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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 3/17/2017

April 17th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
March 17, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall
Members and guests present: John Gardiner, Greg Hogan, Brad Houston, and Imre Szauter
The meeting began at 9:05 a.m. and was recorded.
Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A draft agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.
Attendees introduced themselves.
The draft minutes of the Mar. 3, 2017 meeting were discussed. John made a motion, seconded by Brad, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.
Attendees discussed the outcome of the Mar. 14 second session (town vote). All warrant articles passed. Warrant Article #5, the request “…to raise and appropriate the sum of $60,000 for planning, design, consulting and documentation services for a public safety and administrative building to house the police and fire departments and town administrative offices…” passed by a vote of 94 to 59.
Imre asked if any attendees had heard any feedback from town residents. Greg mentioned a resident who is adamant about keeping Town Hall.
John suggested that we must continue to stress the cost of maintaining and operating the three existing buildings; he asked Greg if he had any numbers to show the reduction in heating fuel use since the Town Hall’s gymnasium was shut down. Greg stated that he didn’t, and would likely wait until the end of the winter season to report any savings.
John also asked if the heating fuel used by the Town Hall was tax-exempt. Greg stated he didn’t know the answer, but would check into it.
Attendees commented on the voter turnout on Mar. 14. Greg stated he felt the turnout was less than last year, but the weather may have been a factor.
Imre stated that the challenge now will be to continue to communicate with the public while moving forward with the planning and design efforts. Using storyboards at functions such as the Fire Department pancake breakfasts, the Memorial Day parade, and July 4th celebration are one way to keep the message out there and solicit input. Hosting open houses at the police and fire departments would also provide opportunities for the public to confirm the non-compliances and structural deficiencies these departments and their staff face.
Attendees discussed warrant articles in other communities that sought to plan and/or construct public safety buildings, some of which failed. Looking at the margin of victory or defeat on
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warrant articles in other communities may be helpful in learning what else the Building Committee can do to make the second phase of our project successful.
John asked Brad if any activities were planned during National Fire Prevention Week. He suggested stressing the importance of teaching children the basics of fire prevention and that using the time to speak with their parents about replacing the fire department building with a combined public safety structure might be a good way of reaching out to the community. Brad mentioned there were costs associated with the handouts used during the week and he wasn’t sure how much or where the funds came from.
Imre asked John if the Historical Society had any activities planned this year. John stated that the craft fair was the biggest event last year and without a place to hold it this year, it may not take place. Using the fire department building for the craft fair would present parking problems, as traffic has always been an issue during this event.
John mentioned the mile-long yard sale that used to be held in the town. Because of risk concerns and insurance costs, the event was halted.
Greg mentioned that the transfer station has space available for posting and distributing information.
John suggested that Imre periodically write a letter to the editor of the Coos County Democrat to help the community stay informed. Imre mentioned that his conversation with reporter Jenny Monahan earlier this year resulted in the article that appeared in the Jan. 25 edition of the Democrat, so perhaps additional communications with her would result in more articles.
Imre suggested that with approval of the warrant article, now is the time to ask the town residents what features they want in a new public safety and administrative offices building, other than those required to support the police and fire departments and town offices. Issues such as the library, Historical Society, food pantry, and a meeting or “community” room should be discussed as the specifications for the building are being developed. Additionally, the fate of Town Hall and the fire department building must be addressed with input from the residents.
John stated that the New Hampshire Municipal Association’s magazine, New Hampshire Town and City, may contain articles and information that would be helpful to the committee as it begins the planning process for a new structure.
Imre mentioned now that the warrant article has passed, he will contact the Eversource representative to set up a meeting to discuss how Eversource can work with us on planning and designing a new facility, and qualify the project for rebates using approved products and practices. Additionally, he’ll ask about discussing the conversion of our street lights to LED units to lower our annual street lighting cost. As soon as the meeting date and time are established, a notice will be distributed and the meeting posted on the town’s website.
John mentioned that a solar array installation might work well on the site for a new building. Given Lancaster’s success with solar, we could learn from their experience.
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Imre mentioned that public-private partnerships should be explored as an additional funding source for amenities associated with a new building, such as playground equipment for children or picnic tables for community use.
John asked about whether local talk radio might help us get and keep information out there. Greg stated that there was a new radio station in Bethlehem; he offered to find out more and report back.
Imre indicated that Select Board member David Scalley had asked if the Building Committee would consider meeting on another weekday instead of Friday. Attendees discussed other days and decided that meeting on Thursdays at 9 a.m. would work.
Attendees agreed that reaching out to other groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to join with us in the planning process would result in more ideas and perhaps greater support for the initiative.
The next meeting of the Building Committee will be Thursday, Mar. 30 at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.
Greg made a motion, seconded by John, to adjourn the meeting. Vote was unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 9:51 a.m.
Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.