By Kim Siebert MacPhail
The Selectmen and Town Manager Rick Reed began the process of identifying which of the many administrative priorities Reed will focus on during the coming year at their meeting on August 27. In order to determine the ranking of each potential priority, a list of categories was then developed and action items beneath those categories were ranked as being of greater or lesser importance. The list was not intended to be exhaustive, but merely as a method of deciding how to allocate the limited resources of time and energy.
On September 17, Reed and the Selectmen revisited the list to narrow it down to a manageable workload. While the Selectmen agreed that the items that did not merit high priority status were still extremely important, they isolated the following areas as those to which Reed would give the greatest attention:
- Funding of Hanscom military dependent education
- Capital asset management and planning
- Veterans’ benefit costs (SRO)/Veteran’s Agent
- Economic development initiatives (local and regional)
- Water distribution system upgrade
- North Road sidewalk
- Recreational field development
Community Health and Safety:
- Community survey
- Coast Guard housing
- Tri-town Middlesex Turnpike Phase Two co-ordination
- Great Road/Springs Road/South Road traffic signal
- School Way project
- Definitions/thresholds/management of contracted DPW projects
- Volunteer recruitment process and bylaw
- Use of social media/policy
- Salary administration bylaw plan/update
- Televise Selectmen’s meetings
Charter and Bylaws:
- Schedule charter review
- Sign bylaws
- Restaurant alcohol license policy review
According to Reed, the next step in the goal-establishing process will be to describe each goal and to list a series of associated objectives.
Two of the priority items listed were discussed in more detail. The first was the Coast Guard housing issue that, on a first pass, was not given a “highest priority” ranking. Selectman Margot Fleischman questioned whether this was the best approach, given that the Town has been trying to get an answer from the Coast Guard for some time about the disposition of the property.
“Once the [community] survey is done, it’d be nice to know that our number two [Community Health and Safety priority] is also being considered,” said Fleischman. “I know that that’s a lot of work— the Coast Guard housing is a lot of work for a very hypothetical outcome— but I do think it’s just something that the Town needs to stay on top of and continue to engage as much as we can with just having a seat at the table [in what happens to that property]. I would advocate that we find some creative solution for some monitoring or regular check-ins with the Coast Guard just to be vigorous with our position of continuing to be interested in it.”
“It’s not something that’s being forgotten,” responded Reed. “In the overall scheme of things, it’s really something that’s in control of the Federal Government.
“In some respect,” Fleischman added, “[this would be] to ensure that we at least know when a decision is being made, are aware of actions that the Coast Guard might be taking….I would like the Town to be in a better position and less reactive.”
“I’ll be glad to join with Rick [Reed], using the Housing Authority also as a reason to get some answers,” said Selectman Bill Moonan. “The only way I’ve gotten answers in the past is to get Mr. Tierney’s office involved….It’ll be a slow process.”
The second item discussed was the School Way reconstruction project and whether or not to bring the article back to the November Special Town Meeting, although it did not pass at Annual Town Meeting last March.
“It might be worthwhile to take a look at it and see whether or not we want to think about it at fall Town Meeting,” said Chair Cathy Cordes. “We’d need to look again at the amount of money it would cost and [figure out how to pay for it.]”