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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 9/20/2018 APPROVED

October 12th, 2018

TOWN OF CARROLL BUILDING COMMITTEE MEETING
September 20, 2018
Meeting brought to order at 7:00 p.m. by Imre Szauter
Pledge of Allegiance
Present: Tadd Bailey, Allan Clark, Mike Finn, John Gardiner, Anita Greer, John Greer, Greg Hogan, Michael Hogan, Sue Kraabel, Bonnie Moroney, Janet Nelson, Jeremy Oleson, Terry Penner, Lois Pesman, Imre Szauter, and Rena Vecchio. Bill Gemmer, Michelle Palys, Greek Rouillard, and Dave Scalley were excused absences. Guests: Mark Sullivan and Brian Mycko. Reporter: Justin Roshak.
Chairman Imre Szauter asked if there were any changes to the minutes of the July 19 meeting. None mentioned, Mike Finn moved to accept them as written. Terry Penner seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Allan Clark distributed an update Task List (copy attached) and began the discussion by saying that the committee’s work will be limited because we will be presenting the same plans as last year. He said they represent the town department needs, and were not filled with both wants and needs. Our proposal represented the town’s needs, having met with department heads and town hall employees. These plans will no doubt be refined, but for purpose of pricing they should be fine as is. Allan said he’s talked to the two major contractors that he worked with before, and they are still interested. He said they will be willing to work on pricing in October so that we can present numbers to the public in November. Allan said that the numbers we presented to the town last year included everything, including things like new furniture. Depending on how the numbers come in this time, we may want to remove some items, like furniture, that could be dealt with in another year. He said construction costs are rising 10-15%, and we may have to put off some things for later. He said the project for last year was figured using a 4% interest rate on borrowing, and he said this rate may very well hold for the coming year. Allan said he’d like to bring in a civil engineer to get a better idea of site work costs. Storm water drains and septic systems are expensive, and he wants to make sure we have included the proper costs.
Imre said he and Mike spent some time working on the Tracking List that was presented at the last meeting, and they’ve come up with a spreadsheet showing names of committee members who will work on various tasks that need to be completed prior to town vote (copy attached). Mike went through the list and the status of each category. Imre has made a recommendation to the Select Board to form a committee to study, propose, and promote repurposing of the existing Town Hall, and the selectmen would like Rena Vecchio to head this committee. Bonnie Moroney also said there would be something in the next Town Newsletter about this. Mike noted the excellent brochure that had been created about the Fire Department, and wondered if there could be one done for the Police Department too. He said even though many in Bretton Woods can’t vote, they are always interested in what’s going on in town.
Jeremy Oleson has identified risks and potential liabilities for the Fire Department, John Trammell and Tadd Bailey for the Police Department, and Kelly Trammell for the Town Hall. For this committee, Rena agreed to research costs to refurbish the Town Hall and Fire Department building. It was noted that George Brodeur had done this years ago for the Town Hall, and the cost to refurbish was more than to build a new building. It was stated that adding inflation values to George’s numbers would still have new construction be less expensive. Allan stated that there is no way to make the existing fire station Energy Code and ADA compliant and still be used as a fire station. Both its construction material and size make this impossible. The building could be sold for some other use. At this point, Imre introduced guest Mark Sullivan, a new resident in Bretton Woods. He is the former Fire Chief in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and has agreed to join the committee in promoting the building process.
Allan said he would contact Eversource regarding rebates for energy efficiency. He and Imre will work on possible grant money for this project. Imre and Mike have identified organizations that may provide a letter of endorsement of this project and created a template letter for them to use. Any signed endorsement would then be made public.
Allan suggested that we add “Getting the Vote Out” to the Tracking list, and suggestions were made for getting people to the polls -- create a list of people who need a ride, adding committee member names to a list of drivers, put an ad in the paper with a phone number to call if you need a ride. The possibility of absentee ballot voting was mentioned.
Mike presented a list of Questions & Answers that includes subjects that have already been discussed and questions that are anticipated (copy attached). Committee members were urged to read over this list and come back with any suggestions of missing items. This list is designed to have committee members prepared to answer all questions from town citizens. Anita Greer suggested that we state that George Brodeur did the 2014 estimate to renovate the town hall.
The Tax Impact Table was presented (copy attached), showing estimated tax increase for this project on various assessed values if the warrant had passed last year. Mike said he’d worked with Becki Pederson, Town Clerk, who has agreed to come to any informational sessions to answer any tax questions. These dollars exclude tax credits or exemptions. Allan reminded people that for the coming period, the project total may change and the total value of the town may change, so the table would not necessarily apply to next year’s taxes. Michael Hogan suggested flipping the order of the last 2 columns and add a disclaimer about the exemptions.
