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



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Middleboro: Town Meeting May 13, 2008

To the credit of many people, working together, Middleboro's budget and ATM Warrant are available for consideration on nemasket. (To reduce spam, you need to register.)
There are significant zoning and by-law changes that voters should examine and consider before their presentation at ATM.
DON'T FORGET TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
MAY 13, 2008
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A NUMBER OF EMAILS HAVE REQUESTED DOCUMENTS THAT CAN BE FOUND HERE ON NEMASKET.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDING THE WARRANT, BUDGET AND DISCUSSION MAY BE FOUND ON THE FORUM.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Middleboro's New Town Manager

After discussion, deliberation and public input, the Middleboro Board of Selectmen at their regular Monday meeting, April 28, 2008, voted to offer the position of Town Manager to Charles Cristello.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Middleboro: Does Anyone Do Their Homework?

FOOTNOTE:
For Mansfield letters to the editor in the Sun Chronicle (scroll down)
At the Middleboro Board of Selectmen's Meeting Tuesday, April 22, the 4 finalists for Middleboro Town Manager were announced among the 12 applicants.
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Comment has circulated in a discussion forum, nemasket regarding the finalists and previous comments link to what others are reporting: Middleboro: Impressive Choices!
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The relationship with the Town Manager is intimate and one assumes relatively long term.
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Those who followed the previous BOS fiasco and embarrassment, are more than familiar with the inability of the Middleboro BOS to function effectively.
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Little questioned was the current Town Manager from Mansfield whose actions created a judgement against Mansfield yet to be resolve and legal fees being negotiated.
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The failure of the Search Committee, chaired by Wayne Perkins, known for his failure to do his due diligence, overlooked the issues in Mansfield. That begs the questions of what else they overlooked.
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When the issue was raised in the discussion forum, the following is the response from the editor of the local weekly newspaper, the Middleboro Gazette (emphasis mine):
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WildRice
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:52 am
Quote:
Another candidate, John D'Agostino, Town Manager of Mansfield seems to be having problems with political enemies in that town. According to the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, he seems to be the impetus for a nasty recall election in progress there. No details were given, however.
At Rotary last night I talked to Bob Saquet, who is town moderator in Mansfield. He said the problem in Mansfield is with a couple local "characters" and not with the town manager, who has behaved very well under pressure and has been on the job for 10 years. From his resume and what I have heard about him from search committee members he is very impressive. Seems like everyone should at least look at the interviews before making a judgment. Yunits, on the other hand...I got him on the phone yesterday morning. He's the lead story in today's Gazette (still only 50 cents).
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Bob Saquet ..... said the problem in Mansfield is with a couple local "characters" and not with the town manager,
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WR, some of us have heard Mr. Saquet speak and fail to consider his words the last authority on ANY issue impacting Middleboro. Sometimes, when you allow personal relationships to color your professional judgement, you fail your task.
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There are some who might wonder how Mr. Saquet ever stopped talking long enough to hear any facts.
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It would seem from a journalistic standpoint, you have failed once again to do your homework.
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Have you reviewed the lawsuit and judgement? Why did you fail to comment in the Gazette article?
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Those couple of local "characters" were not adequate to compel a Recall, as can be said of Middleboro's Recall that you repeatedly condemned to support the Whizz Bang Team of Financial Geniuses currently whining about the need for an override because they can't balance their own checkbooks.
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D'Agostino caused a judgement against Mansfield.
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How many more judgements can Middleboro afford? Some of the information included in the Executive Sessions the BOS refuses to release are applicable to previous legal fees and judgements. No wonder they refuse to release them for voters to see.
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What's happened to the 2 cases that are pending in Middleboro -- the former Town Accountant and the one against the Veteran's Agent? In both of those cases, you have taken a snarky editorial position to defend the Town even though evidence seems to indicate otherwise.
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Were D'Agostino applying for the position AFTER appeals and settlements were concluded, it might be an appropriate discussion. But now? Credentials and resumes don't count, when facts seem otherwise.
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Of Mr. Yunits' relationship with the Liberty Square Group, The Middleboro Gazette reports that the Chairman of Selectmen Adam Bond was unaware of the relationship.
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No wonder Middleboro was easy pickings for international investors who perceived the Town as uninformed hicks. No one seems willing to prove otherwise by doing their research.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Middleboro: Impressive Choices!

