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Minutes of 6/28/2018 APPROVED

July 23rd, 2018

June 28, 2018
Meeting brought to order at 9:00 a.m. by Imre Szauter
Pledge of Allegiance
Present: Tadd Bailey, Mike Finn, John Gardiner, Greg Hogan, Sue Kraabel, Janet Nelson, Jeremy Oleson, Terry Penner, Imre Szauter, John Trammell, Ed Martin, Scott Sonia, Bill Gemmer, John Greer, Anita Greer, Dave Scalley, Allan Clark
Allan Clark stated that he was hired by the town to assist with moving the building project forward, figure out why the project was voted down and whether to revise or refine the project goal. He said the first objective is to determine who will be the committee chairman. There was an immediate motion and second to have Imre continue to be the chairman. While Imre said it was an honor to have served as chair, he feels that presenting new leadership would be the way to go. Mike Finn stated that he felt Imre’s chairmanship would provide continuity to the project. He pointed out that Imre had done lots of background research and had lots of knowledge stored in his brain that no one else had. Dave Scalley agreed with Mike, but suggested that perhaps naming a co-chair would take some of the pressure off of Imre. It was also suggested that having someone else do the minutes would help Imre. Allan said that he feels that it was because of Imre’s efforts that the warrant article only failed by two votes. He said the snowstorm definitely impacted the result, but Imre’s work was responsible for so many yes votes. He said he feels that with a new chair, it would almost be like starting from scratch, and urged Imre to reconsider. Allan pointed out how many people on the earlier committee have come out again today in support of this project and Imre’s work on it, and that most would be willing to help out in any way that Imre needed. After some discussion about the fact that the majority of the work is done, Imre agreed to be the chair, Sue Kraabel would do minutes, Allan would prepare more presentation material, and Imre would have a backup if he was away at some time. Motions were made, seconded, and passed to appoint Mike Finn as Vice-Chair, Sue Kraabel as Recorder, and Imre Szauter as Chairman.
The next item brought up was the minutes for the June 13 building committee meeting. Imre pointed out that the meeting was sort of an organizational meeting attended by the selectmen, and Bonnie Moroney did the minutes. It was an opportunity for the public to discuss what happened with the town vote. Imre said he was not looking to have them approved, but wanted the committee to see the information discussed.
Allan began the discussion regarding the purpose of this current committee. In discussing why the article was defeated, he said we don’t know how abutters voted, there was misinformation about the tax increase published, some people were concerned about the future of the existing town hall, some felt the article was too long, and definitely the snow storm was a problem. He said the article was written the way it had to be, by an attorney. Some stayed home because of the snow because they thought the article would pass without their votes. Allan noted that there had been no questions asked at the Deliberative Session, and that has to change at the next Town Meeting. We also need to get more people to come to that session. Various suggestions were made about what needs to be done in order to have the building project approved at the next election. Voters need information about the many things that would have to be done to the existing buildings if another warrant article doesn’t pass, and what it will cost. They want to know specifically what happens to the existing town hall if a new one is built. Does the committee need to go door to door, make phone calls? One-on-one conversations with voters were suggested. There was misinformation out there that should have been corrected. People need to consider the growth happening in town and that we’re building for the future, not just now. Jeremy Oleson suggested that the selectmen form a sub-committee to come up with options for the town hall, and Dave said he would bring that up at the next Selectman’s meeting. People are concerned about their tax rate and need as much information as we know about future expenses. Not everyone is aware that we have two bonds that will be paid off in 2022 and 2024. They total approximately $78,000 in expense per year that will be gone.
Discussion then took place about whether to revise or refine the project, and it was pointed out that the existing plans were for well thought out, high efficiency buildings that would meet current and future needs, nothing fancy. Eliminating one building or revising the Public Safety building would mean revising the plan, and the $25,000 currently allocated for the committee to use is not enough. Bill Gemmer feels we should keep the project as it stands, that there is no fluff in it. Dave pointed out that there would probably be a 10-15% increase in cost over the 2018 project, but renovation of the town hall would probably cost more than building the new one. At the time the project was put together, the cost of a new town hall was $1.6 million, and the cost to renovate it was $1.8 million.
Ed Martin talked about issues that need to be addressed before another vote. He said people are concerned about future costs -- what equipment will be purchased, what it will cost to get rid of the town hall, etc. Tadd Bailey reminded people that a new building doesn’t automatically mean that we will buy a ladder truck. That would require a vote for it. Allan also pointed out that there are currently grants available for 95% of the cost of a ladder truck, but you must have a building for it. Ed also said we really need to focus more on the police station, and it was stated that we did talk about the station, but must do a better job of it. Allan said we need to talk more about the deficiencies in the building, in terms of cost, safety and compliance. It was suggested that we form small informal groups to discuss this, that people are sometimes reluctant to speak in a large meeting. Anita Greer mentioned that if the same proposal goes up, there may be a public perception of arrogance on the part of the committee, and the committee will have to come up with a way to deal with that. Allan suggested that the most important time to talk to voters is between the deliberative session and the town vote.
Allan said the plan presented to and voted on by the town was a conceptual plan, drawn up so we could determine building costs and not go over budget when construction is done. We’re now talking about whether to revise that plan. He said the committee is now voting on whether to keep the overall concept the same. In future meetings we can re-evaluate the components that go into it, possibly lowering the price tag. Imre then made the motion to move forward with the original concept plan, with its renderings, drawings, and floor plans, subject to component changes. Motion was made, seconded, and passed. The committee is recommending to the selectmen that we move forward with this conceptual plan.
Allan said in the coming months, the committee will have to determine how to disseminate the facts. One thing that wasn’t used in the past was social media, and that’s a possibility. He said it’s way too soon to determine a price for this project – some material will be more than if we were building now. He expects costs to be $300,000 to $400,000 higher this time. He said he can probably get pricing in early December. At some point the committee and town could decide to eliminate components (furniture, etc.) in order to reduce the warrant article cost. Once again he said the gap between the deliberative session and the vote is the time for the committee to really promote the project. The committee’s role is really marketing. He also said that having some members on the committee who voted no would be good. Terry Penner said we need to reach out to people who didn’t vote. There are renters in Twin Mountain that can vote, and hotel employees that could register and vote, but haven’t in the past. John Trammell suggested showing satellite views of town property showing the new buildings – pictures can help. Imre brought up the subject of non-compliance in our buildings. Certain things leave us at risk to be sued for safety issues in some of our buildings, and voters need to realize that we are at risk. Once again one-on-one conversations were suggested. Ed suggested drawing up a “cheat sheet” for committee members with things we discussed – something we can show people as to why we need new buildings. It was suggested that the committee members work harder in smaller groups and have information prepared for them to show people they meet with.
Allan suggested meeting monthly, and it was decided to meet on the third Thursday of each month. It was decided that the next meeting will be July 19 at 7 p.m.
Imre asked if any of the new people attending tonight would like to be on the building committee, and be listed as a member on any document showing member names. All agreed to serve on the committee.
Imre then discussed getting endorsements for the project from groups in town, i.e. Garden Club, Historical Society, and Homeowners’ Associations. If any committee member belongs to such organizations they were urged to ask their group for an endorsement.
Mention of the Police Dept. building lease was made so that everyone knows that there’s always a possibility that the lease could not be renewed with the owners.
Dave’s closing comment was to commend the town employees that attend these meetings on their own time, not charging the town for the time.
Allan reminded the committee that the real goal is to get more people to vote and focus on getting the yes votes to come out again.
Imre stated that the next meeting will be Thursday, July 19th at 7 p.m.
There being no further business, at 10:45 a.m., a motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed.