The Board of Assessors operates under the authority of Massachusetts General Laws and the Department of Revenue. In Carlisle, the Board of Assessors consists of three members who are elected to three-year terms. The Assessors’ primary duty is to value all real estate and personal property in the town that is subject to taxation. The Board is to assess all properties at their full and fair market value as of January 1st preceding each fiscal year.
Assessors are required to submit these values to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue for certification every three years. In the years between certifications, assessors must also maintain values. The assessors review sales and the market activity every year and thereby monitor values each year. This is done so that the property taxpayer pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government.
Under Proposition 2 ½, Massachusetts’ cities and towns are limited in the total property taxes that can be collected from one year to the next. Tax revenues cannot exceed 2 ½ percent of the prior year’s allowable levy, with exceptions for revenue derived from new construction (New Growth), and citizen override elections.
The Board reported $14,666,224 in new growth valuation to the Department of Revenue, which was certified during the fiscal year 2012 tax rate setting process. The tax rate in the Town increased from $16.13 to $17.14 for fiscal year 2012. The Town has a total assessed valuation of $1,335,062,046, which includes exempt properties.
Below is a chart listing the Fiscal Year 2011 breakdown by Property Class:
Parcel Count by Class
Total Value by Class
Tax Rate per $1,000
Total Tax by Class
% of Levy by Class
The Board received 64 applications for abatement during the appeal period for FY 2011.
Assessors are elected (in Carlisle) or appointed locally in Massachusetts’ cities and towns. Massachusetts State Law requires assessors to list and value all real and personal property. The valuations are subject to “ad valorem” basis for taxation, which means that all property should be taxed “according to value”. Assessed values in Massachusetts are based on “full and fair cash value” or 100 percent of fair market value.
Assessors do not make the laws that affect property owners. Our Massachusetts Legislators enact tax laws. The Department of Revenue establishes various guidelines and regulations to implement the legislation. The assessors, in short, follow the procedures established by others to set the value of property. Market Value is actually set by buyers and sellers as they establish the worth of comparable properties through their transactions in the real estate marketplace. The Assessors also do not determine taxes. The Town itself determines the level of property taxation through its town meeting by voting on total spending for the Fiscal Year. Whether assessments increase or decrease, tax rates are adjusted annually to raise the revenue required to fund local government operations.
Michael Coscia, Chairman
LONG TERM CAPITAL REQUIREMENT COMMITTEE The Finance Committee budgeted $250,000 for the LTCRC to allocate for capital equipment in the Levy Limit budget. A series of meetings were held with various town departments soliciting their capital needs for FY 2012 and their plans for the near future (2013-2016).
The Committee received presentations from CPS, CCRSD, Fire, Police, Town Administrator, Finance Department, Conservation Commission, Energy Task Force, and DPW.
The order of prioritization was: health and safety, maintenance of existing infrastructure, and finally, new initiatives.
The Committee recommended the approval of $250,000 at Town Meeting for the following items:
Levy Limit Funding
CPS Tech Replacement 80,000
CPS Annual Maintenance 25,000
CPS Hot Water Heater – Corey 15,000
CPS Auditorium Seat Refurb
Phase I 13,000 *
Police Cruiser 32,000
Communication Radio System Upgrade 17,000
Fire Dept Repave Parking Lot 23,000 **
DPW Transmitter 25,000
Library Computer Replacement 10,000
Library Misc Maintenance Projects 10,000 ***
* This is enough to buy all the fabric. The next two phases will cover the actual covering of the seats.
** Another $27,000 is expected to be budgeted in the future for a total of $50,000 to complete the project.
*** Project expected to include sidewalk, roof and HVAC repairs.
Warrant Article for a Capital Exclusion
The Committee recommended passage of an article to raise $120,000 to replace the 1979 Mack dump truck at the Department of Public Works.
The following items were Not Recommended at this time:
CPS Wilkins Security Alarm 50,000 Wait until the Spalding project is done
Energy Town Hall HVAC 45,000 See if funding comes from other sources
Fire Municipal Fire Alarm 40,000
Fire generator replacement 50,000 Stay with the same for another year
Donald Rober – Chair
In 2011, the Personnel Board undertook the review and grading of several current and new positions. This included reviewing requests for changes in hours and job descriptions. The Board reviewed several current policies and began work on clarifying them.
The Board made a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen regarding adjustment for Town employee rates of pay for FY2013 based on a review of information from Carlisle and local comparable towns combined with the inflation rates at state and national level. Members also attended and contributed information to a variety of other Town Boards and Committees.
Chairmanship of the Board passed to Diane Makovsky. The Board would especially like to thank Jo-Ann Driscoll for her service. Jo-Ann stepped down from her longstanding position as Chair of the Personnel Board this year but remains an active member of the board, and her insight and background on previous decisions continues to be invaluable to the Board.
Our thanks go to the Town Administrator and all Town employees who have helped with our projects during the year.
Diane Makovsky, Chair
REGULATORY SERVICES BOARD OF HEALTH Envisioning Carlisle as healthy people living in a healthy community is at the heart of the Board of Health’s work. The Board enforces laws and regulations that protect health and safety, educates and empowers people about health issues, monitors the health and well-being of the community and protects the environment and natural resources that sustain Carlisle’s quality of life.
Boards of Health in Massachusetts are required under MGL Ch. 111, Section 31 to oversee and enforce many of the state’s public health regulations including 310 CMR.15.00 (Title 5), 310 CMR 22.00 (Public Water Supplies), 105 CMR 410.00 (Housing and Sanitation), 105 CMR 590.00 Federal/State Food Code, and 105 CMR 430.00 (Recreational Camps). In addition the Board is authorized to enact local regulations to address the special characteristics of the town. Regulatory duties often carry crucial timelines. If a septic system application is not acted upon within 45 days, it receives presumptive approval; certain diseases require 24 hour reporting; housing and sanitary complaints must be addressed within 48 hours. At all times the Board must be aware of and comply with these legal constraints.
The Board consists of a five member elected board. Board members are Jeff Brem (chairman), Mark Caddell (vice-chairman), Bill Risso (clerk/treasurer), and Cathy Galligan. Donna Margolies joined the Board in May to fill the seat vacated by Elizabeth Nilson. The Board is pleased that Dr. Nilson has agreed to continue as the Board’s medical advisor. The Board has a full time health agent, Linda Fantasia, and a part time assistant, Bobby Lyman. The Board also retains the services of two Animal Inspectors, Larry Sorli and Deb Toher, and a Pump and Well Inspector, Ralph Metivier. In addition to these employees, the Board has contracts for engineering and inspectional services with Technical Consulting Group (Rob Frado) and Phelps Food Service (Randy Phelps), respectively. The Board supervises two subcommittees, the Water Quality Subcommittee whose members are Steve Hinton, Tony Mariano Sr. and Tony Mariano Jr. and Vallabh Sarma and the Carlisle Medical Reserve Committee co-chaired by Martha Bedrosian and Mary deAlderete.
In 2011 the Board addressed two major health issues – garden composting and excessive noise. The Board was asked to look into the possible health risks associated with the use of fresh animal bedding at the community garden. Following an extensive research analysis by Board member Mark Caddell, the Board developed a policy of best management practices for composting which was shared with the community. The second issue involved researching the potential health risks from the use of a ram hoe and similar impact devices during construction activity. Board member Cathy Galligan researched industry standards and regulations and participated in a noise bylaw working group with the Planning Board. Rather than enacting a regulation, the Board agreed with the Planning Board to develop a noise control policy which will be a requirement of a development’s construction management plan.
In the area of emergency preparedness, the Board undertook two major activities. In July the Board hosted a table top exercise for Carlisle and Concord town officials. The exercise involved developing risk communication responses in advance of a pending hurricane. Following the exercise, an After Action Report was distributed to both communities. This event was paid out of a grant from the MA Public Health Region 4A. The exercise was well received and came just in time for two real life events in August and October.
The first event “Hurricane Irene” caused little inconvenience to Carlisle residents; the second event, the “Halloween Snow Storm”, caused major disruptions. The Local Emergency Planning Committee (Police, Fire, DPW, Selectmen, Board of Health, Council on Aging, Town Administrator) met twice daily during the storm and aftermath. The town made significant use of the Blackboard Connect messaging system which the Board had helped to fund through a Region 4A grant. With power outages throughout town, some for as long as five days, the Board of Health with the assistance of its Medical Reserve Corps and the Council on Aging organized a warming center at the school where residents could shower, collect water and charge cell phones. The center was open from 12:00 to 8:00 pm for three days. All five Board Members and Health Department staff worked at the center. Twenty-two residents took advantage of the center. Both events provided town officials and residents with confidence in the town’s ability to respond during an emergency. The Board is extremely grateful to all of the volunteers who worked at the center and to all residents who offered to share food, housing and equipment.
