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Minutes of 12/28/2021

January 4th, 2022

Carroll Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
December 28, 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.”

Minutes recorded by Heather Brown, Secretary
Board Members: David Scalley, Ken Mills, and Robert Gauthier

Members of the Public: Tadd Bailey, Imre Szauter, Jeff Duncan, Brian Mycko, Greg Hogan, Chris Pappas, Rena Vecchio, Ben Jellison, Buddy Pierce, Theresa Armstrong, Marilyn Garneau

The meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Chairperson Scalley.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Chairperson Scalley stated that he would like to ask the Board and the public that he would like to start the meetings at 5:00 p.m. and end the public meeting at 6:30 p.m., if at all possible, and then go into non-public, in hopes of keeping the meetings to two hours. The Board fully agreed. There was no comment from the public.

APPROVAL of 12/14/2021 MINUTES – Selectperson Mills motioned to approve the 12/14/2021 minutes as written; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

APPROVAL & SIGNIING OF MANIFESTS – Board confirmed that had all signed.

WATER WARRANT: 4th Quarter – The Board reviewed the water warrant for the 4th quarter totaling $38,301.53. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the 4th quarter water warrant; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

WATER WARRANT: SCALLEY RT 3 104 LLC – Chairperson Scalley recused himself from the topic. The Board reviewed the water warrant for Scalley Rt 3 104 LLC. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the water warrant for Scalley Rt 3 104 LLC; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-Abstained.

WATER ABATEMENT: LY – The Board reviewed the water abatement for Ly, noting the multiplier was incorrect. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the water abatement for Ly; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

INTENT TO CUT: REENSTIERNA – The Board reviewed the intent to cut for Reenstierna. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the intent to cut for Reenstierna; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

YIELD TAX: HOLT – The Board reviewed the yield tax for Holt. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the yield tax for Holt; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

COMMEMORATIVE PLATES for the 250th Anniversary– The Board reviewed the commemorative plate design and the letter to the Director of Motor Vehicles asking for approval of the design for the 250th Anniversary. Rena Vecchio explained that she has been working with Nathan Gauntt and Maria Buckman on this and wanted to emphasize how helpful they have been with the process. Rena Vecchio also displayed the tee-shirts that are for sale for the 250th Anniversary, noting they can be purchased through the Town Clerk at the Town Hall or by contacting Rena personally, which she would also be happy to deliver as well. The cost of the shirts is $20 for short sleeve and $25 for long sleeve, payable by cash or check. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the letter asking for approval of the commemorative plate design; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

The Board thanked Rena for everything she has done.

KIOSK BILL OF SALE – The Board reviewed the bill of sale from NCIC, regarding the kiosk at the information booth. The bill of sale is to gift the kiosk to the Town of Carroll at no cost and the Town would be responsible for maintaining it going forward. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the bill of sale for the kiosk at the information booth; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

OMNI SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT – The Board explained to the public that the Town negotiated a deal with Omni and their assessment for a five-year step plan, noting that it went from being assessed at $59,514071.94 to $140 million. The increase would be $16,097,585.61 each year, as a tax revenue increase to the Town, in order to bring Omni to their true assessed value with revals. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the OMNI settlement agreement; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

2022 CYCLICAL REVALUATION CONTRACT (CNP, LLC) – The Board reviewed the 2022 cyclical revaluation contract from CNP, LLC. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the 2022 cyclical revaluation contract from CNP, LLC; Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

DEVINE MILLIMET ENGAGEMENT LETTER (BOND COUNSEL SERVICES) – The Board reviewed the engagement letter from Devine Millimet for bond counsel services in the amount of $1,325. Selectperson Mills motioned to approve and sign the engagement letter from Devine Millimet for bond counsel services Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

Chairperson Scalley explained that this is the same company that was used for the bond with the Town Hall and Public Safety buildings. They would get the wordage for the warrant article to put a bond together for new roads in the town. Scalley further noted that Greg Hogan is working on this and confirmed it would be though a warrant article so the people would vote on it.

ROAD PAVING BOND WARRANT ARTICLE (HOGAN) – Greg Hogan explained that he is putting together a warrant article to pave the remaining roads in town that are in disrepair for approximately $1,325,000. Hogan further explained the roads are overdue by years. Chairperson Scalley highlighted that the improvement to the roads would improve the infrastructure, saving the wear and tear on all vehicles. Hogan also wanted to point out that there is never a good time to borrow money, however interest rates and cost of materials and services is only going to keep going up, further highlighting that now is the time to pursue given the interest rates are still low. Hogan explained that the price of paving went up three times over the summer, when usually you only see a slight increase.

