The Bellingham Bulletin October 2011 : Page 1

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Bellingham’s Hometown Newspaper Since 1994 OCTOBER 2011 Volume XVIII, Issue 1 To a small but interested group gathered at the Bellingham Mu-nicipal Center, Kate Bowditch (LEFt), Director of Projects at the Charles River Watershed Associa-tion (CRWA), pre-sented some facts and figures about the highly controversial EPA plan to use Bellingham, Franklin, and Milford as pilot communities for cleaning up the Charles CRWA’s Bowditch Presents Details of EPA Plan Bond Refunding To Save Town $1,113,345 River by reducing the amount of phosphorus fl owing into it from stormwater runoff. Phos-phorus promotes the overgrowth of algae, clogging the river. She said that the amount of phosphorus has to be reduced by 50% to stop the process of pollution in the Charles. Bowditch said that the CRWA, a non-profi t organization, has been working since 1965 to clean up the Charles by getting sewage out of the river and upgrading sewage plants. They regularly collect water samples and have found that the biggest source of pollution is rainwater runoff. “We’ve been working with federal, state, and local offi cials, schools, developers, and other entities to try to re-duce the impact of the pollution,” she said. She also called attention to two other issues besides pollution: fl ooding and the need for clean drinking water. Working with Bellingham Town Adminis-trator Denis Fraine and Bellingham’s DPW Director Don DiMartino, the CRWA has, Bowditch said, collected a lot of data and come up with a design, the outline of which she was there to present. Before she began her Power Point presen-tation about the plan, Bellingham resident Ken Hamwey asked if each business and resident were going to have to pay an as-Chief Financial Officer Marilyn Mathieu (right) announced that the town re-cently received competitive bids from bond underwriters for a $6,985,000 ten-year re-funding bond issue. Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc. was the winning bidder on the bonds with an average interest rate of 1.868%. The town received 7 bids on the bonds. The bond proceeds will be used to refi nance bonds of the town originally issued on March 15, 2002. The refi nancing will generate total sav-ings of approximately $1,113,345. The town will share a portion of these savings with the Commonwealth of MA since the town’s high school is currently receiving 76% reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The net savings STORMWATER —cont. on page 20 Library Receives 2nd Grant to Aid Job Seekers BOND REFUNDING —cont. on pg. 23 Jamison Mendall Tree Removal Shown above (l–r) are Reference Librarian Cecily Christensen, Director Assistant Mun Wong, Library Director Bernadette Rivard, Town Administrator Denis Fraine, Selectman Mike Soter, Library Trustee Ken Hamwey, District Team Leader Andy Chiarelli, Store Team Leader Tom Rock, and Human Resources Business Partner Brittany Blair. At a short ceremony at the Bellingham Commissioners as part of their “Libraries for library to apply to the Target Corporation Public Library on September 1, representa-Job Seekers” grant money. Made available for a grant. tives from the Milford Target store presented through the Library Services and Technol-This $9,000 will be used solely to help to Library Director Bernadette Rivard a gift ogy Act (LSTA), this is federal money that people prepare for, find, apply for, and of $2,000 to augment a grant of $7,000 that the state distributes. interview for jobs. In this endeavor the li-the library had already been given from the Bellingham Selectman Mike Soter de-brary will be working with local community Institute of Museum and Library Services serves a vote of thanks for making this agencies and governmental departments. through the Massachusetts Board of Library extra gift possible since he arranged for the JOB SEEKERS — cont. on page 23 Pruning, Storm Damage, Aerial Bucket & Bobcat Services Stump Grinding, PLOWING & more... L ICENSED & I NSURED • F REE E STIMATES Serving all your tree needs Happy Halloween! 1-508-958-0747 group fi tness center for everyone! try a class for FREE! • • kettlebell Spinning • kickboxing • • and more! 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CRWA’s Bowditch Presents Details Of EPA Plan

To a small but interested group gathered at the Bellingham Municipal Center, Kate Bowditch (LEFt), Director of Projects at the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), presented some facts and figures about the highly controversial EPA plan to use Bellingham, Franklin, and Milford as pilot communities for cleaning up the Charles River by reducing the amount of phosphorus fl owing into it from stormwater runoff. Phosphorus promotes the overgrowth of algae, clogging the river. She said that the amount of phosphorus has to be reduced by 50% to stop the process of pollution in the Charles.

