e Race Is On!!!On Valentine’s day the Selectmen’s race began when Laurie Myers of Pine Hill Ave. in theWestlands pulled nomination papers and entered the race for selectman against opponant JimLane. Myers had until the close of business on Tuesday to return her papers to officially qualifyfor the race, which she did. Above and beyond the requred amount,Laurie has lived in Chelmsford with her husband and three children since 1996. She has been a proud resident of the Westlands since 1997. She has been active within the Town and State on many issues. She iscurrently the president of Community VOICES, co-founded in 2004. VOICES is a state-wide child protection and victim’s advocacy rights group that has successfully advo- cated for stronger child protection laws. In 2003 she served on the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse on the Justice and Accountability sub-committee. In 2001 she was the co-president of the Westlands School Association. In 1992 she became Rape Crisis Counselor, at Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, and performed and served on the Board of Directorsfor the Lowell Highland Players from 1985 – 1995.Laurie has spoken out against many issues that affect the quality of life in the Town, including the proposedzoning change from residential to commercial on both Evergreen and Steadman St., the closing of theWestlands School, the proposed 40B development on Chelmsford St. and the Billerica Power Plant.At the state level, she has advocated for increased chapter 70 funding and reform.She considers herself to be a fiscal conservative who believes in exploring all alternatives to generaterevenue for the town without raising taxes.Why has Laurie chosen to run???"Our Town continues to face tough economic times, our taxes continue to rise, while ourproperty values decrease.We are facing a 5 - 7 percent cut to local aid, decreased services and proposals for largerthan required projects with little regard for our shrinking open space.Taxpayers and citizens are tapped out and confidence in Town Government is atan all time low.Its time to start working toward regaining the publics trust with transparency, commonsense and accountability. "- Laurie Myers
Dear Supporters,As all of you are aware the last few years our town has sufferedseverely due to negative blog comments, fictional mass mailings andconsistent attacks on good people who just want to serve ourcommunity to make Chelmsford a better place to live. Whether youagree with someones position or not I think we can all concur thatvolunteering for public service is an admirable undertaking whichinvolves a tremendous amount of courage, time and dedication.While I truly appreciate all of your support I respectfully ask that anyonewho may be writing negative comments pertaining toLaurie Myers campaign to PLEASE STOP. I would like to run my cam-paign with the same values, honor and integrity I have always lived byand I am sure many of you live by. Our town has suffered enough divi-sion and negativity and it is time to rise above the trash talk and let thevoters decide the best person forthe job.I hope everyone will considerthis request.Sincerely,Jim LaneCandidate for Selectman
e Race Is Oﬀ??? VAN LIEW OFFICIALLY BACKS MYERS AS HIS CANDIDATE...IN TURN MYERS OFFICIALLY WITHDRAWS HER NAME FROM THE RACE ITR●2/17/11Its over before it even started thanks to a glowing endorsement fromthe towns favorite millionaire Roland Van Liew.During the week Laurie Myers also had to contend with anonymous, harassing andobscene phone calls against her candidacy in this years election. Myers has been out-spoken inrecent weeks about the cost and location of the new fire station proposal.The icing on the cake came in emails today and on the Better not Bigger website.When she along with Van Liews lawyer Richard McClure were endorsed by Van Liewfor Selectman and Planning Board. http://betterchelmsford.com/marketing-malfeasance.html"It wasnt up to him to endorse me in one paragraph and then slam my neighbors in the other five para -graphs. If what he claims is true, then it will all come out in the courts. I agree with him that we needchange in the town, but his delivery needs a lot of work." wrote Myers work.Plus she cant afford to have her work as a victims advocate and her organization community Voices tainted by becomingthe tool of Roland Van Liew in this election.Myers says she will return next year when hopefully all this has passed.Next Year 2 seats will open up,Pat Wojtas and George Dixon ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Candidate withdraws from Chelmsford selectman race By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 18, 2011Chelmsford selectman candidate Laurie Myers plans to withdraw from the race. In a statement Friday, Feb. 18, Myers said continuing her bid forthe office would only aggravate the hostile political climate in Chelmsford.“I wanted to run to give people a choice, but things quickly turned negative with disturbing anonymous phone calls and arecent negative email about my opponent and many others in town,” Myers said. “I feel that my candidacy would just add town,more fuel to the fire at this point in time.” time.The anonymous callers, who according to Myers contacted her at home shortly after she announced her candidacy, reportedly discouraged herfrom running. Soon after that, Planning Board Vice-Chairman and selectman candidate Jim Lane posted a message on his Facebook accountasking his supporters to be civil toward Myers.The e-mail Myers referred to, written by Chelmsford resident Roland Van Liew, was critical of Town Manager Paul Cohen and former selectmanPhil Eliopoulos before supporting Myers.“If we elect board members like . . . Myers who are pleased to follow the law and act on behalf of residents rather thanpredatory developers (and former town officials) then we can check the malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty thatcontinues to this day,” Van Liew wrote. day,Myers said this is not the kind of support she wants.“You can’t go after half the town officials and accuse them of things and then in the last part say, ‘Laurie’s great – votefor her,’” Myers said. her,’Myers said she and Lane agreed to run clean campaigns and hoped to be role models for others in the community. But having seen the toxicityin politics worsen as a result of her candidacy, Myers said, she has decided the best way to serve Chelmsford… is not to serve Chelmsford.At least, for now. WCAP 980 Interview with Warren Shaw on the election turn of events 2/19/11“I plan on running again next year and I’ll be spendingmy time trying to find ways to help the townmove forward from this in a positive way,” Myers said. way, CLICK HERE Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved to listen
Disturbing calls, e-mail push candidate to bail By Rita Savard, email@example.com /www.lowellsun.com 02/19/2011CHELMSFORD -- A two-way race for one open seat on the Board of Selectmen derailed yesterday after "disturbing" anonymous phone calls anda "negative e-mail" prompted one candidate to drop out.Laurie Myers, a Town Meeting representative and high-profile victims advocate, pulled out of the running just three days after returning her nom-ination papers and qualifying for the spring election ballot. Myers said she got out because she refused to get in the middle of an attack cam-paign against her opponent, Jim Lane."I wanted to run to give people a choice, but things quickly turned negative, with disturbing, anonymous phone calls anda recent negative e-mail about my opponent and many others in town," Myers said. "I feel that my candidacy would just add town,more fuel to the fire at this point in time." time.After Myers candidacy was publicized, she received two prank phone calls that she described as vulgar. Then an e-mail blast singling out townofficials for corruption surfaced from resident Roland Van Liew, founder of the Better Not Bigger Alliance, an organization that advocates sustain-able growth.In the missive, Van Liew alleges town officials are trying to build a new fire station through back-door deals and lying to voters. Although Laneisnt mentioned by name in the e-mail, Van Liew endorses Myers and Planning Board candidate Richard McClure and states, "both have op -ponents who are an integral part of the old-boy network and have a track record of acting against the best interests of thetowns residents in favor of cronies and special interest lobbyists." lobbyists.Myers said she didnt think the endorsement was a boost to her campaign. Instead, she believes it pigeon-holed her as a one-issue candidate."I dont dislike Roland Van Liew," Myers said. "But I dont agree with all of his opinions and I didnt want my campaign to be Liew,all about 9 North Road. Its one thing to criticize someone. People who know me know Ive been critical of others in thepast. But at some point you have to start offering solutions, not more warfare." warfare.A staunch opponent of an office building under construction by the Eliopoulos family at 9 North Road, Van Liew has sent several mailings out toresidents alleging town officials broke the law when approving the project.Van Liew said his mass mailings have always served one purpose: holding town officials accountable.He said he endorsed Myers because shes been a "good and honest Town Meeting rep." rep"I dont think its being too critical to demand that public officials abide by the law and uphold the law," Van Liew said in a law,written statement.Selectman Jon Kurland, the lone selectman who voted against the Eliopoulos familys North Road project, said he agrees with Van Liew that the1978 Board of Selectmen intended to keep the land as open space by creating a preservation restriction.But Kurland said he strongly disagrees that the project is now under way because of corrupt officials."The preservation restriction was not well crafted," Kurland said. "If it was a tighter document, we probably wouldnt have a crafted,building going up there now. Van Liews letters are loaded with inaccuracies that confuse readers. Number one is themisconception that the land on 9 North Road was the towns land. It was owned by Eastern Bank, not the town of Chelms -ford."ford.Van Liew also alleges that Chelmsford Fire Captain Hank Houle took the initiative to research availability of the land behind the fire station fromEastern Bank."He presented the opportunity to (Town Manager Paul) Cohen on a silver platter, with contact information and even a pos -sible deal for no cash," Van Liew wrote in the e-mail blast, adding that Houles reward was to be passed over by Cohen for a promotion to cash,fire chief.Houle said yesterday that never happened."I never applied for fire chief," Houle said. "There was never any hidden agenda. It seems like (Van Liew) spins the truth to chief,fit his own agenda." agenda.Myers said she doesnt agree with Lane on all the issues -- she does not support building a new fire station on the corner of Wilson and Chelms-ford streets, while Lane does.But Myers said she likes and respects Lane as a person."Hes passionate about the town and thats a good thing," she said. "I have family in town and he has family in town. At the thing,end of the day we all see each other at our schools, in Chelmsford center, at the kids basketball games. The negativity isa problem and I dont want any part of it." it.Van Liew alleges that town officials are behind the anonymous phone calls. He said Myers is simply the latest example. If she drops out, he said,its unfortunate because it creates an unopposed path for Lane.Lane said yesterday he heard about Van Liews e-mail but will not read it."I understand where Laurie is coming from and I completely agree, negative campaigning doesnt do anything good for the town," he said. "Its the old cliché, united you stand, divided you fall. We need to work on that as a community because were ab -solutely stronger when we come together as a community, and thats a goal I will work on if elected." elected.
