Board Policies

Policies of the Board of Selectmen

Table Of Contents

1.0 - Board Of Selectmen - Operations

1.1 - Policy Book
1.2 - Powers & Authority
1.3 - Board Officers & Duties
1.4 - Liaison Assignments
1.5 - Regular Meetings
1.6 - Special and Emergency Meetings
        Organizational Meetings
1.7 - Notification
1.8 - Quorum
1.9 - Agenda
1.10 - Motions
1.11 - Decorum & Procedure
1.12 - Minutes: Circulation
1.13 - Minutes: Action
1.14 - Minutes: Executive, release
1.15 - Correspondence: General
1.16 - Correspondence: Action
1.17 - Old/New Business
1.18 - Dog Complaints
1.19 - Removed
1.20 - Removed
1.21 - Alcohol Licenses: Server Training Programs

2.0 - Administration & Town Affairs

2.1 - Agenda
2.2 - Correspondence
2.3 - Employee Evaluation
2.4 - Bargaining
2.5 - Office Organization
2.6 - Performance Evaluation
2.7 - Job Description
2.8 - Vacation
2.9 - Implementation of Policies
2.10 - Sealer of Weights & Measures

3.0 - Appointments & Committees

3.1 - Appointive Power
3.2 - Appointment Procedures
3.3 - Police Constables
3.4 - Process-Serving Constables
3.5 - Public Safety Appointments
3.6 - Compensation/Operating Policies & Procedures
3.7 - Committee Appointments
3.8 - Removal of an Appointed Board/Committee/Commission Member

4.0 - Equipment

4.1 - Ambulance: Operations & Rates, Abatements
4.2 - Town-Owned Vehicle I.D.

4.3 - Assignment, Utilization and Taxation of Town-Owned Vehicles
4.4 - Cell Phone - Use and Safety Policy

5.0 - Fiscal Policies

5.1 - Budget Appropriations
5.2 - Reimbursement of Selectmen's Expenses
5.3 - Purchase Orders
5.4 - CPC's Purchasing Power
5.5 - Performance Bond
5.6 - Incumbent Evaluation
5.7 - Fees
5.8 - Water Rate and Water Department Budget
5.9 - Solicitation/Acceptance of Donations
5.10 - Capital Improvement Policy


1.0 - Operations

1.1 - Policy Book

  1. All policies of the Board of Selectmen shall be compiled in a notebook entitled: "Goals and Policies of the North Reading Board of Selectmen."
  2. All policies therein shall be individually notated to show the dates on which said policies were adopted or amended by the Board.
  3. At the front of the Policy Book, a calendar shall be maintained, showing annual dates upon which various policies are to be enforced.
  4. The Policy Book shall contain a table of contents.
  5. Chapters and policies shall be identified by sequential numbering or lettering.

Adopted 2. reading: November 24, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.2 - Powers And Authority

The power and authority of the Selectmen of North Reading is vested in the Committee as a whole. Policy and other decisions are to be made at legally constituted meetings.

No one person is to make a commitment for the Selectmen unless so authorized by the majority of the Board at a Board meeting.

Should an emergency time constraint require decisive action by the Town Administrator or the Chairman of the Board, the members shall be contacted personally and the action ratified or rescinded at the next meeting.

Adopted 2. reading: June 30, 1977
Re-affirmed: July 24, 1980 and August 10, 1989.

1.3 - Board Officers And Duties

  1. At its first meeting following town elections, the Board shall annually elect the following officers:
    1. Chairman
    2. Vice-Chairman
    3. Clerk
  2. The duties of each officer are as follows:
    1. Chairman
      1. Formulate meeting agenda in conjunction with Town Administrator.
      2. Presides over, but also participates in all meetings and hearings of the Board of Selectmen, according to law or procedures established in this policy book.
      3. Liaison to the Town Administrator
      4. Other duties as established within these policies
      5. Insures that the Board is represented at meetings with other groups or at ceremonial functions as required.
    2. Vice-Chairman
      1. Assumes all duties of the Chairman in his/her absence.
    3. Clerk
      1. Signs all accepted minutes of the meetings & various Board correspondence, such as appointment slips.
      2. Conducts an annual review of executive session minutes, and prepares a list of minutes to be released, for the Board's consideration.
      3. Takes minutes of all meetings and hearings in the absence of the Board's secretary.

Adopted 2. reading: November 24, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.4 - Liaison Assignments

  1. The Board will annually review liaison assignments.
  2. Said review will take place by the third Board meeting after Town elections.
  3. Liaison duties are as follows:
    1. to keep informed as to the activities of assigned committees, boards and commissions,
    2. establish a two-way flow of information by meeting periodically with assigned committees, boards and commissions,
    3. interview candidates for Board appointed committees, boards and commissions and make recommendations for said appointments to the full Board.
  4. Chairman will serve as liaison (as a minimum) with the Town Administrator, Town Treasurer, Town Counsel, Moderator and Finance Committee.
  5. Other liaison assignments will be made with the following committees, boards and commissions:
    1. School Committee
    2. Community Planning Commission
    3. Conservation Commission
    4. North Reading Housing Authority
    5. Northeast Regional Vocational School representative
    6. Constables
    7. Board of Appeals
    8. Board of Registrars
    9. MAPC representative
    10. Middlesex County Advisory Board
    11. North Reading Cultural Council
    12. North Reading Historical Commission
    13. State senator
    14. State representative
    15. Forest Committee
    16. MBTA representative
    17. Cable TV Advisory Committee
    18. Commission on Disabilities
    19. Hillview Commission
    20. Historic District Commission
    21. Housing Partnership
    22. Land Utilization Committee
    23. Local Emergency Planning Committee
    24. Library Trustees
    25. Martins Pond Study Committee
    26. Mobile Home Rent Control Board
    27. Water Commission
    28. Other ad hoc committees

Adopted 2. reading: November 24, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989.
Amended: 1. Reading: May 18, 1998
Adopted:  2. Reading: June 1, 1998

1.5 - Regular Meetings

The regular meetings of the Board of Selectmen shall be held in the office of the Board of Selectmen on the first and third Mondays of every month commencing at 7:00 P.M.
 
The date and place of any regular meeting may be changed by an order or resolve passed at the previous meeting upon the vote of three (3) members of the Board, provided, however, that said change and date will still provide for at least two (2) regular meetings in each month.

Amended and adopted: November 8, 1990.
Reviewed and amended: June 17, 1996

Amended 1. reading: August 7, 2006

Adopted 2. reading: August 21, 2006

1.6 - Special & Emergency Meetings

Special or emergency meetings may be called by the Chairman, and, in the case of Chairman's absence, disability or refusal, may be called by three (3) members of the Board of Selectmen.

Notice of such hearing shall be served on all members.

The call for said emergency meeting shall set forth the matter to be acted upon at said meeting, and nothing else shall be considered at such special or emergency meeting.

Adopted 2. reading: October 30, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989.

Organizational Meetings

See "Board Officers and Duties" (1.3)

1.7 - Notification

Copies of the agenda, minutes of the previous meeting, and all pertinent information shall be delivered by mail or courier at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Adopted 2. reading: September 29, 1977.
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989.

1.8 - Quorum

A majority of the members of the Board of Selectmen shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Adopted 2. reading: June 30, 1977
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.9 - Agenda

No item shall be inserted in the agenda for any regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, unless said item has been filed in the office of the Board on or before 12:00 noon on the Thursday prior to the regular Monday meeting.

Agenda for special meetings shall be established by the majority of the Board of Selectmen.

Amended & adopted 2. reading: May 26, 1987
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989
Amended 1. reading: March 3, 2003
Amended 2. reading: March 17, 2003

1.10 - Motions

No motions shall be made, except under emergency conditions, except pursuant to an item specifically setting forth that item of business on the agenda.

Adopted 2. reading: June 30, 1977.
NOTE: Attempts to amend or delete this section on July 24, 1980 and on February 2, 1981, ended in tie votes and lost.
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.11 - Decorum & Procedures

  1. Decorum and procedure during Selectmen's meetings shall be maintained by the Chairman.
  2. In performing this duty, the Chair will moderate according to the dictates of reason, established by Board practice, and law.
  3. It is the expressed purpose of this policy to ensure that the Board is not unduly inhibited in its operations by strict conformance to inflexible rules of conduct, such as "Roberts Rules of Order."
  4. The Chairman shall have the right of seconding, but not making motions.

Adopted 2. reading: November 24, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.12 - Minutes: Circulation

Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Selectmen shall not be circulated until after they have been approved by the Board.

Adopted 2. reading: September 29, 1977
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.13 - Minutes: Action

The Board of Selectmen will act on the minutes of its meetings as the first item on the agenda.

Adopted 2. reading: January 27, 1977
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.14 - Minutes: Executive Session

  1. Executive session minutes are available to all members of the Board of Selectmen, who are bound to maintain their confidentiality.
  2. Executive session minutes, or sections thereof, will be released in accordance with Massachusetts General Law, only when by doing so, the lawful purpose of the executive session will not be defeated.
  3. Executive session minutes, or sections thereof, will be released only by an affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of the Board of Selectmen.
  4. All requests for unreleased executive session minutes will be immediately forwarded to the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and placed on the next available Selectmen's meeting agenda for resolution.
  5. Notwithstanding periodic reviews, the Clerk of the Board shall conduct a review of all existing executive session minutes, together with Chairman or designee, and recommendations as to their release shall be presented to the Board of Selectmen in the month of September.

Adopted 2. reading: August 10, 1978
Amended: November 10, 1986.
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989.

1.15 - Correspondence: General

All correspondence requiring action or an answer shall be handled by the Town Administrator and reported to the Board.

Copies of pertinent informational correspondence shall be given to each member.

Other informational correspondence shall be available at each meeting in the correspondence folder, and so indicated in each Selectmen's folder.

Adopted 2. reading: October 30, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.16 - Correspondence: Action

Following acceptance of minutes on the agenda, shall be correspondence.

Adopted 2. reading: October 30, 1980
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989.

1.17 - Meeting Procedures Old & New Business

  1. Old & new business will be scheduled by the Chairman as deemed necessary, but it will appear on the agenda at least twice monthly.
  2. Members will be restricted to approximately five (5) minutes in which to relate their old & new business to the Board.
  3. Attendant discussion to old & new business shall be limited by the Chair to no more than five (5) minutes for any single item.
  4. Topics requiring more than five (5) minutes discussion will be placed on future agenda, as the priority requires.

Amended & adopted 2. reading: February 2, 1981
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.18 - Dog Complaints

  1. The Board of Selectmen shall entertain a request for disposal of a dog only upon receipt of:
    1. a written, signed and sworn citizen complaint and request setting forth the reasons for the request, and
    2. a written report and recommendation from the Dog Officer.
  2. If the Board schedules action on the request, it shall follow a "Show Cause" hearing format.
    1. All parties shall be notified in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing.
    2. The owner of the dog in question shall be invited and the Dog Officer shall be required to be present at the hearing.
  3. The Dog Officer, complainant and the owner of the dog shall be notified in writing within forty-eight (48) hours of action taken by the Board, as well as appeal procedure available to the owner.

Adopted 2. reading: March 2, 1982
Re-affirmed: August 10, 1989

1.19 - Removed

1.20 - Removed

1.21 - Alcohol Licenses:  Server Training Programs

The Board shall require managers, and serving employees, of all establishments at which alcoholic beverages are sold to have successfully completed a certified server training program, prior to licensing or approval of any change of management. All individuals who are involved in taking orders and serving alcoholic beverages, or selling of alcoholic beverages in a retail setting, shall be required to have completed an approved certified server training program prior to working, except that servers shall be allowed thirty days to complete the program when first working as a wait person.

Evidence of completion of these programs must be filed with the Board of Selectmen on a yearly basis.

Adopted 1. reading: October 11, 2001
Adopted 2. reading: October 15, 2001

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2.0 - Administration & Town Affairs

2.1 - Agenda

The laying out of the agenda shall be the responsibility of the Town Administrator in consultation with the Chairman of the Board.

