Bethlehem Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
Bethlehem Selectmen Office September 12, 2016
Present: Chairman Glavac, Selectman Laleme, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Blanchard.
Chairman Glavac opened the meeting at 6:30pm.
Chief Anderson came before the Board to discuss equipment he would like to purchase. He said he has money in equipment in his budget. Chief Anderson explained to the Board that NFPA requires that each engine have hose newer than 1987 so he wants to replace 800 feet of hose for each engine. The cost to do this is approx. $3,765.00. Chief Anderson said he would like to give Pinetree Power some of the old hose and mentioned a wood chip fire they had where the hose there would have been beneficial. He gave the Board an update on the new ambulance purchase and said it is coming along. Chairman Glavac moved to authorize the new hose purchase and to donate/dispose of old hose to Pinetree Power. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 4-0. Chief Anderson told the Board that he has $1000.00 in his budget for station improvements and said he would like the pull the two storage containers forward to clean up brush behind it and then put gravel down and move the containers back further and eventually put a roof over them for storage underneath. Selectman Laleme asked if there could be room for parking there and Chief Anderson said there are sewer lines there so he wouldn’t want to put concrete or pavement down but have talked about putting a garage in that area that could have heat for the police cruisers. Dann said town equipment (hoses) is usually put up for auction not given away.
Erin Hennessey, State Representative, came before the Board and said she is looking for suggestions for state legislation. Selectman Laleme said she objects to the state telling towns what they can and cannot due (in regards to zoning laws). She explained the SEC will determine the fate of the North Country about the Northern Pass and our zoning laws are being ignored. Selectman Ubaldo said they should ask people they are legislating what they think before passing legislation. Ms. Hennessey said she has talked with Littleton about their concerns about eliminating the traffic light on Route 302. Chairman Glavac said the Select Board should not have to vote on recommending or not recommending petitioned warrant articles. Selectman Laleme said she would love the Representatives to come every few months for a report. Rita Farrell said there are Federal laws, State Laws, and Town Laws and asked what problem they have with the state laws. Selectman Laleme said there are budget laws and labor laws and how sometimes laws make things more difficult. Mrs. Farrell said the state looks out for wetlands, roads, etc. and gives volunteer boards guidance. Selectman Laleme said less govt. the better.
Chief Ho-Sing-Loy came before the Board to discuss the purchase of 4 tasers and paying for them over 5 year’s interest free. He told the Board that he needs to upgrade his current tasers. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy said they have 7 and the four that will be upgraded were purchased in 2008. He explained the 3 that were purchased 3 years ago are the newer version. The Chief said they will be covered under warranty and the training will also be covered for the 5 years. The total cost is $8,308.00. Chairman Glavac asked if the money is in the budget and the Chief said he does have excess money in the money because of the officers that left. For the remaining 4 years the amount will be part of the operating budget. Selectman Laleme asked what the lifetime is for a taser and the Chief said every 5 years or so. Chairman Glavac moved to approve the purchase of the tasers. Selectman Laleme seconded. Mrs. Farrell asked how often the tasers are used. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy said they have been used approx. 6 times. Chris McGrath asked 6 times in how many years and was told since 2008. Mr. McGrath asked if 7 were needed. Chief Ho-Sing-Loy said that would be like swapping guns out and wants each officer to have one. Carried 4-0.
Chairman Glavac said the Board needs to start thinking about goals for the budget season. He said they worked hard to make sure there is no waste but the roads are suffering. He wants to increase blacktop in the budget. Selectman Laleme said if any department wants an increase they will need to justify it with facts and figures. She said increase in salaries and benefits are expected but anything else will need to be justified. Selectman Blanchard said the department heads have been very efficient and he would also like increases to be justified. He also agrees that the roads are horrible and need to be addressed. Chairman Glavac said Brett Jackson always comes in with a flat budget but he wants to direct him to budget for 2 miles of road to be paved per year. Selectman Ubaldo said he would like to know if Mr. Jackson hired out paving but did the hauling himself would that get more roads covered. Selectman Laleme said it is so expensive to pave the roads and said Mr. Jackson needs to tell the Board what he prefers. Selectman Blanchard said he has lost personnel this year so his manpower is reduced. Selectman Laleme said Mr. Jackson does a very responsible budget.
Dann asked the Board if they have a budget committee and was told no. Chairman Glavac said during budget season the department head’s present the budget and then there will be a public hearing on the entire budget. Chairman Glavac said the Select Board will be meeting with both school boards on October 3rd to put their heads together. Dann said he was a member of the budget committee in Littleton and said they are only an advisory committee to the Selectmen. He suggested that the Board consider a budget committee. Dann asked if all employees get raises and said Social Security people didn’t get a raise and that the taxpayers are the bosses to the employees and a lot of people have flat salaries. Rita Farrell told the Select Board as an elected board they need to see that the community thrives and does well and to look out for the best interest of the town. She also said she would like to see more people go to the meetings. Selectman Blanchard said more people should be involved and that during the budget process there are many opportunities for people to have a say. Chairman Glavac said at the deliberative the decisions about budget items only affect the bottom line. He said the budget hearing is when you can decide on budget cuts. Selectman Ubaldo said the municipal budget is only $5.00+ and that the school budgets are much bigger.
The Board discussed the Country Club Warrant Article (We, the undersigned, petition the Bethlehem Board of Selectmen to authorize – at no cost to the town – the formation of a committee to discuss ways to make the golf course more profitable, which would include considering alternative uses, with the goal of reducing taxes, increasing tourism and encouraging businesses to locate in the town.) Chairman Glavac said the committee was formed and Selectman Blanchard presented the findings. He said the intent of the warrant article was looking to lower the taxes. Selectman Blanchard said they looked at the Country Club in its entirety and said they talked with a local realtor and got his input about selling it or leasing it. He said the building is in disrepair so they would need to spend money to make the repairs. Selectman Blanchard also said they now get free water from the Village District but would the person leasing get free water. He also raised concerns about the equipment and whose responsibility it would be to maintain/fix them. Chairman Glavac said with long term leasing with a commitment from lease that they continue golf and have a bond in case of damages. Selectman Blanchard said the restaurant has been leased out before and it was a disaster. Chairman Glavac said it would need to be a long term lease like 25, 50 or 99 years. Selectman Laleme said she is a strong advocate against selling it and if they need to settle the question of leasing we need to bring in a realtor to answer questions. Selectman Blanchard said he would not want to sell it and not sure if he would want to lease it either. He said we would need to make a profit or we won’t attract a lessee. Selectman Ubaldo said the intent of the warrant article was to look at options. He said leasing would be different than developing it. He also said it would need to be determined the options and should talk about development plan. He said conditions can be part of a lease and said we need more clarification on options and more should be looked at. Selectman Laleme said the course is one of the 1st Donald Ross courses in Northern NH and said it is unique but we don’t market it. She said the extensive electrical work is still in process and the prisoners will be painting the building. The Board agreed a realtor (Andy Smith) would be invited to a board meeting to discuss this. Rita Farrell said she doesn’t agree with bringing in a realtor and said a consultant should be asked instead. She said there is a lot of self interest going on. She also said if you sell the country club you should also sell the school, town hall, etc. Dann said there are two golf courses in town about a mile apart and maybe the other golf course could take over their competition. He said in Littleton they have an industrial park that brings in money and taxes and that the golf course isn’t brining in taxes. Chairman Glavac said he thinks the entire board values the country club but they are open to suggestions and preserving it. Chris McGrath said he appreciates the board discussing this and said he knows people that don’t golf at the town course anymore because of bad experiences. He also said nobody should get free golf.
Selectman Laleme gave an update on Northern Pass and said the technical sessions are happening now and can only have one person speak. She said interveners have to leave if confidential information is discussed. There was discussion about who should be contacting the attorney about northern pass stuff because so far the town has spent approx. $2,200.00 and that it needs to funnel through one person (Selectman Laleme). Selectman Ubaldo asked why Cheryl Jensen is also sending emails. Selectman Laleme said she doesn’t know until they are already sent. Chairman Glavac said they can talk with Mrs. Jensen to clarify that there should be one person contacting the attorney and she can continue working with Selectman
Laleme to relay her input for the attorney. There was discussion about the costs involved if they are Conservation related and Selectman Laleme said the Board agreed to take on the legal costs. Chairman Glavac said asking Mrs. Jensen to direct her questions to Selectman Laleme to ask attorney should take care of that.
Chairman Glavac said he had a request from Don Lavoie to serve as assistant moderator at the request of Moderator Mary Lou Krambeer. Frank Claffey asked if Ms. Krambeer should be the one contacting the Board about this. The Board agreed the request should come from Ms. Krambeer.
Chairman Glavac gave an update on the Business Retention committee and said they reviewed the list of businesses that will be interviewed. He said there is a list of 100+ businesses and the interviews will happen from Jan. – April with a report in May. He said the list was generated by UNH who used a national proprietary list.
The Board discussed that 3 Board members need to be at the election tomorrow or they need to appoint people in their place. Selectman Blanchard moved to appoint April Hibberd, Nicole McGrath, and Debbie Bayley to take the place of the Select Board at the election. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board reviewed abatements. Chairman Glavac moved to approve the abatement for Map/Lot 204-048 for $3,140.00 due to overpayment. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 40.
The Board discussed the amount they need to set as a minimum value to establish a Capital Asset Policy for depreciation of assets. Frank Claffey and April Hibberd both recommended starting off with $10,000.00 and said the auditors said most towns use an amount between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00. Chairman Glavac moved to set it at $10,000.00 as the minimum value. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board discussed if Brett Jackson could contact the 2 companies that make the highway truck he will be purchasing instead of advertising to accept bids. Selectman Ubaldo moved to acquire bids by contacting the companies that make them. Chairman Glavac seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board reviewed the minutes from 08/29/16. Selectman Blanchard moved to approve the minutes. Chairman Glavac seconded. Carried 4-0.
At 8:40 Chairman Glavac moved to go into non-public session per 91A for matters of personnel. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Chairman Glavac did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
The Board discussed personnel. Selectman Blanchard moved to bring on 2 new police employees to work until they can attend the academy. Chairman Glavac seconded. Carried 40. Selectman Laleme moved for this year to give Chief Ho-Sing-Loy leeway to offer officers cash vacation buyout. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 4-0.
Selectman Laleme moved to hire Aaron Johnson and Kylie Ingerson as recreation counselors. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 4-0.
At 9:45 Selectman Blanchard moved to come out of non-public session. Selectman Laleme seconded. Chairman Glavac did roll call with all members agreeing to come out of non-public session.
At 9:45 Selectman Blanchard moved to adjourn. Selectman Laleme seconded. Carried 4-0.
Respectfully submitted, April Hibberd