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Selectmen: Public Respond to Water Rates, Police Get Anonymous Cash and New Officers

The Department of Public Works hears comments about their rates, the Police appoint two new officers.

Commissioner Andrew Pappistergion of the Department of Public Works heard some public feedback on the proposed  The rates proposed will charge based on the size of the water meeting (ranging from 3/4-inches to 4-inches in diameter), and a two-tiered rate which switches at 800 cubic feet of water.

At the previous meeting, Pappistergion referred to this as a plan designed to punish water pigs. 

“We get to 800 cubic feet pretty quickly--it can be as quickly as a day,” commented a resident of 20 Chapel Street, Tommy Vitolo. "This is not punishing pigs, it’s treating people who don’t live in single-family homes as pigs all the time."

He observed that typically, multi-family homes cost less in infrastructure. However, these are the buildings that will likely see the biggest increase in water rates.

"It’s telling people that, 'If you live in a large building, you are a pig.'" Vitolo added, "I don’t think that’s a true statement.”

Lee Selwyn, a Town Meeting Member and public utility rights professional noted that it would make sense for a water pig to change their habits if they were presented with the bill, but in a multi-family home, there is only one bill.

"I think the concept of demand charge is a good one, and should be explored, but I don’t agree with this set of relationships," Selwyn said. 

The Department of Public Works' presentation explained that, the need for a rate change is driven by an overall decrease in water use over the last few years. This creates a paradox, as Brookline resident Mark Cooper, pointed out. 

"Because people are decreasing usage, we’re being charged more," Cooper noted,
"It sounds as though it’s a bad thing that we’re conserving water. I think it’s a good thing."

Selectman Richard Benka defended the proposed rate changes, calling them "trivial." He noted, for example, the difference between a $101 bill and a $108 bill. 

Benka also noted that the size of the meter has a significant impact on the flow rate. A 5/8-inch meter has a maximum flow rate of 20 gallons per minute, while a 4-inch can pass 1200 gallons per minute. 

The Selectmen did not take a vote on this tonight, there will be more conversation at a later meeting.

Anonymous Donation

The Brookline Police Department recently recieved an anonymous $100 donation. The money came from a truck driver who had been guided through Brookline, along a route with few low-hanging wires and branches, and was grateful. 

"It’s something that our officers do day in and day out, and people don’t often recognize our officers for doing their job," Police Chief Daniel O'Leary explained. 

The letter included with the check noted that the writer was “not providing my name, so you can’t send it back to me. I would only spend it on double-cheeseburgers...”

The Chief had to request the Selectmen's approval of the donation.

The Selectmen asked about the Police Department's liquor sting program as well, learning that, out of 22 randomly-tested establishments, none were found serving liquor to minors. 

New Police Officers

Brookline Police Chief Daniel O'Leary returned to appoint two new officers, recent graduates from the Boston Police Academy. Raymond Richards, a former Army Captain, and Boris Vragovic, a Brookline High graduate and former Army Sergeant. Both men served two tours of duty in Iraq. 

As O'Leary took the podium to introduce the two men, a group of about 60 men and women--many wearing Boston Police uniforms--filed into the Selectmen's Meeting room. These were the two soon-to-be officers' fellow Boston Police Academy graduates, and members of their family. 

Before being sworn in, family members pinned the Brookline Police badges onto Richards' and Vragovic's uniforms. They shook hands with the Selectmen and were appointed to the Police Department. 

CBDG Programs

The Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) action plan, for the upcoming year, came before the Selectmen with some differences from the original plan. They are receiving about 15% less than expected from the State. 

The result is that some parts of the CBDG budget will be shifted, and the hours for five interns which would have been hired have been zeroed out. 

Appointments

Each year, the Brookline Board of Selectmen approves the appointments of the Department heads and town staff for the upcoming year. From July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012, all of the Department heads and other staff were re-appointed this year.

The Selectmen also made appointments to the Planning Board and Women's Commission. To the Planning Board, Ashling Fingleton was appointed, and Steve Heiken was re-appointed. To the Women's commission, Aimee Tallarico was appointed until 2014, and Eliza Blanchard until 2012.

Other Items

  • The grant will , when the Selectmen, Police and residents can further explore the implications of the technology.
  • Naked Pizza in Coolidge Corner was approved to remain open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Their hours are now 10:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Thurdsay, and 10:30 a.m. until midnight on both Friday and Saturday.
  • Jimmy's and Zenna Noodle Bar both were granted permission to have outside seating for the summer. Jimmy's, four outdoor tables with four chairs, and Zenna three tables with two chairs.
  • Kamiza Restaurant opening on 696 Washington Street was approved for a food vendor license. They have also been allowed to remain open until 2 a.m., but the Selectmen plan to review 2 a.m. openings later in the year. 
  • Selectmen approved a $32,000 transfer for the DPW to purchase vehicle fuel. 

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