Hogan confirmed he is within the timeline to pursue this and is only waiting to hear from the bond attorney, noting there would be an ad in the paper stating when the hearing is.

Selectperson Mills explained that the Federal Reserve Board confirmed that they are looking at rate hikes next year, so it should be expected that interest would only go up and money to be tighter and inflation to hit product as well. Mills wanted to make sure people were considering that when they cast their vote.

Chairperson Scalley also agreed and given the low interest rates now, he is confident that the Town could work with the local banks to get the best rate.

SLEDDING ISSUES AT TOWN HALL – Chairperson Scalley explained that Greg Hogan called him yesterday regarding kids sliding across the road. Scalley reminded everyone that there is normally a snow bank at the bottom of the hill to stop the sliders, however there has not been enough snow to do so. Scalley explained that the hill is enjoyable, and he wants it to be open, however liability needs to be considered. Scalley explained that he is looking to discuss, come up with a solution and move forward.

Chief Bailey agrees with the new road going in, the instances are increased and there should be a snow fence or hay bales put up at the bottom of the hill on the Town Hall side. Bailey did confirm that the sliders are going into the roadway.

Greg Hogan elaborated on the specific incident yesterday, noting there were about 10-12 kids sliding and an adult at the bottom of the hill that would tackle the sliders that came into the road. Hogan stopped his truck to wait, seeing the sliders coming. While he was waiting the sledder nearly hit the tire of his parked truck in the roadway. Hogan stated that this was his reason for concern. Hogan also wanted to state that he’s enjoyed that hill for many years from when he was a child, to taking his kids there too and would like to continue using it.

Hogan also pointed out that there was not concern previously, but with the new buildings and the configuration of the road, it needs to be addressed because of safety. Hogan is looking for a solution so the hill can be used.

Discussion regarding possible solutions, including ski fence or hay bales until a snow bank can be made, etc.

Chris Pappas asked about the sliders hitting the fence.

Theresa Armstrong stated that she feels the fence would be a caution, so the sliders could start slowing down before they go to the fence. She feels personally that this is a good solution. Hogan also agrees that if you see a fence, it would caution the sliders.

Buddy Pierce suggested doing the fence and putting hay bales in front of it. Discussion regarding the hay bales freezing once they are wet.

Chief Bailey mentioned the combination of fencing seen at ski areas, noting the need to do maintenance on the fencing as needed. Bailey feels that it would be the best solution, since it is unknown when snow banks would be able to be made and further explained that approximately 100 feet was lost on the sledding hill when the new road and buildings were put up, so the sledding hill is a lot shorter than in years past.

Selectperson Mills wanted everyone to be aware of the liability issues and suggested that the Board get in touch with the insurance company for specifics.

Chief Bailey stated that he is hoping that it is covered similarly like the rec area. Selectperson Mills agrees, but would like to have confirmation from the insurance company.

Brian Mycko suggested a sign “sledding at own risk”.

The Board asked the secretary to get in touch with the insurance company regarding our concerns, Scalley also volunteered to assist the secretary with contacting the insurance company.

Ben Jellison asked that the Board to please work hard to make sure the hill does not close, noting that there has been a lot that has changed in town recently and one of the things that was promised when these two buildings were put up, was that the hill wouldn’t be messed with. Jellison stated that it is imperative, and does understand the liability, but for the town, there are only a few things left and the hill is one of them.

Theresa Armstrong stated that she thinks it’s great that the out-of-town people staying in the condos and motels also come use the hill. Chief Bailey commented that he had people come to the PD after seeing the signs on the hill to find out where they could go sliding in Town.

Selectperson Mills acknowledged what was being said, but wanted to point out that we live in a different society than the past and wants to confirm with the insurance company.

Jellison acknowledged Mills’ opinion, noting his own opinion, is that no one is going to want to be here because everything is being taken out of the town.

The Board determined that the signs would be left up for now and no sledding until the secretary and/or Chairperson Scalley has spoken to the insurance company regarding coverage, similar to the rec property, and the precautions discussed tonight.

