timilty moved that the bill be amended by adding at the end thereof the following new Section:-

SECTION X. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the division of capital asset management and maintenance shall not implement any cleanup plan for the site of the former Medfield State Hospital until the plan (i) is based on a standard of unrestricted use for the site (ii) fully complies with all state and federal environmental regulations and standards (ii) complies with the recommendations regarding flood plain restoration and management as described in the September 2011 Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report (iv) is approved by a vote of the Medfield board of selectmen and (v) addresses the concerns of surrounding communities in the Charles River watershed. The department shall immediately begin a revision of its current plan to meet the requirements set forth in this section