Online Services

Online Vehicle Registration Renewal Online Property Tax, Water & Sewer payments Online Dog License Renewals Vital Record Request
GIS & Property Database

View of Carroll from Sugarloaf

Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 10/26/2017 APPROVED

November 17th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
October 26, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall

Members present: Tadd Bailey, Allan Clark, Mike Finn, John Gardiner, Greg Hogan, Brad Houston, Jeremy Oleson, Terry Penner, Imre Szauter, and John Trammell.

Guests present: Susan Kraabel and Lois Pesman.

The Building Committee (the “Committee”) meeting began at 9:05 a.m. and was recorded.

Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

An agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.

Attendees introduced themselves.

The Oct. 12th draft meeting minutes were discussed. Jeremy Oleson made a motion, seconded by John Trammell, to approve the minutes as written. The vote in favor was unanimous.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the project marketing campaign; he turned the floor over to Allan Clark.

Allan Clark stated that the Committee’s campaign shouldn’t advocate for the project, but rather provide information to assist voters to make an intelligent decision. He envisions the Committee issuing a formal recommendation on the project, and encouraged individual members to continue speaking with family, friends, and community members about the merits of the project.

Allan Clark referenced the new renderings produced by architect Peter Stewart, which were on display in the meeting room. The renderings provide a conceptual perspective of the campus and the Town Hall and public safety services buildings, enabling a viewer to visualize how the project and its buildings fit within the town parcel’s topography.

Allan Clark distributed a conceptual layout for a trifold brochure that the Committee might consider using in a mailing, as a handout at the next informational session, and as a leave-behind for businesses and individuals interested in the project. He discussed paper size options and his views on what should be included in the brochure, including simple bullet items on size of the buildings, cost, and the tax implication. It must be clear that the Committee’s charge was to develop a conceptual plan and deliver it as a recommendation to the Select Board and the voters.

Allan Clark offered that total project cost, based on estimates obtained from one or more construction management firms, should serve as the starting point on cost to the taxpayers, and include estimates on potential grants and rebates, reduced operating costs for the new facilities, and the expiration of the water and transfer station bonds within the next 7 years. Translating the (estimated) final project cost into an actual tax rate increase per thousand valuation will assist voters in making an informed decision on the warrant article.

Allan Clark added that including information on the current buildings and their operating costs will help frame the need for moving ahead with a comprehensive project solution, not one implemented in multiple phases.

Allan Clark recommended including Committee member names and contact information in the brochure, as residents may feel more comfortable contacting certain members with their questions and feedback. John Gardiner offered that including all Committee member names and contact information would consume valuable space in the brochure, and suggested listing just key Committee members with their contact information. In addition, he urged that the town website be listed in the brochure as the principal source of information.

Allan Clark replied to John Gardiner’s concern by stating that he felt listing the Committee members was key to demonstrating not only technical expertise from the town’s department heads but also citizen participation. This overcomes the perception that only town employees were involved in developing the project and further demonstrates community involvement.

Susan Kraabel asked when the Committee envisioned the brochure would be distributed. Imre Szauter replied that he understood the 2017 valuation process would be completed within the next two weeks, setting the stage for the updated property tax rate. He stated the brochures would not be completed within that timeframe, so information presented would include the new property tax rate.

Imre Szauter asked the Committee about the brochure panel that provides space for a mailing label, postage and a return address. He mentioned this space was brought up at the last meeting because if the intention is to place the brochures in envelopes to be mailed via the USPS, then that 1/3 page area is now being wasted.

John Gardiner suggested checking with the Post Office as to any first-class mailing piece requirements, such as size. Allan Clark offered that going to a trifold based on letter-sized paper (8.5” x 11”) would reduce the size of the rendering so as to be undiscernible to a reader. Lois Pesman suggested a quad-fold instead of tri-fold using the legal-sized paper (8.5” x 14”) so the same space is available but the brochure is more slender for mailing.

Terry Penner asked if the brochures would be mailed to registered voters this time, instead of property owners as was done with the September mailing. Imre Szauter replied that the registered voter mailing list would be available from the Town Clerk for Committee use as long as the material distributed was informational (here are the facts), not promotional (vote FOR the warrant article) in nature. Terry Penner followed up by suggesting that mailing the brochure in an envelope was more likely to receive attention from the recipient as opposed to a folded piece of paper, often regarded as advertising or junk mail.

