Monthly Archives: April 2015

Office hours tomorrow

Selectman office hours tomorrow at The Center from 9 to 10 am.

Prom safety

Safe and Substance Free Parent Resource Guide for Keeping Teens Safe for Prom and Graduation.

This resource is available in part from the Norfolk County DA’s office in collaboration with Youth Health Connection and other partners.  This information was shared by Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP).

Cultural Alliance email

Everyone should sign up to get the emails from the Cultural Alliance – too much good information to miss – see the one today here.



ATM 2015

At last night’s annual town meeting it took about an extra ten minutes after the 7:30 PM scheduled start time for the 250th attendee to arrive and make the required quorum number.  This was the MHS gym at the outset.


In what was mainly a routine ATM, the three most contentious issues turned out to be:

  1. a proposed zoning change that would have deleted a limit on  building heights to “2 1/2 stories,” to instead to rely upon the 35′ height limit.  There is no definition in our zoning of what constitutes a “1/2 story,” so that vagueness in that current zoning caused the Planning Board to seek greater certainty.  Zoning changes need a 2/3 vote to pass, and this article probably did not even get a simple majority, and thus was easily defeated.
  2. Straw Hat Park funding of $32,500, which is half of what is required to construct what will surely be the gem of the downtown, thus making the construction happen over two years instead of  one.  It passed by a vote of 143-96.  Lots of discussion for such a small part of the town’s $60m. annual budget.
  3. $150,000 to fund the consultants this next year for the master planning and continued clean up of the former Medfield State Hospital site, which controversy was caused by warnings from one resident that development at the MSH site had already been predetermined, and that the no build/open space option is not included, despite that the latter has always been stated as the first option that the master planning will consider.

This was the room at the 10:30 PM end of the ATM, when we had almost certainly dropped below the quorum level, but thankfully no one asked for a quorum call, so we successfully concluded the town’s business –


Mangia sales support MFC on 4/28

From Susan Maritan –

The Medfield Food Cupboard is pleased to announce that Mangia Pizza, at 26 Park Street, is holding a fund raiser for the Food Cupboard on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29.  A portion of all sales will be donated to the Food Cupboard. Please stop in, enjoy some delicious food and support our Medfield neighbors in need at the same time. Thank you!

Town Meeting tonight


Tonight is our annual town meeting, at 7:30 PM in the gym at MHS.

This was my view of the Special Town Meeting, just over one year ago, when we voted to buy the MSH property – big crowd.  2014

MMA on state budget

This today from the Massachusetts Municipal Association on what is important to towns in the state budget.  Highlights are the $50/pupil minimum state funding for education (currently it is at $25/pupil) and $25m. for the CPA –

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Lawmakers Will Decide the Fate of 1,096 Amendments

Please Call Your Representatives Today on the Budget Amendments that Impact Key Municipal and School Priorities

The House of Representatives will begin debating the $38 billion fiscal 2016 state budget on Monday, April 27. The deliberations are expected to take several days, as Representatives have filed 1,096 amendments to make changes to H. 3400, the House Ways & Means Committee’s budget recommendation that was released last week.

Many of these amendments would directly impact cities and towns, including a number of welcome amendments that would increase funding for municipal and school aid accounts, and an unwelcome amendment that would have a negative impact on municipalities. This Legislative Alert describes the most important amendments that will be debated.

Please Call Your Representatives Today

Please call your Representatives as soon as possible today to secure their support for those amendments that would help your community, and ask them to oppose those amendments that would be harmful.

Lawmakers must hear from you on these issues. Because of the great number of amendments, the summaries here are very brief. Please contact MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at or 617-426-7272 x122 at any time if you have questions or need more details.

When you call your Representatives, please make sure to thank them for the proposals in the House budget to increase Unrestricted General Government Aid by $34 million (matching the Governor’s recommendation), for the $8.3 million increase intended to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker, and for restoring $18.6 million to Kindergarten Development Grants.

Please Click Here to Download a Copy of the MMA’s Budget Letter to the House

Please Click Here to Visit the House Budget Website to See the Amendments: The House budget committee recommendation (H. 3400) and all proposed amendments are posted on the Legislature’s website at:

Adequate Chapter 70 Minimum Aid for Municipal and Regional Schools
The MMA is calling for a sufficient funding increase for Chapter 70 school aid to ensure that all municipal and regional school districts are able to reach the “foundation” level of spending, implement the equity provisions adopted in 2006, and provide an adequate amount of minimum aid that ensures that all schools receive an increase in fiscal 2016.