The Middleboro Town Manager Search Committee has released their FINAL choices and judging from early comments, one must wonder .......
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Former Brockton Mayor John T. Yunits Jr. is one of four finalists for town manager in Middleboro, a job advertised at $130,000 a year.
The three other finalists are James P. Purcell, Norton town manager; John O. D’Agostino, Mansfield town manager; and Charles J. Cristello, Hingham town administrator.
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Yunits is also a consultant for the Liberty Square Group, the firm that handles public relations for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and their bid to open a casino in Middleboro.
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Media Nation reports:
Oh, but not to worry, says search committee member Wayne Perkins, a former selectman and casino backer. Yunits may be taking money from a firm funded in part by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the South African casino moguls who are behind all this, but his work with Liberty Square is "strictly" limited to lobbying for a power plant in Brockton.
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But despite Mr. Perkins' assurances, that does not appear to be quite so, as a review of the additional articles indicates. It seems, yet again, Mr. Perkins has not done his due diligence.
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Some may remember that Mr. Perkins was forced to resign as BOS Rep. to Plymouth County Commissioners because he had taken a job with the County. BOS
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Mr. Perkins said this of casinos in March 5, 2007:
Chairman Perkins noted that towns in Connecticut that have casinos don’t pay taxes. BOS
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We're still waiting, Mr. Perkins.
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Mr. Perkins' arms are still sore from patting himself on his back for single-handedly negotiating union contracts that awarded 36% pay raises that put Middleboro in its current position.
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One truly must question the logic of considering an applicant employed by casino investors. Where will his loyalties lie? Should we even trust the assurances? Will he present impartial information the BOS and townspeople require to garner additional funding for the Town?
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One of the other choices is Mansfield Town Manager, John D'Agostino.
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A quick google search, for those who weren't paying attention last fall, reveals the Sun Chronicle article,
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[the recall began]....after a US District Court jury awarded damages to two former Municipal Electric Department employees who alleged unfair treatment by D'Agostino. Those damages may eventually top $3 million.
The jury concluded that D'Agostino, who oversees the Electric Department, had indulged in retaliatory behavior against Director John Beliveau and Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Stoyle, after Stoyle filed a sexual harassment complaint against D'Agostino and Beliveau supported her action. The complaint, filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, never went forward.
D'Agostino fired Beliveau in 2004. Stoyle quit in 2005, claiming D'Agostino's retaliatory behavior drove her out.
Amoruso and McCarter were linked to the issue because both were selectmen at the time of the alleged retaliation and selectmen oversee D'Agostino.
The town recently settled with Beliveau for $1.6 million. The money was taken from the Electric Department's rainy day fund.
Meanwhile, a judge ruled last month that D'Agostino was personally responsible for about $1 million in damages and attorney's fees to Stoyle, and the town has appealed that ruling.
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Middleboro, it might seem, doesn't have enough law suits to satisfy some. Do we need more for your tax dollars? That's the information that's contained in those EXECUTIVE SESSIONS the BOS doesn't want you to see.
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The Cape Cod Times offered the following: LINK

Friday, April 18, 2008

SJC Rules on Child Enticement Laws

Under the recent circumstances, it seems appropriate the the SJC should issue a ruling on the use of a computer to entice children:

State Supreme Court says child abuse cyber-stings legal
BOSTON —
The Supreme Judicial Court today ruled that online stings in which police pose as children to catch sexual predators are legal and can be used to prosecute people.
It is the first time that the state supreme court has ruled on child enticement laws.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Soaring Energy Prices: Is Middleboro Immune?

The loss of value of the dollar caused by the federal deficit, flawed tax policy of VooDoo economics and a staggering trade deficit will continue to force oil/energy prices higher.
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The Sacramento Bee just posted the following with more to follow from other sources:
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Oil hits another record high as dollar drops to record low
Oil prices hit all-time highs above $115 a barrel Thursday with reports that oil and gasoline stocks in the United States were lower than expected and as the dollar hit record lows. Read More
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And what has Middleboro done to reduce municipal energy consumption?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Solar Town Hall? Not in Middleboro!

In case you missed Cape Cod Today commenting on the Yarmouth Town Hall and their photovoltaic array, check it out. Great photo!

Not so Middleboro! Is anyone talking about saving money or cutting energy costs? How come ALL other towns seem to be discussing reducing their energy costs, but not Middleboro?

Too busy pretending that the casino will bail them out of their poor decisions?

Cape Cod Today

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Verizon: The Whiners!

Amusement abounds about the Middleboro subscribers of Verizon who accepted service under misleading circumstances.