Mike Raisbeck : Candidate for Planning Board Who is Mike Raisbeck ??I’ve lived on High Street in Chelmsford for 27 years now. My two sons, Andrew and Dan, grew uphere – both are Chelmsford High graduates. Andrew is now a medical student at U. Conn., and Danis a Computer Engineering student at Tufts. Chelmsford has done well by us.My education includes a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern, a Masterof Science in Engineering Management from U. Mass, and a law degree with honors from Suffolk U.All of these were done in whole or in part through evening classes while I worked during the day andhelped raise a family. It required a lot of effort, but it taught me how to balance priorities. And it wasfun.In 40 years of professional life I have been doing primarily engineering and engineering manage-ment. At various points I’ve been a manager of hardware diagnostics, a systems engineer, a projectmanager, and a Vice President of Operations. For the last 4 years I’ve managed the Software Qual-ity Assurance department at Conexant Systems in Waltham. These experiences have taught mehow to lead and how to be part of a team.I’ve also practiced law on a part time basis, including experience with details of land use andtelecommunication law. I’m a member of the Massachusetts bar, the Federal bar, and the Patentbar. In recent years I’ve concentrated mostly on engineering management, but I keep my legal cre-dentials up to date.Public service and community involvement have always been important to me. I was a Precinct 1Town Meeting Rep. for a term a few years ago and I’m running again this year. I served nine yearson the board of the Murdoch Charter School, including one year as Chairman; in that role I handled a$3,000,000 building project and the development of a technology plan. For the last year and a halfI’ve been the Chelmsford Planning Board alternate, an apprenticeship step I strongly recommend toanyone aspiring to be on the Planning Board. I’m on the boards of 3 non-profits, including the boardof the national Amateur Radio organization, which manages 156,000 members, 100 staff, and a$15,000,000 budget. In the past I’ve also been on the board of the Chelmsford Historical Society.And for fun? Public service provides a lot of personal satisfaction, but I also enjoy gardening, hamradio, old British sports cars, foreign languages (French, Italian, Spanish, struggling with German),and Victorian houses. I use and enjoy Chelmsford’s open spaces and community garden.So why am I running for Planning Board? As I’ve said, Chelmsfordhas done well by my family. Now the boys are grown and out of thehouse, and I’m almost caught up on 125 years of house maintenance.I have more time than I did, and I want to contribute to the Town inways that best utilize my skills, training, and experience. The combi-nation of Engineering and Law experience seems a great match forthe Planning Board, and my term as a Planning Board Alternate hasprepared me to hit the ground running.This in a nutshell is why I am running for Planning Board. In the nextissue of In-Town Report I’ll discuss my agenda and views on some ofthe topics and issues facing us.Questions? Call me at home, 978-250-1235, or drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard McClure eyes Planning Board spot Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Tue, Feb 15, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comAnother last-minute potential candidate emerged Tuesday afterattorney Richard McClure pulled papers to run for PlanningBoard.McClure remains an outspoken critic of the Planning Boards de-cision that approved the building at 9 North Road. He is currentlywaiting for a ruling from Land Court to move forward with depos-ing officials in a lawsuit he filed over the project.A Chelmsford native, McClure is no newcomer to the politicalscene. Previously he ran for the Board of Selectmen and for RichardState Representative. McClureIf McClure can collect the necessary signatures by the end of the day, he will face currentPlanning Board Chairman Ann McGuigan and Planning Board Alternate Mike Raisbeckfor the two available seats on the board. ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ITR NOTE : McClure collected the requred amount of signaturesin one day and had them certified and is on the ballot and so the onlyactual town wide race in town is for the Planning Boards two seats ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Town: No state investigation of voter intimidation allegations By Staff reports GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 18, 2011Chelmsford —Chelmsford town officials have learned the attorney general has de-cided not to investigate allegations of voter intimidation made by aChelmsford resident.According to Town Manager Paul Cohen, he asked town counsel toinquire about the matter, after not having heard anything for sometime. Friday, he learned there would be no investigation.The request for an investigation was filed with state and the federalauthorities following elections in November. In it, the plaintiff,Roland Van Liew, levels charges that town officials blocked effortsto collect signatures on a petition to recall Planning Board membersGeorge Zaharoolis and Sue Carter. Roland Van LiewThe petition failed to garner the necessary 2,400 votes for recall.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
TIME TO PLAY Your choices are HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN EVERYTHINGS COMING UP ROSES or BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME YOU DECIDE ON YOUR ANSWER $$$Better budget outlook for fiscal 2012$$$ Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Mon, Jan 31, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comAlthough state aid to Chelmsford declined for the fourth straight year, Town Manager PaulCohen believes the economic picture will see improvement in fiscal 2012."It does appear the worst is behind us," Cohen told a joint session of the Board of Se- us,lectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee Monday night. "Were not in happydays again, but it looks it hit bottom and we are coming back to positive trends." trendsCohen presented a level-service budget that he said adheres to or exceeds state minimums foreducation and library.The fiscal 2012 budget includes a $1.1 million, or 2.4 percent, increase in the school budgeteven though enrollment continues its decline. Schools expect to see a 2 percent decrease instudent enrollment this upcoming year. Fiscal year 2012 begins on July 1 of this year.At the library, Cohen proposes a 4.43 percent increase, which allows the library to maintainstate certification levels.Other increases include $319,649, or 1.5 percent, for the general government; $21,103, or 1.1percent, to Nashoba Valley Technical High School and nearly $900,000, or 5 percent, for em-ployee benefits and insurance.Cohen used figures from the governors recent budget proposals and the recent cherry sheetnumbers, which detail a localities state aid, to develop the budget.Property taxes cover 75 percent of the towns operating budget, which in fiscal 2012 is expectedto total $78 million.Officials also see better finances in motor vehicle excise taxes."This is the first time in a few years that it is going in a positive direction," said direction,Town Treasurer John Sousa. "Its up about $61,000 over last year." year.The new local options taxes also proved to be bright spots.Chelmsfords new meals tax brings in an average of $30,000 a month.The hotel room tax averages $40,000 a month, said Town Accountant Darlene Lussier.She also had her share of not-so-bright-financial news.Through this week, the town has spent $983,352, or 82 percent of its Snow & Ice Budget."It has about $200,000 left and that is probably going to be gone by tomorrownight or Wednesday," Lussier said. Wednesday,Under state law, the town is allowed to go into a deficit to cover snow and ice removal costs andfund those payments later. However, with about six months left in fiscal 2011, the town hasspent $113,000 of the $150,000 it budgeted for unemployment benefits. It has also used up$114,434 of the $195,000 set aside for legal expenditures.
