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125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
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Jun 12, 2017

Board of Selectmen Minutes - June 12, 2017


BOARD OF SELECTMENS PUBLIC HEARING
& REGULAR BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2017
4:30 PM
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM

120 MAIN STREET, LITTLETON, NH

Present:  Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Schuyler W. Sweet, V. Chairman Franco Rossi, Selectman Milton T. Bratz, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

Others Present:  Chad Fillion (Channel 2), Robert Blechl (The Caledonian), The Courier, Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Joe DePalma (Public Works Director), Brien Ward, Rod Trahan, Donna Trahan, Frank Porfido, Art Tighe, Jere Eames, Eddy Moore, Dave Harkless, Ralph Hodgman, Rudy Gelsi,

Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman Sweet called the Public Hearing to order at 4:30 PM:

Proposed Dumpster Ordinance

Selectman Bratz presented the below proposed ordinance along with other materials relative to public health concerns.

 

DUMPSTERS, OFFENSIVE MATTER & STANDING WATER                                                                                                                                  

In accordance with the authority conferred by RSA 147 upon selectmen, upon recommendation of the health officer, relative to NUISANCES; TOILETS; DRAINS; EXPECTORATION; RUBBISH AND WASTE, the following regulations are hereby adopted:

 

PREAMBLE:

 

  1. This Ordinance shall be captioned “Dumpsters, Offensive Matter & Standing Water” and shall take effect on its adoption by the Board of Selectmen.

 

  1. Dumpsters, whether temporarily on a property or there regularly in connection with ongoing use of that property, have the potential of creating risks to the public health.  Open dumpsters attract vermin or larger animals that may be infected with Rabies Virus or other viral infectious agents, and therefore pose a threat to humans and pets who inadvertently come in contact with them.  Additionally, Mosquitoes have enormous breeding capacity during warm weather months in small puddles of water lasting more than four days, and standing water collects in dumpsters that are not properly closed or covered.  Mosquitoes carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV), serious viral diseases that may be transmitted to humans.

 

  1. If any word, term, phrase sentence or clause of this ordinance is found to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, or any other agency, such finding shall not affect the validity of any other word, term, phrase, sentence, or clause of this ordinance.

 

SECTION 1: DEFINITIONS

 

  1. Dumpster – Containers designed for receiving, transporting and dumping waste materials.
  2. Standing water – H2O that is not flowing, remaining stationary for 96+ hours between June 1st and October 1st of any given year.
  3. Offensive matter – as defined in RSA 147:13 – “…exposed, unburied any animal or other substance liable to become putrid or offensive or injurious to the public health….”
  4. Dumpster cover – Correctly fitted, waterproof industrial vinyl hand or throw tarp.

 

 

SECTION 2: REQUIRED ACTIONS

 

  1. Dumpster doors and top lids are to remain closed at all times except when receiving garbage, trash or debris.  Open dumpsters without lids, regardless of size, must be covered with a properly fitted cover except when receiving garbage, trash or debris.

 

SECTION 3: ENFORCEMENT

 

  1. Enforcement against any person who, or business that, violates this ordinance shall be in accordance with RSA 147 including the option of a charge of criminal violation, and/or court injunctive action.

 

  1. In addition to any other remedy established by law, the Selectmen shall be authorized to enforce the provisions of this ordinance by any proceeding commenced by the Grafton County Superior Court or the Littleton District Court, and shall be entitled to recover from any violator hereof all their costs, including attorney’s fees, in connection with such enforcement, to the extent allowed by said Court. 

 

