Toyota

Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Monday, March 31, 2008

Middleboro: Life is complicated enough ....

A wise man once said that if you were going to lie, you better have a good memory.

Since life is so complicated and few seem to have the appropriate memory, it seems to make sense -- even when trying to make a public relations case or sell what is going on in Middleboro.
Those who have misstated the facts and subsequently contradicted themselves clearly believe no one is paying attention. But others are beginning to watch BOS meetings and remember what has been said. And many are pointing that out to me.
At one point, a fire fighter spoke at the Middleboro BOS meeting and explained that AMR ambulances were being dispatched from Natick and that was delaying the emergency response.
Was it?
And those who have followed some of my posts are fully aware that I have listened to town residents, the ones who are paying the bills, complain about 4 vehicles responding to emergency calls.
On my way to the BOS meeting this evening, I noticed that 2 police cruisers and the Middleboro Fire Department Rescue vehicle had responded to a home on Wood St.
Proceeding down Wood St., the AMR ambulance, lights flashing, travelling at full speed raced to the scene.
Town residents have complained to me that the Middleboro Police cruisers and the Fire Department Rescue vehicle leave the Central Fire Station long before the AMR ambulance.
They have commented about being near the Central Fire Station or sitting at intersections and witnessing the town vehicles with AMR long delayed.
Lest you become convinced that their observations are questionable, allow me to share a personal tale.
Several weeks ago, after enduring the 'flu' that developed into respiratory problems, it became evident that I had to call an ambulance for transport to Morton Hospital with oxygen. When I placed the call, I explained that it wasn't a life-threatening emergency (surely, a disappointment to some), but was experiencing difficulty breathing.
Two police cruisers and the Fire Department Rescue truck arrived first.
Several minutes later, AMR appeared, sirens blaring, travelling at full speed.
On the way to Morton with oxygen, I asked the EMT where AMR was being dispatched from these days. He assured me that AMR was being dispatched from the Central Fire Station.
Now I'm really confused and maybe the Selectmen can explain this issue to me.
If 4 Emergency Vehicles are being dispatched from the same location, why are others observing that AMR Ambulance arrives last? Why are others observing that AMR ambulance is leaving the Central Fire Station after the Middleboro Fire Rescue vehicle? Why do we need 4 vehicles responding to emergency situations? What happens to the Town's liability when a person requiring ALS doesn't receive it in a timely fashion because of whatever policy is or is not in place?
What happens when someone dies because of the policy that causes the delay in dispatching AMR ambulances? What happens if it's your loved one?
What is the policy that's in place? Maybe the BOS can explain what the policy is and why lives are being jeopardized on their watch. Is this what is causing the overtime in both departments?
The comments of others who have witnessed the same would be appreciated. Does this require an explanation from the BOS?

Verizon: Your Cheatin' Heart .....#3

Middleboro's Verizon customers have heard so many dog ate homework stories, one quickly looses track of WHEN Verizon was going to have local access available.

Was it last week, this week or next month or weather-permitting?

It would seem that Verizon's most grievous error was not swearing their installers to secrecy.
An installer last week told a Middleboro customer -- who incidentally ONLY installed the service because of the promise of imminent connection to local access, that they just finished connecting Wareham last week, so would connect Middleboro this week.
If anyone knows someone in Wareham who has the misfortune of having Verizon it might be interesting to ask when they were promised local access and the stories they have been told.
The Middleboro fiasco could have been easily resolved and kept customers happy by simply having a Verizon employee pick up the DVDs or tapes from ComCast and deliver them to Woburn.
Simple solution for an honorable company. Guess it doesn't apply to Verizon.
Past practice seems to dictate: Don't switch to Verizon unless they already offer what they advertise. Promises don't count!


Verizon and the Middleboro BOS
Verizon: Your Cheatin' Heart .....
Verizon: Your Cheatin' Heart .....#2
Verizon: Never Take No for an Answer!
Verizon
Can you hear me now? Verizon says No!
Verizon: Still Not Listening?
Verizon
Verizon

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Middleboro Selectmen's Agenda March 31, 2008

SELECTMEN’S AGENDA
Monday, March 31, 2008


A. SELECTMEN’S MINUTES
March 3, 2008 and March 24, 2008

B. HEARINGS, MEETINGS & LICENSES
7:05 PM Health Officer Discussion re Massage Regulation issue and
Kevin Murphy’s Installer permit – owes municipal fees
7:15 PM Public Hearing Class II Auto Application
7:30 PM Executive Session

C. NEW BUSINESS
1. Approve appointment of Bridgewater Permanent Police Officers as Special Police Officers.
2. Request Permission for Tag Fund Raising Dates.
3. Request from Sacred Heart Parish for One-day All Alcoholic Beverages Liquor license.
4. Request from Rocky Meadow Development Corp. for one-year extension for E.R. Permit.
5. Town Hall Rental Request – MA Highway Public Hrg. Re Rte 44 Intersection.
6. Discuss ATM/STM Warrant Articles.
7. Surplus Equipment for dump disposal.
D. OLD BUSINESS
E. TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT
F. SELECTMEN’S BILLS
G. OTHER
H. CORRESPONDENCE
I. EXECUTIVE SESSION
Pending Litigation/Collective Bargaining

MEETING WILL BE HELD AT TOWN HALL
10 NICKERSON AVENUE
MIDDLEBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

Town of Middleborough

Middleboro and Energy Savings: Are we even asking?

The following article was published in November 2007 reporting energy savings by the Taunton School System:



School district energy savings plan coming to fruition

By Gerry Tuoti, Staff Writer
GateHouse News Service
Posted Nov 07, 2007 @ 10:25 PM
TAUNTON —
The school district’s energy program is conserving electricity and saving considerable money, district Energy Manager Matthew Stellar told the School Committee Tuesday.“We hope to achieve a savings of 25 percent over the current year,” he said. “We’re currently on pace for that.”Over the past seven months, the district has realized a $570,000 savings for utilities, Stellar said. The district spent $2.7 million on utilities, but would have had to spend $3.2 million without the energy program.
Taunton Gazette


MTC offers Community Energy Opportunities. Their 45 page pdf report includes:


K-12 Schools & College
Residence Halls
- Energy costs are second only
to salaries for many school
districts
- About 30% of energy used is
“waste” energy, from system
inefficiencies
- Low-cost measures can reduce
energy bills by 10% or more;
other investments can yield 25-
30% savings


Government Office Buildings &
Courthouses
-10% of a government agency’s
operating budget is spent on energy
(source: DOE)
- About 30% of energy used is “waste”
energy, from system inefficiencies


If Middleboro's town budget is ~ $ 60 Million, what could we save?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

As a taxpayer, why I support Charles Shea

It isn't often that the office of Assessor is a contested race.

