Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Nov 26, 2018

Board of Selectmen Minutes - November-26-2018


TOWN OF LITTLETON
BOARD OF SELECTMEN’S MEETING
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2018
5:00 PM
 COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM
AGENDA

 

 

Present:  Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Schuyler Sweet, Vice Chairman Franco Rossi, Selectperson Carrie Gendreau, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

 

Others Present:  Chris Wilkins (Parks & Recreation), Jeff Brammer (Parks & Recreation), Bruce Hadlock, Milt Bratz, Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Rudy Gelsi, Chad Fillion (Channel 2), Robert Blechl (The Caledonian

 

Pledge of Allegiance

 

Sweet called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM

 

Appointments:

Partridge Lake Association      (This appointment was rescheduled for a future meeting)

 

Town Manager’s Report:
Budget Transfers

Dorsett advised that in 2016 he began approaching contract liability and review from a proactive perspective. The concept was to have legal and liability review prior to signing all contracts. This called for heavier legal fees up front during review, with the investment up front to reduce contract costs during execution of the contract due to potential of costs due to contract implementation risks of contract conflict and liability. We are now seeing the cost benefit of reduced risk from being proactive rather than legally reactive. We have seen significant savings in legal expenses.

I would like to now utilize those savings for outsourcing commercial economic development to capitalize on expertise in a one year contract. NHRSA 32:10 allows the Selectboard to reallocate funds from one line item to another. The funds will be utilized to create a public-private partnership to sustainably recruit and grow Littleton’s commercial services tax base. With limited time and staff Littleton doesn’t proactively identify and recruit commercial and retail matches.

Dorsett asked the board to consider making a motion that in accordance with NHRSA 32:10 the Board of Selectmen transfer appropriation of $50,000 from Legal expenditure to contracted services.  Sweet stated they would address this item under Board Action.

 

NHDOT Ten Year Plan BOS Support

Alex Belenz from NCC provided a presentation on the NHDOT Ten Year Plan as follows:

New Hampshire RSA 228:99 and RSA 240 require that the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) propose a plan for improvements to the State's transportation system every two years. The purpose of the Ten Year Plan is to develop and implement a plan allowing New Hampshire to fully participate in federally supported transportation improvement projects as well as to outline projects and programs funded with State transportation dollars.  Littleton is submitting its Main Street Phase II and Saranac Street realignment project to be included in the NHDOT Ten Year Plan. Main Street and Meadow Street in downtown Littleton currently suffer from poor roadway condition, aging storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure, insufficient sidewalk and curbing infrastructure, and long pedestrian crossings. Main Street and Meadow Street carrying significant traffic volumes consisting of residents, shoppers, commuters, and drivers and freight haulers with regional destinations. Due to its dense and vibrant character, Main Street also has significant pedestrian activity. Sadly, there is a history of pedestrian crashes along this stretch of Main Street, with a fatality in September 2018. Additionally, the current intersection of Meadow Street and Saranac Street has a severely acute turning angle which is dangerous for drivers. The Town of Littleton has previously applied multiple times for USDOT TIGER/BUILD grants to fund and implement this project.

Preliminary engineering would be needed for the road reconstruction, intersection improvements, and pedestrian/curb infrastructure improvements. Right-of-way purchasing may be required for intersection improvements at Saranac/Bridge Street and Meadow Street; however, these would likely occur along the Town's ROW for Saranac Street/Bridge Street. The Town has budgeted for potential ROW acquisitions and has had ongoing discussions with all relevant property owners. Main Street/Meadow Street reconstruction: 1) conduct preliminary engineering for road reconstruction and pedestrian/curb improvements; 2) implement sub-area II sewer project (CDBG-funded); 3) reconstruct Main Street and Meadow Street roadway and pedestrian/curb improvements. Saranac St/Bridge St/Meadow St intersection improvements: 1) Town secures BUILD grant and/or other funding for Town portion of project; 2) Town works with property owners to secure ROW for new Saranac St roadway; 3) Town begins roadway construction on Saranac Street and improvements to Bridge Street; 4) intersection improvements completed at Bridge Street; 5) east end of Saranac Street closed off to vehicular traffic.  Consider making a motion that the Board of Selectmen supports the Main Street Phase II Project being added to the NHDOT Ten Year Plan.    Sweet said this item would also be taken care of under Board Action.                                                                                                                                                

 

Recreation Center Draft Proposal

Cris Soloman, Chris Wilkins and Jeff Brammer were present.  Cris Soloman provided a presentation on the design of the proposed center.  In August of 2014 the Remich Park “Green Building” was recognized as being unusable as a public recreation building. The Parks Commission began its review in October of 2014. The State of NH inspected the building and closed it’s for public use. In March of 2015 the Commission and the Board of Selectman supported Article 26 to raise $10,000 to begin finding a solution to the condemnation of the “Green Building. In 2016 I worked with the Recreation Commission to develop an RFP for architectural services to develop a new recreation facility that would meet the needs of the current and future needs of the community. Proposals were received, reviewed and awarded in 2017. In mid and late 2017 public forums were held by the Recreation Commission to gather input. The Recreation Commission has been diligently working to incorporate public input and recreation needs. The Recreation Commission has now developed a phased approach to construction. Consider taking the information into consideration for future support during a work session for warrant articles. Dorsett asked if the board had any questions.  Sweet thanked Soloman for the presentation and said there were no questions at this time. The will review the materials they were provided with and discuss the options at a later work session.

 

Tax Rate Background: Dorsett advised the tax rate is set and provided a brief overview of the 2018 tax rate.  Dorsett provided an overview of the tax rate setting process.  He provided a brief overview of the assessed values and stated the 2018 tax rate was set at $23.10.  The breakdown is as follows:  $1.49 County,
$11.62 Local School, $2.09 State School, $7.90 Municipal. 

