Category Archives: Town Services

Liz Loveless leaving

Liz Loveless, Youth Outreach Worker at Medfield Youth Outreach, announced today that she will be moving to Needham Youth Services this month – a copy of her email appears below.  This is a big loss for Medfield Youth Outreach, MCAP, and the kids in town.


 

7/08/2014 2:38PM
News from MYO
Medfield Youth-Outreach
===========================================================
Hi everyone,

I am writing this note to let you all know that I will be leaving my position as Youth Outreach Worker at Medfield Youth Outreach. I have decided to take a child therapist job at Needham Youth Services where I have been doing some part time work over the past few years. My last day here at MYO will be July 18th.

I have enjoyed serving the wonderful Medfield community and working closely with school staff, needs based organizations, town departments, and of course, Medfield children and families. It has been a pleasure to work with you and I wish you all the best!

Best,

Liz

Medfield Youth Outreach
459 Main St.
Medfield, MA 02052
508-359-7121

W&S – state $ & impact fees

This from the State House News service, via John Nunnari.  This could be helpful both with respect to the new water tower and with respect to the redevelopment of the Medfield State Hospital site -

SENATE ADDS LOCAL OPTION WATER SURCHARGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 27, 2014….After agreeing to a plan allowing a new local option water surcharge, the Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday aimed at addressing some of the unmet funding needs for water infrastructure projects in Massachusetts.

Senate President Therese Murray, who has several communities in her district facing water infrastructure challenges, pushed the water infrastructure needs as a priority this session, along with Sen. James Eldridge – who headed up a two-year-long commission studying the issue.

Rep. Carolyn Dykema, a Democrat from Holliston, has been pushing the issue in the House, where the bill heads next, and co-chaired the Water Infrastructure Finance Commission along with Eldridge.

A Senate Ways and Means version of the bill (S 2016) passed 37 to 0, with several amendments adopted that were filed by both Democrats and Republicans.

“This bill that was debated today is a really strong bill that will not only create investments in water infrastructure but better protect the environment, and create incentives for green infrastructure,” Eldridge said after the bill passed.

The bill authorizes low-interest loans for water infrastructure projects and establishes criteria for the loan process. It requires the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust – the new name for the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust – to create a sliding scale interest rate, from 0 to 2 percent on loans for qualifying projects.

The bill increases a contract assistance ceiling from $88 million a year to $138 million per year and requires the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to commit 80 percent of that limit and report to the Legislature in any year that the threshold is not met.

The bill also authorizes cities and towns to collect impact fees to help offset environmental impacts caused by developments requiring new or increased water and sewer system withdrawals. The bill calls for fees to be assessed in a “fair and equitable manner” and allows separate fees for residential and commercial usage.

On a voice vote, senators rejected an amendment to the bill that would ban hydraulic fracking to extract natural gas, filed by Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport).

Environmentalists applauded the bill’s passage.

“I think it is great this bill does a lot to level the playing field for green infrastructure,” Steve Long, government relations director at the Nature Conservancy said.

Incentives for green infrastructure – which uses nature to help provide clean drinking and stormwater – are embedded throughout the bill, Long said. The legislation allows for reduced financing for green infrastructure projects, which will go a long way to help achieve clean water goals, he said.

Senators adopted an amendment establishing a local option water surcharge for communities. Cities and towns that vote to adopt the program could levy a water infrastructure surcharge up to 3 percent, similar to the way the Community Preservation Act works. The amendment passed 31 to 5.

“Now we are creating a mechanism if communities so choose to use the same method for water infrastructure,” Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), who filed the amendment, said referring to the CPA.

Communities that vote in favor of adopting the water surcharge would be allowed to assess a fee on new uses for water. It would apply to new residential and commercial development, according to Long, from the Nature Conservancy. The money would be deposited in a water infrastructure fund.

“That fund could be used to find ways to replace water that has been taken out of the system. It could be used for conservation, fixing leaky pipes, making infrastructure repairs, anything that helps save water and also mitigate the extraction of water,” Long said.

Sen. Michael Moore, a Democrat from Millbury, was successful in getting an amendment passed, by two votes, that would allow communities that are too far away to join the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to be eligible for a one-to-one match for infrastructure needs.

