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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 1/4/2018 APPROVED

January 20th, 2018

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
January 4, 2018 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall
Members present: Tadd Bailey, Mike Finn, John Gardiner, Susan Kraabel, Janet Nelson, Jeremy Oleson, Michelle Palys, Terry Penner, Lois Pesman, Imre Szauter, John Trammell, and Rena Vecchio
Professional staff present: Allan Clark, project manager
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 Dec. 14th draft meeting minutes were discussed. John Gardiner made a motion, seconded by Janet Nelson, to approve the minutes as written. The motion passed with one abstention.
Imre Szauter opened a discussion on Allan Clark・s final preliminary specifications. Allan Clark asked if the documents were posted; Imre Szauter indicated he would check and post them if they were not.
Imre Szauter opened a discussion on Allan Clark・s financial analysis. Allan Clark indicated he had updated the project budget based on information he・s received from several Construction Managers. He referenced the budget handout showing a total of $4,022,500 for the project, including a $200,000 contingency, which is approximately 5% of the project・s estimated cost.
Allan Clark stated that he recommends using $3.95 million as the total project cost for the warrant article and the brochure, as the amount shown on the budget handout is a very conservative estimate based on a 4% interest rate. He remarked that the budget handout lists the Franconia Public Safety building project costs (in total dollars and dollars per square foot) for reference.
Allan Clark indicated that he used estimates from Construction Managers that he has worked with in the past to refine his total project budget, so he feels confident the project can be completed for less than the maximum amount ($3.95 million) recommended for the warrant article. The Construction Manager firms were Conneston Construction Inc., of Gilford; Presby Construction of Franconia; and Ricci Construction Co., Inc. of Portsmouth. He provided example projects completed by each firm.
Allan Clark emphasized that the project budget is all-inclusive and proposes the use of quality, long-lasting and low-maintenance materials. He stated it makes little sense to use inferior
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materials and/or building practices to bring the initial project cost down, as this results in paying higher operational and maintenance costs for the life of the buildings. Energy-efficiency is a significant feature of the buildings, so taxpayers will save on heating fuel and electricity costs when the buildings are constructed correctly. Allan Clark pointed out that the Franconia Public Safety building spends about $1.00 per square foot of space for fuel and electricity on a yearly basis.
Allan Clark discussed some of the line items in the total project budget handout, explaining factors that may influence the final costs of those items.
Michelle Palys asked about the project・s total square footage, as the budget handout lists costs per square foot. Allan Clark replied that the final preliminary specifications and the conceptual plans place the project at approximately 20,000 square feet total. For reference, he stated that the Franconia Public Safety building came in at 9,660 square feet.
Mike Finn asked if the project is approved by the voters and construction begins, are there any penalties imposed if the Construction Manager fails to meet the project schedule. Allan Clark replied that penalties can be negotiated into the contract with the Construction Manager, but care should be exercised in doing so. It is far better to select the correct Construction Manager for the project up front, and develop and maintain a strong working relationship with the firm, than to approach such a project seeking to penalize the Construction Manager for every single obstacle encountered.
Susan Kraabel asked about the total estimate shown on the handout ($4,022,550) versus the amount mentioned earlier ($3.95 million). Allan Clark replied there is flexibility built into the budget and he confidently expects the project to complete for under $3.95 million. The larger number is shown as an estimate based solely on the square footage and estimated cost per square foot of each item. Additionally, there is some duplication of his budget items and items in the estimates from Construction Managers. Once those duplications are identified and resolved, the cost of the project will be reduced.
Michelle Palys asked what happens to any cost savings that are realized during the project. Allan Clark replied by explaining the process he followed during the Franconia Public Safety building project. A Building Committee just like this one met frequently up to actual construction start. Once work began, Allan Clark and the Franconia Building Committee Chair met once a week with the Construction Manager to review all aspects of the project. The Committee Chair then reported back to the Building Committee on any changes made in the project plan and/or costs. Any cost savings realized were credited to the construction account. Coming in under budget demonstrates good planning and control of the project and should be viewed as a positive by the taxpayers.
Susan Kraabel asked if changes to the Franconia project were reviewed and approved by their Building Committee instead of their Select Board. Allan Clark replied that the Franconia Building Committee Chair was also a Selectman, so any issues that required Select Board involvement were handled by the Chair. Allan Clark stated that the Town of Carroll Select
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Board should decide either to review project change requests themselves or to delegate that responsibility to someone else, such as the Building Committee Chair.