New fire station planned for Wilson Street By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 08, 2011The town of Chelmsford will plan new fire department headquarters for a site on Wilson and Chelmsfordstreets. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to focus on this location rather than a site on NorthRoad and Crosby Lane after hearing residents’ input for more than two hours Monday night.Most residents spoke in favor of the Wilson Street site, calling the North Road option costly, complicatedand intrusive to abutters. A fire station on the town-owned Wilson Street parcel would require the relocationof two softball fields but would cost just $9.1 million, while a station on North Road would involve transplant-ing three structures and would likely cost morethan $9.6 million after the necessary land hadbeen purchased.Still, a number of residents were concernedabout the heavy traffic on Chelmsford Street, which they said would impede engines coming from a stationon Wilson and Chelmsford streets. One or two suggested the North Road site could be preferable.The criticism was not always site-specific. Some residents expressed frustration when Permanent BuildingCommittee Chairman Pat Maloney, who presented the plans, said detailed cost breakdowns were not yet available for either one. Others were most trou- bled by Maloney’s proposition to allow room for the fire station to expand, in case it one day be- came necessary. But almost everyone declared the town could not go on without a new Center Fire Station and urged the selectmen to make a decision. Selectman Jon Kurland said a station at Wilson and Chelmsford streets will allow firefighters to quickly reach the town’s areas of highest need.Also, he pointed out, the town already owns the parcel and will not have to waste time and burden taxpay-ers by purchasing land from somebody else.Not only is the Wilson Street plan is more straightforward, said Selectman Eric Dahlberg, it’s also morepopular. He said numerous abutters of the proposed North Road site contacted him to protest a fire stationnear their homes, but not a single Wilson Streetresident complained.Selectman Pat Wojtas focused on the immediatefuture, promising residents there will be numer-ous public input sessions for the purpose of de-veloping a Wilson Street plan. A good deal ofwork remains to be done – as Maloney ex-plained, the process will be more like startingfrom scratch than modifying an existing design.Maloney and his team will work to come up witha proposal for a Wilson Street station during thecoming month, after which the selectmen mustapprove it for inclusion on the April Town Meetingwarrant.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved CLICH HERE for PATCH Video of the vote
Let’s Play OR ITR●2/12/11The following day after the BOS public input session on the new Fire Station this articled appeared in theLowell Sun New fire station returns to ballot thinking it was about the night before I read onand come to find out it was about a new fire station proposal in Pelham NH.“Fire Chief James Midgley said he will make a presentation to voters on plans to build a new six-bay fire station next to the libraryparking lot on the Village Green that would be double the size of the existing fire station.Last year, when Pelham voters rejected almost all spending articles on the town and school ballots except for the new senior center,the proposed $3.95 million fire station received 53 percent of the vote. But that still fell 282 votes short of the required three-fifthsmajority to pass a bonding article.This years proposed $3.7 million fire station is a scaled-down version of what was on last years ballot, Midgley said."We listened to the people, and the fire stations design this year was driven by what the people told us they wanted," Midgley said."They wanted us to cut down on the size and consolidate our space and the price. Weve done all the things with the station thatweve been asked to do."The new fire station would allow the department "to fill all but half of one of the six bays with the vehicles and equipment that wealready have, without having to leave any equipment rotting outside, as the situation is now," said’ This prompted a search for more info then I came across a 2007 plan that was rejected by the Pelham votersbut look closer to what is being presented in Chelmsford for $9 million. Then I took this info to the ITR Facebook page... ANYONE SPOT THE SUBTLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEIRS AND OURS???Go ahead talk amongst yourselves, discuss...I wont listen ;)New fire station returns to ballot - Lowell Sun Onlinewww.lowellsun.comPELHAM -- A proposed $12.1 million operating budget and $3.7 million fire station are among 17 warrant ar-ticles scheduled to be explained, discussed and debated at tonight Barb Costello Belanger: Come on Roy, you have to weigh in. Roy Earley: Use your brains... ... I know its painful ;) Barb Costello Belanger: I actually did! Laurie Pascall Myers: I just went on their website and checked out the 2007 plan for 4million. It was very impressive. Do you think construction costs have doubled since then? If not, I have some questions... Roy Earley: in 2007 the Pelham voters turned down their fire station proposal because it was too big and too costly at almost $5 million.Still $4 mil cheaper than our current plan.Take a look, would our boys be happy with what a $4.8 mil fire house looks like???http://www.pelhamweb.com/selectmen/docs/PFD_artist_rendition_aerial.JPG
Roy Earley: I found this online from one of Pelhams newspapers referring to the size of the Pelham 4.8 mil fire station proposal from 2007"Fire Chief Michael Walker has said the current station, at 6,760 square feet, lacks sufficientspace, forcing firefighters to store some of their equipment offsite and park some vehicles out -side, exposing them to weather.The proposed two-story, 24,286-square-foot station would be built on town property next tothe Village Green known as the Mills property.The building was designed by the architectural firm Donham and Sweeney, Inc., of Boston.The new building would provide more space – 4,400 square feet rather than 2,360 square feetnow – for administration, meeting and living space. The building includes 601 square feet forstorage and a 933-square-foot maintenance bay.The department employs 15 full time employees and 26 call firefighters." Laurie Pascall Myers : Our scaled down version is 19,489 SF at a cost of 9 million. Roy Earley : Big price difference when you go way up NORTH of the border ;) Laurie Pascall Myers : A 15 minute ride for you and me... Laurie Pascall Myers : I know...maybe the exchange rate is different :) Roy Earley : They have 6 bays in their plan we only get 4 bays :( Debbie Dery : Not only is it cheaper but there isnt room for EXPANSION!!!!! Paul did say in a recent arti- cle that we could build one for 4.6 million dollars. Where is that proposal? I would have liked to have seen a proposal at the current location that could have been built in two phases. One to accomadate thevehicles and then the second phase for offices. We then would get to keep our open space that were payingdearly for in our CPF taxes at 1 1/2 %. We have 5 stations and only 4 open because we do not have the funds forthe manpower. I can not believe that we need a station that size because we really do not have many fires intown. What we really need to do is stop going to elderly facilities for medical calls. We need to engage Pride Starand Trinity to accomadate their needs and maybe then we will have enough funds to open the South Fire Stationbecause the residents in the section of town deserve fire protection. Geoff Lucente : Thanks for putting this up Roy. This is quite stunning. Roy Earley : 4.8 mil http://www.pelhamweb.com/selectmen/docs/PFD_artist_rendition_marsh_road.JPGhttp://www.pelhamweb.com/selectmen/docs/PFD_artist_rendition_view_library.JPGhttp://www.pelhamweb.com/selectmen/docs/PFD_elevation_drawings.pdfhttp://www.pelhamweb.com/2007warrant/town/article_8/Proposed_Central_Fire_Station.pdf Barb Costello Belanger : When I read the article the other day I wondered why Pelham could produce a fire station for significantly less. Thanks Roy for bringing this to everyones attention. Roy Earley : These questions and more will be answered in the next In-Town Report on February 20th Tom Christiano : I just asked Pat Maloney, the Chair of the Building Committee, about this difference in costs between the two Fire Stations. He said he will be making a presentation explaining the differences at the next Selectmen meeting on Monday, Febuary 14th. That presentation should answer all of your questions about the cost of the new Fire Station.
