Discussions topics sent by the Board of Selectmen to the state representatives in advance of our meeting with them this next Tuesday -
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION AT MEDFIELD SELECTMEN’S MEETING
State budget and local aid:
Early release of state aid so that town officials will know how much state aid they have to work with well in advance of town meeting and can better plan budget allocations.
Should state aid be tied to certain percentages of taxes, such as sales and income taxes, as suggested by Mass Municipal Assoc., so that revenue from state will grow with state revenue base.
Any predictions on state cherry sheet aid for fy14?
Will state cover cost of primary and final election for Senate race to replace Senator Kerry?
Medfield State Hospital site:
Environmental clean-up cost and implementation of DCAM mediation recommendations
Role of Medfield in process;
Will Medfield be allowed to purchase site and determine future use?
Will Medfield be given approval of the proposed use if the site is to be sold to a private developer?
Who will bear the cost of the building environmental clean-up costs (lead paint, asbestos, bird guano, building demolition, hazardous waste removal, etc)?
Can we get a determination from Mass Historic Commission as to which buildings can be taken down and which must be saved in light of the obvious, long-standing neglect?
What will be the disposition of the historic Harding/Bishop homestead at the entrance to the former hospital site?
Should the state pay for the rehabilitation of the two WWI Honor Squares at the hospital site?
How can the help with the urgent need for replacement of the state hospital water tower?
What will be the future of the former state hospital well? Can land be transferred to Medfield.
Will the proposed recreational use of the sledding hill site become a reality?
Is new legislation required to amend or replace the existing legislation governing the disposition of the former state hospital site?
Public Health Issues
What can be done to control the spread of Lyme’s disease and how can the state assist Medfield and other towns with its efforts to conttro the deer population? Loosen up bow hunting regulations, allow bow hunting within 150 feet of a residence and permit bow hunting at former state hospital site?
How can the state assist Medfield with its efforts to control the exploding beaver population, which is creating flooding and septic system problems and destroying trees? Longer hunting and trapping season; more flexibility in methods of trapping?
What is the status of the double utility pole legislation? Should the Dept of Energy develop a separate street lighting rate for LED lighting fixtures? Why should town pay for street lights when lights are out of service?
Are the cities and towns being over regulated?
Elevator inspection fees increased from $100/year to $400/year.
New annual boiler inspection fee of $50/boiler (State doesn’t inspect)
Yearly fee for water use (about $4,000)
Water withdrawal permits with numerous regulations
Inspection of DPW, and Park & Recreation facilities for environmental compliance
Seismic code requirement for public buildings
Dept of Education audits, MCAS testing, bullying & harassment regulations, teacher evaluation regulations
Ice cream truck investigations
Jail cell inspections
Agent for federal regulatory requirements, storm water management, clean water act
Annual property revaluation with excessive paperwork requirements and changing standards.
Pension and Retiree Health Insurance
Unfunded liabilities for both
Lack of uniformity in payment, benefit and age requirements; smacks of favoritism.
How can the state work to avoid municipal and authority bankruptcies (technically receiverships, as municipal bankruptcy is not permitted).
Excessive early retirements increasing unfunded liabilities; tie retirement age to social security retirement age for all public employees.
Taxation and Spending Policies
What is the likelihood of passage of the governor’s $1.9 billion tax and spending plan? Is it an attempt to create a graduated tax system by reducing the sales tax and increasing the income tax? User fees cover less than a third of the costs of the MBTA, yet those who don’t have T service available are asked to share an ever increasing share of the T’s costs.
Why are education costs increasing so much when school enrollments statewide are falling and have been falling for some years.
Is anything being done to control Special Education costs, particularly the costs of out-of district placements?
A recent publication of state pensions indicated that the highest pensions are being paid to higher education system retirees. Higher education costs are escalating, putting post-high school education out of the reach of many individuals. Should something be done to control pension costs and/or pension benefits in the higher education system. Perhaps a cap on pensions or a cap on the tax exempt portion of pensions should be considered.