Verizon promises???

FOLKS ---- Think twice before signing!

In another venue, the whiners prevail 'Nothing can be done.'

Complaints are heard about poor quality reception, lack of service and so on.

At a certain point, a class action lawsuit will be filed. Does anyone recall the settlement against the predecessor of ComCast? It equalled about a month's service. You didn't participate? I did!

My Verizon complaints were resolved with a dedicated letter writing and phone calling campaign, but more could and should be accomplished to call the issue to the attention of legislators to assure amendment, but the whiners won't act. Nor will they complain!



Verizon: You Jokers!
Verizon: WAY TO GO!!!!!
Verizon: Your Cheatin' Heart .....#3
Verizon: Still Not Listening?
Can you hear me now? Verizon says No!
Verizon
Verizon: Your Cheatin' Heart .....#2
Have you contacted the Verizon President's office?


The number is 1 800 483 7988.

You might also check with your town to see if a license has been issued for FIOS.

I am not aware of Verizon collecting money up front.

Have you paid for the FIOS service but haven't received it ?

Please let me know.

Thank you, Christine Christine O'Toole

Compliance Officer

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Department of Telecommunications & Cable

Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division

One South Station

Boston, MA 02110

1-800-392-6066 617-368-1127 >>>>>>>>>note new number 617 478-2591 Fax

Middleboro: Town Web Site

Long the butt of jokes, snarky remarks and ignored by an inept Board of Dinosaurs, other towns have worked to provide information to their residents in a sensible and well-organized format on their web sites. (MMA provides a list)
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Not so Middleboro, that seems to pride itself on denying the existence of civilization beyond its borders.
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Some might label it TRANSPARENCY that this BOS seems to resent.
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A user-friendly alternative to the Middleboro Official and ludicrous web site has been offered!
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Take a look and see what you think about the rough draft:
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Offer your comments about the new site:
Does it make sense? Is it usable? Do you like the format?

Middleboro: Embarrassing Conduct by BOS

Is anyone watching the EMBARRASSING CONDUCT during the BOS Meetings?
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You can't ALL have Verizon and use that as an excuse.
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Thank you for all who made wise choices during the recent Town Election.
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This is the government YOU elected and just when some thought it couldn't get any worse, guess what? It did!
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Please watch so you know who you elected.

Middleboro Assessors: Revisited #2

Prior to Middleboro's April Election, I circulated the following received anonymously. Before you disregard the amounts reported as trivial, does it represent preferential treatment when others have had great difficulty getting conspicuous errors corrected? :


The Assessor’s information at the Vision Appraisal website was updated March 24, 2008.
The prior update was in the month of January and had all the Fiscal 2008 values that went out on the January tax bills.
Sometime between January and March 24 two properties owned by Diane Maddigan changed value, downward.
Ms. Maddigan’s property at 380 Marion Rd. decreased $1,100 in value, from $402,700 to $401,600. This only saves only about $11.00 in tax dollars. This was due to the removal of a dilapidated barn that was removed after July 1, 2007. This “removal” may be totally innocent, IF it only effects FUTURE assessments. If Ms. Maddigan actually got an “abatement of her FY ’08 taxes”, it is questionable. I saw the barn come down after July 1, 2007. When did someone go to the property? Did they inspect the interior of the house also? Is the enclosed porch really only an enclosed porch or is it living area?
Ms. Maddigan’s other property 129 Spruce St. also decreased in value, from $392,900 to $391, 600. There is a difference of $1,300. That’s only about $13.13 in tax dollars. This was a result of the removal of a shed, an above ground swimming pool, and a data correction to the house. When did someone go to the property? Did they inspect the interior of the house also? Is it totally correct now? Why was the photo of the house removed? Can I have my photo removed? Isn’t Ms. Maddigan running a business from the house now? Didn’t she get a variance? Will she pay the commercial tax rate?
Wouldn’t we all like for our properties to be inspected in February or March and have the values decreased and save twenty-five tax dollars? Did she actually get abatements? Was this special treatment by the Assessors? If she wasn’t running for assessor would she get the same treatment?
I believe there is an appearance of impropriety.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Middleboro Assessors: Revisited #1

During the recent Town Election, one of the candidates commented that if everyone did their own job to the best of their ability, we'd be in a much better place as a town.
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Since abatement requests remain confidential, there is no way to monitor the dissatisfaction created among homeowners, except anecdotally.
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For a variety of reasons, that dissatisfaction has been expressed to me on numerous occasions regarding errors on field cards that some have had difficulty correcting. The town representative arrives with the completed field card, NEVER measures, NEVER fully inspects and errors remain intact. And we ALL know about friends and neighbors who have finished basements, added bathrooms and much else, and that valuation is not reflected in the Assessors' records because NO ONE is doing a thorough inspection.
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Friends in other towns report that periodic inspections are conducted on portions of the Town each year and their homes are actually MEASURED WITH A TAPE MEASURE. Not so Middleboro.
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Since my ATB hearing in January 2008, prior to learning the outcome, I filed for an abatement.
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Although the Middleboro Board of Assessors had 3 months to make a decision and could have awaited the ATB ruling, they instead opted to deny my request promptly.
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Alas, the ATB ruling was in MY FAVOR, and against the Middleboro Assessors.
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My unskilled reading of MGL (Massachusetts General Law), case law and ATB information indicates that the Assessors have to respect that valuation for 2 subsequent years (unless they can substantiate an increase).
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In my conversations with ATB, who I might add have been wonderfully helpful in simplifying the law and procedures, I discovered other cases that Middleboro wasted time and effort challenging and lost. Ooops! They're Public Record!
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The Middleboro Assessor is paid +$80,000 to know the job, the laws, the procedures. When I questioned the assessment in view of the ATB decision, she informed me that my understanding was incorrect. Note to self: call ATB and inform of their misunderstanding of statute!
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At the recent Town Elections, the few Middleboro Voters who opted to participate, selected a candidate who indicated at Candidates' Night that her sole experience was that 'I am a Townie, Married to a Townie, my children married Townies. And I want to learn about the board.' Great on the job training! Thanks voters!
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And when I file with ATB YET AGAIN AND WIN and you absorb the cost of 2 town employees spending most of the day travelling to Boston, unbeknownst to you because you're not paying attention, please don't whine about the cost of town government.

Middleboro Assessors: How Much Worse?

Middleboro Property Valuations

Verizon: You Jokers!

Verizon and ComCast Reps were apparently supposed to appear -- as in 'Real Person,' 'In The Flesh,' but apparently sent communications indicating a resolution to the local access problems Verizon has ignored.
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Judging from the comments, you folks at Verizon are such jokers!
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Some Verizon subscribers it seems:
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1. Have sound but no video
2. Have video but no audio
3. Some have none of the above
4. The local access channel lineup indicates 'Channels Not Available'
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PLEASE, PLEASE: Middleboro subscribers, STAY TUNED!
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Verizon can't tell you how to stay tuned, but they will surely present another creative excuse that you haven't heard before!
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Anyone want to bet on the next excuse?
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Verizon: Finally, Middleboro Can Hear!

Verizon has finally provided AUDIO to Middleboro with their local programming!

Nice work!

Do you hear the applause?

So.....ah....now can we talk about those other issues??? Like maybe the new subdivisions that are pre-wired??? And maybe all the other subdivisions that have phone service, but not cable or FIOS? What's the deal with that? Different wires?

Could you tell us how many years??

Verizon

Deep Cuts .....but Middleboro?

This has been an interesting time with buckets of information about energy, but it's curious that when discussing municipal problems, the Globe points out 2 communities:


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Deep cuts loom across state
Expenses outpacing revenue and state aid

Fewer cities, towns seeking override votes
By Eric Moskowitz
Globe Staff / April 6, 2008


Brookline was able to avoid both cuts and overrides for years..... and saved money by making municipal buildings more energy-efficient...
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Swampscott....More layoffs are needed this year, in part because utility costs for the new high school are $1 million more than the old one, said David P. Whelan Jr., chairman of the School Committee. Globe
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If Middleboro isn't talking about reducing ENERGY CONSUMPTION, does that mean there's too much money in the budget?
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End to aid sought for Cape plant
BY RICK FOSTER / SUN CHRONICLE
If you think you're paying high electric bills, it might not be just because of rising fuel prices.

Up to 5 percent of bills paid by Southeastern Massachusetts ratepayers may be going to a backup electric generating plant for Cape Cod that critics say produces little electricity and provides no benefit to non-Cape power users.
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For some great information: WebLinks
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from a recent BU energy symposium where Andrew Stern was a panelist.
Decreasing energy use, or finding a renewable source, can also help relieve this heavy burden on available utilities.