A wildlife incident involved the attack of a rabid raccoon on a young child. The child received prophylactic treatment and the raccoon was disposed of by the police. The Board used a Blackboard Connect mapping tool to warn residents in a half mile radius of the attack to secure trash and avoid wildlife.
Other projects that came before the Board included the school building project, a state arsenic and uranium study, farmers market permitting, solar energy bylaw, solid waste permitting, ground source heat pumps and guest houses. Board member Bill Risso represented the Board on the School Building Committee. The Board approved an asbestos removal plan and the drilling of a new well for the fire cistern. The state provided an interactive website so residents could track whether their well was located in an area of high predictability for the presence of naturally occurring arsenic and uranium. Additional information was placed on the town website. Following meetings with market managers, the Board issued permits for the winter market at the First Religious Society and the summer market at Kimball’s. Since the winter market intended to sell beef and poultry, the Board researched the requirements for the safe handling of these products. The Board’s food service consultant inspected both markets and provided recommendations. The Board investigated a complaint about one of the vendors which the managers addressed. The Board continues to support this local activity. The Board fully supported the Solar Energy Bylaw which was passed at spring town meeting. In 2010 the Board was notified that the responsibility for permitting of small transfer stations (50 tons of refuse per day or less) was being transferred from Mass DEP to local Boards of Health. Board member Cathy Galligan began looking into what this might mean for the Carlisle Transfer Station. In May of 2011 a ruling from the State Auditor resulted in the regulation being rescinded. Following the new state guidelines, the Board approved three applications to install geothermal wells. One well was an open loop system for an existing house being renovated. This well would also serve as the drinking water supply well. Two applications were closed loop wells one for a new house being built and one to replace an existing geothermal well. The technology in this field has improved since geothermal wells were first introduced in the 1980’s and Mass DEP has streamlined its permitting process for the wells which are classified as Underground Injection Control wells. The Board expects there will be more applications for ground source heat pumps and has started to prepare a local application form and policy. In September the Board approved a septic upgrade for a guest house based on the decision of the Building Commissioner that it was a permitted use. Although the Board does not decide zoning, a later question arose about the town’s long standing policy with regard to guest houses. The Building Commissioner’s decision was appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals by the Planning Board and two residents. When the appeals failed to get the required unanimous decision the Board released the septic system construction permit and the work was done in late fall.
The Board continued its permitting duties throughout 2011. Ferns Country Store received high marks during its bi-annual inspections. A one year food establishment permit was issued and the Board recommended the Selectmen renew Ferns Victualler’s license. The Board granted Food Establishment permits to the Carlisle Public School, Kimball’s and Great Brook Ice Cream Stands and three local churches. One Day Permits were issued to non-profit organizations (Fire Department, Boy Scouts, Council on Aging, Old Home Day Committee, and 6th Grade Spaghetti Supper). The Board also issued twenty-eight septic system permits; two for new construction, eight for redesigns, thirteen for repairs of failing systems and five minor component repairs. Four applications required public hearings for waiver requests. One accessory apartment application was approved. Seventy-four barns were inspected and licensed. The Board responded to one complaint about horses on the loose. The Board’s agent inspected and licensed two sport camps during the summer.
The Board used grant money to hire two consultants (Clearly Organized Solutions and Kathleen Bond) to do an After Action Report on the previous year’s flu clinics and to incorporate those recommendations into the Town’s Emergency Dispensing Site plans. The Board also investigated a District Incentive Grant funded by the state to provide regional public health nursing services. A number of neighboring communities expressed interest in the proposal, some as fully committed and others (Carlisle) willing to consider. The regional application was withdrawn when the state changed the grant deliverables. The Board’s State Revolving Fund application for a sewer connection project did not make the 2011 Intended Use Plan. Projects that made the list involved large sewer projects or storm water management. The Board will continue to look into funding for this project which could be used to serve the Library, senior housing and to improve the functioning of the school’s waste water treatment plant. Board members Cathy Galligan, Donna Margolies and Health Agent Linda Fantasia worked on a community health assessment grant application sponsored by the Community Health Network Association (CHNA 15). The award will be announced in 2012. Board member Donna Margolies and Health Agent Linda Fantasia also completed a 45-hour Foundations for Local Public Health course funded by the state and designed to provide skills and resources to improve local competencies. Board members continued to take advantage of association trainings and certifications throughout the year.