Jellison asked about the ramifications if people showed up tomorrow to use the hill and the no sledding signs were up. Discussion regarding the hill being posted, as there are no “no trespassing” signs. Chief Bailey pointed out the technicality that is being brought up and is looking for clarification, if the PD is approached and what should be done. Bailey reminded that there are no teeth until it’s officially stated, regarding trespassing.

The Board stated that there is no sledding until there is further clarification from the insurance company.

Scalley understands the fine line Jellison is asking and notes that it’s a horrible society we live in right now. Scalley understands Jellison’s side as well as Mills’.

Chief Bailey asked for clarification on trespassing with the no sledding signs up. Clarifying that if sledders are up there, they would be trespassing and would be asked to leave. Selectperson Gauthier stated that he would trust the Chief’s judgement and be able to deescalate any situation that arises. Bailey confirmed that he would ask them to leave and if they don’t, they would be arrested if trespassing.

Jellison asked Bailey to repeat what was said so he understands. Bailey stated “as the Board just stated there is no sledding on the town hill until they receive an answer from the insurance company. If we get a complaint or see somebody, we are going to ask them to leave because there is no sledding, if they refuse to leave, they will be arrested for trespassing”.

Scalley stated that he and the secretary would work together to communicate with the insurance company.

Chairperson Scalley made a motion that once they have a response from the insurance company, not a legal response, but a response that can be released to the public, he will make sure it is posted on the website for the public to be aware. Selectperson Mills seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

SELECTMAN’S PAY – Chairperson Scalley explained that this was brought up previously at a meeting, noting that if the budget looked well, he would like to discuss reissuing the pay back to the selectmen; $2,100 for the Chairperson, and $1,800 for each Selectperson. Selectperson Gauthier stated that he doesn’t have a view either way. Mills stated in that context, he is in favor of putting it back this year, but he is not inclined to take it for other reasons, but doesn’t want to poison the well for other people who serve.

Selectperson Mills made a motion to reinstate the Select Board salaries from this year’s 2021 budget. Selectperson Gauthier seconded. Discussion-Gauthier asked if there was money left in the budget. Scalley confirmed there was. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

BUDGET DISCUSSIONS INCLUDING POTENTIAL CHANGES – Chairperson Scalley explained that he put everything in as presented/requested. Scalley asked for the other Board members views.

Selectperson Mills explained that he went through the budget worksheet and his inclination was that the budgets that were submitted, totaled $2.8 million. Looking at 2021’s budget as a base reference, not taking into account the inflation of this year, noting that the base line needs to be raised by an inflationary amount that closes the gap between the two if there is going to be any consideration of bringing the budget down. He does not think the Board can look at 2021 as a base line or goal to consider, noting it needs to be higher than that. His initial inclination awaiting discussion for full deliberation was to take what was presented, except for some small adjustments. Noting COVID was an outlying year and does not think we can take the metrics for that year and impose it in a quote “normal” type of budgetary season; however, we do need to be cognizant of what the Town is requesting in services and what the costs are. He is only setting the table in regards to discussion.

Scalley and Mills both agreed that the Board needs to consider what they want to put forward to the town for consideration at deliberation.

Mills reiterated that the 2021 budget process did not take into account 2021 inflation.

Selectperson Gauthier explained that he has not had a lot of time to review other than when discussing, but does agree with Mills’ view on inflation. Gauthier also highlighted the need for a Town Administrator position, noting the feedback the Board has received at past meetings. Gauthier pointed out the job they are doing and the time that it takes, noting it’s a multimillion-dollar operation with 11 full-time employees being run by three part-time selectmen on Tuesday nights for a couple of hours. He explained that it would be looking for someone to make that commitment and be compensated for the services the town wants and desires. Gauthier does like the warrant article approach, including a job description, which is unknown, other than what the Board is doing right now, every day. Gauthier stated it’s been a trying year for everyone and reminded that it’s a new member of the board every year, new ideas and methods. The Town Administrator would be a constant person in the position. Gauthier then reminded the Board of his proposal from a previous meeting of increasing the Select Board’s pay to $7,500 for the Chair and $6,000 each for the other two Selectmen, if there was no Town Administrator. Gauthier agrees with the warrant article aspect to have the people vote, but wants the selectmen’s pay to be reflected in the budget.

Scalley wanted to make everyone aware that at a previous meeting it was suggested to add the Town Administrator to the budget as well as do a warrant article. Scalley explained that after researching and confirming, the town can only do one.

Discussion regarding the Town Administrator position and specifics. Scalley agreed with the Board that the position should be through a warrant article with the position’s salary amount.

Rena Vecchio asked for clarification from the Board if it was a Town Administrator or Town Manager. She is in favor of a Town Manager, someone who would manage the town, noting that it is not cheap, but would pay off in the long run to have someone here to answer questions and be here for the employees. She also stated that if it was a Business Administrator, she is not in favor. The Board confirmed it was not a Business Administrator, and that they were looking for someone to manage the town, as well as be the person for employees to go to.

Vecchio approached the Board with the possibility of someone from the public doing a petitioned warrant article for the position. Vecchio explained that whether it was written correctly or not, it would be petitioned by the public and they would be explaining why it is needed. The Board agreed that that they are in favor of Rena doing that. Mills explained that the Select Board does what the people tells them to do, this would be a clear indication, if it were to pass, that the town has said they want the Select Board to do. Mills requested that when the warrant article is put together, guidance is sought, it is clear as to whether it’s a Town Administrator or Town Manager, the cost included, and informative. Mills stated he is in favor of a Town Manager and feels not everything should come from the Board, but should come from the people too.

Vecchio interjected and stated that there are several people in Town that feel the Town needs a Town Manager/Administrator, but not a Business Administrator. Vecchio is wondering if it comes from the people itself saying that they feel there is a great need for a Town Manager/Administrator and to stand out there fighting for it, like Vecchio has for the past three years at the transfer station, she would help.

The Board and Vecchio discussed that they would not be opposed to having the proper wording for the warrant article. Vecchio requested that she would need to know what the definition was because she would not be standing out there fighting for it if she didn’t believe in it. The Board agreed that it was a great idea presented by Vecchio to rally up petitioners that truly want this position for the town. Discussion regarding the position passing about 8-10 years ago, noting it was necessary then, and it has only gotten worse. The Board also reminded that the position could follow up on the grants, research, simple decisions, and would be a constant, whereas the Board changes yearly.

The Board agreed and would have the information needed for Vecchio to write the petition warrant article at the next meeting.

Vecchio stated that she could not stay much longer, but did want to make the Board aware that she is looking for the Town to purchase banners for the 250th Anniversary. The Board explained that Vecchio would need to provide an amount that she is requesting by the next meeting. Vecchio acknowledged.

Chairperson Scalley asked if there were any questions from the public on the budget; there were none.

Scalley explained that the budget needs to be finalized by January 4th, because the budget hearing is on the 11th.

Scalley stated that requested budget is a little bit less than $2.8 million, including the water budget and further reminded the Board that the 2020 budget, previous to the default budget, was $2,700,804, which was voted down.

The Board confirmed that the budget hearing is in January 11th with a snow date of January 14th. Gauthier stated that he would not be at the meeting on the 11th.

Ben Jellison asked about the possible raise brought up by the Board and clarification that if a Town Administrator/Manager was voted in, that the select board rates would go back down. Gauthier confirmed that was his initial approach when he came up with the value, but to not muddy the water with the wording with the warrant article. Jellison just wanted to confirm it was in the minutes tonight for reference. The Board agreed that the Select Board’s rates would be $7,500 for the Chair and $6,000 each for the other two selectmen, however, if a Town Administrator/Manager was voted in the Select Board pay would go back to $2,100 for the Chair and $1,800 each for the other two Selectmen. Scalley also brought up that he agrees with it being in the minutes, but reminded everyone that it is going to be a decision of the Board, noting there could be a new member. Jellison and the Board acknowledged.

Chief Duncan wanted to make the Board aware of the GOFERR Grant status, noting that the grant has not been approved as of today and he has not committed to a contract, but could if needed. Discussion regarding encumbering funds. The Board explained in order to encumber funds it must be done before December 31st, requiring a signed contract dated no later than December 31, 2021. Chief Duncan explained that he has the invoice and he can reach out to the company to get a contract in this fiscal year.

Chairperson Scalley made a motion to, if needed, to encumber funds for the GOFERR grant for Chief Duncan with the Fire Department, and the Selectmen would come in between now and Friday to sign the contract once received; Selectperson Mills seconded. Discussion-none. Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

Mills asked if this was the budget they were taking to the hearing. Scalley reiterated that they are waiting for Rena’s amount next week to add in, as well as the upping the selectmen’s pay as discussed tonight.

Ben Jellison asked about the legal line, in regards to legal fees for the school. The Board confirmed they kept it the same as last year. Jellison acknowledged. Jellison also confirmed with the secretary that the Town received a bill for Wadleigh, Starr &Peters.

TAX DEEDED PROPERTIES: 422 ROUTE 3N & 97 LITTLE RIVER RD – Selectperson Mills reviewed the status with St. Jean’s Auctioneers and the Purchase and Sales agreements. Mills also wanted to make the Board aware that the auctioneers are suggesting moving the auction date due to holidays and marketing to the 2nd week in February. The Board agreed to move the auction dates and move forward with the purchase and sales agreement.

SCHOOL WITHDRAWAL – Selectperson Gauthier reminded everyone that SAU 36 filed for reconsideration and the hearing is on January 13th, he will be attending.

CLEANERS – The Board agreed that they would like discuss more in depth in non-public. The Board also confirmed that if a decision was made, they would come out of non-public and vote, if a decision is not made it will continue to be advertised.

Selectperson Mills updated the Board on the Purple Heart Community status, noting it is still a work in progress. Mills stated the posts would be going in in the Spring.

Chairperson Scalley asked Ben Jellison as the Moderator his opinion of where voting should be held in March, noting last year it was at the Fire Station and his concern with Covid. Jellison explained it would have to be ok with Chief Duncan, but the biggest concern was how it is noticed to the public. Jellison listed the convenience of having it at the Town Hall because everything is there and not needing to move anything to the other building, but does acknowledge the added space at the fire station, but does not have a preference. Jellison only asked that there was help when setting everything up. Chief Duncan was not opposed to having it at the Fire Station. The Board determined that Voting on March 8th would be at the Fire Station, as well as Deliberative Session on February 8th.

Chairperson Scalley reminded the Board that they had previously received a quote on a server from Certified Computer in June, noting they had discussed and wanted to wait until the end of the year. Mills and Gauthier agreed that it should be executed this year if possible. Scalley volunteered to work with Kelly and Heather.

Chairperson Scalley explained that when they built these buildings, there was discussion of having a smart tv for the Community Room, including speakers, mouse, keyboard, similar to the set up in the fire station, costing approximately $8,000, two years ago. Scalley asked the Board if it was ok to have Imre Szauter do research and if it’s something that can be done. Scalley feels that it would be a nice feature to the Community Room, highlighting the use for Zoom if needed, displaying materials at meetings, etc. The Board all agreed.

Selectperson Gauthier wanted to remind the Board and Department Heads that there is a meeting with Bretton Woods Telephone next Tuesday, which could change the budget as well. The Board discussed meeting times for next Tuesday. The Board asked the secretary to see if Bretton Woods Telephone could come at 5:00 p.m. instead of 6:00 p.m. It was also noted that the meeting with Bretton Woods Telephone would be non-public.

The next Select Board meeting will be Tuesday January 4th, 2022 starting at 5:00 p.m.

Chief Bailey wanted to announce that with the new year coming, new laws are going into effect, including enhanced DWI penalties, etc. The Chief also wanted to make sure that people aware that it is now a law that if you hit a cat, you must report it.

Ben Jellison wanted to thank the highway department, noting the sidewalks have been lovely since the upgraded policy. He further acknowledged that it’s nice to see people out using the sidewalks.

Chief Duncan wanted to make everyone aware that if there is anyone interested in taking an emergency responder course there is a free course starting in January and ending in February for anyone that is a member of the Twin Mountain Fire Department. The Chief explained that some of the course is online and some is in-person in Bethlehem. If anyone is interested, they can contact Chief Duncan at 603-846-2200.

The next Select Board meeting will be Tuesday January 4th, 2022 at 5:00 p.m., noting the meeting with Bretton Woods Telephone will be in non-public.

At 6:35 p.m., Chairperson Scalley made a motion to go into non-public session per RSA 91-A:3 II legal and personnel. The motion was seconded by Selectperson Gauthier and polled; Gauthier-AYE, Mills-AYE, Scalley-AYE.

At 7:33 p.m. Chairperson Scalley made a motion to return to public session and seal the minutes. Selectperson Mills seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Selectperson Mills made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Chairperson Scalley seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Chairperson Scalley declared the meeting ended at 7:34 p.m.