Terry Penner suggested the brochure could also be distributed as an email attachment and posted on social media sites if it was available as a PDF.

John Gardiner asked for clarification on the estimated annual payment for the project; he thought he understood it to be about $250,000 per year. He pointed out that number is about what the town pays each month in state and local school taxes. John Gardiner added that about 75% of property tax revenue leaves the town, going to state and local education and the county, meaning only about 25% is retained for municipal government use. He thought including this information in the brochure would help residents put the annual project cost in perspective.

Susan Kraabel added the amount for the schools in 2016 was actually $282,000 per month, equating to about $47,000 per student.

Imre Szauter asked for consensus on the brochure. Committee members agreed to removing the mailing label panel would provide more space for information, keeping the paper size at 8.5” x 14” (legal size), retaining the simple bullet-point format were possible, adding Committee member names but without titles, and adding comparison information on the project’s annual cost versus the school system’s monthly cost.

Imre Szauter asked for consensus on another mailing. He reported that the September mailing to 787 unique property owner addresses resulted in 44 letters returned for bad addresses. The cost for Mailings Unlimited to print the letters using the template and mailing list we provided, fold them, stuff them into #10 business-sized window envelopes and affix pre-sorted first class postage was about $500.

Terry Penner asked when the Committee envisions another mailing would be done. Allan Clark stated that if another mailing is done, it should be in January 2018, shortly before town deliberative session.

Jeremy Oleson made a motion, seconded by Tadd Bailey, that Imre Szauter contact Mailings Unlimited for an estimate to print a two-sided, legal-sized color brochure, folded in either thirds or fourths, stuffed into properly-sized envelopes address to all unique registered voter addresses in the Town of Carroll, and affixed with appropriate pre-sorted first-class postage with a targeted distribution date of mid-January 2018. With no additional discussion, the motion was passed unanimously.

Imre Szauter asked Committee members to consider what information should be included in the brochure and to bring those ideas to the next meeting. Allan Clark stated the Committee should determine exactly what will go into the brochure; the graphic designer’s only role will be to format the information appropriately.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on advocacy for the project outside of the Committee. Mike Finn asked if this meant seeking an endorsement from outside groups or individuals. He mentioned a Bretton Woods Property Owners Association (POA) board of directors meeting during which he asked if the board was willing to endorse the project. No commitment was made, but by Mike Finn bringing up the subject, it allows the board to debate and issue an endorsement if approved by a majority of its members.

Allan Clark suggested the Committee consider two separate components for this project. The first component is the Committee’s official recommendation to the Select Board for the project, which includes the conceptual plan, estimated cost, and suggested construction manager for the project. All this work will be funded by the warrant article passed by the voters in March 2017. The second component is any advocacy work done on behalf of the project, which is not a function of the Committee, doesn’t use taxpayer funds, and may be done or utilize endorsements provided by groups or individuals to enhance passage of the March 2018 warrant article to complete the project.

Allan Clark used the example of yard signs to support a warrant article, such as “I support article X”, may increase interest in the project as residents make up their minds. Signs like that would be considered advocacy and should not be funded with taxpayer dollars. Private individuals and/or groups could champion such a campaign of support, using private funds. A newspaper advertisement is another potential vehicle for conveying support, especially if it includes a list of individuals, businesses and groups that endorse the project.

Mike Finn explained the function of the Bretton Woods POA and stated that twelve POAs exist within the Bretton Woods community. He mentioned an upcoming December meeting during which the president of each POA was invited to attend. That may be the time to bring up support for and/or an endorsement of the project.

John Gardiner stated that there are few civic groups active in town these days, when compared to the past, making it more difficult to reach individuals bound together by a common interest.

Jeremy Oleson reminded attendees of the 2017 New Boston (NH) fire department video that toured there existing building and discussed the need for a replacement. He asked if the Committee thought producing a similar video for our project would be worthwhile.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the Committee presentation on Oct. 14th at the Bretton Woods POA meeting. Allan Clark stated he thought the presentation was well received, with good questions before, during and after the time allotted to the Committee. Jeremy Oleson, who also attended the meeting, agreed with Allan Clark’s assessment. Mike Finn and Terry Penner, who also made a presentation during the meeting, agreed that the approximately 80 or so attendees seemed attentive and asked good questions. Imre Szauter thanked Mike Finn and Terry Penner for securing the Committee’s invitation.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the Oct. 17th Twin Mountain – Bretton Woods Chamber of Commerce meeting. He and Jeremy Oleson were invited to briefly discuss the project and share the conceptual drawings with the eight attendees. Carol Carlson-Cunningham, Chamber of Commerce chair, invited the Committee to return on Nov. 14th to make a more formal presentation. Jeremy Oleson mentioned that following the meeting, several Chamber members expressed concern about the potential closure of the west end of School Street, as they believe it will impact their information booth traffic. He stated that he felt several of the attendees would be supportive of the project.