Adopted 2. reading: October 27, 1983

2.2 - Correspondence

  1. All correspondence requiring action or an answer shall be handled by the Town Administrator and reported to the Board for its response.
  2. All other correspondence which may be of concern to the Board will be reported to the Board at its weekly meeting.
  3. A copy of all correspondence addressed to the Selectmen shall be delivered to the Selectmen, and all correspondence addressed to individual members shall be delivered to said members unopened.

Adopted 2. reading: October 27, 1983

2.3 - Employee Evaluations

The Town Administrator shall annually evaluate or cause to be evaluated, all Town employees.

Adopted 2. reading: October 27, 1983.

2.4 - Bargaining

The Town Administrator shall be the sole bargaining agent for the Town, with the authority to use labor counsel as he deems necessary within available funds. All contracts will be ratified & signed by the Board of Selectmen.

Adopted 2. reading: October 27, 1983
Last sentence adopted 2. reading: May 18, 1989

2.5 - Office Organization

The Town Administrator shall be charged with the responsibility of providing clerical help for the Board of Selectmen, for the following purposes:

  • To keep minutes for the Board of Selectmen.
  • To prepare outgoing correspondence as may be directed by the Board.
  • The Town Administrator shall supervise the secretarial help in these and other functions necessary for the proper functioning of the administration department, consisting of the Town Administrator's and the Selectmen's offices.

Adopted 2. reading: October 13, 1983

2.6 - Performance Evaluation

The annual evaluation of the Town Administrator by the Board of Selectmen shall be completed by February 15.

Completion date includes summary of individual evaluations and discussions of same between Chairman of the Board and the Town Administrator.

Adopted 2. reading: March 12, 1981
Re-affirmed: October 13, 1983

2.7 - Town Administrator Job Description

Salary: Initial salary to be negotiated. Annual raises (July 1) based on performance evaluation by the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen (in accordance with criteria established by the Board) and ratified by the Board and by the April Town Meeting approval of appropriation.   

Responsibilities:

Efficient and cost-effective administration of the Town:

  • Town services provided fairly to all residents.
  • Effective protection of persons and property.
  • Control of tax rate through budget control.
  • State and Federal funds and grants.
  • Prompt and proper response to legitimate citizen complaints.
  • Staff coordination and supervision.
  • Personnel policies and personnel standards.
  • Determination and negotiation of fair and equitable payscale for town employees.
  • Code enforcement.
  • General by-law enforcement.

Planning for the Town's future:

  • Capital planning.
  • Water and sewage.
  • Solid waste disposal.
  • Sources of revenue.
  • Open land (Conservation & Recreation)
  • Upgrading of existing residential, commercial and industrial properties (Town's tax base)
  • Public buildings.
  • Transportation and traffic patterns.
  • Energy sources and utilization.
  • Implementation of Master Plan.

Support and coordination of governmental activities:

  • Facilities for Town Meeting, boards, committees, commissions.
  • Clerical support.
  • Scheduling of Selectmen's agenda.
  • Staff work for Selectmen (Policies, licenses etc.)
  • Policy proposals for Selectmen.
  • Town Meeting Warrants, Annual Report.
  • Coordination of volunteers (Selectmens & T.A's appointments)
  • Leadership and initiative.
  • Regional cooperation.

Authority: As defined in Town Charter.

Hours, Conditions & Benefits:

Working hours:

  • Not fixed.
  • Full time commitment required.
  • Required to attend Selectmen's meetings.
  • Required to attend Town Meetings.
  • Expected to attend certain meetings of other governmental bodies (day or evening) only when necessary.
  • Should be accessible to officials and staff for decisions and consultation.
  • Should be visible so far as to foster dedication of employees and staff.

Benefits:

  • Health insurance: Standard town group insurance coverage. -  
  • Disability benefits: Mass. Workmen's Compensation.
  • Retirement: Middlesex County Retirement.
  • Professional societies: ICMA or one paid by town, as approved by the Board.

Vacation:

  • See Board of Selectmen policy II-H attached.

Sick Leave:

  • No formal sick leave.
  • Telephone availability during minor indispositions.
  • Selectmen appoint acting T.A. for major illness.

Expense:

  • All necessary and out of pocket expense reimbursement.
  • Personal vehicle @ standard town mileage rate.
  • Per diem and travel expense on approved trips.

2.8 - Vacation

  1. As a benefit of employment, the Town Administrator is granted paid vacation not to exceed the rate of twenty (20) working days per full year served, or will not exceed two (2) working days per five (5) weeks of fractional year served.
  2. Vacation will be accrued monthly.
  3. Vacation will be negotiated between the Chairman and the Town Administrator with the approval of the Board.
  4. Vacation cannot be used until it has been accrued, unless approval is given by the majority of the Board of Selectmen.
  5. The cumulative total of accrued vacation as of July 1 shall be used during that current fiscal year. Under extenuating circumstances, a maximum of two (2) weeks unused accrued vacation may be carried over to the next fiscal year, or may be treated as a buy back (subject to the availability of funds) at the discretion of and by a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen.
  6. The Town Administrator shall submit to the Board of Selectmen for approval, a written plan or schedule for use of all accrued vacation by June 15th of each year.
  7. Approval of vacation for more than two (2) consecutive weeks' duration shall be reconfirmed with the Board of Selectmen no later than two (2) weeks prior to start of such vacation.
  8. The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen shall monitor adherence to the vacation schedule.
  9. Upon resignation or termination of Town Administrator appointment, the Town will buy back unused vacation accrued to date of termination, subject to the availability of funds, according to the following schedule:
    1. Each whole week (5 working days) of accrued vacation at a rate equal to the annual salary in effect, divided by 52.
    2. Each additional day at a rate equal to one fifth (1/5) of the weekly rate defined above.
  10. Any vacation taken in advance of accrual under the provisions of D. above, shall be reimbursed to the Town in the event of termination of employment of any nature. This reimbursement shall be computed at the same rate described in I. above.

Amended & adopted 2. reading: November 24, 1986

2.9 - Implementation Of Policies

Any appointed official, subordinate to the Town Administrator or to the Board of Selectmen, who is charged with the implementation of an explicit policy or directive of the Board of Selectmen, and who disagrees with this policy, shall present his objections to the Board of Selectmen through the appropriate chain of command within three weeks after being so charged.

If, upon hearing his objections, the Board affirms a policy that this official cannot in good conscience implement, he may request that the implementation of this policy be assigned someone else. If, in the opinion of his superior, the implementation of this policy is one of the vested duties of this official, he shall be required to faithfully execute the policy to the best of his ability.

No official, having been charged with the implementation of a policy of the Board of Selectmen, shall intentionally fail to implement this policy, except in anticipation of presenting his objections to the Board in a timely manner as described above.

Amended by adding underlined words: May 11, 1981
Re-affirmed: October 13, 1983.

2.10 - Sealer Of Weights & Measures

If the Sealer of Weights & Measures finds evidence that a merchant or other person in Town, licensed by the Board of Selectmen, is guilty of probable dishonest behavior regarding measuring devices, the Town Administrator and the Board of Selectmen shall be notified.

Amended & adopted 1. reading: October 13, 1983
Adopted 2. reading: October 27, 1983

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3.0 - Appointments & Committees

3.1 - Appointive Powers

In accordance with North Reading Charter, Chapter 3-4-1, except when something falls under the 4 divisions under the Town Administrator's jurisdiction (Public Finance, Public Safety, Public Service, Public Works) all other appointments to or establishments of boards, committees or commissions fall under the authority of the Board of Selectmen, except as otherwise provided by Charter.

Adopted 2. reading: November 127. 1980
Reviewed & reaffirmed: September 14, 1981
Reaffirmed: December 15, 1986

3.2 - Appointment Procedures

Assessment of Committee:

Prior to consideration of specific appointments, the Board of Selectmen shall assess the work of the committee to determine whether:

  1. it has acted in response to the needs of the townspeople;
  2. it has become ingrown, irresponsive or inactive;
  3. it needs members with new outlook, abilities or enthusiasm.

Liaison member:

At least one month prior to appointments, Board members will contact the respective committees to which they are liaison, to determine which positions are to be filled, and whether the incumbents wish to be reconsidered.

Advertising:

Whenever appointments are to be made by the Board of Selectmen or by the Town Administrator, vacancies shall be publicized by bringing to the attention of the news media announcement of vacancy, including a brief job description of the position to be filled. These vacancies shall be published at least thirty days prior to appointment.  

Incumbents:

Especially on committees which involve a significant amount of time in service to become a knowledgeable and useful member, present members will be given every consideration if they desire to be reappointed.  

Incumbents who wish to be reappointed must indicate so in writing to the Board of Selectmen.

Amended: December 2, 1991.

Amended: March 27, 2006

Applicants:

Anyone wishing to serve on an appointed board or committee, should submit a completed Citizens Activity Record.

Whenever appointments are first considered, names of persons to fill vacancies of both expired and unexpired terms, shall be submitted to the Board by the present committee, by interested citizens, and from the Citizens Activity file.

Screening:

The liaison member and the current committee Chairman or designee will endeavor to interview all applicants. Their recommendations will be made at the next regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

All members of the Board of Selectmen shall receive copies of all Citizen Activity Forms submitted to the Town Administrator prior to each position being filled.

Citizen Activity Application Forms shall remain on record with the Town Administrator for three (3) years from the date of application.

Amended November 5, 2001

Amended: March 27, 2006

Procedure:

Action on appointments will take the following steps:

  1. Board assessment of committee.
  2. Liaison meeting with committee.
  3. Announcement of vacancy & job description in papers.
  4. Consideration of present appointees.
  5. Acceptance of additional names for consideration.
  6. Interviewing prospective appointees.
  7. Appointments at a Board meeting with committee chairpersons and nominees.

All individuals applying for the position(s) shall be put into nomination. Appointments shall be made by a role call. The individual(s) who receive a majority vote from the Board of Selectmen shall be appointed to the appropriate Board or Committee.  

Adopted 2. reading: January 22, 1977
Reviewed & reaffirmed: September 14, 1981
Reaffirmed: December 15, 1986.
Reviewed & amended: November 18, 1991.
Amended and reaffirmed: November 5, 2001

3.3 - Police Constable Appointments

Purpose:

Police constables are appointed so that the Police Chief of the full time North Reading Police Department will have a pool of competent trained reserves to augment the regular police force. The Police Chief or his designee may assign police constables to:

  • Details not covered by members of the regular police force;
  • Regularly scheduled shifts that are open and unable to be staffed by a member of the regular police force;
  • Call-ups in emergency situations;
  • Any other reason deemed necessary by the Police Chief or his designee.

The powers of the police constables, while they are on duty, will be the same as those powers & duties exercised by members of the regular police force, as described in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 41, section 98.

The Police Chief may impose limitations on the use of the aforementioned powers & duties as he determines it necessary to do so.

Requirements for initial appointment:

  1. Education: High School diploma or equivalent.
  2. Physical: Physical exam by M.D. (paid by applicant)
  3. References: Three (3) not related to applicant. (To be checked by N.R.P.D.)
  4. Residency: North Reading resident for at least one year prior to application.
  5. Written Recommendation: Police Chief and Director of Public Safety will submit a written recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for each new applicant.
  6. Training:
    1. Legal: Courses prescribed by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council as required by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 41, section 96B, i.e. basic training and in service training.
    2. Firearms Proficiency: A passing grade, as determined by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council on the handgun courses recommended by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council, administered annually by the N.R.P.D.
    3. First Responder: Shall possess a valid first responder card certifying their ability to render medical assistance as first responders, as prescribed in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, section 201.
    4. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: Shall possess a valid CPR card certifying their ability to render medical assistance as first responders, as prescribed in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, section 201.
    5. Expenses and time: Police constables shall be responsible for the expense incurred to qualify for the training requirements and shall be responsible for recertification as required in: Firearms Proficiency, First Responder and CPR.
  7. Equipment: (To be owned and maintained by applicant)
    1. Handgun permit: For protection of life & property
    2. Weapon: To be approved by the Police Chief.
    3. Uniform: As determined by the Police Chief
  8. Experience: Desirable

Requirements for re-appointment:

  1. Training.
    1. Legal: On-going, administered by N.R.P.D. as prescribed by Massachusetts General Laws and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training council.
    2. Firearms Proficiency: Annual qualification administered by N.R.P.D. as prescribed by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council.
    3. Medical Aid: Active first responder training and CPR card
    4. Verification: Proof of attendance at required training to be submitted to the Board of Selectmen for re-appointment.
  2. Physical: As for initial appointment - every three (3) years.
  3. Residency: As for initial appointment.
  4. Service: After two (2) years of service, applicants for reappointment shall have served in the previous year at least 80 hours, performing functions other than traffic control, or shall possess special qualifications or hold special position where re-appointment is deemed necessary.
  5. Written Recommendation: From the Police Chief and Director of Public Safety and based upon performance evaluations, forms #1 and #2.
  6. Age Requirement: No individual who has reached his/her 65th birthday shall be reappointed.