Andrew Stern, president of New England Wind Power, Inc., described how the town of Hull, Mass. increasingly relies on wind power for its electricity. A wind turbine, installed in 2001 at the town’s high school, provides enough energy for about 250 homes --three percent of Hull’s electricity needs. The $780,000 turbine paid for itself in five years through saved energy costs and government incentives. A second turbine, added in 2006, sits on a landfill, and wind now provides 11 percent of Hull’s electricity. Plans to install four more offshore wind turbines will make Hull entirely reliant on wind-generated electricity in the future. “It really does excite the community,” said Stern. “Today we have a 95 percent approval rate. With a project like this, it is really the community involvement that counts.”
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Editorial: Fewer power plants = higher rates
Way back in May 2005, the Massachusetts Electricity Facility Siting Board issued a finding that the 468-megawatt Cape Wind wind-farm project would save New England rate-payers “at least” $25 million a year. Now that oil prices are much, much higher, we wonder how much more it could save.
The board, in its finding, aimed to introduce much-needed competition into the severely constrained New England electric grid.
ProvidenceJournal
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Wind, out of the Blue
The excitement on Cape Cod was palpable on the weekend leading up to the MMS hearings on the Cape Wind project, and not just at the thought of dueling minstrels at the microphone. To the unbounded joy of the wind farm opponents on stage, the
Deus ex Machina of Blue H USA appeared from the wings with perfect timing to state that you can have wind power without seeing it. CapeCodToday
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The following, offered by the Enterprise, presents actions taken in Pembroke:
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Pembroke energy panel wants town to ‘go green’
The Energy Committee will propose a town meeting bylaw that sets higher standards for energy efficiency throughout town government.
By Sydney Schwartz
PEMBROKE —
Pembroke officials are hoping the town will “go green” this year.
The Pembroke Energy Committee will ask residents at town meeting to include energy conservation in the town bylaws — and set higher standards for energy efficiency in town government.
The group, which has been meeting since July, is also looking into saving the town money in buying gas, fuel and electricity, and into developing renewable energies, like wind power, chairman Nick Zechello said.
“It brings the awareness to town government that it starts at the local level,” Zechello said. “It starts with the town employees. It starts with the department heads, to conserve energy.”
If approved at the April 22 town meeting, the bylaw would require every department head and employee to work to reduce energy consumption.
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Each department would be required to have an energy audit that shows ways to save money by using “green” technologies and to implement the recommendations of the audit.
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Lighting in common areas would be reduced and thermostats set 2 degrees lower in the winter and 2 degrees higher in the summer.
Department heads would be encouraged to buy energy-efficient vehicles and drivers would be encouraged to use less fuel, if possible, according to the proposal.
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Where is Middleboro? And the barn of a Town Hall that houses 12 employees? What solutions have been considered?





Middleboro: Property Valuations

Questions have arisen regarding property tax abatements and specifically property abutting the proposed casino.

Since the answer is rather lengthy, allow me to offer some quick thoughts, but others will add additional considerations surely.

Tax Abatements may be filed when you receive your first real estate tax bills which should be in October if the bills are mailed on time.

Since the Middleboro BOS have failed to mail real estate tax bills on time for the last two years, an abatement needs to be filed by the first payment due date.

Abatement Forms are available on the town's web site and include instructions.

When you are denied an abatement, you have a right to file an appeal with the Appellate Tax Board. Instructions and forms are available on line:
ATB

You will then receive notification of a hearing date.

Among the issues you might include:

1. Noise which needs to include additional commuter rail trains
2. Exhaust pollution
3. Traffic and congestion
4. Environmental degradation, which should probably include the eventual draw down of wells and light pollution
5. Crime If you review the statistics, crime will increase during construction, but will increase precipitously ~ 3 years after casino opening. Stats and studies available, but additional studies are available from officials in communities in CT you need to review.
6. Decline of school performance -- Most of us are aware of home sales that have been lost because of the current school performance. Most of us are aware of those forced to withdraw their children from Middleboro's schools and pay private school tuition. The introduction of non-English speaking children will propel the decline because of the town's inability to absorb the costs.
7. SCHOOLS ***
This is a BIGGIE. Middleboro schools are near capacity. Any increase will necessitate NEW school construction that collides with the state's 5 year lead time that Rep. Calter addressed.
The communities surrounding Foxwoods teach + 30 different languages. The little town of Clark, CT went from 2 ESL teachers to 100.
8. OUTFLUX
Although Steve Spartaro's comments about GENTRIFICATION were mostly unintelligible, the concept is mostly correct.
Higher income, better educated residents will leave.
High wage casino workers DO NOT live near the casinos.
9. Degardation of neighborhoods
Single family homes in the Montville, CT (host of Mohegan Sun) have experienced major problems with HUT HOUSES. Those are single family homes within walking distance of the casino that provide overcrowded housing for low wage workers.
The Cape has experienced comparable problems that they term HOT BUNKING.
Guest workers fill overcrowded houses, owners have little interest in maintaining properties. Neighborhoods are no longer designed for families and the few remaining families flee.
10. Historical failure of Middleboro to address fiscal issues will have disasterous consequences that impede the town's ability to respond.