Bowditch said that the CRWA, a non-profit organization, has been working since 1965 to clean up the Charles by getting sewage out of the river and upgrading sewage plants. They regularly collect water samples and have found that the biggest source of pollution is rainwater runoff. “We’ve been working with federal, state, and local officials, schools, developers, and other entities to try to reduce The impact of the pollution,” she said.She also called attention to two other issues besides pollution: flooding and the need for clean drinking water.

Working with Bellingham Town Administrator Denis Fraine and Bellingham’s DPW Director Don DiMartino, the CRWA has, Bowditch said, collected a lot of data and come up with a design, the outline of which she was there to present.

Before she began her Power Point presentation about the plan, Bellingham resident Ken Hamwey asked if each business and resident were going to have to pay an assessment. That question is of course the crux of the controversy— what is it going to cost and who is going to pick up the tab? “Have you considered the economic status in these three towns, with unemployment as high as it is and many people on fixed incomes?” Hamwey continued.

Bowditch replied that they are aware that there are lots of different
financial implications and that different options are being studied. However, she noted, the CRWA does not decide those kinds of issues but are certainly concerned about them. Because of the financial considerations, she said, the EPA is looking at allowing a long time for the implication of the plan so as to spread the cost over a number of years.

“I’m not anti-environment,” said Hamwey, “but if it comes down to feeding a hungry child or cleaning up the Charles, I’m for feeding the hungry child.” Besides that kind of choice, there’s another one that could have an impact on the three towns in the pilot program—would businesses choose to stay or settle in these towns if they were going to have to pay a hefty fee for this project? As the plan stands now, a business, current or projected, that has or would have two acres or more of impervious surface—roofs and parking areas, which cause stormwater to run off instead of soaking into the ground—would have to pay. This could be a serious deterrent to businesses in these towns. Bowditch noted that the town has to comply and that it would become a “balancing act between business and town responsibility.” She illustrated by saying that if a business would, say, take out a row of parking area to reduce their impervious surface to under two acres, then the town would have to “kick in.”

The cost of the project is obviously the sticking point and the part of this project that is of deepest concern to individuals and businesses; but, since the CRWA would not be involved in deciding the financial arrangements, Bowditch steered away from that aspect of the project to discuss the more technical side of the proposal. “My goal as a technical person,” she said, “is to show from an engineering perspective how to mechanically do this. What are the challenges and the opportunities about making it work?”

She turned then to her Power Point presentation, which Was primarily a series of maps showing a number of sites at the Bellingham Shopping Plaza from which the runoff drains to one point and eventually enters the Charles. Noting that they had worked with NEI (Nitsch Engineering Inc.), she said, “We’ve studied sites very thoroughly; we looked at small and large businesses.” She pointed out two advantages that Bellingham has over Franklin and Milford: it has the best soil for putting water back into the ground instead of having it run off, and it is not as built out as the other two towns, so there is more space to work with.

She then described and showed pictures of several kinds of structures that could be used to reduce runoff by sending it into the ground. The first of these was a “rain garden” infiltration system, an attractive area that could be used in front of buildings to drain water off parking areas and let it seep into the ground. At the back of buildings there could be infiltration trenches filled with gravel, less attractive than rain gardens but effective in letting water soak into the ground.A third possibility is infiltration basins. Bellingham already has dry basins for flood control. These are not good for pollution reduction, but retrofitting these existing stormwater basins would be the least expensive method. Bowditch said that instead of building large treatment systems in several places around town it would be much better and probably the cheapest to do a little bit everywhere.