Laurie Pascall Myers : Why do we have to wait until Monday? Roy Earley ☆ - From the Town Manager● We are planning to provide information at Monday nights Board of Selectmen meeting re -garding the cost of other recently constructed fire stations in Massachusetts communities. Iexpect that there will also be some material pertaining to the proposed Pelham, New Hamp -shire fire station.Paul One-story,Unfinished 2nd floor Two-story, 24,286-square-foot 19,489-square-foot Fire station, with 6 bays Fire station,with 4 bays
Fire station costs driven by state mandates Julie Hanson/Staff Reporter • Mon, Feb 14, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comChalk it up to the cost of doing business in Massachusetts.Thats one explanation for the $5.4 million difference between the 19,489-square-footfire station proposed in Chelmsford and a 22,050-square-foot facility planned for Pelham, N.H.But Permanent Building Committee Co-chairman Pat Maloney offered a more detailed analysis atMonday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.He pointed out that Chelmsford is bisected by two highways and contains large bodies of water. Equip-ment to handle hazardous waste leaks on the highways or in the lakes need to be stored in acentral location."We have to be prepared for many things that rural firefighters dont face," Maloney said. face,He estimated that site specific costs, such as new traffic signals, additional parking and softball field relo-cation, add approximately $1 million to construction costs.State mandates add about seven figures to the price, Maloney said. Massachusetts requires the use ofprevailing wage rates, filed sub bid regulations and stringent building and energy codes.He added that Pelham is proposing six bays to Chelmsfords four. Bay space is less expensive to build,Maloney said.He presented recent projects completed in Massachusetts for comparison.Franklin, with a population of 31,000, built a 22,000-square-foot facility in 2008 for $9.3 million, Maloneysaid. Hudson completed a 23,900-square-foot station in 2005 for $6.4 million.Maloney said the proposed headquarters would be built with steel, brick and concrete to last50 years or more.To proceed the project requires a majority vote on the April 5 ballot and two-thirds approval atTown Meeting. CLICK HERE
Station price tag shaved By Marie Donovan , Sun Correspondent www.lowellsun.com 02/17/2011 CHELMSFORD -- Town officials have begun the push for a new $9.1 million cen- CLICK ter fire station after residents rejected a pricier plan last year. Permanent Building Committee co-Chairman Pat Maloney spent much of his floor HERE time at the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday explaining why the town cant build a station for even less, like nearby Pelham, N.H., which is looking to build a new one for $3.7 million. for Video "Its quite different to do projects like this in Massachusetts than Part 1 New Hampshire," Maloney told The Sun. Hampshire, "A lot of it has to do with state-mandated issues in Massachusetts, like prevailing wage, filed sub-bid laws for procurement. We have to have an owners project manager. Our energy codes are more strin - gent, too," he said. too, Selectmen voted unanimously last week, 5-0, to send the scaled-back $9.1 millionstation proposal to voters in April, hoping it will fare better than a $12 million building plan that was overwhelmingly rejected on the ballot in 2010.The new station would be funded as a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion, so the average Chelmsford residential taxpayer would see an increaseof $16 to his bill in 2012, $61 in 2013 and $62 in 2014, before steadily decreasing to a $48 increase in 2023 solely from costs associated withthe fire station.The debt-exclusion request for the new station needs a simple majority to pass on the April 5 town election ballot and also would require two-thirds approval from voters at the April 25 annual Town Meeting, Town Manager Paul Cohen said.The proposed station, which would be on town-owned land at the corner of Chelmsford and Wilson streets, has been scaled back from 27,000square feet to 19,000 square feet and features four bays instead of five, with the option to expand in the future if needed, Cohen said. The proj-ect has significantly reduced administrative space but still incorporates required building and energy codes and all the features needed to servethe town, which has grown from a population of about 10,000 when the existing center station was built to about 33,000 today, Cohen said."Its a long-term investment for the town that would last 50 years, like the current station did," he said, adding that it is in the didtowns benefit to do the project before favorable interest rates in the current construction market are no longer available.In addition to different state laws, Chelmsford is intersected by two major highways and is much more urban than Pelham, Maloney said."Pelham is a lot more rural. We need to have a fire department that prepares for different hazardous spills. There aresome things we cant live without, such as medical decontamination areas, walk-in medical areas. A lot of these things,they dont have in Pelham," he said. Pelham,The North Road station in use is structurally unsound, Cohen said."Its being held up with wooden beams. It also isnt large enough. It was built for a different era," he said. eraSelectman Eric Dahlberg was the lone board member to vote against the $12 million station proposal last year, but said he is ready to stand be-hind the new $9.1 million proposal, which he joined his colleagues in supporting."From a public-safety perspective, we absolutely do need a new fire station. The current thing is a fiasco waiting to hap -pen," said Dahlberg, who said the cost of the original proposal was his only objection.pen,"The fact we were able to shave off nearly one-third of the cost is good," Dahlberg said. good,Maloney, who helped craft the new station proposal with town engineers, will continue to explain specific aspects of the plan to voters withquestions, Cohen said."Were planning on providing more information at future selectmen meetings and open houses," he said. houses,The item will be placed on the April 5 town election ballot as a debt-exclusion item that needs a simple majority to pass and also would requiretwo-thirds approval from voters at the April 25 annual Town Meeting, Cohen said.Officials have been adamant about keeping the station in the towns center to ensureadequate response times. The Wilson Street parcel, which houses a couple of soft-ball fields, was one of two the town was looking at as a potential site for the new sta-tion. A parcel on North Road near the intersection of Crosby Drive owned by St. MaryChurch would have also been sufficient but would have increased the price tag,Cohen said."There are two softball fields that would have to be replicated else -where," but it would be less than building on the current church-owned land, he said.where,Selectwoman Pat Wojtas said she is hopeful taxpayers will support the new station CLICKproposal."It looks like it meets needs for the present. If there are needs to ex -pand, they are situating it so it can," she said. can, HERE for Video part 2
Chelmsford cinema dust a nd rubble By Rita Savard, email@example.com 02/18/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- It was 10 years in the making, but the final act for the crumbling Route 3 Cinema landed yesterday when demolition crewsbegan tearing down the blighted old movie house.The property at 299 Chelmsford St. has sat idle since it was purchased by Stop & Shop in 1998 for $3 million. Suzi Robinson, a Stop & Shopspokeswoman, said the company plans to open a superstore on the site sometime this year.Although an opening date has not been etched in stone, town officials say the end of a decade-long legal battle between two grocery-store gi-ants will mark a new chapter in Chelmsfords economy."That location is right off the highway," Town Manager Paul Cohen said. "It is a gateway to the town and it will be nice to fi - highway,nally have something there instead of an abandoned building." building.Market Basket, located across the street in East Gate Plaza, took Stop & Shop and the towns Zoning Board of Appeals to state Land Court in2001, claiming the new development would slow traffic.The Market Basket chain, with headquarters in Tewksbury, is owned by the Demoulas family.In 2008, a judge allowed the project to move forward but Market Basket appealed the decision. In January 2010, the state Appeals Court finallycleared the way for Stop & Shop to build on the old cinema site.While some are eager to see new construction begin on the parcel, others still felt reluctant to say a final farewell to Route 3 Cinema,Greater Lowells primary movie theater before the days of stadium seating dawned."Even when the big theater (Showcase Cinema) was coming in, we vowed to stay loyal until the end, and we did," said didBrian Latina, a Chelmsford Town Meeting representative who recalled