Westwood’s police and fire chiefs discussed requested items for the fiscal 2020 budget during the Select Board’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 7.
Tops on the wish list — a director of communications to handle both departments.
According to Silva, the police department’s main IT person is a lieutenant (Leo Hoban) with a strong technical background who will retire within the next year or two.
“It’s become an enormous, highly technical job,” he said.
Deckers said “we need a director of communications” who’s a certified dispatcher. Currently, Hoban also serves as the supervisor of dispatchers for both departments.
Both chiefs discussed the types of calls handled by both departments. At Westwood Lodge, which closed nearly two years ago, those calls would involve unruly patients; Deckers said that although there were relatively few calls (fewer than 3 percent of calls taken), fire department personnel had to spend more time there.
Silva brought up University Station, the source of many calls regarding ID theft, shoplifting, etc. Silva said many of the shoplifting calls involve professional gangs, and require followup investigations from detectives.
An IT person is among five positions requested within the FY 20 budget.
Among the capital items, Silva is requesting to replace two vehicles for a $400,000 multi-purpose unit. He’s also requesting a $250,000 renovation to Fire Station One. The renovations would include stabilizing the station’s floor, converting the basement classroom space into offices, and modifying the dormitories on the second floor to accommodate the town’s first woman firefighter.
Other capital requests
In addition to the police and fire requests, Finance Director Pamela Dukeman reviewed budget requests made by the schools and other town departments.
Among the items include a $2 million request to renovate the Route 109 corridor. Dukeman said that would need a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exemption.
Other items include $100,000 to pave the high school parking lot, and $725,000 for Thurston Field lighting.
For information, visit http://www.townhall.westwood.ma.us/gov/depts/fin_depts/budgetinfo/budgetdoc.htm
Westwood Media Center
Members of the Westwood Media Center’s board, along with WMC Executive Director Melinda Garfield, presented possible scenarios should a proposal from the Federal Communications Commission be enacted.
This proposal could reduce, or eliminate, the PEG (Public, Education, Government) funding local cable access organizations receive from cable companies through franchise fees.
“Shame on the cable companies for lobbying” for this proposal, said Select Board member John M. Hickey, adding that cable access coverage of local government helps maintain transparency.
“The camera’s been rolling for every vote I’ve been taking,” he said.
WMC board members said that support has been coming from the Mass. Municipal Association and the state legislature, and thanked the Select Board for its support.
Also, the WMC board said that local cable access coverage “won’t fall off a cliff” should the FCC proposal be enacted, but plans to mitigate possible impacts ought to be established.
Select Board member Nancy Hyde suggested a “placeholder” warrant article for Town Meeting.
In other business:
… Several Westwood Girl Scouts were honored for their Silver Award projects, including a look at middle school dress codes to make them more gender neutral; a “Malala” book club; a super STEAM fair for elementary school students; and a self-defense class for women. Each Scout received a citation from the town and a citation from the State House.
… Three members of the Dedham Dynamo U14 cheer squad from Westwood were honored by the Select Board. The squad placed second in the New England Regionals, and third in a national competition in Florida.
… The board formally closed the Town Meeting warrant, and approved the meeting minutes for Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Nov. 5, Nov. 26 and Dec. 17.
… The board gave permission for the 12th annual Pan Mass Challenge Kids Ride on June 9 at the Martha Jones School.
… Vesna Maneva had been named a full-time member of the Conservation Commission.
… The Select Board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the small meeting room, Westwood Public Library.