UPDATE on Monday’s Meeting with Eversource

Here is a brief synopsis of the Eversource meeting I hosted at town hall this past Monday. This is my best effort to recap, sorry it is so long and/or if I missed anything. If you need any further info send me an message or call my cell 508-930-9988.

Eversource sent out their Chief of Operations, Government Affairs Director, and Director of Engineering. I thought this was a very good sign that they were taking our concerns seriously – as these are senior people who were coming out on their own time in the evening.

Pricing: Several things contributed to the price bump for some people. Few of the things were

#1- 2 week long stretch of well below normal hard freeze thereby increasing usage just to keep house at same temp as normal.

  1. Estimated bills as opposed to actual reads. My personal bill for Nov and Dec were estimated so the actual January read unfortunately showed that their previous estimate was low. ugh
  2. Longer bill cycle. Some people had a 35 day bill cycle which obviously added to the overall usage as compared to December.
  3. Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved a rate increase last year of 7% on distribution to take effect 1/1/18. THis went into effect. But due to the Republican Tax Bill they have since reduced it by 4% (total increase of 3% from December) which will show on February’s bill.
  4. Since energy is now deregulated they must buy it on the open market and therefore do not control the pricing of the actual energy. Based on market conditions (they buy 4x/year) this created an increase of 2 cents per KW hour. This will change in July and historically goes down during the Summer – but too early to tell. Next purchase segment will be in May.

As far as power outages they were less sure but have taken action to hopefully resolve the issue. Norfolk is fed from Medway and Walpole and they have added in more switches and repeaters so if there is a problem they can isolate it and minimize the outage area.

While the auto switches are resetting this sometimes causes the lights to blink 2-3 times. This doesn’t help with having to reset your clocks but hopefully it does minimize who is without power.

They do not do rolling blackouts nor have they ever dialed down service to Norfolk. The dimming they think is a result of either a broken negative or a transformer that was not operating properly. They are going to try and determine if there is a problem with one of their components on the circuit that feeds the area that was experiencing this phenomenon. If it keeps happening – PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP

They are also attempting to bring in a few more automated swithes to upgrade the infrastructure we have in place and hopefully prevent further problems.

Norfolk is on a 4 year tree trimming cycle and they will be doing 1/4 of the town this summer. If you have a particular issue with trees on the lines (common areas, along road, etc) please let me know and I will hpoefully get yo uaded to the list.

Finally, if you are still having problems with your rate being historically out of whack, please tell me and I will reach out to them to have them test your meter.

Hopefully this answers most of the question. It should be up at NCTV’s youtube channel soon.

Thank you!

Shawn

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Plainville, state pen Community Compact

November 8, 2017; Wicked Local Plainville

The town on Tuesday became the 312th community to sign a Community Compact with the state.
Officials gathered in the second floor function room at An Unlikely Bookstore to complete the compact, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Board of Selectmen Chairman Rob Rose both putting their names to the agreement. State Sen. Richard Ross, state Rep. Shawn Dooley and several town officials were also on hand for the ceremony.
A Community Compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement entered into between the Baker-Polito Administration and individual cities and towns. In a Community Compact, a community agrees to implement at least one best practice that they select from across a variety of areas. Plainville chose two best practice areas: Transportation and Information Technology.
Town Administrator Jennifer Thompson detailed the two best practices areas, highlighting the need for a strategic plan for technology and adoption of a complete streets program in Plainville. Both of these initiatives could make the town eligible for state grant funding for technology and transportation improvements.
“Attaining the status of a Community Compact Town would not have been possible without the dedication of our town hall staff, Town Administrator Jen Thompson, Director of Planning & Development Chris Yarworth, DPW Director Paul Scott, IT technician Sean-Eric Civitarese and public safety chiefs Jim Alfred and Justin Alexander,” said Rose. “Plainville will now be in a position to work with the state to a greater degree than in the past to fund projects for our mutual benefit. I congratulate our team for bringing this accomplishment to fruition.”

Read original article here

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Rep. Dooley to host Norfolk forum on 40B law, affordable housing

NORFOLK — State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, is hosting a “Community Conversation on 40B and Affordable Housing” on Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m., in the King Philip Middle School auditorium, 18 King St., Norfolk.

Officials from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassHousing, and the town of Norfolk will make a presentation on Chapter 40B and the Comprehensive Permit Process. This will include a discussion of when a community is eligible for a safe harbor. In addition, there will be an update on the state of Norfolk’s Housing Production Plan as well as its Affordable Housing Trust.

