WVN #542: Wastewater woes/Town administrator survey/Housing tours
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Wayland’s wastewater commission may have to borrow from the town, though it isn’t clear what legal authority it has to do so.
Also in this newsletter:
-- Offer your ideas on choosing the next town administrator.
-- Public hearings on next year’s budget and proposed zoning legislation..
-- Elementary school reconfiguration decision nears.
-- Tours of nearby housing projects.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A TOWN ADMINISTRATOR?
Town officials have posted a survey asking voters’ comments about Wayland’s next town administrator. The selectmen also offer dedicated public comment time at the Feb. 10 meeting.
See the town website:
The selectmen appointed three citizens at large to the town administrator search committee: Tom Dretler, David Hill and Randall Moore. They join representatives from town boards and committees: Phil Schneider (Personnel), David Gutschenritter (Finance), Mike Lowery (Public Works) and Beth Butler (Schools).
WASTEWATER COMMISSION’S RED INK
On Monday, Feb. 3, the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee heard from a wastewater commissioner, a town resident and a business owner concerning the financial straits of the Wastewater Management District Commission (WWMDC), an independent, self-supporting enterprise fund. The finance director had alerted the selectmen in October that the situation was of great concern.
Fast forward to selectmen’s public comment at elapsed time 07:15:00:
Then to elapsed time 01:50:20 for extended financial discussion with town officials.
Because the WWMDC has just started to send out bills to treatment plant customers for fiscal year 2013, expenditures have exceeded revenues. Reserves are depleted. The Finance Committee faces being asked to bail the commission out with a transfer of $250,000, with the understanding that the money would be paid back to the General Fund. The legal basis for such a transfer is unclear; normally enterprise funds are required to be completely separate from town finances.
Monday’s discussion revealed that while the WWMDC is working to catch up on billing, the largest plant users -- Town Center developer Twenty Wayland LLC and Whole Foods Plaza -- haven’t been billed because the commissioners consider calculations so complicated. They recently hired a part-time employee to help with billing. The FY14 and FY15 WWMDC budgets have included funds for professional staff. The selectmen asked the commission to provide a projected business plan, now an agenda item for discussion on Monday, Feb. 10.
The next WWMDC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. A rate hearing is advertised for Wednesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. For more information:
-- WVN Staff
PLANNING BOARD HEARING CONTINUED
The Planning Board’s Feb. 4 public hearing for the spring town meeting’s proposed zoning bylaw amendments is continued to both Monday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Various warrant articles were submitted last month related to the proposed River’s Edge housing project on Route 20 and a municipal housing trust. The Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen will work out which articles remain in the warrant. The wording of the River’s Edge zoning bylaw article submitted for the warrant and advertised hearing was different from the wording presented by project proponents at the Feb. 4 public hearing.
WayCAM’s recording of the Feb. 4 hearing:
-- WVN Staff
PUBLIC HEARING FOR FY15 DRAFT BUDGET
The Finance Committee will present its recommended Fiscal 2015 budget with a powerpoint presentation and a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 10.
Changes are likely in the weeks ahead while they await firmer dollar amounts for schools, health insurance and wastewater.
WayCAM’s recording of the FinCom’s Feb. 6 budget deliberations, including an update about proposed energy initiatives by Facilities Director John Moynihan:
The Energy Initiatives Advisory Committee recommends that the town enter into an ESCO (Energy Services Contract) to implement energy efficiency upgrades to town buildings, with debt service largely to be paid from energy savings. An ESCO provides guarantees and built-in project management, so some replacement projects for decrepit but still functional equipment will be included beyond the fully cash-neutral measures.
SCHOOL RECONFIGURATION UPDATE
The School Committee continued to inch its way to a decision on the elementary school reconfiguration last week, aiming to make the final decision on Monday night, Feb. 10.
