Town Manager's Newsletter
This is the August edition of a new monthly communication - the Town Manager's Newsletter. Each month, the Town Manager's Office, will distribute a compilation of updates on a variety of topics. This newsletter will provide residents the opportunity to learn about new projects, general updates, and much more. To enroll directly in email notifications for the newsletter, please click here or scan the QR code at the bottom of the page. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends, family and neighbors.
Yours in Town Government,
Lyn N. Simmons
I am pleased to report that the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (Mass EVIP) grant applications were successful for EV charging stations at Wolf Swamp Athletic Fields and Longmeadow High School. The grant for the two dual port chargers at the high school will cover $10,426 of the purchase price and the wolf swamp grant will cover $9,186 for two dual port chargers. These chargers will add to ones already installed at the Adult Center and DPW. While the chargers have not been "powered up" yet, they are expected to be soon and will be available for public use.
Catch Basin Work
DPW received bids to repair or replace 36 failing catch basins. The low bidder was C & A Construction at a price of $285,065. Work is expected to start soon with care being given to locations near school locations to either be completed before school starts or around the school schedule. All work is expected to be completed by November 15, 2022. The funds for this project are being covered by the Town’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation. Please click here to view the 2022 Catch Basin Repair Project map.
The liner has been put out to bid. Quotes are being collected for the cover. In response to questions regarding funding and whether the funding source could be changed to CPA funds. There is a no-supplanting provision of the CPA, this is to keep CPA funds from mixing into the general fund. If a project has received appropriation from Town Meeting from another funding source, the funding source cannot be switched to CPA even if the money has not yet been spent. Regarding whether the pool liner is an eligible project, the Community Preservation Committee would have to make a determination on allowability but it is a moot point because the funds cannot be changed to CPA.
Quarterly Legal Expense Update
Firm FY22(6/30/22) FY22(4/4/22) Description
Prince, Lobel, Tye LLP $10,876.50 $10,876.50 Gas related work
Egan, Flanagan, and Cohen $208,215.87 $115,874.16 DPW 21e & Eminent Dom..
Sullivan, Hayes, and Quinn $42,705.75 $22,254.15 Labor Counsel
Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Mu.. $81,929.65 $67,944.14 Town Counsel
Epstein and August $14,827.50 $11,508.75 Cable License Attorney
Other $18,967.50 $9,460 PD/FD IOD, Legal/Labor exp.
The WestComm Board of Directors held a reorganization vote on Friday, August 5. I was elected Board Chair for another two year term. The Executive Director, Erin Hastings, was elected President of the Massachusetts Communications Supervisors Association, made up of 84 public safety agencies and represents over 200 municipalities. Two WestComm staff were selected for the 2023 State 911 Department Leadership Scholarship. The Scholarship is awarded annually to five recipients that have displayed outstanding commitment and professionalism in the 911 industry in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is a grant award that allows both employees to attend a six month Communications Center Manager course, 2 weeks of which are spent at an in person training in San Antonio, Texas and the remainder is completed online.
Public Shade Tree Cleanup
Over the years, with changes in staff, public shade tree cleanup as a result of storm damage has been handled differently amongst the different DPW divisions. After reviewing the issue and speaking with Town Counsel, we have a consistent approach that will be deployed. If a public shade tree is damaged as the result of a weather event, only the damage on the public way or sidewalk will be cleared. DPW will not enter private property to clean up the tree. The Town should only enter private property to remove a fallen tree and be obligated to pay for any property damage if the tree was rotting and decaying for a substantial period of time and the Town was on notice in advance of it falling.
Municipalities are treated the same as a natural person with regard to their liability as landowners. If a healthy tree falls onto an adjoining property owner’s property (regardless of whether or not it causes damage), it is considered an act of god and the Town is not liable and should not enter the property to remove the tree. Obviously, the Town would have an obligation to remove any fallen tree from a public way (including a public sidewalk) under its obligation to keep public ways free of defects for travelers.
Town-Wide Tree Inventory
The Department of Public Works will begin a town-wide tree inventory and risk assessment project beginning on August 29th, 2022 and lasting approximately 2-3 weeks. Urban foresters and Arborists contracted by the Town will be locating trees along maintained street rights-of-way and in public parks and properties. The arborists will evaluate those trees and record the data specified by the town. Work is scheduled Monday through Friday from 7am -5pm. If you have questions about the inventory update, please contact Longmeadow Public Works Department 413-567-3400, or email email@example.com.
Jonquil Lane Sewer Project
Bids were opened for the Jonquil Lane sewer project. The selected contractor is Baltazar Contractors and the bid price is $195,000. The work consists of approximately 90 feet of sanitary sewer pipe replacement and surface restoration crossing a Kinder Morgan gas transmission line and is located within a Kinder Morgan easement. Work is expected to begin soon once all permitting is completed.
The State elevated the drought status for our region to Level 3 critical. Voluntary water use restrictions were announced in July by the Town and continued compliance is requested. We have seen our water tank levels hold steady, which shows that many residents are complying. We need to continue these efforts. For more information on water conservation types and irrigation best practices visit https://www.longmeadow.org/WaterConservation
Upcoming Topics and Events...
September 5, 2022 Town Offices Closed for Labor Day
September 6, 2022 State Primary Election
October 7, 2022 September edition of the Town Manager's newsletter to be distributed
October 25, 2022 Special Fall Town Meeting