Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
August 21, 2017
Present: Chairman Moritz, Selectman Moore, Selectman Glavac, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Boisseau.
Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:01.
PUBLIC INPUT: None
Chairman Moritz opened the public hearing to accept $92,464.87 in unanticipated highway block grant funds due to Senate Bill 38. Chairman Moritz read the public hearing notice. There was discussion about where the money is coming from and if all towns were receiving funds. Chairman Moritz said that all towns were receiving funds from the state and the amount is determined partly by roads and partly by population. Dann asked if this was money from taxes on fuel and said that is supposed to go to maintain the roads. Chairman Moritz said she would follow up with him on that information. Chairman Moritz moved to accept $92,464.87 in highway block grant funds. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0. Chairman Moritz said they will be taking recommendations from Road Agent Brett Jackson on how to expend the funds.
Police Chief Ho-Sing-Loy came before the Board to discuss purchasing an enclosed 5×8 trailer. He said he looked to see if they had used ones available and they didn’t. The Chief explained the trailer would be used to move and store the speed signs and would also be able to store cones and other items for traffic needs. He said the quote for the trailer is $2,430.00 from Garneau’s in Twin Mtn. He said there are not any other trailer places locally so he didn’t get quotes from anyone else but looked online and the prices from the trailer places in Concord and Manchester were equivalent to the one he got. There was discussion about using the new truck Police Cruiser to transport the signs. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy said he needs the storage also. Selectman Boisseau asked if that was the only option for storage and was told yes. The Chief said the base is 50 pounds and the sand jugs used to keep them upright add extra weight so wouldn’t be ideal to lift into the back of the truck. Selectman Ubaldo said it would not be ideal in the back of the truck and we need the storage option. He said they can’t be stored in the hallway and can’t leave them in the pick-up. There was a suggestion of purchasing a shed and Selectman Glavac said a shed is a good idea but we don’t have space for it. He said he thinks the trailer is the right way to go and that it is a good investment. Dann said they stay out in the rain so they don’t need to be protected from weather. Selectman Boisseau said they would need storage for winter. He said the signs are great for the town and would rather have that then people being pulled over all the time. He said he thinks it is a good investment. Leslie Dreier asked if any other departments were asked if they could help. Chairman Moritz said she did look into that and said it is not a good permanent option because there is a space issue. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy explained he never got state approval to make the signs permanent because the signs have the ability to put a message on them. He said in March the state told him they would come up with their own policy for the signs but he still hasn’t heard from them so he made them portable. Selectman Boisseau moved to approve $2,430.00 to purchase an enclosed trailer. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz read the ad for the Transfer Station Committee and said they received 13 letters of intent by the deadline. She said one came in after the deadline. Selectman Boisseau said they initially said they wanted 7 – 8 members for the committee. Selectman Glavac said in the minutes it says they were looking for 6 – 7 members. Selectman Boisseau said he thinks we should keep to that number. He said the committee will be gathering information to bring back to the Board so they are not making decisions and thinks a smaller committee will work more efficiently. Chairman Moritz said she thinks we have 13 good applicants and said she has been on big committees before that have worked well. She stated that she thinks people may drop out and would hate to see good people not on the committee. Selectman Glavac said they talked about a number because what if 30 or so people applied. He said 13 is still large and thinks 6 – 7 is best to go with. Selectman Ubaldo said he also thinks 13 is too many and with 6 – 7 scheduling will be easier. Selectman Moore said that was the original number the Board came up with. Chris Jensen said 13 is not too many and said some people won’t show up and will be left with 3 -4 people doing all the work. Dann said he agrees with Mr. Jensen and suggested making the others above the 6-7 alternates. Cheryl Jensen said alternates are helpful when voting but this committee won’t be voting. She asked what the criteria are to name who will be on it. Selectman Glavac said it is based on the ad and the letters sent in response to that. Mrs. Jensen said anyone employed by Casella should not be on the committee. Chris McGrath said there were too many people on the Master Plan Committee. Selectman Boisseau said in some ways he thinks they should stick with the