Board of Selectmen Minutes - March 27, 2017
BOARD OF SELECTMENS MEETING
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET, LITTLETON, NH
Present: Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Milton Bratz, V. Chairman Schuyler Sweet, Selectman Franco Rossi, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings
Others Present: Chad Fillion (Channel 2), Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Ryan Glass (Parks & Recreation), Ralph Hodgman, Rudy Gelsi
Dorsett called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM
Pledge of Allegiance
Dorsett announced this is the organization meeting of the board. The first order of business is to take nominations for a Chairman. Bratz made the motion to appoint Schuyler Sweet as the Chairman. Franco Rossi seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Sweet asked for a motion to appoint a Vice Chairman. Bratz made the motion to appoint Franco Rossi as the Vice Chairman. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Bratz advised Sweet the target sits in the middle. Sweet stated he would prefer to stay in the same seat, and this is his first ruling. Sweet explained that when he started on the board Marghie sat here and he would like to go back to that tradition. Dorsett advised Sweet one other item under the organization would be to set the day and time of the meetings. Sweet said the board is currently meeting here in the Community Center Heald Room on the second and fourth Monday’s of the month at 5:00 PM. Unless he hears something that would sway him differently he would like to continue with the current schedule. Bratz said he was fine with the current schedule. Rossi said Monday’s were the best day for him. Bratz moved to stay with the schedule. Rossi seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Sweet stated that during the summer months the meetings are reduced to one a month on the second Monday unless circumstances require additional meetings. Sweet said that in the past it has not been necessary.
Town Manager’s Report:
Town Meeting Wrap-up
Dorsett announced the newly elected officers of the Town:
Franco Rossi (Selectman, 3 year term)
Stanley Fillion (Trustee of Trust Funds, 3 year term)
Danielle Lafitte Cook (Park Commissioner, 3 year term)
Joseph Evans (Library Trustee, 3 year term)
Judith Dean (Library Trustee, 3 year term)
Kim Delutis (Library Trustee, 2 year term)
Dorsett stated that before the vote if all of the articles passed there would be a .34 cent reduction in the tax rate.
The community center and library articles did not pass. This reduced the estimated tax reduction to .38 cents reduction. Dorsett stressed this is an estimate.
Cleanup Day Preparation
Dorsett asked Ryan Glass to speak about the preparation. Glass stated that he and Brian Patnoe, the Town Manager have been having a discussion on the cleanup of the Town. We would like to have the event on April 22nd which is Earth Day. Earth Day is a time when the Town can come together and collaborate and do some cleanup of the streets and the parks. They would also like to cover other areas that don’t usually get much attention. The Highway Department is on board, the Police Department and the Transfer Station are all on board. He reached out to the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and he has a few businesses willing to help. We are also going to have a cookout for anyone that shows up to help. They want to make it a celebration of cleaning up Littleton. They still don’t have a name for it, he has to have a name by the end of this week. Sweet asked if they would need an action by the select board. Glass said this is just information and that they are looking more for support. Bratz asked Ceil if when Marghie organized this if she set it up for the same day as Earth Day. Glass said he worked with Tony Ilacqua in the past on this. Glass said Earth Day is celebrated nationally and it would be nice for Littleton to be a part of it. Bratz asked if there would be a backup day in the case of rain. Glass said no. Glass said they would think about that. Dorsett said they will have a map and a signup list at the Town Office. This will allow people to come in and sign up. There will also be a list of what to watch out for and what not to pick up. All of that will be available well before April 22nd. They imagine that a lot of people will clean up prior to the event. Bratz said the school should be notified so the students can gather community service hours. Sweet suggested they contact Gregg Eastman who could contact some of the Industrial Park tenants. In the old days they used to send their own crews out.
Board & Committee Vacancies – Application Period Extended
Dorsett explained the applications are due on March 31st. As of right now there are four vacancies on the Budget Committee. One vacancy on the Opera House Management Commission. Two on the Conservation Commission. Three on the Planning Board. Two full voting and one Alternate position on the Zoning Board. One Water & Light Commissioner. Two positions on the Energy Conservation Committee and two positions of the River District Redevelopment Commission. Dorsett said once the applications have been received they will be sent to the chairman of the committees for their input. Sweet pointed out that some of the positions might not be vacancies if the current individuals holding the position wish to be reappointed.
New Highway Department Hires
Dorsett said the Town voted to add a new full time position to the Highway Department. They advertised internally. They had an internal candidate that was a seasonal employee who has been really effective. They have gone through the process of hiring and he will be coming on board shortly as a new full time employee. His name is Geoffrey Osgood.
Parks & Recreation Building
We want to let you know the article passed. They have engaged an architect and will begin a public process starting next month. The architect will meet with the Parks & Recreation Commissioners first and then they will hold a public meeting on April 26th at the Opera House. We are hoping to get a lot of public input. It is going to be a very important meeting because it is a time for Littleton residents to get out and really have input on what they feel the needs are. Glass said he believes the commissioners are going to meet with the architect next week.