Adopted 1. reading: October 27, 1986
Adopted 2. reading: November 3, 1986
Amended & Reaffirmed: January 7, 2002
Amended 1. reading: November 18, 2002
2. reading: December 2, 2002

3.4 - Process Serving Constables

Requirements for appointment:

  • Appointment procedures and qualifications for process-serving constables are as defined in MGL Chapter 41, section 91B.
  • The Board of Selectmen shall appoint not more than five (5) process serving constables.

Requirements for re-appointment:

  1. Written request for re-appointment
  2. Documentation of bond as per MGL Chapter 41, section 92.
  3. Documentation of compliance with MGL Chapter 262, section 8A.
  4. After two (2) years of service, applicants for re-appointment shall show that they have been active in serving process or shall possess special qualifications or hold special position where re-appointment is deemed necessary.

Adopted 1. reading: October 27, 1986
Adopted 2. reading: November 3, 1986.
Amended & re-affirmed: March 7, 1995

3.5 - Public Safety Department Appointments

In recognition of the Charter provisions as to the hiring of Town employees, and the requirements of Civil Service as adopted by the town for appointment of permanent, full-time police and firefighters, the following policy is adopted:

  1. Permanent full-time police and firefighters shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Town Charter, applicable state laws and civil service rules and regulations.
  2. Appointments of permanent full-time police and firefighters shall be made from certified civil service lists only.
  3. Active lists for "new hires" and promotions shall be maintained current at all times.
  4. Part time police shall be appointed in accordance with the policy established for police constables. (3.3)

Adopted 1. reading: January 8, 1991.
Adopted 2. reading: January 10, 1991.

3.6 - Compensation / Operating Policies & Procedures

  1. No person appointed to any board, committee or commission by the Town Administrator or the Board of Selectmen, shall receive monetary or in-kind compensation or complimentary privileges in exchange for such services, unless authorized by the appointing authority, and in the case of monetary compensation, is within an appropriation available for that purpose.
  2. All boards, committees and commissions appointed by the Board of Selectmen or the Town Administrator, shall have the authority to establish operating policies pertinent to their jurisdictions provided that such policies are not inconsistent with general operating policies established by the Board of Selectmen or the Town Administrator, respectively.

All operating policies shall be placed on file with the Town Administrator as public documents.

Adopted 2. reading: January 6, 1992

3.7 - Committee Appointments

Unless required by state or federal statute, no member of the Board of Selectmen shall be appointed to any permanent board, committee or commission that is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. If said member when elected is a sitting member of such a board, committee or commission, he/she must resign from that board, committee or commission. Liaison assignments are excluded from this policy.

1. reading: February 4, 2002
Adopted 2. reading: February 13, 2002

3.8 - Removal Of An Appointed Board/Committee/Commission Member

Step 1: When a member of the Board of Selectmen wishes to schedule a hearing to determine whether there is cause to rescind an appointment made by the Board of Selectmen of any Town board member (hereinafter “member”) subject to Chapter 3, Section 5 of the Town Charter, or when the Board of Selectmen responds to a complaint requesting that such an appointment be rescinded by the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Selectmen or the Town Administrator, acting on the Board of Selectmen’s behalf, will notify the individual in writing that the Board of Selectmen will be voting to go into executive session to consider scheduling a hearing for the purpose of determining whether there is cause to rescind his/her appointment. This letter will provide the individual with the following: (a) the time and place of the Board of Selectmen’s meeting; (b) at least five (5) business days advanced notice of the meeting, excluding Sundays and legal holidays; (c) that the individual may request that the meeting be held in open session; and (d) that the individual has the right to be present during the discussion that pertains to him or her, to have a counsel or a representative of choice present, and to speak on his/her own behalf.

Step 2: At the Board of Selectmen’s scheduled meeting, a motion will be made to go into executive session to discuss the possible dismissal of a public official or officer duly appointed by the Board of Selectmen. If the Board of Selectmen votes to go into executive session, an executive session will be convened for said purpose. Once in executive session, the individual will be asked whether or not he/she would like the meeting to continue in executive session, or whether he/she would like the meeting to proceed in open session. If the individual chooses to have the meeting in open session, the Board of Selectmen will reconvene their meeting in open session. Once the discussion is underway, the Board of Selectmen will discuss whether or not to hold a hearing to determine whether there is cause to rescind the individual’s appointment. The individual will be given an opportunity to speak on his/her own behalf. After discussion, a majority of the Board of Selectmen must vote in the affirmative to hold a hearing to remove the individual; if a majority is not maintained, the matter is dismissed. If the individual has maintained their right to executive session, the vote and discussion will remain as executive session material.

Step 3: The Board of Selectmen, or the Town Administrator, acting on the Board of Selectmen’s behalf, will provide the individual with written notice of the hearing. The notice will include the following: (a) a statement that the Board of Selectmen will be voting to go into executive session for the purpose of holding a hearing to determine whether or not there is cause to rescind the individual’s appointment; (b) a summary of the allegations or charges that have led to the hearing being scheduled; (c) the time and place of the Board of Selectmen’s meeting; (d) at least five (5) business days advanced notice of the meeting, excluding Sundays and legal holidays; (e) that the individual may request that the hearing be held in open session; and (f) that the individual has the right to be present during the discussion that pertains to him or her, to have a counsel or a representative of choice present to represent him/her at the hearing, and to speak on his or her own behalf and respond to the charges.

Step 4: At the Board of Selectmen’s scheduled meeting, a motion will be made to go into executive session to consider the possible dismissal of a public official or officer. If the Board of Selectmen votes to go into executive session, an executive session will be convened for said purpose. Once in executive session, the individual will be asked whether or not he/she would like the hearing to continue in executive session, or whether he/she would like the hearing to proceed in open session. If the individual chooses to have the hearing in open session, the Board of Selectmen will reconvene their hearing in open session. Once the hearing is underway, the Board of Selectmen will hear and/or review evidence to determine whether or not there is cause to rescind the individual’s appointment. The individual will be given an opportunity to then respond to the charges. After the individual has an opportunity to respond to the charges, the Board of Selectmen will entertain any appropriate motion regarding rescinding the individual’s appointment for cause. At anytime during this hearing, the Board of Selectmen may discuss or ask questions about any of the issues related to whether or not there is cause to rescind the individual’s appointment. To rescind an individual’s appointment for cause, a majority vote of the full membership of the Board of Selectmen in open session is necessary.

1. reading: March 31, 2003
Adopted 2. reading: April 7, 2003

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4.0 - Equipment

4.1 - Ambulance Policy: Operations

  1. The Town of North Reading shall provide a 24-hour per day, 7 days per week, emergency (considered to be a situation resulting from an accident or sudden illness) ambulance service, which shall be the responsibility of the Fire Department.
  2. The Town shall enter into mutual aid agreements with surrounding towns for ambulance service. Response to mutual aid shall be at the discretion of the Fire Chief.
  3. Initial billing and commitment for collection is forwarded to a billing contractor by the Fire Department within one week of service. Collection and subsequent billing is done by the billing contractor.
  4. The Board of Selectmen, and in consultation with the Town Administrator, shall establish a rate for ambulance usage.
  5. The ambulance rate schedule shall be reviewed annually in the month of September, or as recommended by the Fire Chief.
  6. The rate schedule for ambulance service should be designated to recover costs, to the extent possible.
  7. Everyone using the ambulance is charged for the service in accordance with the rate schedule.
  8. A Town employee injured in the line of duty shall not be charged for ambulance service provided pursuant to that injury, provided the bill would not otherwise be covered by insurance or workers compensation.
  9. Abatements will be made by the Board of Selectmen on the recommendation of the Town Administrator.
  10. The Board of Selectmen shall act on ambulance abatements twice annually (April and October).
  11. The Administrator is authorized to use appropriate means necessary to collect outstanding ambulance bills, and may recommend the billing contractor undertake additional collection practices.

Adopted 2. reading: August 17, 1981
Reaffirmed: December 15, 1986
Amended September 24, 1987.
Amended May 3, 1993:  Deleted 4.1.K. re waiver of Medicare and Medicaid co-payments and deductibles.
Amended November 6, 2006

4.2 - Equipment - Town Owned Vehicle Identification

  1. All town owned motor vehicles, with the exception of those under the jurisdiction of the School Department and those used by the Police Department for surveillance work, shall be identified with the Town seal and/or the department to which they are assigned.
  2. Wherever applicable, for the purpose of public safety and/or public recognition, proper flashing lights shall be installed on all town owned motor vehicles.
  3. Wherever possible, town owned motor vehicles shall be painted in a color easily identified with the department to which they belong.
  4. Town owned motor vehicles shall be used strictly by authorized personnel and only for official business.

Adopted 2. reading: September 30, 1982
Reaffirmed: December 15, 1986

4.3 - Assignment, Utilization and Taxation of Town-Owned Vehicles

Effective Date 1/1/2016

POLICY:

It is the policy of the Town of North Reading (“Town”) to make vehicles available for use by designated employees when required for the business of the Town in accordance with the guidelines set forth below.

This Policy is meant to provide an outline of the assignment criteria and administrative policies and procedures governing individual and department use of Town-owned vehicles.  This Policy does not cover vehicles controlled by the Town’s Police Department, Fire Department, or School Department.

The Town shall have authority to manage the number of Town-owned vehicles, vehicle alloance and mileage reimbursement.  In limited circumstances, the Town may authorize an employee’s take-home use of a Town vehicle.  However, the use of Town-owned vehicles for take-home use increases operational costs, adds mileage to Town vehicles, increases wear and tear, and decreases the useful life of the pool of vehicles available to address the needs of the Town.  It is further the policy of the Town to reimburse employees for the authorized use of a personal vehicle for such business of the Town in accordance with the procedures set forth below.

DEFINITIONS

Assigned Take-Home Vehicle: A Town vehicle that has been authorized for use by an employee for Town business and for regularly commuting to and from work.
Assigned Vehicle/Motor Pool Vehicle: A Town vehicle that has been assigned to a department, but not to a specific employee and not for take-home use.
Emergency Response Employee: An employee who has primary responsibility to respond to emergencies, which require immediate response, and to maintain and enforce law and order.
Work Station: The office or sites a Town employee reports to perform normally scheduled work.

GUIDELINES

Employees shall not be permitted, under any circumstances, to operate a Town vehicle, or a personal vehicle for Town business, without a valid driver’s license. Employees who have been authorized to operate a Town vehicle or who have been authorized to use a personal vehicle to perform Town business shall be subject to a review of their Registry of Motor Vehicles driving record on an annual basis. If an authorized employee has an out-of-state driver’s license, he/she must provide, upon request, a copy of their existing state driving record to the Town Administrator.  Any out-of-pocket expense incurred while obtaining a copy of the driving record shall be reimbursed by the Town upon submission of a receipt.

The Town Administrator, in his sole discretion, reserves the right to deny or rescind an employee’s authorization to operate a Town Vehicle or personal vehicle for Town business based on his or her review of the employee’s driving record.

Employees who drive a Town vehicle shall, in addition to meeting the minimum approval requirements set forth in this Policy, demonstrate an ability to safely operate a vehicle and maintain the security of the vehicle and its contents.  Employees shall be responsible for any driving or parking infractions incurred during their use of a Town vehicle.

No employee may use a Town vehicle for non-business purposes, unless such use is de minimis and does not substantially interfere with an employee’s regular job duties.  An example of de minimis would be stopping at a grocery store that is located on the regular route of travel between the employee’s residence and work station.