going on dates with his wife at the Route 3 Cinema before he proposed.From first dates to nights out with friends, the little theater on Chelmsford Street opened in 1967 and made 31 years of memories for peopleacross Greater Lowell.It even spurred a Facebook page called "I worked at Route 3 Cinema." The profile picture is a wedding-party photo taken in front of the Cinematheater. The happy couple, according to page creator Lauren St. Amour, are Meredith and Greg Kay, who met on the job what now seems like"forever ago.""It was really one of the best times in our lives," said 31-year-old St. Amour, who worked at the theater from the time she was 16 until lives,heading off to college. "We made friendships there that have outlasted the theater. About five of us had a little reunion at theOld Court in Lowell just last fall." fall.Joe Pollard, of Merrimack, N.H., remembers sneaking to Chelmsford with friends to see Dirty Dancing, the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayzeand Jennifer Grey. The movie had a PG-13 rating and Pollards local theater wouldnt let them in because they were underage, he said."It felt like you had to wait in line forever to get your ticket because the lines were so long. It was the place to be," said Tricia Dzuris, who hadher first date at the cinema. She saw The Rose starring Bette Midler.Laura Bower of Lowell said the Route 3 Cinema was her first experience in a movie theater. The film was Ghost Busters (1984) and she was10 years old."I was so excited, but I ate way too much popcorn and ended up getting sick," Bower said. "And I didnt regret a second of sickit. That movie theater was the best!" bestCohen remembers catching The Hobbit (1977) at Route 3 when he was just a kid."The place holds a lot of memories for a lot of people," Cohen said. "But that was a long time ago. The building has sat in people,disrepair for several years. It will be good to see some life back in that area of town." townWhat will come of the Stop & Shop store down the street at 16 Boston Road remains to be seen, Cohen added. Robinson said she was unableto comment on the fate of the Boston Road store as of yesterday.The Marshalls located next door to Stop & Shop is sup-posed to move inside the former AJ Wright store on Plain VIDEO: CurtainStreet in Lowell, in the same plaza where Target sits, Closes onCohen said. Chelmsford Street CinemaCVS, which stands alone in the Stop & Shop Plaza, also The cinema washas plans to construct a new, larger building with a drive- demolished yes-through pharmacy beside the current store. terday to make room for a new"Things are changing shape over there," he said. there,"Were finally seeing the dominoes fall, the first CLICK HERE Stop and Shop. By Krista Perrybeing the demolition of the movie theater." theater. February 18, for Video 2011
Marshalls relocating to Lowell Marshalls on Boston Road (Staff photo by Julie Hanson -www.chelmsfordmassnews.com)Julie Hanson/Staff Reporter • Fri, Feb 11, 2011www.chelmsfordmassnews.comMarshalls will be closing the doors on itsBoston Road location for good next month.Rumors had been circulating that the retailerwas planning a move to Lowell.Doreen Thompson, vp of corporate communi-cations for the TJX companies, confirmedtoday that Marshalls is relocating to the AJWright location at Hannaford Plaza on PlainStreet in Lowell. The move will take place atthe end of March. Planning Board OKs CHS billboard Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Wed, Feb 09, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.com The Planning Board approved a billboard at CHS, shown here in a photo illustration, on Wednesday night. (Courtesy photo) Almost a year to the day after the town awarded a con- tract to Capital Advertising the Planning Board approved the proposed Chelmsford High School billboard Wednesday night. By a unanimous 7-0 vote, board members OKd the site plan for a 35-foot, two-sided sign lit from the top down. Because of the way the billboard bylaw is written, any sign also requires a special permit from the Planning Board. The board also approved a special permit for the signby a 6-to-1 vote. Planning Board member Sue Carter cast the lone No vote.In late February 2010, the Board of Selectmen voted 4-to-1 to pursue a 20-year lease agreement with Capital Advertising/Splash Media for bill-boards at Chelmsford High School and Oak Hill along Route 3.Capital was the high bidder for both locations, agreeing to pay $72,000 a year for the right to erect a sign at CHS and $60,000 annually fortown-owned property at Oak Hill near Scotty Hollow. 2010 Regional Traffic Volume Report CLICK HERE
Towns face health-care benefit pinch By Chris Camire, firstname.lastname@example.org 02/16/2011 www.lowellsun.comBOSTON -- Retiree health-care benefits are threatening to wreak havoc on local government services unless urgent actionis taken, according to a report released yesterday by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.The 50 largest cities and towns in Massachusetts, including Lowell, Billerica and Chelmsford, have setaside virtually no money to fund what the group is calling a "crushing $20 billion liability" in retireehealth-care benefits.Tackling the problem with spending cuts would decimate municipal services, according to the report. Funding the liabilitieswould require huge tax hikes.For example, the average single-family homeowner in Lowell would pay an extra $59,118 in taxes over 30 years to meetthe citys obligation. In Billerica, the average single-family homeowner would pay $28,119 in additional taxes. In Chelms-ford, the average homeowner would pay more than $30,000 in additional taxes over 30 years."These are not hypothetical future obligations but the amount that communities actually owe today," said MTF PresidentMichael Widmer. "Its the equivalent of a gigantic credit-card debt that grows and grows the longer it is ignored."The exploding costs of employee benefits have already eroded local budgets and forced cuts to basic services. Widmerexpects this hemorrhaging to intensify as the costs of retiree health care and other employee benefits continue to climb.Area municipal managers say the report drives home the act that legislative action is needed to reduce liabilities and con-trol the spiraling costs of retiree health care."I think in the long term, its certainly going to have a detrimental impact on city services unless something is done," saidLowell City Manager Bernie Lynch.Lowell is facing $432,752 in unfunded health-insurance liabilities.Lynch said that when pension costs were threatening municipalities in the late 1980s, the state Legislature made a deci-sion to move away from a pay-as-you-go pension system to a fully-funded system. The plan is expected to eliminate theunfunded pension liability by 2028.Lynch believes the Legislature should give cities and towns the authority to alter municipal health-care plans without seek-ing approval from labor unions. Doing so would result in immediate cost savings, he said.The MTF is recommending several other changes to state law, including raising the retiree health-care eligibility age from55 to 62; increasing the minimum hours for part-time employees to be eligible to receive municipal health insurance; andending spousal/dependent coverage for future retirees.The report also notes that retiree health care in the private sector is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.Only 28 percent of private-sector employers with at least 500 employees offered health-care benefits to early retirees in2009, down from 46 percent in 1993. Just 21 percent of these employers provided supplemental health-care coverage forMedicare-eligible retirees, compared with 40 percent in 1993.Of the 50 communities examined, only Arlington has set up a trust to begin addressing the liabilities. That trust holds $2.9million, or about 2 percent of the towns total liability.Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen said town officials put about $10,000 into a trust about fiveyears ago to address its $162,400 in unfunded health-insurance liabilities. Sustaining it was not possi -ble due to the recession."This is the fourth year of local aid cuts," said Cohen. "Yes, we all believe in sound financial manage -ment, but the needs of today are more pressing in terms of the environment that were in."Gov. Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo proposed last month that cities and towns should be able to makemajor changes to their health-care plans without union consent. The proposal, which was included the in governorsbudget plan for next fiscal year, is designed to rein in the exorbitant costs of generous insurance plans.Billerica Town Manager John Curran, whose town is facing $233,836 in unfunded health-insurance liabilities, said con-tentious issues such as health-insurance reform often "take time" to resolve. But time may be running out."Its going to become more of a burden over time for local governments to take on," said Curran. "This is something weneed to address."
