Select Board Meeting 10/26 – An Owl Pellet
The Owl swooped in on the Select Board meeting last night to see what’s keeping our town management busy these days. There has been a quiet period here that has felt pretty devoid of controversy. How do you expect the local media to stay solvent* if we can’t report on brawls? Sigh. Fortunately, it’s just a matter of time before the tempest bursts out of the teapot. Hold, please.
The following is based on a true story of last night’s meeting. As always, nothing the Owl says is official, unless I say so (have I ever?) and the meetings are recorded by Weston Media Center so you can check out the video when it is available. Trust me when I say you should drink lots of coffee first…I only perked up for a couple of fun turns of phrases, and fortunately jumped off of mute before being volunteered for another committee. It was close.
And so now, for your reading pleasure, the Owl Pellet of this week’s Select Board meeting:
7:00 p.m. Resident Comments. None. I think there were three residents on the zoom (not counting the SB), the Select Board, three men in suits — non-resident you have to presume (anyone not in Patagonia fluffies by 7 pm is in finance or a developer), another developer not in a suit, the town clerk, the town manager, the assistant town manager, and Weston Media Center. I spent this silent waiting time trying to figure out how to change my avatar to an owl. Unsuccessful.
7:10 p.m. Review of Proposed Redistricting Plan. Okay, I admit I was fired up for this one. I thought we were going to discuss whether we really wanted Lincoln to join us or not. I was going to vote “yay”. Alas, no, this was re-districting within Weston. Apparently, with the new census, the precincts were getting a little bottom-heavy so 191 voters from 83 households will be FORCED (controversy, anyone?) to leave precinct 3 to go to precinct 2! If anyone feels like marching, let me know. Otherwise, y’all will have to drive to the Town Hall instead of the Community Center. Rough justice–leaving the community for the big brick slammer. These folks are mostly Weston Reservoir area residents and their sacrifice means we can “balance” our precincts. They will be informed by mail. Or owl, in this case. I wonder if we need to re-district all of our north-versus-south jokes. Reservoir totally belongs to the north now…
7:25 p.m. Greatlands Petition for the Discontinuation of Town Wells. If you don’t know who Greatlands is by now, smell the coffee again. This is the ironically-named developer of buildings that is changing Liberty Mutual’s site into a lab facility. Since they have a great sense of humor, I am unable to stop having fun. So no, Greatlands is not coming for your personal household well, if you have one. They want an official signatory from the SB to officially abandon two water supply wells on the LM property (inside the freeway cloverleaf). This abandonment is required to re-zone the buildings for the lab use of the property. The wells have been inactive since the 1960s. Zzzzzz. There was no controversy here either which was vaguely disappointing. So much for the suits.
8:00 p.m. Vote to appoint new member of the Historical Commission. The Owl admits to getting dessert at this time. The Select Board was running at least 20 minutes early and it was time for leftover tiramisu. What? I ran a half marathon a couple of days ago and am still re-loading. Please check the WMC video of this portion of the meeting if you’re interested.
8:10 p.m. Discussion of celebrations committee for Town Center (L.Bent). Okay, so thank goodness I was back in time for this one. The talk started with Ms. Bent’s idea of an Open House at the JST (JoSTice) so that the residents and workers of our town could see how awesome the renovation has been. Not everyone reads the Owl so they’ll just have to go in person. Occupancy is expected to start in January 2022 when the Historical Society takes over the first floor and the other tenants may do the same. Just the tavern part, not the restaurant…slow your roll, people. And of course the Town Center renovation is just about complete so that would be part of the celebration as well.
Because January is not known as a time when people want to mill about the nice landscaping and gardens, the idea was floated to have the celebration/open house in April, perhaps in conjunction with Spring Fling (because he hates when I don’t give him credit, the Spring Fling idea was Mr. Boshart’s). The Select Board is looking to form a committee of interested souls to plan the celebration, with cake and taco trucks (this was not said, but it was inferred. By me.). In spite of a crafty attempt to mute my microphone when I was nominated to be on it, this Owl says no. Representation was suggested to be town business representatives, Friends of JST, Historical Society, and any other Members at Large to form a committee of 5-7 people. Thank you for volunteering–contact the Select Board. When asked about budget for the celebration, Mr. Houston said “Spend Away” which I am guessing was a joke, and Mr. Gaumond will be checking into funding.
8:20 p.m. Follow up from Financial Summit and Select Board Direction on FY23 Budget. Okay, so I haven’t watched the video on the actual Summit that happened on Monday, but the SB thinks it went fine. Well, except for some questioning on the Finance Committee having the full power to dictate what the School and SB plans (budget increases or decreases) are for the FY 23. I am summarizing here but I suspect this item is where controversy lurks. Folks, as I said yesterday, this is essentially G3 meetings (SB, SC and FC) rather than G7. They don’t all get along–some push to the front. We all know that Schools are a huge percentage of the budget, as they should be, because no one wants unprepared kids, even if they are not yours. Does anyone need me to sing “We Believe the Children are our future?” No? Okay, fine. No math was discussed.
8:35 p.m. Consider grant support for Urban Forestry Challenge Grant (PP#13). So there are a couple of grants that Weston could apply for that would allow us to hire consultants to work on potential tree-by-laws. Weston is still getting answers from residents on the private tree possible cutting regulation questionnaire due November 1 (see this link if you haven’t filled it out). The challenge grant is also due November 1. Mr. Houston, the biggest known fan of white pines (irony), stated that “I feel compelled to say I like trees” but that applying for the grant should not imply that Weston has decided to pursue a private or public tree by-law. All agreed.
8:40 p.m. Executive Session: Exemption 2 – Town Manager Contract Negotiations. Well, I wasn’t invited so it was time for tea.
And that, Owl readers, summarizes the Owl pellet for last night’s Select Board meeting. I will say that I wish more folks showed up for these things…you always learn stuff–some of it actually relevant, some of it fun, some of it a little ummmm…. boring. Find the tiramisu and you’ll make it. We are lucky to have town volunteers like our Select Board, even though I routinely poke fun at 2/3 of them. I fully recognize what a tough volunteer role it is, and therefore you should be first to the cake table at the Town Celebration. Maybe second.
PS. I already have a name for the Celebration at the end of the TCIP and JST: QED. Because acronyms work. quod erat demonstrandum. “Q.E.D. appears at the conclusion of a text to signify that the author’s overall argument has just been proven.” (source). Who says Latin should be cut at the Middle School? Nope.