To: Board of Selectmen
From: William G. Keegan, Jr., Town Administrator
CC: Assistant Town Administrator
Date: December 5, 2008
Re: Town Administrator’s Report for November 20, 2008
Here are the latest happenings around Town:
1. Special Town Meeting-The Special Town Meeting held on Monday went very well and I want to thank all the members of the staff and the Boards and Committees who worked so hard to produce the information needed to make the decisions on Monday Night. While the Meeting lasted only about 90 Minutes, there were many days and nights spent preparing for this one night. As indicated at the Meeting on Monday, there are additional meetings that will be held between now and the Annual Town Meeting in May of 2009. Budget and Capital Budget season will soon be upon us. Now that the Budget for Fiscal 2009 is essentially set, the Finance Department and the Assessing Department are working at preparing the necessary documents for setting the Fiscal Year 2009 Tax Rate. This rate is scheduled to be set on December 4, 2008 and the Board’s next meeting.
2. The East Street Phase II Closeout and the Manor Project Design Decisions-The Board has all the supporting documents for addressing the final direction for these two important projects. We await your direction on how to proceed. If you need additional information we are happy to provide it for you.
3. Neighbors Helping Neighbors- As pointed out at the Board’s last meeting, the Town has been working with members of the Dedham Clergy to coordinate a meeting on Saturday, November 29 between 10 and 12 Noon at St. Susanna’s Parrish Hall in Dedham to provide counseling and assistance for Dedham residents during these difficult and challenging economic times. Representatives from the local banking and legal communities, utilities, the Dedham Food Pantry and other vital services will be present at this time to offer free advice and counseling to residents. This is not a hand out but a hand up for anyone who needs it and we welcome anyone to stop and take part in this important community event. Free refreshments will be served to anyone who attends.
4. Lower East Street Sidewalk Easements-The Director of Infrastructure Engineering is pleased to report that all of the easements needed to construct the sidewalk on the Lower East Street Project have been obtained. David is asking that the Board take a vote to execute the Order of Taking so that they may proceed to the next phase of the project. It is likely that the actual construction for this project will not occur until the Spring of 2009.
5. Unveiling of the new Dedham Theater Marquis will occur this Friday with a public ceremony beginning at 6:00 P.M. The award-winning Dedham High Marching Band will be on hand to help celebrate the event. A Debut Party will begin at 7:30 P.M. that will feature Red Carpet Canapés, Wine, Entertainment, and Live Auction with Michael Grogan, a Raffle, Champagne and Dessert. This should be a great community event and everyone is welcome to attend the community unveiling at 6:00. The party begins at 7:30P.M. and is by ticket only. Tickets for the party are on sale for $75.00 per person with the proceeds to benefit the Dedham Square Circle.
6. PARC Funding for the SMA Field Development project was not successful but we have learned that it was not due to anything that the Town failed to do in its application. The main factor for not funding it was Dedham’s Demographics versus those of some of the inner city communities. Below is a synopsis of what Karen O’Connell learned from talking to the Department of Conservation Services.
I spoke with Melissa Cryan of the EOEA today in person regarding the disposition of the PARC Grant, she and I had exchanged phone messages previously.
To sum up, our application and project were strong contenders, she said there was nothing about the proposal itself that resulted in us not receiving a grant, rather it was the size of the applicant field and limited funds, 38 applications and only 20 awards that were the major factor. She encouraged us to apply for future PARC grants next year, no dates yet announced for next funding round.
In particular, the deciding factor in this situation outside our control and not related to the quality of the project proposal, was according to Ms. Cryan, the Demographics Score, her example was places like Chelsea and Everett score higher there based on the make up of their communities.
I reviewed the original grant application and criteria today.
The three major ranking or scoring areas that are considered are:
1.) Demographics-communities with higher population, lower median income, and higher percentage of households below poverty level receive higher demographic scores. DCS calculates this score.
2.) Community Profile Score: two components- a.) Environmental Justice Community, calculated by EOEAA and b.) Smart Growth Score, communities land use decisions, part of Commonwealth Capital Score, Dedham has significantly raised our Commonwealth Capital Score from 71 in 2007 to 86 in 2008 with a proposed score of 100 in 2009, official 2009 scores not released yet.
3.) Project Quality- competitive
Karen B. O'Connell, Esq.
Economic Development Director
The main concern now is how we fill the gap of $500,000 in funding needed to complete the full project. The Parks and Recreation Commission have asked to meet with the Board of Selectmen to discuss any options that might be available.
7. The Street Light Maintenance Bid has been prepared and will be advertised in the Central Register on December 3. If anyone knows of a company who performs this work please inform them that this bid will be available after this date. I do intend to send the bid document to the Town of Norwood and to the Town of Braintree to see if they have any interest in participating in this project.
8. At the Board’s last meeting a question was raised concerning an MBTA Bus that has been seen in the Manor in recent weeks. We have learned after talking to Jim Gillooly from the City of Boston that this has occurred due to the repair of the River Street Bridge. Below is the information that has been provided to us by the City regarding the status of this bridge project.
The first half of the project is nearly complete.
The traffic pattern will remain just the same as the work shifts to the other half of the structure. It will continue to be 1-way toward Dedham.
The bridge should be re-opened to two-way traffic around June or early July, 2009. Perhaps sooner if the weather cooperates.
One City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201
9. The New Permit for Trenches was also raised as a concern last week with respect to the need for having two permits to manage this new law. The concern expressed was that a resident could be required to pay for two permits in instances where a trench extended from their yard into the street. That observation was correct and the permit was designed with this concern in mind. The reason why it would require two permits and two fees is that it would require two separate review processes. If the trench were located on private property only, the Building Department would take jurisdiction and conduct the review and inspection of the work. If the work extended into the roadway, the Engineering Department would take jurisdiction and perform the review and inspection. Work performed in a public way requires that certain standards are met and maintained. However, the criteria are different when the work is performed on private property. One could argue that the work performance standards are far more costly when the work is performed in the Public Way. However, there was no intent on any Town Department’s part to create a new costly process for residents. As such one equal price was determined for both reviews and permits for consistency and to make it less confusing for the customer.
10. The Engineering Department has announced this week that extensive work is being done on Maverick Street and Bussey Street to repair damaged culverts on the two streets. This work will be an inconvenience to residents and businesses for a limited period of time. If anyone has any concerns about the detours or has some general questions about the project, I would encourage you to visit the Town’s web site at www. Dedham-ma.gov and go to the Infrastructure Engineering Web site or simply contact the Engineering Department at 781-751-9350.
11. Finally, we have posted an announcement for current openings on the Endicott Estate Commission. In looking for candidates and after conferring with the Chairman of the Commission we are particularly interested in individuals who have a hospitality industry background in hopes that we can take the Endicott Estate to new level of functionality into the future.