Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Sep 14, 2015

Approved Minutes Sep 14, 2015

5:00 PM

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

Others Present: Stewart Weeks, Ron Bolt (Energy Conservation Committee), Bruce Hadlock, Rachael Dorisky (Channel 2), Kathy Dorisky, George McNamara (Department of Public Works Director), Rudy Gelsi, Robert Blechl (The White Mountain Record), Darin Wipperman (The Courier), Dann, Gerry Lesage, Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), John Hennessey (River District Redevelopment Commission), Carl Hilgenberg, Ron Bolt (Energy Conservation Committee), Peter Cook (Energy Conservation Committee). Chief Joe Mercieri (Littleton FD), Amy Sharp, Brad Bailey (State Representative)

Seymour called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM.

Pledge of Allegiance

Town Manager Introduction – Andrew Dorsett
Seymour introduced the new Town Manager Andrew Dorsett to those present and everyone that would see this on Channel 2. Seymour stated that Andrew started a couple of weeks ago and has been swamped with work. The board is very happy to have him. Andrew came to Littleton from the city of Barre, Vermont. He has also worked in other communities in New Hampshire.

Stewart Weeks – North Country Resolution
Stewart Weeks presented a draft resolution as follows: The full document can be obtained by calling the Town Office:
"We have seen within the last ten or fifteen years, in Boston and New York and other cities, a gradual concentration of banking capital, and if we don't have a central bank controlled [overseen] by the government, we will have what will amount to a central bank controlled by a few interests in the city of New York.” ~ US Senator John Wingate Weeks ~
Over the last decade, the State of New Hampshire paid $629.4 million dollars ($629,400,000) in interest payments on its state debt. Those interest payments have gone to largely out-of-state, private investors, brokered by major Wall Street firms such as Bank of America. The interest payments are sapping the precious “life-blood” (money) of our state. If NH were to invest such funds instead in our youth, its future (as outlined in the following), then the return would be literally in the billions. NH Citizens, non-profits, businesses, and communities would have access to funds at more affordable rates. Prosperity would return unto the land. This will happen if citizens, and in particular our youth, grasp the following vision and let their voices be heard by our elected representative, public servants. On what truer and more appropriate foundation than our youth, the generations to come, can New Hampshire create a future truly worth envisioning? Bratz asked where this would go afterwards. Weeks said that he hopes New Hampshire will be the second state to establish a public state bank. Seymour thanked Weeks for the presentation. Dann asked to make a public statement. Banks are allowed to have one hundred dollars in their holdings and they are allowed to lend out ten times that much. Dann said that is one of the reasons for bank failures.

Energy Conservation Committee - Energy Management Findings and Recommendations
Ron Bolt stated the committee has created an energy data base that tracks the usage in all departments. It has allowed us to key in on different departments and buildings. We visited all of the departments including the library the wastewater treatment plant, the senior center and the community center. In the process of that we made about thirty five recommendations that are too extensive to go through today. Bolt provided a list of the recommendations to the board and highlighted the ones that should have high priority. Some of this could be added to this year’s budget or as a warrant article for next year. All of the departments are complying with the energy policy. There were occasions where we noticed in the opera house an increase in propane and electric. The Opera House board stated it was due to extended use. Peter Cook gave a presentation on some items they would like to see done in 2015.

One of the items was to have the Fire Station boiler integrate with the Pellet System at the Highway Garage. They became aware of some open wire issues at the fire department that are not very expensive to repair. There needs to be weatherization of the stained glass windows at the Opera House. That has to be done carefully to retain the historic appearance on the outside. There are also some HVAC issues. Seymour wanted to point out that HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Cook said that they heard from the staff at the Town offices that the controls are not that good, people are too hot or too cold. This is not a cost issue because the building is owned by the bank and not the Town. The last item is to see if we can find funding for LED fixtures in the bay areas of the new DPW Garage. Unfortunately it would consume all of the contingency money they have. They are hoping some money can be found to at least get the high bay area done or the office. Cook said there are also problems at the Parks and Recreation Department. Seymour said she wondered how they could raise the money for some of these projects. There are always things that need to be done and things that make sense to do but the funding is not there. Ron Bolt said that previously they had mentioned to the board about doing solar at the retired landfill. The board gave them the green light to research that. Bolt said he had an initial proposal from a company that looked at our site. There has to be two contracts. One to lease the land and one with the power company to buy the energy. Littleton Water & Light is looking into the power purchase of this. Bolt said that with no effort on our part they would be willing to give us twenty seven thousand dollars per year to lease the land. They would install it and maintain it. Bolt said that on the surface that looks like a good idea. Andrew Dorsett came up with the idea to take a portion of the revenue from that and put it into an energy fund. When a project comes up they would not have to wait nine or ten months to get the funding from Town Meeting. Sweet said that at first glance something like this would take care of most of if not all of the things the committee addressed on its list. Sweet said it is something worth looking at. Bolt said the board should discuss this and get back to the committee. This is something that does not need Town Meeting approval. Bruce Hadlock said the liability for using a dump site is immense. Sweet said it would be the lessee’s liability. Hadlock said yes but the Town should make sure they can afford the insurance. Sweet said that Andrew has already asked the firm for a sample contract. Dann said that Tom Considine had said that he knew of another company that might produce a better return. Bolt said it would be put out to bid. Bolt said another thing is that if we are generating power from solar people would have the option to pay a little bit extra on their utility bill for the privilege of using solar power.

