PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING COMMITTEE
NOVEMBER 15, 2006
7:00 PM Fire Station
Present: David White (left at 7:30pm), Richard Bates, Peter Liddy, Christopher Lucchesi, Hal Lane, Bob Beck, Karl Makela, Leo Bachant, Jack Chandler
Absent: Brian Forts, George Sherrill
Others Present: Brian Bullock, Eric Johansen, Melissa McKeon, David Ellis, Mark Bibace
Brian Bullock opened the meeting introducing the members and reviewing the charge of the committee.
Brian said that in addition to the charge of the committee they also need to look at short term maintenance issues and space issues that the police and fire departments are faced with. As the realistic timing for a new project completion is 2.5 to 3 years out, there are things that will need to be done to get us to that point.
We should be putting together a request for funding in time for a special town meeting in early to mid January. Funding should cover the short term needs as well as monies needed by the committee for architects fees, publicity, etc.
Brian handed out an information package to all members.
Discussion was held regarding email communications and the warnings of its use with regards to the open meeting laws. E-mail is a good mechanism for distributing information but must be used cautiously for conducting discussions. E-mail discussions between 5 or more members is prohibited. Similar discussions between 4 or fewer members while technically legal is also discouraged The rule of thumb should be that if any member wishes to share their opinion on any topic they should do so at an open meeting and not via e-mail
Jack Chandler and George Sherrill will be responsible for posting the meetings. Meetings need to be posted 48 hours prior.
There were a number of discussions on the diversity of the group and the need to work in a cohesive fashion. While open and lively discussion is expected and can be healthy for the committee, once decisions are made by a majority of the committee, that will be the direction of the total committee and members should not try to undermine these decisions. It was discussed whether or not a Selectman should have a voting position on another committee or if they should be an ex-officio member. Members must be able to express their own opinion in the meetings, but should not go out and bad mouth the committee if they don’t get their way.
The committee needs to decide if they want to use the same architectural firm. While this can be done without issuing a new RFP, which will take significant time, the actual architect that worked on the project before, Jeff McElray, has left the firm and gone to another company.
The committee organization was discussed and it was decided to wait until the next meeting to elect officers. There was a discussion about the need to take good minutes of the meetings. It is difficult to take part in the discussions and also take minutes. The hiring of a secretary was discussed but we have no funding at this time. Jack Chandler suggested, and Melissa McKeon agreed to, put a notice in the Landmark and see if we could get someone to volunteer to manage the minutes.
A decision was made to meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 6:30 PM beginning December 6th. Brian will work on a meeting location based on this schedule. It was discussed that the Police and Fire stations were not good places to meet as they were too disruptive.
The meetings will then be December 6 and 20, January 3 and 17, and February 7 and 21.
Discussion was held about the need to keep the voters informed with what the committee was doing. It was felt that the many townspeople did not have a good understanding about the previous projects and that that may have affected the outcome. Bob Beck offered to video tape the meetings to provide public awareness. A decision was made to wait until the meetings were more productive and we began having ideas to share. The Public Safety Building Committee discussed having the minutes on the web site and even setting up a separate site for the committee. It would also be good for residents to send feedback to the committee via the web site. Brian also said we could insert flyers into the electric bills and use the two information lines to announce public hearings, etc.
There was a discussion about state and federal grants. The town has been earmarked to receive 1.3 million dollars for a communications grant, but that we don’t have the space at this time to accept the grant. While there are a number of Homeland Security Grants, there are few, if any, that will assist in infrastructure funding for police and fire.
Discussion was held about the possibility of adding onto the police station in the current location. Brian said that it was very restrictive due to DCR land and the Cohen bill. Mark Bibace was going to check with Growth Management to see if they had maps showing the restricted areas.
There were discussions about the ability to expand to the fire station based on the poor soil condition under the existing building and the current problems with settling. We should include an engineering study of the fire station in the RFP if we want one.
There was discussion that the future of the DPW played a role in the location of the fire station(s). The current building houses 2 pieces of fire apparatus which are staffed by the DPW employees during the day and which service the south end of Holden. If the DPW were to move to another area of town, the engines would have to go with them. If the new location wasn’t in the south end, some type of station would have to be placed there to provide adequate coverage for the residents and businesses.
Discussion was held about various sites that had been considered before including the Holden Hospital site. UMass would like to unload it but there is around 1 million dollars for haz-mat remediation work needed.
It was decided that the committee would have a meeting at 9 AM November 25th in order to tour the fire station, police station, ambulance quarters and various sites. We will meet at the fire station.
A decision was made that the agenda for our meeting on December 6th should include:
Election of Officers
How to disseminate information to the public and get feedback
A time slot for public forum/opinion
What we want to put in a RFP.
Both the police and fire have books of Guidelines for Designing Fire and Police Stations that will be circulated to all the members. Chris Lucchesi was the first to take the books.
The meeting adjourned around 9:15 PM
Approved: December 6, 2006