original decision of 6-7 members but sees how if the group is looking to gather information more people is a better option. He said he would hate to see contention in the committee. It was stated the goal of the committee came from the Master Plan with the intent being on a transfer station. Selectman Glavac said the ad says the committee will consider all options. He said they should have a diverse committee and wants to make sure everyone gets along and said the applicant that works at Casella is no different than some applicants stating their intent was to look only at town owned transfer station. He said there are other options like town wide pick-up. Chairman Moritz said she agrees with that and said the previous transfer station committee looked at all options. Selectman Glavac said they should guide the committee in what the Board is looking for. Mike Culver said he doesn’t know if 7 or 13 is better than the other but looking at former transfer station they were under the gun and this committee should be given the time and people to do it properly. Chairman Moritz said previously the Board had received a letter from Casella that they had a month to seek an alternative transfer. Selectman Glavac said the letter stated they wanted to discuss options with the town and didn’t state it was just going to close it down. He said that is what he always heard so he got a copy of the letter to see what it said. Selectman Boisseau said they should have all 13 applicants and have them report back in 6 months and if the committee isn’t working they can decide to cut it down. He said it is hard to turn volunteers away. Jeanne Robillard suggested 6 – 7 people and other people can go to the meeting and give input. Selectman Glavac said he is not worried about committee not working and believes everyone that applied had good intentions. He said the committee needs to be committed to looking at all options and some applicants were very set on only looking at town owned transfer station. Selectman Moore said that will need to be stated at the 1st meeting. Ms. Robillard said she has concerns about a Casella employee being on the committee because that person would have more of an interest because it would affect their livelihood and asked if they could remain unbiased. She also said when Casella is gone what if the town wanted to hire them it wouldn’t be appropriate for town to hire them if they were on the committee. Chairman Moritz said he is an expert on transfer station and to not utilize his knowledge would be a waste. She also asked why the person wouldn’t be able to apply for the position because she looks at it like they are taking an initiative. Ms. Robillard said it would look like they had an unfair advantage. Selectman Glavac said some applicants have extreme biases and have one goal and he said the Board will have to answer to that. He said they have to consider all of that. Chairman Moritz agrees and believes it is very important that both sides are represented and she wanted transparency. She also said just because the warrant article didn’t pass there is a population of people that did vote for it. Chris Jensen said it is a conflict of interest because job depends on Casella and very bad decision (letting Casella employee on committee) because they have a financial interest. He also referred to a former Board member as “taking no prisoners” in reference to the landfill agreement negotiation. Selectman Glavac moved to make this discussion in non-public session due to reputation. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Selectman Glavac said due to Mr. Jensen’s comment he doesn’t want to affect people’s reputation. Mike Culver said if you don’t talk about anyone specifically you don’t need to go into non-public but if you have to talk about specific people you should go into non-public. Selectmen Glavac and Ubaldo withdrew the motion and second. Chairman Moritz moved to accept all 13 applicants to be on the committee. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Selectman Boisseau said they should include a deadline to report back and decide on how committee goes forward. He said if there are contentious issues they can go back to the drawing board. He said they should leave an option on reconfiguring the committee and how to move forward. There was discussion about having the 1st report on Nov. 13th and quarterly thereafter. Chairman Moritz moved to accept all 13 candidates with an interim report due to the Select Board on November 13th and followed by quarterly reports and on Nov. 13th the Board will assess if committee is working. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Julian Czarny asked who the 13 people were. Chairman Moritz announced that Chris McGrath, Leslie Dreier, Andrea Bryant, Joyce Menard, Jim Martin, Barry Zitser, Jeanne Robillard, Dann, Jerry Blanchard, Mike Culver, Brett Jackson, Julie Seely, and Katherine Darges would be on the committee. Selectman Moore moved to have Chairman Moritz as the liaison for the committee. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz moved to have Selectman Glavac as second liaison for the committee. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-0 (Selectman Glavac abstained).
