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01/22/2018 SB Minutes

Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
January 22, 2018

Present:  Chairman Moritz, Selectman Boisseau, Selectman Ubaldo, Selectman Moore, Selectman Glavac.

Chairman Moritz opened the meeting at 6:05 pm.


Mary Lou Krambeer said she has run a candidate’s night in the past for the Select Board and is willing to do one this year.  Ms. Krambeer mentioned March 6th from 6-8 and said she would like to invite school board member candidates as well.  Rita Farrell requested that school board candidates not be included and Ms. Krambeer told her extra time would be allotted for them and would still have 2 hours for town candidates.  There was discussion about March 6th being the elementary schools annual meeting so Ms. Krambeer will look into other dates.

Jim Payette came before the Board to discuss voter concerns.  He said he is concerned if people that are voting are legal voters.  He said he is presenting concerns as an individual and said there should always be a vote with integrity and everyone voting is legal.  Mr. Payette said he is concerned taxpayer’s votes will be nullified by illegal voters.  He asked about the process and follow up for people that have to prove their domicile.  He said there are certain addresses in town that are being used by multiple voters.  He said it may be accurate, but it also may not be.  Chairman Moritz said she will follow up with the Supervisors of the Checklist.  Selectman Ubaldo said the Secretary of the State governs elections and said they could be contacted to see how we can do better.  Ms. Krambeer said as Moderator she oversees the elections and is in contact with the Supervisors of the Checklist.  She said they go to training and have a handbook.  She also said the Secretary of the State comes and audits the process.  Mr. Payette said he is not casting dispersions on anyone doing the work.  He said he has been concerned for a few years and this is not accusatory.  He also said some new laws are coming about legal voters with students and domicile.  There was discussion about the counting last year and it being stopped in the middle and continued the next night.  There was discussion about the Supervisors of the Checklist being online with Secretary of State’s office to verify voters but was pointed out that is only for NH voters.  There was also discussion about the absentee ballots, who can file an absentee ballot, and when they are counted.  Ms. Krambeer said they are opened during an afternoon lull time.  Mr. Payette volunteered to be here during that time and to count.  Chairman Moritz applauds people to bring forward questions instead of making assumptions.  Julie Seely said a lot of people voted absentee last year due to weather and said that is not typical.

Barry Zitser came before the Board to ask if the Board would consider establishing a transportation committee about transportation funding and to lower towns transportation costs.  He said it would be a good idea to use a natural gas filling station if that becomes an option.  He said there is no reliable bus service and there are a number of people that don’t have a license or access to transportation.  Chairman Moritz said Heidi Cook had approached her also about viable transportation and said there is a problem with employees getting to work.  Selectman Ubaldo said he had talked with Brett Jackson about whether is would be a viable option for the town trucks to use the natural gas.  He said it would benefit the environment and the town.  Cheryl Jensen said North Country Council did a transportation survey so that may be a resource.

The Board reviewed the warrant articles.  The Board discussed the article for the country club and discussed the recommendation from the attorney.  The Board all agreed to change it to “To see if the Town will direct the Select Board to explore options for the sale or long-term lease of the town-owned Bethlehem Country Club property.  If this article is approved the Select Board will hold no less than two public meetings to seek further public input.  Any final decision will be made at a future town meeting.”

Chairman Moritz explained by law they are required to either recommend or not recommend any petitioned warrant article that has an appropriation.  She said previous Board has followed the process of not recommending them.  She said there are 3 petitioned warrant articles without appropriations; landfill expansion, requiring a town vote on expansion, and a road change.  Chairman Moritz said with following how things were done last year she thought they would start with Planning and thought it was fair to take out recommendation for petition warrant articles because they are not required by law.  She said last years board recommended the zoning change but was a unique situation because the zoning article was brought forth by the Select Board.
The Board discussed Article number 11 and how the attorney recommended they remove this article.  Selectman Glavac said it is a way to see what the voters want.  Selectman Ubaldo said he thinks it should remain on there.

Article 7 – Convert Street Lights to LED – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend the article.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Carried 5-0.
Article 8 – Capital Improvement Program Committee – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend.  Selectman Boisseau seconded.  Carried 5-0.
Article 9 – KENO – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Carried 4-0 (Selectman Ubaldo abstained).
Article 10 –  Sell or Lease Country Club – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend the article as amended.  Selectman Boisseau seconded.  Carried 5-0.
Article 11 – Keep Country Club as a golf course – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend.  Selectman Moore seconded.  Carried 5-0.
Article 12 – Highway Truck Capital Reserve – Chairman Moritz moved to recommend.  Selectman Ubaldo seconded.  Carried 5-0.

