Not happy with a Warrant Article?

If you are not happy with a warrant article, there are other things you can do besides vote against it.  You can

  • Make a motion to table it for further study
  • Make a motion to table it indefinitely
  • You can also amend it

It’s best to be prepared before the meeting.  Here a a copy of the Town Meeting Article Amendment form. Fill this out before you arrive and give it to the Moderator when you get to Town Meeting. He will guide you on what to do.

Jon and Peg Morse Weigh in on the Public Safety Communication Tower

In a letter to the editor to The Sun Chronicle on Friday, April 25, 2008,, Jon and Peg Morse, co-owners of the Big Apple Farm property and owner/operators of the Big Apple Farm, clarify some important issues concerning the Public Safety’s use of the the radio antenna on the Big Apple property.

  • The Big Apple Business is owned by Jon and Peg Morse
  • The Big Apple land is owned jointly by Tom, Pete, and Jon Morse
  • There are no plans to sell the business or the property
  • The antenna is located on Tom Morses’s home site
  • The antenna is property permitted
  • And Mr. and Mrs Morse wonder why Selectmen leadership and the Public Safety Communications Review Committee never contacted Tom Morse to negotiate a lease.

Actually, I wonder that as well.  Take a few minutes to read Jon and Peg’s letter it is very instructive. We have an opportunity to save the town a lot of money.  Please come to town meeting and challenge the Selectmen leadership on this issue. Ask them why they’d prefer to spend $122,997 for something we can get for free or at a fraction of the cost.

Town Meeting is on April 28th at the KP High School at 7:30pm.

Public Safety Communications in the West End Revisited

Mr. Mahla, the chair of the Public Safety Communications Review Committee, and I recently had lunch. We talked about his committee’s work, our views on the current state of the town’s communication system and the best way to go forward.

We both agreed on where we need to be in the long term but not on how to get there. During that discussion, he objected to the phrase “non-scientific tests” when I described the tests his committee performed to support locating the tower on the Rhodes Drive water tank property in the piece I wrote on March 3, 2008 Rhodes Drive Public Safety Communicaiton Tower.

He provided me a copy of the PowerPoint presentation he gave at the 11/13/2007 town meeting and asked me to publish his data and reiterate the testing methodology.

As explained in the 3/3 story, the Fire Department placed its ladder truck near the water tower on Rhodes Drive. The ladder was extended to a height close to the proposed tower. Some communication equipment was put on the top of the ladder. Public safety personnel went to various locations in the West End of town with a hand held radio. Power readings were measured. This was a one-off test that suggests the Rhodes Drive site would work.

Focusing on the words used to describe the testing takes attention away from the core issues:

  • There is no urgency to act now. The public is not in imminent danger. Slide 2 of his 11/13 presentation “Citizens living in West Wrentham are at risk” says otherwise.
  • The PSCRC understated the true cost of the project at the November 13, 2007 town meeting.
  • Mr. Morse has already erected a 100+ foot radio tower with antennae. He is willing to continue a decade old practice of hosting our Public Safety communication equipment on his property.
  • Mr.Morse is willing to enter into a formal agreement with the town.
  • Wrentham is facing serious budgetary challenges. We do not have an extra $122,997. That money will come from some other part of the budget.

It would seem Mr. Mahla understands our financial situation. He plans to offer a $20,000 donation to the town for the project at Monday’s town meeting. That is a wonderful gesture. It demonstrates a deep commitment to Wrentham. He has my sincere thanks both for his offer and for his hard work on the PSCRC.

However, the taxpayers of Wrentham are still responsible for the balance. We gave his committee $60,000 in November because they said the job could be done for that amount. That proved wrong. They now plan to ask for an additional $47,600.75 on Monday, April 28th. The town’s contribution for the project will be approximately $107,000.

This is for something we are currently getting for free.

Fortunately it is not too late to change course. The committee has only spent approximately $5,000 on site study work. Voting NO on Article 6 on the Warrant For Special Town Meeting will stop the project and give us time to negotiate a long term deal with Mr. Morse and plan for the future.

During my campaign, I suggested that we needed to find creative ways to fund our services. Why not embrace the generosity of both Mr. Morse and Mr. Mahla and set up a Public/Private initiative like the Sweatt Fund?

Going forward, we can match Mr. Mahla’s donation. That will start the fund with $40,000. The town can then set aside money each year and work with fund administrators to seek donations from private individuals and corporate citizens until there is enough money to pay for the antenna without having to borrow from Peter to pay Paul.

A group of determined people and a few generous corporate citizens should be able to raise the funds relatively quickly. And, I will donate my company’s resources to develop a web site for the fund.

Public Safety Communications Review Committee to Ask for More Money

Despite claims that a public safety radio antenna could be built on the Rhodes Drive water tower site for $60,000, the PSCRC will be asking Town Meeting for an additional $47,600.75 to supplement the original appropriation for a total of $107,997. They’ve already spent approximately $4,000 on site work.

Since early November of 2007, the town has put this project up for bid twice. A company called Comtronics submitted a bid on this project November 5, 2007–six days before Town Meeting. Their projected cost was $200,000 for both the Rhodes Drive and Knuckup Hill sites or approximately $100,000 per antenna. The current bid of $122,997 came from Timberline Construction.

This latest round of bids were originally due on April 16. The deadline was extended to April 18th. Timberland’s bid was opened by BoS staffer Cindy Thompson on Friday, April 18th. PSCRC chair Walter Mahla was present.

Observant readers will note that there is an approximately $20,000 shortfall between the latest request for funds and the projected cost. Mr. Mahla plans to offer a $20,000 donation to make up the difference.

The current projected cost of siting a public safety communication antenna on the Rhodes Drive water tower site is $62,997 more than the PSCRC estimated at the November 13, 2007 Town Meeting.

We Won!!!

Thank you for voting. Thank you for choosing me as your next selectman. To those who voted for my opponents, I extend my hand in friendship and look forward to working together with everyone to make Wrentham a better place to live.

Thank you also for voting for Glen Pisani and Patrick Moore.

Best Wishes,

Bob

A Message for the Undecided

If you are undecided, stop by and see me at the polls.  I’ll be there all day and will be happy to discuss your issue with you in person.

Regardless of whether we talk or whether we ultimately agree on how to solve a specific challenge, keep in mind there are MANY issues. If only only a few separate us, I hope you can put aside your personal investment in a particular cause for the greater good of the town.

Things are undeniably dysfunctional at Town Hall.  Neither Mr. Arnold nor Mr. Smith are the right medicine for this disease.

Please vote for Bob Cohen for Selectman on April 7th.

One Day to the Election

Tomorrow is April 7th: Election day.

Please vote.  This is a critical time for Wrentham. We deserve more than business as usual at Town Hall. You will help shape our future. Your vote will make a big difference.

The Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.  Voting will take place at:

Delaney Elementary School
120 Taunton Street
Contact the School
Directions

Do you want a Selectman that’s Impartial, Responsive, and Independent?
Do you care about Taxes, Services, Property Values, and Transparency?
Vote for Bob Cohen for Selectman.

I will be at the polls all day.  Stop by and say hello.  If you have time, join us for coffee and dunkin doughnuts and hold a sign for a while.  Thank you very much for your vote.

Vote for Bob Cohen for Selectman on April 7th.

Hold a sign on election day

The election is tomorrow. We need help holding signs at the elementary school during the election. Please contact me by email or call my cell 508.954.3051