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Minutes of 7/20/2021

July 28th, 2021

Select Board Meeting Minutes
Meeting Minutes
July 20, 2021
6:00 PM
“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.”
Minutes Recorded by: Judy Ramsdell
Board Members in Attendance: Chair David Scalley and Ken Mills Rob Gauthier joined in via Zoom at 6:55 p.m.
Other in Attendance: Imre Szauter, Chris & Judy Pappas, Vernon and Bobbi Amirault, Brian Mycko, Michael Gooden, Jim & Julie Roesbery, Jeremy Oleson, Dorene Fohre, Janet Nelson, Harold & Marilyn Garneau, Josh Robertson, Lois Pesman, Rena Vecchio, Ben Jellison, Pat Hyer, Bob & Geri Hayes, Barbara Monahan, Mark Brodeur, Paula Murphy, Andrea Maestas, Greg Hogan, Ann Marie McPartland
Chairperson Scalley called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairperson Scalley confirmed that the manifest was signed.
Selectperson Mills made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 13, 2021 Selectmen’s Meeting. Dave Scalley seconded. All in favor, 2-0. Motion passes.
Chairperson Scalley said we are waiting for one of the selectmen to join the meeting via zoom. We will proceed with the selectmen’s meeting agenda until he joins.
Certificate of Occupancy – Plage: Selectperson Mills made a motion to sign the Certificate of Occupancy for Plage. Dave Scalley seconded. All in favor, 2-0. Motion passes.
Driveway Permit – Waitkus – Tabled
Forms for Fire Truck – Tax Exempt Leasing: Chairperson Scalley said we have paperwork for the fire truck tax exempt leasing with the previous selectperson’s name. We just have to remove her name and replace it with Dave Scalley the new chairperson to be the signer. Ken verified and initialed that Chairperson Scalley signed the paperwork.
Current Use Land Use Change Tax:
Von Wallenstein Rev. Trust– Number of Acres Subject to the LUCT: 3.36 acres, Land Use Change Tax Due $16,790
Ken Mills made a motion to sign the Current Use Land Use Change Tax for Von Wallenstein Rev. Trust. Dave Scalley seconded. All in favor, 2-0. Motion passes.

Jordan LaRose – Number of Acres Subject to the LUCT: 1.71 acres, Land Use Change Tax Due: $4,500
Ken Mills made a motion to sign the Current Use Land Use Change Tax for LaRose. Dave Scalley seconded. All in favor, 2-0. Motion passes.
Plage Revocable Trust of 2013 – Number of Acres Subject to the LUCT: 1.34 acres, Land Use Change Tax Due: $20,600
Ken Mills made a motion to sign the Current Use Change Tax for Plage. Dave Scalley seconded. All in favor, 2-0. Motion passes.
Tax Deeded Property – Route 3 North: Chairperson Scalley said we have no updates on this from the attorney.
Fire Station Appraisal: This will be discussed during the Public Hearing
School Withdrawal: Ben Jellison said that we are meeting with the gentleman the Board approved last week at noon on Thursday to discuss the minority report.
Certified Computers: Chairperson Scalley said that we are getting more information for the upgrading of our computers.
Dave said that Rob ran into something personal and is going to be a little late.
Other:
Janet Nelson asked what is going on with the Northern Embers property. The apartments behind it are separate. The board said they do not know if they are up to date on the taxes. The property is owned by Peter Nightingale from Lisbon. You have to be three years behind on taxes before the town can take the property. It was suggested they check with the Tax Collector or check on the town web site on the status of the payments for the property.
Chairperson Scalley explained that we won’t have a quorum for the public hearing until Selectperson Gauthier joins via zoom.
Bob Hayes asked what they are doing with the police speed sign. He said he sees cars hitting 70 mph based on the sign. He said the State Police were out there today, but they were not looking at speeders. They were just looking for trucks. The town has patrols out there. Jeremy Oleson said the town police department only has one officer on at a time, and they have a lot of other things going on. People are always going to speed, and you could have someone out there 24 hours a day and they would still speed. Mr. Hayes said it may make sense to move the sign further west. They don’t slow down until they see it. It was suggested he may want to mention it to Chief Bailey.
