Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
August 28, 2017
Present: Chairman Moritz, Selectman Moore, Selectman Glavac, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Boisseau.
Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:00.
Cheryl Jensen asked when the next meeting will be for the BR&E committee. Selectman Glavac said there isn’t one scheduled because the committee is conducting the interviews. Mrs. Jensen also asked if there is a transfer station committee meeting scheduled yet and was told it will tentatively be on 09/07/17 at 6:30. Selectman Moore said she has had a terrible time scheduling the interviews with the businesses for the BR&E committee due to coordinating everyone’s schedule.
Rita Farrell asked at what point does the Board make a firm decision on letting the landfill close down per the agreement and let the town handle their own trash needs. Chairman Moritz said the committee will be looking at all options. Mrs. Farrell said we need to separate ourselves and take care of our own solid waste needs. She also said 500 people said no to expansion. Mrs. Farrell said the settlement agreement says it will operate for another 10 years. Chairman Moritz told her “or until they meet capacity”. Mrs. Farrell said the state has told Casella they have to stay open until 2021 and said Casella went to towns asking for them to send their garbage so they provide a public benefit. Chairman Moritz said Kevin Roy told them we would have garbage pickup until 2021. There was discussion about the amount of garbage brought to the landfill from Bethlehem, other NH towns, and out of state. Chris McGrath said people didn’t necessarily vote no because they were against the agreement but because of the signs that said go slow vote no. He said they voted no because they wanted a better deal. Selectman Glavac said he has lived here for 10 years and has heard a lot of opinions. He said there has been information that is not factual. He said people were not presented with the facts and he is asked weekly about the better deal. He also said the Board was told they didn’t negotiate a good deal. Selectman Glavac said there was not a specific question that said no more expansion of landfill. He said they don’t have a plan on replacing the revenue and public benefit. He said they are now working on a plan. He also said one thing he would like to see is the recycling stay as it is now. He explained previously with the town transfer station and the emergency transfer station it was limited on what you could recycle. Selectman Glavac said the town needs to make an informed decision based on fact. He said people have said the water is polluted, the Ammonoosuc is polluted, etc. but the vegetables sold at the farmers market are from the area that is supposedly polluted. He asked what is fact, polluted or not. Selectman Boisseau said the transfer station committee will be looking at options going forward. He said there are varying opinions on the committee and they decided as a Board because the committee is information gathering and not making decisions they could put the landfill issue aside. Selectman Ubaldo said in 2011 the town did vote for expansion and said on Route 116 it will be more damaging because of trucks transporting to other side of town.
Mike Labonte from Profile Technologies came before the Board to discuss Wi-Fi and email. He explained the internet connection has not been updated for many years and at peak times like voting day it is useless. He said we need to update the speed of the internet and said with Spectrum purchasing Time Warner it will actually be less money for 6 times faster than now. Selectman Glavac asked if Fiber Optic was available around here and was told yes but it is extremely expensive. The Board all agreed it made sense to update the Wi-Fi. Mr. Labonte said the last time we discussed emails it was 2014. He said we use Go-Daddy and it lacks certain features and spam management. He said he wants to lock that down and have better security. He explained the different options of Microsoft 365 and google aps. He said we are in an agreement with GoDaddy and they offer the Microsoft 365 but he will have to look into doing that through GoDaddy. He went over the pricing 6.00/month per user (approx. 23) for Microsoft 365 and 5.00/month per user for Google Apps. He felt the Microsoft 365 would be best for the town. Mr. Labonte said all office applications are 2007 so they are not compatible with the new email system. He said there are options on paying for the license and explained one way would be $17.00/month per user or it would be approx. $400.00 per machine for volume license or $575.00 per machine with assurance. There was discussion about Godaddy applying $1500.00 credit towards the 365 email plan. Mr. Labonte said something should be done ASAP because it is a security hole. He said he would do a cost analysis working with April on combining info and prices. Frank Claffey asked if there are security problems with the credit card payments and was told no, that isn’t related. Mr. McGrath said it makes sense to upgrade the Wi-Fi because it is cheaper and asked if the Wi-Fi password could be changed for voting day to alleviate the problem. Mr. Labonte said that wouldn’t matter.