Brad Bailey – State Representative
Brad said he had a constituent come to him recently, Carl Hilgenberg who had a suggestion for a bill that would go before the legislature that pertains to the Exit 44 Rest Area. The rest area was built back in the 80’s. Ray Burton was very instrumental in the construction of the rest stop and the bill is to propose the rest area be named after him. Bailey wanted to know if the board had any objections to this because the state wants to know that people are on board with this. There would be other legislatures that would be co-sponsoring the bill. Carl Hilgenberg said that Ray Burton was interested in everyone up here. When people come in when they come from Vermont and they get to the new Raymond S. Burton, Ray’s spirit will be there. Hilgenberg said it would be a very nice tribute and it currently has no name. Dann wanted to speak in opposition to this. He against naming anything after someone. Ray Burton never did anything with his own money he always did it with tax money. It’s easy to do things with other people’s money so he is against this. Hadlock said the rest area is not utilized as much as it could be. Hadlock said we already have other things named after people. Hadlock said it should be studied to see if other names should be considered too. Hadlock said he was not against it only that Ray Burton already has a lot of other things named after him. Seymour said that if there are people out there who have an idea for naming to contact Brad Bailey. Seymour said she would hate to take the name away and give it to another name afterwards. Bailey said it has been there for thirty years and it has not had a name. Bailey said that if it is controversial he would rather pull the bill. Carl Hilgenberg said he was still in favor of naming it. Do you think the state would come and shut the Raymond S. Burton center down in the winter time? Hilgenberg said he doubted they would.

Bruce Hadlock said he had more questions and wanted to know if he could ask them now. Hadlock said Dell’s Dam needs to be breached now. It has to be done in the fall so the work can be done. Seymour said she noticed they had moved citizen concerns to the end of the meeting. Hadlock said it was at the front. Bratz said it was moved because it was thought it would save time. Seymour said they would wait and Hadlock could ask his questions at the end of the meeting.

Town Manager’s Report:
State Fiscal Year 2016 – Littleton Highway Block Grant Aid
Dorsett provided a brief history of the block aid grant funds received by the Town over the last few years. This year there is a significant increase.

Bridge Street Multi Model Bridge
Warrant Article – (No Motorized Vehicles)
Dorsett said he had met with George McNamara, Chris Fournier and John Hennessey.
We are waiting to obtain a permanent easement from a property owner who suggested we put a warrant article on the warrant to restrict the traffic over the new bridge to non-motorized vehicles. He worked with Walter Mitchell who offered two options for warrant articles. One allows the restriction with the ability to change it at another Town Meeting. The other is to keep the restriction in place. After a brief discussion the board voted 3-0 to support the warrant as follows: “To see if the Town will vote to approve acceptance of the donation of an easement necessary for the construction of the Bridge Street Multi-Model Bridge, on the condition that once constructed the use of the bridge will be restricted to not allow motorized vehicles. This restriction will be imposed with the understanding that it will remain in place unless changed by vote of a future Town Meeting.”

Approve Northern Borders Grant Extension
Dorsett advised the grant expires at the end of this month. After reading about this project and meeting will all parties we understand that an extension will be needed. We are requesting an extension to next year and hope to see continued progress on the project early next year. Bratz moved to approve the extension. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Award Bridge Fabrication Contract – Pending Easements & Northern Borders Extension
The bridge has been put out to bid and we have received three qualified bids. Our engineering firm has reviewed the results with the Town and recommends that the bid be awarded to the low bidder Big R Manufacturing, LLC.
After a brief discussion Seymour asked for a motion. Sweet made the motion to award the bid to Big R Manufacturing, LLC. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