Employees who have been authorized to use Personal Vehicles for work-related purposes shall present proof of the following minimum levels of insurance coverage to the Town Administrator on an annual basis:

  • Bodily Injury:$100,000/$300,000
  • Property Damage: $100,000

Employees who fail to present such proof of insurance will not be authorized to use a Personal Vehicle for Town business.  The Town Administrator reserves the right to rescind an employee’s authorization to use a Personal Vehicle for Town business at any time.

Assignment of a Town vehicle shall not be made for the convenience of employees, nor as substitute compensation for any employee.  The Town Administrator must explicitly authorize the assignment of a take-home vehicle in writing.  The assignment must be for the efficient and effective delivery of vital Town services on an after-hours basis, or for other purposes consistent with the needs of the Town. 

Use of Town vehicles for personal business is prohibited, except for cases in which an employee’s take-home use of a vehicle has been expressly authorized, or is de minimis in nature.

Use of personal vehicles is preferred over the assignment of take-home vehicles for conducting Town business before and after normal working hours.  Employees who have been authorized to use a personal vehicle for Town business shall be reimbursed at the Town-accepted IRS standard mileage rate for this type of travel.

Employees driving on Town business shall be reimbursed for parking fees and tolls actually incurred upon evidence of proper receipts. Fuel for Town-owned vehicles shall be supplied by the Town's fuel tanks located at the Highway garage.

Employees shall promptly report any accident, theft, or damage involving a Town vehicle or a personal vehicle used on Town business to their supervisor, regardless of the extent of damage or injuries. Such reports must be made as soon as possible but no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the incident.  Employees shall cooperate fully with authorities in the event of an accident.  The Town reserves the right to require an employee to undergo drug and alcohol screening after an accident involving a Town-owned vehicle or a personal vehicle being used for Town business.

All Town-owned vehicles covered under this Policy shall be marked with distinctive markings approved by the Board of Selectmen and administered by the Town Administrator, identifying the vehicle as belonging to the Town of North Reading.

Permanent take-home vehicles shall not be assigned to be taken home to any location greater than 10.0 miles from the North Reading town line.  Requests for exemption from this restriction may be considered by the Town Administrator on a case-by-case basis.

GENERAL RESTRICTIONS

Employees who drive a Town Vehicle or a Personal Vehicle for Town Business are responsible for, but not limited to, the following:

  • Safe, legal, operation of vehicles.Distracted driving is prohibited.
  • Employees are prohibited from possessing open alcoholic containers or illegal drugs, or controlled substances in a Town Vehicle or in a Personal Vehicle being used for work related travel.
  • Employees may not operate Town Vehicles or Personal Vehicles being used for work-related travel, under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or any controlled substances capable of impacting the safe operation of a vehicle.
  • The transporting of unopened alcoholic containers in Town vehicles is prohibited.
  • Tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes, is prohibited in Town vehicles.

PROCEDURES

1.TAKE-HOME VEHICLES

a. To receive a take-home vehicle assignment, one of the following three criteria shall be satisfied and documented on the Take-Home Vehicle Authorization Form (attached):

  1. Emergency Response Vehicle:A take-home vehicle may be assigned to a Town employee who:
  • Has been called after hours and responded to an emergency at least 12 times per quarter or 48 times per year and is able to demonstrate primary responsibility over responding to emergencies which require immediate response to protect life or property;
  • Is unable to pick up aTown-owned vehicle at a designated site without significantly impacting the employee’s ability to respond to the emergency in a timely manner;

OR

2.   Special Equipment Vehicles:  Take-home vehicles may be assigned if an employee’s job duties require a specialized vehicle or equipment or to perform Town work outside the employee’s normal work schedule.  The following factors shall be considered in determining whether use of a special equipment vehicle is necessary:

  • Employees must have the primary responsibility to respond to calls and shall remain available to respond upon request; and
  • Access to communication equipment shall not be considered, by itself, as a valid reason for a specifically assigned vehicle.

OR

3.     Economic or Other Benefit to the Town:  Take-home vehicles may be assigned in cases in which granting take-home use to an employee will result in an economic benefit to the Town.  This may occur in instances where it is otherwise determined advantageous to the Town for a vehicle to be taken home.

In limited instances, and normally for a limited duration, the Town Administrator may approve an employee’s use of a take-home vehicle for cases that do not strictly satisfy any of the categories above.  The Town Administrator, in his or her sole discretion, shall determine an employee’s eligibility for use of a take-home vehicle.

b. IRS Reporting Requirements

Employees assigned a Take-Home Vehicle shall report the value of this “non-cash taxable fringe benefit” as outlined in IRS publication 15-B Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.  An employee who is assigned a Town take-home vehicle shall receive a copy of the Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit form for use when completing their personal income tax forms.

c. Responsibilities

The Town Administrator shall have exclusive authority to determine eligibility for all take-home vehicle assignments.  All such assignments shall expire at the end of each fiscal year and must be reviewed and authorized for the assignment to continue in the following fiscal year.

Department Heads shall periodically review their department operations to determine whether their operations necessitate the use of a take-home vehicle.  By September 1st of each year, department heads must review their operational needs and complete a new Take-Home Vehicle Authorization Form for any such requested assignment.  Department heads must regularly review their department operations so that if the need for a take-home vehicle ends, the assignment may be promptly terminated.
 

Employees Requesting Take-Home Use of a Town Vehicle shall:

  1. Submit completed Take-Home Vehicle Authorization and Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit forms to their Department Head (or the Town Administrator if the employee is a department head) for review and approval.  All forms must be re-submitted and approved on an annual basis, or when an employee’s job assignment changes;
  2. Maintain a valid driver’s license;
  3. Demonstrate availability of off-street overnight parking at the employee’s home;
  4. Comply with all operator responsibilities, accident reporting requirements and other applicable procedures;
  5. Refrain from transporting any non-Town employees in the vehicle, except when conducting official Town business;
  6. Only use the vehicle for Town business and commuting to and from work, with “de minimus” personal use (brief stop on the way home for a personal errand);
  7. Be personally responsible for any traffic citations received while driving a Town vehicle, and promptly pay any fines.

The Town Administrator shall review all Take-Home Vehicle Authorization and Take-Home Vehicle Fringe Benefit forms.

2. DEPARTMENT / MOTOR POOL VEHICLES

Departments may be assigned a certain number of Town vehicles, referred to as motor pool vehicles, for conducting Town business during the workday.  Said vehicles shall not be used by employees for purposes of commuting to and from work.  Wherever possible, Town-owned vehicles shall be painted in a color easily identified with the department to which they are assigned.

Town-owned vehicles shall be used exclusively by authorized personnel and only for official Town business.

Employees who have been authorized to use their personal vehicle to attend trainings, seminars and conferences shall be reimbursed in accordance with the Town’s Travel Policy and/or an applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Employees who are assigned a Town vehicle for regular use shall be responsible for the vehicle’s routine maintenance, using designated department funds, as appropriate.

3. VEHICLE ALLOWANCE

The Town may provide an allowance to authorized employees who do not have access to a vehicle in the Town’s motor pool but require access to a vehicle on a regular basis.  These employees receive a monthly pre-determined allowance for travel.  Employees who are granted a vehicle allowance shall be required to submit a monthly travel log.  The allowance shall be $400 for full time employees and shall be pro-rated for part time employees.

1. reading: July 10, 2000
Adopted 2. reading: August 7, 2000
Amended: 1. reading: May 18, 2015
Adopted 2.  Reading: November 16, 2015

4.4  CELL PHONE – USE AND SAFETY POLICY

POLICY
In order to promote a more efficient municipal staff, the Town of North Reading recognizes that certain employees may be required to use cellular phones (including “smart phones”) to perform their official duties. It is the policy of the Town of North Reading to acquire a cellular telephone for employees only when there is a reasonable need for the employee to have such a cellular telephone in order to facilitate communication with that employee, where such communication is frequently hampered by an absence of other suitable telecommunications devices. This Cell Phone – Use and Safety Policy defines and clarifies Town regulations on the acquisition and use of such cellular telephones.

A. Scope
This policy applies to all Town employees except Emergency Personnel.  If a department policy also exists, the more restrictive policy prevails.

B. Process
Town Department Heads shall be responsible for evaluating the potential use of cellular phones by Town employees, and for determining which employees require cellular phones to be provided by the Town, with the consent and final approval of the Town Administrator.

Should an employee believe there is a legitimate business need for them to use a cellular telephone, they need to communicate in writing the need to his/her supervisor, who will evaluate the request based on the frequency with which the employee is unable to be contacted directly through the normal ‘landline’ communications, or through other suitable replacements.  Such evaluations shall consider the following factors:

  • The frequency of the employee’s need for cellular communications for Town business.
  • The cost of cellular communication as compared to alternative forms of communication.
  • The provision of cellular telephones to others within the employee’s department and the potential to share or jointly use cellular telephones.

Once it is determined that a legitimate business need exists, the Department Head must determine how best to meet that need. Unless there is a large inter-department need, it may well be addressed by the employee using their own personal cellular phone for this purpose.

C. Purchasing
In certain business situations it is appropriate for the Town to purchase cellular telephones for personnel and/or departments. Such cellular phones shall be purchased by the Town utilizing standard purchasing policies and procedures.

D. Phones and Accessories
The Town Administrator shall evaluate the needs and requests of those Department Heads who request funds to purchase cellular phones.  Department Heads must evaluate the department needs to determine:

  • - personnel who will be utilizing the cellular telephones,
  • -appropriate telephones and peripheral devices or accessories,
  • -appropriate plan features.

Employees are not allowed to add anything to the Town issued cellular phone except for a protective/carry case.

Devices that the Town will provide to employees include chargers, both in-car and traditional outlet units, and holsters or clips for ease of carrying phones.

E. Use of Town Cellular Telephones
Town employees who are provided with cellular telephones shall only use such phones for business use when a less costly alternative method of communication is not secure, convenient and readily available. Cellular telephones should not be considered as a replacement for traditional telephones (landline) when such traditional phones are secure, convenient and available.

The Town believes in employing ‘reasonable’ restrictions on the personal usage of cellular telephones provided by the Town.  If a device is issued by the Town, and the Town is paying for the cost of monthly service, there is no expectation of privacy and all information regarding the use of the phone (including call detail records, logs, voicemail messages, data storage, text messages, emails and address books) can be accessed by your Supervisor at any time. Any Internet usage must be for work purposes only (e.g. email, GIS).  Any other Internet usage (game downloads, ring tone downloads, personal email, other multimedia applications, etc.) is prohibited. Except in emergency situations, use of either Town issued or personal cellular phones for personal (non-work related) purposes during working hours is to be kept at de minimis level, with employees exercising discretion.

Employees must realize that although personal calls made within the local calling region and under the usage limits provided by the employee’s plan may not result in additional charges, they do count towards the overall time limits established under the service agreement. Use of information / 411 services should be limited to emergencies only. Any overage, long distance, roaming or other charges realized by the employee for personal calls shall be the responsibility of the employee and the employee must reimburse the Town for all such charges. Continued abuse of the Town provided cellular phone, excessive or inappropriate use of the phone and negligence or damage to a Town-issued phone, may disqualify an employee from being provided a phone, and may also lead to discipline in appropriate circumstances.

F. Restricted Communications
Cellular telephones are not as secure as traditional telephones. Employees should use discretion in relaying confidential or non-public information via cellular telephones. Further, under no circumstances may employees use a Town-issued cell phone to transmit, receive, or store any information that is discriminatory, harassing, threatening, or defamatory in any way (including but not limited to, sexually- explicit or racial messages, jokes, etc.). Employees are prohibited from using their cellular phones in any illegal, illicit, or offensive manner.

G. Loss or Damage of Town Cellular Telephones
In the event any telephone or other related equipment is damaged in the course of business under reasonable circumstances, the item should be brought to the employee’s supervisor for direction as to contacting the vendor for repair or replacement.  Lost or stolen cellular equipment shall be immediately reported to the employee’s supervisor so the service may be cancelled.