The Board reviewed the minutes from 08/21/17. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the minutes. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board reviewed the Fairpoint contract for our phone lines. Chairman Moritz moved to accept the Fairpoint contract. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed the Census Bureau LUCA survey that is an optional survey the town can participate in that will verify every address in the town. It is estimated to take 21 hours to complete. Chairman Moritz said she felt it was a waste of time. Mrs. Farrell asked if it would help with wrong dimensions on properties and was told no. Selectman Glavac told Mrs. Farrell the GIS mapping that will be done this year would help with that. The Board agreed not to do the survey.
The Board reviewed and discussed an abatement request. Chairman Moritz explained the applicant previously applied for an abatement that was denied. She said they applied based on hardship and the assessor and Board determined there was not a hardship. Chairman Moritz said they talked with the assessor after that about the condition of the property and the value. The assessor went to the property and determined it should have a reduced assessed value. The abatement they are requesting is the amount they paid for 2016 in excess of the new value. Chairman Moritz said she understands going forward they will be assessed for the new amount but doesn’t feel they should go back. Selectman Moore said she is not in favor of giving an abatement for 2016. Chairman Moritz moved to deny abatement for Map/Lot 201/067. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0. Mrs. Farrell said she understands the Board not stating people’s names if they are struggling financially but otherwise should tell who the applicant is. Chairman Moritz said they have always identified the applicant by Map/Lot number but the information is available in the office. Selectman Moore said the Board should be consistent.
The Board reviewed a request for an extension on the due date for the MS1 which is the valuation form that the assessor does. It was explained that we do not have all the information needed to complete it at this time. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the MS1 extension. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
Chairman Moritz read a request from Treasurer Libby Staples to appoint Frank Claffey as Deputy Treasurer. Chairman Moritz moved to appoint Frank Claffey as Deputy Treasurer. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board reviewed the forest fire warden and deputy forest fire warden re-appointment list submitted by Fire Chief Anderson. Chairman Moritz moved to accept Chief Anderson’s recommended list of forest fire wardens (Jack Anderson) and deputies (Brian Charland, Patrick Doughty, Nickolas Emmons, Ernie Ferland, Richard Leslie, Laura Lucas, John Miller, and Jodi Sherburn). Selectman Moore seconded.
Chairman Moritz told the rest of the Board at the last department head meeting it was requested that the liaison for each department meet with the department head. She said she had requested some reports and will get them to the rest of the Board. Selectman Glavac asked the Board what direction do we direct the department heads in for their budgets. Chairman Moritz said we are losing a revenue source so feels any non essentials should be eliminated from the budget. She said the previous Board ran a tight budget so there is no wiggle room. There was discussion about department head raises and how much they should put in the budget for that. Selectman Glavac said there is not much to cut out of the budget and suggested the department heads put in a 3% raise. Selectman Moore said 1 -2% is average in the private sector. They discussed putting 3% as highest possible but explain it could be lower. They said they would put budget on the next agenda to discuss further. Mr. Claffey said the department heads want to speak with their liaison to discuss needs for their department to get direction/support from them. Selectman Glavac said in the past they discussed reducing the tax rate by $1.00 which equated to approx. 10% from each departments budget so the department heads were asked to reduce their budget by 10%. He said that showed the impact of what the cuts would look like and said the Board did not end up proposing that budget.
Mrs. Farrell said people need to always present facts and identify people when referring to people. She said the health report is in the files and only 2 of 4 (cancer clusters) couldn’t be determined to be caused by the landfill. She said DES said there was a problem with cancer clusters. Mrs. Farrell also said the water quality monitoring reports detect contaminants. Selectman Glavac said the Board needs to report on Dioxide levels and present it to the public. He said the levels are below drinking level standards. Mrs. Farrell said if it is above level it means it is there. Selectman Glavac suggested getting someone from DES to come explain the reports and what it means if something is detected. He said they (landfill) have their permits to operate so if they are violators how could they be open for 30 years. Mr. McGrath said NHDES said there is a difference between detectable limits and reportable limits and asked if there are any current violations. Chairman Moritz said there was something in March that is now resolved and said she has requested the monthly reports come to the town.
At 7:30 Chairman Moritz moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91A:3 II for matters of personnel, reputation, & legal. Selectman Moore seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
Selectman Glavac moved to hire Irving Fountain for the Country Club. Chairman Moritz seconded. Carried 5-0.
Selectman Glavac moved to hire Michael Webster for the Fire Dept. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 5-0.
The Board discussed legal.
At 7:55 Chairman Moritz moved to come out of non-public session. Selectman Glavac seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to come out of non-public session.
At 7:55 Selectman Glavac moved to adjourn. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 5-0.