Allan Clark explained that if the project is approved by the voters and he is selected as project manager, he will act as the single point of contact between the town (Select Board and Building Committee) and the Construction Manager, handling all invoices, change requests, and issues that may arise during the project, so there is full accountability for all money spent and any changes to the project or the schedule. Weekly meetings with the Building Committee Chair, or someone else either from the Select Board or their designee, would serve as the official way for information to get communicated back and forth. At the end of the project, Allan Clark said he would provide the town a binder with every invoice as proof of all products and services paid for in the project.
Terry Penner remarked that he understood the project budget included everything, but he was curious if any materials already owned by the town would be moved into the new facilities. Allan Clark stated that his calculations assume all new materials, but that doesn・t preclude moving serviceable items into the new facilities. Imre Szauter mentioned the library shelving as an example of furniture and fixtures that were previously discussed as reusable.
Tadd Bailey pointed out that both the police and fire departments have offered tours so residents could see first-hand the condition of the buildings and its furniture and fixtures, but no one has stopped by. Photographs presented during the informational session will be helpful in documenting the current deficiencies, but they don・t have the same impact.
John Gardiner and John Trammell stated that much of the current police department furniture, file cabinets, and office equipment was either surplus from the state, acquired from other agencies both in and out of state, or recycled from the transfer station. John Trammell offered that police department file cabinets in good condition should be moved into the new facility, saving the project and the taxpayers money.
Terry Penner asked if the detailed project budget was something for distribution at either the informational session or the deliberative session. Allan Clark suggested that a budget summary could be made available, but he fears the detailed project budget might detract from the big picture. The detailed information should be made available to anyone who asks and/or it could be posted, but it shouldn・t be made into a handout for the meetings.
Terry Penner also asked how we should address the increase in the total project cost, given that the $3.75 million amount was provided at the September 2017 informational session. Allan Clark pointed out that a $200,000 contingency has been added to the budget and other costs have been adjusted up or down based on the most current information available and his discussions with Construction Managers, so the $3.75 million was not presented as the final cost.
Allan Clark suggested the Committee discuss and if appropriate, formally recommend the total project budget at $3.95 million to the Select Board and for inclusion in the brochure and all documents going forward.
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Imre Szauter summarized Allan Clark・s suggestion and asked the Committee・s pleasure. Rena Vecchio made a motion, seconded by Mike Finn, to increase the project estimated budget amount from $3.75 million to $3.95 million. Without further discussion, the Committee voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Hearing no additional discussion on the project budget, Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the project brochure, a copy of which was distributed prior to the meeting. He commented that he and Allan Clark had made minor changes to the content, including changing the total project budget amount to $3.95 million, and included modifications suggested at the previous meeting. The final PDF version was sent to Mailings Unlimited on Jan. 3rd for production, with brochures to be mailed out on Jan. 8th to 552 registered voters. About 450 extra copies of the brochure will be sent to Town Hall for distribution at the Jan. 18th informational session, the Feb. 6th deliberative session, at several locations around town, and will be made available to individuals and businesses interested in the project. Imre Szauter concluded the brochure discussion by stating that the Mailings Unlimited invoice was dated in 2017, so funds from the 2017 Committee miscellaneous budget account were used to pay the invoice.
Imre Szauter asked Allan Clark to provide an update on the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Allan Clark indicated his research shows our project may qualify for some grant funds, although he has not yet spoken with the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner, Taylor Caswell, who is Governor Sununu・s chosen Alternate on the NBRC.
Rena Vecchio asked if there were other grant funding sources available to help offset the project cost. Imre Szauter replied that Allan Clark had provided a comprehensive listing of potential grant funders that should be closely reviewed once the project is approved by the voters.
Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the Jan. 18th informational session. He stated that he has prepared a skeleton PowerPoint presentation and printed a single copy for circulation and review. A PDF version will be posted on the Google Drive for review and comment. So far, photos highlighting deficiencies within the police and fire department buildings and Town Hall have been included, along with financial, budget and property tax implication placeholders.
Susan Kraabel stated that adding a ladder truck to the fire department has become more important with the growth that has already taken place within the community. Not just for the multistory buildings in Bretton Woods, but rescue operations where a ladder truck is available reduces injury risk to fire department personnel and speeds up victim recovery. In addition, with proper sizing of the fire department building apparatus bay, custom-sized fire vehicles at a higher cost would no longer be needed.
