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Minutes of 08/17/2021

August 24th, 2021

Select Board Meeting Minutes
Meeting Minutes
August 17, 2021
7:00 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, Ken Mills, and Rob Gauthier participated via zoom.
Other in Attendance: Bobbi Amirault, Brian Mycko, Michael Gooden, Rena Vecchio, Ben Jellison, Paula Murphy, Joan Karpf, Harold & Marilyn Garneau, Bonnie Maroney, Cathy Fulkerson, Imrie Szauter, Vicky Brodeur, Greg Hogan
Chairperson Scalley called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairperson Scalley confirmed that the manifest was signed.
Selectperson Mills made a motion to table the approval of the minutes of the August 3, 2021 Selectmen’s Meeting and Public Hearing. Selectperson Scalley seconded. Roll Call Vote: Scalley-Yes; Mills-Yes; Gauthier-Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
Chairperson Scalley said the Board will not enter non-public session at 7:45 p.m. That has been cancelled.
Fire Station Sale Decision Deadline – Map & Lot: 206-003-000-000 – Dave Scalley recused himself as he may be a potential bidder. Ken Mills said he appreciates everyone for showing up tonight. The meeting minutes reflect the last two meetings we have had. Ken said he put together why and how a decision is arrived at, and not just what the decision is. Ken said this is where he is at:
In conducting the due diligence for the town, the board reviewed past sales by the town as well as engaged other towns in their processes. Five towns were queried, and the feedback indicated:
1. Sealed bid was used for equipment (cruisers, trucks, plows, etc.) sales
2. Auctions for tax deeded properties (used as proxy for property sales). Two exceptions: One exception was for the Bethlehem Golf Course which was done with an appointed committee. The other exception was the request for proposals in Berlin for the former elementary school. Ken said he contacted 5 towns right off to educate himself on this whole process. In trying to do more research on the auction process, he reached out to the communities who dealt with auctions specifically to get more data and information about that. Through that process, Ken became even more aware of how much auctions are used.
Ken said he has been made aware of opinions that the commercial market in the southern part of the state is cooling. The Town is still having to maintain and repair the property as needed. Weather will become a factor at some point. Process could further encumber the town with maintenance and repair costs going forward, and right now it is not generating any tax revenue for the town.
Ken said we have contemplated sealed bids, auctions, and realtors. Ken’s approach is a pro/con approach. Ken said he does not know what Rob is going to bring up.
Sealed/Blind Bids:
Pros:
--Transparency
--No favored party in the process

Cons:
--Costs in time and money to the town, i.e. advertising, employee’s time for prepping and showing property.
--Limited advertising via town website, newspaper circulation reach (realistically speaking). Andy had brought this up, and Ken said upon further investigation he found this to be more likely the case.
--Administrative costs, including accepting the bids, organizing and tracking. Ensuring equitable treatment of all bids. Appeal/legal issues.
Realtor:
Pros:
--Third party participation/out source. Hands off and let it do its thing.
--Broader marketing capability.
Cons:
--Purchase and sales agreement at some point. Property disclosure requirements. Who completes? Based on what information? Ken said we have determined that it may be difficult to come close to something that will represent a deed. How to ensure it is accurate and the time involved. Ken said he is not a title search guy, and he took the time and went up there with the help of the Registry of Deeds staff. In all fairness, what is desired is a Warranty Deed. That is a huge encumbrance with finance and time to the town.
--How/who to pick for realtor? There was a lot of discussion during the public hearings about that and one of the concerns was you pick one and that whole selection process becomes another issue.
--Realtors who are not picked could appeal the process.
--Local realtors and the network? Who shares what with whom and whose interests served?
--Accountability and tracking the process.
--Limits on administrative support for the Select Board to review offers. Andy had mentioned putting forth a more detailed proposal, which Ken did get today. Andy understood some of the concerns brought up at the last meeting. Ken said it is available if anyone wants to see it. It was basically the same with the 3 ½% commission, and in Ken’s opinion regarding marketing.
--Select Board tasking (quorum requirements with one member recused it puts it on Ken and Rob, public deliberation, hampering the effectiveness for the board to manage the town’s prudential affairs.
--Too many iterations in “offers” that would require due diligence on the part of the Select Board with limited resources for doing so. Andy articulated this in his proposal that it could be put together in a way that for the showing he suggested 120 days, and within 30 days offers must be received with their final best offer so people know we are not going back and forth on this. The Board would then sit down and go through the offers. He suggested that when they submit it to the board that it be done numerically or with some other non-identifying process so the board wouldn’t know who was bidding. They would have to meet a template. Ken said this was Andy’s effort to help alleviate some of the concerns brought up at last hearing when Ken talked about the timing and the people involved. Applaud his effort in that area. The minutes speak to the other issues Andy brought forth.