Cheryl Jensen came before the Board to discuss Northern Pass. She informed the Board about concerns with burying the lines in certain areas because of right-of-way widths. She prepared a letter for the Board to review that would be sent to Victoria Sheehan of Department of Transportation asking her to enact RSA 228:35 “Reestablishment of Highway Boundaries”. She said memos and minutes show the ROW’s aren’t standard and not clearly established. Mrs. Jensen said they have undetermined widths and didn’t have documentation until recently to back this up. She explained there was a motion to delay the hearings until the ROW’s are settled/determined. Selectman Moore pointed out one grammatical change to the letter. Chairman Moritz moved to sign the letter that Mrs. Jensen prepared to Victoria Sheehan. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0. Mrs. Jensen told the Board Laura Saffo sent this to interveners and they respond saying whether or not they concur. She wanted to confirm she has the authority to concur on these issues because it usually has to happen quickly. Selectman Glavac said he thinks the Board voted on that.
The Board reviewed the minutes from 08/07/17 and 08/14/17. Chairman Moritz moved to accept the minutes. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 4-0 (Selectman Boisseau abstained).
The Board reviewed documents needed for the CDBG grant for the Friendship House. Chairman Moritz explained they needed to re-adopt the ethics policy and the financial management policy with amendments. She said the ethics policy is what we have currently. Dann said it is missing morality of stealing that taxation is theft. Chairman Moritz moved to re-adopt the code of ethics policy. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board reviewed the amendments to the financial management plan; 3 of 5 Selectmen in place of Bethlehem CEO, Selectmen’s office instead of Finance Manager, and removing Finance Manger for reconciling checkbook. Chairman Moritz moved to accept the amended financial management plan. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz explained they have to assign two Selectmen to sign on behalf of the Board on authorization to submit claims. Selectman Glavac moved to assign Chairman Moritz and Selectman Moore to sign. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
Selectman Boisseau talked about developing non motorized trails in town. He said he talked with the people who did Parker Mtn. in Littleton and would like to develop trails for mountain biking, running, walking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. He also said it would be a huge draw to the town and said East Burke is very successful. Selectman Boisseau said he looked at maps of the town owned land and asked the Board how they felt about trails on town owned land. Selectman Moore said they have the town forest and is chartered to develop that with trails. She suggested that he contact Lindsay Webb who is in charge of that. Cheryl Jensen said they would have to look at the town forest stewardship plan because it doesn’t allow mountain bikes. Selectman Boisseau said if it is developed properly there is not much of an impact. Selectman Glavac asked if there would be town funding for this. Selectman Boisseau said he doesn’t see any town funding being used. Selectman Ubaldo said it is a good idea.
Chairman Moritz read a letter from Treasurer Frank Claffey saying he is resigning his Treasurer duties as of Sept. 1st. Chairman Moritz moved to appoint Deputy Treasurer Libby Staples as Treasurer as of Sept. 1st. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz stated they had an exemption property that they sent to the attorney to get advice on. The advice said the property was exempt only when they are in town using the property. She said the assessor recommended a 37% exemption. Selectman Moore asked if square footage came into play and was told no. Leslie Dreier asked if the Board got another opinion and was told they also got advice from LGC. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the exemption per the assessor recommendation. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed the Cable Franchise agreement extension. Selectman Glavac said the town is in the process of renegotiating the franchise agreement as part of the cable consortium. He said the Board had signed a 6 month extension and this agreement extends it further. Selectman Glavac moved to sign the extension of the cable franchise with Charter/Time Warner. There was discussion about how the town pays a fee to the consortium of approx. $120.00 a year and this is to pay a share of the attorney fees. Dann asked for clarification on what the agreement is. Selectman Glavac said they need to have a franchise agreement with the town and that they lease the poles from Eversource because the electric company owns the poles. He said they need an agreement so they can provide cable in town. Chairman Moritz said some towns charge a surcharge so they receive money but we don’t do that. Selectman Glavac said the town can charge a fee and said all towns have that option. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 4-1 (Selectman Ubaldo opposed).
At 7:50 Chairman Moritz moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91A:3 II for matters of personnel and legal. Selectman Glavac seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
Dann asked how the Transfer Station Committee members would be notified and told by email. Dann objected to the non-public session and said taxpayers should be involved.
The Board discussed personnel. Selectman Glavac moved to hire Dylan Ridley and Phil Bell at 7.25/hour for the recreation dept. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed legal advice about Northern Pass with Cheryl Jensen.
At 8:44 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.
At 8:44 Chairman Moritz moved to adjourn. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.