Moore said it would create parity for non-MWRA communities to have access to state aid that is dedicated to the MWRA. Eldridge spoke against the amendment, which passed 19 to 17.

“Given the fact that we don’t have new revenue in this bill, the question is where would the money come from?” Eldridge said after the session.

Communities outside the MWRA district feel there is too much attention directed to the MWRA, Eldridge said.

“I think that vote reflected that we do need to provide more investments in infrastructure in every city and town,” he said.

Sen. Bruce Tarr proposed an amendment, which passed unanimously, that creates a municipal impact fee. Tarr said there needed to be some emphasis on water conservation in the legislation. The amendment incentivizes conservation by offering individual ratepayers a fee reduction of up to 25 percent if they install any low flow fixtures or water efficient appliances in their home.

END
2/27/2014

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Town reports back to 1857 on-line

This email from David Temple -
As a result of having these annual town reports scanned and readable on line, the information is much more accessible to researchers – and the society can recycle several cartons of duplicate old reports, freeing up some much needed space in our basement.
I encourage you not to delete this message, but leave it in your email file for possible future reference when you need the information..
In your reply, please include my original message. AOL users please note!

David Temple
David F. Temple, Inc.
300 South Street
Medfield, MA 02052
508-359-2915

eBills now available

Per the email e-newsletter today from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services the town can now opt to offer residents e-bills for all their town bills, plus the town can now bundle multiple bills (e.g. – real estate tax bill plus the water and sewer bill) in one transmission -

Ask DLS
City and Town Editorial Board

This month’s Ask DLS features frequently asked questions about e-billing. We hope the answers will provide timely and helpful information. Please let us know if you have other areas of interest or send a question to cityandtown@dor.state.ma.us. We’d like to hear from you!

Can cities and towns send property tax or other bills by email?

With the approval of the Municipal Relief Act on July 27, 2010 (c. 188 of the Acts of 2010), cities and towns are now authorized to issue property tax bills in electronic form. Section 54 of the Act amends M.G.L. C. 60 by adding new language to Section 3A that allows tax bills to be sent by email and other bills and nonpolitical information to be inserted with the mailing.

The local decision to allow issuance of the so-called “e-bills” rests with the board of selectmen in a town and the mayor in a city. There are two primary components to the authorization:

1.) Like hardcopy bills, electronic property tax bills must be in a form approved by the Commissioner of Revenue and must meet the “content” requirements imposed by c.60, s.3A, subsection (a), which are unchanged; and

2.) The program must be voluntary. Taxpayers cannot be forced to receive an electronic bill.

The legislation encourages a paperless system where the only tax bill received by property owners would be an email copy. Savings would be realized through the elimination of printed bills and postage for mailings two or four times a year. To receive an electronic bill or notice, taxpayers must explicitly enroll and provide their email address to the collector.

In addition, municipal collectors are permitted to include, with the electronic property tax bill, other charges for water or sewer use, solid waste disposal or collection, or electric, gas or other utility services. These can only include charges that are authorized by ordinance or by-law and that are assessed by the city or town. The inserted bills or notices of payments due must be separate and distinct from the property tax bills. In the case where a separate commission oversees the water or sewer operation, it rather than the selectmen or mayor would authorize utility e-bills.

The authority previously granted to municipalities to include nonpolitical informational material in an envelope with the tax bill is now expanded. The inclusion of additional information with an email tax bill is permitted, but requires the approval of the selectmen or mayor.

In developing an electronic tax bill program, the municipal collector should work with local assessors and a technology advisor. Among other topics, consideration might be given to the following:

Program Management: Consideration of the tax billing process, staffing, web access and software capability should help local officials determine the most practical option for managing the program. In most instances, we would expect this to be collector’s office, which has the legal responsibility to send proper notice of the tax due. The same analysis should be completed relative to any other bills allowed to be inserted with the electronic tax bill. Alternatively, companies are emerging that will contract with a city or town to manage its e-billing program.

Enrollment: Property owners should have the ability to enroll on-line at a dedicated town webpage. A verification mechanism must be built into the process. For instance, enrollment could be confirmed through a required return email acknowledgement by the property owner. The pertinent information could then be incorporated automatically into a data base. Over-the-counter enrollment or enrollment by mail is also an option and must include a written enrollment acknowledgement. Staff time would then have to data enter the information into the system or program.