Bratz read a letter of the proposed ordinance he had received from the state Epidemiologist, Benjamin Chan, MD, MPH.  A representative from the NH Fish & Game Department said he was very supportive of the Town’s efforts on this matter.  He wanted to take the conversation a little further and include the subject of bears and other critters.  Garbage dumpsters and bears are an issue state wide.  They have six to seven hundred bear complaints per year.  We as an agency as well as our federal partners, encourage Town’s to look at steel top dumpsters that are lockable.  These plastic tops are not adequate for bears as well as critters such as raccoons.  Littleton ranks 4th in the highest bear complaints. In the last five years we have had bear issues in 225 Towns.  As far as bear and human conflicts, Littleton is at the top of the list.  The vast majority of those are due to garbage.  It is an issue and if you are talking about human safety concerns, rabies issues need to be on the table even more so than mosquito borne diseases. The Town of Lincoln along with four other Town’s in New Hampshire have adopted dumpster ordinances to address these attractants.  Pittsburgh has an ordinance regarding dumpsters but in that Town it is specific to commercial dumpsters.  In Lincoln, after the passage of an ordinance they saw a reduction in bear conflicts by 85%.  Ordinances are an effective tool in addressing these kind of issues.  The representative commended the board for their efforts and provided the board with a letter of support.   Sweet asked if there were any other public comments.  There being none he closed the public hearing at 5:00 PM and opened the regular board meeting.

 

Appointments: 

W&L Commissioner Resolution

Chairman Sweet read the resolution in honor of Eddy Moore’s dedication and efforts through the fifteen years of service as a Water & Light Commissioner.  Jere Eames said that Eddy was always reliable and never had a hidden agenda.  He would get things done and get them done right.  Frank Porfido said that Eddy and he worked on many projects together.  He was always the sounding board because he had more historical knowledge than any other twenty people.  No matter what we put together to present to the people, Eddy’s words of wisdom were always accurate and always truthful.  He always knew how important it is to tell the truth.  He should be commended for that because there are very few people like that today.  Brien Ward said he had the opportunity to be on both the select board and the school board.  Many a half-baked idea never was brought to fruition because someone would ask “what would Eddy Moore say”.  Eddy also has life time achievement of looking out for the taxpayers in addition to his thirty four years work on the Zoning Board and the Water & Light Commission.    His recognition is well deserved.  Eddy said he passed on the chairmanship of the Zoning Board over to Jessica Daine.  Eddy said it is his time to turn it over just like he did at the Water & Light Department. 

 

Profile Cable Consortium Contract Renewal

Dorsett said that Eddy Moore is the Chairman of the Consortium and he will be giving us an update of the status of the contract.  Moore said they had a meeting last Thursday at the Opera House in the Tower Room.  We had representatives from all seven Towns.  We also had an attorney present who will be representing all seven Towns.  We have extended the franchise for one year.  The attorney would like to extend it for another year.  Eddy Moore provided the board with a copy of the contract with an additional copy for Ceil.  He also has copies of the contracts for each of the seven Towns.  The consortium will be meeting the second Thursday of each month at the Opera House Tower Room at 6:30 PM.  He would like to see the group start working on a program for the future.  Each Town pays for their own franchise.  We get $50,000 that goes into the general fund.  Dorsett said it would be helpful for a motion to direct and authorize a representative from the consortium to work on one year extension contract.  Bratz made the motion.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

Town Manager’s Report:

New Finance Rate

Dorsett said the first report he submitted is for the board’s consideration in the financing for Sub Area-Five

We had a presentation on it at a previous select board meeting.  We agreed to move forward with the State of New Hampshire Clean Water State Revolving Fund.  It is a 2% loan for twenty years.  We need the adoption of the resolution to authorize Chairman Sweet and the Town Manager to sign on behalf of the Town to pursue the Clean Water Fund.  Rossi made the motion to accept the resolution.  Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.  Dorsett stated a copy of the minutes are to be attached to the resolution.

 

Dorsett said the next thing is a report on other financing rates.  As of right now we have a TAN we might have to take but right now the property and sewer taxes are coming in.  We may not have to take the TAN but just in case the rates are between 1% and 2.30%.

 

We also looked into financing on Grove and various other loans.  Dorsett said the Town would save about $9,000 by refinancing.  He is looking for a motion to authorize the Town Manager to refinance in the best interest of the Town.  Sweet made the motion.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0. 

 

April & May Budget Review

Dorsett presented the board with the budget review for April and May.  Bratz had a question on the parking meter expenses.  Dorsett and Chief Smith stated that expense is for the parking lot loan.