In the event that the Town will be providing replacement equipment, the Finance Director must authorize the replacement request and provide an account to which the replacement will be charged. Employees may be financially responsible for the replacement if:

  • Equipment is lost or damaged while in the care of an employee as a result of the employee’s gross negligence.
  • Equipment is not returned by an employee within the specified period of time or is damaged upon its return.
  • Equipment is damaged due to failure to adhere to maintenance or operational polices.

H. Use of Personal Telephones 
If an employee qualifies for a Town-issued phone and they prefer to use their personal cellular phone, they will be afforded a $25.00 monthly stipend for use of a personal phone without data or a $50.00 monthly stipend for use of a personal phone with data. To establish this stipend, the employee’s Department Head shall submit a completed Employee Transaction Form to Human Resources with an approved justification form.

This stipend shall be paid through accounting.  This is the only payment that will be made relative to the use of the cellular phone. No apps/full cost of data plans/texting will be reimbursed on a personal cellular phone. The Town will not reimburse an employee if their personal phone is lost, stolen or damaged-or in any way becomes un-useable.  Under no circumstances will the Town reimburse employees for data/texting/internet/downloading expenses on their personal phone beyond the monthly stipend. No employee is permitted to access the Town Network via their personal phone other than for checking email or for other Town business.  Data needs should be addressed through a work computer as much as possible.

The stipend is meant to cover the average monthly needs and incremental charges that are under/over are considered covered by the stipend.

Usage of personal cellular telephones for non-business purposes is discouraged during working hours, but is permitted in the event of an emergency, or while employees are on breaks.

I. Requirements/Restrictions on All Cellular Phone Usage
The Town of North Reading requires all employees who utilize either personal or Town cellular telephones to engage in safe usage practices.  Employees should never: send or read texts, surf the internet, download, or read information while driving.  Cellular phones must be password protected, and employees must exercise caution when sending or reviewing personal information on a cellular phone.

Moreover, all use of cellular phones while on work time must comply with any applicable federal, state, and local laws.

Finally, employees are reminded that all information on Town-issued cellular phones (such as email or text messages) may constitute public records.  Furthermore, such information relating to official Town business existing on personal cellular phones, may also constitute public records.  Therefore, any such information pertaining to official business of the Town should be maintained as public records, in the same manner as e- mail messages.

J. Violation of these Rules:
Any inappropriate use of a cellular phone (use that violates this policy or any other Town policy, i.e. Harassment, or any applicable federal, state, or local laws) will be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

1. reading: April 7, 2015
Adopted 2. reading: September 8, 2015

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5.0 - Fiscal Policies

5.1 - Budget Appropriations

The Board of Selectmen, in the month of November or December of each year, will hold a meeting dedicated to the purpose of discussing parameters for the following fiscal year budget.

This, or a subsequent meeting, is to be held with the joint participation of the Finance Committee.

Amended & adopted 1. reading: January 19, 1984
Adopted 2. reading: January 26, 1984

5.2 - Reimbursement Of Selectmen's Expenses

The Town Administrator shall provide in his budget a sum of money sufficient to reimburse members of the Board of Selectmen for reasonable expenses and mileage incurred as a consequence of attendance at the annual Mass. Municipal Association meeting, other Mass. Selectmen's Association meetings, and other meetings which members of the Board may attend, related to their duties as Selectmen.

Adopted 1. reading: January 26, 1984
Adopted 2. reading: February 9, 1984

5.3 - Purchase Orders

All employees must note that the purchasing of materials, supplies and equipment for the town of North Reading is to be done only with the prior approval of the Town Administrator and the Town Accountant.

Adopted: June 24, 1976
Re-affirmed: January 19, 1984

5.4 - Community Planning Commission's Purchasing Powers

  1. The function of the Town Administrator, as purchasing agent for the Community Planning Commission, is to procure such supplies and services as are requested by the Community Planning Commission.
  2. To the extent that the central purchasing system of the Town Administrator has been established to purchase certain supplies, supplies requested by the Community Planning Commission shall be purchased through that system.
  3. All needs of the Community Planning Commission, including professional services, not within the scope of the then established central purchasing system, shall be filled through Community Planning Commission action, and the Town Administrator shall delegate to the Community Planning Commission such purchasing authority as is necessary to authorize such purchases from appropriated funds.

Amended (by adding last 3 words) & adopted 1. reading: January 19, 1984
Adopted 2. reading: January 26, 1984

5.5 - Performance Bond

It shall be the policy of the Town to require performance bonds on any contracts for charges of $4000 or more.

The amount of the bond shall have as a minimum the total value of the contract.

If the amount is going to be set at greater than 10% above the value of the contract, the approval of the Board of Selectmen is required.

Adopted: October 23, 1975
Amended & adopted 1. reading: June 2, 1982
Adopted 2. reading: January 19, 1984

5.6 - Incumbent Evaluation

For those contracts that are subject to annual competitive bidding, the Town Administrator shall cause to be prepared, before bids are opened, a written evaluation of the prior contractor's performance.

This evaluation shall be retained for a period of five years.

If an incumbent contractor has performed unsatisfactorily during any one year of the five year period for which records are kept, this fact may be considered grounds for disqualifying this bid.

Adopted: August 18, 1972
Amended & adopted 1. reading: June 3, 1982
Adopted 2. reading: January 19, 1984

5.7 - Fees

The Board of Selectmen shall review fees under their jurisdiction as well as those of the boards and committees of which they have appointing authority at least triennially, no later than February 1st of that year and make the appropriate revisions, if needed. The Board of Selectmen shall also instruct the Town Administrator to review fees under the jurisdiction  of the departments and committees of which he has appointing authority at least triennially, no later than February 1st of that year and make the appropriate revisions, if needed. The Town Administrator shall submit copies of the current fees and the proposed fee changes of the departments and committees of which he has oversight to the Board of Selectmen for informational purposes only.

The Board of Selectmen and the Town Administrator shall review annually any fees in areas undergoing significant operational or marketplace changes.

1. reading: April 28, 2003
Adopted 2. reading: May 19, 2003

5.8 - Water Rate And Water Department Budget

The Board of Selectmen shall annually review the water rate, the water department’s operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year and their five year capital plan. Such review shall be held at a public meeting on the second Monday of November.

1. reading: July 19, 2004
Adopted 2. reading: August 2, 2004

5.9 - Solicitation / Acceptance Of Donations

The Board of Selectmen values and appreciates the efforts of individuals, labor, community groups, and businesses in the community to raise private funds and seek donated equipment and supplies for the betterment of the Town. These donations often take the form of donations of equipment, construction of capital projects, and funding for programs. It is important for the Town and donors to have an understanding of the nature, location, design, and details of any such equipment, capital project or program prior to entering into fundraising efforts. This is important so that the Town can meet any future commitments related to capital projects or programs, so that donations are of a design and quality and in locations consistent with Town needs, and so that any such projects, programs, equipment and supplies are compatible with the plans and programs of the Town.

Therefore, prior to any efforts for equipment, planting, capital projects, or programs on Town property or at Town facilities or utilizing Town resources, the Town must be consulted with regard to the equipment, planting, project, or program, to determine its compatibility with any specifications or master plans the Town may have for a particular site, to determine the compatibility of a program with Town programs, and to determine what, if any, commitment the Town might have with regard to the project or program, including but not limited to cost sharing or ongoing maintenance.

In order to achieve department missions and provide a desired level of services, the Board of Selectmen recognizes the need for staff to develop fiscal and other resources to supplement municipal funding. The policy of the Board of Selectmen regarding fundraising activities and seeking donations by staff is the following:

  1. Such activities will not decrease staff effectiveness nor will they constitute an inordinate amount of work time.
  2. In accordance with the Conflict of Interest Law (Massachusetts General laws, Chapter 268A), the Town employees will not realize personal financial benefit from such activities.
  3. Persons involved in fundraising or seeking donations are expected to use good judgment at all times, and to be sensitive to issues such as the business climate and the ability to give.
  4. It is understood that there is no offer on the part of the Town or its Departments or Agencies to reciprocate in any manner with regard to provision of services, enforcement of laws or regulations or any other considerations by the Town.
  5. To ensure consistency in communication, Boards, Committees, Commissions and Department Heads shall inform the Town Administrator of new fundraising or donation efforts or campaigns prior to such activities commencing.
  6. The Town Seal may be used to support fundraising or donation efforts with the Town Administrator’s approval.
  7. Notice of regular or ongoing fundraising or donation activities shall be given to the Town Administrator on a semi-annual basis.
  8. The expenditure of monetary gifts must be by vote of the Board of Selectmen consistent with MGL Chapter 44, Section 53A.
  9. The Town Administrator may establish guidelines which specifically describe different types of fundraising and appropriate actions.

Amended and adopted 1st reading – August 18, 2008
2. Reading – September 2, 2008

5.10 - Capital Improvement Policy

A. Capital Improvement Plan

The Town will update and re-adopt annually, a 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  This is designed to assist the Town in scheduling for and financing the replacement of the town’s infrastructure as needed over time.  It is also intended to link the community’s comprehensive strategic plan and fiscal plan to physical developments, and provide a mechanism for:

·Estimating capital requirements

  • Planning, prioritizing, scheduling and implementing projects during the next 5 years
  • Developing revenue policy for proposed improvements
  • Budgeting high priority projects
  • Inter-Department coordinating of projects within the Town
  • Informing the public of planned capital improvements

 Included in the plan will be an annual Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) with the following components:

  • A ten-year projection of the Town’s capital needs and expenditures
  • A description of each capital item along with the estimated costs and anticipated funding sources for each project
  • The effect that the investment in the capital item will have on the Town’s operating budget including debt service over the life of each asset.

The CIP will take into account costs that have been estimated, including consideration for inflation.  The inflation rate will be determined annually in the budget process and will be disclosed in the capital budget report. The CIP and the CIB will generally address those capital assets with a value of more than $25,000 and a useful life of over five (5) years.

The first year of the ten-year CIP will be the basis of formal fiscal year appropriations.  If the need for an unanticipated capital item arises after the completion of the annual CIP budget, a budget amendment identifying both the funding sources and the project appropriations will be used to provide formal budgetary authority for the additional project.  In developing its plan, the Town will emphasize preventative maintenance as a cost-effective approach to infrastructure maintenance.  Exhausted capital goods will be replaced as necessary.  The CIP shall be tied to the Town’s comprehensive development plan to ensure the capital items requested meet the future growth needs of the Town.  A key element in the CIP is the collection of data to identify future capital needs.  It is the responsibility of department heads and the Town Administrator to initiate requests for new projects, modifications, and /or re-prioritization by sending completed request forms and supporting information to the Coordinating Official as soon as need is identified; requests must include justification for preferential ranking if appropriate The Town Administrator must present the updated CIP to the Finance Committee and to the Board of Selectmen 45 days prior to any Town Meeting.

B. Capital Formation

The Town acknowledges pay-as-you-go financing to be the preferred capital funding source.  However, the Town will ultimately determine the most appropriate financing structure for each capital project on an individual basis after examining all relevant factors of the project. 

C.  Capital Project/Equipment Defined

A capital project is a major non-recurring expenditure for one of the following reasons:

  • Acquisition of land for public purpose
  • Construction of a new facility, including buildings, streets and sidewalks, traffic signals, bridges, culverts, public utilities, recreation fields, playgrounds and cemeteries or extension/expansion or major rehabilitation of an existing one, provided the cost is $25,000 or more and the improvement will have a useful life of 5 years or more
  • Purchase or lease of equipment costing $25,000 or more and having a useful life of 5 years or more
  • Any planning, engineering or design study related to an approved and undertaken individual capital project that is not bundled with the project’s cost.

D.  Finance Committee Evaluation Criteria

All capital projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Impact on public safety and health
  • Categorization as a deteriorated facility
  • Facility or equipment being systematically rehabilitated or replaced
  • Impact on the operating efficiency of the department or town
  • Coordination with another project, law or goal of the Town
  • Provision of equitable services to all populations, or ones identified as under served
  • Impact on the protection or conservation of the Town’s natural resources
  • Introduction as a new or substantially expanded Town facility

E. Financing

Capital projects may be financed in a variety of ways depending on the project and the Town’s financial resources.

1) Pay-As-You-Go:

a)Capital Exclusion: There is a mechanism referred to as Capital Exclusion whereby the entire amount of the project may be raised outside of the Levy Limit in a single year. The virtue of this method is that there is no debt created or interest incurred, however the taxpayers are assessed a separate one time amount to fund the expenditure.

b)Free Cash: Any remaining balance in Free Cash could be used to fund capital purchases.

2) Debt Financing:

There are three methods of debt financing which the town may implement.  Each requires approval by Town Meeting.  They are as follows:

Debt Exclusion (Exempt Debt) This approach allows for the Town to raise funds outside of the levy limit to pay for a particular capital item. The amount of debt service, principal and interest, required to be paid in a given year is raised as a separate item and stops when the underlying debt is fully repaid.

Non-Exempt Debt This funding mechanism is a written promise to pay a specified amount of money by a precise date in the future together with a precise periodic interest rate. It is funded out of the operating budget or through a combination of operating revenue and transfers from the Stabilization Fund.  Non-Exempt Debt may also be funded out of the Water, Hillview or other Enterprise funds.

Leasing is a financing arrangement whereby the Town makes a specified payment for a period of years and purchases the asset at the end of the lease period for a nominal amount. Ownership costs, such as insurance and maintenance, are the obligation of the Town throughout the lease period.

When deciding which method of debt financing to adopt, the Town must take into consideration a number of factors.  These include the ability of the Town to repay, the impact on the bond rating, as this affects the incurred interest charge, and the tax payers willingness and ability to support the debt.  All of these factors need to be considered as they ultimately translate into the true cost of the project.

The annual operating cost of a proposed capital expenditure, as well as debt service costs, will be identified before any long-term capital debt is recommended.

There are some formulas and ratios that are generally accepted as reasonable guidelines when considering debt level.  Debt Service as a percentage of net revenue considers how much the Town can afford and seems the most reasonable to calculate.

  • Non-Exempt Debt Service should not exceed 2.5 % of net revenue. 

Some other guiding principles are that debt should never be used for operations or normal maintenance and that the duration of the debt shall never exceed the useful life of the capital item being funded.

DEBT MANAGEMENT

The use of long-term debt is a common and often necessary way for a town to address major infrastructure and equipment needs. It is also a means of spreading the cost of large capital projects over a larger, changing population base. However, when a town incurs long-term debt, it establishes a fixed obligation for many years. Accumulation of such fixed costs can become so great that a town finds it difficult to pay both its operational costs and debt service charges. Great care and planning must therefore be taken when incurring long-term debt to avoid placing a strain on future revenues which may become constrained during periods of economic uncertainty. The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines governing the use of long-term debt.

1)Long-term debt should not be incurred without a clear identification of its financing sources.  Because annual appropriations are required to retire debt, there should be a commitment of revenue sources available to pay future costs without competing with the town’s operating budget for limited resources.

2) Betterments (special assessments placed on a limited segment of the community receiving benefit from a public improvement) will be assessed on all capital projects to the extent permitted by Massachusetts General Law.  This funding source will contribute all or a portion of the costs associated with a capital project.

3) Non-Exempt debt service will not exceed 2.5% of the town’s net revenue.  Municipal credit rating agencies consider non-self-supporting debt service to be indicative of potential fiscal problems, unless revenue sources increase to support debt service costs.  A benchmark of 2.5% applies to new projects and future revenues necessary to finance such projects.

4) Massachusetts General Laws specifies the maximum maturity for bonds issued for various purposes (Chapter 44, Section 7 and 8).  However, the town may choose to borrow for periods shorter than the legal limits.  A reasonable maturity schedule reduces interest costs and avoids the perception that the town is looking to extend borrowing for period beyond the useful life of a capital expense.
The town will seek to maintain a long-term debt schedule that pays for non-exempt principal within 30 years of permanent borrowing.

5) The town will seek to maintain a long-term debt schedule that pays for non-exempt principal within 30 years of permanent borrowing.

6) The town will continually investigate alternative financing strategies as an alternative to conventional borrowing.  These alternatives include grants and low interest loans that may be available from State and Federal agencies.

7)The town will continue to work with its Financial Advisor and Bond Counsel to ensure all legal requirements are met and the lowest possible interest rates are obtained. 

BOND RATING

It is critical that the town reviews its bond rating on an annual basis in advance of a long-term borrowing.  The maintenance of a favorable bond rating is critical in providing the town with the lowest possible interest rate.  A favorable bond rating also establishes public trust in the town’s financial operations.  Municipal bond rating agencies typically review certain factors in the assignment of a bond rating:

  • Debt factors:  debt per capita, debt as a percentage of equalized valuation and rate of debt amortization.
  • Financial factors: operating surpluses or deficits, free cash as a percent of revenue, state aid reliance, property tax collection rates, budget deficits and unfunded pension liability.
  • Economic Factors: property values, personal income levels, tax base growth, tax and economic base diversity, unemployment rates and population growth.
  • Management Factors: governmental organizational structure, the existence of a capital improvement plan, the quality of accounting and financial reporting and response to outstanding audit findings.

The Town will continually strive to improve its bond rating through sound financial management, maintaining a high receivables management, thorough accounting and financial reporting and increased reserves.

FREE CASH

The amount of the Undesignated Fund Balance (UFB) over and above uncollected taxes of prior years constitutes “free cash” on July first of any fiscal year and only as certified by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, usually in the fall.  The calculation, under M.G.L.59:23, incorporates:

  • Surplus revenue; revenue collections in excess of estimated revenue.
  • Unspent amounts in budget line items at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Unexpended free cash from the previous year, any fund balance from the ending fiscal year not appropriated.
  • Outstanding property taxes collected from prior years.

The amount of free cash is mainly a correlation between the level of revenue estimates and the degree of budget control.  Therefore conservative estimates and tight controls should prevail over exceedingly optimistic revenue projections relied upon to meet anticipated budget needs.  When used as a funding source, Free Cash is a non-recurring resource and thus should not be used for operating budgets except in extreme emergency.

Free Cash shall be primarily earmarked for the capital budget and for non-recurring expenses. The Town will set an annual Free Cash goal of not less than 5% of net revenue. 

Any balance remaining at the conclusion of Town Meeting when all financial articles have been acted upon shall be recommended in a specific article for transfer to the Stabilization Fund. Judgments by lending institutions of the Town’s fiscal stability are based in part on the level of free cash at the Town’s disposal.

RESERVE FUND

M.G.L.40:6 authorizes an annual appropriation to establish the Reserve Fund which is under the control of the Finance Committee  This fund is used to provide for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures.  The amount of the annual fund may be comprised of:

  • An appropriation of not more than five (5) percent of the prior year Town property tax levy
  • Money transferred from the overlay reserve (M.G.L.59:25), or both.

Fund transfer requests may be voted throughout the fiscal year by the Finance Committee until July 15th of the following fiscal year, at which point any fund balance reverts to the undesignated fund balance (UFB) for free cash certification by the DOR.  As a rule, the annual reserve fund is recommended to be in the range of .75 – 1.00% of the general government operating budget.

The purpose of the fund is to provide for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures.  “Extraordinary” covers items which are not usual expenditures for the requesting department, or are great, or exceptional.  “Unforeseen” includes items which were not anticipated at the time of annual Town Meeting.  It is inappropriate that the fund be used to reverse a vote of Town Meeting, or as a “backdoor” means of increasing the budget.  Salary increases are generally not an acceptable fund use.  A Finance Committee approval is appropriate if it feels a requested transfer is one which a Special Town Meeting, if called, would approve, thus saving the delay and expense of a Special Town Meeting.

It is important that the Finance Committee have a balanced approach in evaluating reserve fund transfers.  The reserve fund more naturally tends to benefit the general government operating budget which is inflexible due to legal limitations of departmental budgets and their respective line items, whereas the school department has a bottom line fungible budget which is inherently flexible.  It is the Finance Committee’s responsibility to keep the Town’s best interests in mind when deliberating on reserve fund transfer requests. 

All reserve fund transfer requests are to be presented on the standard Request for Transfer from the Reserve Fund form with any necessary supporting documents.  It must be approved, prior to its submission to the Finance Committee, by the Town Administrator or Superintendent of Schools as appropriate.  Specific attention should be given to explanations for the use of the amount requested and why it is extraordinary and/or unforeseen.

STABILIZATION FUND

M.G.L.40:5B enables the creation of a stabilization fund into which the Town may appropriate in any year an amount not to exceed 10% of the Town’s prior year’s tax levy.  The aggregate of the fund shall not exceed ten percent of the Town’s equalized value and any interest shall be added to and become part of the fund.  A two-thirds vote of Town Meeting is required to appropriate to and from the fund.  Funds appropriated to the account cannot be earmarked. 

The policy goal is to maintain an annual balance equal to a minimum of 5% of net revenue.  Town Meeting will contain an article of appropriation to the stabilization fund.  Any available funds above the target balance may be considered for appropriation to a capital reserve fund. 

The purpose of the stabilization fund is three fold:

1) The annual operating budget includes a fixed allowance toward the payment of the Town’s net direct principal and interest debt service (non-exempt debt).  In a given year, the amount required above the fixed allowance will come from the fund; conversely, if the amount required is less than the allowance, the difference is to be appropriated to the fund.  Net direct debt service excludes debt exclusions, state reimbursements and enterprise debt. 

2) The fund acts as a mainstay of the Town’s financial reserve.  Bond rating agencies look at the stabilization fund as a measure of municipal fiscal health in their analysis for assigning a bond rating – and subsequently the interest rate offered by lending agencies.

3) The fund is an emergency capital fund resource when a high priority occasion arises.

The Town will set an annual Stabilization goal of a minimum of 5% of net revenue.

Notes:

1. At no time is the stabilization fund to be used for general government or school operating budgets.
2. No more than 1/3 may be drawn from the fund in any fiscal year.

Adopted 2. reading: August 22, 2011 (5 – 0 vote)

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7.0 - Land, Buildings & Property

7.1 - Gifts Of Land

It shall be the policy of the Board of Selectmen to accept land offered as a gift to the town, for the purposes of returning it to the tax rolls at the earliest date, or whatever is in the best interests of the town.

Adopted 2. reading: October 28, 1982 (3-2 vote)
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984

7.2 - Sale Of Town Owned Land

7.2.1 - General Provisions

It is the determination of the Board of Selectmen that the community's best interest is served by causing land owned by the Town, for which there is no anticipated municipal use, to be returned to taxable status in an expeditious manner. Toward that end, and in compliance with applicable Massachusetts law and Town of North Reading bylaws, the following steps shall apply:

  1. The Board of Selectmen shall not sell land acquired by Town Meeting action except when so directed and authorized by the Town Meeting. The land shall be sold for no less than the current fair market value, as determined by professional appraisal.
  2. Periodic reviews of the municipal use status of land shall be conducted by the Board of Selectmen and the Administration by the second meeting in July. 
  3. All parcels for which there are no longer municipal uses indicated shall be presented to the Board of Selectmen by the Town Administrator on or before the first board meeting in July of each year for a determination of which available sale process is to be employed in their disposition. The form and extent of data to be presented to the Board when considering each parcel shall be as follows:
    1. The Board shall be furnished with:
      1. Date of request;
      2. Applicant's name and address;
      3. Map and parcel number of the property;
      4. Street address;
      5. Whether the lot has frontage on an accepted or unaccepted street;
      6. Area of the property;
      7. Frontage of the property;
      8. Zoning districts and overlay districts in which the property lies;
      9. Whether the property lies within 100' of wetlands or is otherwise environmentally sensitive;
      10. Assessed value;
      11. Method and date of acquisition;
      12. Taxes owed;
      13. Consideration paid;
      14. Comments of Boards and Committees on proposed disposition; and
      15. Any prior application to purchase such land, together with prior actions taken by the Board.
      16. Additional information deemed by the Board to be relevant to its deliberations.
  4. The Board of Selectmen shall determine whether or not to sell town owned land only after the requirements of section 6.10B "Municipal Review" of the general bylaws have been fulfilled.
  5. The consideration of the sale of town owned land by the Board shall be advertised at least seven days prior to such consideration and only after the municipal review process is complete. Said advertisement shall at a minimum include the street number, area of the property and its map and parcel number.
  6. In the event parcels so presented are withheld from sale by the Board, a written explanation of the reason(s) for such action by the Board shall be placed in the file of the subject parcel(s).
  7. The sale of parcels in which potential buyers have expressed a written interest shall be considered by the Board in accordance with the following schedule:
    1. Within ten days of receipt of such written interest, the Town Administrator shall initiate the municipal review process referenced in 7.2.1.D.
    2. Within twenty-one days of the completion of the municipal review, the Town Administrator shall place the request before the Board of Selectmen for action.
  8. All conveyances of property by the Board, or its designees, shall contain language restricting use of the property to those uses conforming to the then, or subsequently, applicable zoning bylaws, or other use restrictions deemed appropriate by the Board.