Technology: For tax bills, whether in the assessors’ appraisal system or a collector’s billing system, software should allow property accounts to be flagged where owners have requested an electronic bill. The taxpayer’s billing account would remain in the commitment, but no hardcopy bill would be printed or mailed. A similar process should be developed for other types of bills that might be inserted with the electronic property tax bill. In each instance, the collector should have the ability to print a copy of the bill, if needed.

Legal: At the time of enrollment to receive an e-bill, property owners should be required to, at least, acknowledge that:

  • they understand by enrolling they will not receive a bill in the mail or in any other hardcopy form;
  • they are responsible for the accuracy of the information provided;
  • they are solely responsible for reporting any changes to the information on file;
  • they are not relieved of the legal obligation to make timely payment if they fail to receive a tax bill, or any other bill, because of incorrect information;
  • they attest to the truth and accuracy of the information provided.

Selectman goals & objectives

I am being interviewed on Medfield TV on 6/18 by Jack Peterson and Theresa Knapp of Patch, and Jack asked me to bring along topics to discuss, so I updated the list of goals and objectives I prepared for the Board of Selectmen last September:

2013 Goals and Objectives for the Medfield Town Administrator and the Board of Selectmen

By Osler L. Peterson, Selectman
June 3, 2013

1.    Institutional good governance systems, such as
a.    Thorough planning,
b.    Government transparency, and
c.    Complete reporting to the residents
2.    Have the Board of Advisors (former selectmen) conduct a zero based review of our town government systems to determine whether we are using best practices and have the right systems.  Consider partnering with an educational institution to get interns for this task.
a.    Establish expectations, policies, and procedures for all town boards and departments.
b.    Evaluate staffing levels and positions.
i.    Consider hiring a Finance Director.
3.    Get written five year plans from the Town Administrator and department heads.
4.    Have Town Administrator use annual calendar for the Board of Selectmen.
5.    Hold a Board of Selectmen joint meeting annually with each town board and commission to review our shared purposes and goals.
6.    Report to town on DPW’s road and sidewalk repair plans and funding.
7.    Work with Water and Sewer Commission on its master plan.
8.    Study the possible purchase and/or control of the development of the Medfield State Hospital site
9.    Oversee the process of dealing with the clean up and reuse of the Medfield State Hospital site.
10.    Complete bylaw review, especially for issues related to the Medfield State Hospital site.
11.    Work with planning board for new economic growth; Town’s master plan and downtown zoning.
12.    Work on strategy for maintenance and renovation of all town buildings and a strategy to build a new DPW Garage, Public Safety, and Community Center.
13.    Examine opportunities for additional revenue streams, such as:
a.    Housing can be the “business” of Medfield (e.g. – Old Medfield Square)
b.    Power purchase agreements for PV power
c.    Selling Medfield bottled water
14.    Identify opportunities for regionalization of services, such as:
a.    Dispatch for public safety
b.    Board of Health
15.    Target completion of union negotiations before contracts expire.
16.    Create a three-year financial forecast of the town, working with the Warrant Committee and the School Committee.
17.    Implement succession planning for key municipal positions.
18.    Installation of solar PV arrays on town owned land.
19.    Become a Green Community.
20.    Solve Veterans Service Officer position issues.
21.    Perform an analysis of overtime use.
22.    Maintain town’s fiscal status.
23.    Determine whether our recycling rates can be improved, and our trash costs thereby reduced

Getting answers during storms

I had a call from someone last Saturday evening looking to get information on when their street would be plowed (it was not plowed until Sunday morning because the person who usually plows it on Saturday had to deal with a broken fire hydrant and flowing water on Hillcrest).  My caller had only called me after calling the police station.

This morning I asked Bobby Kennedy, Jr. about the best way for people to get questions answered by the DPW during a storm, and he said that during the storms that he always checks in with the police dispatcher, so the best course is to call the police station.

iPad to Youth Outreach

I got the iPad today from Constellation Energy, that I won Friday at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting. I have decided to give it to the Medfield Youth Outreach office, as was suggested independently by a reader, by my wife, and by my town administrator.  Dawn and Liz do such great work, and I can see them incorporating the iPad apps into their work with the children.