She showed several cost estimates for different ways of handling the problem, from a high of $467,715 down to $212,540.

The next steps, she said, are to complete and publish the plan, identify possible pilot projects, and identify potential sources of funds. Ken Hamwey asked if the EPA would be making grants available to the three communities. Bowditch replied that there are many grant programs from the state for this kind of project and that there are capital projects already in the town’s CIP that could be modified at little or no additional cost. She concluded by saying, “Studies show that the long-term benefits will be worth the costs.”

All in all, it was an informative, factual, and helpful presentation much appreciated by those in attendance.

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/CRWA%E2%80%99s+Bowditch+Presents+Details+Of+EPA+Plan/855958/83863/article.html.

Library Receives 2nd Grant To Aid Job Seekers

At a short ceremony at the Bellingham Public Library on September 1, representatives from the Milford Target store presented to Library Director Bernadette Rivard a gift of $2,000 to augment a grant of $7,000 that the library had already been given from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners as part of their “Libraries for Job Seekers” grant money. Made available through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), this is federal money that the state distributes.

Bellingham Selectman Mike Soter deserves a vote of thanks for making this extra gift possible since he arranged for the Library to apply to the Target Corporation for a grant.

This $9,000 will be used solely to help people prepare for, find, apply for, and interview for jobs. In this endeavor the library will be working with local community agencies and governmental departments.

Specifically, the library will be holding workshops in resume and cover-letter writing, interviewing techniques, and technology skills; and it plans to start a networking group and host a job fair. Library staff will receive training to better equip them to help those who are looking for jobs, and part of the funds will be used to update the library’s materials as well as build a website page for job seekers, with links to helpful resources. An online career-planning and guidance system, “Career Cruising,” will be purchased. This is a database that will help job-seekers find a career that is right for them, explore education and training options, build their portfolio, and create a resume.

Thanks are in order, too, to the Friends of the Library, who will supply funding for the core laptops that the program will need. The funds from Target will also be used for laptops; these will be used in the mobile computer classroom that will be used for the job-training sessions. The Target funds will also be used to buy software that will enable the library to provide wireless printing services to the public; thus, workshop attendees will be able to print their resumes and cover letters right there. This wireless printing capability will also be available to all patrons who bring their own laptop computers to the library.

The program will begin in January, 2012. Non-Bellingham residents will be welcome to participate in the program.

In attendance at the September 1 ceremony were four representatives from Target—Director Assistant Mun Wong, District Team Leader Andy Chiarelli, Store Team Leader Tom Rock, and Human Resources Business Partner Brittany Blair—Bellingham Town Administrator Denis Fraine, Selectman Mike Soter, Library Trustee Ken Hamwey, Library Director Bernadette Rivard, and Reference Librarian Cecily Christensen.

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Library+Receives+2nd+Grant+To+Aid+Job+Seekers/855961/83863/article.html.

Bond Refunding To Save Town $1,113,345

Chief Financial Officer Marilyn Mathieu (right) announced that the town recently received competitive bids from bond underwriters for a $6,985,000 ten-year refunding bond issue. Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc. was the winning bidder on the bonds with an average interest rate of 1.868%. The town received 7 bids on the bonds. The bond proceeds will be used to refinance bonds of the town originally issued on March 15, 2002.

The refinancing will generate total savings of approximately $1,113,345. The town will share a portion of these savings with the Commonwealth of MA since the town’s high school is currently receiving 76% reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The net savings To the town over the remaining life of the bonds is approximately $375,367.

Prior to the sale, Standard & Poor’s, a municipal credit rating agency, assigned a rating of “AA” to the town’s long term debt. The agency cited the town’s extremely strong property tax base, sound financial performance, strong reserves, conservative management and low debt burden as positive credit factors.

The bids for the bonds and notes were accepted at the offi ces of the town’s
financial advisor, First Southwest Company, at 54 Canal Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Bond+Refunding+To+Save+Town+%241%2C113%2C345/855966/83863/article.html.

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