Auctions:
In seeking feedback and recommendations on auction houses, other towns were queried on their processes. Instead of 5 towns, Ken said he talked to a total of 9 communities and that is where he came up with most of his information. It looks like towns are mostly auctioning their properties, except for a golf course and elementary school. Ken said he put in a lot of time and effort. Ken said it is an important thing, and he had the time and the inclination, so he did put a lot effort in to make sure the town gets the best in going forward from what he has found on his part.
Pros:
--Sold as is where is with a quit claim deed. Buyer would need to do their due diligence, and that would put it on them. They are going to have to do their homework. A lot of what Ken has already done basically, and some of that will be available. That gets reduced in encumbrances to the town.
--It is transparent. Interested parties will have to register and put money on the table to be a bidder at the auction.
--Third party participation so you can separate the personalities that may come in to play by having a disinterested third party. They are there just to sell the building and take their commission.
--No one would be at an advantage or disadvantage in the process. Not being local, to Ken, and he knows it was brought up at the last hearing, but to have a disinterested third party you probably really don’t want to have anyone local per se, as long as they have the distribution, marketing, and the ability to reach out and have buyers or people bidding to show up is really what we are looking for through the process. Ken said he really wasn’t as swayed, himself, that local is a necessity to having a good, clean transaction for the sale of the building.
--Another concern that was brought up was the costs to the town. We have a weighted value of $176,000, and we have costs of $1,650 for the appraisal. The costs are all on the bidder/buyer. In the auction, it is a 10% premium they will be paying from the winning bidder based on the winning bid. No direct costs for the auction to the town. Depending on who the auctioneer is, and who does the transactions, we do have it from the town attorney that it will be about $1,500 of closing costs in order to have the transaction handled by our counsel. That is a consideration. Town counsel will be involved regardless in putting together checklists and working with them on the deed restrictions that were put together. The bottom line is it just seems like in order to make sure that the town is protected, we would want to have some kind of legal counsel involved.
Cons:
--Possible low price winning the bid. It was articulated at the last public hearing though about a hospital and buying it for $1. Ken said he wants to be very clear that is not the way an auction normally operates. First and foremost, if for some reason that is the case, Rob and Ken would have the option of declining that bid that day. It is a $500 fee and up to $2,500 in advertising costs to decline the bid. In the best interest of the town, if we feel that is not sufficient or we can do better, that is a potential that would have to be addressed.
Ken said that this is a public meeting for Rob and Ken to come up with a decision for the sale of the fire station. With consideration of all of the data, information, and public input, Ken thinks an auction would be in the best interest of the town. That was also in consultation with legal counsel.
In the work that Ken has done, St. Jean Auctions kind of rose to the top, but it was neck and neck. Applaud Brian Mycko for bringing it up. Ken said it never even crossed his mind until Brian brought it up. St. Jean Auctions had just sold a fire station in Salem, New Hampshire. This information is all on-line, the difference between the assessed value and purchase price was significant in Ken’s mind. It was worthy of consideration. In several of the follow-up recommendations per town counsel’s advice, all were positive, and some were even effusive. They do have broad spectrum marketing via email blasts targeted to individuals interested in these types of property. Ken said when he hears MLS and all these other things, and it is important to have a world-wide marketing broadcasts, he feels it is not necessarily what we are looking for to sell a fire station in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire. What we want is to find the person who really wants the property and is willing to pay for it. The bottom line is we are really trying to sell the building. Ken said he understands that might not really sit well with everyone. That was what the town voted on, and that was the decision of the town. It is our job at this point to execute on that. Ken said an auction and in all things considered Ken believes would be the best course of action. Having someone who is disinterested, and who wants to come in and make the sale and make as much money as they can. The 10% ties to them so they are interested in bringing in as much money as they can. The real estate sale can bring curious types, but not necessarily a serous buyer. An auction is set up and the bidders are vetted. They just don’t let anyone come in. You will have to put money on the table and be a serious bidder. The auction house will put the details forward and that will be available.
Ken said as he said earlier, there will be people who disagree with him. Ken said he thinks it is pretty self-evident that he has done his homework and interacted with as many people as he felt that he could in order to move forward for the best action of the town. This is where Ken is coming from, and he will now turn it over to Rob to see where he is coming from.