I won the iPad by making a strategic play for it when I read that Constellation Energy was going to give it to one of the people who attended their lectures at 10 and 2.  How many people would bother to attend?  In fact I was only the second person at the afternoon lecture when I got there 15 minutes late for a 20 minute lecture.  I got comments and kidding  from the Berkley selectman there ahead of me, whose chances went from 100% to 50%, and  whose name was not selected from the fish bowl.

Discolored water

More information on the water main break and its repair in this email -

1/10/2013 4:31PM
reverse 911 issued for discolored water
Trierweiler, Kristine
“Kristine Trierweiler”
===========================================================
Hi Everyone,

A reverse 911 was issued this afternoon as it became evident that the water break on high street was causing discoloration issues throughout the entire town. We have asked residents, if they have discolored water, to slowly turn on the cold water tap until it runs clear. We have also suggested that residents refrain from clothes laundering for 24 hours until the discoloration issue has been resolved.

Kristine Trierweiler, AICP
Assistant Town Administrator
Town of Medfield
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
(P) (508) 906-3011
(F) (508) 359-6182

Notice from town on water

Emailed town notice about water issue -

1/10/2013 9:59AM
URGENT NOTICE FOR YOUR SITE–Water Break
===========================================================
There is a water break in the area of High Street, Granite Street, Garry Drive, Rocky Lane, Plantation Road, and Bridlefield Lane. There is currently no water service in these areas. DPW Crews are on the scene and we predict it will be a few hours before water service can be restored. We thank you for your patience while we work quickly to fix the problem.

Kristine Trierweiler, AICP
Assistant Town Administrator
Town of Medfield
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
(P) (508) 906-3011
(F) (508) 359-6182

Business of Medfield is homes

Yesterday, on my way to Shaw’s for the weekly groceries, I made what was for me a long postponed first visit to an open house at Olde Medfield Square, and learned several surprising things.

20130107-Olde Medfield Square-picture

  • it is comprised of 42 customized and all different condo units of 2-3,000 sq. ft. each, on a total of under 7 acres, each selling for upwards of $1 m.
  • 2 school children total live in the 25-27 homes that have been sold – one of whom just moved in and the other will graduate come June (so, basically, one school child)
  • property taxes to the town will run $600,000+ per year, making it a major revenue generator, profit center for Medfield
  • no architect was used, instead Ralph Costello, the developer, Sharon Bartelloni, his Marketing Director, and their staff just work out each unit on their own, saving about $25,000 per unit per Ralph
  • they have copyrighted each design, so they can easily replicate the homes
  • they have had requests form municipal officials in other towns, asking them to replicate the whole project in their towns
  • original plans to construct four large five unit buildings along Rte. 27 were altered when they learned people preferred the detached, but closely situated units
  • this density is allowed, as of right, in our RU zone in the downtown.
  • I really like the look from having the garages in the rear
  • while the units are close together, one can see that the fenestration is planned mainly on only one side of each unit, so that adjoining units  do not have the feel of looking into one another’s homes

Lessons for Medfield:  The business of Medfield can be providing the housing that draws people to town, as it is not just the schools that draw people to town.  Given Medfeld’s distance from major highways, it will always be a hard sell to get large businesses and retail to locate in Medfield, so we cannot count on expanding our tax base in reliance on those fronts.  Therefore, the town will be better served in the long run if it actively promotes more of the type of housing, such as Olde Medfield Square, that requires few municipal services.  Such projects will balance our existing single family housing stock which attracts the high numbers of school children.

Ten years ago, as a new selectman attending a seminar on municipal issues sponsored by the Attorney General, I heard the former town planner for Lexington say that his studies in Lexington discovered that it averaged 1.5 school children per single family detached house, but only 0.15 school children per unit in attached housing.  He recommended to us was building housing to increase our tax base, but the “right” type of housing.

The Olde Medfield Square example shows us that it it not just attached units that have fewer school children, it is also the densely packed detached units without yards large enough for a swing set.  In addition to having dramatic curb appeal and providing a different housing option, these homes are a real fiscal win for the town.