The Governor proposed a fiscal 2016 Chapter 70 increase of $105.3 million, which includes minimum aid of only $20 per student for 245 cities, towns and school districts, an insufficient amount to maintain current school staffing and services.  The HW&M recommendation would increase minimum aid to $25 per student, but in reality this still leaves too many schools unable to maintain quality school programs.  Recognizing that the Foundation Budget Review Commission will not file its report until mid-2015, far past the deadline for inclusion in the fiscal 2016 state budget, the MMA is urging the House to adopt a higher minimum aid amount to prevent further erosion in school financing at the local level.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 663 filed by Rep. Cutler and others to increase the “minimum aid” amount to $50 per student.  This amendment would benefit 245 cities, towns and school districts, and give these communities a better chance of maintaining the quality of their existing education programming.

Reimbursements for Charter School Losses
The diversion of Chapter 70 school aid away from public schools to pay tuition to charter schools has imposed a major and growing financial burden on cities and towns, a problem made more acute as the state grants more charters and existing charter schools expand.  Local officials strongly support full funding of the Commonwealth’s commitment under section 89 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws to reimburse school districts for the loss of a portion of their Chapter 70 aid that is redirected to fund charter schools.

In fiscal 2015, it is expected that cities and towns will be forced to divert $444 million to fund charter schools, 10 percent of all Chapter 70 dollars.  This illustrates the importance of this issue to local governments, and why it is critical for the state to meet its commitment to this program.  The original $80 million appropriation in the fiscal 2015 general appropriations act was $30.5 million below the full funding amount required in the statutory formula, which was signed into law only a few years ago.  The problem has deepened with two rounds of 9C cuts to this account ($3.1 million), increasing the fiscal 2015 shortfall to at least $33.6 million.

The funding shortfall means that cities and towns are receiving only a fraction of the reimbursements due according to state law.  This is impacting a large number of communities, including some the state’s poorest and most financially distressed cities and towns.  Thus, the underfunding of the charter school reimbursement formula is harming the most vulnerable and challenged school districts and communities.

The Governor’s fiscal 2016 budget would level fund charter school reimbursements at $76.9 million, even though local payments to charter schools are expected to increase by $55 million.  Full funding of the statutory formula would require $130.5 million.  Without these funds, cities and towns will face another major shortfall next year, and result in cutbacks for the vast majority of students who remain in the traditional public school setting.  The HW&M budget includes the Governor’s recommendation for this account.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 822 filed by Rep. Ultrino and others, and Amendment 795 filed by Rep. Malia and others.  These critical amendments would fully fund charter school reimbursements due to cities, towns and regional school districts by providing the full $130.5 million necessary to meet the state’s obligation.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Transportation Costs
In fiscal 2013, the state budget provided $11.3 million to fully fund the state-mandated costs that resulted from the Commonwealth’s adoption of the federal McKinney-Vento Act. The State Auditor ruled that the McKinney-Vento program was an unfunded mandate on cities and towns, and the Legislature provided full funding soon after that ruling.  Under the program, communities are providing very costly transportation services to bus homeless students to schools outside of the local school district.  However, the fiscal 2014 state budget reduced McKinney-Vento reimbursements to $7.4 million, underfunding this state mandate.  Full funding for this year is estimated at $19.8 million, but the Commonwealth level-funded the program at $7.35 million, creating a shortfall of $12.5 million in the current fiscal year.

The Governor proposed a $1 million increase for fiscal 2016 to bring funding for McKinney-Vento reimbursements up to $8.4 million, which is the amount provided in H. 3400.  Full funding for this state mandate would require $20.8 million, according to the most recent DESE projection.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 620 filed by Rep. Heroux and others that would fully fund reimbursements due to municipalities and school districts for the cost of transporting homeless students from temporary shelters to school.

