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Record of the PUBLIC HEARING of December 12, 2006

December 13th, 2006

Carroll Budget Committee
Record of December 12, 2006

Members present: Tom Gately, Karen Moran.
Excused members: Linda Dowling, Pam Walsh, Bonnie Moroney, Carmine Fabrizio, Ken Mills.

As noticed to the Public, tonight’s meeting was the OPEN PUBLIC HEARING. However, because of the LACK of a QUORUM, no official action was taken. Members of the public who attended the Hearing were provided with the Selectmen’s Budget Worksheet and the Warrant Articles received as of December 12, 2006. All were given the time to review the information.

At 7:04, Tom opened the session and identified for the group what the columns on the budget worksheet represented. Specifically, column (3) This Year Budget request is the actual amount approved for 2006; column (4), This Year Actual is that amount expended as of 12/12/2006; column (5) Next Year Requested is the amount the Selectmen approved for the 2007 budget proposal; and column (6), Next Year Revised will be the Budget Committee budget once the vote on the budget occurs. At the present time (12/12/06) the column has zero noted as the Budget Committee has not yet voted on the budget presentations made by the department heads.

• Regarding the first page, Jim Covey wondered why the Select board members continue to receive the same stipend, rather than something higher.
• Elections and Registrations section is minimal dollar due to the fact that most workers are volunteers.
• Billy Rines wondered what the Moderator expenses were, as there was $1 budgeted for 2006, but $300 spent year to date. Karen noted she would check with the office.
• Edith Tucker wondered about the town Administrator line with zero budgeted, and was told it is a warrant article.
• Property Assessing will increase due to the revaluation to take place. Tom suggested it would be good for the town given the recent sales and Karen noted she had spoken directly with the business coordinator at the assessor’s office and the estimate of $80,000 is reasonable if not slightly less than possible based on the components of what the assessment fees will entail.
• Legal estimate for 2007 is slightly less than for 2006. Edith wondered if we were aware that a lawsuit had been filed in Federal District Court-Karen and Tom were unaware and wondered if the cost would have to be increased. Bill Smalley noted that legal fees associated with lawsuits brought against town officials (while performing town duties) would be covered by the Local Government Center. Relief expressed that the budget would not have to be increased significantly.
• Regarding health insurance, Lee Hallquist wondered if the town had “shopped around” and was told yes.
• Edith wondered about the amount of the budgeted increase for the health insurance and Karen noted that the premiums had increased by 13.3%, and the estimate for 2007 was based on that and known changes to plan selection by town employees (single, 2-person, family).
• Planning Board budget will be somewhat offset by fees received.
• Zoning Board as submitted, there were no comments.
• No comments regarding the General Government Buildings section.
• Cemeteries section-Tom noted that there is zero spent year to date because most salary type monies are paid at year end.
• Edith wondered why the Town Workmen’s Compensation insurance increased, and Karen said Sue Kraabel let her know the premium letter had been received in that amount.
• Regarding Other Government section, Tom explained dog costs are paid by the town if a stray dog is taken to Dr. Knight’s.
• Billy Rines noted the hydrant fee expense line is based on the number of hydrants which are 91 in the Twin side of town. Karen asked about Rosebrook and he was unsure, thought around 40.
• Jim Covey asked if the Police training expense to date of $33 was accurate. Bill Smalley thought that there could have been a mispost, but noted that most training is done by the state at no cost to the town.
• Jim then asked if $1,500 was enough and Bill thought yes, based on mileage and those seminars for which fees are in fact paid.
• Discussion took place about the actually training of officers over the years-the accurate number since 1981 has been 43 people, at a cost of approximately $280,000, have gone through the Police Standards training, then moved onto other departments.
• Discussion then took place regarding the salaries, Tom noted that the Police presentation to the Budget Committee had resulted in long discussions about the need to preserve the officers we train-Committee has not yet voted, but anticipate the salaries will be higher.