While some are rolling their eyes and dreading consideration of the DULL & BORING money issues, this is much the same issue dismissed by those sub-prime mortgage borrowers who deny that the 12% or 15% mortgage they pay is meaningless, while others pay 5%.

The BOS in the town's charter are charged as Auditors, but have failed to address issues raised in the DOR Report or the previous Auditors' Reports. (both are available on nemasket posted in docs or the sidebar to the right)

As you might figure, MR could write endlessly about poor fiscal management the BOS has failed to address, but will refrain.

While they might proclaim lack of revenues and sputter and whine to distract you from their failures, sort through the buzzwords. And pay attention to this year's proposed solutions.

On the laundry list of proposals presented by the interim Town Manager was the use of the FAM (Financial Assurance Mechanism) account of ~ $700,000 and the $3 Million landfill settlement to fund CURRENT expenses.

Shortly after the $3 Million landfill settlement was announced, the School Department presented a RESTORATION BUDGET that was ~ $3 Million. Coincidence? And other department heads expanded their wish lists. Do you wonder why?

Several of us posted words to the effect that the $3 Million would be USED for current expenses. Those words were met with disbelief. Nahhhh!

That $3 Million represents bond funding that should be repaid.

Middleboro is going to fund EXPENSES yet again with ONE TIME REVENUES.

This STUFF is important to the bond markets and banks. It should be important to those who pay the bills.
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DID YOU HEAR THE WORDS ECONOMIZE OR CUTS?
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What might be suggested to those within close proximity of the proposed casino is several organized day trips to Connecticut. Take photos of those boarded up businesses and homes. Take photos of the lines of low wage workers being exploited and forced into overcrowded housing by casino employment.
Statistical information is available to confirm the decline of property values, but ensure that correction is included for economic anomalies.
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Any information acquired might be posted on nemasket for availibility to others.

Middleboro Asessors: How Much Worse?

My name arose during a December 2007 BOS Meeting amidst uninformed speculation. No one has since questioned the issue, so allow an explanation. (link below)
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When I was denied an abatement by the Middleboro Assessors, I filed with the Appellate Tax Board (ATB).
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TOWN COUNSEL notified me of his representation in the matter by Certified, Return Receipt Requested mail.
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The initial hearing was to be conducted in December and I requested a postponement.
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Since TOWN COUNSEL'S notification indicated his participation, I contacted his office to request that postponement, as was indicated in the ATB instructions.
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That POSTPONEMENT required a brief conversation with TOWN COUNSEL to determine an acceptable date.
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Hence, the mention of my name on TOWN COUNSEL'S invoice.
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I handled ALL notification from that point forward that included FAX notification.
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But the issue goes further.
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The Middleboro Board of Assessors is an elected board, of which the Town Assessor participates.
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The Town Assessor and TOWN COUNSEL travelled to Boston, wasted most of a day, and I prevailed and reduced my real estate tax assessment by an amount less than the cost of the wasted day with two TOWN EMPLOYEES.
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From a personal perspective, the matter is worse than the wasted time.
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The Four (4) Comparable Properties presented by the Town Assessor were curious.
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One was withdrawn by the Assessor herself.
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Another, the judge pointed out she had failed to correct the value for a garage.
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Three (3) of the properties were in different zoning districts. One (1) had an in-law apartment for which the Assessor had failed to correct the value. Two of the properties are in the General USE District which allows businesses. And there were numerous other errors the judge pointed out and I challenged.
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TOWN COUNSEL introduced a previous ATB action that I had filed, but failed to note that for several years, I had paid real estate taxes based on a valuation for non-existent living space, non-existent basement space, non-existent features including a fireplace, and a shed that was grossly larger than reality. Several tries with the Assessors failed to correct their errors UNTIL I filed with ATB.
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The issue of Town Counsel has previously been discussed. Town Counsel has determined his own use of time.
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Since this was clearly wasted time and the Assessors had 5-6 other cases with ATB, how much more time was wasted? I have requested that outside counsel review the Town Charter, pertinent statutes and provide a ruling about who determines the use of Town Counsel's time.
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I am aware of other property owners in Middleboro who are having difficulty correcting ERRORS.
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What's the problem?
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12/17/07 Selectmen's Meeting: Speculation and Incompetence
During the correspondence portion of the December 17th, 2007, Selectmen's Meeting, Selectman Patrick Rogers, who is now approving 'warrants' (the town's bills) after Selectman Bond's abrupt refusal to continue to do so, discussed that there was a charge on Town Counsel, Dan Murray's bill for:
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J. Powell