7.2.2 - Provisions Applicable to the Sale of Tax Foreclosure Property

  1. Property taken by the Town for non-payment of property taxes (i.e. tax foreclosure land) may be returned to taxable status by auction as permitted under M.G.L. c.60 sec.77B or may be sold pursuant to M.G.L. c.30B and current general bylaws. In any event, the notice provisions of M.G.L. c.30B sec. 16D and E must be complied with.
  2. The Board of Selectmen, or its designee(s) shall be the "custodian" designated under M.G.L. c.60 sec. 77B.
  3. The tax title custodian shall comply with all aspects of this section 7.2 of the Board's policies, and any and all public notice requirements set forth by bylaw which exceed those required by law, when performing in the designated role.
  4. The targeted minimum sale price of tax foreclosure property shall be its current assessed value. The Board, by 4/5th’s vote, may sell it for less than its assessed value if deemed to be in the Town’s interest at that time.

Reading 1. - September 21, 1992
Adopted 2. reading - October 19, 1992
Amended: 1. reading - July 1, 1993
-   -  2. reading - July 15, 1993
Amended: 1. reading - November 18, 2002
-    -  2. reading - December 2, 2002
Amended: 1. reading -   - August 17, 2009
Adopted 2. reading: September 1, 2009

7.3 - Sale Of Tax-Title Land With Inhabitable Structures

Upon issuance of a tax title, the property shall be circulated among the various departments and committees of the town, as is customary for other town owned land proposed to be sold, and in accordance with town by-laws; and thereafter, upon favorable recommendation, shall be sold at public auction with the starting bid being equal to all back taxes, plus the equivalent of back taxes while the land was under litigation, and interest accrued on these amounts at the rate charged by the Town Collector for delinquent property taxes, or ninety percent (90%) of the fair market value of the property, whichever is less.

Bidders are required to submit 10% deposit at the time of the award of bid, with additional financing to be arranged within twenty (20) days following the award of the bid.

Adopted: July 17, 1975
Amended & re-affirmed: January 26, 1984.

7.4 - Property Foreclosure

When the town acquires, by virtue of tax delinquency, a piece of inhabitable property, the town shall charge the inhabitants of said property a rental to be determined by a competent real estate professional, to be equal to the fair market rent for such property, and the tenant so-called shall be responsible for all property maintenance and utilities with the exception of insurance coverage.

Adopted: June 18, 1976
Re-affirmed: January 26, 1984

7.5 - Town Artifacts

(Historical Commission)
The Historical Commission is authorized and requested to go through Town Meeting records to establish how town gifts were acquired and what conditions are attached.

Adopted: September 1, 1979
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984.

7.6 - Items Of Value

(Historical Commission)
The Historical Commission will be the custodians who will oversee certain items of value in the Town Hall.

From: May 11, 1978
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984

7.7 - Town Buildings

(Historical Commission)
The Board of Selectmen endorses the concept of the Historical Commission having the opportunity to be aware of plans for modification and renovation of town owned buildings of historical value, and having the opportunity to provide input into such planning.

Adopted: November 17, 1977
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984

7.8 - House Numbering

The Board of Selectmen shall delegate the authority to assign new house numbers, in accordance with the Board's existing policy (below) to the Administration.

The Administration shall send notice of house number assignments to affected owner and/or resident, and in the case of house number re-assignment, notice shall be sent at least fourteen (14) days prior to effective date.

The Board will only take the matter of housenumbering under advisement in those cases where it involves a change of existing numbers.

Amended & adopted 2. reading: March 15, 1979
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984.

  1. All roadways going from east to west: house numbers will begin at the east end and increase in a westerly direction. Odd numbers on the north side of roadway, and even numbers on the south side.
  2. All roadways going from south to north: house numbers will begin at the south end and increase in a northerly direction. Odd numbers on the east side of roadway, and even numbers on the west side.
  3. On roadways intersecting existing roadways and terminating at a cul-de-sac: house numbers will begin at the intersection, with odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left.
  4. Rule 3 above also applies to homes on unaccepted streets which are identified with a street name.
  5. All homes which are located off of a thoroughfare, but have access to the thoroughfare, will be given the lower of the two assigned house numbers on the lot on either side of the access, plus a letter. (Example: 157A)

Adopted: August 22, 1974
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984

7.9 - Moving Of Buildings

  1. Moving a building over public ways is not permitted without permission from the Board of Selectmen. (MGL Chapter 85, section 18)
  2. The Board of Selectmen will issue no permit unless the following documents have been submitted:
    1. Affidavit from the owner on record of a proper buildable lot at the point of destination that the building is to be permanently installed on his premises on a suitable, available foundation approved by the building inspector.
    2. Certificate from the Board of Health of the municipality within which this lot is located, attesting that the lot is suitable froma sanitary point of view.
    3. Certified copy of a valid building permit for the point of estination.
    4. Route map superimposed on a street map of the town, showing time after departure at which all intersections are crossed.
    5. Certificate from all utilities operating in the town (electric, gas, water, telephone, cable etc.) that either:
      1. the proposed move does not affect their installation and operation, or
      2. satisfactory arrangements have been made to prevent damage to their system and to give timely notice to those affected, of any anticipated interruption of service.
    6. Certificate by the Chief of Police that the proposed move will cause no abridgement to the safety of the town, either directly or indirectly, by making some portion of the town inaccessible to local law enforcement officials.
    7. Certificate by the Fire Chief that the proposed move will cause no abridgement to the safety of the town, either directly or indirectly, by making some portion of the town inaccessible to the local firefighters.
    8. Certificate by the Town Engineer that the proposed route is structurally suitable for the move.
    9. Letter from the Tree Warden indicating whether or where trees, limbs or shrubs must be removed to facilitate the move or protect the best interests of the town.
    10. Bond in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to be returned after all requirements have been complied with; or equivalent surety.
    11. Copy of Massachusetts Rigger's license.
    12. Evidence of Certificate of Insurance for amount no less than $300,000 to $500,000 property damage.
    13. Signed agreement authorizing designee of the Board of Selectmen to take whatever action is necessary to remove any incidental obstruction to a public way, if the move is not carried out in accordance with the submitted schedule.
  3. The following must be complied with at the time of the move:
    1. The move must be executed during daylight hours at a time other than heavy traffic hours, as determined by the Chief of Police.
    2. A special police officer must be on hand at all times to direct traffic.
    3. Personnel must be available in the number and at the locations deemed necessary by the Chief of Police to assist directing traffic under the direction of the assigned special police officer.
    4. All arrangements previously stipulated must be carried out.
    5. The move must be expeditious and as nearly as possible in compliance with the submitted route and schedule.
    6. The submitted route and schedule and time of departure must be prominently advertised at least once in a paper of local circulation within one week preceding the move.
    7. Incidental debris on town ways and abutting property must be removed within two hours after completion of the move.

Adopted: September 5. 1974
Amended & adopted: November 3, 1977
Reaffirmed:January 26, 1984

7.10 - Conservation Restrictions

  1. No Conservation Restriction (CR) shall be considered whose period  of restriction is less than twenty (20) years.
  2. A clause must be inserted in the restriction, stating that if the CR is released prior to its scheduled termination, the landowner must pay any real estate taxes saved on account of the restriction, plus interest.
  3. Land parcels of primary interest for CR's are contiguous areas of open space of at least ten (10) acres in size. Parcels under ten acres must have clear conservation features, such as pond or river frontage, flood plain area, town well watershed, ecologically significant wetlands, unique wildlife or vegetation features, etc.
  4. Reduction in assessment for land parcels with a CR will be at the discretion of the Board of Assessors, and will be based on such factors as loss of market value due to the CR, degree and length of restriction, landowner's retained uses, size of the parcel, zoning, public access considerations, and whatever other parameters the Assessors consider pertinent.
  5. Landowners interested in giving or selling CR's shall contact the Conservation Commission for guidance, and, in accordance with the enabling legislation, shall submit a properly drafted restriction to the Conservation Commission for consideration.
  6. Prior to accepting any CR, the Conservation Commission shall seek the advice and consent of the Community Planning Commission to make sure that the proposed restriction is not in conflict with the town's Master Plan.
  7. If requested by the landowner, any CR accepted by the Conservation Commission will be submitted to the Board of Assessors for a determination of the parcel's assessment with the proposed CR. If the assessment is not agreeable to the landowner, the proposed CR can then be withdrawn by the landowner.
  8. The proposed CR, if not withdrawn by the landowner, will then be submitted to town counsel to determine if the town's interests are properly protected.
  9. Once approved by town counsel, the CR will be submitted to the Board of Selectmen for their approval. If approved by the Board of Selectmen, the CR will be recorded in the Registry of Deeds in accordance with the enabling legislation. If the CR is a gift to the town, the town will pay the processing expenses.
  10. A CR may, at the town's option, be considered terminated if the owner of a land parcel under a CR is more than a year late in payment of property taxes on the parcel. A clause to that effect shall be inserted in the restriction.

Drafted & submitted by the Conservation Commission per MGL Chapter 184, sections 31-33.
Sections 8 & 10 amended by mutual agreement Board of Selectmen/Conservation Commission & policy adopted 1. reading: September 18, 1978.
Adopted 2. reading: October 26, 1978
Reaffirmed: January 26, 1984

7.11 - Use Of Town Land, Buildings & Property

  1. All town property, buildings and parts thereof, within the jurisdiction of the Town Administrator, shall be available for use by all North Reading community groups and organizations. No town property or buildings will be used for any purpose that is unlawful or involves any breach of the public peace or tranquility, nor shall any use be inconsistent with the reasonable use of the property or building.
  2. No town property, building or parts thereof, within the jurisdiction of the Town Administrator, shall be reserved for the exclusive use by any specific group or organization.
  3. All groups and organizations requesting to use town property or buildings must submit an application to the Town Administrator.
  4. There shall be no insurance requirements imposed on groups or organizations using town property or buildings subject to this policy.
  5. Use fees may be charged to groups or organizations which derive a profit as a result of using town property or buildings. The user fee will be determined by the Town Administrator and approved by the Board of Selectmen.  
  6. The Town Administrator, in compliance with this policy, has the authority to deny or prioritize use of any town property or buildings or parts thereof.
  7. The Town Administrator, at his discretion, may require a security deposit not to exceed $500 from any group or organization applying for use of town property or buildings if there is reason to believe that the use may result in the town incurring some expense.
  8. Any community group or organization that in any way abuses the privilege of using any town property or building, will be denied use of such facilities for one year following the last use.
  9. Any community group or organization denied the use of any town property or building by the Town Administrator may appeal to the Board of Selectmen.

Adopted 2. reading: December 1, 1986
Revised & adopted 1. reading: August 23, 1990
Adopted 2. reading: September 6, 1990.

7.12 - Parades

  1. Any parade subsidized directly or indirectly by the Town of North Reading shall have a parade theme to be determined by the Board of Selectmen.
  2. The Board of Selectmen shall appoint a person or group as parade organizers who will accept applications from those groups and organizations who wish to participate in the parade.
  3. Every applicant approved to participate in the parade will comply with the established theme of the parade.
  4. The parade organizers will submit to the Town Administrator a list of every applicant not later than twenty-one (21) days prior to the date of the parade.
  5. The Town Administrator and the parade organizers will review each applicant and determine if each applicant is in compliance with the established theme of the parade.
  6. The Town Administrator will notify in writing, fourteen (14) days prior to the parade, those applicants who have not been approved, stating the reasons why and advising the applicant they may appeal the decision to the Board of Selectmen.
  7. The Town Administrator will advise the Board of Selectmen fourteen (14) days prior to the parade of those applicants who have been approved to participate in the parade, and those applicants who have been denied approval.
  8. The Board of Selectmen will review the participants and hear appeals from applicants who have been denied approval.
  9. The Board of Selectmen shall advise the Town Administrator of the outcome of all appeals not later than seven days prior to the parade. The Town Administrator will then advise the parade organizers of the final list of approved participants,
  10. No entries will be permitted to participate in the parade without the approval of the Town Administrator and parade organizers.

