Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
Bethlehem Selectmen Office
March 27, 2017
Present: Chairman Moritz, Selectman Moore, Selectman Glavac, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Boisseau.
Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:00 pm.
Chairman Moritz opened the public hearing at 6:00 pm for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Project overview and introduced Michelle Moren-Grey from North Country Council who will give an overview of CDBG funds and the current project. She said handouts regarding the 3 public hearings are available to the public.
Ms. Moren-Grey read an overview: The Town of Bethlehem is eligible for up to $500,000 a year for public facility/housing rehabilitation, up to $500,000 a year for economic development projects (including capacity building projects), as well as up to $350,000 a year in emergency funds. Planning Grant funds are available for up to $12,000 per planning grant Municipalities are eligible to apply for a Microenterprise Assistance grant without having it count against the municipalities cap for any other CDBG projects.
The public hearing is for a proposed Economic Development application to the Community Development Finance Authority for up to $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the 2017/2018 program year. $475,000 of these funds will be subgranted to AHEAD Qtr, Inc. for construction, working capital and/or training for the new construction of the Friendship House at 2957 Main Street Bethlehem, NH. The funds will allow the Operator of the Friendship House to continue operations by retaining and/or creating up to 25 jobs of which at least 60% will be made available to persons of low and moderate income. The remaining funds, up to $25,000, would be available to the Town to pay for costs associated with the application and administration of the grant.
Tri-County Community Action Program (TCCAP) Division of Alcohol and other Drug services, also known as Friendship House, provides services to individuals and their significant others affected by substance misuse. Since 1981 Friendship House is the only residential treatment facility north of Franklin. Currently the facility employs upward of 27 individuals.
Friendship House is currently licensed to serve 18 individuals, and is seeking to expand their resources to increase capacity to 32 beds to meet the needs of the region.
In October of 2016 the Division of Fire Safety agreed to allow the Friendship House to increase the capacity to 30 once the noted deficiencies in the current facility were brought into compliance however this increase in capacity is a short term solution and is granted only until October of 2018. This temporary increase in capacity will give the Friendship House the ability to operate at maximum capacity serving the community and region in addition to retaining jobs while building a new facility. If a new facility cannot be constructed it will be closed and upwards of 27 jobs will be lost in addition to these valuable services.
Construction of a new residential 32 bed facility at the Bethlehem site will allow for expansion of services, provide ongoing treatment to residents without interruption, and eliminate the need to invest in structural, life safety code and access violations cited at the existing aging facility.
AHEAD Inc. has been working with Friendship House Staff to raise funds and complete feasibility and design work for this new facility. It is the hope to begin construction in late June of 2017, at which time a new ownership structure will be formalized. AHEAD Qtr., Inc. will own and manage the property. North Country Health Consortium will oversee operations and provide administrative support. Existing staff positions will be retained, with new positions being added with the transition to the new facility.
Ms. Moren-Grey asked if there were any questions. Frank Claffey asked what happens if they don’t get the entire grant and was told by Olivia Beleau they were confidant all money needed will be raised. Ms. Beleau explained they have letters of commitment backing the grants for a ¼ of the debt. Ms. Moren-Grey said this is the last pending piece of the project.
Dann asked if this is federal, state, or town money and Ms. Moren-Grey explained it is federal that goes to the state. Dann asked if it is taxpayer money. Ms. Beleau said there will be a bank mortgage for a portion of the project with interest paid for with income from the facility. There was discussion about the facility having 32 beds and being 18,860 square feet and 3 floors. Rita Farrell asked what the role of AHEAD is and was told by Ms. Beleau that Tri-County Cap didn’t have the staff to raise the funds and hire the architects etc. needed for the project. Jeanne Robillard said Tri-County Cap did not have the manpower to get grants and hire manpower and said it is very specialized. Tim Vaughn recommended the Board’s support of the project.
At 6:16 Chairman Moritz closed the 1st public hearing.
At 6:16 Chairman Moritz opened the 2nd public hearing for the Housing and Community Development Plan and said Michelle Moren-Grey from North Country Council will introduce the Housing and Community Development Plan.
