Friday, March 30, 2018

At an informational public meeting, held on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, a Templeton resident  made reference to a possible contract with the state concerning Templeton ambulance service. I decided to try to find if such a document exists and what it may say.

Following is my inquiry and response from a state agency.

Today, 2:17 PM
You replied on 3/30/2018 2:55 PM.
from the Athol Daily news:

PHILLIPSTON — State 911 Department Executive Director Frank Pozniak has urged Phillipston and Templeton to work together to update their agreement for dispatch services.
At a meeting held earlier this week in the fire safety complex, Pozniak also tried to get at the crux of the matter of a letter signed by the Phillipston Selectmen March 26 and sent to the Templeton Selectmen, giving notice that Phillipston would be exploring all of its options for dispatch services over the next year. The joint meeting to discuss dispatch was scheduled by Selectboard Chairman Thomas Brouillet before the letter was sent.
The letter stated in part, “The town is looking at its options of whether to continue its 20-plus-year relationship with Templeton, or relocate to another dispatch center over the next year.”
That got the attention of State 911, which is in charge of emergency services across the state.
Pozniak said, “There are 239 PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) departments and we run regionalization programs across the Commonwealth.”
He acknowledged there was some talk about Phillipston moving away from Templeton, and talking with Athol about dispatch services.
“We’re trying to close PSAPs,” said Pozniak. “This wouldn’t be doing that.”
Selectman John Telepciak said the letter stemmed from frustration in delay of the town’s multiple requests to get a complete breakdown of dispatch costs, which Templeton Police Chief Bennett said he worked on himself and sent to both town administrators.
Telepciak said, “We’re in regionalization with Templeton. The first step is to find out where we are, where the money’s going and what our share will be.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 assessment for dispatch services shows an increase of $2,500, bringing it to $62,500.
Phillipston Fire Chief Richard Stevens said he reached out to State 911 to get information on the assessments, grant programs and other options for the town.
Stevens said, “We’re a small town. We have a seasonal influx of population at the campground and during large functions at the Red Apple Farm. We’re always looking at costs in relation to the level of service. The pricing started to move up.”
The cost for the current year is $60,000. The assessment in 2017 was $54,000. The agreement automatically renews every four years. It spells out a dispute resolution, but no committee structure or oversight is in place.
Stevens said the last time Phillipston had a “voice” in dispatch matters was 1997.
“We’re trying to see what model will work,” he said. “Police talk police. Fire talk fire. They don’t get in the same box.”
Pozniak said small towns’ dispatch is typically run out of the police department, with oversight by the chief. He said that they could add a requirement to the updated agreement to include committee oversight, if agreed upon.
Stevens alluded to a “change in service,” but would not elaborate when pressed, saying it was something “I won’t discuss in this venue.”
Pozniak said the two towns should “look over the agreement and have meetings to hammer out what the assessment should look like. Then contact 911 and we’ll see what we can do to help.”
Templeton Police Chief Michael Bennett said there are two options in the FY19 agreement: $61,000 without Connect TY and $62,500 with Connect TY. Bennett said Templeton dispatch currently uses Code Red, which allows only six emergency messages per year at a cost of $6,200 a year. He found Connect TY, and for an additional $1,800 per year, will provide unlimited public service messages. Code Red and Connect TY are the Reverse 911 calls to residents.
Bennett said in 2016 that Templeton sent a notification to Phillipston there would be an increase.
He noted, “The cost of a single full-time dispatcher is $67,000 a year with benefits.”  
Pozniak referred to a copy of the 4-year agreement, dated 2010, that showed an assessment of $54,000. It stated Phillipston would assume the cost of a full-time dispatcher at $25,000. No one at the meeting could produce a more recent copy of a contract, which automatically renews every four years.

TO:             Board of Selectmen
FROM:       Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:             Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE:        March 29, 2018
CC:             All Departments

Conservation Commission:
Adm. Asst. filed a “determination of applicability” for Lot 66, Rainbow Drive; assisted resident with information with regard to a “cease and desist” notice received from ConCom. Adm. Asst. tasked with researching the role of ConCom Chair in the absence of a Conservation Agent. Adm. Asst. continues to prepare documentation for a ConCom “manual”. Prepared agenda and paperwork for ConCom meeting of 04/16/18

from the Massachusetts conservation commission web site;

Commissions' Legislative Authority
In Massachusetts, conservation commissions' authority comes from several sources: the Conservation Commission Act (MGL Chapter 40 section 8C) for open space protection; the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131 section 40) for protecting wetlands and waterways (commissions have real power - they issue the permits); and the home rule provisions of the state constitution for non-zoning wetlands bylaws.
All state statutes can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws at

State law sets no age, citizenship, residency, knowledge, or experience requirements for conservation commission members, although there may be local requirements. The tasks of a commission require a great deal of study, learning, and thought by its members, who become expert by patience and work. Appointments to a conservation commission should not be made or taken lightly.
The overriding factors governing appointments should be a candidate's interest in doing the conservation job needed by the town: open space and wetlands protection. Since this goal requires a continual, firm commitment to conservation, persons who have no conflict of interest and who relate well to others should be selected. The commission should represent a variety of interests, skills, and backgrounds.
An engineer, a biologist, a naturalist and a lawyer may prove especially helpful. Knowledge of soils is useful. For purposes of coordination of efforts, well-qualified individuals who are members of other boards may be appointed to serve a term.
More than 100 conservation commissions have permanent full-time employees, many of whom are conservation professionals providing invaluable support to volunteer Commissioners. More than half of the commissions have some level of staffing.