“This is such an important issue form many of the communities I represent and I am so pleased that MassHousing and DHCD agreed to be part of this forum. I wanted to make sure that we were able to get the facts directly from the people and organization who are responsible for 40B and Affordable Housing in the Commonwealth as opposed to rumors and conjecture,” said Dooley.

Joining Dooley will be: Nancy McDonald, director of government affairs – MassHousing; Greg Watson, manager of comprehensive permit programs – MassHousing; Phil DeMartino, technical assistance coordinator – Office of Sustainable Communities, Department of Housing and Community Development; and Ray Goff, Norfolk town planner.

Dooley further added, “I hope that there will be a huge turnout, not just so everyone who is interested gets the most up to date information, but also to show the people from the state that this is a community that is engaged and truly wants to be part of the process.”

This is a free event open to any and all individuals who would like to learn more about how the affordable housing law works.

Shawn Dooley is the state representative for the 9th Norfolk, representing the communities of Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole, & Wrentham. He can be reached at Shawn.Dooley@MAHouse.gov or at 617-722-2810.

Click here to read the original article.

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Legislature overrides pay raise veto

The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday quickly overrode Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of an $18 million pay package that provides huge salary increases — 45 percent or more for some — to the state’s legislative leaders, judges, and other top officials.

The raises, which will take effect immediately, will make House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg among the highest-paid legislative leaders in the country.

The House voted for the raises by a 116-43 margin, followed by the Senate on a 31-9 vote, the final hurdles in a three-week-long controversy. DeLeo and Rosenberg rushed the pay bill through the Legislature with little public discussion.

DeLeo and Rosenberg will see their pay rise from their current $97,500 to $142,500. With newly reconfigured allowances for office and travel expenses, their pay will grow to well over $150,000.

Other lawmakers will see smaller increases.

Baker called Thursday’s votes “fiscally irresponsible.”

“While Lieutenant Governor [Karyn] Polito and I are thankful for our collaborative relationship with the Legislature, we are disappointed in their decision to override this veto,” Baker said. “One of the key roles of elected officials is to protect the people’s hard-earned tax dollars. Authorizing this drastic salary increase with limited debate defies this obligation and places an undue financial burden on the people of Massachusetts.”

The pay raise push came as state political news was being drowned out by the turmoil in Washington.

“The national political scene provides cover on Beacon Hill,” said Paul Craney, executive director of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a nonprofit focused on fiscal conservatism. “These practiced politicians want you to think they have your back but instead they have a knife in your back.”

Rosenberg strongly defended the unexpected appearance of the bill on the Legislature’s agenda last month and the swift passage, saying the proposal was first floated two years ago when a special commission created by the Legislature called for the raises. He noted that the stipends for legislative leaders that were raised in the compensation package had not been increased for more than 30 years.

Asked about the speed with which the pay raises were pushed through the Legislature, Rosenberg said, “There’s no good time to deal with legislative compensation.”

Maurice Cunningham, an associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, argued Thursday that the officials deserve the money, and he said many could make far more in the private sector. “They deal with, among other things, a $40 billion budget, and when you think of the magnitude of that, then the money is not at all out of line,” he said.

The House vote came with little debate. Only three lawmakers, all in opposition, took to the floor. The entire 35-member Republican caucus, joined by eight Democratic state representatives, made up the small opposition in the 160-member House. A veto override requires a two-thirds majority.

“This is not good for democracy,’’ said Representative Shawn Dooley, a Republican from Norfolk, noting the rush to get the pay hikes in place. “It does not foster debate.”

Several hours later, the Senate took up the bill, acting on it without debate. The six-member Republican caucus held tight in opposition to the raises, and only three Democrats — Senators Walter F. Timilty of Milton, Anne B. Gobi of Spencer, and Michael Moore of Millbury — voted to uphold the veto.

When he announced his opposition last week, Baker pointed to the Democratic leadership’s moves to avoid opportunities for members of the public to express their opinions, saying the process lacked a “reasonable opportunity for public comment.”

Still, the governor, who values his close working relationship with legislative leaders, did little to lobby lawmakers to change their votes after his veto. He needed 10 Democrats in the House or five in the Senate to switch. His office said he called “several legislators” but would not identify them or say whether they were among those who voted in favor of the bill.