 

Old Business:  None

 

New Business:  None

 

Other Business:

Dorsett said that recently the Town received a grant which the board accepted.  The grant was for the lighting at the Opera House.  We are applying for a USDA Facilities Grant.   There is a Town match that we can come up with the funds from other projects.  Dorsett said he needs a resolution signed by the Chairman authorizing him to apply for the grant.  The project is for about $50,000 for the lighting.  Currently we do not have the lighting for performances.  Sweet said this would be taken under consideration of Board Action. 

 

Board of Assessors:  None

 

Public Comment

Brien Ward stated that he had made a presentation last week at the Economic Development meeting.  The presentation consisted of how we can get to a billion dollar tax base by 2023.  Brien said he covered how we can do it and why we have to do it.  We need a new Lakeway school along with other projects.  Ward said one of the things he went over was the potential to expand the number of brands in Town.  Brands are important.  Ward said he had discussed earlier with Carrie Gendreau who said they would be bringing on the Buxton Group sooner than later.

We have some very unique local businesses and the brands help bring people into the Town.  Ward believes with help from the Buxton Group we can achieve our goals.  Ward went on to say there are currently several brands looking into Littleton.  We may have several other brands by 2019. 

 

Bruce Hadlock said the Parks & Recreations group should actually study what they are talking about.  They did the same thing in Newport, Vermont.  They built the place, indoor pool and a track arena.  They went belly up.  Hadlock said it would give them a good lesson because they did exactly what they are proposing to do.  Chris Wilkins said the presentation was scaled back.  Cris Soloman said he talked to Claremont and Lebanon who are operating in the red.  They went a little too far and the revenues from the Town could not support the aquatic center.  Sweet stated that when they discuss this before they decide they will take Mr. Hadlock’s comments and concerns into consideration. 

Hadlock said that at the last meeting he had asked what the assessed amount for the utilities was.  Hadlock asked if the board had signed contracts with the utilities.  Hadlock said the utilities went up twelve million dollars.  Sweet said there are no contracts.  Hadlock said it went up significantly.  Rossi said that is because we are now assessed at one hundred percent.  Hadlock said there could be a substantial amount of people who apply for abatements.  If you don’t negotiate with them they are going to take you to court.  Hadlock said the Town is going to Federal court for another law suit, Sweet said the plaintiff appealed to the Federal court.  We don’t have any choice.  Sweet said the attorney’s filed a motion to dismiss. 

 

Rudi Gelsi asked the board if they think the Dot ten year plan has some paper work or something just between the selectmen. You guys must have some paperwork.  Like when are the people going to know about it.  Sweet said it is a ten year plan.  Sweet said they would sign the paper work if they agree to do so.  Alex Belenz said if the project is accepted it would go into 2020 or 2023.  There will be several public hearings for the public to be involved with the project.  Rossi said there is some confusion here.  This is simply to apply for the funds. There is no project planned at this time.  Rossi said if the grant goes through the engineering would not start until 2026 or 2027.  Sweet read the proposed motion again for Rudy’s benefit as follows:  Consider making a motion that the Board of Selectmen supports the Main Street Phase II Project being added to the NHDOT Ten Year Plan.    Gelsi then asked if the people were going to get a copy of the Parks & Recreation proposed building. 

 

Bruce Hadlock said he believes the Town has done something illegal.  There were numerous hearings on getting more funds for the River District. He believes the Town and the River District cut it back.  You can’t do that. He believes the Town can be held legally liable for cutting it back.  Sweet said the River District commission of the Town.  Hadlock said the $900,000 was asked for and in the end it was cut back.  You cannot cut it back.  Sweet asked Hadlock what he suggests they do.  Sweet said if we are guilty as charged what can we do.  Rossi said he does not think his assertion is correct.  Sweet asked if there were other public comment.  Seeing none he move onto board action. 

 

Board Action:

Budget Transfers

Rossi made the motion to make the transfer as requested.  Gendreau seconded the motion.  Sweet opened it up for discussion.  Rossi said he had a couple of questions.  Rossi said he is very much in favor of this program.  When he went to the meetings he remembers it being a three year commitment.  Dorsett said they have indicated they would be willing to do a one year agreement if this is approved.  Rossi said he was concerned about this being a one year commitment.  He is also worried about how it would be funded the following year.  Dorsett said it might end up being a warrant article if they can’t find other sources of funding.  Rossi said we need to be able to fund it for the need of a new school in other ways instead of on the backs of the taxpayers.  Rossi said he thinks this is an excellent program to expand our tax base.  We are in direct completion with other communities who are trying to attract other businesses as well.  Gendreau asked when this would start if it is approved.  Dorsett said the implementation take about 30 to 60 days.  Rossi is primarily concerned with Main Street. Dorsett said the local businesses are showing full support.  Gendreau said one of the challenges with this is the fact the employment rate is so low.  Some businesses had to close this weekend due to a lack of staff.  Dorsett said it is one of the issues they are looking into.  Sweet said he is opposed in doing it this way.  He thinks it should be done by a warrant article rather than through the budget.  Sweet asked for a vote.  The motion passed 2-1.  Sweet voted no.

 

NH DOT Ten Year Plan

Gendreau made the motion that the Board of Selectmen supports the Main Street Phase II Project being added to the NHDOT Ten Year Plan.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0. 

 

Recreation Center Draft Proposal

Rossi made the motion to accept and review at a further BOS Work Session.  Gendreau seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0. 

 

Opera House USDA Grant Application

Gendreau made the motion to approve the USDA grant application.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:08 PM.