Regional School District Student Transportation Reimbursements
Funding for transportation reimbursements to regional school districts is vital to all regional districts and their member cities and towns, particularly in sparsely populated parts of the state.  The Legislature appropriated $70.3 million for fiscal 2015, but, unfortunately, Governor Patrick used his 9C powers to cut the amount in November by 27 percent, an unexpected $18.7 million loss, returning the program to fiscal 2014 levels just months after coming closer to full funding. Decades ago, the state promised 100 percent reimbursement as an incentive for towns and cities to regionalize, and the consistent underfunding of this account has presented serious budget challenges for these districts, taking valuable dollars from the classroom.  Governor Baker’s budget proposal would level-fund regional school transportation reimbursements at $51.5 million, dropping the reimbursement percentage down to 64 percent.  The House Ways and Means Committee would restore $5 million to this key program in fiscal 2016, and bring funding up to $56.5 million, a positive and helpful increase, yet still below the funding needed.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 744 filed by Rep. Benson and others that would increase transportation reimbursements to regional school districts by an additional $4 million to bring fiscal 2016 funding to $60.5 million.

Out-of-District Vocational Education Student Transportation
The fiscal 2015 state budget included $2.25 million item to reimburse communities for a portion of the $3.8 million cost of transporting students to out-of-district placements in vocational schools, as mandated by state law.  This account recognizes the significant expense of providing transportation services for out-of-district placements, as these students must travel long distances to participate in vocational programs that are not offered locally. Governor Patrick slashed all funding with his November 9C cuts, a painful mid-year loss.  The Governor’s fiscal 2016 recommendation and the HW&M budget do not include any funding.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 151 filed by Rep. Durant and others to fully fund the $3.9 million cost of transporting students to out-of-district placements in vocational schools.

Kindergarten Expansion Grants
Cities, towns and regional school districts across the Commonwealth use this important grant program to support full-day access to local kindergarten programs.  Funding for the program in the fiscal 2015 general appropriations act was $23.9 million before being reduced through two rounds of 9C cuts to $18.6 million.  The Governor’s budget recommendation would eliminate all funding in fiscal 2016, an extremely disruptive step that would force participating communities to immediately decide whether to end or scale back their current kindergarten programs or cut other school and classroom services.  The MMA applauds the recommendation in H. 3400 to restore funding for Kindergarten Development Grants to the fiscal 2015 post 9C level of $18.6 million, and is asking House members to restore the program to the original $23.9 million level.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 502 filed by Rep. DiNatale and others to level fund this accounts at the original fiscal 2015 appropriation.


Please ask your Representatives to Oppose Amendment 601, Which Would Circumvent and Weaken Municipal Personnel Law by Allowing Tobacco Users to Qualify for the Public Safety Heart-Lung and Cancer Presumptions

Because of special provisions in state law that established a work-related presumption for heart and lung disease for public safety personnel, state law mandates a no smoking rule for public safety employees.  Under Chapter 32 of the General Laws, any police officer or firefighter with heart disease and any firefighter with lung disease or lung cancer is automatically eligible for a disability pension, but the enactment of these presumptions included an absolute ban on the use of tobacco products because smoking and tobacco use is the primary and overwhelming cause of heart and lung disease and cancer. Under Section 101A of Chapter 41, employees who violate this strict prohibition are subject to dismissal.  This has been the law since 1988.

But Amendment 601 would reverse 27 years of standing law and personnel policy, and instead mandate that a smoking cessation program be offered to those who violate the policy while keeping the presumption in place for these employees, in spite of their use of tobacco products.  All public safety personnel are aware of the no smoking rule, and violations must be addressed fully because the special treatment and protections that are in place were granted only on the condition that these employees refrain from tobacco use.  Amendment 601 would remove a very important taxpayer protection, and should be rejected.

• Please ask your Representatives to Oppose Amendment 601, which would significantly weaken the smoking prohibition for public safety employees.

Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT)
The Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) program is a particularly important program for the cities and towns that host and provide municipal services to state facilities that are exempt from the local property tax.  This account is underfunded at $26.77 million this year, and is still below fiscal 2008 funding.  Many of our state’s smallest communities rely heavily on PILOT payments, and shortfalls in this account have a significant impact on their ability to deliver basic municipal services.  House One and H. 3400 would level fund PILOT at $26.77 million.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 961 filed by Rep. D’Emilia to add $3.5 million to increase PILOT payments to cities and towns, and bring the account up to $30.3 million.

