This report from Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki covers relevant town business updates for June 18 to July 8.
Solid Waste and Recycling Services Future Contract Costs Update
Mr. Zubricki has worked with DPW personnel to get more detailed cost estimates for various solid waste and recycling scenarios after the current arrangement ends at the end of this calendar year. We have reached out to seven area companies in the industry and, to date, only two have expressed interest in making a proposal (Innovative Waste Systems, LLC and Casella). We had a meeting with Innovative on July 6, and discussed the Town’s needs in detail. While we will not have pricing on the various options for the present meeting, we expect to have it by the Board’s next meeting on July 25.
Quarterly Affirmative Marketing Program Report
The TA provided the subject report to the State during the week of July 4, in his capacity as the Town’s Affirmative Marketing Construction Officer (AMCO). The report is intended to document the Town’s use of women or minority-owned businesses on State-funded building construction projects. No such utilization occurred over the past quarter.
Town Hall Building Automation Controls Site Visit
The Town Planner and the TA walked the Town Hall with a building controls automation specialist on June 23. As the Board may recall, we have been looking at whether an upcoming Green Communities Grant round might fund some additional energy-saving measures in the building. While our baseboard heating system and our split HVAC system are both very efficient, controlling them in a more coordinated fashion could bring additional energy efficiency to the building. We will await a report with respect to various options and pricing and will then determine if any of the options would be a good candidate for grant funding.
Facility Self-Inspection Checklists
The TA completed the subject checklists for the Town Hall and the Senior Center during the week of July 4. The checklists are aimed at identifying safety hazards and making rapid corrections if any are found. No hazards were identified this quarter beyond a small section of loose roofing shingles on Town Hall, which the TA is working to have repaired. Other departments will complete the checklists for other buildings, and the Safety Committee will discuss them at its next meeting.
Town Hall/Senior Center Phone System Provider Change
Last year at this time, the Board was in favor of moving to a new VOIP phone provider for Town Hall and the Senior Center. However, we still had one additional year of service with our current provider contractually obligated. This year, we are able to terminate our present provider as of August 31, with no penalties or further obligations. We are moving from MiTel to NetTelOne. NetTelOne is the provider for the Essex public safety facility and for the North Shore 911 Regional Emergency Dispatch Center. Our new contract with NetTelOne will allow us to lease to own all of the necessary equipment for slightly less per month than a straight lease with our current provider. At the end of three years, the Town will own the equipment and the cost per month will decrease. Mr. Zubricki is presently working with our new provider to develop the appropriate plan for the service change.
Request for Cybersecurity Reports from Financial Vendors
Each year, during our financial audit, our auditor also conducts an IT audit. While we have provided to our auditor various cybersecurity reports from vendors who process financial data, our auditor asked that we proactively seek out these reports and review them as a management team (Treasurer, Accountant, and TA) annually. As such, we have contacted all applicable software vendors, and we should soon have the most current reports and policies on hand. The TA will meet with the Town Accountant and the Treasurer/Collector in the near future to review the information.
Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Essex Division Meeting
The TA attended the subject meeting, along with Chairman Pereen, on June 29. The meeting featured a discussion with respect to the ongoing Route 133 Essex River Bridge replacement project and how Essex continues to plan to improve coastal resilience in the face of climate change and sea level rise. We also updated the group on various other Town projects and initiatives.
Regulation of Heavy Truck Traffic on Essex Roadways
At the last meeting, the Board agreed that the Chairman and Mr. Zubricki should seek a meeting with the Hamilton Town Administrator and Hamilton’s Board of Selectmen Chair to learn more about plans for routing blasted rock from a possible development site in Hamilton to a gravel yard in Ipswich. After the TA contacted the Hamilton Town Administrator, he indicated that several other abutting communities were also concerned about the same issue and that it would be best to wait for more information to be available so that all communities could be updated at the same time. In the meantime, the TA reached out to the Director of District 4 for MA DOT and asked him about the situation, given that coming through Essex would only exacerbate congestion associated with the Route 133 bridge replacement project. The TA indicated to the Director that the Board was considering promulgating regulations concerning heavy trucks and having them reviewed, as required, by DOT. The Director indicated that, although the Board does have that option on local roads, any type of State-numbered route is exempt from having regulations placed on it. He recommended that the various communities involved get together to try and reach an agreement with the developer as to the preferred travel path.
Quarterly Review of Executive Session Minutes
The Chairman has reviewed all unreleased executive session minutes for the quarter ending June 30. No minutes have been recommended for release at this time.
North Shore Regional 911 Executive Advisory Board Meeting
The TA attended the subject meeting on July 7, along with Chief Francis. Mr. Zubricki chairs the Executive Advisory Board for the Center. The meeting featured a discussion with respect to the Town of Manchester’s desire to join the Center, following a recent vote by the Manchester Board of Selectmen. The Executive Advisory Board unanimously voted to allow the Town of Manchester to join. The onboarding process will likely take 12 to 18 months.