Members Sought for New Longmeadow Study Committee

committeeA study committee that Town Meeting voters authorized to create in April is coming together and potential members can submit letters of interest now.

The Longmeadow Study Committee will be comprised of Hamilton, Wenham and Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District officials and residents that will evaluate properties on Longmeadow Way in Hamilton, near the middle and high school, for school and/or municipal uses.

The committee is the result of Article 5-5, a citizens petition, on the Annual Town Meeting warrant in April. The measure was also approved by Wenham voters at its Annual Town Meeting in April.

Officially, the article said that the committee would be established by the Board of Selectmen and be charged with “studying the acquisition by purchase, eminent domain, or otherwise of all or a portion of [four parcels of land along Longmeadow Way] for school, recreational, and/or other municipal use and reporting their findings, recommendations, and proposed action, if any, to the 2018 Annual Town Meeting or such earlier town meeting as may be called to consider the issue.”

The properties sit just south of the middle school-high school campus on Bay Road.

The warrant called for the committee to include a member of the Board of Selectmen from each town, a member of the Hamilton-Wenham Recreation Board, a member of the School Committee and one or more residents from each town.

Residents who are interested in serving on the committee should fill out the town’s “application for appointment for board/committee membership” and submit it by June 15 to Anabela Batista, Assistant to the Town Manager, via email at abatista@hamiltonma.gov.

Memorial Day Means Trash Pickup Delay This Week

Hamilton trash barrelTrash pickup will be delayed by a day this week because of Memorial Day.

That means that because of Memorial Day this past Monday, trash, recycling and organics collection will start on Thursday, June 1 and run through Saturday, June 3 in Hamilton this week.

If your usual pickup day is Wednesday it will instead be Thursday and pickup will be pushed back by a day for the rest of the week, so usual Thursday pickup will be on Friday and usual Friday pickup will be on Saturday.

If your trash, organics, and recycling is not picked up, contact Casella Waste Systems, the town’s trash contractor, at 978-548-4427. For any other questions or problems related to trash, recycling and organics, call the Hamilton Department of Public Works at 978-468-5580.

Memorial Day Weekend Events Will Cause Minor Traffic Delays

memorial day newTwo events in Hamilton during the Memorial Day weekend – including a Memorial Day observance on Monday – could cause small interruptions to traffic flow.

On Saturday, May 27, the Melody Miles road race starts at 10 a.m. A Hamilton police detail officer will help direct drivers and runners. Drivers should expect traffic delays along Route 1A (Bay Road), Bridge Street and Woodbury Street, said Hamilton Police Lt. Scott Janes.

On Memorial Day, sections of Route 1A (Bay Road) will be closed between Hamilton Town Hall and Hamilton Cemetery between 8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. for the Memorial Day Parade. In that case, drivers should expect short traffic delays and detours, Janes said.

Two Town Fourth Event Has New Date

IMG_20160625_211728140The Two Town Fourth event, scheduled for next month, has been bumped back by a day.

Due to an event at the Myopia Schooling Fields on Saturday, June 24, Myopia Hunt Club notified the town of Hamilton that it could not hold fireworks that evening, as originally scheduled, because it spooks the horses. The Two Town Fourth event will now happen on Sunday, June 25 from 4-9 p.m. The rain date is Monday, June 26.

The event will start with a bicycle and covered wagon parade to Patton Park and then include music, kids activities, food trucks and end with fireworks at dusk.

Town’s Top Bond Rating Reaffirmed, Secures Low Interest Rates

aaa credit rating

The town’s bond rating has been reaffirmed as AAA by Standard and Poor’s. It is the highest rating possible.

Each time a bond is issued by the town, its credit rating is reviewed and evaluated by Standard & Poor’s to determine if they will make adjustments, according to Town Manager Michael Lombardo.

The reaffirmed AAA rating came after a recent conference call involving representatives from Standard & Poor’s along with Hamilton Finance Director Marisa Batista, Treasurer/Collector Cheryl Booth, Lombardo and bond counsel from FirstSouthwest.

The conference call was a way for town leaders to highlight the factors that contribute to the town’s high bond rating and reassure the rating agency that the town government continues to deserve AAA status, according to Lombardo.

“I feel the conference call went very well,” Lombardo told the Board of Selectmen in a recent update. “S&P was impressed with the stability of the town budget and management, strong reserves, excess levy capacity of over $2.4 million, and strong market sale prices for single family homes.”

The town sought a new bond rating as its goes out for bonds to fund land acquisition and water system improvements, which have both been previously approved by Town Meeting voters.

The AAA rating means that the town government pays the lowest interest rates possible when borrowing money, Lombardo said. Additionally, the AAA rating also makes the town’s bonds highly desirable in the investment community. For example, for the most recent issuance, the town received 25 bids. And in addition to getting low interest rates, the town sometimes receives direct cash in the form of a bond premium, Lombardo said. In 2015, the town issued $7 million in bonds and received over $200,000 as a bond premium.

In Standard & Poor’s rating, it said that it believes Hamilton can maintain better credit characteristics than the nation in a stress scenario. Hamilton has a very high general fund balance as a percent of expenditures and very strong liquidity, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The rating also took into consideration what Standard & Poor’s said is Hamilton’s very strong economy, strong management, strong budgetary performance, very strong budgetary flexibility with an available fund balance in fiscal year 2016 of 18% of operating expenditures, very strong liquidity and a very strong debt and contingent liability position.

Only Spring Leaf Pickup Day is Saturday

leaf-bagsThe one and only leaf pickup day this spring is coming up this weekend.

The pickup will be on Saturday, May 13. There will not be another roadside pickup day in Hamilton until the fall.

All leaves must be on the side of the road by 7 a.m. on Saturday. There will be multiple trucks picking up leaves simultaneously across town. Leaves must be in biodegradable paper bags or trash cans. Only leaves can be put out and no brush, branches or grass clippings will be collected.

Leaves will not be picked up as part of the compost program.

Reminder From Police: Hide Valuables in Vehicles at Trailheads

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHamilton police want to remind residents as summer approaches – and there’s more activity on local hiking trails – to take simple sense steps to prevent crime when parking at trailheads.

There have been a few car break-ins already this spring at the Bradley Palmer State Park parking lot and the Appleton Farms Grass Rides parking lot, both located on Highland Street.

It is important to not leave any valuables visible inside your vehicle when you park it, police said. Purses, wallets, laptop bags or anything else that looks like it could be expensive shouldn’t be left in the car or should be put out of sight.

Hamilton Police Lt. Scott Janes recommends that hikers, even before they get to the parking lot, should put things away in the glove box or center console or cover it up under a jacket or blanket. The best bet is to put it in a locked trunk. And always make sure your vehicle is locked when you leave it.

All three car break-ins this spring in Hamilton have occurred when the thief smashed a rear window to gain access to the vehicle. Typically, thieves are only looking for small items which can easily be pawned for cash, police said.

In summary, be cautious when heading out to enjoy the outdoors this summer because police don’t want your adventure ruined at the end.