Shannon Anti-Gang Grants
• The Shannon Grant program has been very effective in enabling cities and towns to respond to and suppress gang-related activities.  Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 945 filed by Rep. Brady and others to increase funding for the Shannon anti-gang grant program.  This amendment would add $3.25 million and bring total funding up to $8.25 million, which is the original fiscal 2015 appropriation.

Safe and Successful Youth Initiative
• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 907, filed by Rep. Vega and others to increase funding of the Safe and Supportive Youth Initiative from $6 million to $9.5 million. The program seeks to reduce youth violence through wrap-around services for those most likely to be victims or perpetrators, and is vital to violence prevention efforts in dozens of communities.

Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth
• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 572 filed by Rep. Scibak and others to increase funding for youth summer jobs from $9 million to $12 million. This funding is critical to providing employment opportunities for at-risk teenagers in our cities and towns, especially with youth unemployment rates climbing.

Protection of Municipal Emergency Medical Services
• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 1040 filed by Rep. Cantwell of Marshfield and others that would prevent the practice of “pay the patient,” by insurance companies, which undermines the ability of cities and towns to fund and operate responsive and efficient ambulance services that are at the core of emergency medical services in Massachusetts. “Pay the patient” would force communities to pursue their own residents to recoup thousands of dollars in ambulance expenses, a system that is inefficient and subject to abuse.  Amendment 1040 would also clarify that municipalities are authorized to set a fair rate for ambulance services. Cities and towns set fees and charges for a wide variety of municipal services very strictly limited by state law to the cost of providing the service. This is the same rule that would apply to rate setting for emergency ambulance services. It would ensure that rates are reasonable and prevent insurance companies from shifting costs to local property taxpayers through below-cost reimbursements.


Brownfields Redevelopment Funds
• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 753 filed by Rep. Walsh and others to increase available funding for brownfield redevelopment projects.  This funding is critical to the successful redevelopment of former industrial sites and will enhance local economic development efforts across the state, and improve the environment.  This amendment would appropriate $15 million to recapitalize the Brownfield Redevelopment Fund.

Community Preservation Act Funding
During fiscal 2015, 156 cities and towns collected the local Community Preservation Act (CPA) surcharge and are eligible for state matching grants in fiscal 2016.  The Division of Local Services (DLS) estimates that the balance in the state trust fund will be sufficient to provide a first round match of only 18 percent of the surcharge levied by each city and town.  This would be the lowest state match in the program’s history.

• Please ask your Representatives to Support Amendment 881 filed by Rep. Kocot and others that would dedicate a portion of any fiscal 2015 year-end state budget surplus, up to $25 million, to supplement the fiscal 2016 state match.  The fiscal 2014 state match was supplemented by $25 million from the fiscal 2013 year-end surplus, and $11.4 million was made available last year from the fiscal 2014 surplus.

Please Call Your Representatives Today on the Budget Amendments that Impact Your Community!

 Thank You!

Swap returns 5/1

This today from Medfield Green –

SWAP opens Friday, May 1.  If anyone has shelving, tables, or tarps that you are wanting to get rid of, please bring them down to the  SWAP the first week, if you can.  We would like to start off the new season as efficiently as possible. Thanks.  Also, if you are able to volunteer an hour or so a week , we have lots of opportunities, such as organizing the toys, or the books, or the dishes, or the decorations, or the games,etc. as we will be able to keep everything set up overnight as we have procured a larger shelter!!!!;    Let Nancy or Mary Pat know.  Come down and check it out 😊

Straw Hat Park – 1 or 2 years

The email below today from Jean Mineo.  I favor building the park in just one year, not over two years, if we are agreed that we are going to spend the money to create the park.  And I agree that it makes sense to build this park in the center of our downtown.  It is an “extra,” but for me one well worth doing for what it will bring to our downtown.

Hello Mark, Richard and Pete,


I had planned to attend tonight’s Selectmen meeting but plans from last night were rescheduled to tonight due to the rain. I write with an update for your consideration and deliberation.


As a reminder, Straw Hat Park Committee members include the town planner Sarah Raposa, The Garden Continuum President Monique Allen, and representatives from: DPW (Bobby Kennedy), Parks and Rec (Kevin Ryder), businesses in the area (was Tim Larkin, now is Keith Maher/Starbucks), residents (Minta Hissong), Downtown Study Committee (Matt McCormick), and the Cultural District (myself).