 

Andrew brought up the rail abandonment.  The railroad qualifies for the National Historic Registry.  We need to talk to DREDD and the DOT to see what the next process is.  Update on the Safe Routes to Schools project start date is estimated for June 26th and completion by August 26th.  The Bethlehem Town Line is getting closer to being resolved. Right now we are reviewing the survey information that the boards have collected.  We are working with our attorney to see how best to document the Town lines.  Bratz said that several years ago the Town received a letter from the state telling us that the Bethlehem and the Littleton was incorrect.  Bratz said it has been four years since we have been talking about this.  Rossi asked if it was a matter of getting it straightened out and talking it to the legislature to have it ratified.  Dorsett said they would have a local agreement and a step by step process that would have to be followed.  Dorsett said the Chamber has relocated to the Thayer’s Inn.  We have been showing the space to some potential tenants.  We have hired a part time employee to rent out the venue.  We should have a seamless transition.  Bratz asked Dorsett if we have found a contractor yet. We have put money into the building to maintain it with very little income to offset the expenses.  There are vendor contractors who could assist in bringing in more revenue.  They work on a commission basis.  If they don’t get anyone in, they don’t get paid.  Dorsett said he has spoken with two such agencies.  He will be working on that further as we move along.  We do have an interested tenant for the Cottage Street level.  They will be making an offer and if it does happen they would not be able to move in for a least a year. 

 

Other Business: 

Dave Harkless – Pump Track Presentation

Dave Harkless provided an in-depth presentation on the proposed pump truck with a series of slides.  Citizens were encouraged to ask questions after the presentation.  Dorsett said he checked with the Town’s insurer Primex and was advised the pump park would have no impact on the Town’s liability insurance.  Ralph Hodgman said his concern is being on top of a mountain, with no adult supervision kids will go up there and mess around.  It could be a little dangerous.  His other concern is the Town liability.  Sweet advised we are in a presentation right now, this should be brought up under public input.  Harkless said there will be signs up with no loitering and listing the hours it will be open.  We will be working closely with the police department to make sure we have the proper signage. 

 

Rossi asked if this project has been discussed before.  Or did the idea come up because of the pile of dirt there.  Harkless said after having just lost our small pump track, the pile of dirt appeared to have possibilities.  Harkless said his whole thing is non-traditional sports.  Rossi said he was definitely in favor of it, but in context of the big picture, how do we improve this aspect of our community.  He employs people and has a hard time getting people to come to Littleton.  Harkless said there was a recent meeting at the Opera House focused on recreation. A person helping with the presentation said this is the ideal spot for a pump track.  Not because it is Town land and it has the material, it is also the trailhead for all of the walking and mountain bike trails.  If you go up now on a weekend and you go up to the top of School Street there are five or six cars with people either walking or biking the trails.  As kids outgrow the pump track they are right there to progress to the bike trails.  Sweet thanked them for the presentation.

 

Old Business:  None

 

New Business:
Pollyanna Proclamation Acknowledgement

Sweet said Pollyanna Day was Saturday.  Every year the board attends the event and presents the organizers with a proclamation.  Sweet said he did not want to interfere with the celebration so he went ahead and made the proclamation presentation.  This agenda item is to ratify the proclamation.  Rossi made the motion to accept the proclamation.  Bratz seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

Public Comments:

Ralph Hodgman said we have this thing going on with the Parks and Recreation and what is it we want and need.  This should be part of the process. He is not so sure it is the part of the selectmen to tell them when they can start building.  There is a committee trying to figure out what is best for the whole Town.  He feels it should go to the committee before it comes to the selectmen.  Hodgman wanted to know how you get new business on the agenda.  Sweet told him to make an appointment with Ceil.  Hodgman said one thing he would like to bring up, he attended the Planning Board the other day.  He made some comments and the Planning Board came back and said that is not their issue, it is the selectmen’s issue.  He is coming to the board to tell you that you have a proposal to sell this land for $1 to LIDC.  He has here where the land was purchased by the Town in 1969 for $29,000.  It has been subdivided since then because we are talking 41 acres at this point.  The value of that 41 acres is $88,000.  To give that land to the LIDC for $1 for future development when they can’t even develop the land they have now, does not make good sense to him.  If LIDC wants that land, let them buy it.  Sell it to them at a reasonable.  Another citizen in Town said they are willing to buy that land for $22,000.  He wants the board to know that he thinks it is a bad move.  He has heard all the reasons why, to look for the future and all that.  Franco said it earlier that he has problems getting employees to come to Littleton.  We have jobs that people are not coming here for now.  We can’t even fill the positions that we have now.  As a tax payer he wants the board to know that he does not think it is right for the selectmen to sell that property for a $1.  Sweet told Hodgman that the Planning Board was correct in telling you that it was not their issue.  However that is the purpose of the public hearing.  If you want to be on the record that is where your comments need to be heard.  That will then become part of the decision making process of the selectmen. 

 

Rudy Gelsi how much would it cost the Town to inform the citizen of the Town of Littleton to send a letter to the taxpayers.  Franco Rossi asked him if he was asking that letters be sent in addition to where the meeting notices are posted now.  Sweet told him the cost was roughly $1,500.  Gelsi asked if the Town didn’t have a discount with the post office.  Sweet said the post office is run by the federal government.  Dorsett said that is why they try to use social media, the website and other postings.  Gelsi told Andrew that he had respect for him, he should know that.  Gelsi said that everything you guys put in the Caledonian few people know about it.  They said they don’t know about it because it was not in the Courier.  That is the truth.  I’m just telling you that people are complaining.  Gelsi proceeded to tell the board to do what they want. 

 

Brien Ward said he wanted to kill one bird with one stone.  Ward told the board they did a great job with Eddy Moore’s proclamation.  Two weeks ago the governor came to Town. Greg Eastman and Carol Caswell from CDFA plus the governor’s office were all there.  Handouts were given out with a title of Littleton Economic Growth.  In 1995 Littleton had a tax base of two hundred forty one million dollars.  By 2009 we grew that to seven hundred ninety four million.  That represents a five million five hundred and fifty three dollar increase.  The corner stone of that economic growth was the industrial park.  They have twelve hundred to thirteen hundred jobs in there.  The four million dollars that was put into the industrial park, one million from tax payers and three million from grants gave us an extremely successful industrial park.  We are cautiously optimistic that we will be getting back to a more positive situation on our tax base.  The last eight years have been difficult for us, as a community and for the North Country.  Ward stated that if you compare Littleton to any other Town we are in much better shape tax base wise than where we are now and where we are going to go.  Franco Rossi pointed out that it refers to Littleton being in Coos County.  Ward said they were encouraged to work with Coos County because they were struggling worse than Littleton.  We are Coos County’s fourth largest center for employment.  Ward told Rossi he was right, we are in Grafton County but we are the largest employer for them.  What came out after that meeting, and to tie into the value of the industrial park, there was an article in a NH magazine talking about the hot offices in the industrial parks in NH.  They listed six, four on the sea coast, two in Exeter, one in Salem, one in Dover and one in Portsmouth.  Some may not see the value of the industrial park.  But those that see the bigger world looks upon our industrial park as one of the most successful ones in the state.  When you are talking about transferring land to them, their track record holds up with any other industrial park.  Ward asked where would we be without those twelve hundred jobs.  Ward said that when he read the article from the planning board, he went back to make a full disclosure.  Ward said he was a member of the LIDC in the past.  He was a member when the Coin Company came.  There has been a community participation in this on whether to do transfers or not.  In 2014 the Town Bruce Hadlock stood up and said the Town should get paid for the land.  The Town voted around 800 something for the sale to 200 something.  Ward told Hodgman that it was a four to one vote in favor of transferring the land to LIDC. Ward asked if this was a one and done?  NO!  In 1997 the Town voted to convey two pieces of this same piece.  In 1969 that piece was originally purchased 125 acres for a regional landfill.  It never got built, but that didn’t stop us from using it as a dump.  It was a stump and tire dump.  The Town gave it to LIDC based on the LIDC cleaning it up.  They cleaned up a Town problem.  The vote at Town Meeting in 1997 was 887 to 219.  The numbers are really close to the vote numbers of 2014.  There was a second vote in December of 1997 for a special Town Meeting to deal with the Coin Company.  That vote was 576 to 35.  The community supported the transfer.  The amount of acreage that ended up getting transferred, there were four deeds that were transferred from the Town to LIDC.  There were five conveyances in 1998.  January 26th, 11.2 acres were conveyed to LIDC.  In April of 1998 the Foster Family conveyed the land that was now part of article 2.  July 1st there were two conveyances 22.71 acres and 6.5 acres.  In September 1998 19 acres were transferred.  The community has already conveyed four pieces of the land.  This was voted on in 2014 and it was discussed along with conversations regarding the same issues being brought up again.  If you look at the industrial park from a 10,000 foot view, Littleton has 34,400 acres.  The industrial takes up between 400 and 500 acres.  It’s in the perfect location because it is against Lisbon and against Sugar Hill and against Bethlehem.  The Town built a 2,000 access road with no houses on it from 302 to where it connects with Mount Eustis.  The Town has addressed the issues that have been talked about.  The community has voted several times to support the industrial park. Article 2 passed in a land slide, it was 58 to 42.  However under the rules of protest it had to have at least 67.  That was another vote where the community wanted to support the industrial park.  This has been a long time partnership between the Town and LIDC.  What has the Town got out of the deal?  Since the industrial park was built, transferring the Town land to a nonprofit status, they generated twelve million dollars in taxes.  You take all the money out in taxes from the park andput very little back in.  Ward said that he hopes next March the Town will do more to fix the Mount Eustis Road.  There never was an intention to have traffic re-routed to Mount Eustis Road.   Ward said that people who opposed article 2 because of the utilization of Mount Eustis they had a legitimate complaint.  It is a residential neighborhood and it should never have big trucks or any kind of traffic coming from the industrial park.  So the industrial park generates about twelve million dollars not counting the jobs is the best economic investment this Town has made. 