Pat Hyer asked if there is there going to be changes on the driveways shared with three homes. Mr. Scalley said that subdivision was approved with three lots being served by one driveway. Nothing can change in the subdivision once they are approved, unless they come back to the planning board.
Julie Roesberry asked where does a petition need to go if it is signed by the citizens? Julie said she is talking about the Pike Industry subdivision. She said it just seemed to be brushed aside. Is there a way to discuss it? Dave said he believed it went through the planning board, and he was not at those meetings. Julie said she was wondering how should it have been addressed. Most of the people on Parker Road signed it. She knows it is all done and approved and disregarded. Ken Mills said that it should have been addressed by the Planning Board, and they could have put in stipulations in the letter of conditions submitted by the planning board. Julie asked how do you move forward if it is not addressed? Dave said that Julie is a member of the planning board. It is possible that they didn’t feel it was relevant to the applicant’s application. Ken said they should have articulated that at their meeting, and you can check what the minutes reflect what they did one way or another. Brian said the petition was mentioned. Julie said it is important if people take the time to put a petition together to consider that. Brian said that is what the public meetings are for. It should be discussed, and if you don’t feel it was discussed then the petitioners can appeal the decision. You have 30 days to appeal. Brian said they should come to the public sessions to express their opinions and things can be asked at those sessions.
Chair Scalley explained that we are waiting because he (Dave) needs to recuse himself because he may be a bidder on the fire station property. We can’t continue with the public hearing on the fire station without a quorum. It was suggested we take a 15-minute recess at 6:40 p.m. and see if Rob has joined the meeting via zoom.
PUBLIC HEARING – DISCUSSION OF SALE OF FIRE STATION
Dave Scalley Chairperson called the Public Hearing to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectperson Gauthier has joined the meeting via Zoom. Dave explained that Ken Mills is taking over, as Dave may be a potential bidder for this property, and he is going to recuse himself from this meeting. Dave left the meeting at this time.
Ken Mills thanked everyone for showing up for the public hearing for the sale of the former fire department building. How did we get here tonight? Ken said he wants to take the approach to explain how we got here, the work we have done and open it up from there so we are all on the same sheet of music as far as knowledge base. Ken said if we need to do it, he will have a list of people who want to speak and call on them. Ken said he was at the hearing for the Casella wetlands last week and the DES folks conducted it like that and Ken thought it was a good, methodical way to do it. Would like to take that approach if we get to that point.
How did we get here? We have a new complex for fire, police, and EMS. This is predicated on Article 30 from February 2, 2021, which basically said that that the town voted by 148-123 to authorize the select board to buy and sell land, buildings or both adhering to RSA 41:14-a with the concurrence and recommendation of the Conservation Commission and Planning Board. We do have the letters of recommendation from those two bodies. With those letters in hand, we have to have two hearings now at least 10 days but not more than 14 days apart, as you will see noticed in the ads. After the second hearing, no sooner than 7 days or later than 10 days, the select board, which will be comprised of Rob and Ken, will vote as to how we are going to proceed with the sale of the building.
The Select Board will be voting on the property pricing, methodology of sale and any related requirements deemed necessary by statute or town counsel in order to properly effectuate the sale of the former fire station located at 104 Route 3 North, Carroll, NH. As Dave said, he has had to recuse himself.
Some of you have been through the process and it has been discussed in general a sealed bid may be the appropriate way to go. Ken said he can only operate on the experiences he has had. After the last meeting we had with the select board, the idea of a realtor was brought up somewhat emphatically from Ken’s opinion. Ken went out and approached some real estate companies to get some data. Along with that conversation, it came up what have we done in the past? We haven’t sold that much property so Ken went and engaged other communities, Littleton, Lancaster, Berlin, Bethlehem, and Lincoln. Ken said all the people he met with gave him the authority to quote them.
Ben Oleson Town Manager Lancaster: discussed selling deeded property (not many towns selling property like fire stations, sand pits, etc), which they sell via auction, no past town property sold and their equipment sales, i.e. trucks, plows, are sold via sealed bids.
Tim Fleury, Bethlehem Town Manager: Combination of auctions and sealed bids of deeded properties.
Small parcels are sold via sealed bid, and their equipment is sold via sealed bid. One exception was the town golf course which was put out to a committee in town to oversee the process with a realtor.
Jane Leslie in Lincoln: She was very helpful in many ways. She said the deeded property was sold via sealed bids or some by “best offer” that may come in, but the sealed bid is their norm. She also recommended a date certain for closing on the sale or offer so we don’t get dragged out or end up going back and forth.
Jim Wheeler, Town Manager Berlin: Deeded property sold via sealed bid with a heavy reliance on, which was noteworthy to Ken, the town’s website. If you go to the Berlin website, they have a whole page for their properties, i.e. deeded properties coming up for sale. If you put in your email, anytime something comes up they will send it right out to you if you are on the email list. Anyone who is interested can track it so as that information becomes available they make it available to as many people as possible via their website. Ken said the town’s website has come up in previous conversations here, and it seems to be a variable in that process. Berlin uses it heavily. Ken said no one else mentioned the town website, but he is sure they probably do use it at some level. Jim also mentioned the one exception there was the sale of the former elementary school, which sits up on the hill. For that, they sent out a “request for proposal” which is a little more involved. They wanted to see development of the school property in line with the efforts of the town to develop the river walk area nearby. They were getting ready to move with it and COVID hit and the interested party backed out and everything was in limbo. Now that things are opening back up again, that party has come back and are starting to move forward. No information on equipment sales, but he did mention they are in the market for used emergency equipment like fire trucks, etc. they would definitely be interested. Ken said he has mentioned that to Jeremy.
Jim Gleason, Town Manager Littleton: Places ads for sealed bids for the sale of all deeded property. No information on equipment sales. Jim was of the opinion that the Select Board would benefit by listing it with a realtor to have a third party.
Ken said that is basically a summary of the conversations he had with folks via the towns.
Ken thought he should look at realtors after the conversations we had here. Ken said he has received two letters one from Michigan and one from Wakefield, Massachusetts unsolicited requests to purchase property he and his wife own in addition to their home. So to Ken that is just an anecdote of properties here in Carroll alone from his personal experience. Ken said he would think other people have received the same letters. Ken has initially contacted three realtors: heard back from Peabody & Smith, in contact with Dawn and Mona an at Century 21, playing phone tag. This is the first hearing and expects to have additional information for the next meeting.
Ken said he did want to share with the community his discussion with Andy Smith of Peabody and Smith. Andy gave Ken permission to quote him as well. Ken said he was kind of leaning towards sealed bid, and anyone who has been to any of the meetings would be aware of this. Public meetings and discussions are just that. This is a public hearing, and the beginning of the formality of deciding what we are actually going to do. Ken wants to make sure that previous discussions were for information and dialogue. That is also where the idea of a realtor came up so Ken took that ball and ran with it. Ken said in his discussions with Andy, he said on the listing side they would do it for 1%. Ken said his understanding is it was 10% commission on commercial real estate, although Ken does not know this first hand. 1% raised Ken’s curiosity. Andy said he would suggest a buyer site fee of 2.5% , for a total of 3.5% transaction costs for the town. He is willing to do that as a resident to help out the town. There would be no other fee for this service, and it would only be due if we are successful in closing the transaction. No cost to the town if for some reason it doesn’t sell. They are going to show it so we wouldn’t have to have employees set up showing dates and wouldn’t be taking out newspaper ads. The other thing, Brian made this point at the last meeting, we are talking tens of thousands hits if we go with MLS. Ken said everyone knows there are lots of different things to consider for the Select Board as we have one member wanting to purchase it, the town’s interest, and Ken personally wants the most money we can get for the town but doesn’t want to cost us either. To have an offer like this, bears consideration. In fairness to all possible contingencies, Ken wants to continue dialogue with other realtors to have more information for the next public hearing and for the public to be aware of. When the time comes, Rob and Ken can deliberate with more information and more methodically.
Ken said he went to the Registry of Deeds today after talking with Becki, the tax collector and pulled up the card for the town. There is no book or page number available. Ken met with Leon Rideout and the two women who work in the Registry of Deeds office. They were very helpful. We took a lot of time to get on the Laredo system, where you can get a lot of information and historical data. Sadly, we were not able to pull up a copy of the deed. Can’t sell something we don’t have a deed to. May necessitate a title company doing a title search to find that data. We went through 1926-1939, as the property card has the building being built in 1935. Becki suggested starting prior to 1935 as the deed may have been done before the building was built. He did come across some deeds when Route 3 went in and there was an eminent domain purchase of properties. There were a lot of dollar sales that said for consideration of $1 they got 33 feet to the side of the center line of the road, which was comprised of both state and federal projects.
An appraisal was completed for a price of $1650.00. The reason it was done was because the last one done in 2018, and as the market has changed so dramatically over the past year to 18 months so with that in mind we did request and got one. The appraisal is 76 pages long and is very detailed.
Approach Value Weight
Cost: $356,000 0%
They did not feel that this was really a realistic price to be considered.
Income: $ 98,000 20%
Market: $196,000 80%
So an overall weighted value of $176,000.
There were a lot of discussions, back as far as nine months before Ken came on the board regarding constraints and restrictions to the deed. The Select Board, Rob and Ken, have reached a consensus, after interacting with counsel with the following restrictions: pawn shops, junk yards, sales, rental, and repair of motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and off-highway recreational vehicles, raising and keeping of animals and livestock, agricultural, excavations, kennels, storage facilities, sexually oriented business, materials recycling or processing, wholesale businesses, including a discount house on or bulk sales outlet. Medical marijuana dispensary was discussed, and we both agreed, because of the shifting nature of state laws, we didn’t want to restrict something that may end up being legal. Other agencies, the Planning Board and ZBA, may become involved, and we didn’t want to necessarily encumber the property. We want to be sure we protect the town from anything that may arise that we definitely didn’t want.
Selectperson Gauthier said he apologizes for the conflict time wise, and appreciates waiting for him to join in. Rob said that we have been discussing this for some time. We had to get those recommendations or non-recommendations from the conservation commission and planning board and now we need to hold the two public hearings. He appreciates Ken’s synopsis and has nothing further to add than what Ken had presented. We can open it up for questions or comments.
Julie Roesbery thought the building was built in the mid-60’s. Her uncle built the post office, and she thought the fire department was beside it. Original town hall was part of the twin mountain house. She thought it was in the 60’s when they were building that road. Ken said that is good information to have because the road was what the reference to these deeds that he did find. He did not locate any for that plot. The referencing on the built date was on the property card which said 1935. There are the old building and the new building. Ken was referencing the property card. In addition to a title search, he is going to go back with additional information re: the post office and other abutting properties and try to correlate transactions on those deeds and close in on the deed we need if it is there. Ken will go back and research further with the additional information he has come up with. The Town will want to get a title search so we can actually get a deed before we get too far along with this process. Julie said that the DOT has street maps, and those DOT maps reference when Route 3 was put in. Janet Nelson asked about photos form the historical society. That might give an idea of a time frame when the road was moved. Julie said there is a CD about Twin Mountain in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s in the library, and you can see the buildings. Ken said he will do the best he can. He is not a title search company. We may need to move forward with the title search company who is better resourced to do that.
Josh Robertson: When will a decision be made on which route to go, with a realtor or with a sealed bid?
Ken said that two hearings have to occur. After those hearings, the board has to meet and vote how to proceed with the purchase. This has to take place at least 7 days after the second public hearing but not more than 14 days after the second public hearing. We will need to decide if we want to go with a realtor, bids, or auction. Auction hasn’t really come up but has been discussed. It wasn’t a preponderance of what people do in their communities. Ken said when he was discussing this with Andy, he made a good point that newspapers may not be read as much. Ken said he doesn’t want to put out a sealed bid and only have Dave and a couple others submit bids. Andy told Ken the market has been list the property on Thursday, show it on Friday, and closes on Monday.
Brian Mycko said the City of Salem, NH just sold their fire station on June 30th via auction. He said he will get the name of the auction company for the board.
Ken said this is a deliberative process. He started thinking sealed bids, and then hears about realtors and getting it out to thousands of people, and now maybe auctions would get it bid up even higher. We have to balance all this with the resourcing of the town and who is going to do all that with the showings and setting those showings up.
Lois Pesman said she agrees with listing with the realtor. They do have access to people all over the country thru MLS and they know who is looking for that sort of property. Really good idea. The offer from Peabody & Smith was great.
Ken said when he spoke with Andy, he told him was there are three websites they work through. So in addition to the MLS, they have these three websites they use specific to commercial property so it is even bigger than MLS. Ken is going to speak with other realtors to see what their resourcing is, but Ken thinks 3 ½% total cost is going to be tough for anyone else to beat. It is important for the Town to have as much data and information as possible.
Josh Robertson: When we speak to Andy again, ask if they can they do the title search and cover the cost of that.
Lois Pesman asked if it would make sense at the next meeting to have a realtor or two give a presentation to hear what they say. Realtors know what they are talking about. Ken said he would welcome anyone coming in with a realtor. Ken thinks more information is better. Ken said a presentation wouldn’t take too long, 5 to 10 minutes. Rob has no issues with that. Rob said that the past meeting minutes may reflect we have made a decision on what route we want to go, but that is not the case. These public hearings and discussions we are having are eye-opening. This is all good stuff. Ken would welcome it and encourage it. Come in prepared to make a presentation and keep moving forward.
Rob Hayes: Talking about the buyer agent fee, when they bought their house they used a buyer agent, and you can say they get a lot less than that because the buyer has to make it up. It wouldn’t come out of the town’s portion. If the buyer agent says I get 3%, seller only willing to do 1%, the buyer has to fund the balance. You can make that a lot lower than you think. Let that come out in the offer process. The buyer agent has to compensate the difference.
Chirs Pappas said that the commercial real estate is not as hot as residential. All in favor of a relator, but give them a time frame, like 90 days. Ken said when he spoke with Jane in Lincoln she suggested 60 days. Once we get to that point that it is set up, it will be done by a date certain or certain period of time, i.e. 60 days, 90 days. Rob and Ken will discuss that.
Janet Nelson asked what happens to the income from the sale of the property? Does it go towards working down the debt of this building? Janet said that was discussed with the building committee. Rob said it is unanticipated revenue so there are certain guidelines and ways to take that money, overall it will effect the tax rate. Some of the discussions prior to these buildings being built was to use the proceeds of the sale to pay off on what we owe. Can’t just do that. We will certainly be talking with town counsel about how to accept the funds and bring them in. Either way, they are going to be a benefit to the taxpayer. The asking price will be something that Ken and Rob will discuss and will include any fees associated with the sale of the fire station building. That is all going to be unanticipated revenue.
Janet Nelson asked if it is a sure thing that we can’t use it to pay on the loan? Rob does not have the answer to that, but he will get an answer. Ken said he would like someone to tell us definitively what we can do in terms of the bond. Janet said as part of the building committee it was discussed being able to use the proceeds to pay towards the loan for the new buildings. Jeremy Oleson said that it cannot be used for that. Because we got the rate we got, we can’t pay it down. No early pay down with the rate we got. Ken said that type of restriction is not uncommon in a loan. While it may have been discussed, as things moved forward and put in a contract, things change. Jeremy said it did happen and it is pretty much done. Rob said he will follow-up on it and have a definitive answer for the next meeting.
Rena Vecchio said she was on the building committee for two years, and it was decided and it was said that the money from the fire department sale would go to lower the principal on the loan. Rena said this has been asked several times. Someone should have known that and told the public we are not able to use the proceeds to lower the principal on the loan. Someone should have let us know. That was done two to three years ago, and we have been sitting here not knowing that. Would have been nice to tell the public that we can’t do that, and that would have taken care of a lot of the questions.
Ken said he understands. When you have a committee and discussions, the reality is when you move through the process and actually going out for the money it may not necessarily be what was discussed. Rena said she understands, but as soon as whoever is involved in the signing of the loan knows then they should let people know that. Ken said if someone knew, it should have been answered. Rob said we don’t know yet. Rena’s point is taken. This may or may not be the case. If we didn’t communicate, then process learned. Rob will have a definitive answer within two weeks.
Julie Roesbery asked if we could put the money aside for a fire truck or police car? Ken said he is not sure. He is open for consideration of anything allowed by statute.
Rob pointed out that tonight’s Public Hearing is about the sale of the fire station. We are certainly going to have a lot of discussion after with what to do with the proceeds. We will get some information, so we are more knowledgeable. Ken will reach out to DRA. We are still trying to sell it so we should try to stay on task for that tonight.
Brian Mycko said he was a selectman at the time this was all going on. Brian said it was one of things we promised that we would use the money to pay down the building loan. Whoever signed the loan broke the promise and didn’t make anyone aware of that. Jeremy said he didn’t think the word promised was made. It was strongly agreed. Is it in writing? We are going to move forward and get that information available. If promises were broken, then they were broken, and we can’t do anything about it now. To Jeremy’s point, segmented thinking is kind of what you are talking about. It has to be definitive and documented.
Ken said in going forward, we are going to do our absolute best with the resources we have to do what is best for the town. It takes a lot of time to get all this stuff done. Residents have a responsibility in this as well, and have done that by showing up tonight. A lot of people step up with time and effort. It is a group effort.
There is another hearing scheduled for August 3rd. A realtor being present would be helpful. Andy would be a good source to speak directly to this.
Rena Vecchio: if people are going to bring in realtors, once they have confirmed they should go through the selectman’s office so we know how many people are going to be here. If we have a lot, then we are going to be here for a long time. It should all go through thru the selectman’s office so you can decide how much time people have to speak. Five minutes for speaking and five minutes for questioning. Rob said Rena makes a great point. In our dying effort to be transparent, sometimes we are going to get bogged down and we get one realtor to come in and someone says they don’t know about it. It could be an hour of listening to realtors. Another downside of choosing a realtor going that route. He is rethinking of having someone come in and give a presentation. Did we notify everyone? It may just bog down the process. Get more choices but will bog down the process. Ken said that it is a very good point. It is a collaborative process to a point. Rob and Ken will ultimately have to make a choice predicated on all the information we can get. Ken is retracking that earlier comment about bringing in a realtor. Ken is reaching out for data and information. There have been no commitments. Ken is only reaching out as one of three to get that information because the town had an idea of what they wanted to do. Rob said regardless of what decision is made in the end, somebody is not going to be in agreement with what we decide or how we go. No matter what we do, there will be some disagreement on what we do. Getting the input at the public hearings, Rob and Ken will be able to make a better decision. Move forward and continue on. Airing on constant transparency, we have done nothing but try to have things continue moving forward in a positive manner. The public input is very valuable.
Ann Marie McPartland said it is her understanding that we don’t want a real estate person coming in plugging their services. Could realtors come just to offer some options? Offering knowledge not services. Ken said this is a public hearing, and anyone can come and give their input. Ken said we don’t want the realtors coming in formally giving a presentation.
Rob thanked everyone for coming and contributing. It is very helpful. Appreciate people showing up and contribute to making the best decision for moving forward for the town.
Rob Gauthier made a motion to conclude the first public hearing. Ken seconded the motion. Motion passes, 2-0. The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
The next hearing is scheduled for August 3rd at 6:00 p.m.
Dave Scalley returned to the meeting at 8:05 p.m.
Selectperson Mills made a motion to go into non-public session at 8:05 p.m. per RSA 91-A:3, Legal and Personnel. Selectperson Gauthier seconded. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
At 8:53 p.m. Selectperson Mills made a motion to return to public session and seal the minutes of the non-public session. The motion was seconded by Selectperson Gauthier. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
At 8:45 p.m. Selectperson Mills made a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Selectperson Gauthier. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.