02/27/2017 SB Minutes
Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
Bethlehem Selectmen Office
February 27, 2017
Present: Chairman Glavac, Selectman Blanchard, Selectman Laleme, Selectman Ubaldo.
Chairman Glavac opened the meeting at 6:02.
Chairman Glavac read the public hearing notice:
The Board of Selectmen will hold 2 public hearings on Monday February 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm in the Town Building Meeting Room, 2155 Main St., Bethlehem, NH for the following: To discuss warrant article #8 of the 2017 Warrant to see if the Town will adopt the provisions of RSA 31:95-c to restrict 20% of revenues from the Host Community Fees (HCF) paid to the Town by North Country Environmental Services, its successors or assignees, for the purpose of retaining a portion of the HCF to be used for future solid waste disposal needs of the Town and its residents at such time the landfill will no longer has capacity or accepts Municipal Solid Waste at the landfill. Such revenues and expenditures shall be accounted for in a special revenue fund to be known as the “Special Revenue Fund – Future Solid Waste Needs” separate from the general fund. Any surplus in said fund shall not be deemed part of the general fund accumulated surplus and shall be expended only after a vote by the legislative body to appropriate a specific amount from said fund for a specific purpose related to the purpose of the fund or source of revenue. It is the intent of the Meeting to annually save 20% of the HCF to offset the loss of landfill revenue when the landfill closes in approximately 2042 and to specifically provide for the Town’s solid waste collection, and/or disposal, and/or transportation to another facility.
Chairman Glavac opened the public hearing. He explained that the special revenue fund will allow the Town to start saving 20% of the HFC beginning in 2017 for future operating cost of the transfer station after the landfill closure. The establishment of the special revenue fund is contingent about the passing of Article 4. If Article 8 is approved but Article 4 is not the special revenue fund will not be established. Chairman Glavac said based on projections of the Host Community Fee revenues, a fill rate of 300,000 tons per year, a 2% inflation, and a 2% interest rate, the projected balance of the special revenue fund based on 20% of HCF per year will be approximately $ 2,832,550 in 2042. In 2011 the net operating cost of the town run Transfer station was $28,000. Using a 2% inflation per year increase it is estimated that in 2043 the net operating cost will $52,770. Based on these projects the special revenue fund is anticipated to last until 2096.
Rita Farrell asked for clarification. Chairman Glavac reiterated how the numbers were calculated. Dann asked if residents will be charged for use of the transfer station. Chairman Glavac explained that the $28,000 was the net operating cost, which was determined by taking the total operating cost of approximately $80,000 and subtracting the revenues of approximately $52,000.
Julian Czarny asked why this public hearing is needed. Chairman Glavac explained that this public hearing is required inorder for the Selectboard to estiblish a special revenue fund. Mr. Czarny felt that this hearing should have been mentioned at the deliberative session. Chairman Glavac believes that it was. There was discussion on how the special revenue fund for Host Community Fee started. Originally the Selectboard only set out to save enough money to operated the transfer station for 10 years.
Cheryl Jensen asked if cost for the use of the transfer station would increase the estimated special revenue fund balance. Chairman Glavac reiterated that the net operating cost was used in the calculation. Selectman Laleme clarified that the revenue brought in from pay per bag, disposal of white goods, and salvage revenue are all used to offset the operating cost. Selectman Laleme gave an example to help clarify.
Chris Jensen questioned the timing of the public hearing. Mrs. Farrell asked when this special revenue fund was first discussed, when was the Board first contacted by Mr. Casella. Selectman Laleme said that this special revenue fund was not part of the negotiation process and did not come up until after the agreement was signed. The Board wanted to find a way to start saving for the future. Mr. Jensen asked if it was legal to have in this order. Chairman Glavac responded that the Board looked into it and it is legal.
Julian Czarny feels the people are being rushed, we have 4 to 5 more years. Why are we rushing into this. Chairman Glavac said that Article 8 could have been delayed. The Board could have done nothing and in 2042 we would be where we are today. The Board wanted to start savings as soon as possible. Revenue will go from approximately $750,000 last year to zero. Revenue will start to decline this year, causing a revenue dip, the Board wanted to prevent that and start saving as soon as possible.
Tim Vaughan said that he Board is following the law and having the public hearing at this time is correct. However he agrees it should have been mentioned at deliberative. Dann said that if the Selectboard did wait then the people would be asking them why they didn’t act sooner.
Rita Farrell asked how the Board knows that the landfill will close in 2042. Chairman Glavac said we don’t know for sure, it is an estimate based on the 70 acre expansion and the estimated fill rate. Selectman Laleme said 2042 is when the agreement ends if the landfill is still open at that time they will have to renegotiate. Ms. Farrell continues to ask how we know that 2042 is the end date is it in the agreement? Chairman Glavac said he does not believe it is in the agreement. Mr. Vaughan said that an end date would not be included in the agreement nor was there one included in the previous agreement.