Dorsett said he was anticipating they would have an official notice on the grant. The energy had contacted us to notify us of the grant they received. The grant was for about $20,000 which is about half what is needed to make the improvements to the Opera House. Sweet moved to the next item on the agenda.
Mount Eustis Road
Sweet stated that Mount Eustis Road was an issue prior to Town Meeting Day. It came to the forefront more with Article 2 with the Zoning Change. The abutters brought it up. It basically intensified what was an existing issue. Sweet said the Highway Superintendent, the Police Chief and the Town Manager are into this up to their ears. They are looking at usage and what kind of usage, vehicles and what kind of vehicles are using it. Sweet said he expects there will be a recommendation for the board in the near future. The point of bringing it up is that we are aware of it and we are working on it. Chief Smith said they will be reviewing the use of that road during our Highway Safety Meeting. The Highway Safety Committee consists of the Town Manager, Public Works Director, The Fire Chief and himself. They are going to review some of the comments they heard and try to analyze the situation. We know there are some safety issues as well as maintenance.
2017 Estimated Tax Rate Reduction
Sweet said Dorsett had touched on this earlier with the defeat of a couple of the warrant articles. The estimated, and he repeats the estimated tax rate reduction is 38 cents. That is our best guess at this point. Sweet said this is good news.
Dorsett said the Town has its ambulance services contracted through a private provider. The provider is Calex Ambulance. When we renegotiated the contract, we were able to pull out certain costs. One of the costs that we review annually is their use of our dispatch service. Part of keeping the cost down they are able to use our facility as their base to respond to emergencies in other communities. This is an FYI that the contract is working and we are able to bill them for $5,300 for the dispatch service. Franco Rossi asked what it is based on. Dorsett said the way they bill it, we take our dispatch fee which is approximately about $170,000 and take the total calls which is about seventeen thousand calls. We do a local reduction which we estimate high. We then get a report from Grafton County Dispatch showing the number of calls they had. Dorsett reviewed the number of calls for Calex and what they were for. Franco asked if we just invoice them and they don’t reduce their agreement. Dorsett said they do it to keep the budget more accurate.
Bratz said he had a couple of items to bring to the board for the next meeting. He provided them with a copy of an ordinance for the next meeting and a Health Officer Report at the next meeting.
Ralph Hodgman said he had a couple of quick questions. He asked if for some reason the grant does not come in for the Opera House, does that null and void the vote on the article. Dorsett said the amount of the article was reduced because of the grant funds. So if the grant does not materialize, the Town would only have the amount that was approved on the warrant article. Sweet stated if the grant is not received they would only have half of the funds to do the work. Hodgman said that would not be enough to do the job.
Hodgman wanted to know what part of Mount Eustis Road is the bad area. Chief Smith said he couldn’t speak to the maintenance part, but he could speak to the road design. The road was not designed to take the heavy truck traffic. The road is not wide enough and there are speed issues there. Hodgman said that is the part that goes out from Dodge’s in the other direction. Smith said trucks go both ways on that road. Google Maps try to shortcut the trucks to the Industrial Park. Sweet said there is another portion of that which is also used as a shortcut by people going to and from work. That creates more usage and more wear and tear. And when it is being used by inappropriate vehicles it makes it even more dangerous. Sweet said some of it is not coming from Ammonoosuc Community Health. Hodgman said actually it’s the whole road that needs to be reviewed.
Rudy Gelsi asked Bratz if he just resigned as the Chairman. Bratz said yes that they reorganize every year. Gelsi asked how come nobody said anything and why it wasn’t in the paper. Bratz said it is a normal thing they are supposed to do every year. Gelsi asked if the board was trying to say there was a tax reduction because of a reduction of traffic on Mount Eustis Road. Sweet said no. Gelsi said it says it here on the agenda. Sweet said it has nothing to do with the road. Sweet explained the reduction to Gelsi and said the taxes will be reduced .38 cents per one thousand. Gelsi said the way it is written it is wrong.
Gelsi asked the Chairman if he was going to do a tax reform. How were they going to spend the money? Were they going to talk about it or just spend the money without telling no body about it? Gelsi asked again if they were going to have a tax reform about the taxation. Sweet said the money is going to be spent on the budget that was passed. Bratz told Gelsi they get a report once a month from Karen. That is when we update the public. Gelsi asked if they were going to answer questions when asked instead of saying I’ll let you know next week or something like that. Sweet said they will answer the question if they can, if not they will defer until the next meeting. Gelsi wanted to bring a letter to the board’s attention that he got from Concord. The letter is about the election. This letter is not to accuse anybody. It is a look into the voter fraud. Bratz said the president of the United States accused New Hampshire of cheating on the election and that the election was rigged. Bratz told Gelsi to talk to Trump.
There was no need for a nonpublic session. Dorsett said he had something for nonpublic at the next meeting. Bratz made the motion to adjourn. Rossi seconded the motion. Motion to adjourn passed 3-0. The meeting adjourned at 5:31 PM.