USDA Sewer Infiltration Grant
This is a predevelopment planning grant from the USDA. The Town has been awarded this grant. The total project amount is $43,700, the grant amount is $30,000 with the Town match picking up the remaining $13,700 which is coming from the sewer fund. The purpose of this grant is to study and present alternatives for mitigating storm water infiltration into the Town’s sewer system. After a brief discussion Seymour asked for a motion. Sweet made the motion as follows: “Motion to authorize Andrew Dorsett to sign off on the preliminary documents for the grant and plan on holding a public hearing at the next Board meeting to accept the funds. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Financial/Grant Authorization.
Dorsett advised that with the new manager transition and to meet the requirements of some institutions and processes, an official motion authorizing the Town Manager to sign documents is needed. Sweet made the motion in accordance with NH RSA 37:6 to authorize Andrew Dorsett as Town Manager to sign documents on behalf of the Town of Littleton for all grants; sewer projects; NH State grant agreements and permits including NHDES; to approve and sign on behalf of the Town any refinancing of debt as needed when beneficial to the community. And appoint him as authorized agent to sign on behalf of the Town on all bank loans and/or bond drawdowns as approved by the voters at Town Meeting. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Dorsett then provided the board with the following updates:
Dorsett received a complaint of a furniture store dumping furniture in the State ROW near Tractor Supply submitted by Carl Hilgenberg and Bruce Hadlock. He spoke with the furniture store owner and confirmed the dumped items was from them. The store owner agreed this was not the best practice for future activity.

Skip Sancoucy informed him that no value has been set for utilities yet, these will be presented to him at the end of the month. The Moore Dam is in the first year outside of their previous agreement, Public Service of NH has a new substation. Any discussion about a drop in utility values in the Moore Dam is currently premature. Preliminary numbers should be presented by us by the end of the first week in October.

We are submitting another MS-1 extension that will give us the flexibility to negotiate terms with utility values. As you are aware valuation utilities generates the Town’s largest tax revenues and can have an impact on the upcoming tax rate calculation. Dorsett said the board would be addressing PILOT’s in the nonpublic session at the end of this meeting. He then provided an update on the Winter Season Fuel Costs. They have locking in at $1.699 for #2 heating fuel. They are still working on the propane numbers.

Old Business:
Budget Committee Appointment – Ratify the appointment of Carolyn Murro – Alternate – 2018
Sweet made the motion to appoint Carolyn Murro as an alternate member of the budget committee with the term ending in 2018. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Energy Conservation Committee Appointments – Bill Gendreau – 2017 and Andrew Dorsett as a Non-voting member with no term. Sweet made the above motion. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Waste Water Treatment Plant Local Limits Copper Violation – Submittal of DES Waiver
Dorsett said that over a year ago the copper violation occurred. The Town was able to identify what facility was causing the problem. In order to avoid further testing we are applying for the waiver.

Echo Lake Construction Update
Seymour provided an update provided by State Representative Erin Hennessey who was asked at a previous meeting what was happening at Echo Lake. Erin provided the following update: DREAD in conjunction with Fish and Game and DES, is doing construction on the dam at Echo Lake in order to better regulate water levels and protect downstream fisheries. Fluctuations in water levels from increased snow making will be better controlled. Seymour thanked Erin Hennessey for responding to the inquiry.

New Business:
2015 KRT Property Revaluation
Dorsett said it has been going well. He will be putting up a document in the next few days to quell any concerns people might have. Bratz stated the overall value of the Town dropped by fifty-two million dollars. The concern is that if our spending levels stay where they are we may need to make up an amount to cover the loss. Dorsett provided the three factors that go into a tax rate. Those factors are revenues, expenses and the assessed value. If the tax rate goes up by one dollar and the assessment it does not mean that everyone is going to pay more on their tax bill. Bruce Hadlock said that the people whose assessment went up are going to get a whomping tax bill.

Golden Eagle Railway
Seymour wanted to add this to the agenda due to receiving numerous calls regarding the railroad lines. The calls were in regard to the board’s decision to abandon the rail lines. We now have this company that is saying they are serious about putting the railway back in but if we abandon the line they will not be able to do it. She does not want to be a party to stopping rail service being re-instituted. She also can’t see any reason why we can’t have both the recreational trail and a railway trail. Seymour said she would like to take back her vote to abandon the rail line for the time being. Bratz said the vote was not to abandon the line, it was to remove the rails. Dorsett said he had talked with the owner of Golden Eagle who requested to provide a presentation to the board at the next meeting or later. Bratz said he went online and asked the question of where are rails being put back in place and nothing came up. We abandoned our rail system right after World War II. Bratz said he could see no evidence of a train service coming back into the northeast. Bratz said they need to move forward with the trail. Trail brings in business and tourists. Now all of a sudden we have an entity coming in that could stop the development of the trail. Schuyler said there is a reason there is no rail service, freight or passenger. It went out of business because people didn’t use it. Sweet said it is crazy, if someone wants to put private money into a railroad, their crazy. George McNamara said the board’s decision made a few years ago was a good one and they should focus on the development of the trail. Bratz said he was not ready to take back the decision made before. John Hennessey said the state committed to rip up the track. The Town received a grant for $50,000 to compact the surface. This trail is a benefit to the community and we have the commitment from the state. Seymour said that she thinks it is a big mistake that we gave up on rail in this country.