• Karen noted that the first couple of Fire Department salaries will also be slightly higher, as the Selectmen did not put the 5% increase there as they had with the rest of the town employees.
• Tom noted that the majority of time dedicated to the Fire Department is free to the town, as training, etc. is voluntary.
• Edith wondered if the Fire salaries increased staffing and was told no, that is a warrant article.
• There was no discussion regarding property inspections
• John Goodney noted that the Emergency Management salary, while increased from prior years is still very low, he has spent about 100 hours training. Overall budget not increased, just moved around a bit, as he does not need a radio.
• Highway section was discussed in conjunction with the warrant article for $40,000.
• Street Lighting is a function of the PSNH rates in place.
• Solid Waste Management budget reduced from $113,000 to $97,000-Tom noted that the recycling center is functioning well and Bill is saving the town money. Karen encouraged everybody to recycle.
• John Goodney wondered how many hours Bill Dowling works, Karen noted 40. John then said Bill was not performing the Safety Officer job which brought his hours to 40.
• Septic Disposal was discussed. Billy Rines noted it is based on where the town has designated a septic dump site. Karen and Tom both noted that they were under the impression that the account was a line item to expense the cost to actually empty town property septic tanks. Edith then noted that the state requires that all towns designate a septic dump. After further discussion, Karen noted she would try to get more information about this line.
• Public Assistance budget for 2007 is down, but the Health Officer (which shows zero) is a new position. Dr. Evan Karpf submitted a budget for $500, then after discussing the travel for training, increased his requested budget to a total of $1,350. Tom again reminded the public that the Budget Committee hasn’t voted on final figures.
• Parks and Recreation was discussed. Bill Wright noted that Al Strasser has been sitting with the County Commissioners. Edith Tucker then noted that the state has money for which towns can apply, to reduce juvenile delinquency tendencies. The grant fund is called “Incentive Funds” and basically is designed to keep kids out of trouble. She suggested the Rec people could apply for funds to help offset the raft at the town beach. She noted that the funds could supplement what the Rec area does. Tom Brady (Jefferson) is the County Commissioner for our area, and should be encouraged to help the town with the grant application.
• Conservation Commission is new this year (2006 warrant approval), 2007 first year with a budget.
• Billy noted that the Water Department accounting is much clearer. Karen said the “01” and “04” account designation is an accounting correction to comply with the Department of Revenue chart of accounts.
• Lee Hallquist wondered why all of the Capital Reserve Fund annual amounts are combined in one warrant article-he would like to see each CRF as its own warrant article. Karen suggested that is had been decided, at the Select Board level, that these ongoing incremental increases to the CRF are regular and necessary town operations, and as such are one type of cost, so one warrant article.
• Jim Covey wondered why the total town budget appeared to be lower than last year by a couple hundred thousand dollars. Karen said it is that there are no warrant articles noted for 2007 yet, and the Water Department was not included on the summary page for the rest of the “01” accounts.
• Edith wondered how many people are in the Water salaries line. Billy said between 1-3 depending on what the actual work is that is accomplished. He said the estimate is lower than 2006 based on one anticipated line extension for 2007 vs. three that were done in 2006.
• Edith then wondered if the Water department had incurred new long term debt. Karen said the debt had been on the books for several years, but had been combined with the debt for the Recycling Center, and was now split to be more accurate.
• Regarding Petition warrant articles, Jim and Billy both wondered how many signatures were needed. Karen said she had seen 10 and 25. Tom suggested they contact the Town office to be sure.
• Edith asked about the 2 Fire department articles, would the Fund still keep the equipment up, as originally intended? Jeff Duncan answered that the newly named fund would continue to fund equipment as well as the salary cost of the second firefighter.
• Lee wondered if the town had purchased a 1997 pickup truck for the Fire department, was told one prior had been donated, this one had been purchased from Association funds.
• Police Cruiser surveillance cameras will be good for the town in case of any dispute of arrests, etc.
