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Public Budget Hearing 1/12/2021

January 19th, 2021

Carroll Board of Selectmen
Public Budget Hearing
Meeting Minutes
January 12, 2021

“These minutes of the Town of Carroll Select Board have been recorded by its Secretary. Though believed to be accurate and correct they are subject to additions, deletions and corrections by the Select Board at its next meeting when the Board votes its final approval of the minutes. They are being made available at this time to conform to the requirements of New Hampshire RSA 91-A:2.”

Due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis and in accordance with Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #12 pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04, this Board is authorized to meet electronically and did so through Zoom.

Minutes recorded by Kelly Trammell, Secretary
Board Members: Robert Gauthier Jr., David A. Scalley, Bonnie Moroney

Members of the Public: Jeremy Oleson, Tadd Bailey, Imre Szauter, Mike Hogan, Paul Hayes, Ben Jellison, Rena Vecchio, Chris Pappas, Mike Finn

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Chairperson Gauthier

Pledge of Allegiance

The Chair announced that the Board would be reviewing the budget and warrant articles. The public was advised that if they had input or questions to please use the “raise your hand” feature on Zoom or ask questions through chat. The budget and warrant articles were reviewed with pauses for public comment after each section.

Selectperson Scalley said Imre Szauter had assisted in getting pricing quotes for maintaining the air and heat systems in the new buildings. He said he hadn’t fully had a chance to review it. Imre Szauter spoke and said the pricing is for four inspections a year. Two are considered major and two are minor. The contract as presented is a one-year contract that covers the air handlers, ERV, air conditioning systems, boilers and Modine heaters. He said we will supply the filters. Szauter said the price is for inspection of the systems and replacing filters. Selectperson Scalley suggested increasing line 01-4194.10-430 (repair & maint. Town bldgs.) by $5,000 for a total of $20,000. The Board agreed.

Rena Vecchio asked the Board about further money to maintain the buildings. She said she knows they are new but thought it had been discussed about budgeting for upkeep. Selectperson Scalley advised that the Board has been hiring outside vendors for sprinkler system testing and the previously mentioned contract. He said right now, both new buildings are still under warranty for major items with the contractor and vendors.

Chairperson Gauthier asked Ben Jellison if he had spoken with the education attorney to see if $70,000 should still be budgeted for the legal attorney. Ben said the School Study Committee had a meeting the night prior and the School Board would not be putting a warrant article on their ballot to allow the Town of Carroll to work on a new payment formula. The Town would now have to proceed through the legal route and it is best to proceed with the suggested $70,000 as quoted by the attorney. Selectperson Scalley asked if that amount is going to be spent all in one year or could it be budgeted across a couple of years. Ben said he would find out and the amount can be amended at Deliberative Session if needed.

Selectperson Scalley advised that employees salaries are being brought in line where they need to be across the board in all departments.

The Board held a discussion on line 01-4290.10-206 (Emergency Mgt. Raze bldg.). This line had been budgeted to take down the Town owned property on Route 3 North. It has not been taken down because the State has a lien on the property in which the Town Attorney is trying to work out. The Board decided it has been a slow process and to zero out that line this year.

The Board also discussed the new line they had created for Covid related expenses 01-4920.10-207. The Board decided to reduced the budgeted amount from $10,000 to $5,000.

With no further budget questions and the Board approving all other expense lines, warrant articles were reviewed next. The Board reviewed all warrant articles individually and voted on their recommendation. Warrant articles were voted and approved with a recommendation of 3 – 0 with one exception:

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Two Hundred Fifty-Nine Thousand One Hundred Eighty Dollars ($259,180) to pave 1.3 miles of road throughout the Town and to authorize the withdrawal of Two Hundred Fifty-Nine Thousand One Hundred Eighty Dollars ($259,180) from the Major Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund created for that purpose. The vote was Gauthier – yes, Scalley – yes, Moroney – no.

Ben Jellison asked the justification of which roads will be chosen to be paved and if the Board already selected them. Selectperson Scalley said the Board will work with the Department Head and will try to pick the worst roads. Chairperson Gauthier said it would be looked at in Spring after winter plowing to check road conditions.

With regards to the warrant article to purchase a new plow truck, Ben Jellison asked if we are replacing a truck or buying an additional truck. He also asked about including trade-in value in the warrant article. Selectperson Scalley said the trade-in would go against the cost and that would reduce the amount removed from the Special Revenue Fund. Scalley said he would verify but thought a truck was being replaced.

Ben Jellison asked about the pay-per-bag warrant article and asked how this would offset taxpayer money. It was explained that the revenue would go into the Recycle Special Revenue Fund and would be used the following year to offset expenses. Ben said he realized it would take time to get implemented but it would mean the first year you would be paying for trash twice. Mike Hogan also spoke that he is tired of the private businesses and campgrounds throwing away their trash at the Transfer Station. He said as a private individual, he doesn’t generate money making trash. He said he feels this would make recycling increase.

Ben Jellison spoke about the warrant article with regards to negotiating with the White Mountains Regional School District. He said the School Study Committee made their presentation the night prior. Jellison said the Town of Carroll pays about one quarter of the School District’s budget and we have 5-6% of the population. He said the school tax rate is 34% higher than the Town of Carroll’s town tax rate. The Committee proposed an 80/20 compromise and requested the District put a warrant article on the School Ballot to negotiate the Town’s payment calculation. He said some of the School Board members were professional about it and others were not. He said if people would like to view the meeting recording, they can go to the SAU36 web site link. He said their presentation is at the beginning and then at about one hour and thirty-nine minutes in is where the Board deliberated. He said he is troubled by some of the comments made. In the end, the Board voted down the request and said they wanted to form their own Study Committee. Ben said the Town’s Committee met at noon today and on their behalf, Ben is asked the Board to amend the proposed warrant article. He suggests removing the wording that makes the Town’s article contingent on the School’s article. He said he will bring this new version to the Education Attorney and will amend it at Deliberative Session if need be. He said this is not going to be a fast process and will take many years. He thanked the Town’s Committee for their work and professionalism. Several other members of the Committee spoke and reiterated Jellison’s comments. There was also frustration that the Town’s Representative to the School Board did not back the Committee and voted against the Committee and in favor of the School Board. The Select Board thanked the Committee members for their hard work in the process.

The Board reviewed a request from Caleb to be included in the warrant articles for a $3,000 donation. The Board agreed.

The Board reviewed a Petition Warrant article that was submitted for the Town to declare its opposition to a new landfill in Dalton. Reasons stated were mostly due to the amount of increased traffic and problems this would create. The Board discussed whether or not to put their recommendation on the warrant article. They decided against it.

At 7:52 p.m., Selectperson Scalley made a motion to close the Public Hearing and open the Select Board Meeting. Selectperson Moroney seconded and the motion passed unanimously.