Fund transfer vote on tap for new DPW Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Wed, Feb 16, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comIn April, Town Meeting representatives will vote to transfer Sewer Enterprise Funds to help defray costs of the new Depart-ment of Public Works facility.Officials plan to ask $1.2 million be taken from the sewer fund to cover the expenses of relocating the Sewer Departmentinto the new Alpha Road building."Its so we can move them over and stop paying rent on Kidder Road," said Permanent Building Committee Road,Co-chairman Pat Maloney.The town pays about $80,000 a year to rent space for the Sewer Department, said Town Manager Paul Cohen.Voters approved borrowing $5 million for Phase 1 of the DPW project last year. After purchasing the Old Mother Hubbarddog food warehouse about $1.5 million of the initial funding remains.Maloney said a phasing plan was always part of the proposal for consolidating the DPW on Alpha Road. In the plans,Phase 1 converts the warehouse into a garage for vehicle storage, constructs a fueling station and wash-facility andbuilds a new salt shed.At some point, residents will vote on a "couple of million dollars" to fund Phase 2 of the project, said Maloney. dollars"That is a couple of years out," said Maloney. "I cant sit here today and say this is the total cost of the out,project. Were asking for special permits from the Planning Board and waivers from the ConservationCommission and ZBA." ZBAIf any of the boards denies a request, the plan may require changes that could affect the costs.In late January, the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals held a tri-board meeting toopen the hearing on the DPW plan.Last week the Planning Board continued its hearing on the DPWs request for about eight special permits. Most of thoserelate to work within the Aquifer Protection Zoning District, said Community Development Director Evan Belanksy.The Conservation Commission started its hearing last night on an Order of Conditions for work in the wetlands bufferzone. On Thursday, the Zoning Board of Appeals begins its hearing for a variance over the setback requirements."The first follow-up meeting was with the Planning Board last Wednesday," said Maloney. "Overall itwent fairly well. They asked for a couple of different things." things.☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ITR:UH-Ummm how much $$$ did Town Meeting have to approve to fork overto the sewer fund at the special town Meeting in order for the sewer project to be completed? An -swer: $ 2,000,000PAUL COHEN:This has nothing to do with the Sewer Construction project, which is the responsibility of theSewer Commissioners. The requested funding is to integrate the DPW Sewer Division thatoperates the sewer system into the new DPW facility. Rather than continuing to expend$80,000 per year go lease operating space at Kidder Road, monies from the Sewer Enter-prise Fund would be used to provide suitable space in the Town-owned building. The $5Mthat the Town approved last spring was to purchase the new facility and relocate the DPWHighway Division. The ﬁnal phase will be the vehicle maintenance operations in a few years.This is how a $13M project is completed in phases. There will be no increase to the sewerfees to fund the $1.2M debt service because the current $80,000 per year lease payment isequal to the annual debt service payment on the borrowing.ITR:How long is the lease for at Kidder Roadand when does it expires???PAUL COHEN:The Town is in the 3rd year of a 5 year lease.The DPW renovations may not be completed for 18 months.ITR:18 months?Why not wait till 2012 to transfer the money?Why now?PAUL COHEN:The work may take 18 months to be completed.You need to have the fund appropriated in advance to design, bid, and construct.
Chelmsford town manager wants recall bylaw amended By Rita Savard, email@example.com www.lowellsun.com 02/03/2011CHELMSFORD -- It was something the town hadnt seen on its own turf before -- a resident tryingto throw elected officials out of office.A push last fall to oust Planning Board members George Zaharoolis and Susan Carter may havefailed, but not without sparking debate over the recall bylaw. Calling for "more efficiency," TownManager Paul Cohen is seeking to amend the law at Town Meeting this spring."After going through the experience, you learn what works and what doesnt," doesnt,Cohen said. "The option to recall must exist, but the bylaw was written 20 years agoand we felt it could be amended to streamline the process." process. Town ManagerIn October, resident Roland Van Liew, author of several mass mailings that blast town officials for Paul Cohencorruption, launched the effort to recall. Van Liew accused Planning Board members of abusingtheir power by breaking town bylaws to benefit the family of former Selectman Philip Eliopoulos.The Eliopoulos family is constructing an office building on 9 North Road.It was the first time in the towns history that a resident tried to oust an elected official, and it happened to coincide with astatewide general election and a special town election.As the Town Clerks office was busy preparing ballots and voter registration, it was slammed with a request for 3,000 bal-lots, Cohen said. Under the bylaw, the town has to provide a petitioner with ballots, but no limit is specified in writing.If the law is amended, a petitioner would only receive enough copies of blank petitions containing the number of signaturesneeded, multiplied by five. For example, if the petitioner needs to gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters and eachpage holds space for 25 names, then the town clerk would give them 120 pages and up to five times more, or 600 pagestotal.Other changes to the bylaw would include:* Recall petitions shall be returned within 20 days, rather than 14.* Recall petition shall be signed by 15 percent of the registered voters rather than 10 percent.* If the elected official is recalled, he or she shall not be appointed to any town office within two years after such recall orresignation, instead of the current one year. Van Liew said the warrant article is a move by town officials to make the recall process more difficult for voters. "Obviously, the selectmen are terrified theyll be held accountable for refusing to uphold the law, so theyre trying to make it much harder than it already is to recall public officials, " Van Liew said in a prepared statement. "The recommended changes would eliminate the ability to have voters sign separate affidavits request - ing a petition, and increase the number of voters required to sign a recall petition...in other words, these officials are quite concerned that residents could re - Roland Van Liew call public officials by actually reaching enough voters with affidavits." affidavits.On Oct. 20, Van Liew submitted affidavits signed by 225 residents from each of the towns nine voter precincts. The signa-tures jump-started the recall process, giving Van Liew 14 days to collect signatures from 10 percent, or 2,400, of Chelms-fords registered voters as outlined in the town charter.If the necessary signatures are collected and confirmed, the Board of Selectmen must hold a special election within 60 to90 days for the public to vote on removing elected officials from office.Van Liews effort fell flat Nov. 3, when he failed to meet the 14-day deadline for gathering signatures.Supporters of Zaharoolis and Carter said the lack of signatures showed residents felt there was no conspiracy behind theirvotes. Opponents said the time frame allotted to collect signatures was what really derailed the recall attempt.Cohen said the warrant article isnt about Van Liews recall effort, but, rather, to spell out the guidelines so there is no con-fusion."We looked at recall bylaws in several other towns when drafting this proposal," Cohen said. "Its not proposal,meant to restrict the process, its meant to make it more clear for residents." residents.
Roof Of Town Salt Shed Collapses Under Snow By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 07, 2011Chelmsford —The roof of a salt shed owned by the town of Chelmsford collapsed Sat-urday morning under a load of heavy snow, according to Town ManagerPaul Cohen.No one was injured and no equipment was damaged, Cohen said. Rhesalt and salt-and-sand mix kept inside the shed were briefly exposed tothe elements, but town officials plan to cover the supplies with tarpsuntil a new salt shed can be built.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reservedSnow Causes Roof Collapse At Gas Station The roof of the Shell Gas Station collapsed under the weight of the snow. The store was closed during the col- By Jared Hamaoui lapse. Credit Jared Hamaoui www.chelmsford.patch.com February 7, 2011Part of a roof and an overhang collapsed last night at the Shell gas station onChelmsford Street due to the weight of heavy snow. During the collapse, thegas station was closed and nobody was hurt. Workers throughout the daytoday have been clearing the debris from the collapse and the station isclosed during the cleanup. Snow On The Roof Closes Wal-Mart Wal-Mart closed this weekend because of snow on the roof. Cranes lifted up the containers and brought By Krista Perry and Haleigh Stanway them down when they were full. Credit www.chelmsford.patch.com Haleigh Stanway February 6, 2011About 20 workers are clearing off the Wal-Mart roof today after the busi-ness closed this weekend because of dangerous amounts of snow on theroof.Workers are shoveling snow into metal containers, which are being liftedby cranes down to the parking lot.Across the state, more than 90 roofs have already been compromised because of the snow. Friday night, 18 mo-bile homes in Chelmsford were in danger of collapsing because of the storm. Roof Concerns Cause Evacuations At Mobile Home Park www.boston.cbslocal.com/ 02/05/11 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
Chelmsford residents may be asked to shovel sidewalks By Monica Jimenez/staff writer GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 15, 2011Chelmsford residents will be shoveling their own sidewalks next winter if a snow-removal bylaw passes atTown Meeting in April.Chelmsford residents rejected the idea when it was proposed 20 years ago, but at a Board of Selectmenmeeting Monday, Feb. 14, Town Manager Paul Cohen said the time is ripe for another try.Per state law, the town prioritizes sidewalks near schools and radiates outward. But because the DPW haslimited manpower, Cohen said, this strategy leaves many residents facing deep drifts.People have been calling Cohen’s office reporting the elderly are falling on sidewalks and children are inperil at bus stops. Pedestrians leaving Chelmsford center often find themselves marooned in the flow oftraffic when the sidewalk vanishes.“We just don’t have the resources in the community now to do all the snow removal of the200-plus miles of road and the more than 50 miles of sidewalk,” Cohen said. sidewalkBut enlisting residents in the care of their town may not be as simple as asking, he said, which is why hebelieves a bylaw should be pursued.He compared Chelmsford’s snow-clearing practices to those of other towns. While Dracut residents cansleep in after storms, Andover requires townspeople to clear the sidewalk by their houses by 10 a.m. themorning after a storm. Billerica gives residents 24 hours.Cohen said a snow-removal bylaw would not necessarily apply to all sidewalks in Chelmsford. The towncould mandate clearing walks only on main or “arterial” roads like Chelmsford Street, Billerica Street orNorth Road.Selectman Pat Wojtas opposed that idea, warning it could pave the way for arguments about whether agiven road is “main” enough to be sub-ject to the bylaw.But Selectman Jon Kurland said it’s notthe board’s place to judge the idea atthis point.“The five of us should not makethe decisions that Town Meetingshould make,” Kurland said. make,If the proposed snow-removal bylawmakes it to the warrant, which will be fi-nalized in two weeks, Town Meeting rep-resentatives will decide whether thetown can plow onward without help – orwhether it is indeed time to pick up ashovel.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
ASK THE MANAGERITR:Will the new fire station be built using brick,wood or straw?(ok I kid about the straw ;)PAUL COHEN:The proposed new center fire headquarters would be a steel, concrete, and brickbuilding.ITR:Which is cheaper to use for a new firehouse brick or wood?PAUL COHEN:It is more expensive to construct a steel, concrete, and brick building,rather than a wood frame building.ITR:If we are using the more expensive of the two,Why? And what are the benefits?PAUL COHEN:The Town has almost always constructed steel, concrete, and brick building because of its long-term durability.These construction materials reduce the maintenance costs for the Town. The recent library, police station, andschool building additions have been constructed with these materials. The best example of the durability of thistype of construction is the current town office building located at 50 Billerica Road. The building was completed in1916 as the original Chelmsford High School. Nearly a century later, the building is serving as a solid, low-main-tenance building that houses the Towns administrative operations.ITR:Will the fire stations new location affect the over flowparking for the little league fields?PAUL COHEN:Additional paved parking areas adjacent to the right field side of the main little league field have been included inthe new fire station proposal in order to serve the parking needs for the little league fields.ITR:When is the ambulance contract up for renewal and is there enough spacein the new plan to have an in-house ambulance service?PAUL COHEN:The Towns current ambulance agreement expires on June 30. There are no plans to have the Town provide am-bulance operations at the expiration of the current agreement. I expect to bring a new multi-year agreement tothe Board of Selectmen for its approval within the next several weeks. If at a future time, the Town were to pro-vide emergency 911 medical ambulance operations, it could be incorporated into the space of the proposed newfire headquarters facility.ITR:In this years spring Town Meeting warrant you propose an article to follow Billericas lead and impose fines onresidents who do not shovel the sidewalks in front of their hoFirst we are not Billerica and second who owns the sidewalk in front of my house.Is this warrant article nothing more than a new revenue stream under the guise of public safety?PAUL COHEN:I placed an article on the Town Meeting warrant that would require all property owners, not just residents, alongthe Towns arterial and collector roads where there is a paved sidewalk to remove snow from the sidewalk within24 hours after a snowfall. Sidewalks are located in the Towns right of way. It has been 20 years since TownMeeting has considered this issue. Even with a $1.14M snow and ice budget, the DPW does not have the re-sources to clear snow from the Towns 200 miles of roadway, 50 miles of sidewalks, and 28 municipal buildings ina timely manner. The Towns 2 sidewalk plow operators prioritize the school areas since some children walk toschool.I have received concerns from parents of elementary school children, the elderly, and other residents regarding
the dangers of having to walk in busy roadways such as Middlesex Street and Dalton Road because the sidewalkshave not been cleared of snow. I would rather present this safety concern to the Town Meeting prior to a seriousaccident, rather than afterwards.This has nothing to do with raising revenue from fines. The Town does not raise any significant revenue from thecurrent bylaws that allow for fines for those who deposit snow in the streets or park illegally during snow removaloperations. We warn people rather than issue tickets at every opportunity.ITR:Will the businesses in town be responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in front of their stores as well or are the fines just for the residential areas?PAUL COHEN:All property owners that abut the selected list of sidewalks on the Towns main roads would be responsible for re-moving snow and ice from sidewalks.ITR:In this years spring Town Meeting warrant you propose an article to change therecall bylaw that would include(From the Lowell Sun Story)A petitioner would only receive enough copies of blank petitions containing the number of signatures needed, mul-tiplied by five. For example, if the petitioner needs to gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters and eachpage holds space for 25 names, then the town clerk would give them 120 pages and up to five times more, or 600pages total.* Recall petitions shall be returned within 20 days, rather than 14.* Recall petition shall be signed by 15 percent of the registered voters rather than 10 percent.* If the elected official is recalled, he or she shall not be appointed to any town office within two years after such re-call or resignation, instead of the current one year.I can understand the reasons for all except for one, why raise the percentage of registered voterssignatures from 10% to 15%? Is that line item thrown in because some one actually met the goal?And if it happens again succesfully at 15% will we be asked to change the bylaw again to increase the requiredsignatures from 15% to 20%?PAUL COHEN:The proposal to obtain the signatures of 15% of the registered voters to trigger a recall election as opposed to thecurrent 10% requirement came from the data that was collected from 14 other communities recall election require-ments. The number of registered voter signatures to require a recall election ranged from 5% - 25%. I offer themidpoint of 15%. This percentage can be amended by Town Meeting from 15% to 10% if Town Meeting sochooses. There are many instances where it serves the community to recall an elected official. The 15% proposalis not offered with any bias.ITR:In this years spring Town Meeting warrant you propose an article to introduce electronic voting to Town Meeting.From your point of view what advantages will this bring to town meeting?How much will it cost the town to invest in the system?Could this system be used for anything else besides just for Town Meetings?PAUL COHEN:The Town of Chelmsford has a Representative Town Meeting form of government whereby 162 elected represen-tatives, which amounts to 18 from each of the Towns 9 precincts, serve as the legislative body of the community.These 162 Town Meeting members represent the Towns 23,500 registered voters in approving the Towns budget,capital expenditures, adopting and amending bylaws, and other legislative functions. On a typical year, electionsare held for 1/3 of the Town Meeting member seats. Electronic voting at Town Meeting would provide a votingrecord that the Towns voters could assess in making their determination as to whom to elect to represent them. Itwould also provide a voting record for those Town Meeting members who choose to seek a townwide office. Some votesat Town Meeting, such as the recent billboard zoning bylaw, have passed or failed by a handful of votes determining theoutcome. With the availability of todays technology to provide an efficient, low-cost electronic voting option, I think thatTown Meeting should consider this opportunity.The estimated cost to purchase an electronic voting and tally display system is $10,000. The Town of Wayland will be un-dertaking a demonstration of electonic voting at its upcoming annual town meeting. Other towns are considering electronicvoting at Town Meeting. The Town of Chelmsford would be the first to adopt this system in the Commonwealth of Massa-chusetts. The electonic voting system has successfully been used for years in other voting venues such as regional andnational organizational meetings.
