January 13 Select Board Meeting: Covid-19 updates and Franklin Street winter plaza discussion
Chair Collins began the meeting by paying remembrance to Michael Lehane. The Passing of a Giant of a Lawyer, Michael C. Lehane | Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP (mhtl.com) Other board members spoke at this time of their memories and experiences with him.
Milton remains in the high-risk category for the 3rd consecutive week.
The free Covid-19 testing program has been very successful, 861 Covid-19 tests were administered last Sunday. Also, vaccine distribution has begun. 50 vaccinations were given to the towns first responders, however there are supply concerns as another 50 were ordered for next week, but the town is only being given 40.
The kinks in the system are being worked out, parks and playgrounds are being reopened, the library curbside program has been a success, and the CARES relief money has been extended by 366 days which means that any money unused will be available.
The Town Administrator would like to continue to offer the free Covid-19 testing into February, possibly the first two Sundays, so the contract with Fallon Transformative Healthcare would need to be amended. Concerns over not having enough vaccines for first responders were voiced at this time and it was mentioned that Gillette stadium is open for vaccinations to first responders.
In addition to using CARES relief money for extending the contract with Fallon Transformative Healthcare, the Select Board is also looking into adding additional school buses so as to cover transportation costs to the elementary schools. The Board motioned in favor of, though Fallon will need to be addressed as an agenda item at another meeting since it is not an agenda item currently.
The Audit Committee spoke about the June 2020 audit. They provided a detailed list of expenditures and reconciliations.
The Town has been proactive and the Audit Committee is strong and involved.
The Board motioned in favor of an extension to the audit agreement with Powers and Sullivan through June 30, 2021. They also motioned for an additional agreement through June 30, 2022.
Franklin Street winter plaza update
Tim Czerwienski, the Director of Planning and Community Development, joined the meeting with a presentation. The presentation featured designs created by the design consultant and highlighted the positives such as the potential boost to the business district economy. The design could be a good possible investment for the town going forward, and he reminded the Board that the ‘pilot is the process’. Public comment was open at this time.
Some of the issues raised were concerns over traffic and safety, delivery trucks loading zones and maintenance and cleaning storage. Some of the calls in favor were supportive due to the creation of a safe and socially distanced atmosphere that would be good for the local business economy. The idea of a sunset clause was widely favored, maybe a 3-month period with an end date to be determined.
Chief King joined the meeting and voiced his three major concerns at this time. The first being the volume of cars that utlilize Franklin Street creating even more traffic issues, and light impacts on side streets. The second issue being delivery trucks using Franklin Street now, and figuring where they will divert to. And his last concern is that a partial closure can often times be seen as more confusing then a full closure.
This project proposal will move to the next meeting as an agenda item.
Kidder Library RFP proposals
The town is accepting requests for proposals (RFPs) from those who might want to purchase the former Kidder building on 101 Blue Hills Pkwy. The Board motioned in favor of an appraisal.
There are currently 4 projects, consisting of 3 different consultants for each project for a total of 12 contracts. Being a time sensitive matter, The Board motioned in favor of moving forward with the authorization for the Town Administrator to sign.
The Board discussed the approval needed regarding the update to the transfer of the license from RCN telecom services of Massachusetts LLC to Stonepeak infrastructure partners. The Board decided to have Attorney Soloman take a look at the license and see what, if anything, can be improved. The first part of the public hearing is scheduled to take place on February 10.
Additional items of discussion
Town Administrator, Michael Dennehy, introduced Karen Preval as the town’s new Finance Director and accountant.
The Board discussed the Logan Airport 2018/2019 EDR. The FAA released its Neighborhood Environmental Survey regarding over flight noise annoyance. The Board has until March 15 to gather any public comment responses.
Future meeting dates, possibly January 20 and January 27.