Michelle Palys asked about fundraising opportunities that might address voter concerns about rising property taxes and that could be used to offset expenses associated with the project. Jeremy Oleson stated that fundraising activities such as the pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinner and raffles have raised funds for specific projects within the fire department and ambulance service, therefore reducing their operating expenses somewhat. The success of these fundraisers becomes apparent during year-end budget reviews and planning for future budgets.
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Imre Szauter referenced four recent newspaper articles and the advertisement for the Jan. 18th informational session that appeared in the Coos County Democrat and The Littleton Courier. Copies were distributed prior to the meeting and were posted on the Google Drive. They included:
12/20/2017, Coos County Democrat, :Bretton Woods outlines plans for gondola and mountaintop restaurant;
12/20/2017, Coos County Democrat, :WMRSD board signs off on proposed budget;
12/27/2017, The Littleton Courier, :New Lisbon fire station would expand capacity;
01/03/2018, Coos County Democrat, :Carroll municipal complex planned for 2018 completion;
12/27/2017, Coos County Democrat, :Notice to Town of Carroll Residents;
Attendees discussed how expansion plans announced by the Bretton Woods ski resort demonstrate confidence in the future of the resort area and the community. Additional expansion plans may be forthcoming in the Bretton Woods community, according to Jeremy Oleson.
The article on the White Mountain Regional School District・s budget and their decision to close the Jefferson Elementary School at the end of the current school year contained information on the tax impact to the five communities in the district. The Town of Carroll was shown with a $0.35 reduction in the local education portion of their property tax. As the local education portion is the largest component of the town・s property tax (approximately 39%), this reduction is significant.
Allan Clark provided the Lisbon fire department article as a contrast to what the Town of Carroll is planning.
The front-page article on the proposed Town of Carroll project was interesting in that it appears no one on the Committee was contacted by the reporter. It may be that meeting minutes and/or informational session presentations were the sources for the information presented.
Under other issues, Imre Szauter summarized Committee business before the Select Board at their Dec. 18th meeting. He mentioned the project warrant article was not reviewed; it will be discussed at the Jan. 8th meeting. He also outlined the Dec. 18th Committee report to the Select Board.
Also under other issues, Imre Szauter reported account balances of $263.55 ($2,236.45 spent; 10.5% remaining) in the Committee miscellaneous expenses fund and $28,499.39 ($31,500.61 spent; 47.5% remaining) in the warrant article authorization fund. He noted that the Mailings Unlimited invoice for the brochure printing and mailing was dated and paid in 2017, hence the small balance in the miscellaneous account. The new budget for 2018 has a Committee miscellaneous account line item for $2,500.
Imre Szauter summarized current action items:
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1) Post approved Dec. 14th meeting minutes on the town website and Google Drive (Imre Szauter)
2) Preparation for Jan. 18th informational session presentation (Imre Szauter, John Trammell, Jeremy Oleson, John Gardiner, and Allan Clark)
Imre Szauter reminded attendees of the following upcoming meetings:
Bond hearing V Tuesday, Jan. 9th @ 6:00 p.m. in Town Hall
WMRSD budget hearing V Wednesday, Jan. 10th @ 6:30 p.m. in the WMRHS auditorium
Building Committee meeting V Thursday, Jan. 18th @ 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall
Building Committee informational session V Thursday, Jan. 18th @ 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall
Town deliberative session V Tuesday, Feb. 6th @ 6:30 p.m. in the Twin Mountain Fire Dept. Building
Imre Szauter polled attendees for any closing remarks.
Allan Clark reminded attendees that we・re in the final stretch of the Committee・s work. It・s important for Committee members to speak with as many residents as possible to advocate for the town・s future through completion of the project.
Terry Penner offered that in light of recent federal tax code changes, there may be an impact on resort communities and owners of vacation/rental/second homes. New limits on deductibility of mortgage interest, property taxes, sales taxes, and state and local taxes may change the way individual think and invest in these properties. He stated that the reduction in the local education portion of the property tax rate should be highlighted at the informational session to give attendees a measure of relief.
Rena Vecchio pointed out that failure of this initiative raises the real possibility of the town experiencing an increase in operational and maintenance expenses for the current buildings, especially Town Hall. Mechanical systems are aging and costly repairs to or replacement of a major component such as a boiler may become necessary. These expenses are best avoided by moving forward with new energy-efficient and low-maintenance facilities as contained in this project.
John Gardiner made a motion, seconded by John Trammell, to adjourn the meeting. The vote to adjourn was unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 10:24 a.m.
Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.