NEWBURY — Newbury residents can now “go paperless” by enrolling in the town’s new online billing program, Town Administrator Tracy Blais informed selectmen at their regular board meeting Tuesday night. The program allows residents to view and pay their tax bills in three easy steps:
1. Go to https://NewburyMA.billtrust.com
2. Click on “Enroll Now”
3. Enter the enrollment information found on the tax bill (account number, web enrollment token)
Once enrolled, taxpayers will receive an email when a bill is ready to be viewed and paid. The program allows residents to view both current and past bills, pay the bill online, link multiple bills to one username and access their account from any computer, tablet or smartphone. Anyone with questions about the new program may contact the treasurer/collector’s office at 978-465-0862, ext. 307.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, selectmen approved a request from building commissioner Sam Joslin to allow picnic tables out in front of two of the four restaurants on Plum Island.
“These tables are being requested due to a number of wet or sandy customers walking from the beach to their establishments and often times without proper foot wear,” Joslin noted in a memo to the board. The tables will be installed for daytime use only from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
“Assuming these tables do not create parking or other problems, it is my intent to allow this alternative seating to be used seasonally without approvals,” he stated.
Selectmen OK’d the request but stipulated that no alcohol may be served to patrons using the outdoor seating.
The board continued discussing a plan to establish parking on Parker Street near an entrance to the Clipper City Rail Trail. Geordie Vining, senior project manager for the Newburyport Office of Planning and Development, offered five possible options:
Parallel parking off Parker Street (which is the existing preliminary plan)
Off-street parking north of Parker Street with an access road past wetlands and a braced utility pole
Off-street parking on the south side of Parker Street with a crosswalk
A spot on what appears to be a town-owned parcel on the other side of the trailhead, across from the cemetery entrance, with a crosswalk and flashing lights
No designated parking area
The board asked him to look further into the option across from the cemetery entrance. Vining noted that there may be wetlands and ownership issues with that parcel. Selectman Geoff Walker stressed his preference for off-street parking so that people can safely exit their cars and unload their kids or bikes.
Selectmen accepted a proposed flat fee schedule for town counsel services from Ginny Kremer of Blatman, Bobrowski, and Mead. Among the items covered by the $6,000 monthly fee are all legal work and related services; representation and legal opinions for general, land use and labor matters; Special and Annual Town Meeting preparation; and two board hearings or meetings per month. Additional meetings will be billed at a rate of $175 per hour.
The fee includes defense and prosecution of all customary land-use litigation relating to zoning, planning, board of health and conservation; enforcement of town bylaws and litigation involving labor matters; as well as “all other non-insured litigation that may arise over issues pertaining to Plum Island.” Municipal contracts, procurement issues, and “all significant licensing matters” are included.
Town counsel will hold office hours at the Town Hall twice monthly and conduct two training sessions per year.
Selectmen OK’d use of the Upper Green as a rest stop for the annual North Shore Cyclists Blazing Saddles Century Ride. The location is a halfwaypoint in the 100-mile ride.
Blais commended town accountant Angel Wills for successfully passing the Massachusetts Municipal Auditors’ and Accountants’ Association Certification Program. The process, which tests knowledge of both municipal accounting and law, is in-depth and strenuous, Blais said, adding that most candidates don’t pass it the first time around. Wills is now considered a Certified Massachusetts Municipal Accountant.
The board OK’d a new Class II license for All American Automotive at 61 Main St., Byfield; three one-day liquor licenses for Protection Fire Co. # 2 for functions in May; and extended appointments for election workers until December 2014.
For the first time, the selectmen’s meeting was broadcast live on the town’s cable access station, Channel 9. Look for a programming schedule for the channel on the town website soon. Volunteers are needed to help with videotaping and creating content for programming. Contact the selectmen’s office, 978-465-0862, ext. 303