Ms. Moren-Grey said although the housing and community development plan was adopted on 03/20/17, because it was posted as one of this evening’s public hearings the Select Board will re-adopt the plan tonight. She said the updated Housing and Community Development Plan reflects the Towns recently updated Master Plan. The Housing and Community Development Plan not only supports and conforms to the Towns long-term and short term goals as identified in the Master Plan but it also supports, conforms and includes the national and state CDBG objectives, as required. She explained Housing and Community Development Plan that is no more than 3 years old is a requirement for applying for CDBG funds.
Ms. Moren-Grey asked if there were any questions. Rita Farrell asked what the master plan reference to it is. Ms. Moren-Grey explained the long term goals. Mrs. Farrell said the goals are not related to the project. Dann asked if there is taxpayer money used for economic growth. Ms. Moren-Grey said at least 25 jobs will be retained or will create or exceed that. Ms. Robillard said the employees of Tri-County Cap are paid from Medicaid and private insurance. Dann said some is paid from taxpayer dollars then.
At 6:265 Chairman Moritz closed the public hearing.
At 6:25 Chairman Moritz opened the public hearing for Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan and said Michelle Moren-Grey from North Country Council will introduce the Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan Draft.
She said although these projects do not involve any displacement or relocation of persons or Businesses, if the Town were to undertake a CDBG project which involved displacement or relocation they would follow this plan. The plan outlines the measures they would take to find comparable, suitable housing for persons (or businesses) displaced or relocated.
Ms. Moren-Grey asked if there were any questions. Dann asked how does it relate and Ms. Moren-Grey explained it is all part of the same project but 3 hearing have to be held.
At 6:27 Chairman Moritz closed the public hearing.
Chairman Moritz moved to approve the submittal of the CDBG application on behalf of AHEAD QTR. INC. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz moved to adopt the Housing and Community Development Plan. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz moved to adopt the Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan for the project. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Selectman Glavac moved to authorize the Select Board Chair to submit the application and execute any and all documents necessary to effectuate the potential CDBG contract. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz moved to have North Country Council write and administer the CDBG grant on behalf of the Town. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
Road Agent, Brett Jackson, came before the Board to review and discuss bids for purchasing a highway truck. He explained he has a 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2001 and needs to update his equipment. He explained the money is in the Capital Reserve Fund for this purchase and he said he would be trading in 2 trucks to get one new one.
He reviewed the bids with the Board. He explained the bid for the International needed to have $1750.00 added to it. Mr. Jackson said we have 2 Tenco trucks now and wants to stays with Tenco so he can interchange the parts. He said he would be getting a trade value of $11,000.00 for the 2 trucks. He recommended getting the Freightliner Truck for $87,392.00 with the Tenco outfit for $59,564.00 for a total of $135,956.00 after the trade in. He did explain there will be some additional costs for lettering and for a radio. Mr. Jackson said he would be trading in the 1998 and 1999. Selectman Boisseau asked about selling the trucks privately. Mr. Jackson said that has been tried in the past but didn’t have much luck. Selectman Boisseau also asked the ideal timeline for owning a truck and Mr. Jackson said 12 to 15 years. Dann asked if the trucks get undercoated and was told they do. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the truck and equipment purchase that Mr. Jackson recommended. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed the tax map maintenance agreement. Chairman Moritz said there was a question if it was a duplication of the GIS software work and said it was confirmed it was not duplication of services. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the agreement. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board reviewed abatements.
Chairman Moritz said Map/Lot 409/59 is recommended from the assessor that an abatement be approved due to the assessed value going down due to condition of the property. Mrs. Farrell asked if the names of the people will be told who own the property. Chairman Moritz said she will follow suit on how it’s been done in the past and said the information will be available in the office. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the abatement. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz said the abatement for Map/Lot 201/067 is recommended by the assessor to be denied due to hardship being self created. Chairman Moritz moved to follow the assessor’s recommendation and deny the abatement request. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz said tax Map/Lot’s 413/049 & 419/051 are town owned properties that need to be cleared off the books. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the abatement. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed changes to the Liaison list. Planning Board liaison will now be Selectman Moore as first and Chairman Moritz as second, Town Clerk will now be Selectman Glavac, Library will now be Selectman Boisseau, and Safety Committee will now be Selectman Ubaldo.