• Replacement cruiser estimate of $24,000-Jim asked if that was enough, as cruisers in CT were approximately $60,000. Bill Smalley said the $24,000 is the cost of the car only, not the cost to outfit which is being paid out of the “Car 54” project at no cost to the town. He also noted that normally, most of the electronic work is done by him, saving the town money. Jim wondered what type of car will be purchased and was told a Dodge Charger. Striping and Decals are all that will be necessary for Bill to install. Jim thanked him for the hard work.
• Landfill closure CRF-Tom noted there are only a few years left for testing etc. Edith noted at the Whitefield selectmen meeting Monday 12/11 that they were told the EPA had loosened rules and the estimate of $1million for the closure of the Whitefield landfill had dropped to $70,000. Tom and Karen both asked if the EPA had issued anything in writing, as that was significant. Edith noted that Steve Lafrance of Horizon Engineering had informed Whitefield, and suggested Carroll do the same. Billy Rines noted that this article and its passage would only put the Landfill Closure fund at $20,000.
• The $40,000 paving warrant article may be included in the Budget Committee’s paving expense line item. Karen noted that the Committee is trying to demonstrate clearly what the costs to operate the town are, and that transparency is essential.
• Tom said the article for the Safety Complex is a small start to an important and overdue building.
• The Bridge article references the Old Town Bridge. Jim noted that an engineering consultant had been hired. Tom said in 2012, 80% of the bridge replacement cost will be borne by the state. Billy said the bridge had been “red-listed” for so long that it may actually save the town money to bond the replacement of the bridge sooner, interest will be less, and the state will still reimburse at 2012.
• Karen noted the Landfill closure CRF could be left as a separate warrant as Lee suggested, rather than putting with the other CRF as the Budget Committee had discussed. The complete list of CRF should include the Municipal Truck Fund $10,000 inadvertently left off the list.
• Warrant for town administrator includes salary and benefits.
• Warrant for part-time planner to help rewrite Planning Board regulations
• Tom said the Warrant for tipping fees will be the fees collected will cover the cost to dispose of those items.
• The warrant article adjustment to the recycling special revenue fund is to correct a “glitch” in the wording of the 2001 article.
• The hydrant fee article is to control fund usage of municipal and private water system receipts of this money.
• Karen noted that she was informed the land to Foster will increase the tax base, as the property will be considered situated on Rt. 3, not Riverside Drive, will increase property tax revenue.
• There was no discussion on the various “social services” warrant articles.
• Tom noted that the article about the >1 year agreement for the Select Board is a function of the cell tower issue. Karen reminded the group that the Planning Board Cell Tower hearing had been postponed from December 19 to January 25, 2007.
• The Conservation Commission fund is very little potential money from left over budget
• Jim noted the Chamber of Commerce request is to pay the salary of Betty Gilman and Jo Cabral at the Information Booth. Tom asked for an accounting of where the money goes, Jim said the Treasurer can do that for us. Jim then noted that the only fundraiser, “Reach the Beach” is no longer an option.
• Bill Wright said the town had received a letter from Portsmouth requesting more money to fight the donor town.
• Edith said the new owner of the Mt. Washington flies into the White Mountain Regional Airport (WMRA) on a charted jet, would take him nine hours via regular flight. Jim Covey suggested the wording be changed, as the airport benefits the entire town, not just the Mt Washington owners and guests. He said over a regular year, he gets 2-3 calls from people who have arrived at the WMRA. Karen asked had not the First Lady of the United States flown into the Twin Mountain Airport a few years back? Bill Smalley confirmed she had.

With no other items to review or discuss, Tom thanked the public for coming and providing input which the Committee will take under advisement when we vote. Jim Covey thanked the Committee for its work on the budget.

Edith Tucker asked how many are on the Committee and was told 7.

With nothing else, the meeting broke at 8:35.

Respectfully recorded as a record of the Public Hearing held on Tuesday December 12, 2006.

Karen Moran, Secretary

cc: Copies of the Budget Worksheet and the Warrant articles reviewed at the Public Hearing are attached to the Hard Copies of these minutes.