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Middleboro: Congratulations!

Congratulations and great thanks to everyone for the results of Saturday's Town Election!

Although some are disappointed for a number of reasons, a great deal has been accomplished.

The change that all of those who participated have begun is truly impressive

and will continue to grow based on the issues and facts.

Voter turnout and participation has significantly increased and more

are focused on information.

More voters are watching and attending the Selectmen's Meetings and asking questions.

More voters are offering suggestions and building a COMMUNITY.

Change takes time, but what a difference all of you have made!

Thank you for being involved!

Jessie

Monday, April 7, 2008

Middleboro Selectmen's Agenda April 7, 2008

SELECTMEN’S AGENDA
Monday, April 7, 2008

Reorganization of the Board.
Vote to assign a member to sign payroll/warrants.

A. SELECTMEN’S MINUTES
March 31, 2008
B. HEARINGS, MEETINGS, & LICENSES
7:05 PM Veterans’ Agent re Memorial Day Events
7:15 PM D. Boucher re Earth Removal Permit(s) Discussion
7:30 PM Department Heads re ATM/STM Warrant Articles Discussion
C. NEW BUSINESS
1. Discuss Process of Hiring New Fire Chief.
2. Request from Antiques, Etc. to use T. Hall front lawn/parking area re antique show.
3. Request from Verizon - policy clarification re newspaper public hearing notice.
4. YMCA Request to run a Road Race and Triathlon.
5. Request from Ann Marie Wells for Appeal of 3-17-08 dog decision.
6. Request from Town Planner re Planning Conference, Casino Planning Workshops.
7. Discussion & Vote to release Executive Session minutes.
D. OLD BUSINESS
1. Chapter 61 – Gibbs property
2. Follow up re Kevin Murphy – Question re Outstanding fees
E. TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT
F. SELECTMEN’S BILLS
G. OTHER
H. CORRESPONDENCE
I. EXECUTIVE SESSION


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


Sunday, April 6, 2008

VOTE MIDDLEBORO

The following was posted in the nemasket discussion forum and you might want to offer comments and suggestions:
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For the last several years, a number of us have tossed around the idea of a need for a non-partisan group FOCUSED on EDUCATION AND INFORMATION.
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Several of us who made phone calls to remind voters discovered that the lack of publicity and the failure of the Town to announce the Town Elections at the High School as they now have the May 13th ATM, reduced voter turnout. And few voters are aware of the issues.
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We have many newcomers who are unfamiliar with Town Meeting and numerous other issues.
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Stuart Kirsch was collecting signatures for Tom O'Brien for Plymouth County Treasurer and one voter said, in effect, I don't know who he is. I just started to pay attention.' Shouldn't she have an opportunity to meet him at a non-partisan event, maybe the library meeting room? And the other candidates as well?
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Anyone who knows Mr. O'Brien is fully aware that he would be more than amenable to explain everything about county government and then some to an audience.
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And our state reps are up for re-election as well.
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Do we want to begin voter registration and voter 'invitation' next week -- or at least examining the voter turnout, voter list, and targeting neighborhoods with poor registration and poor turnout, a lot of new people.
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We've discussed in this forum and 'Educational/Informational' PAC.
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A lot of new people have come from other areas and are unfamiliar with town meeting.
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The Town Moderator spoke at Oak Point and explained how Town Meeting worked and what all those motions meant. Surely, he would consider explaining how things worked to others to expedite the process.
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Someone suggested that a PAC could raise money to pay for blank signs that say
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VOTE AT ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION
APRIL __________.
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They might be offered to candidates to distribute along with their campaign signs. This should be fun! We could track the success of our endeavor!
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Thoughts and comments?
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Anyone have suggestions to offer?_________________
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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

Verizon: WAY TO GO!!!!!