Chairman Moritz said on 03/23/17 the Planning Board, Select Board, and Conservation Committee met with the Northern Pass attorney and it was a consensus with all three Boards along with the attorney that Sandy Laleme be asked to continue being the spokesperson for Northern Pass due to her extensive work and knowledge. Chairman Moritz said Mrs. Laleme has graciously agreed to continue to be the spokesperson. Chairman Moritz moved to appoint Sandy Laleme as the Northern Pass Spokesperson. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz read from a letter from DOT announcing roadwork on Route 302 in June of 2017 that will take approx. 10 weeks. She said it will be approx. 5.5 miles beginning from exit 40 until Johnson Lane but skipping the main street section between Maple Street and Congress Street. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the Municipal Work Zone Agreement. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz read the notice looking for committee members for the landfill committee. There was discussion on the wording of the notice and including the word social in the sentence “to discuss the economic and environmental aspects of the landfill” and using the word research instead of discuss for the purpose of the committee. Jeanne Robillard said the committee should explore alternatives for solid waste disposables. Chairman Moritz said that is something for a later date. Selectman Glavac said that is something that should be part of the discussion but is not listed. Andrea Bryant asked about adding health impact. Selectman Glavac said that is part of environment. Rita Farrell asked what the purpose of the committee is. Selectman Moore said it is to research social, economic, and environmental aspects of the landfill. Selectman Glavac said some voters felt ill informed and intimidated and misinformed. He said the Board is moving forward with this, the negative and positive aspects of the landfill.
Chairman Moritz said she doesn’t understand it well either (committee purpose) and said Judge Vaughn saw the need to get ahead of it to see how to proceed in the future and to be proactive. Cheryl Jensen said voters wanted figures so the committee to look at taxes etc, solid info that everyone can agree is correct. Ms. Robillard said she thinks the committee is a good idea and should concentrate on the impact on town. Selectman Glavac cautions on utilizing too much of Judge Vaughn for committee input. Selectman Ubaldo said to combine what Ms. Robillard said and Mrs. Jensen said and go with that. He said Mr. Vaughn gave the idea but the Board voted to form the committee and we don’t need Judge Vaughn to come back to continue it. Selectman Moore said it is in the Board’s hands now. Josh Casey asked about the process of 7 to 9 committee members if they are residents. Chairman Moritz said people interested in being on the committee should send a letter to April and then the Board would pick the committee members. Mr. Casey asked if there would be interviews.
Julian Czarny suggested inviting Mr. Vaughn to clarify seeing how his name is tied to it already.
Selectman Glavac said he said what he said so Mr. Vaughn’s name doesn’t get glued to it and he believes Mr. Vaughn did not want to get his name glued to it.
Dann said he (Mr. Vaughn) has given a suggestion and he is a taxpayer just like the rest of us, not a landfill lawyer.
Chairman Moritz moved to table the committee discussion. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-1 (Selectman Glavac opposed).
Chairman Moritz read a letter from Treasurer Frank Claffey about advertising for a Deputy Treasurer position with a closing date of April 14th. Cheryl Jensen asked if this was budgeted for and was told yes. Chairman Moritz moved to post for the position. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board reviewed the minutes from 03/20/17. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the minutes. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
Selectman Glavac said he has been approached by many voters about the landfill expansion not passing and how people said they voted no because there is a better deal to be had. He said people are asking is there a better deal to be had and said people are saying the Board didn’t negotiate a good enough deal.
At 7:43 Selectman Glavac moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91-A:3II for matters of personnel. Chairman Moritz seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
The Board discussed personnel.
Selectman Ubaldo moved to approve the incentive program for Police Dept. for .75 to 1.00 for training, $250.00 PT bonus, No PTO changes. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
At 8:13 Chairman Moritz moved to come out of non-public session. Selectman Moore seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to come out of non-public session.
The Board discussed the tax rate prediction and how to get the information to calculate that.
At 8:21 Selectman Ubaldo moved to adjourn. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0. `