This year is an exception that has forced some to consider the office and its responsibilities.

As a taxpayer, you are presented with an opportunity to elect an experienced Assessor to the Board of Assessors who is willing to offer professional expertise to serve the Town.

The choice seems simple.

The following statement was offered by Mr. Charles Barry Shea:

My name is Charles Shea and I’m a candidate for Assessor of Middleborough.

My wife and I bought a piece of land in 2000 and built our house with the help of Al Gamache the following year.

Ted Eayrs, on candidates' night, asked me if I wanted to “micro-manage” the office. No. I don’t.

Neither do I want to advantage myself due to my position, nor do I want to bend rules to save myself a few tax dollars. I want to be part of a multi-member team with the goal of “full and fair” valuation for all taxpayers in the community.

I do want to bring some of my varied, out of town, experience to the department. I’ve worked with their appraisal software since 1982 in numerous towns. I’m helping install it this year in Rochester. I’ve been the Assessor’s contractor in Rochester since 1988. I’ve valued Tony Sol’s pig farm. I’ve appraised Semass’s land. I did revaluations in New Braintree and Oakham. I know “rural”. I appraised the Swansea Mall, The Chatham Bars Inn and P’Town’s commercial real estate. I reviewed the Prudential and Hancock Towers. I know resorts and I know high values. I reviewed the entire town of Mashpee in 1982. I believe Middleborough can benefit from my experience.

I’m a proponent of “quarterly tax billing”. It’s financially sound and fiscally responsible. I’m also a proponent of a July 1 assessment date for new construction. The “growth”, the new tax dollars as a result of this new construction, becomes part of the levy limit base a year earlier. Both of these aspects increase revenue dollars. They require no new personnel and no additional effort.

I’m a proponent for Elderly Exemptions. These folks have paid full taxes for years. Many are now on low, fixed incomes. Their kids are long out of school. I have supported increasing the state recommended exemption amounts. I have supported expanding the thresholds for income and assets, allowing more elderly to qualify and giving them a bigger break. The younger families in town understand and approve.

I maintain an excellent relationship with Army Master Sergeant Joe Colantoni, a veteran’s agent with whom I, as a Deputy Assessor, work. He knows how I feel about our veterans.

I look forward to serving the Town of Middleborough as their elected assessor. I assure each and every taxpayer of my efforts on their behalf to increase the efficiency and enhance the effectiveness of the department.

Charles B. Shea

Energy: Retrofitting Older Buildings

With rising energy costs and oil at + $107 per barrel, the focus is on savings.

Since most of the Cambridge housing stock and municipal buildings are more than 50 years old, the solutions are innovative. Take a look at what they did with the City Hall Annex. Maybe we could employ some of their ideas with Middleboro's buildings. What could we save?

PBS offered the following NOW program with video on its site:

Save Energy, Save Money, Save the Planet
Could a new effort to fight global warming save money and create jobs at the same time? NOW looks at a city-wide plan in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to make all its buildings more energy efficient. Up to 80 percent of emissions in many urban cities comes from buildings. Cambridge hopes that this unprecedented effort to green its buildings will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent in just five years, the equivalent of taking 33,000 cars off the road. If every major city in America took the same approach, it would have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of the United States —and it would generate tens of millions of new "green" jobs.
The Cambridge Energy Alliance, a nonprofit group, will help clients cut their energy use 15-30 percent, which translates into a lower utility bill. The Alliance will then help clients secure loans to pay for the building retrofits, loans designed to pay themselves off by the savings on those utility bills. Retrofitting thousands of buildings could also create a new green job market in Cambridge. It's a bold new experiment, but the Alliance hopes to become a national model that puts green thinking on display, as well as more green in people's pockets. Will this entrepreneurial effort bring new converts to the environmental movement? NOW on PBS

Friday, March 28, 2008

Middleboro Information

There's a great deal of information available that becomes overwhelming at times.

Some of the information has been posted on nemasket because of greater space available:

Department of Revenue Report

Quarterly Tax Billing

Misc Documents

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taunton and Plymouth both have major film endeavors and when questions and challenges have been raised about my personal ideas about NEW sources of revenue, it surely makes one wonder about the viability in Middleboro.
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The Boston Globe offered the following:
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Tax breaks draw films, but cost state
$120m revenue loss over 3 years fuels critics' call for cuts to program
By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / March 27, 2008
Encouraged by a bundle of new tax incentives, dozens of movie and television directors have flocked to the Bay State in the past year - bringing actors like Kevin Spacey, Cameron Diaz, and Matthew McConaughey to the area for filming. But stardom has its price.
more stories like this

According to a report by the Department of Revenue, the tax incentives have cost the state $119 million to $120 million in lost tax revenue over the past three years, which could give new ammunition to critics of the tax incentives and may force the state to cut back on other spending. The analysis comes at a time when the state faces a $1.3 billion budget deficit that could make it a challenge to fund the tax breaks.
"Government should stop playing favorites with various industries," said Barbara Anderson, the executive director of the Center for Limited Taxation and a longtime crusader for smaller government in the state. "This is about politicians rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities."
But the report also suggests the film productions have generated $545 million in direct spending from 88 productions, which supporters say has given a major boost to the local economy and outweighed the cost of the tax breaks. The report also cited employment data that indicated the state has created hundreds of jobs in the motion picture and video industries.
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The Department of Revenue offers a 13 page report in pdf format at LINK.
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I would be interested in the comments of others on this issue.

Middleboro Candidates' Night #1






Middleboro's Candidates' Night

The following excerpts froom Candidates' Night have been posted:

Video #1

Video #2

Middleboro: Together, We Can Do This!

