Bethlehem Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
Bethlehem Selectmen Office July 25, 2016
Present: Chairman Glavac, Selectman Laleme, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Blanchard.
Chairman Glavac opened the meeting at 6:30 pm.
Selectman Blanchard went over the country club committee’s recommendations for the country club. He said after considering all factors, it was felt that the major focus should be on the restaurant and building as the course was in good shape. The restaurant and building were in need of obvious repair. Chris McGrath read the warrant article on why the committee was established and what the purpose of the committee was. He said the report from the committee doesn’t show what the warrant article states and he asked if leasing the country club was considered as an option. Selectman Blanchard said it was discussed and considered but due to the repair needs to the property and equipment it would have to be determined who would pay for that, the Town or the lessee. Selectman Blanchard said the Town would have to find someone that would want to lease it with all the work needed and with the numbers not being good. He said Andy Smith said selling the country club may not be the way to go and benefit to the town. It was explained that the Country Club is set up as a special revenue fund so taxes are not used to run it and revenue from the club does not offset the taxes. Mr. McGrath said it would be a tax generating property if the Town didn’t own it. Cheryl Jensen asked about taking it out of a special revenue fund and Selectman Blanchard said that would need to be a town vote. Selectman Laleme said if it is part of the regular budget it would be cut and would deteriorate. Chairman Glavac said the suggestions are of day to day running of the club and said we have a manager that addresses those. Selectman Laleme said it has been there for 100 years and owned by the Town since 1930’s. She said Boards have nickel and dimed that budget so the property is deteriorating. Selectman Laleme also said 8 years ago there was an economic downfall and it is now coming back and the greens are good. She said it is an asset to the town and is a Donald Ross course. She said she doesn’t want to see it sold. Selectman Laleme said the town needs to put money into it. Selectman Blanchard said they looked at leasing and selling but Realtor, Andy Smith said that would not be a benefit to the town. Chairman Glavac said Maplewood pays taxes and we don’t get that from the town course. He said he doesn’t want to see it closed or sold but said the town should not be in business of owning and running a golf course. Selectman Laleme said the Board should see if changes made this year will make a difference and read through the packet from the committee and discuss at a later date. Chairman Glavac said there is a way to get revenue from a special revenue fund by putting it on the warrant as a warrant article. Selectman Blanchard said Andy Smith would help if we did want to look at leasing it. Dann asked about the debt that the club has. It was explained they have been carrying forward a debt (approx. $10,600.as of now) that would need to be settled if it was sold or closed. Mr. McGrath said if it was sold or leased we would receive revenue which would reduce the taxes. Rita Farrell said Bethlehem is described by a realtor as a happening place and said people are moving in from Franconia and Sugar Hill because they like the community. She said Patsie Bonardi who was on the committee told her that it would tear the town apart if it was sold. There was discussion about using the course for other uses like cross country skiing and discussed the concerns about the greens being ruined. Selectman Blanchard thanked the committee members (Ned Johnson, Peter Rivers, Jane Storella, Clare Brown, Patsie Bonardi, Victor Hoffman, and Katelyn White) for their input and expertise.
Cheryl Jensen and Selectman Laleme gave an update on Northern Pass. Army Corp responded to the letter to them and said they won’t be doing anything now that they will wait until after permitting. The response from DES was that they were taking it under advisement. There will be a meeting with the attorney for Council for Public to discuss economic issues in Littleton on August 1st. Selectman Laleme said she will be going to the meeting. Selectman Laleme said Northern Pass did not want to provide decommissioning plan but SEC said they have to provide it. Mrs. Jensen said on August 9th there will be a meeting with Conservation Commissions. Mrs. Jensen asked the Board if they would agree to send another email to DES asking for dialogue not just an emailed response. Selectman Laleme moved to approve a secondary email if DES doesn’t grant a meeting. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Chairman Glavac asked Mrs. Jensen and Selectman Laleme if they would consider going to them (DES) and they said they would if they didn’t agree to come up here. Carried 4-0. Selectman Laleme said a letter was sent to state representatives and elected officials and Erin Hennessey was the only one that responded.
Chairman Glavac said a resident, Allie Jette, who lives on Noyes Street, wrote a letter with concerns about bears getting into people’s garbage. Chairman Glavac said this comes up every year and said we have an ordinance in place that we haven’t been enforcing. He said the ordinance states what the fine is and he asked Chief Ho-Sing-Loy to enforce it. Chief Ho-SingLoy said people need to call the police when there is an issue and they will respond to it. Rita Farrell asked if the landfill can provide containers. Chris McGrath said rags soaked in bleach or ammonia put on top of the container will deter bears. He also suggested clamping down the top of the container. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy said ratchet straps also work to keep the cover secure. Dann suggested using a solar powered electric fence around the garbage containers. The suggestions will be put on the website.
The Board reviewed the demo permit and discussed the recommendation from building inspector, Dave Wiley, to establish a $25.00 fee for the permit. There was no motion made to establish the fee.
The Board discussed the ballot clerks that needed to be appointed for the election year. Chairman Glavac moved to appoint Clare Brown, Carol Boucher, Carol Hammarberg, and Yvonne Claffey. Selectman Laleme seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board reviewed the minutes from 07/11/16. Selectman Blanchard moved to approve the minutes as written. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 4-0.
Chairman Glavac said the first economic development committee meeting was held and was very well attended. He explained UNH runs the program and it focuses on current business retention and expansion. Chairman Glavac said the committee will reach out to businesses and get their input and ideas on how to retain them with the thought more will come to town. He said the plan will be done by next April. Chairman Glavac said the committee will meet monthly and the meetings will be posted. Dann asked if a questionnaire will be going out to current businesses and was told yes the focus will be on current businesses in town to get input from the business community. Mrs. Farrell asked if there is a list of all businesses in town and was told UNH will provide the list and estimated they will interview between 70 – 100. He encouraged anyone that was interested in participating to come to the next meeting or to contact him.
Mrs. Farrell asked the Board to add email addresses next to the Selectmen’s name on the website, asked that the agenda be posted on the website on Thursday instead of Friday, asked why some of her statements made at the 06/20/16 meeting were not in the minutes, asked why sometimes the non-public minutes refer to employee’s initials and not their full name, and asked if people being evicted because of their homes being deeded by tax collectors deed would be homeless.
At 7:55 Chairman Glavac moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91 A:3 for matters of personnel and reputation. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Chairman Glavac did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
At 9:20 Chairman Glavac moved to come out of non-public session. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Chairman Glavac did roll call with all members agreeing to come out of non-public session.
Chairman Glavac moved to seal the minutes because it is determined that divulgence of this information likely would affect adversely the reputation of any person other than a member of this board. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 4-0.
At 9:20 Chairman Glavac moved to adjourn. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 4-0.
Respectfully submitted, April Hibberd