Ward said that as a citizen totally supports the Town doing the transfer.  You have the historical practice, you have community support, and economic success.  Any Town in New Hampshire would love to have an industrial park like the one we have.  We are recognized as one of the top six in the state.  Ward said the last eight years have been tough, but that is not an excuse to not work for the future.  LIDC is always looking down the road.  They have been doing so since 193.  Ward told the board to go ahead with the transfer, they have all of the facts in front of them.  Sweet thanked Ward for doing his homework. 

 

Bratz said that he raised a question at the planning board about the sale for a dollar. The wording of the article states for a nominal price.  Bratz looked up nominal.  Bratz asked if maybe they should change the language to ten dollars or a hundred dollars because the way the dictionary describes nominal it is almost a non-existent value.  The dollar seems to fit the description but it does not fit the comparisons.  Bratz said the people were aware that it was going to go for whatever the nominal value may be.  Sweet thanked Bratz but stated that it is the wrong time and the wrong place.  These are things to be brought up at the public hearing. 

 

Dave Harkless said the committee that has been formed for a new recreation building is not connected to the pump track. He stated that it would not be productive to put this off until they are ready to figure out what they are going to do.  We are a shovel ready project and could have this built in July.  Sweet asked if there were any other public comments.  There being none he moved to the board action agenda item. 

 

Board Action:

Sweet said they had two items they could act on.  The first is the dumpster ordinance.  Bratz said the recommendation that was made regarding the steel covers for the dumpsters he would like to take a closer look at that.  But because of the activity right now he would like to come back with a modification on that at a later date.  Bratz said that they could wait for the next meeting.  Rossi said he would rather not pass something now that we know we might amend later.  Sweet said he agreed with Rossi.  Bratz said to hold off for another month.  Rossi made the motion to hold off for one month.  Bratz seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

Sweet said the other they could act on is the pump track. Rossi said his questions were answered and he would be in favor of moving forward now.  Bratz said he had some of the same questions and concerns as Rossi, but after it was explained exactly where the location is and knowing that all of the safety measures will be taken he has no problem moving forward.  Rossi made the motion to donate Town land for the creation of the pump track.  Bratz seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.  The meeting recessed at 5:50 PM to go into a nonpublic session. 

 

Note:  Rossi made the motion to enter into a nonpublic session per the following RSA:

  

___X_ RSA 91-A:3, II(C) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of this board, unless such person requests an open meeting.  This exemption shall extend to include any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant

 

Bratz seconded the motion.  The board entered the nonpublic session at 5:52 PM.  The board came out of the nonpublic session at 6:20 PM.  Bratz made the motion to seal the minutes.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.  Sweet asked for a motion adjourn.  Bratz made the motion.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.  Meeting adjourned at 5:53 PM.