Imre presented a spreadsheet (copy attached) showing yearly costs for utilities, rent, and lost property tax (police station building) for the town hall, fire station, and police station. For the last 7-10 years, they average $59,526 per year. If this project passes, the committee estimates that these services will average $20,000 per year, a savings of almost $40,000 per year. In addition to the cost, Michael brought up the environmental impact of our energy consumption.
The matter of endorsements was discussed again, and it was suggested that we draft a memo to those whose endorsements we’d like. Those receiving the memo could accept or decline. It was also suggested that those we receive could be mentioned in a meeting, and perhaps those endorsements could be mentioned in a newspaper article and in the town newsletter.
Imre brought up the New Hampshire Municipal Assn. calendar of important dates. January 8, 2019 is the last date that the selectman can publish notice of a Public Hearing on bond or note issues over $100,000. January 15 is the last date to hold the Public Hearing on this bond issue. He didn’t have the exact date, but by mid-December the exact wording of the warrant article for this project must be sent to the Selectmen for their consideration, and Town Counsel must have time to review this article.
When it was mentioned that Imre, Allan, and Jeremy were once again going to the Bretton Woods homeowners’ association annual meeting on October 13, Terry said there were about 75 owners at these meetings, and about a dozen vote in town elections. Mike said Terry, via his email directory, sent a message to everyone last year and will do it again this year.
Allan noted that we had 4 informational sessions last year, and recommends having only 2 this year. He suggested having one on January 31 (just prior to town deliberative session) and the second on February 28 (just prior to town vote). Last year we had no presentations between deliberative session and actual voting day, and that probably hurt us.
Imre reported that the current NH Municipal Bond Bank rates as of May 2018, were 3.24% for 20 years, and 3.55 % for 25 years, both still under the 4% that Allan was using in his calculations. We can also research local bank rates.
Imre reported that he’d received an invitation to display materials on a poster board at YaYa’s Market & Deli. It was suggested we put up a photo or two and maybe some bullet points. Bonnie suggested putting up something at the last Fire Department Pancake Breakfast. It was suggested putting up a list of this committee’s members on the wall at the Town Hall, so people could contact individuals. Imre will follow up on these items.
Imre said he’d contacted Salmon Press and got permission to post any newspaper articles they’ve published on this committee’s Google Drive site.
Mike and Terry spoke briefly about the expansion that is underway in Bretton Woods. The Omni Mt. Washington website has a display outlining the new gondola and function room/restaurant at the ski area, and the 69 room expansion at the hotel site. While only a portion of the ski area expansion will affect Carroll’s tax base, the additional rooms at the hotel site will be a significant increase. With this comes additional responsibility for service from the town. John Greer brought up the fact that people must be reminded that two bonds will soon be retired, and Imre stated that the Water bond expires in 2022 and the Transfer Station bond in 2024. So in 6 years, we will retire approximately $76,000 in annual bond payments.
Allan mentioned that we would be updating the brochure from last year prior to the election, but there would not be a mailing. Perhaps we can go door to door or hand them out at the transfer station. Michael suggested a link on the town website, and showing more detailed photos that show deficiencies in the current buildings.
Mention was made of the Voter Assistance Sign-Up Sheet that Mike created (copy attached). This will be discussed more at future meetings.
It was reported that beginning January 1, 2019, if the National Weather Service issues a winter storm warning, blizzard warning, or ice storm warning for election day, people who are elderly, infirm, or have a physical disability and are concerned about their safety, or people who care for children or infirm adults and anticipate the storm will cancel school, child care, or adult care, can vote via absentee ballot on the Monday before the town vote. The state has still given no permission to postpone the election because of bad weather. It was suggested that the Town Clerk post this information for voters.
The next Building Committee meeting will be Thursday, October 11 at 9 a.m. Daytime meetings have been requested by Allan, and the general public has not really responded to the evening meetings we’ve had, so the group agreed to go back to morning meetings. Terry asked if Allan could once again arrange for the public to tour the new Franconia fire station, and Allan said he would do that as we get closer to the election. It was suggested that we do a video to post on the town website.
Imre read an email from Bill Gemmer, who couldn’t attend this meeting. His message was that if we get these buildings, the property and liability insurance will drop significantly. With his insurance background, he volunteered to help with placing this insurance to get the consideration this upgrade deserves.
John Greer suggested putting a glossy, weatherproof copy of the updated brochure at the transfer station.
Justin Roshak said that he’s on the Board of Directors for Channel 2, and they are always looking to produce new material related to the local towns. He volunteered to film an informational session and put it on Channel 2. His offer was immediately accepted.
Rena suggested that someone from this committee go to the Historical Society meetings to give them information. She’s spoken to a member who was upset about abandoning the town hall. They meet on the first Wednesday of each month.
Allan suggested that we are in a new phase of this project, and that each committee member must promote the project whenever and wherever possible.
The next committee meeting will be Thursday, October 11 at 9 a.m.
There being no further business, at 8:45 p.m., a motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed.