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Minutes of 12/17/2007

December 23rd, 2007

Carroll Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 17, 2007
"These minutes of the Town of Carroll Select Board have been recorded by its Secretary. Though believed to be accurate and correct they are subject to additions, deletions and corrections by the Select Board at its next meeting when the Board votes its final approval of the minutes. They are being made available at this time to conform to the requirements of New Hampshire RSA 91-A:2."

Minutes recorded by Susan Kraabel, Secretary

Board members present: Bonnie Moroney, Allen Strasser, Rena Vecchio

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM.

Members of the public present: Harold Garneau, Roberta McGee, Jeff Duncan, Evan Karpf, Lori Hogan, Bruce Cheney, Casey Gordon, Bill Dowling, Jackie Garneau, Danny Garneau, John Trammell, Bill Rines, Leo Scales

Pledge of Allegiance

The board announced the approval of bills and signing of checks.

Chairman Moroney moved to accept the minutes of December 10, 2007, as written. Selectman Vecchio seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Stan Borkowski’s report has not yet been received.

Jackie Garneau stated that according to the August 20, 2007 minutes the selectmen had voted to accept unanticipated funds. One source of the funds was restitution in the amount of $116,255.38, money that Louise Staples had been found guilty of taking. She asked if money had been given back to any residents and asked if a list of those people is public record. Selectman Strasser said they had given some back a while ago, and that in some cases what had been thought to have been taken turned out not to be the case. Both he and Chairman Moroney said they were not really sure who had provided proof of money missing and been reimbursed. She stated that the attorney general’s office still had all the paperwork relating to the case. At this point Ms. Garneau stated she felt that we as a town don’t know if money was really taken. She asked how the town can spend money if it belongs to others. Chairman Moroney said we had contacted the insurance company and the NH DRA about whether we could spend the money and both said yes. Ms. Garneau and Roberta McGee cited instances of items on the worksheets the state used that they feel were errors. Ms. McGee said she and Ms. Staples found $56,000 worth of items that weren’t matched up correctly. Ms. Garneau said if people are truly missing money it should be paid back, she doesn’t understand how the town can spend money that should be paid back to townspeople. She said the town has signed permission for the insurance company to take away everything from Ms. Staples to make restitution, and they don’t even know for sure if there was money taken. Selectman Strasser said the reason we got money from the insurance company was that they said that most of the money was taken from the town, not from individual people. The attorneys said that if we found individuals, we were to pay it back. Ms. Garneau questioned this, and Selectman Strasser said he only knows what he was told. Ms. Garneau said the selectmen have the power to do something about this. She asked if the selectmen would be willing to look at the worksheets with them, and see if they could get a better understanding of what happened. While they pointed out that they still wouldn’t have access to the town documents, the selectmen indicated some willingness to look at the worksheets. However, Selectman Vecchio suggested we check with our attorney first to see if they can even do that.

Bruce Cheney from NH Department of Safety said he and Casey Gordon were here to ask the town if they could do GPS mapping for the Town of Carroll and enter it into their system. He said they have centerline information now for our roads, but would like to gather driveway entrance information. There would be no cost to the town, and the town would receive digital and hard copy of the data when the project is finished. They would be building a database for the police and fire departments, and would provide equipment for them to receive the data. They will notify the town of problems with similar road names. Locals are familiar with our roads, but mutual aid personnel are not, and changing some road names would help in emergency situations. The selectmen and Jeff Duncan thought this was a great idea. Chairman Moroney made a motion to write a letter authorizing this 911 mapping. Selectman Vecchio seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

Billy Rines said he’d looked at the Lancaster shed for storing winter salt and sand, and it was suited to the Town of Carroll’s needs. He said the cost was approximately $35,000. He also sat there’s a new one going up now at Forbes Farm on North Road, and he plans to get literature and pricing about that building.

Chairman Moroney read Mr. Borkowski’s note documenting a conversation he had with John D’Urso regarding the trailers on his Little River Road property, and a copy is attached to these minutes.

Discussion took place about a warrant article for a town administrator, and Selectman Vecchio said she’s in favor of hiring a town manager rather than an administrator. She feels our employees need someone to go to on a daily basis rather than having their only source be the selectmen. She said there’s so much going on right now, and we need someone who’s in tune with current laws and regulations. It was suggested that if the town turns this article down, the CIP committee should consider some form of administrator in their planning process. Selectman Strasser said he’s against hiring any full time employees right now, as the cost is too high with benefits. He talked about the precarious state of the retirement program, and the secretary reported that she had talked to the state about the possibility of withdrawing from the program in favor of some other retirement program. She said it’s very difficult to withdraw. First you must have three quarters of the participants approve the withdrawal, and then you must show proof to an actuary that you have a program in place that is equivalent or better in all aspects to the state program. A warrant article will be prepared for a town manager and also for the CIP program. Evan Karpf said we’d already paid the North Country Council $2500 for the town’s portion of the cost, but the program must be voted on by the town. He will contact them about the warrant article and progress in the planning. Selectman Strasser moved to approve the program and its cost, Chairman Moroney seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.

Chairman Moroney moved to replace a warrant article for $10,000 for maintenance of the old landfill with another one in the same amount, but with different wording (copy of new article attached). Selectman Vecchio seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

A warrant article for $65,000 including taxes and benefits for a fifth police officer was read by Chairman Moroney. John Trammell said the $39,936 was the high end for salary, that we may be able to get someone from another department for less money. He said there’s been a spike in services this year, but wasn’t certain if it would continue. He said that it was the selectmen’s choice as to whether to go for a new officer or pay overtime to the current police officers, that overtime is always cheaper than hiring another employee. Selectman Strasser said that Chief Trammell was doing a fine job, but he wondered with their increased enforcement how serious the increased calls are. He said there are a lot of competing issues here right now, and he would prefer to get new safety buildings in place and then work on the manpower. Dr. Karpf pointed out that the resort owners would be presenting the results of their Economic Impact Study in late January. Selectman Vecchio asked about the risk to our officers if asked to work more hours. Chief Trammell stated that there would be no risk, that they can do no more than 16 hour shifts. Chairman Moroney moved to table the article until next year. Selectman Vecchio seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

Selectman Strasser said that at the NH DRA seminar he attended last week, they recommended that new positions be put before the town in a warrant article rather than adding the funds for those positions to the budget. He said history has shown that adding new positions to the budgets can cause the budget to be turned down. With this in mind, Chief Duncan said if the selectmen would endorse the warrant article, he would take his new officer request out of the budget request, and put forth a warrant article instead. Chairman Moroney moved to approve such an article, Selectman Strasser seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously. Chief Duncan will write the article.

A petition article for a Procurement Policy (copy attached) was read by Chairman Moroney. This calls for purchases over $2,000 to require sealed bids. Selectman Strasser said he felt that $2,000 was too low. He also said that the section on the sale of surplus material says nothing about the selectmen having the power to declare what is surplus. It was noted that our attorney should be consulted to determine the legality of this article.

Chairman Moroney read a group of warrant articles that represent requests for donations:

Northern Human Services – White Mountain Mental Health $904
Tyler Blain House $2,000
Littleton Regional Hospital $1,150
Weeks Medical Center – Home Health & Hospice Services $1,100
Ammonoosuc Community Health Services $750
North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency $1,797
American Red Cross $346
Caleb Group Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver Program $1,650

Chairman Moroney moved to approve all these warrant articles, Selectman Strasser seconded the motion, and the motion was passed unanimously.

A warrant article for $10,000 for the Landfill Closure Capital Reserve fund was tabled until the next meeting, when the amounts for what has been a group capital reserve request will be presented.

A warrant article for the Hazardous Waste Program in the amount of $906.25 was presented. It was pointed out that this amount will be paid only if residents participate on the waste collection day. Mr. Rines said last year the collection was done in Lisbon, and people thought it was too far away. He asked if we could have a local collection point, and one person travel on the designated collection day. Since Bill Dowling said he didn’t want to accept things at the transfer station, Chairman Moroney suggested when we get a date and location, we will set up a drop off point. Dr. Karpf volunteered to help with the transporting. Chairman Moroney moved to approve the warrant article, Selectman Vecchio seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.

Mr. Dowling presented a warrant article for $14,000 for the 2008 tipping of bulky waste and construction debris, and the removal of tires, Freon, propane tanks, electronics, florescent light bulbs, and antifreeze. This money will come from the Recycling Special Revenue Fund and not taxation. It was questioned why the article says the appropriation will be from March 2008 through March 2009, and Mr. Dowling said he’d checked with Don Borror of NH DRA, and that it was okay. Chairman Moroney moved to approve the warrant article, Selectman Vecchio seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.

Discussion of the bridge funding brought comments from Harold Garneau that he will be applying for a Recreational & Trail Grant in conjunction with the bridge replacement, and he is pretty sure we’ll be awarded the $30,000. Selectman Strasser presented a warrant article for the bridge funding (copy attached), and it was decided that it was too wordy and hard to understand. Chairman Moroney made a motion to approve the dollar amounts on the article, and have the Bridge Committee revamp the wording. Selectman Vecchio seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

A warrant article was presented to increase the income and asset levels and values of exemption for the Elderly Exemption on Property Tax. The article calls to increase as follows.

Single Income allowed: $30,000
Married Income allowed: $40,000
Asset Limit allowe: $75,000

Age 65-74 Exemption: $35,000
Age 75-79 Exemption: $52,500
Age 80+ Exemption: $70,000

Chairman Moroney moved to approve the warrant article, Selectman Vecchio seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously

The following items were approved and signed.

Equalization Certification for 2006-2007 Sales Analysis
Certification of Occupancy – Stonehill #8 – 176 Hannah Loop, Hoffman
Yield Tax Warrant – Rines, Cersosimo Lumber
LGC Flex Benefit Plan Amendment
Manatron Contract

Mr. Dowling told the selectmen he needed a helper at the transfer station on Saturdays, as Mike Meglin was gone. He had not shown up for three weeks in a row, and we need to hire someone. Mr. Dowling said last summer the Recreation Committee had hired a director and then presented the application to the selectmen for approval, and he would like to do the same thing. He has applications for the position, and in view of the dire circumstances the selectmen gave him approval to hire someone without their interviewing the person.

Dr. Karpf told the selectmen that he, John Birknes, and Bernier Waugh had met with Mt. Washington Resort personnel and their attorney to look at zoning issues in Bretton Woods (R-2 Zone). They are looking at creating an overlay district for the base of the ski mountain that would affect building heights, the number of parking spaces required per building, shared parking, and road widths. This all is in conjunction with the proposed pedestrian village. They will be meeting again on December 20th, and hope to have a warrant article for the March election. Atty. Waugh is representing the town, but his fees will be paid by the resort. When asked about the rush on this, it was stated that planning for the village will take a long time, and the resort does not want to spend money planning for something the town won’t allow.

Leo Scales came to the board with photos of trees planted by his neighbor Mike Lynch. He said he’d come to the selectmen three years ago about these trees that are on town property. He said they are 4-5 ft. into the town right of way (Old Straw Road), which Mr. Rines thinks is a 33’ easement. Mr. Scales said the trees are large enough now that they can’t be cut back and must be removed so he can plow the road into his house without scratching his vehicles. He said they were 2-3 ft. when planted and are now 13-14 ft. tall. The main trunk of each is less than 15 inches. Chairman Moroney made a motion to write a letter to Mr. Lynch stating that the trees he planted on Old Straw Road need to be removed within 30 days or the town will have them removed at his expense. Selectman Vecchio seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

At 8:55 PM, as there was no additional business, Chairman Moroney declared the meeting ended, and moved to go into executive session regarding legal matters. This was seconded by Selectman Vecchio. The board was polled, and went into executive session.

At the close of executive session, Chairman Moroney made a motion to return to public session and seal the minutes from executive session; Selectman Vecchio seconded and the motion passed unanimously

Action Items:

Response letter to Bretton Woods land offer
Industrial Park land use - CEDC
Chamberlain property
Paquette Circle house
Bank change/PDIP
Highway Shed
Warrant article – town manager
Hwy/Water Capital reserve money –how long there?
Policy/Procedures Manual
Management Discussion Letter
Warrant article -, CIP
Mike Lynch Letter