The Board continued with its community service activities including a Hazardous Waste Collection held in May, a senior flu clinic held in November and a Rabies clinic held in March. Veterinarian Tiffany Rule, DVM, volunteered her services and Countryside Animal Hospital provided staff and vaccine for the clinic. A total of 30 cats and dogs were vaccinated. Concord Carlisle students earned community service points helping at the clinic. The Board and the Carlisle MRC sponsored a booth at Old Home Day which highlighted the newly organized HAM Radio Group. The Board received a Citizen Corps Grant which paid for the installation of the antennas at the police station and school (public shelter). Resident Alan Lewis demonstrated the radios at the booth.
Summary of the Board of Health Finances FY11 The Carlisle Board of Health has been very successful throughout the years in maintaining a high level of service to the community at a very reasonable cost to the taxpayers ($45.66 per household in 2011).
The Board’s FY11 operating budget of $72,440.00 ended with a balance of $34.37 that was returned to the General Fund. The Board also generated $5066.50 in licensing fees which were returned to the General Fund. Beginning in FY11, the Board agreed to give back 10% of its revolving account fees to the General Fund ($2820).
53 E ½ Revolving Account –
The Board strives to keep fees consistent with costs and to ensure there are sufficient funds available to pay for old obligations. This fund has experienced a significant drop in income due to the poor economy (Table A).
Currently there is $15,893.00 outstanding in old obligations based on the hourly engineering rate of $95.74 as shown in Table B. The majority of inspections and as-built reviews take one half hour. The hourly rate does not include 30% management costs overall. The engineering rate will increase on July 1, 2012 at an unknown percentage.
In addition to engineering fees, the 53E account also holds well, barn and food establishment permit fees. Barn inspection fees are $25 which is the amount paid to the inspector. The Well Inspector receives $75 out of every $100 collected. Commercial Food Establishment fees cover the costs of semi-annual inspections. The Board does not charge permit fees for non-profit organizations. A small portion of this account also covers secretarial wages (up to eight hours per week).
Community Septic Loan Program (CSLP):
The Board maintained the Community Septic Loan Program, funded by the state for $130,000. Three loans were processed in 2009, one in 2010 and one in 2011. The fund has $56,743.93 to loan as of December, 2011. A balance of $6,272.32 remains available from the administration grant. The Board continues to use a portion of this amount to cover staff time to work on the program.
Public Health Emergency Response (PHER)
The Board received $8947.27 in Region 4A Emergency Preparedness funding in 2011. This money was used to provide cell phone service ($575.64), consulting and medical supplies ($3024.92), one-half the cost of the Blackboard Connect system ($1537.00), training and equipment ($3809.71).
Potential Budget Impacts
Permit Extension Act of 2010
This Act of the Legislature was intended to promote long-term economic recovery by establishing an automatic two-year extension for any active permit during the period August 15, 2008 through August 15, 2010. This means an extension of the prepaid septic permits from four to possibly six years.
Delivery of Services
As the population and demand for services grow, the Board is challenged to meet these needs without incurring additional budget impacts. Rather than increase its fees during a poor economy, the Board strives to decrease costs of services through efficiencies and looking for outside sources of revenue (grants). It is through these endeavors that the Board is able to stay within local funding guidelines while continuing to provide a high level of service to residents.
Conclusion One of the main strengths of the Carlisle Board of Health is the commitment of its elected members in service of their town. Protection of the public health is a core essential of a vital community. The Board of Health envisions a community where all members are provided the tools to make positive life choices in a safe and healthy environment. The Board is very grateful to the Town of Carlisle for supporting these goals.
Jeffrey A. Brem, Chairman
Mark Caddell, DDS
Donna Margolies, R N
BOARD OF HEALTH
2011 ANNUAL STATISTICS
Septic Plan Allocations - 28 Septic Systems
2 New, 13 Repair, 8 Redesign, 5 Minor Components
Title 5 Inspections: 53 inspections, 92% pass rate
BUILDING COMMISSIONER During the period January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011, 191 building permits were issued as follows, and $150,570.84 collected in fees, which were turned over to the Town Treasurer. The Building Inspector addressed 9 zoning issues and complaints.