Middleboro Residents and Town Employees have some great ideas and solutions to the fiscal problems confronting the Town, but no one is listening.
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At the Finance Committee Meeting on March 24, the Town Treasurer indicated that Workers' Compensation for Town Employees (excluding Police and Fire for which the Town self-insures) costs the Town about $500K per year and the costs are escalating each year.
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Historically, the Town self-insured for ALL employees and the costs were less.
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The Town Treasurer went on to say that any change had to come from the Board of Selectmen on this issue. If you've been watching the Selectmen's Meetings, you know they haven't discussed the issue.
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If Middleboro could save $100,000 by self-insuring, that's a fire fighter or 2 more teachers.
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We have choices to make to save money within the existing budget. Let's make the right ones.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tilting at wind mills? #2

Rising energy costs are sucking the vitality out of the economy and Middleboro's budget.

Any discussion of improving the local economy or the Massachusetts economy needs to consider what others are doing.

There's revenue to be generated in local green projects, local green businesses and attracting those businesses, coupled with conservation.

Taunton Schools saved ~ $500K with energy conservation alone. What could Middleboro accomplish?

The following is an assortment of energy and environment related articles:





New Record: Wind Powers 40% Of Spain
Wind power is breaking new records in Spain, accounting for just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed during a brief period last weekend. As heavy winds lashed Spain on Saturday evening wind parks generated 9,862 megawatts of power which translated to 40.8 percent of total consumption. Between Friday and Sunday wind power accounted for an average of 28 percent of all electricity demand in Spain. Spain’s wind power generation equaled that of hydropower for the first time in 2007. ENN
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Green Towers In Malaysia Modeled After Fleet Of Ships
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Slab of Antarctic ice shelf collapses amid warming

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite images show that a large hunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf has started to collapse in a fast-warming region of the continent, scientists said on Tuesday.The area of collapse measured about 160 square miles of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, according to satellite imagery from the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center.The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad sheet of permanent floating ice that spans about 5,000 square miles (13,000 square km) and is located on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula about 1,000 miles south of South America. ENN
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Low Impact Living.com Launches Groundbreaking Household Environmental Impact Calculator & Rating System

LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2008)— Low Impact Living.com, the largest green home improvement site online, has launched a groundbreaking new Household Environmental Impact Calculator and rating system. These tools will help Americans understand their environmental impacts and chart a course to a more eco-friendly home and lifestyle. (Please see the calculator at www.lowimpactliving.com) ENN
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The tool also provides is insight into the economics of green projects.

“Many consumers have no idea that in many states they can get $5,000 in incentives to put up solar panels, or that they can buy green power from their utility,” said Jessica Jensen, Co-founder of Low Impact Living, Inc. “We help consumers understand the costs and incentives for green projects so that they can take informed environmental action.”About www.LowImpactLiving.com

Low Impact Living.com is the largest green home improvement site online. We teach consumers how to make their homes and lives more eco-friendly, and then help them find the best green products and local service providers. ####
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Sharp to spend Y100 bln on solar cell plant: report
TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp will spend close to 100 billion yen ($882.9 million) to build the world's largest solar cell factory in Japan, Chairman Katsuhiko Machida was quoted by the Nikkei business daily as saying.
The plant will be built next to Sharp's
LCD panel factory currently under construction in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.
It will produce thin-film solar cells, which use less silicon than conventional cells, starting in fiscal 2009, the Nikkei said in its Saturday edition.

Town Manager Candidates: A Re-Visit

During the interview process for a new Town Manager, some of the comments from the candidates were impressive and deserve a review of the Selectmen's Meeting Minutes.
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Mr. Peter Fohlin serves as Town Manager for Williamston. You may recall that Selectman Spataro publicly insulted the candidate in a bizarre display.
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The following are comments that were striking:
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Mr. Fohlin said there needs to be a common understanding of the word “deficit”.
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He said just because everyone asks for more than we can afford does not necessarily constitute a deficit, but rather a “disappointment”.
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He said the first thing to do is to determine what the actual deficit is. He created a spreadsheet to address this.
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After a couple years, he was able to perfectly forecast the deficit and noted a perpetual half million dollar deficit. This would require an override every year.
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The fundamental way to cure it is to “tighten our belts and reign in our budgets”. He said he believes in revenue driven budgets, not expense driven.
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He said there are 2 choices: more revenue or less spending. He said he didn’t know the long history of Middleboro.
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At the end of a day, a realist can project State aid.
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Once you do this, you balance your budget, figuring what you can and can’t live without. He said he didn’t believe in “saving our way to success”.
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You can’t turn to employees and not give raises because that “can’t buy the groceries”. He said intelligent choices need to be made in balancing expenditures and revenue. It is not complicated.
Town of Middleborough

Middleboro Health Care Costs #2: Nothing to sneeze at!

Were Middleboro to adopt Chapter 32, Section 19, town retirees would be compelled to participate in Medicare for which they are eligible.
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Middleboro has ~ 300 retirees.
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Simple math:
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PPO cost, Ind. ....................$696.29 per month
Medex cost, Ind................. $424.57 per month
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SAVINGS TO THE TOWN $271.72 monthly per town retiree
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300 Retirees = $81,516 PER MONTH
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ANNUAL SAVINGS TO THE TOWN: $978,192
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My understanding from the Town Treasurer is that Medicare and Medex 3 would provide the same coverage, including prescription drug coverage, to retirees with the above cost savings.