Other Business:
46th Annual Art Festival – September 26th – Request the use of Main Street
After a brief discussion the board approved by consensus to not boot the parking meters to encourage traffic flow and the setup and takedown time needed on Main Street.

Main Street Paving, Sunday night, September 21st
George McNamara said the date has been changed to the above date. The West Main Street Paving date has been changed to Tuesday night, September 22

Citizen Concerns/Comments:
Rudy Gelsi wanted to make a comment about the new Town Manager. Eventually you will see something in the paper. This is just his feeling and a few people he has talked to about it. Even though he has the qualifications to be the Town Manager, his concern is that Andrew does not live in Littleton. His question is how this can be that someone from across the river come here to run the Town. It is a contrast. Gelsi said that they had fifteen applicants and the board is trying to tell him that none of them lived in the northern country. Seymour said they took their job seriously and looked for the best qualified applicants. One of the things they could not take into consideration is whether they came from Vermont or from New Hampshire. Seymour said no one from Littleton applied. They made the decision because we thought Andrew was the best qualified for the job. Seymour said he graduated from UNH and from Plymouth. Bruce Hadlock said that he grew up in Ashland. Bratz said that legally where he lives does not have any impact on how well he can do the job. Bratz said you hire people who have the skills to do the job regardless of where they live. Bratz said this is a legal issue and he made that very clear to Gelsi the last time he brought this up.

Dann give a short presentation detailing his displeasure with the committee’s decision to go with the most expensive bridge for the multi-model bridge project. John Hennessey made some clarifying points representing the River District Commission. The committee chose the bridge that would last for a hundred years and it had better aesthetics. The grants that funded this is from one hundred percent funding from federal and state funding. No town tax money was going to be used to construct the bridge. Dann wanted to make a rebuttal. Seymour said she would not allow it. The board meeting is not the place for him go come and use as his soapbox. If this kind of thing continues she will close down public opinion. Bruce Hadlock wanted to ask the same thing he asks at every meeting. What is going on with McDonalds and Old County Road? Hadlock said it is the same situation as last year. They are stalling. He expects the Town to do something. Hadlock said he is considering presenting the Town with a lawsuit because they are not doing their job. Seymour said there were many entities involved and it is not our place to tell them what to do. Andrew said there is an application to change the access. He said this has to do with the state and how they regulate curb cuts. Hadlock said it was already approved. Ron Bolt had a question for Bratz regarding a quote in the Caledonian. The quote said that he had cautioned KRT about what had happened the last time. Bolt asked Bratz to expand on why he felt the need to caution them when they were not involved in the 2010 reval. Bratz said he had explained to them what the three selectmen had to go through the last time. There were a lot of angry people. The cautioning was when they came to a meeting here. The cautioning was that there were people whose assessments had substantially increased. Bratz said that in 2010 thirty some odd people at Town Meeting were screaming at the selectmen to resign. Bolt said that is not is memory of what happened at that meeting in April. Bolt said he did not feel it was necessary and that KRT should have looked at the assessments and not taken any other peripheral information. Bolt said it was kind of like poisoning the well.

Approve the following minutes: This was passed over.
August 10, 2015

Conduct any other business that may come before the Board: None

At 7:30 PM Seymour announced the board would take a break before going into a nonpublic session. Bratz recused himself from attending the nonpublic meeting.

Seymour made the motion to go into a nonpublic session per the following RSA: RSA 91-A:3, II (a) The dismissal, promotion, or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of such employee, or the investigation of any charges against him or her, unless the employee affected (1) has a right to a public meeting, and (2) requests that the meeting be open, in which case the request shall be granted. Sweet seconded the motion. The board entered the nonpublic session at 7:39 PM by a unanimous roll call vote. The board exited out of the nonpublic session at 8:17 PM. Seymour noted that the minutes were sealed. Sweet made the motion to adjourn. Seymour seconded the motion. The motion to adjourn passed 2-0. The meeting adjourned at 8:18 PM.