Adopted 1. reading: August 9, 1990.
Adopted 2. reading: August 23, 1990

7.13 - Complete Streets

Vision and Purpose:

The purpose of the Town of North Reading’s Complete Streets Policy is to accommodate a wide range of road users by creating a road network that meets the needs of individuals utilizing a variety of transportation modes. The policy will be applied as a guide in decision-making in related infrastructure planning and construction. The Town of North Reading recognizes the health, safety, economic  viability, and numerous other benefits that can be achieved through application of Complete Streets principles. By incorporating Complete Streets as a guide, the Town of North Reading will advance its efforts to provide safety and accessibility for all the users of our roadways, trails and other transportation systems, for people of all ages and abilities.

The Town of North Reading aims to improve the health, safety and mobility of its residents and acknowledges that Complete Streets can increase everyday physical activity by enabling walking and bicycling, as well as enhance the town’s livability. It is the intent of the Town of North Reading to formalize the plan, design, operation and maintenance of streets so that they are safe for all users of all ages and abilities as a matter of routine. This policy guides decision makers in consistently planning, designing, and constructing streets to reasonably accommodate all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, delivery and service personnel, emergency vehicle, and freight and commercial vehicles.

Core Commitment:

The Town of North Reading recognizes that users of various modes of transportation, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, cyclists, transit (if future plans for transit are realized) and school bus riders, motorists, delivery and service personnel, freight haulers, and emergency responders, are legitimate users of streets and deserve safe facilities. “All Users” includes users of all ages and abilities.

The Town of North Reading recognizes that all projects – new, maintenance, or reconstruction – are potential opportunities to apply Complete Streets design principles. The town will, to the maximum extent practical, design, construct, maintain, and operate all streets to provide for a comprehensive and integrated street network of facilities for people of all ages and abilities.

Where feasible, Complete Streets design recommendations shall be incorporated into all publicly and privately funded projects. This includes transportation infrastructure and street design projects requiring funding or approval by the Town of North Reading, as well as projects funded by the state and federal government, including but not limited to Chapter 90 funds, town improvement grants, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Capital Funding and other state and federal funds for street and infrastructure design. The same will be applied to private developments and related street design components or corresponding street-related components or corresponding street-related components. In addition, to the extent practical, state-owned roadways will comply with the Complete Streets resolution, including the design, construction, and maintenance of such roadways within town boundaries.

Exclusions:

Private and unaccepted ways.

Facilities where specific users are prohibited by law, such as interstate freeways or pedestrian malls. An effort will be made, in these cases, for accommodation elsewhere.

Other transportation infrastructure may be excluded, upon approval by the Complete Streets Advisory Committee, or in the case of a Community Planning Commission approved project, by the Community Planning Commission, where documentation and data indicate that cost or impacts of accommodation is excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use or probable future use, or where funds are not available to implement the desired Complete Streets elements. Necessary road construction or repair work shall not be delayed or canceled because Complete Streets enhancements are desired but cannot be funded.

The Town Engineer, in consultation with the Director of Public Works and/or the Complete Streets Advisory Committee as needed, will use best judgment regarding the feasibility of applying Complete Streets principles for routine roadway maintenance and projects.

Best Practices:

The Town of North Reading Complete Streets policy focuses on developing a connected, integrated network that serves all road users. Complete Streets will be integrated into policies, planning, and design of all types of public and private projects, including new construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, and maintenance of transportation facilities on streets and redevelopment projects.

Implementation of the Town of North Reading Complete Streets Policy will be carried out cooperatively within all departments in the Town of North Reading with multi-jurisdictional cooperation, to the greatest extent possible, among private developers, and state, regional, and federal agencies.

Complete Streets principles include the development and implementation of projects in a context-sensitive manner in which project implementation is sensitive to the community’s physical, economic, and social setting. The context-sensitive approach to process and design includes a range of goals by considering stakeholder and community values on a level plane with the project need. The overall goal of this approach is to preserve and enhance scenic, aesthetic, historical, and environmental resources while improving or maintaining safety, mobility, and infrastructure conditions.

The Town of North Reading recognizes that "Complete Streets" may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements or maintenance activities over time.

The latest design guidance, standards, and recommendations available will be used in the implementation of Complete Streets including:

The Massachusetts of Department of Transportation Project Design and Development Guidebook  

The latest edition of American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), A Policy on Geometric Design of Highway and Streets  

The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Design Controls (2009)

The Architectural Access Board (AAB) 521CMR Rules and Regulations  

Complete Streets implementation and effectiveness should be constantly evaluated for success and opportunities for improvement. The town will develop performance measures to gauge implementation and effectiveness of the policies.

Implementation:

The Town shall make Complete Streets practices a routine part of transportation planning and construction, shall approach every transportation project and program as an opportunity to improve streets and the transportation network for all users, and shall work in coordination with other departments, agencies, and jurisdictions to achieve Complete Streets.

Upon adoption of this policy, the Town Administrator will appoint a Complete Streets Advisory Committee of relevant stakeholders to facilitate implementation of this initiative. The Advisory Committee may consist of representatives from relevant Town departments, including but not limited to the DPW/Engineering, Planning, Health and the Police Departments, as well as the Commission on Disabilities and other boards or commissions. The town shall review and either revise or develop proposed revisions to all appropriate planning documents (master plans, open space and recreation plan, etc.), zoning and subdivision codes, laws, procedures, rules, regulations, guidelines, programs, and templates to integrate Complete Streets principles so as to be consistent with the Town of North Reading Complete Streets Policy. The Advisory Committee, working collaboratively with relevant town departments, will facilitate this review, with the Advisory Committee making recommendations to the departments as needed.

The Town shall create and maintain a comprehensive map and inventory of pedestrian and bicycle facility infrastructure that will prioritize projects to eliminate gaps in the sidewalk, bikeway, and conservation/recreation trails network. These projects will include not only new roadways and expansion projects, but retrofits to existing routes wherever possible.

The Town will reevaluate prioritization of Capital Improvement Projects to encourage implementation of this policy. The Complete Streets Advisory Committee will work cooperatively with the Department of Public Works to prioritize the items requested for capital funding within the town’s pavement management plan. Final decisions regarding requests from the DPW to the Capital Improvement Planning Committee for project funding are to be made by the DPW director or his/her designee. 

The Town will train pertinent town staff and decision-makers on the content of Complete Streets principles and best practices for implementing policy through workshops and other appropriate means.

The Town will utilize inter-department coordination to promote the most responsible and efficient use of resources for activities within the public way, balancing the needs of all users.

The Town will seek out appropriate sources of funding and grants for implementation of Complete Streets policies.

Evaluation

The town will develop performance measures to periodically assess the rate, success and effectiveness of implementing the Complete Streets Policy. The advisory group of relevant stakeholders designated by the Town Administrator will determine the frequency of assessment and utilize appropriate metrics for analyzing the success of this policy. These metrics may include the total number of new bicycle lanes, the linear feet of new pedestrian accommodation, number of retrofitted pedestrian facilities or amenities, number of intersection improvements made to improve Level of Service (LOS) and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, rate of crashes by mode, rate of children walking or bicycling to school, and/or number of trips by mode.

Reading 1.: March 7, 2016
Adopted: May 23, 2016

 

 

 

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8.0 - Legal

8.1 - Town Counsel Control Policy

The use of Town Counsel for all new cases, all decisions on existing litigation, and all requests for written opinions shall be with the prior approval of the Board of Selectmen.

In the case of ongoing cases, emergencies, or routine  administrative matters requiring quick responses, the use of Town Counsel shall be delegated to the discretion of the Town Administrator.

In cases where the Town Administrator acts without the prior consent of the Board, he shall report this to the Board at the next meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

Adopted 2. reading: July 27, 1978
Reaffirmed: February 9, 1984
Reaffirmed: January 3, 2000

8.2 - Court Decisions

If a judgment is recorded against the Town, Town Counsel and the Board of Selectmen shall meet within seven (7) days of the time this judgment is handed down, for the purpose of briefing the Board of Selectmen about the impact of the judgment and the alternatives for further action.

Adopted 1. reading: December 2, 1976
Adopted 2. reading: February 9, 1984

8.3 - Bonding - Treasurer/Collector

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9.0 - Not Currently Assigned
 

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10.0 - Not Currently Assigned
 

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11.0 - Personnel

11.1 - Reclassification Policy

If the duties of a position materially change or significant new duties are added, the employee may apply to the Town Administrator for a reclassification to a different position, encompassing the new or different duties, within two weeks after the assignment of such duties. Said application shall be followed by a thorough review by the department head and Town Administrator to determine if said reclassification is warranted.

If so determined, the employee will be reclassified after it is determined that sufficient funds exist to pay for the reclassification without the necessity of reducing hours worked during the current fiscal year.

In any event, the determination will be made within twenty (20) working days from the date of application.

Seniority

In the event of staff reductions, length of service (seniority) will be considered as one of the major criteria in employee selection.

It is the intent of the Board to recognize the effect that such termination will have on individual employee's retirement plans.

Adopted: August 18, 1977

11.2 - Removed

11.3 - Special Town Employees

  1. Designation of special town employee shall be limited to nonpaid board or committee members and paid employees who work under 20 hours per week.
  2. Such designation shall be granted only in areas where there is definitely no connection with the type of business that the individual wishes to do with the town and the activity that he is involved in on behalf of the town.
  3. The designation of special town employee shall not be given to full-time employees under any circumstances.
  4. The designation of special town employee shall not be given to any member of the Board of Selectmen.

Adopted 1. reading: December 4, 1975

11.4  Retirement Age For Call Firefighters

The retirement age of any North Reading Call Firefighter will follow the same age requirement’s as a full time firefighter as stipulated under: MGL Chapter 32 – Section 1 "Maximum age", the age on the last day of the month in which any member classified in Group 3 , as provided for in paragraph (g) of subdivision (2) of section 3, attains age 55, or if classified in any of the following occupations or position classifications, for which the personnel administrator has determined, pursuant to section 2 of Chapter 415 of the acts of 1987, that age is a bona fide occupational qualification, the last day of the month that a member in any such occupation or position classifications attains age 65: a uniformed member of a paid fire department or uniformed member of a police department, or of the police force of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or a member of the uniformed branch of the department of fisheries and wildlife as determined by the personnel administrator, or a correctional officer or a permanent crash crewman, crash boatman, fire control man, or assistant fire control man employed at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport.

1st Reading: September 8, 2014

Adopted 2nd Reading: October 21, 2014

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12.0 - Reserved for Programs

 

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13.0 - Not Currently Assigned

 

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14.0 - Intergovernmental Relations

14.1 - Negotiations

Use of Labor Counsel

For the coming fiscal year, labor counsel shall be used on an as-need basis rather than on a retainer basis.

Unanimously voted August 9, 1979

FinCom

A representative of fincom will be invited to the board of selectmen meetings at which labor negotiation matters are being discussed.

Unanimously voted: November 29, 1979

Negotiator

The town administrator shall be the sole bargaining agent for the town, with the authority to use labor counsel as he deems necessary, within available funds.

Unanimously voted in executive session: December 20, 1979

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15.0 - Town Meeting

15.1 - Warrant

The board of selectmen voted to go on record as approving philo-sophically the concept recommended by the finance committee, to establish a line item for salary increases for non-union employees.

Voted 4-1 (Sandorfi opposed): March 6, 1980

15.2 - Policy On The Use Of Federal Revenue Sharing Funds

Federal revenue sharing funds are to be used principally for the purpose of capital acquisitions or budget items having long range benefits to the town, but not for regular salary items.

Policy adopted 1st reading March 9, 1978
Policy adopted 2nd reading March 30, 1978