It was asked how the closure date of 2021 was determined if not in the agreement. It is explained that the 2021 date is based a DES agreement that said the Landfill had to provide a public benefit for 5.3 additional years. The 2042 date was estimated by NCES based on projected fill rates. Rita Farrell asked the Board’s understand of how DES defines public benefit? Mrs. Farrell asked what other information the Board has and wanted to know if they had run the figures. Chairman Glavac said the spreadsheet was handed out early in the meeting. The projected revenues were determined by NCES based on the fill rate and the host fee.
Mrs. Farrell said she object to this meeting because it was not posted on the website. Mrs. Farrell is also upset because she has not had time to review the numbers. Chairman Glavac said the meeting was properly posted.
Chairman Glavac said the 20% number can be adjusted every year by putting it on the warrant article. It was asked when the Host Community Fee will increase. This year if the agreement is passed. Mrs. Farrell asked again how the Board knows the landfill will close in 2042. Chairman Glavac said that question was answered already and it is a projection. Mrs. Farrell questions the acreage of the NCES property and asked the Board if they know how many acres NCES has, not included the former Tucker properties. Chairman Glavac asked Mrs. Farrell if she has a question related to the hearing. Mrs. Farrell reads a statement from a document about 255 acre aggregation of land and continues to question the Board about how many acres NCES owns. Chairman Glavac explains that the landfill expansion is constrained within district 5, and under the new HCA will be 161 acres total. Of the 100 acre expansion only 70 are landfill. Mrs. Farrell asked if the 255 includes the 161 and asked again how many acres NCES owns. Chairman Glavac says he is not sure how many acreages NCES owns.
Chris Jensen asked who will hold the funds. The funds will be held by the Town and be 100% in Town control. The fund is subject to RSA 31:95:C. Treasurer, Frank Claffey, explained that the RSA says how to set up the fund and what the money can be used for. The hearing couldn’t have happened any sooner. Mrs. Farrell asked the Board their understanding of RSA 31:95:C.
Mrs. Farrell reads excerpts of RSA 31:95:C, section 4. It is asked how the Board came up with this idea. Legal Counsel suggested this to Board as a way to save for the future. Mrs. Farrell asked again why this was not posted to the website. Chairman Glavac said that the Administrative Assistant is out of the office and he apologized for it not being posted on the website.
Julian Czarny said he supports saving for the future and he understands that according to the law the Board could renegotiated the contract but he was told that the last agreement was the end. Now there is a breakdown of trust. The Board gave the people their word and then took it back.
Chairman Glavac closed the hearing at 6:55 pm.
Chairman Glavac opened the second public hearing and read the second public hearing notice. To accept a grant in the amount of $ 23,233.00 from the USDA Rural Development and apply it towards the principal and/or interest of the loan for the purchase of a new ambulance in 2016.
Fire Chief, Jack Anderson, explained that the ambulance purchase was approved at last Town Meeting, some to come out of capital reserve and the some from a loan. In the meantime he found out about and applied for this grant in the amount of $30,000. The $30,000 was based on the purchase price of $155,000. Through negotiations the purchase price was reduced to approximately $148,500 and because of the reduced purchase price the grant was adjusted to $23, 233.
Tim Vaughan asked where the money will go once it comes into the Town. Treasurer, Frank Claffey, said that if the warrant article passes the $23,233 will be applied to the loan. Chairman Glavac closed the public hearing at 6:59pm.
Michelle Moren-Grey, from North Country Council, and Olivia Beleau, from AHEAD, came before the Board to seek sponsorship for Community Development Fund for the Friendship House. The Friendship House is non-profit. The grant along with other funds will be used for Construction as the Friendship House has two years to get into compliance. It will be an Economic Development grant. The Friendship House has 27 jobs currently, a significant number in Northern Grafton County.
Olivia Beleau reviewed other grants and fundraising that have already been secured and other sources of revenue which they are still pursuing. The project is estimated to cost about $5 million and they anticipate having to borrow about $3 million, the remaining $2 million will come from grants and fundraising. Jeanne Robillard, from Tri County CAP, said that many feasibility and sustainability studies have been done, and they feel confident that this is a sustainable project. There was discussion on the number of jobs that will be required for it to qualify under an economic development grant. 27 regular positions and an additional 10 soft jobs. Selectman Laleme said that The Friendship House came before the Planning Board for Site Plan Review and there is a huge need for this.
Michelle Moren-Grey explained that tonight all they are asking for is the Selectboard to agree to sponsor. If they agree, three public hearings will be required, all held on the same night. North Country Council could be the administrator or the Town could put out an RFP. Ms. Moren-Grey said there is not a significant amount of time involved but any time can be tracked and reimbursed. A single audit may also be required but only if the total amount of federal funds is over $750,000. This grant is only for $500,000. If a single audit is required than the CDBG grant can cover the percentage related to the grant and Olivia Beleau says that they can cover the gap if there is one.