Allan Clark added that while it’s important to note all feedback on the project, he cautioned that it’s too early to promise that all concerns will be resolved. Issues such as the potential closure of the west end of School Street must be evaluated by a civil engineer to be sure that any proposed solution is realistic, cost-effective, and worthwhile.

Imre Szauter reminded attendees that the next information session has been scheduled for Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall. The focus of the meeting will likely be on the cost of the project and the property tax implication.

When attendees were asked if there were any other items that should be covered, Mike Finn asked if there were any outstanding items brought up at the Sep. 28th informational session that need addressed. Imre Szauter replied there were no changes planned for the conceptual drawings. He stated that a concern raised about the wording of the 2017 warrant article was resolved by Maryclare Quigley, administrative assistant, contacting the NH DRA (Department of Revenue Administration); the representative at the NHDRA suggested the 2018 warrant article wording be specific as to which offices and functions (such as the library and historical society) would be included in the project.

Mike Finn asked if the community room could become a revenue generator for the town. Imre Szauter replied that he asked the Select Board to consider drafting community room use rules prior to town deliberative session so residents would understand its terms and conditions for use. He stated that several New Hampshire towns with community rooms do charge for their use, particularly for individuals or groups from out-of-town. The Select Board has created an action item to draft rules for the community room.

John Trammell stated that the new police department building project he participated in while in Rhode Island incorporated a community room available to the public at no charge, and it was a huge success in terms of utilization. He stated that while it may be acceptable to levy a fee for private use, the community room should be available to residents free of charge.

Terry Penner asked if it would be possible to have grant, rebate and loan information available before the January 2018 informational session. Allan Clark replied that because we don’t have a voter-approved project available yet, it would be difficult to provide solid information on funding sources to offset part of the project’s cost. He stated that he has had conversations with the NH Homeland Security & Emergency Management office about a grant for designating the fire department training room as the EOC (Emergency Operations Center). He also stated that Eversource has rebates available for energy efficiency options, such as LED lighting and air-source heat pumps.

John Gardiner reminded attendees that the New Land and Building Capital Reserve Fund has money set aside for land acquisition and new construction projects such as this. In fact, the $60,000 warrant article approved in March 2017 for project planning, design, and documentation services is using that fund. He stated that the Committee should recommend using some of those funds for Phase Two of the project, if the March 2018 warrant article is approved by voters.

Imre Szauter asked if the trifold brochure under consideration would be an appropriate handout for the January 18th informational session. Attendees agreed it should be made available at the informational session.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on other issues. He reviewed the Committee’s Oct. 16th report to the Select Board. Additionally, he provided an update on Committee account balances. The miscellaneous expenses account balance is $1,480.23 (out of $2,500 authorized) and the warrant article account balance is $35,695.75 (out of $60,000 authorized).

Imre Szauter summarized current action items:
1) Post approved Oct. 12th meeting minutes on the town website and Google Drive (Imre Szauter)
2) Continue developing ideas for informational trifold brochure (all)

Imre Szauter polled attendees for any closing remarks. Allan Clark stated that he felt the Committee is making good progress and should continue gathering feedback from the community. He reminded attendees that for the town, doing nothing is a conscious decision to waste money, and that delaying replacement of town buildings will only result in higher construction and financing costs in the future.

Lois Pesman asked if this project would be finalized by next year. Allan Clark replied that if voters approved the second phase at the March 2018 town vote, he believes that the new facilities could be completed and occupied by the end of 2018.

Susan Kraabel reminded attendees of the Nov. 4th spaghetti and meatball dinner from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church to benefit the Twin Mountain Fire and Rescue Department equipment fund.

Attendees agreed the next Committee meeting would be held on Thursday, Nov. 9th at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.

Terry Penner made a motion, seconded by John Gardiner, to adjourn the meeting. The vote to adjourn was unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 10:18 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.