Middleboro: Health Care Costs

As Middleboro's Annual Town Meeting (Tuesday, May 13th, please mark your calendars and attend) draws closer, the impacts on budgets will gain greater scrutiny.
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The health care costs are of major concern and additional information will be posted.
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Let's not allow the historical sacrificial lambs to suffer when alternatives are available that the Board of Selectmen are neglecting.
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Earlier in this forum (nemasket), when I commented about health care costs to the Town per employee, another poster, lacking the facts challenged my comments.
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The Town Treasurer indicated that health insurance costs had declined this year.
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The following is the list sent from the Treasurer's Office of costs for the upcoming fiscal year. (I'll send the doc to nemasket for post in the appropriate section so you can print it for yourself.)
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I would like to point out that THE TOWN'S SHARE 90% of the cost of health insurance for HMO Blue New England for family coverage is $14,380 PER YEAR
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Blue Care Elect (PPO) for family coverage is $15,579 PER YEAR.
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For each new town employee, those costs need to be taken into consideration and we need to have a dialogue about the costs.
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PLEASE POST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES
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The open enrollment period for health insurance, life insurance and dental insurance will be from May 15, 2008 to June 19, 2008 with an effective date of July 1, 2008. This is the time of year when you can change plans, if desired, without a qualifying event. If you are not currently a member of our health or dental groups, now is the time to join. If you are satisfied with your current plan, it is not necessary to do anything at all; your coverage will remain as it is. The monthly rates are as follows:
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...........................................Total ........Town.......Employee
..........................................Premium.. Share......Share
................................................................Per....... Per
.............................................................Month.... Month
HMO Blue New England Plan
............Ind..........................$508.21....457.39.......50.82
............Family..................$1,331.57....1,198.41....133.16
Blue Care Elect (PPO)
...........Ind..........................$696.29.....522.22........174.07
...........Family...................$1,731.00...1,298.25.....432.75
Medex 3 with Obra
...........Ind.........................$ 424.57........318.43.....106.14
Managed Care for Seniors
...........Ind.......................$ 420.32........315.24......105.08
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Informational booklets and enrollment forms are available at the Treasurer’s Office in the Bank Building. TREASURER'S MEMO


'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Margaret Mead

Tilting at wind mills?

The Massachusetts legislature appears ready to correct one of the biggest obstacles to alternative energy: NET METERING.

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In Europe, where the disparity doesn't exist, alternatives are feasible for the homeowner, growing in popularity and outstripping US installations.
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As the article in the Cape Cod Times explains, power sold by MMA is at 7 cents, but power purchased is at 17 cents.
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When that disparity is removed, it will go a long way to ensure the economic feasibility of alternative.
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Towns see big savings in wind
Gurnon, the president of Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, estimates his school saved $250,000 over the past year in electric bills because of power generated by a 660-kilowatt, 242-foot wind turbine installed in June 2006. And that's with a relatively low average wind speed last year, he said.
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Meanwhile a bill now in legislative conference committee would help the towns and Massachusetts Maritime Academy get more for the electricity their turbines generate.
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The proposed regulations would allow the owners of large turbines to be credited for excess electricity they generate at the price they would pay on the retail market.
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It is known as net metering, and Downey believes it will be included in the bill.
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Here's how it works:
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The maritime academy, for example, pays the retail price, 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, for any electricity it needs beyond that generated by the wind turbine,
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When corrected by the legislature:
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...MMA, which is now paid a wholesale price of 7 cents per kilowatt-hour for its surplus electricity, could apply that power against its total electric bill, at the retail price of 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. That more than doubles what the electricity they generate is worth to them.
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OF FALMOUTH: But not every town finds the current situation daunting. Meghan Amsler, co-chairwoman of the Falmouth Energy Committee, said her town is almost ready to seek bids on a turbine that will power its wastewater treatment plant.
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OTHER TOWNS: Three towns on Martha's Vineyard, and Provincetown, have articles on town meeting warrants asking voters for approval to begin negotiating with the energy cooperative. CCT
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Where is Middleboro?

Candidates' Event at COA April 2nd

The Middleboro Council on Aging has extended an invitation to all candidates to join the Council at an informal get together on Wednesday, April 2nd from 11:00AM - 1:00 PM.
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A refreshment table will be available to which participants can contribute.
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Lunch is served at noon, but requires a sign up the day before and a requested donation of $4.00. (508 946-2490)
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For town residents who are unfamiliar with the COA, this might be a good opportunity.
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Come for lunch. Ask some questions. Ask about the programs that the COA provides that are important in the community.
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'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Margaret Mead

Monday, March 24, 2008

Diane: Economic Growth #2

Diane,
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Since you've been following my posts for some time, you're aware of my interest in ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES. If you examine the employment numbers, job creation, local installation, manufacturing and so on, the numbers are impressive.
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Bellicose Bumpkin posted an appearance by Rep. Bosley on NECN that contained some comments about WEATHERIZATION. It would seem that that would reduce the stress caused by rising energy costs, as well as increase employment. The LIHEAP program has abandoned the emphasis on conservation.
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I'll post some additional articles for you that are pretty impressive, but for now, I'd like to pass along the following that was posted earlier on BMG:
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What's Next for Climate Change?
Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:15:16 PM EDT
(McLaughlin-style PREDICTION: CLEAN ENERGY IS THE DOT COM OF THE 2010'S!! 'Cause, like, we hardly have a choice.
BTW, here's the
OpenMass.org link to the legislation in question. - promoted by Charley on the MTA)
(my first post!)
With the
Cape Wind hearings being over, and recent posts about "What's Next?" it might be time for a what's next on Global Warming, which is going to be given a huge push at Massachusetts Power Shift , April 11-14 in Boston.
At the beginning of March, the State Senate (in closed door session) passed the
Global Warming Solutions Act , which would cap Mass greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. We overcame the voices of hesitation and polluting industry, but the fight rolls on to the House...
Getting a GHG cap passed in the Commonwealth should be the first goal to move us further down the path to sustainability and towards legislation to achieve those goals. To get this job done, young people from across the state are organizing Massachusetts' largest ever climate event in Boston, April 11-14.
Mass Power Shift is going to have tons of workshops (which aren't posted online yet) run by organizations ranging from 1Sky, Environment Massachusetts and the League of Conservation Voters to the MIT Sloan School, Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, Sustainnovation and Clean Power Now. Keynote speakers confirmed so far include James Woolsey, former CIA director, and Congressman Ed. Markey. They'll be local strategy sessions and lobby training, and a rally/concert on the Common.
We'll, of course, be finishing off the weekend with a lobby day to help get the Global Warming Solutions Act through the House. So come over and check us out, and register. This is what's next.
MoBeach42 :: What's Next for Climate Change?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, April 5th Middleboro Town Election

One might not believe there's a Town Election judging from the lack of announcement on Town property, but Saturday, April 5th polls are open 8AM until 8 PM.
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Please mark your calendars and don't forget.
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The following positions are contested:

Board of Selectmen vote for two:
Marsha Brunelle, incumbent
Muriel Duphily
Frederick Eayrs
Thomas Murphy
Michael OShaughnessy
Jessie Powell
Gregory Stevens

School Committee vote for two:
Paul Hilton, incumbent
Joseph Masi, Jr, incumbent
Roger Haber

Board of Assessors vote for one:
Diane Maddigan
Charles Shea
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If you can't get to the polls on April 5th, call the Town Clerk for an absentee ballot: 508 946-2415.