Selectman Blanchard asked when they are planning to start. Olivia Beleau said that they are hoping to start the project in April. The reason they need to due the project is because the current building is not up to code for the type of service they provide. Frank Claffey asked about how check request will be handled. Michelle Moren-Grey explained the process. Mr. Claffey asked if the Town will be fronting the money when issuing the checks. He was told that the funds will first be deposited to the Town and the Town will have so many days to issued the checks to the requested vendors. Mr. Claffey reiterated that we do not want to be fronting the money or spending large amounts of time issuing checks. Ms. Beleau assured Mr. Claffey that check request will be keep to a minimum.
Ms. Moren-Grey explained how the process would work. First the Selectboard needs to vote to sponsor the project. The next step will be to adopt the housing and community development plan. She has already updated the 2010 community development plan and using the Master Plan. She broke out the short and long term goals. Chairman Glavac thanked her for updating.
There is question on how the posting for the public hearing are handled. Ms. Moren-Grey said that she writes the public hearing notice but the Town will post and publish it. The expense for the public hearing notices are reimbursable but not until after the grant is awarded.
Selectman Blanchard motioned we accept the sponsorship as described, knowing that there will be three public hearings to follow, Selectman Laleme seconded, motion carried 4-0. Selectman Laleme asked about the timeline and posting requirement. Ms. Moren-Grey answered that the posting requirement is 15 days. There are policies which will need to be adopted at the public hearings including limitation of liability, housing and community development plan and residential antidisplacement plan.
Dann said that he will be liable. We are giving away his money without his permission and robbing him.
The Board reviewed a letter from North Country Investment Council asking for a letter of support for a grant to increase board band. Chairman Glavac motioned we write a letter of support for wireless broadband, Selectman Blanchard seconded. There is discussion on the project. Chairman Glavac amended his motion to not committing to any financial obligation or being a fiscal agent. Selectman Blancard amended his second. Motion carried 4-0.
The Selectboard reviewed correspondence. There was discussion on advertising for the Visitor Center in the Profile guide and through White Mountain Attractions. The Selectboard reviewed a letter from NH Department of Safety. Through a partnership between State of NH and Rivada Network they are proposing an LTE Network for emergency communication. Frank Claffey explained that the network would be for emergency communication and would be in the 700 MHZ range, currently emergency communication are conducted in the 150 MHZ, this will eventually required equipment to be replaced.
Chairman Glavac announced that there will be a Candidates’ Night this Thursday, March 2nd, from 6:00 to 8:15. Rita Farrell questioned the format of the candidate night and read a statement from the NH League of Women Voters stating it is inappropriate for the Selectboard to sponsor a candidates’ night. She questioned if the Board is sponsoring the event or only providing a space to meet. She asked the board to reconsider the format. The Selectboard said that was discussed at the previous meeting and they will leave the format as it, with questions being written and submitted to the moderator.
The Selectboard reviewed two abatements. Chairman Glavac motioned to abate Map 409 Lot 59 in the amount of $277.71. Chairman Glavac read the assessors recommendation. Selectman Laleme seconded, motioned carried 4-0.
Chairman Glavac reads assessor recommendation for abatement for Map 402 Lot 27. Chairman Glavac motioned to abate $1,474.63, Selectman Laleme seconded, motion carried 4-0.
The Selectboard reviewed the minutes. Chairman Glavac motioned to accept the minutes of February 20th, as written Selectman Blanchard seconded, motion carried 3-0, Selectman Laleme rescued.
Chairman Glavac motioned to accept the minutes of January 30th as written, Selectman Blanchard seconded, motion carried, 4-0.
Selectman Blanchard was contacted by Asplundh they want to cut six additional trees on Long Hill. These trees are on Town property which is why they need approval from the Board.
Tim Vaughan said that the Selectboard is using town funds to send the mailings. Town funds are being used to advocate and as such those same funds should be made available to the opposition.
Julian Czarny suggests the information published in the Profile Guide and Winter Guide be edited as it still list Bethlehem as having an ice staking rink. Chairman Glavac thanks Mr. Czarny for his comment and said that the Board is working with the Recreation Direction to make sure the ice rink will be in operation for next year.
Dann asked Mr. Vaughan if he means funds should be available to advocate a No vote. Chairman Glavac asked Dann to address the Board with his questions. Dann repeats his question to the Board.
Rita Farrell reads from an NCES mailing not to exceed 116 acres of fillable landfill. Chairman Glavac explains that of the current 61 acre lot only 46 acres are fillable and in the new HCA only 70 additional acres will be fillable. Mrs. Farrell asked where she can verify this information and is told in the Host Community Agreement.
Chairman Glavac motioned to go into non-public per RSA 91:A:3 II for personnel, Selectmen Blanchard seconded, roll call vote with all members agreeing to enter into non-public.
The Selectboard entered non-public at 7:53 pm. discussed personnel. Selectman Blanchard motioned to extend the position to Suzanne of not more than 20 hours. Selectman Laleme seconded, motion carried 4-0.
Selectman Laleme moved to come out of non public, Selectman Blanchard seconded, Roll call vote with all members agreeing to come out of non public.
Selectboard comes out of non public at 9:23 pm.
Selectman Laleme moved to adjourn the meeting, Selectman Blanchard seconded, motion carried 4-0.
Meeting adjourned at 9:23pm