Rob said thank you Ken for doing all that research and reaching out. Ken went to amazing lengths to get all this information and providing it and sharing it. Rob said he went into this process with the mindset that we have always done it this way, but the public hearings and interaction, opened his eyes and with Ken’s research in determining where we are at. Rob said that he also agrees that he thinks an auctioneer will go a better way for our transparency. It will also give us the right to say no or to not accept the bid also puts us in a position to regroup. This will give us options if we go with an auctioneer. Rob said that this process has definitely educated him in this process. Ken has definitely done his homework and can’t thank him enough for all the research he has done. Rob said that he and Ken have done their work on this have been up-front and transparent. Rob said he agrees with using the auctioneer, and St. Jean seems to be the one he has heard of most and seems to have the most reach. It does leave us that we will need town counsel to close so there is costs there. Overall, Rob feels that it puts us in the best position if we are not happy with what comes back. The deed restrictions that have been hashed over since last April, Rob said that he likes what is in place with having those restrictions.
Rob Gauthier made a motion that we get St. Jean Auctioneers to canvas them to do the sale of the fire station. Ken seconded the motion. Ken said he wanted to point out that it was neck and neck in his mind with both auctioneers, Sager and St. Jean. They both came highly recommended. If there was a tipping point for Ken, it was they just sold a fire station. They obviously did something to bring what they did for the sale of that fire station. Roll call vote: Gauthier: Yes; Mills: Yes. Motion passes, 2-0.
Selectperson Scalley was recused.
We will contact St. Jean and coordinate with town counsel in order to set up the auction for the fire station.
Dave Scalley returned to the meeting at 7:22 p.m.
Dave Scalley verified that he sent out the emails to the board members with the information for the agenda tonight.
Water Warrant – Dinino, Dorsey – Ken Mills made a motion to sign the water warrants for Dinino and Dorsey. Dave Scalley seconded. Roll call vote: Gauthier: Yes; Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
7:24 p.m. Rob Gauthier dropped off. The board continued with the business as there was a quorum.
Driveway Permit – Phillips & Burke – Ken Mills made a motion to sign the driveway permit for Phillips & Burke. Dave Scalley seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes. Motion passes, 2-0.
Driveway Permit – Delaney – Ken Mills made a motion to sign the driveway permit for Delaney. Dave Scalley seconded. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes. Motion passes, 2-0.
Driveway Permit – Betts – Ken Mills made a motion to sign the driveway permit for Betts. Dave Scalley seconded. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes. Motion passes, 2-0.
Liquor License Extension Request – Littleton Regional Hospital at the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel – There is a letter we need to sign and send to the state granting the request. Ken Mills made a motion to sign the liquor license request. Dave Scalley seconded. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes. Motion passes, 2-0.
Rob rejoined the meeting at 7:28 p.m.
Ben Jellison asked for a description of what the Liquor License Extension Request for Littleton Regional Hospital was about. Dave said that they are having a function at the Omni, and they need to expand their existing liquor license.
Municipal Buildings – COVID Mask Requirement Changes – Dave said we got an email from Eversource asking what we are doing going forward about our mask requirements. They just want to know in case they come in and service any of our buildings. Dave wanted to get the board’s take on it. The guidance right now is we are not requiring masks. Ken said he doesn’t see any reason to change it at this point. No further direction from local state agencies. Rob said he is fine with it. Ken said we are in a dynamic situation, and it is always subject to change.
FOLLOW-UP
Driveway Permit – Dave Scalley asked Rob and Ken if they have had a chance to review. Any thoughts, concerns or input? Rob and Ken said they did a great job with that. Ken said it is very detailed. Dave said that we want to protect the roads. Adding more to the driveway permit for the new roads that just got paved and other roads. It lets people know that if they damage any of the town roads doing construction, then they will be responsible for the repairs. It also applies to any damages done on the side of the roads. They will have to ensure that they maintain the edges and sides of the roads. That will all be part of the driveway permit when they pull a driveway permit.
Accessing American Rescue Plan Act Funds – Dave Scalley said that we did apply for these funds. We sent it off last week, and we are tentatively approved for $78,203. They do half now and half next year. It can be used for infrastructure, roads, and what not. Dave and Katelyn put together a notice of public hearing today: Town of Carroll: Notice of Public Hearing – The Town of Carroll Board of Selectmen will be holding a Public Hearing pursuant to NH RSA 31:95-b, Section III and RSA 91A:2, to discuss the acceptance and expenditure of $78,203 in unanticipated revenues from the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARPA)/Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The public is encouraged to attend. The hearing will be held at the Carroll Town Hall, 92 School Street, Carroll, NH on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Ken and Rob said that they are fine with this.
Ken said when this all came up, he initially took the lead on this. He didn’t have any interim final rules when this came out in April. As they were unfolding, it began to look more and more encumbering, for the amount of money we were going to get with the required accounting, bookkeeping, tracking and requirements. After doing additional research and talking to the board members, we did not pursue it. Judy raised the issue so we went back and looked at it again and the other information available, and it became pretty clear that we should at least make that effort and Dave tool the lead and put that all together. Thank Judy for bringing it up, and thank Dave for getting it done and making it happen. The town will definitely benefit from those efforts. It is a collaborative effort. None of us know everything. It takes everyone to participate and get involved. Hopefully we can get everything that comes down the pike. Dave said that we will post this notice in the newspaper, on the web page, and at town hall.
Tax Deeded Property – Route 3 North – On-going
School Withdrawal – Rob Gauthier said that there is nothing new on that.
Certified Computers – Dave said that we are going to wait until towards the end of the year to see where our budgets fall into place and to see if we have enough money this year to upgrade the computer systems. Dave said that will probably be in October or November.
OTHER
Rob – none
Ken said without getting too detailed, has there been any follow-up with janitorial services for the buildings? Dave said that he met with a young lady and walked her through both buildings. We have a building task force meeting tomorrow, and Dave is going to bring his findings up to them. She is willing to do it and willing to get the insurance. Has a call into one other person who hasn’t called back yet. These are all single, one-person shows. When Bonnie was a selectperson, we had a difficult time in finding someone in the area. Dave said it will probably be a two-person job, and not a cleaning service, if the board decides that. Ken said he is not as associated with the building committee as Dave is, and he doesn’t want to step over a person to get things done. Ken did a walk through the other day, and it is not just complaining and idle stuff. This is something that really did need to be addressed. Ken said he didn’t want the ball dropped on it. Dave is working on it so that is good enough for Ken.
Ken said that there were some additional questions about outlets and phone jacks, and Ken said he knows it is a work in process. Ken said he does believe that having a full, up and running facility and having things run as they should is something we should continue to pursue. Ken just wanted to verify that it is moving forward. Dave said that it has moved forward, but we haven’t had a response back yet.
Ken said last meeting we talked about the process for using this room, Peabody & Smith was the one in particular who is going to use the room. In going forward, we do have an application, but has there been a formalization with signatures? Do people know what to do, what the requirements are, and how to schedule? Dave said Katelyn set up the calendar which was sent out to all the board members, and it shows the use of this building as well as the conference room and community room. Whoever wants to use it, will have to fill out the form, and it will be approved by the admin’s position. It will be a public-disclosed calendar.
Bobbi Amirault said that we are having a reception for the Finn’s. Lois was told to check with Jeremy. Should she come into the office and ask for a form? Dave said she should come in and ask for the form, but he is pretty sure that date is already secured for that event. Dave will double check tomorrow with Katelyn. Bobbi said since there are no plantings done around the town hall, can we have permission to put plants strategically placed in pots outside to make it look nice? It is the garden club doing it. Selectmen thought that was a great idea. September 11th is the date for that, 3 to 5 p.m.
Cathy Fulkerson said she sent an e-mail expressing her interest to join the Carroll Conservation Commission. Dave apologized as he forgot to put her on the agenda. Dave said we reached out to the public looking for volunteers to join the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission is lucky to have Cathy step up. Joan Karpf said that the position is an appointment by the Selectboard. Dave Scalley made a motion to appoint Cathy Fulkerson to the Carroll Conservation Commission. Ken seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes; Gauthier: Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
Ken thanked Joan for bringing that up. All the boards are in a dynamic situation with membership. Cathy said that she saw it posted at the post office. People reaching out and taking action to keep things moving forward for the community is really what it is all about.
Joan Karpf said in regards to the Conservation Commission getting involved with the King’s Pond concern, she wanted to follow-up and ask some questions. She also got a copy of the letter from DES in regards to what they are attempting to do. Joan came across our ordinance, and a few years ago we voted on a wetlands overlay district, and if you look at 606.3 Applicability regarding wetlands it reads as follows: “The Wetlands Conservation Overlay District is an overlay district superimposed over the existing conventional zoning districts in the town of Carroll. All proposed development, removal of vegetation, and alteration of the land surface within wetlands 10 acres in size or larger as identified on the most recent National Wetlands Inventory produced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and a buffer 50 feet wide around wetlands 10 acres in size or larger is subject to this ordinance.”
Has the planning board or Selectboard considered this in regards to the concern with the King’s Pond and wetlands there? Ken said he was not aware of this. Joan said so we have not considered our own ordinance in regards to the King’s Pond concerns? Dave asked Joan when did she find this, and she said she found it recently when DES was looking at it. She said she was looking at it as a pond, and she thought that maybe DES was looking at it as a wetlands. She remembers the wetlands ordinance, which Dave said was voted on two years ago. When she was reading it, she thought there may be some applicability here to the King’s Pond. Has it been brought up at all? Dave said that it has never been mentioned at the planning board. Joan asked if it could be possibly brought up? Dave said is it a pond or are we considering it a wetlands? According to DES, Joan thinks that they are looking at as a wetlands. It is not just a pond. It is huge area. Joan said when you look at the most recent National Wetlands Inventory and the GIS maps and bring it up, the layers show that whole area falls under the National Wetlands Inventory. Dave said if it is considered a pond, then is it no longer considered a wetlands? Joan said it is also considered a wetlands. Is DES going to come up with a finding from the state on what they are going to decide what it is, a pond or wetlands? Joan said she is under the impression they are looking at it as a wetlands. It is one whole wet area, and there is not a separation between the wetlands and the pond. Dave said he is not disagreeing with Joan, but he would like to find out what the state determines. If the select board or planning board have not considered it, maybe it should be considered on a local level. Dave said we were considering it as a pond when we met as the Conservation Commission. Joan’s information is it is just not a pond, it is also a huge wetlands. If you use the GIS maps, it does fall under the National Wetlands Inventory. If you measure it, it appears to be 10 acres if not more. We are not wetlands experts. How is this enforceable from the local level? Joan said she is just bringing it to the board’s attention as it was brought to her attention. We might want to look into that as a lot of people are concerned. We might be able to utilize our own ordinance. Only concern Dave has heard as a board is from the Conservation Commission. Joan said she brought it to the board’s attention because people have come to her about it. Dave said that one abutting neighbor wrote an email as well. Bonnie Maroney asked the board: Didn’t you receive a letter from DES in the mail? Dave said he doesn’t remember. Bonnie said the town did receive a letter. Dave said he thinks the letter they got was that DES was investigating, and as far as Dave is aware we haven’t gotten back anything with any findings. Dave said we did get a letter about three weeks that they were investigating. He will double check. We probably have gotten 30 DES letters in the past 60 days. Joan said her intent was to bring it to the attention of the Board of Selectmen and possibly to the attention of the planning board that we have this in our ordinance, in regards to the buffer we would require for the size of the wetlands we are considering. Ken said he doesn’t know how to determine what was amended in March, 2020. Dave said this is just part of the ordinance, and nothing on this page has changed. Dave said if anything was changed in the ordinance it is in a different type. Dave said that there were only a couple of things that they changed. Ken said if she had brought this up the day we had the meeting about the letter, it would have helped Ken. Joan said she was not aware of it that day. Ken said definitions are definitions. How is that articulated in their regulations? Words do matter. Ken would want to get some clarification. It is our ordinance, but Ken would also want to know the background behind it so we know whether it is legal or not. Joan said another one of her questions was the enforceability of this. Joan said her intent was that it was brought to her attention, and she wanted the Selectboard to know about so they can follow up on it. The board thanked Joan for bringing it to their attention.
Vicky Brodeur asked if there is going to do more backfilling on Little River Road? Dave said we are working with Greg right now on the aprons on the sides of the road and there are a couple more driveways. Brian asked if they will be removing all the old chunks? Dave said everything will be cleaned up. Vicky asked if it was just driveways, and Dave said that we are going to do the shoulders of the road with gravel. Central Paving is going to let us use their shoulder machine for no charge so we can do it ourselves.
Selectperson Scalley made a motion to go into non-public session at 7:55 p.m. per RSA 91-A:3, Legal and Personnel. The motion was seconded by Selectperson Mills. Roll call vote: Scalley: Yes; Mills: Yes; Gauthier: Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
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 Scalley. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes; Gauthier: Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.
At 8:55 p.m. Selectperson Scalley made a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Selectperson Mills. Roll call vote: Mills: Yes; Scalley: Yes; Gauthier: Yes. All in favor, 3-0. Motion passes.