Lincoln Andrews: Your Question

At Candidates' Night, Lincoln Andrews rose to ask 2 questions.
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The first question pertained to how many times each candidate had attended town meetings.
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Peter Kenney raised the issue regarding a Cape newspaper asking the same question (article excerpts and link below for any who care to read it in its entirety).
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It would seem that some of us form an opinion of what's important that's set in stone and totally unyielding. Some might question if this is the correct measure of qualification.
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Some of us have watched the whining of self-proclaimed Town Fathers who offer NO solutions, yet criticize others. Then those same Town Fathers condemn others for the very negativity for which they are guilty.
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How many times have we heard the whine about poor town meeting attendance, poor voter participation?
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Lincoln, what have YOU personally done to change attendance besides whining?
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A number of us, mostly anonymous, have distributed voter registration forms.
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A number of us have knocked on our neighbors' doors, explained WHY it's important to educate ourselves, attend town meeting, ask questions and above all else, REGISTER TO VOTE.
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Two posters on nemasket have commented that someone took the time to explain the WHY.
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That voters are commenting makes me so proud of what others have taken the time to accomplish, but it needs to continue -- like a chain letter. Each person who has suddenly figured that out needs to pass it along so that the numbers continue to grow.
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At the 11/5 STM, I was surrounded with newbies who asked for explanations, several of whom rose to the microphone. Did you notice that a quorum was achieved? A number of us called voters to remind them of the event that WAS NOT widely publicized by the Town.
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Lincoln, you did what?
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Voters call me to ask for explanations of the basic function of town government which the town is not providing. You will note that I suggested on nemasket the need for a non-partisan PAC that would be intended to EDUCATE AND INFORM. about the basics of town government, what all those terms used at town meeting mean and so on.
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It was pretty curious that one of those TOWN FATHERS (who happens to be female) immediately responded 'it won't work.'
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Your ideas?
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Other than criticizing me anonymously, I'm not hearing any ideas from you.
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The voter registration deadline is 10 days before the Special Town Meeting and 20 days before the Annual Town Meeting scheduled for May 13th. I have voter registration forms and the street listing should be available from the Town Clerk. Can we count on you to participate? Send a comment and I'll contact you if you're interested.
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Public Disservice
... since we are talking about the past record of individual voters, implying some connection between the number of times they have voted and their worthiness to run for or hold public office...
I think we should develop a local affairs test and see how many people on Main Street in Hyannis can pass it.
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Happily, the world of the blog is expanding. It is no longer necessary to have one's mind formed by schools of journalism and one's views dictated by Daddy Warbucks, right or left. Unhappily, anyone can blog.
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I'll let everyone know when we will be administering the local affairs knowledge exam, or AKE. Right about now _____ is probably developing a severe head AKE.

Verizon: Still Not Listening?

Verizon did a promotional mailing to Middleboro residents promoting their products.
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Included was a Channel Lineup EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 2007.
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Within that lineup were Local Programming channels.
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Dear Verizon:
You don't currently provide those channels in Middleboro.

Duxbury: Prop 2 1/2 Override

The following Boston Globe article represents the recent experience in Duxbury at attempts to pass a Prop 2 1/2 override. You will note that the portion that passed was the Capital Exclusion:

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Duxbury voters reject one override, pass two others
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Duxbury voters on Saturday defeated a $1 million tax override to fund design studies for the renovation or reconstruction of the town's police station and fire stations.
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Two other tax increase measures on Saturday's ballot passed, including a $616,774 override for new equipment for town schools and other departments, such as textbooks, technology upgrades, and new vehicles. The measure was a capital exclusion tax override, meaning that the increased spending will be added to the tax levy for one year only. The projected tax increase from the new equipment is expected to add $108 to the average homeowner tax bill of $641,300, according to finance director John Madden. BostonGlobe

Middleboro Selectmen's Agenda March 24, 2008

The following Agenda is posted in the Bank Building (copied long hand, not on the Town's Web Site):
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A. Selectmen's Minutes 3/17/08
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B. Hearing, meetings, licenses
7:05 Conservation Commission
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C. New Business
1. Approve and sign warrant for Annual Town Election
2. Vote to appoint a member of Board of Registrars
3. Request from Middleboro Youth Softball League for placement of sign on Town Hall lawn
4. Request for MYSL for Board to publicly announce date of league's 2008 Opening Day
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D. Old business
1. Public announcement re: Community Outreach Emergency Preparedness
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E. Town Manager's Report
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F. Selectmen's Bills
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G. Other
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H. Correspondence
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I. Executive Session
Pending litigation/Collective Bargaining




Saturday, March 22, 2008

Diane: Economic Growth

Diane,

You have raised the issue of revenue sources and economic growth and asked for a list of my ideas, as have others.
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What is often observed is that by listing ideas, considerations become self-limiting.
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You might consider a number of the comments found on BMG.
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I believe the ideas we've put forth in the life sciences, clean energy, the proposal to close corporate loopholes, the various bond bills, the film tax credit and the effort at managed competition in auto insurance are good government solutions--examples of what we can do when we work together. But our best solutions on how to grow the economy, provide good jobs at good wages, and provide property tax relief for communities and residents are needed today.
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Towns out to be investigating in their own wind turbines - and many of them are already doing that, thankfully. In many cases, just 2-3 wind turbines could power most of the town through most of the year. (Just ask Hull.)

Candidates' Night in Middleboro

The inimitable Jane Lopes, editor of the Middleboro Gazette, assured the audience that Candidates' Night will be re-broadcast for all to see.
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I believe she indicated that ComCast, not to be confused with that other company, Verizon, would air the programs --
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Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM
Sunday 10 AM
Wednesday and Thursday 7 PM
I'm sure that the times will be broadcast on channel 9 tomorrow for confirmation.