Dear Verizon:

You guys are sure impressive!

Each story and delay is new and creative!
That much innovation should not go unrewarded!
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You clearly have individuals on your staff who should work for the Enquire, you know 'Alien Gives Birth to Human.'
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NEVER EVER have your employees repeated the same fairy tale twice!
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Although you're more than 6 months late providing the local access stations you have been advertising and promoting during that period, you have finally come through!
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Thanks so much, Verizon guys!
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But you know that little thing about 'We can hear you now!'
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Could you provide some sound with that programming?
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Not many in town can lip read.
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And while you're at it, could you address some of the other complaints in Middleboro? Like those pre-wired subdivisions? We don't want to disrupt engineers' vacations or equipment and wire that was never ordered, or the extreme complexity of the task, but didn't you PROMISE?
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Are any of you related to our current Board of Selectmen? Just wondering!
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Sincerely,
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A Deaf Middleboro Resident Who Isn't Bothered by the Lack of Audio!
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nemasket

VERIZON

Friday, April 4, 2008

MIDDLEBORO TOWN ELECTION APRIL 5TH

MIDDLEBORO TOWN ELECTIONS
SATURDAY APRIL 5TH

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

POLLS ARE OPEN 8 AM UNTIL 8 PM

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Middleboro: Central Fire Station Flaws

Does anyone remember the laundry list of Central Fire Station flaws that was raised immediately upon the former Fire Chief's retirement? Some believed it was a transparent attempt to discredit the former officeholder and grandstand.
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When a copy of the list was requested as a Public Document Request, the charges were excessive, the Middleboro BOS failed to include the list in its entirety in their records and the media failed to include the list.
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A number of the items were clearly trivial, like the burned out light fixture and the small amount of landscaping. Most of the items were clearly maintenance issues.
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What happened to the issue? Since this seemed of utmost importance a few months ago when it appeared that there was money available from the original building construction account, why has the urgency been abandoned?

Middleboro: 'dodo' bird benefits?

The Chairman of the Personnel Board, Kevin Cook submitted his letter of resignation to the Middleboro BOS. The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Marsha Brunelle failed to read Mr. Cook's letter to the public. Transparency, Mrs. Brunelle?
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Please note Mrs. Brunelle's subsequent comment.
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Who negotiated the contracts? Weren't you on the BOS, Mrs. Brunelle?
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The following article appeared in the Brockton Enterprise:
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Exiting Middleboro town official blasts "dodo bird" benefits enjoyed by town workers
Personnel Board chairman Kevin Cook criticizes the town’s “ridiculous benefits.”
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After the meeting, selectmen Chairwoman, Marsha L. Brunelle, in reference to Cook’s comments said, “It’s his personal opinion.” She added that “a lot of the issues raised are collective bargaining issues.” Enterprise
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Whether we call it sick leave buy back or sick leave accumulation, isn't Mr. Cook correct? And what of a deceased employee receiving benefits? Does any private sector employer offer the benefit? The following represent blog entries regarding the issue:
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The following contract was negotiated by the Middleboro BOS (see its entirely on link):
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E. Dooney shall be eligible for sick leave pursuant to the following schedule: Upon completion of the probation period, sick leave shall accrue at a rate of one and one-half (1 1/2) days per month, for a maximum of eighteen (18) days per calendar year. Unused sick leave may be accrued from year to year up to a maximum of 225 days. No compensation will be provided for unused sick leave.
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ARTICLE 10. DEATH DURING TERM OF EMPLOYMENT If Dooney dies during the term of his employment, the Town shall pay to his estate, at such time as Town Meeting shall vote to appropriate, all the compensation which would otherwise be payable to him up to the date of death, including, but not limited to holidays, personal days, and unused vacation. Middleboro Town Accountant's Contract

Where's the plan?

....the House of Cards constructed by the failure of voters to pay attention, ask questions, participate and attend Town Meeting threatens to collapse.
A review of the STM Warrant discloses additional sick leave buybacks, yet the figures have never been calculated or accrued, the time never recorded. The IT Director recently stated that the Town wouldn't have the capacity to track that information until 10/1/07.
The recently hired Town Accountant has a comparable provision in his contract. He can accumulate up to 275 days sick leave. A salaried employee whose contract only requires a 4 day work week gets SICK PAY?