Article 13 – 20 (Police Cruiser, Police Equip., Fire Safety Equip., Fire Truck, Amb., Assessing, Tech Needs, Solid Waste and Capital Reserve funds) -Chairman Moritz moved to recommend articles 13 – 20.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Carried 5-0.
Article 21 – Gazebo Concerts – Selectman Glavac said it is a case of not recommending petition warrant articles with appropriations and moved to not recommend.  Chairman Moritz seconded.  Carried 4-1 (Selectman Ubaldo opposed).
Article 22 – Landfill Expansion -The Board discussed that this article is not required by law to have a recommendation.  Selectman Moore read from a New Hampshire Municipal report that says the Select Board can place recommendation with appropriations and there are no other recommendations that are lawful.  She said the statue says they can recommend budget, special and appropriation articles.  Chairman Moritz said there is case law that says they can recommend.  Julian Czarny suggested asking legislature to removed laws on having to recommend or not.  Selectman Glavac said the Board 2 years ago contacted state rep, Erin Hennessey about that and she tried to change that, but it didn’t succeed.  Chris McGrath said the Board should not recommend if they are not required to.  Chairman Moritz said this is in regard to just Articles 22 (Landfill Expansion), 25, (Requiring a Town Vote) & 29 (Road Change).  Chris Jensen said number 25 gives everyone a right to vote if 22 passes and a deal is negotiated.  He said there will not be a delay because a special meeting can be held.  Mr. Payette said #25 is in conflict with #22.  Mr. Jensen said it is not a conflict at all that it simply means the town holds a meeting about what is in the agreement then town can vote on agreement.  Peter Roy said the deliberative session is the time to hash out warrant articles.
Articles 23 (Northern Human Services Petitioned) and Article 24 (Graton County Senior Citizens Petitioned) – Chairman Moritz moved to not recommend these articles.  Selectman Moore seconded.  Carried 4-1 (Selectman Ubaldo opposed).
Articles 26 (Tyler Blain Homeless Shelter Petitioned), 27 (Tri-County Cap Petitioned), and 28 (Tri-County Transit Petitioned) – Chairman Moritz moved to not recommend these articles.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Carried 3-2 (Selectmen Ubaldo and Boisseau opposed).
Articles 30 (Ammonoosuc Petitioned), 31 (Caleb Interfaith Petitioned), 32 (Boys & Girls Club Petitioned), 33 (North Country Home Health Petitioned) – Chairman Moritz moved to not recommend these articles.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Carried 3-2 (Selectmen Ubaldo and Boisseau opposed).
Chairman Moritz moved to not have any recommendation on petition warrant articles without and appropriation (22,25,29).  Selectman Glavac seconded.
Ben Solomon asked if there has been discussion about the settlement agreement and said it seems the town is trying to prevent expansion so has the Board received guidance from the superior court.  Chairman Moritz said if someone submits a petitioned warrant article it has to go on the warrant.  Mr. Solomon asked if even if it isn’t keeping with the settlement agreement.  Selectman Glavac said the Board checked last year and found we are in compliance with settlement agreement.  Mr. Solomon said it is the Select Boards responsibility to check with superior court.  Chairman Moritz said our attorney is still reviewing warrant articles.  Mr. Solomon said he feels the warrant article is illegal because of the settlement agreement.  He said if there is a question of legality the Board should seek clarification with the superior court.  Julie Seely said it is different this year because the Select Board put the article on last year.  She said Casella can’t purchase land for expansion.  She also said a representative for Casella said they wrote the warrant articles, so they have now violated that agreement.
Chairman Moritz said that is not what they are here to discuss tonight.  Ms. Seely said a judge needs to weigh in on this.  Mrs. Jensen asked Selectman Glavac what last year’s Select Board asked the attorney.  Selectman Glavac said they were advised the warrant articles last year were legal because 2 parties could amend an agreement.  He said they did not go to court.
Mrs. Jensen said former Selectmen Jerry read at a Master Plan meeting that the attorney said the agreement could not be broken.  Jeanne Robillard said the Select Board has to put the warrant on and refraining from making a recommendation is wise.  She suggested the Board check with legal before the Deliberative and if it passes that is when you check the legalities of it.  Peter Roy said two parties can decide to change a contract.  He said nothing is violated and the vote of the town can decide to change the contract.  Mrs. Farrell said if either party breaks the agreement they are in contempt of court.  She said they need to clarify that.  Carried 5-0.

Chris McGrath asked if the Road Agent could give a recommendation on #29 and was told he would be at the Deliberative.
Mrs. Jensen asked if the Board will pursue the question about superior court.  Selectmen Moore and Boisseau feel it is worth pursuing.
Greg Moore said they need to know if the warrant article is legal or illegal to place on the ballot.
Chairman Moritz said the Board doesn’t have the authority to take it off even if its illegal and read RSA 39:3b.  Ms. Robillard said if there is a question on legality they can petition the superior court before it goes on the ballot to see if it is legal.  Chairman Moritz said it was sent to our attorney and they have done their due diligence and followed protocol.  Ms. Robillard said to check with town attorney and ask if it should go to superior court.  Lance Wilson said they bought a gravel pit and it is still used as a gravel pit.  Greg Moore said they (Casella) are presenting an agreement with land purchased for expansion.  He said they changed the purpose of the land they purchased for sand.  Selectman Ubaldo said we have gotten a legal opinion and they haven’t started landfilling on it yet. Selectman Boisseau said they should ask attorney if it is something that should be brought to court.

The Board discussed a plan for an auction in June.  Chairman Moritz moved to hire McGlauflin Auctioneers to hold the auction.  Selectman Moore seconded.  Carried 5-0.

The Board reviewed a request from Rek-lis Brewing for entertainment approval for their liquor license.  Chairman Moritz moved to approve the outdoor/indoor entertainment request.  Selectman Boisseau seconded.  Carried 5-0.

The minutes were tabled.

The Board discussed the town report appreciation.  Chairman Moritz said she would like to have the appreciation be for Cheryl Jensen and Sandy Laleme for all their work on the Northern Pass issue.
The Board discussed options for the front cover of the town report.  Julian Czarny suggested a nice mountain in Bethlehem.
Selectman Boisseau moved to have the cover a Bethlehem mountain and the dedication of Sandy and Cheryl.  Selectman Ubaldo seconded.  Carried 5-0.

At 8:05 Chairman Moritz moved to go into non-public session per RSA 91A:3 II for matters of personnel.  Selectman Glavac seconded.  Chairman Moritz did roll call with all members agreeing to go into non-public session.
Dann objected to the non-public session as a taxpayer should be involved.

The Board discussed personnel.

At 8:51 Selectman Ubaldo 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 8:52 Chairman Moritz moved to adjourn.  Selectman Ubaldo seconded.  Carried 5-0.

Respectfully submitted,
April Hibberd
Administrative Assistant

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