Cohasset Town Meeting in a Nut Shell

• The $200,000 legal budget was overspent by $100,000. It took $57,000 in legal fees to fire Mike Coughlin for no cause.

Police Chief Mark DeLuca spoke against the dark police station.  Will this be held against him when they go to sign his contract after town meeting? If the police station goes dark, where will they put the people they arrest at night? In their trunks?

The citizens’ petition article to hire public works superintendent and make water and sewer a 5-member advisory board (last article on the Saturday ballot) lost on a voice vote but people throughout the hall said they felt it was close. It looked like it would be close to others in the hall, also – because shortly before the vote town officials were texting their friends for help and the E-20 support team arrived promptly. All town boards voted against this article.

Article 1 was a non-binding resolution/report submitted by the Town Manager asking Town Meeting to support town official’s move to “stop the (financial) bleeding.” Numerous citizens applauded officials for their hard work, but added these criticisms:

Chartis Tebbetts said she would like the budget planning group to examine a possible override if we want to continue only “balancing” the budget.

Ronnie McMorris asked the meeting to postpone the article as she felt it was not properly before the meeting.

Susan Kent told town officials it was their job to control the finances of the town – “This is what you’re supposed to do,” she said, wondering why they felt it necessary to have town meeting vote on a resolution.

Agnus McCann said the resolution was lacking a goal. She wondered if the “unstated” goal were level service funding. If so she said she was worried the town would not be able to keep the things we have (maintain buildings, etc.).

David McMorris said the resolution could hamstring future board. “Flexibility needs to be built in (into the resolution).

Selectman Paul Carlson noted that the resolution was not binding.

Selectman Chair Peter Pescatore noted that from 2005-2012 the town’s budget had increased 3.9%.

• Complaints about the Governance committee were that it never held a public hearing, early morning meetings (7:30 a.m.) were difficult to get to (Agnus McCann).

• People receiving standing ovations for their service to the Town were Debbie Cook, conservation commission (interesting that the three selectmen who fired her all stood and applauded her).  Also, Al Moore, planning board and Ralph Parencello, housing authority.

Articles 16, 17 18 were all voted down. They were the Meals and Hotel Tax Stablization fund, the Acceptance of Local Option Hotel Tax and Local Option Meals Tax. The funds to be generated were to fund facilities and buildings maintenance. The stabilization failed on a 73/42 vote and the rest failed on voice votes. Ronnie McMorris said it was a matter of fairness. She felt all taxpayers should share in maintenance, not just restaurants and hotels. Joe Campbell, manager of Cohasset Harbor Inn and Atlantica also spoke against the articles. “This tax affects two businesses in Cohasset.” It was noted that if the Town voted the local option meals tax residents would be paying a 0.75% tax on all prepared food purchased in Cohasset.

Ted Carr’s political signs are all over public property. He’s been asked to remove them from the same several times. I observed the same just driving up Pond Street. Earlier in the week Carr’s signs were at the water department.

• Acting Town Manager Mike Milanoski, is making over $130,000 a year – more than any of our last 3 town managers. This wasn’t discussed at town meeting but that’s where I learned it.

The continuation of Town Meeting is  Monday, May 21 at 7.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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  5 comments for “Cohasset Town Meeting in a Nut Shell

  1. Mike Coughlin
    May 15, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Peter,

    Just a couple of questions

    1) The press release indicates “On May 12. our water system was notified that a water sample collected on May 8th from Elms Meadow Well field tested positive for e-coli…

    -You were notified on Saturday May 12, why was the notice not issued until Monday May 14th?

    2) Did you know about this on Saturday May 12th– if not why? If you did why didn’t you make a public service announcement at the Town Meeting

    3) When was the the Town Manager and the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen notified?

    4) Given that Sunday was Mother’s Day– a big day for restaurant– were food serving establishments notified particularly considering the warning that people throw out ice and food prepared prior to May 8th

    5) The sample was collected on May 8th– but the result not known until May 12th– why the delay.

    Thanks in advance for answering these questions– Just one comment-
    You are quite correct- periods of heavy rain often trigger health concerns– In Westport– this required the town to close the shellfish beds and in Southbridge we also experienced e-coli alerts in the water system.

    Getting the word out quickly is paramount– why the delay– why not a public safety announcement at Town Meeting?

    IF THERE WERE ISSUES WITH AMERICAN WATER NOTIFYING THE TOWN AND GETTING THE ALERT OUT- WOULDN”T THAT BE A REASON FOR A PUBLIC WORKS PROFESSIONAL TO OVERSEE THE OPERATION LIKE MOST TOWNS IN THE COMMONWEALTH HAVE?.

  2. May 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I read your web page and realized the same.
    Thank you.

  3. peter decaprio
    May 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    as you know from the story posted on the Mariner website, e coli was detected in the raw water source at Elms Meadow but NOT in the treated water leaving the facility, which means that the treatment applied did what it is supposed to do. With significant rainfall, as we have had lately, comes greater risk of e coli invasions. It’s the reason why water systems test their supplies and output as frequently as they do. The DEP requires us to notify consumers regardless of the level and this was a low level invasion. There is no boil water order as the treatment process was successful. We will test according to DEP guidelines and reopen the well when the DEP protocols are met.

  4. May 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    PETER ALMIGHTY.
    Please stop putting words my mouth.
    It was a happenstance. I noticed.
    People are permitted to go to and fro town meeting
    as they desire.
    But here’s a question for you.
    We were notified tonight that E-coli was found in a well.
    Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
    I knew my water tasted like s _ _ t, but I didn’t mean it literally.

  5. peter decaprio
    May 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    E-20 support team? Like voter Ninjas? What a great idea. How come I never heard of that? They could be very useful to us going forward. I should enlist them for help when we start the hotwiring process to Aquarion.

    I want to make sure I understand this: it’s bad when the E-20, a group of individual taxpayers, shows up to exercise their right to vote, but when you pack town meeting with your supporters it’s different and somehow noble? Isn’t it one-man, one-vote still or did I miss the memo on Bolshevism being adopted in Cohasset?

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