Mike Rigney plans run for School Committee Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Fri, Feb 04, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.com With a little more than one week for potential candidates to announce, Westlands resident Michael Rigney pulled papers to run for School Committee Friday. Rigney, who lives on Sunset Avenue, currently serves as a Precinct 6 Town Meeting Representative. Former CHS Principal Al Thomas previously pulled papers for one of the two seats on the school board. Current School Committee member Angie Taranto decided he would not seek a fifth term last November.School Committee Chairman Kathy Duffett has notannounced if she intends to run again in April. WithRigneys decision, all town-wide offices have at leastone resident planning to run for the seat. However, nocontested races are on tap as of today Thomas Seeks School Committee Seat He will hold a fundraiser at the Elks. February 8, 2011Allen Thomas is running for a seat on the Chelmsford School Committee because he is a highly qualified candidate and ispassionate in his commitment to the town of Chelmsford and its schools. During his 40 year professional career, he wasa teacher, coach, activity advisor and administrator. In 1972, he and his family moved to Chelmsford and he taught SocialStudies at Parker Junior High School while students were on double sessions during the construction of the new highschool. He later transfered to McCarthy Junior High School where initiated "Project 300" to collect food for the needy atThanksgiving time. In 1978, he transferred to Chelmsford High School. He became the first coach of both the girls swim-ming and diving team and the boys and won numerous coaching honors. He started the Mock Trial team and AP Govern-ment class at CHS. Later, he became Social Studies Department Head, then Dean of Hawthorne House and closed outhis career as Principal of Chelmsford High School. Al attended town meetings before the charter revision and has served as an elected a town meeting representative forover twenty years. This has helped him understand the funding and operation of town government as well as the schools. Al has deep roots in Chelmsford and has been very involved in the community. Hischildren, Damon and Lauren, attended local schools and graduated from CHS in 87 and89. He coached basketball when it was a church-based league and coached soccer inthe early years of the Chelmsford Youth Soccer League. He managed and served asswim coach at Chelmsford Swimming and Tennis Club for twenty years. He has been along-time member of All Saints Episcopal Church and has served on the vestry. He ispast president and an active member of the Rotary Club of Chelmsford and a member ofthe Board of Directors of The Chemsford High School Alumni Association. In summary, Al Thomas has 40 years of experience in the field of education. Hehave served in town government for over 20 years and has demonstrated leadership abil-ity. He cares about our schools and our town. If elected to the School Committee he willwork to see that the young people of Chelmsford attend quality schools with highly re-garded faculties and educational programs. The Committee to Elect Allen Thomas will hold a fundraiser at the Chelmsford Lodgeof Elks on Friday March 4th Tickets are $15. For tickets, call 978-256-8772.
Opting out not an easy decision By Kathy Duffett GateHouse News Service www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford Feb 11, 2011 For the last six years it has been an honor to serve on the Chelmsford School Commit- tee. I am very thankful to the voters in Chelmsford for affording me this opportunity. It has been a very difficult decision, and I have wavered, simply because I have treasured this experience. When I first decided to run for School Committee my daughter, Sarah, was 9, she is now 15 and will be beginning her college search soon. This is a very exciting time of college visits, and other important occasions for us to share as a family. I would not want to miss a moment of this precious time; therefore I have decided not to seek re- election to the Chelmsford School Committee. Thank you to the voters of Chelmsford for twice electing me to the School Committee. I would like to say thank you to all my fellow members that I have served with; Tom Mills, Kevin Porter, Christina Walsh, Evelyn Thoren, Angie Taranto, Nick Desilvio, and Janet Askenburg. It has been a pleasure and an honor to know you, and work alongside of you. Committees work as teams, each member contributing their unique perspective and skills. Although our opinions and ideas may have varied our ability to recognize and re-spect the differences have made our School Committees effective. A special thanks to Shelia Pichette, who preceded meon the school committee, and is a wonderful role model.In 1996 my family chose to make our home in Chelmsford, and like most people Chelmsford’s reputation for having an ex-cellent school system was a deciding factor. Years later when I enrolled my daughter for kindergarten at the Byam School Iknew we had made the right choice, the school and our town were special. You can imagine my surprise when I attendedmy first PTO meeting only to learn that our Middle Schools were in disrepair with leaking roofs, the high school was inneed of numerous updates, and most shocking we had the distinction of being the only school in the state without an audi-torium at the high school! That was the moment that started me on the path to the School Committee.When I ran for this office my platform consisted of; Chapter 70 reform — I felt Chelmsford was not getting an equitableshare of sate funding, Promoting and recognizing Excellence in Education, a Long Range capital plan for the schools, im-proving communication with the community, and stressing that the Chelmsford Public Schools is OUR School System, notThe School System. Working alongside my fellow school committee members I have diligently and ardently worked towardthese goals. With the help of my friend Mary Tiano, I compiled a comprehensive analysis of other communities who werealso under-funded, and we used this data to advocate for change. I worked beside our Citizen Group, Initiative for LocalAid, led by Laura McLaughlin and Donna Newcomb, who organized Buses full of Chelmsford Citizens for visits and testi-monies at the State House. The School committee, The Selectmen, The Town Manager, our citizens and our Representa-tives at the State house all worked together for Chelmsford. Thanks to everyone’s combined efforts our Chapter 70 aid hasbeen significantly increased from 17 percent to 21 percent!During my time on the school committee the school building project was completed and a number of additional improve-ments to the facilities have been accomplished. Namely at Chelmsford High School; a security system has been installed,the outside staircases have been enclosed, the library has been transformed to an award winning Learning Commons, allthe lockers have been updated and students are no longer required to share, the Language lab has been completely reno-vated with the latest technology, many technology improvements, the football stadium has new stands , the outside of thebuilding has enjoyed paint and repair of water damage, The cafeterias have been updated, the stairwells have have en-joyed a well deserved paint job, and finally this summer all the windows at the High School will be replaced.. I am verythankful to the Town Manager, Pat Maloney, Gary Persecetti, The capital Planning committee, and our Town meeting rep-resentatives for making all these improvements possible. I wanted to identify these improvements, because even thoughwe have struggled financially we have accomplished much.There are memories of my time on the school committee that I will never forget. The two most poignant; The grand open-ing of the Auditorium – as long as I live will never forget the expression of pure joy on the faces of our students as theyperformed a number from Les’ Miz , and secondly the opportunity to participate in the graduation ceremony. As Chairman Ihanded the graduates of 2007 and 2010 their diplomas and each and every student said without hesitation, “Thank You”.Thank you to the voters of Chelmsford for giving me the opportunity to serve on the School Committee.Kathy DuffettCopyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
MEET MIKE RIGNEYFor years, my kids have had wonderful experiences here in Chelmsford because other peoplehave given their time with town sports, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, and school activities.We’ve also enjoyed the benefits of people in Chelmsford working to put together the 4th of Julyand other holiday celebrations, to keep the library a vibrant place, and to maintain the backfields at the Westlands and the walks at Lime Quarry and the cranberry bogs. I’m grateful tolive in a community that works as hard as Chelmsford does and it’s my turn pitch in. For sev-eral years I’ve been happy to offer my opinions on the state of the schools to anyone willing tolisten. Now it’s time to take responsibility for doing some of that work.I believe this is a time of renewal for our schools. There is a new leadership team in place; notonly a new superintendent, but a new financial officer and new CTO as well. The School Com-mittee has also seen dramatic change, with an 80% turnover in just three years after thisyear’s elections. With new people comes the opportunity to recreate our schools and their rela-tionship with the town. The schools are the largest part of the budget in Chelmsford and I be-lieve that’s the way it should be. After all what do we do as a town that’s more important thaneducating the next generation?It’s because this is such an important task that everyone in town needs to be a part of the con-versation. I think my primary job as a member of the School committee is to talk to as manypeople as possible, listening to their views and explaining my own. I think many people inChelmsford have felt disconnected from the schools recently and our opportunity for a freshstart is a chance to address this. I don’t expect to agree with everyone in town, nor do I expecteveryone to agree with me but if I only talk to those who agree with me, I will not be success-ful. After all, good ideas are good whether they come from Democrats or Republicans, parentsor seniors, 3rd generation residents or new families in town. I have begun by talking to asmany people as I know and I will ask for their help to enlarge that circle. In the meantime, ifyou have questions or concerns about Chelmsford and the schools I encourage you to call oremail me at 978-256-1186 and firstname.lastname@example.org