Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
October 30, 2017
Present: Chairman Moritz, Selectman Glavac, Selectman Moore.
Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:30 pm.
Chris McGrath asked about the legal budget and Chairman Moritz said they wouldn’t be discussing it because there isn’t a full Board. Mr. McGrath asked the Board not to increase the police budget and said people don’t care that we don’t currently have 24 hour coverage. He said he is against all budget increases until revenue increases.
Dann said at the former meeting someone said they weren’t a robber but they didn’t give facts and vilified a person who gave facts. He asked the Board to ask for facts. Dann told the Board there are sometimes unintended consequences when doing something good. He helped clean up bottles and cans on roadside clean up day and said there is a law if you are caught with an empty can or bottle it is against the law so they throw them out instead.
Ashley Warwick came before the Board to discuss possibly offering yoga classes at the town building in the meeting room. She explained she will have a home based yoga business but thought she would offer classes to the employees and community members for $10.00 a class. Chairman Moritz said she thought it was a great idea but was not sure about using a town facility for a paid class. Ms. Warwick said she originally thought of just offering it to employees but also thought some community members would also have an interest. Selectman Glavac said he is also concerned about taking money but said if it is just for town employees he would be ok with it. Chairman Moritz asked Ms. Warwick if she was insured and was told she is licensed and insured. The Board agreed it was ok to offer to the employees.
Police – there is a slight increase because the Board approved the hiring of the officer to get back to full staff. Selectman Glavac said the Chief gave a presentation in the past that showed what a difference police have made being proactive versus reactive. He said it is important to keep that. Sonya Clark asked if it was requested that it come in under 5%. Chairman Moritz said everyone was asked to reduce 5% if they could. She said it is not discretionary spending so it is difficult and impossible to decrease. Dann said police are reactive and said they rarely can prevent a crime. Chairman Moritz said she believes a solid police force is a deterrent. She also said if our reputation as a safe community slipped how would we attract people and said we need to keep the community safe. Cheryl Jensen said she has never complained about the police budget before but asked about the pick-up purchase and if it was more expensive then a car or SUV. Selectman Glavac said he believes the price of the truck was comparable to an SUV. He also said the police haven’t been blowing up in size. He said we have the same amount of officers but had put a hold on one until now. Selectman Glavac said the budget is growing and is cost of doing business. He said it increases every year because of salary, health insurance, etc and said revenue not increasing is the problem. He said to keep current services revenues will have to go up or taxes will go up. Ms. Clark asked if they will still be 24 hour coverage and Chairman Moritz said we didn’t have 24 hour but bringing it back to 24 hour. She also said there was a problem with officers not being able to take vacation time and overtime increased to cover the vacations. Chairman Moritz read the warrant article requests for money for the capital reserve accounts for cruiser and equipment.
Recreation: Tim Fleury came before the Board to discuss the recreation budget. He explained the pool numbers are the same but there are some increases in salary, health and dental insurance. He said it was a tough year to compare revenues because they weren’t collected so he had to look at past years. Mr. Fleury said he is still acclimating so he needs to assess to know what expenses will be needed. He said he knows he will need new uniforms for all sports. He reviewed a list of projects he is looking to do next year including fence repairs, playground maintenance, and an exterminator for the snack shack at the ball field. He discussed wanting to look into expanding the ball field area behind the school. He also mentioned the superintendant contacted him about a piece of property across from Profile but said he doesn’t think it would work for what we would want. Dann asked about the lack in collecting revenue. Chairman Moritz said at one time there was a huge balance due but a huge % has now been collected. Mr. Fleury said parents are excited about the online payment option and are signing up for it. Dann asked if people are behind would they still be able to access the services. Mr. Fleury said they cannot until they pay. Mrs. Clark asked if the after school program is open to out of towners and was told not at this time but summer rec is and they pay an additional fee. Mrs. Clark asked if the numbers are increasing or decreasing and was told there is an increase in soccer participation and kids grades K – 2.
Planning/Zoning: Mike Bruno came before the Board to discuss the budget. He went over the numbers from the last couple of years and explained he had reduced the budget. There was discussion about unknowns so difficult to budget for legal etc. He said the part of the budget he controls did not go up but the salary line went up.
Dispatch: It was explained this is billed on actual calls and with police being visible and proactive has probably helped with the cost going down.
Cheryl Jensen came before the Board to discuss a Northern Pass letter to DOT that Easton, Franconia, and Sugar Hill all signed that is in reference to the right of ways. Selectman Glavac said it is asking DOT to follow their regulations. Selectman Moore moved to put the letter on Bethlehem letterhead and send it. Selectman Glavac seconded. Carried 3-0.
The Board discussed the quotes from HB Engineers and Brett Jackson’s recommendations on those. Mr. Jackson recommended to the Board they do 3 of the projects quoted (Brook Road $20,150.00, Parker Road $8,500.00, River Road $8,450.00). Funds for the studies will come from the additional highway block grant. Chairman Moritz moved to go with Mr. Jackson’s recommendation on the 3 projects. Selectman Moore seconded. Carried 3-0.
Minutes – Tabled.
At 7:21 Chairman Moritz moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91 A:3 II for matters of personnel. Selectman Moore seconded. Dann objected to the non-public session. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
Chairman Moritz moved to approve the hiring of the additional police officer to begin on 12/04/17. Carried 3-0.
At 7:35 Selectman Glavac moved to come out of non-public session. Chairman Moritz seconded and did roll call with all members agreeing to come out of non-public session.
At 7:35 Selectman Glavac moved to adjourn. Chairman Moritz seconded. Carried 3-0.