The legislative raises are actually increases in the stipends that a vast majority of lawmakers receive in addition to their $62,500 base salary.

Senate majority leader Harriette Chandler and House majority leader Ronald Mariano will see their leadership stipends increase from $22,500 to $60,000.

Senator Marc R. Pacheco, the Senate president pro tempore, will get a raise in his stipend from $15,000 to $50,000 , as will Representative Patricia A. Haddad, the House speaker pro tempore.

“Raises of any type are always the subject of disagreement, shall we say. I don’t think there’s ever any right time or place,” DeLeo said before the House vote.

Whether lawmakers accept the raises is up to them, he said.

The package includes raises not only for legislators and judges, but also for constitutional officers including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, auditor, and secretary of state.

Baker has said he and Polito will not accept the pay increase. The bill also includes a new $65,000 housing allowance for the governor, which Baker said he would also not accept.

Attorney General Maura Healey and state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg both announced after the Senate vote that they, too, would not take the pay raises. The bill calls for the attorney general’s pay to increase from about $130,500 to $175,000 and the treasurer’s salary to increase from $128,000 to $175,000.

Associate justices on the Superior Court would receive raises in four incremental steps over the next 18 months, going from $159,694 to $184,694.

When DeLeo and Rosenberg initially presented the pay bill, it included raises for legislators and state constitutional officials only, with an initial annual price tag of $934,000. The money for lawmakers’ salary increases, they said, would be taken from existing funds in the Legislature’s budget.

But when the full bill was rolled out, it contained judicial and court personnel pay raises as well, pushing the total annual cost up to $18 million.

Putting the judicial raises into the bill creates serious legal hurdles to any efforts to place the pay issue before the voters on the 2018 ballot. The state constitution bars referendums on judicial pay.

See the original article here.

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The Sun Chronicle: Attleboro area activists on the road, stumping for presidential candidates

By Jim Hand

ATTLEBORO – Ellen Parker of Attleboro wants Hillary Clinton to win the presidency so much that she was willing to drive 2,600 miles round trip to Iowa to walk through mud and snow to campaign for the Democratic frontrunner.

When Parker finally gets home, she intends to rest up a bit and then head out to New Hampshire for more campaigning.

“I have been waiting for Hillary to get elected for eight years,” she said, explaining her passion for the campaign.

“I really, really believe she has to be our next president.”

Parker is one of scores of local activists who every four years hit the road to help their favorite presidential candidate.

Most, however, spend a day or two in nearby New Hampshire.

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III has organized trips to New Hampshire with a number of volunteers eager to work for Clinton.

State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, attended a couple of events for Republican candidate Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida.

And then there is Patrick Reynolds, 20, a selectman in North Attleboro. He said he went to the Granite State with other college Republicans to work for Rubio for a weekend.

He said he knocked on doors, made phone calls and attended town meeting events.

Reynolds said it was a great opportunity to see the democratic process up close. New Hampshire and Iowa are unique, he said, because the candidates do the type of retail campaigning that allows voters to actually meet them.

But, Parker and companion Bill Bowles took their devotion to another level, driving for two days to get to Iowa.

Parker said most of the trip was along Interstate 80, a popular route for truckers that is lined with fast food joints.

When they arrived, they spent their time walking down muddy dirt roads in the rural areas of Ames, knocking on doors at family farms, trying to convince Democrats to attend the local caucus and vote for Clinton.

The Iowans have been extremely friendly and anxious to talk, even the ones who support other candidates.

One man she met spent a half hour telling her the only reason he was voting for Republican Donald Trump is he thinks the New York real estate mogul is funny.

A Democrat told Parker she likes Clinton, and believes she would do a good job, but her heart tells her to vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Besides her loyalty to Clinton, Parker said another motivation for going to the Hawk Eye State was to observe its caucus system.

Rather than casting votes at the polls, as primary states do, Iowans gather in groups called caucuses that then divide into smaller groups supporting various candidates.

“I’ve always wanted to see the Iowa caucuses unfold,” she said.

Read original article here.

The Sun Chronicle: GOP reps propose tax amnesty program for Mass. businesses

With the Legislature facing the prospect of making more than $300 million in spending cuts to close a budget deficit, House Republicans are calling for a tax amnesty period for corporations.

The amnesty would allow corporations to pay back taxes without a penalty. House Minority Leader Brad Jones, who proposed the idea, estimates it could raise $15 million to $20 million.

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