The estimate for the cost difference between K-5 (Kindergarten through grade 5 for all three schools) and K-1 (kindergarten and grade 1 at Loker, grades 2 through 5 at Happy Hollow and Claypit Hill) options has shrunk to $118,000. Members continued to debate the pros and cons of the options. The availability of Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) was a concern; the K-1 option would allow more flexibility in offering it. Now it is offered as a fee-based option, but some districts make it a standard part of the program. Some believe FDK to be superior academically, and there is a national movement to greater emphasis on early childhood education. But some believe that there is no difference in rich towns like Wayland, possibly because parents fill in the extra time left by the current standard half-day kindergarten with enriching activities.
By last Monday night the Committee was ready to vote to eliminate one of the three options from consideration. Beth Butler wanted to eliminate the K-5, 3-3-3 (three classes at each grade level in each school) option. Malcolm Astley was ready to eliminate the K-5, 2-3-4 (two classes at Loker, three at Happy Hollow, and four at Claypit Hill) option. Donna Bouchard wanted to get rid of the K-1 option, but her motion to do so received no second. Finally Ellen Grieco, Butler, and Barb Fletcher voted to eliminate the 3-3-3.
On Thursday night School Superintendent Paul Stein came in with a map of the likely buffer zones that would be part and parcel of the K-5 option, and has been the major issue of concern by school parents with that option. Within those zones a primary school district would be assigned, but families could be assigned to another school if needed to avoid adding classrooms or oversize classes to the primary school. About half of the Happy Hollow and Loker districts are in buffer zones by land area, though not by population.
The map is available online:
Citizens are invited to make comments to the School Committee in writing or at Monday night’s meeting before the promised final decision. Members’ email addresses:
Bouchard and Grieco both expressed support for the K-5 option. Grieco was surprised that there was no data supporting her assumption that the K-5 option was educationally superior, but “It just feels right,” she said. Butler is favoring the K-1 option, saying it would promote the unity of families all over Wayland rather than factionalism. Astley had previously expressed great concern over the size of Claypit Hill as being difficult to manage under the 2-3-4 option; Astley was an elementary school principal in Lexington. That may leave Chair Barb Fletcher as the deciding vote. The Committee believes the decision has to be made at the next meeting to meet the Town Meeting warrant publication deadlines.
Background information about the reconfiguration decision:
-- Tom Sciacca
The Economic Development Committee, which again proposes to build a large housing project on Route 20, is conducting tours of nearby residential developments. Residents will visit senior affordable housing projects on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon: Shillman House in Framingham and the Coolidge under construction in Sudbury.
Meet at the Planning Board office at 10 a.m. RSVP to ssarkisian@... mailto:ssarkisian@... for bus head count. More information:
A second tour, of developments without age restrictions, will be announced later.
NEW WAYLAND HIGH PRINCIPAL
School Superintendent Paul Stein announced that Wayland High School’s assistant principal, Allyson Mizoguchi, will move up to the top spot on July 1. More information:
CHILD AWARD NOMINEES SOUGHT
The Public Ceremonies Committee seeks nominations for the annual Lydia Maria Child Award for outstanding Wayland citizenship.
Nominees can be individual residents, groups or town employees. The deadline is March 15.
Contact: Committee Chairman Richard Turner, 7 Nob Hill Road Wayland, MA 01778
All meetings take place in Wayland Town Building unless otherwise indicated. Click on the date in the town website meeting calendar to find links to posted meeting agendas.
Monday, Feb. 10:
Library Trustees, 9 a.m. (MORNING), Wayland Public Library Raytheon Room
Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Agenda includes public hearing for zoning bylaw amendments
Housing Partnership, 6:30 p.m.
Personnel Board, 6:45 p.m.
Selectmen, 7 p.m.
Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
Finance Committee, 7 p.m. Agenda includes public hearing for FY15 draft budget
School Committee, 7 p.m. Agenda includes pending reconfiguration decision
Historical Commission, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 11:
Public Ceremonies Committee, 7 p.m. Agenda includes Lydia Maria Child Awards
Planning Board, 7:30 p.m. Agenda includes continued public hearing
Zoning Board of Appeals, 8:20 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12:
Wastewater Management District Commission, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13:
Economic Development Committee, 10 a.m. (MORNING) site visits
Conservation Commission, 7:30 p.m.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor