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AGENDA & MINUTES August 16, 2011

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.
Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, August 09, 2011:  6-8 pm
Rescheduled to August 16, 2011
Rebecca Johnson School, Music Room
55 Catherine St., Springfield MA
6:00 – 6:10 pm:  OPEN MEETING, WELCOME
o   Introduction, Board of Directors
o   Audience Introductions
6:10—6:25 pm:  GUEST
o   Erica Walch from the Springfield Public Forum lecture series  is presenting details about  this year’s programming and some exciting new features.
6:25 – 6:45 pm:  OFFICERS’ REPORTS  
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Ben Swan, Jr & Elizabeth Lederman, admin staff)
·         Minutes of July 19, 2011 meeting
o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Liz Stevens)
·         Monthly financial report
·         Submission of 2011-12 budget for approval
6:45—7:15  pm:  New Business
o    Scope of Service for 2011-12—review and approval
o    Approval of Corporate Seal—Vote of Corporation Authorizing Execution of Contract
o    Steve Thibeau seeking clarification of easement issue relating to the now dissolved McKnight Homeowners Association
o    Open to the Floor
7:15 – 8:00 pm:  COMMITTEE REPORTS – Any committee updates (5 minutes each)
·         Rail Trail (Liz Stevens)
·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll)                                                       
·         Housing/Code (vacant chair)
·         Continued work on committee formation and tasks
8:00 pm – Close Meeting
Next McKnight Neighborhood Council Meeting 
Tuesday, September 13, 2011               6:00-8:00 pm             Rebecca Johnson School

Approved 9/20/11
Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council
Board Meeting:  August 16, 2011
Meeting Called to order 6:05 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (9):  Walter Kroll (Pres), Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres), Ben Swan, Jr, (Secy/Clerk), Liz Stevens, (Treas), Ceil Lewonchuk, (Asst Secy),  Gregory Hession, Ed Kelly, Jesse Lederman, Stephen Thibeau, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (4):  Frank Buntin, Katie Foster, Arthur Jones, Donna Jordan
Neighborhood Members Attending:   Deborah Pace, Susan Bernardy, Stephen Gray,Brandi Gamble, Michael McLaurin, James Parciak
Guests:  Jose Ramos
Welcome by WK; board member introductions; audience introductions.
o   Opened meeting, noting that regular meeting had been rescheduled from August 09 because the building was locked and the meeting could not take place. 
o   Read mission statement of Council from bylaws, which describes purpose and overview of goals.
o   Gave brief synopsis of Springfield Forum presentation that Erica Walch shared before the cancelled meeting from last week, since she was unable to return for this week’s meeting.
o   Announced the chairmanships for each of 2011-12 committees, noting that chairs were assigned according to expertise and interest, as follows:
·         Public Safety—Walter Kroll
·         Housing/Code—Demetrios Panteleakis
·         Rail Trail—Liz Stevens
·         Communications—Marianne Winter
·         Good Neighbor—Ceil Lewonchuk
·         McKnight Community Center—Demetrios Panteleakis
·         Debate Committee—Jesse Lederman
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)
o   DP reported  Frank Fitzgerald is working up an appraisal value for the church property for sale on Clarendon & St James (previously discussed as potential site for community center).  City has been made aware of MNC’s tentative interest in property, but noted building does have significant code concerns. 
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Ben Swan; Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
o   Minutes of Board Meeting, July 19, 2011, submitted for acceptance. BS absent during this portion of meeting; Asst Secy/Clerk, CL called for corrections or additions.  None offered.
MOTION: (LS moved) to accept as presented; (CL  seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;(WK called the question);  carried unanimously.
o   LS offered overview of FY 2010-11 year end budget, noting that Rail Trail appraisal had been completed and paid for. 
o   Discussion about $7,630 reserve that MNC has on the books—used for operating capital to cover gap between CDBG billing and reimbursement.
 MOTION: (DP moved) to accept year end report as presented; (EK seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;(WK called the question);  carried unanimously.
o   Presentation of FY 2011-12 CDBG yearly budget for Board approval.
o   Discussion of Bay Street garden project and MNC role as fiscal agent.
MOTION: (JL moved) to accept FY 2011-12 CDBG budget as presented; (DP seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;(WK called the question);  carried unanimously.
New Business
o   WK presented CDBG Scope of Service for 2011-12 for review and approval.  Discussion around whether MNC has to accomplish each goal in order to fulfill the contract.  Consensus reached that accomplishment can be long term, and that activities taking place toward the goal which are documented fulfill the contract even if the goal is not successfully achieved.
MOTION: (DP moved) to accept FY 2011-12 CDBG Scope of Service as presented; (LS seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;(WK called the question);  carried unanimously.
o   WK called for approval of Corporate Seal—Vote of Corporation Authorizing Execution of Contract in relation to the CDBG contract.
MOTION: (GH moved) That the Board hereby authorizes Walter Kroll to execute any document necessary to obtain CDBG funding on behalf of the Board of Directors.;  (DP seconded) (WK call for discussion) ; EK called for clarification; further discussion on nature of what was being authorized with DP observing that this was an expansion vote and not a limiting vote.  (WK called the question); carried unanimously.  (BS directed to complete document and imprint corporate seal—to be delivered to Ed Whitley at Neighborhood Services by staff EL.)
o   Steve Thibeau seeking clarification of easement issue relating to the now dissolved McKnight Homeowners Association and access to a Verizon service pole servicing homes on Welcome Place and Brown and Yale Streets.  ST requesting letter from MNC stipulating that it was not the intent of MNC to dissolve any easements acknowledged in the MHA covenants when it voted to dissolve that entity.  Lengthy discussion around the issue and the legal nature of easement rights and the authority of the Council or any neighborhood council in such matters. 
MOTION: (BS moved) that MNC author a letter stating simply that MNC did not intend to limit access to the aforementioned utility pole when it dissolved the MHA.  (LS seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;  GH observed that it was MNC’s intent to dissolve the MHA, and that the recorded document of the dissolution was the controlling factor such that the easement was dissolved despite its questionable status to begin with; and DP observed that the right of easement rested with the utility company as a matter of federal law; (WK called the question);  Yea, 3; Nay 5; Abstentions, 1;  motion defeated.   (Council recommended that ST pursue a course of action with the regulatory commission to resolve the problem.)
o   DP asked the Board to please consider calling the proposed community center, the Center for Civic Engagement, rather than just a community center.  Agreement that the suggestions would be taken under consideration at an appropriate future date.
o   Rail Trail (Liz Stevens)
·         Three grant applications in progress—WMECO, Mass Mutual, and Kodak.  Presented information to State Street Alliance as a step toward obtaining the Mass Mutual grant.  Some discussion about the possibility of having the area incorporated as a Business Overlay District which would accrue some advantages in moving the Rail Trail project forward.
·         In process of identifying Rail Trail related project for Springfield College’s Humanics Day volunteers.
·         Still pursuing request for Americorp volunteer from Springfield College to help with the Rail Trail.
o   Public Safety (Walter Kroll)
·         Reported on suspicious activity around the neighborhood, including young man door knocking to ask for money for baby formula.; and drug and gang activity in Oak Grove Cemetery.
·         Neighborhood Watch has been conducting regular walking patrols on Bowdoin Street on Thursday and Friday evenings. 
·         Urged participation in monthly Watch, and Sector F police beat meetings.
o   Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis)
·         GH (interim chairman) reporting on first meeting.   Described housing problems as falling into three categories: city owned, bank owned, and privately owned properties.  Problems with city and bank owned properties can be addressed directly.  Committee will be developing a friendly letter template to begin dialogues with the owners of private properties to open positive dialogues about housing related problems.  Goal is to establish a polite standard. Board to approve letters before sending them out.
o   Debate (Jesse Lederman)
·         JL reporting that tentative date of August 23 offered to all three mayoral primary candidates.  Sarno campaign slow to respond definitely despite consistent overtures.    Tosado and Pepe campaigns confirmed.  Question as to whether to cancel the debate if Sarno does not respond soon or if he declines, since the tentative debate date is drawing near.
MOTION: (BS moved) to wait until 10 am tomorrow (August 17) for a response from Sarno, and if one is not received to cancel the debate (WK seconded); (WK call for discussion) ;  JL commented that even if Sarno does not want to debate, it is the responsibility of MNC to put the candidates before the people, even if only two of them step up to the plate; LS commented that as a voter she did not know anything about Tosado and Pepe and would like to hear from them;  (BS amended motion) to go forward with the debate, even in the absence of Sarno, if the other two candidates agree; (GH seconded) (WK called the question);  carried unanimously.  (DP volunteered to contact Sarno campaign to expedite answer.)
9:00  ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (JL seconded); (WK called); motion carried.
NEXT MNC MEETING:                    Tuesday, September 13, 2011
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 09/20/2011.


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