Corrections appreciated if others recorded different times.
(Keep in mind that the BOS meetings will be aired Monday & Tuesday on ComCast, not on Verizon)
nemasket

Diane: Take a look at this

Diane,
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You asked me about new business in Middleboro and you might be interested in the following comment that was posted anonymously:
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"Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"
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Anonymous said...
Middleboro has the opportunity to become the distribution hub on the South Shore, but is too stupid to see the opportunity.
Manufacturing is dead, just like the stupid casino, lego land and airport ideas this town comes up with.
I ask the Middleboro Leaders to look around and think.
The Christmas Tree shop is distribution, Sager is Distribution......More and more goods are made in China (Sad but true) and shipped for distribution in the US.
Internet ordering creates order fulfillment direct from distribution centers, thus avoiding store altogether.
Middleboro has the land and highway connections, which many towns lack.
With fuel costs on the rise, mail order companies will need distribution centers closer to their customers. LL Bean, HSN, QVC, BassPro, Cabellas, Limited Brands are companies Middleboro's business development people should be contacting.
March 21, 2008 2:07 PM
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Diane,
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the anonymous poster omitted that Middleboro also has a freight rail line.
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I have continually stated that townspeople have some great ideas and suggestions and no one is listening. As a member of the Board of Selectmen, I would support an informal workshop every Saturday morning to process bills, consider future plans, address problems and provide townspeople with an opportunity to express their concerns, complaints, ideas and suggestions.
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Aggressively pursuing Equestrian Events and competitions has been discussed.
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At one point, the Trail Riders group was working toward having riding trails from one end of the town to the other. I contacted them because my property falls between several town-owned parcels that could be considered for connection, but the group seems to be inactive at this time and several of the active members have moved out of town. Maybe it's time to pursue that issue again.
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Bio-tech and energy are important industries that the Commonwealth will lead in the future. Middleboro needs to take an active leadership role.

Dr. Sullivan: You have a problem ....

At Middleboro's Candidates' Night on Thursday, March 20, Neil Rosenthal asked the candidates for School Committee about the incident of child abuse that has been widely reported in the media and labelled the school's handling 'INSTITUTIONAL INERTIA.'
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For those members of the Middleboro community with ComCast, a viewing of that exchange is a necessity because of the clear revelations of a callous and inept committee.
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For those members of the Middleboro community with Verizon, maybe you can have a friend with ComCast tape the event for you to view. You need to watch it!
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The School Committee and the Superintendent have danced around carefully worded phrases, nonsense about legalities and protecting the rights of the victim and perpetrators, and an insistence they 'followed protocol.'
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Incumbent School Committee member, Joseph Masi, Jr. told a member of the audience that if he thought it was easy, he should take out nomination papers and run for School Committee.
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Is that what an outraged community wants to hear? Think about his comments when you cast your ballot on Saturday, April 5.
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A child was sent home to be abused and tortured.
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The community wants assurances that action will be taken to assure that an incident such as this WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN and YOU will put into place ALL necessary protections to provide that assurance.
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The community doesn't need to know the details, legalities or protocol. And frankly, the community doesn't care.
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Dr. Sullivan, YOU failed. Accept some culpability and do what needs to be done. The community deserves more than arrogant assurances that YOU followed protocol.
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School Superintendent Robert M. Sullivan defended the actions of his department.
School staff members followed normal procedures by notifying the Department of Social Services of the possible abuse, Sullivan said. Enterprise
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Local Aid

The following information from DOR might be of interest to some:


On March 20, 2008, the State Senate approved House Bill 4595, which was previously approved by the House of Representative. House Bill 4595 is a resolution concerning the three major local aid accounts. This resolution represents a legislative agreement as to the amounts of Chapter 70, Additional Assistance and Lottery aid to be paid to municipalities and regional school districts in FY09. These amounts are consistent with the aid appearing in Section 3 of the Governor's FY09 Budget Proposal (House 2). The Legislature approved this measure to provide reliable estimates for local governments to use in their budget planning process.

We have posted an Excel spreadsheet on the Municipal Databank website with the amounts for each city, town and regional school district. The spreadsheet is available for downloading at:
http://www.mass.gov/Ador/docs/dls/mdmstuf/StateAid/localaidres09.xls

All other Cherry Sheet programs will be subject to debate as the House and Senate prepare their budget proposals. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to release their version of the budget in April and the Senate version will be available in May.

Updated preliminary Cherry Sheet estimates to reflect the amounts contained in the resolution will be posted on the DLS website early next week. However, all other program estimates will remain blank until the House and Senate budget proposals have been released. For these accounts, the Governor's Budget estimates represent the best available numbers for budget planning purposes. Please be aware that these other estimates will likely change as the state budget process unfolds.

If you need additional information, please contact Lisa Juszkiewicz, Jared Curtis or Donnette Benvenuto at 617-626-2384.
https://www.dor.state.ma.us/apps/feedback/dls/listserv.asp

Selectmen's Agenda 3-24-08

A comment was made at Candidates' Night that the Middleboro BOS would be discussing Quarterly Tax Billing at their 3-24-08 Meeting.
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The Agenda isn't posted on the Town's Web Site, does anyone know what's on the Agenda?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lincoln Andrews: In response to anonymous comments ....

In response to anonymous comments posted initially by Lincoln Andrews, former Selectman, that were trivial, it seemed an answer was necessary.
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Lincoln, it's time to raise the level of discussion. Clearly, judging from my emails, others expected better of you.
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I have consistently heard two comments from you: 1. There is little that the BOS can do with the budget; 2. The Town needs a Prop 2 1/2 Override.
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Are those solutions? I think not!
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Following are edited comments:
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Well, Striper, since you put this front and center, let me comment further.
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Those comments originated from a poster who is posting under the name of 'Yes' in that other venue.
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He was posting under the name of 'Roots' on the nemasket forum until I challenged several questionable statements made by him.
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One of those statements indicated the intent of the town to sell house lots on the Fuller St property to reimburse the town for the cost of buying the land to prevent a 40B subdivision.
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That property LACKS road frontage.
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When I asked 'Roots' how the town could sell house lots without road frontage, he failed to respond and deleted his membership.
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That poster is Lincoln Andrews, a former Selectman who as a former member of the Planning Board should be fully aware that road frontage is required.
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He failed to explain his comments.
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So, it seems that Lincoln Andrews, rather than making informed comments would rather toss out uninformed information and criticism.
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Lincoln Andrews passed me on his way out of the COA last night and certainly could have questioned why I was standing in the hallway.
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It happened to be during a period when questions were being asked about the casino agreement.
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In my opinion, there is a Town that needs to be run regardless of what happens -- casino or no.
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The casino process appears beyond the control of the BOS at this time and there are many others involved who will determine its outcome, but not the BOS.
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Instead, Lincoln chose to make up nonsense because he lacks any substance and is incapable of adhering to the issues.
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Lincoln, how about let's talk about the issues and money?
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The current Board of Selectmen have grossly neglected MANY significant issues in the governing process to the detriment of the Town.
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It has cost YOU the taxpayer money by their neglect.
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Tax bills were sent out 3 months' late because of the BOS actions/inactions.
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Do you believe that's defensible, Lincoln? Are you content to accept issues such as that without comment? What about the $150,000 it cost the town?
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The recommendations contained in the Department of Revenue Report and the previous Auditors' Reports have been ignored.
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Sending out tax bills promptly and adopting Quarterly Tax Billing should produce an additional + $300K per year, depending on interest rates.
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Better fiscal management will improve the town's bond rating.
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It's not sexy or glamorous, but it's a hidden cost YOU as a taxpayer absorb.
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Wasn't it Lincoln Andrews who asked about a Prop 2 1/2 override?
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I agree with Steve McKinnon FULLY and will support a Prop 2 1/2 override 5 days after hell freezes over!
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I saw a COD oil truck yesterday that announced a gallon of home heating fuel for $3.74.
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We have friends, in new homes, buying 100 gallons of home heating fuel at a time because of the costs.
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This is NOT the time to ask anyone for more money, UNLESS AND UNTIL EVERY DIME HAS BEEN SQUEEZED OUT OF THE BUDGET.
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It's time to run the town with the cooperation of ALL to the best of our ability.
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And it's time to focus on the dull and boring dollars we're misspending.
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And, Lincoln, it's time to discard your petty nonsense and address the substantive issues, like money and solutions.
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It's not sexy, but the facts are rather dull and boring -- it's about money and what we can do by working with ALL departments to improve the town's fiscal condition.
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Whether ANYONE attends or has attended Town Meeting in the past, does not excuse tax bills being sent out 3 months late. Nor does it excuse the inaction on important issues.
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The next several years will be difficult for many and not easy for municipalities.
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Let's not continue to get bogged down in your trivial anonymous attacks for which you're becoming known, but work to move forward and accomplish what needs to be done.
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We need every single idea and suggestion that is offered instead of trivial attacks. And townspeople have presented some constructive suggestions. It's time to listen.
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'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Margaret Mead

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Candidates' Night in Middleboro

Middleboro Gazette editor, Jane Lopes and the COA deserve thanks for sponsoring a successful Candidates' Night, as do all of those Verizon customer who lack local access coverage who filled the audience.
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There are some interesting contested races that deserve attention.
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For those unable to attend due to the religious significance of the day, ComCast will re-broadcast, I believe:
Friday, Saturday 7:30 PM
Sunday 10 AM
Wednesday, Thursday 7 PM
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the following are some comments offered:
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Middleboro is undergoing fiscal problems created by poor historical decisions.
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Today’s sound-byte is ‘REVENUE’ with little consideration or facts.

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I would suggest instead, that what is labeled REVENUE, should be considered:

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1. Lost opportunities
2. Costs Savings
3. Lost Revenue
4. Misspent funds

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The other candidates speak of attracting new businesses, yet ignore the Office Park at South Pointe that Middleboro opposed in court . When the developer prevailed in court, his tenants were gone.
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Middleboro has missed other opportunities and discouraged other clean businesses.

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You might not label spending money wisely and getting the biggest bang for your buck as REVENUE and it’s not exciting, but the results are the same.

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Recently, I requested a copy of the WAGE COMPARISONS that were used during recent contract negotiations.
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The response I received was that NONE existed.

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How do you negotiate contracts if you don’t know what comparable towns are paying?

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Municipal wages are widely posted and publicly available.

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Can Middleboro taxpayers afford to pay for 90% of town employees’ health benefits while other towns only pay 60%?
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The Board of Selectmen caused the real estate tax bills to be sent out 3 months late.

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What was the cost of that delay?