The Straw Hat Park Committee has asked the Warrant Committee for an allocation of $70,500 to pay for the construction of the park, including the first year’s maintenance in order to get the plants off to a good start (if the Garden Continuum is hired for this work, they will guarantee the plants). In the second year, we anticipate the maintenance cost will decrease to $5,500 and decrease again in the third year. In the third year, the plants are established and begin to mature. The plants have been selected for year round interest, long term sustainability, drought tolerance, and to spread – thus reducing mulching, weeding and watering needs significantly in subsequent years.


The Warrant Committee will vote 5 – 2 in favor of $32,000 for the 2015 budget and they will be heard at Town Meeting.


With an allocation of $32,000 the park construction can begin sometime Aug – Oct. 2015. This allows us to take advantage of the planned DPW presence in the Green Street area this fall and realize some efficiencies in the use of heavy equipment when it is available and nearby. We can address drainage issues, contour the slope, trench for water and electricity, replace and widen the sidewalk and back asphalt (where a bike rack is planned). The site will then be covered with mulch and fenced off until the remaining funds are in place.


The Straw Hat Park Committee expects to make a brief presentation and a motion to amend the warrant article for the full allocation of $70,500. We have 3 reasons:


  1. There is no guarantee that funds will be allocated at Town Meeting 2016


  1. Construction site. IF funds are approved in two phases over two years at Town Meeting 2015 and 2016, this park in the heart of downtown will remain a fenced off construction site for about a year (infrastructure in fall 2015, finishing work in fall 2016 to include plantings, patio, seating). Planting is ideally done in the fall and won’t be done over the summer even though funds could be released in July 2016 if approved at Town Meeting.


  1. Price increases. As we’ve heard on all capital improvement projects in town, prices increase over time. A two phase project will also require some additional expenses not included in the single-phase budget (for example, mulching the site for year, additional labor, fencing). We anticipate an additional 10% increase of $7,050 or $77,550 overall budget in a two phase project.


While we will work with a two phased project if necessary, we do want people to understand the implications.


As you know, we were successful in securing all of our consultants (design, engineering and graphics) at no cost to the town at an estimated value of $9,000. The funds requested at Town Meeting are to actually build the park. The committee has taken on the added role of raising an additional $34,000 (over and above the $70,500 requested at town meeting) to bring in extra amenities of signage, planters and a fountain feature requested by residents. We have in hand over $18,500 from 20 families toward this goal of $34,000. Personal Best Karate should be recognized for their early and generous gift of $1,000. Other businesses including Rockland Trust, Zebras, Leuders, A&D Appliance, Hurley Testa, Starr and Glick Orthodontics, Berkshire Hathaway, and Needham Bank have already made donations. Local businesses including Larkins, Zebras, Starbucks, Brothers, and Honey’s have also contributed goods toward fund raising initiatives. We have additional fund raising initiatives and grants planned and are optimistic we can raise the funds for the enhancements.


We ask for your support of $70,500 in a single phase project to fund the infrastructure and basic park amenities – seating, grass, plantings, a patio, lighting, and ADA accessibility at the Straw Hat Park.


I am available until 2:30 today by phone to answer any questions.

Thank you for your consideration,




BoS tonight

The agenda for this evening has expanded, as follows –

Board of Selectmen
Agenda April 21,2015
Announcement:  This meeting is being recorded
We wish to take a moment of appreciation for our brave servicemen and women serving around the

7:00 PM  Superintendent Feeney
Discuss DPW equipment qualified for Chapter 90 Funding

Review 2015 Warrant articles; Selectmen assignment

Medfield Youth Baseball requests permission to hold their Opening Day Parade on Sunday May 3 and permission to place signs announcing the event.
The Selectmen are invited to participate in the parade

MEMO from Zoning Board of Appeals recommending appointment of Rebecca Erlichman as Associate Member and MEMO from Planning Board recommending appointment of Teresa James and Paul McKechnie as
Associate Members.

Selectmen: do you wish to make these appointments this evening or wish to meet and interview candidates prior to appointment

Signing of April 21 Vendor Warrant