Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Apr 13, 2020

Board of Selectmen Minutes - April 3, 2020


 TOWN OF LITTLETON
FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2020
1:00 PM
BOARD OF SELECTMEN’S WORK SESSION
REMOTE MEETING

MINUTES

Present:  Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Carrie Gendreau, Vice Chairman Chad Stearns (excused), Selectman Roger Emerson, Finance Director Karen Noyes, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings. 

Gendreau called the meeting to order at 1:00 PM.

Pledge of Allegiance

Town Manager’s Report:
           Status Report

The board reviewed the year to date budget.  We should be at 25% but we are at 25.81%.  Assessing was paid one month early and legal is heavy.  Workmen’s Comp is paid for half of the year.  The Trans Canada bond was paid off.  Noyes stated that Captain Miller has applied for a grant so that we can get the second ambulance.  Dorsett said one of our engineering firms contacted us to let us know that there will be some significant construction grants coming through.  They will pay municipalities that have projects that are shovel ready.  We have a number of projects that could be ready.  We need to get the engineering further along.

Emerson said there seems to be a lot of expense for the waste water treatment.  Dorsett said they budget for maintenance each year.  There are going to be some investments at some point the good thing is between the state and the USDA they want the communities to have the ability to increase capacity.  They will help pay for a portion of it.  When it was initially designed it was not taking into account the number of businesses.

They have done a good job.  We need to be ready for the next phase of growth.  Dorsett said people will be moving out of more populated areas after this COVID-19 increasing the need for more capacity. 

Andrew had the board review the governor’s orders.  Dorsett referenced one order that allows additional time to respond to RSA 91-A requests.  Gendreau wondered if it is something we should reference this in one of the meetings.  Dorsett said they are having Emergency meetings two times a week by WebEx or zoom.  We have had two department head meetings through zoom.  We have altered our schedules in the office.  Anyone that can work from home is and we have staggered the days they come into the office to keep exposure low,  Noyes said the highway department have separated the crews so they are not all together, 

There are more outside meetings but they are practicing social distancing.  Dorsett said it is fortunate that it happened at this time of year.  Noyes said the winter may have delayed it getting here to us.  Gendreau asked Dorsett to send the governor’s orders as he receives them to the board.  Dorsett said that at Stearns urging we have setup a Facebook page.  Dorsett said there is help out there for small businesses and that is what Stearns is working on right now.  It is called the payroll protection act.  It is a loan for two times the amount of the monthly payroll.  They have to sign an agreement they will not lay anybody off.  The loans will be forgiven if they don’t lay anyone off.  Gendreau stated that statistics show that 25% of businesses will not survive after an event like this.  Emerson said there are some new businesses that have substantial payments, he hopes they can come through this.  Dorsett said that for a Town of 6,000, we have 953 registered active businesses.  Dorsett asked the board how they felt about sending out a flyer to the businesses giving them the SBA information.  It would not be cheap, it would be around $500.  Emerson and Gendreau said that information is already available online and other media.  Gendreau said the banks are also reaching out.  Gendreau said the chamber has been very good about getting information out on almost a daily basis. 

Dorsett said he and Noyes have been going through the budget to see if there is anything they can delay.  Some of the things they talked about is putting off some of the road projects that is over a half a million dollars.  That money could be used to offset the tax bills in December. 

Gendreau said the board’s biggest concern is sending a message to the taxpayers.  She has been reading and watching what other Towns are doing.  They are making cuts even though it will not make a difference on the first tax bill, it will on the second bill.  She thinks people will be receptive to that when it comes to budget season next year.  She knows it will be difficult.  Noyes said she contacted DRA and was told there is not much can be done on the first billing.  There are a couple of things and one has to do with the school.  The school can have a couple of adjustments.  She was given a document from DRA that lays out what the school would have to do.  She has no experience on it so would not know what to do.  The other way is if we have a property coming on board that has a large assessment, we might be able to get that assessment added in to help reduce the tax rate.  Gendreau said we need to get the word out that we are aggressively working to make a reduction to the tax rate.  Noyes went on to explain the process for using fund balance to reduce the second tax bill.  Gendreau said they really need to hit this hard.  Dorsett said we will start looking hard for additional reductions.  Gendreau would like to know the overtime.  It’s been the highest since she has been a selectman.  Is there any way we can put a cap on it.  Dorsett said a lot of it has to do with sanitizing after each call.  Dorsett said there is one 24 hour shift is not covered, it is filled by overtime. 

Emerson said he would like to see how many calls went out and how many were billed.  Emerson said he has been hearing from taxpayers the number of responders and wondered how we could limit that.  Dorsett said he couldn’t respond, but that it’s a lifesaving issue. 

Noyes said it would cost between $20,000 and $26,000 more in benefits if they hired a new person.  That is more than what they are paying out in overtime right now.

Dorsett said he wanted to make a couple of comments on Mill Street.  We related to our engineer (Doug Damko) who took another look at the project to see what we could do with minimal impact with the funds we already have.  Dorsett said it looks like the storm water and sewer system can stay the same as it is.  One of the things is installing curing.  Gendreau asked if it would be appropriate to have a stake holders meeting.  Dorsett said yes. 

Emerson made the motion to go into a nonpublic session per
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 R 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

Gendreau seconded the motionThe board entered the nonpublic session at 2:03 PM after a unanimous roll call vote.  The board came out of the nonpublic session at 3:13 PM.  No decisions or votes were taken.  Emerson made the motion to seal the minutes.  Gendreau seconded the motion.  Motion passed 2-0.  The meeting adjourned at 3:14 PM.