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The cash flow from the G&E allows Middleboro to avoid borrowing, but what interest income was lost by not investing those dollars in this fiasco? If it was $150,000, might that represent 2 teachers?
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The Dept. of Revenue recommended QUARTERLY TAX BILLING AND BI-MONTHLY PAYROLL LAST YEAR.
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Combining those 2 options, would enable the town to avoid hiring additional personnel.
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The Selectmen have failed to act.
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Quarterly Tax Billing MIGHT provide the town with another $150,000.
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The sound byte may be REVENUE, but no one is watching the LOST REVENUE.
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When I reviewed the list of Town Insured Vehicles, 212 ITEMS were listed, most with $500 deductibles.
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Vic Sylvia reminded me that when he was Selectman, the Town insured a vehicle it no longer owned.
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When was the last time an audit was done on those 212 Items?
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Insurance companies are telling you that you can save money by increasing your deductible.
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Can’t Middleboro?
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I have suggested a TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE that would address Windmills to Web Sites -- anything technological.
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What could we save of your tax dollars by insulating the Town Hall where 12 town employees work?
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No one seems to know what it costs to heat and air condition.
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Funding is available for programs that Middleboro is not pursuing.
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What could we accomplish?
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Last year, when former Town Manager Jack Healey prepared the budget, handouts were available at each Selectmen’s Meeting. And many of his figures were on the easels, clearly visible to the audience and easily understood.
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This year, the interim Town Manager NEVER even projected the budgets on a screen.
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The information was vague and not included in the Selectmen’s Meeting minutes.
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Don’t they want voters to have the information?
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Also, this Board of Selectmen has pitted one department against another for dwindling resources in a manner that is unacceptable.
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Each year, the Park Department, Library and COA are the sacrificial lambs.
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We can work together to make this better! Residents have offered numerous creative ideas that are being ignored. We need to listen.
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Last year, the Department of Revenue raised numerous issues that would SAVE money that have been ignored.
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In 2003, the current Board discussed the Seniors’ Discount program that allows Seniors to volunteer their time and receive a reduction in their property taxes.
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With rising heating fuel costs, it would assist our seniors in staying in the homes where they raised their children.
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The program is still not implemented.
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The Board of Selectmen are charged in the Town Charter as Water Commissioners, yet the failure of the Board to increase water rates delayed the tax bills.
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Is it time to discuss a separate water commission to protect the interest of rate payers?
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We need to re-visit trash fees.
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Newcomers and long time residents need to unite to create a vision for the future to develop a community that serves all.
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We need to share ideas and work for solutions.
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We have the resources, talent and ideas to create positive changes and working together, we can make it happen!
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Let your voice be heard on election day.
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I ask for your vote on Saturday, April 5, 2008, election day for Middleboro Board of Selectmen.
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Polls are open 8 AM until 8 PM.
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If you’re unavailable on that day, call the Town Clerk for an Absentee Ballot at 508 946-2415.
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Jessie Powell
Candidate for Selectman
508 946-9761
Call me if you want to know my positions.
Call me if you’d like a lawn sign.

Diane -- here's the link

Diane,

Here's the link that Chuck Shea posted on nemasket that had to do with the bond ratings of ALL Cities and Towns that I mentioned at Candidates' Night:
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DOR
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It's a short report of 14 pages with a lot of information, but the bond ratings are itemized on pages 6 and 7.
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The cost of borrowing is a hidden cost, like your credit card interest.
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When we talk about bringing businesses to the town for additional revenue, I believe we also have to define REVENUE differently, not solely in terms of NEW BUSINESSES.
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I suggested instead, that what is labelled REVENUE, should also consider:
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1. Lost opportunities
2. Cost savings
3. Lost Revenue - like the interest lost with tax bills sent 3 months late
4. Misspent funds
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Comparing the bond ratings of cities and towns should tell us that others are paying less to borrow.


Can you hear me now? Verizon says No!

Verizon received 3 negative comments about the poor service they have provided in Middleboro and removed the comments.
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The last comment asked of Verizon 'Can you hear me now?'
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Oddly, the comments failed to address ALL of the issues surrounding Verizon's poor service.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Verizon

At the Middleboro Board of Selectmen's Meeting on 3/17/08, Verizon and Comcast again discussed the issues surrounding the local access programming that Verizon fails to provide with no satisfactory resolution beyond more promises, weather-permitting! And you just know how unpredictable that inclement weather is!
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Of course, Verizon was suppose to have local programming available in 3-6 months (that would have been October 2007 at the latest), but you know, the engineer was out of the country, and the equipment was only delivered recently, and this is a super-duper complex project, and .... and .... and .....
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If you don't have Verizon, you might want to watch the ongoing saga that is much like a soap opera. But if you have Verizon, you can't watch.
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Verizon has been advertising that they provide local access programming. And Verizon has been telling prospective customers that they provide the service.
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And there's much else that Verizon promised but failed to deliver.
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Shall we talk about all those new subdivision that were pre-wired that Verizon ignores?
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If you made the mistake of switching to Verizon, you might want to speak out -----
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From Nemasket:
Perhaps some of the people who are not happy with the lack of service from Verizon could express themselves at the new Verizon FiOS store in Newton, located at 224 Needham St. If the carried signs outside the store mentioning broken promises it may even get media attention. Add you comments here.

Middleboro #1

During the past year, many of us have had an opportunity to meet residents of Middleboro and listen to their suggestions, ideas, complaints.
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One of the most striking impressions I gathered from listening to voters was the sense of disenfranchisement, that no one listened or responded to complaints. Problems brought to the attention of the Board of Selectmen are ignored. The unnecessary frustration level was evident.
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A complaint was presented to the BOS at Monday's meeting (3/17) that will be ignored.
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Residents and Town Employees of Middleboro offer an untapped resource.
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Because the single Monday Night Selectmen's Meetings are frequently filled with hearings and important business, the idea has been tossed around to offer a Saturday Morning work session intended to process the town's bills for payment, offer ideas and suggestions in a less formal environment, listen to voters, speak with department heads.
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The disconnect between the Board of Selectmen and department heads became embarrassingly conspicuous last year by the questions posed by the Selectmen that clearly indicated a lack of familiarity.
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The need to maintain a dialogue is obvious.
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It has been suggested that periodic reporting of the business of each department would allow voters to understand the changes in needs during the course of the year.
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Rather than publishing the departmental statistics in only the Annual Town Report presented to voters, wouldn't a monthly or quarterly comparison of the previous year's figures provide for a greater understanding?
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And few residents understand the responsibilities that fall within the jurisdiction of each department.
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Many of the issues revolve around the lack of transparency which remains unchanged.
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If townspeople are paying the bills, shouldn't they have the information? Shouldn't their complaints be heard?
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One of the major concerns is the necessity of a full-time, experienced Town Manager who is an active and involved participant of THE TEAM.
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The following job listing appeared on the MMA site and hopefully represents sincere efforts by the BOS to fill the position in a timely fashion:
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Town Manager
Town of Middleborough
Middleborough, Mass. (population 21,100), is seeking a Town Manager. Salary up to $130,000. Town is 40 miles south of Boston near Route 495/24 interchange. Town Manager reports to five-member board of selectmen, elected for three-year terms. Town has a $60 million budget; 125 full-time employees. Town Manager should have strong communication skills, ability to work with citizens and department heads, strong financial management skills, and negotiation skills. B. A. required; M. A. desirable; 10 years of municipal management experience, or equivalent, required. Resume and cover letter by mail to MMA Consulting Group, Inc., 41 West St., Boston MA 02111, by March 31, 2008. EOE/AA. (exp. 3/31) MMA