Councilors tackle packed agendas
Monday night’s snowstorm failed to stop the Town Council from meeting.
“We’re full of meetings tonight,” Council President Kristine Trocki apologized as she adjourned the 5 p.m. executive session on Feb. 3. It ran over by roughly one half hour and convened the sewer and water board meeting.
After sitting as the sewer commissioners, Trocki opened the regular Town Council meeting, which was followed by a second executive session, this time to discuss the police union contract.
Town Administrator Kevin Paicos urged the councilors to undertake the second executive session and not to cancel, in spite of weather, since he anticipates the union contract will require at least two meetings.
The first closed-door session was held for two reasons. The first was to discuss pending litigation connected to the case against Andrea Masterson, who is accused of embezzling money from the rec department. The second discussion dealt with whether or not to accept a gift of land to the town.
The councilors returned to open session and indicated they were not satisfied with the state’s “disposition” of the Masterson case. Trocki said Paicos would issue a statement to that effect and the police would issue a press release.
Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero will assist with the statements.
In the real estate matter, the councilors voted to accept the gift from Anna Templeton-Cotill of 34 Columbia Ave. The gift was described as “certain development rights to an undeveloped parcel, subject to the Planning Commission’s discussion and vote. It references lot 98 on assessor’s plat 9.
Councilor Mary Meagher recused herself from the vote, and Councilor Eugene Mihaly made the motion to accept the gift “with gratitude.”
Next, sitting as the sewer board, the councilors heard Town Engineer Michael Gray report the Public Works Department has started cutting down trees at the reservoir and have found the problem was actually worse than he thought. As a result, about 45 trees are going to be removed. Gray said public works will consult with the town’s tree committee to find a species to replant “along that wall.”
In other business, Gray said the south dam will need repairs to the extent the job will “have budget implications.” He described the project as “some significant work, actually.” The town also had a leak last week, he said, but that has been repaired.
Gray also mentioned the January 2014 issue of Treatment Plant Operator magazine and the story commending the three employees at Jamestown’s wastewater facility.
“Jamestown has received national recognition for the job they’re doing,” Trocki said.
Finally, the councilors voted to extend water service to Jonathan H. Goodman on Hull Cove Farm Road. The property, described as lot 217 on plat 12, is owned by James Rappaport.
Meagher recused herself from the discussion and vote.
Gray said the extension would be only for water service, and not for a sewer connection.
“It’s a vacant lot,” he said. “They’ve attempted to drill for water. You can see the yield out of the wells is not very good, so they’re requesting a connection.”
Gray said the applicants will pay for the installation.
“You have no objections?” Trocki asked.
“No,” Gray replied. “It’s the last lot on the street. I don’t see it to be an impact.”
Mihaly made the motion to extend the water service. Trocki seconded it and said it was subject to conditions.
The councilors must approve extensions that are outside the village and the water district.
After adjourning the sewer meeting, Trocki opened the regular council meeting. Paicos delivered a brief report to say the budget work is “progressing.” He also reported he attended the statewide meeting for town executive officers and learned of some changes at Moody’s Investment Service, which will affect Jamestown.
In other business, the councilors turned to appointments, resignations and vacancies on town boards and commissions. Larry Eichler has resigned from the Harbor Commission because he held a seat for a commercial operator but no longer owns the Dutch Harbor marina. As a result, a vacancy was created for his unexpired two-year term. The councilors are advertising for Eichler’s replacement.
Meagher made the motion to accept his resignation and send him a letter expressing the town’s gratitude for his service.
Trocki said there was an additional “housekeeping issue” regarding the recent appointment of a member of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce to a seat on the convention center in Newport.
That appointment has to be rescinded, Paicos indicated, and will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.
The council also accepted eight letters objecting to a plan to layoff the town’s GIS coordinator as part of a reconfiguration of public works. A ninth letter urged the councilors not to incorporate the recreation groundskeepers with the Public Works Department. A total of 14 letters were in the packet.
Conservation Commission Chairwoman Maureen Coleman also urged the councilors to maintain the GIS coordinator position and noted the excellent service the commission has received to date with its projects.
In a separate letter, Coleman advised the councilors about the commission’s position on the plans for the golf course, where a conservation easement is in existence.