Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
December 4, 2017
Present: Chairman Moritz, Selectman Boisseau, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Moore.
Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:00 pm.
Chris McGrath asked the Board to follow up and recap motions made at previous meetings. He also asked the Board if they hired an attorney to handle the NCES abatement. Chairman Moritz said they will be using attorney Walter Mitchell. She said his firm is already used by the town for other things so is not a new attorney for the town. Mr. McGrath asked if an abatement has been filed yet and was told no. Mr. McGrath told the Board he has suggestions to keep the visitor center open if the Board was going to consider closing it. He also asked about the Selectmen being paid on a sliding scale depending on attendance. He asked about other things being reduced instead of eliminating the visitor center. Selectman Moore said she talked with Carole at the visitor center and she will be coming to the Board in the beginning of January.
Julian Czarny said 3 weeks ago he asked about the ice rink and removing ramps from it so it could be utilized as a rink. Selectman Boisseau said he approached Tim (Rec Director) about getting the ramps removed and Tim reached out to the skate park committee and some were removed but still one big one left. Mr. Czarny said they would need another warm spell to blow out the leaves and said he would work on that. Selectman Boisseau said he would also like to get the lights fixed over there also.
Steve Lieber from Affinity LED Lighting came before the Board along with John Branagan. Mr. Leiber said Franconia and Gorham are being installed in the next couple of weeks. He explained they are based in Dover NH and have worked with over 20 communities this year. He said Bethlehem has 234 unmetered street lights and explained Bethlehem would save approximately $16,000 a year switching to LED which is a 43% savings per year. The cost to change the street lights over to LED would be $59,508 and includes all equipment and will include a GIS layer. There was discussion about the rebate from Eversource that is $23,225 so that would leave a net cost of $36,283. He explained it would pay for itself in 2.3 years and also pointed out that there is a 10 year warranty. Mr. Branagan showed pictures showing the difference of LED lights and went over the benefits of LED lighting. There was discussion about the rebate and Affinity handles all the rebate paperwork and said it takes about 4 weeks to get the rebate. Mr. Lieber said we will have to continue to have maintenance with Eversource but will have a lot less maintenance calls. He also said they pay for 1st year of all maintenance costs. Mr. Branagan suggested the town keep some lights on hand in case a light goes out and can be provided to Eversource. Dann asked if they have been in service long enough to determine life expectancy. Mr. Branagan explained the testing involved (UL) and said they have a low failure rate and last beyond warranty time.
There was discussion about a warrant article to raise the money for this and Chairman Moritz said there could possibly be a USDA grant that will help offset the costs. Worst case scenario would be a $37,000 cost. Ms. Krambeer said a vendor needs to be picked in December in order to get the 2017 Eversource rebate. Chairman Moritz said it is all contingent on warrant article passing.
State Representative for Bethlehem, Erin Hennessey, came before the Board to discuss the results of the demographic study that was done. She said it looked at NH changes and found that over age 65 population projection will increase 82%, over age 85 will increase 123% and the only other age bracket that projected an increase is 35 – 44 (15%). She said every other age bracket projects a decline. She said it was recommended that NH hire a demographer to help with demographic bills and would look at 10 year projections instead of the 2 that is voted on.
Chairman Moritz asked Ms. Hennessey about the rooms and meals tax and said 40% was going back to municipalities and went as low as 17%. She asked what is happening with that. Ms. Hennessey said she would check on that.
The Board reviewed abatements. Chairman Moritz explained in the summer the owner of Map/Lot 204/008 applied for a religious exemption, but it wasn’t applied in the tax bill. Chairman Moritz moved to refund $3,009.11. Selectman Ubaldo seconded. Carried 4-0.
Chairman Moritz explained the second one is due to a land use change tax issued in error. She said the contiguous land continues into Franconia and still meets 10 acres minimum. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the abatement for Map/Lot 410-14-3 for $1400. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-0.
Chairman Moritz said NH Municipal Assoc. was asked about appointing 2 cemetery trustees from the 2008 warrant article and we can go ahead and appoint 2. She said we will publicize to see if anyone is interested, especially people with computer skills.
Chairman Moritz said there was research done on the cemetery software and found one based on costs and modules needed to meet our needs. She explained other companies didn’t fit our requirement so didn’t submit quotes. She said she feels confident with their decision. Selectman Ubaldo asked if there were copies of communication with the other companies. He said he really believes this needs to be done but would like to see info they considered. Chairman Moritz moved to go forward with Clare Brown’s recommendation of Cemsites and get information on who else was talked to. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board discussed the default budget and not itemizing it by line item. It was recommended to do it in the same format as DRA’s (Dept. of Revenue). The Board agreed to change the format and have a page in the budget for the default.
At 7:30 Chairman Moritz moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91A:3 II for matters of personnel and reputation. Selectman Moore seconded. Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
Dann objected to the non-public session.
The Board discussed personnel. Chairman Moritz moved to approve the PT bonus for Chief Ho-Sing-Loy. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-0.
The Board discussed non-payment of taxes with someone requesting payment arrangement and waiving of interest.
At 7:55 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 7:55 Selectman Ubaldo moved to adjourn. Selectman Boisseau seconded. Carried 4-0.