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Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
Bethlehem Selectmen Office
January 16, 2017
Present: Chairman Glavac, Selectman Blanchard, Selectman Laleme.
Chairman Glavac opened the meeting at 6:00 and opened the budget hearing. The Board reviewed the proposed budget and said the proposed is up $101,952 from last year and the default budget is $59,669 less than the proposed budget.
Chairman Glavac explained that the increases in Executive, Town Clerk, and Tax budgets were salary and benefits. It was explained the legal budget was increased $15,000.00 due to the expense of the Northern Pass. Chris McGrath said the warrant article didn’t give the town the authority to spend the money but acknowledged the Board has the authority to spend on legal but said he thinks it should be a warrant article. Chairman Glavac said the Board felt it was important to add to the budget. Selectman Laleme said the Planning Board approved a purchase for a new recorder so an additional $100.00 needs to be added to Planning budget. Cheryl Jensen asked about the salary decreasing for the Planning/Zoning Clerk and was told it was due to reduced amount of hours worked by the clerk with the staff changes.
Selectman Blanchard reviewed the GGB, Ins, Visitor Center, Wood Assessor budgets and explained they all either had a slight increase, stayed level, or had a slight decrease. He reviewed the police budget and explained the big increase was mostly the health insurance.
Selectman Blanchard said the Fire Dept. increase is salary, benefits, & training. He said the dispatch increased from $95,000.00 to $99,500.00 and there was discussion on how that is determined. It was explained it is based on the number of calls and partly an estimate due to Grafton County being on a fiscal budget. The Building Inspection budget was increased due to increased hours anticipated for the Building Inspector due to multiple projects happening in town. Selectman Blanchard explained the highway budget increase is due mostly to salary, benefits, and asphalt. Chuck Philips asked if the salary increase included a new employee and was told yes. It was noted street lights is level funded, ambulance is down slightly and welfare is down a considerable amount due to an employee leaving and a current employee taking on those responsibilities. Selectman Laleme said the Recreation budget has increased but that is due to the $25,000.00 that was used last year from the recreation revolving surplus to offset that budget. She explained the whole amount was budgeted this year because surplus isn’t being used to offset it. Selectman Laleme said the Library budget is level funded. Doug Harman said there are a few dollars left in the trust fund so they need a warrant article to get that off the books. Selectman Laleme said the Conservation Commission budget is level funded and said they supplement a field trip for the elementary school every year and do the roadside cleanup.
She said the Debt. Service is up because of the Ambulance loan.
Selectman Blanchard said the proposed Country Club budget is the same as last year and said the revenue for last year was $288,599.00 and had some increases in membership.
The Board reviewed the Tax Impact Sheet and said if all warrant articles passed including petitioned articles it would raise the tax rate by approx. 1.86 per thousand.
The Board reviewed the warrant:
#10: Defibrillator for ambulance for $29,231.00
#11: Pool filter for $28,562.00 to replace the current one. It was said if this doesn’t pass the current filter will not last and the pool will not be able to open without the filter.
#12: GIS mapping: $35,125.00 to digitize the maps.
#13: Highway Truck Capital Reserve: $140,000.00. Road Agent, Brett Jackson said his oldest truck is a 96 and said it is hard to get parts and he also has a 98, 99, and 01. He said he would like to get rid of two older trucks and get a new one. He also said they are spending a lot of time maintaining the old trucks.
#14: Police Cruiser Capital Reserve: $23,000.00 to replace the 2007 Impala.
#15: Police Equipment Capital Reserve: $3000.00.
#16: Fire Safety Equipment Capital Reserve: $10,000.00.
#17: Fire Truck Capital Reserve: $20,000.00.
#18: Ambulance Capital Reserve: $10,000.00.
#19: Assessing Capital Reserve: $15,000.00.
#20: Tech/Computer Needs Capital Reserve: $8,000.00.
#21: Solid Waste Needs Capital Reserve: $75,000.00
#22 – #29 –petitioned warrant articles.
The Board said the Library Trust warrant article would be #22 and to change the petitioned ones.
#4: HCA (Host Community Agreement). Selectman Laleme said at the Planning Board public hearing she had said the HCA would not be on the warrant and said she thought that because it wasn’t the last time. She said she was wrong and said it will be on the warrant and said she will state that at the next Planning Board Public Hearing.
#1: elect officers
#2: Zoning Amendment for the expansion of District V
#3: Zoning Amendment for District III, Industrial Use
#6: RSA 41:14-a. Chairman Glavac read the warrant article and said this needs to be passed in order to accept gifts of land and said it would be needed for the parcel on Trudeau Road for the Industrial Park. Mr. McGrath asked if this would affect tax deeded properties and was told no. Cheryl Jensen said she had never heard of this before.
#7: This warrant article is to ratify the acceptance of the gift of land the Board accepted in 2016 when they thought the Town had already adopted 41:14-a.
#8: RSA 31:95c – Chairman Glavac read the warrant article that explains this is to establish a special revenue fund as a way to save a portion of the HCF (host community fee) every year for solid waste needs after the landfill closes. This was written with 5% but the Board will discuss this further to determine the % they should use.
#9: This warrant will be to accept the grant for the ambulance and apply it to the principal of the loan. It was explained that the grant was originally for $30,000.00 that was based on a % of the price of the ambulance but when negotiating the price of the ambulance down it also reduced the amount of the grant.
Mary Lou Krambeer asked why the $15,000 for the assessing capital reserve was not in the regular budget and was told it was to save for the revaluation and there is no mechanism to save in the regular budget.
There was discussion about the tax rate impact sheet and the default amount adding the warrant article impact to it. Ms. Krambeer said the wording was confusing.
The Board voted on recommendations on the warrant articles:
Chairman Glavac moved starting with article #22 (Gazebo concerts) to recommend the article. Selectman Laleme seconded. Chairman Glavac said the Town was not involved in writing of the articles and said the amounts can change at Deliberative. Selectman Laleme said the Board talked with State Reps about having to recommend or not recommend them and there is HB 118 hearing tomorrow to remove this requirement. Selectman Laleme said the Board would be submitting a letter supporting that. Selectman Blanchard said he agrees they shouldn’t be recommending the articles. Motion failed 0-3.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #23 (Grafton County Senior Citizens). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #24 (Ammonoosuc Community Health). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #25 (Tri-County Cap). Selectman Laleme seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #26 (Northern Human Services). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #27 (Boys & Girls Club). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article #28 (Northwoods Home Health). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to not recommend Article#29 (Tyler Blain Homeless Shelter). Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to recommend Articles # 2 through 21. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac moved to recommend the library trust fund warrant article. Selectman Laleme seconded. Carried 3-0.
At 7:40 Chairman Glavac closed the budget hearing.
Mr. Jackson came before the Board to discuss purchasing a hotbox with the Board. He previously had approval to purchase one which made his budget run over so the check has not been mailed. Selectman Laleme moved to allow the purchase of the hot box and take the money from GGB to cover it. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac read a letter of resignation from supervisor of the checklist Marsha Dickerman.
The Board reviewed the draft letter to Erin Hennessey in support of HB 118. Selectman Laleme moved to send the letter. Selectman Blanchard seconded. Carried 3-0.
Chairman Glavac said there was a letter in the Courier that asked the Board questions and said he would like to do a mailer to the town now and at election time.
Selectman Blanchard said he and Selectman Laleme met with the arborist to discuss the trees Eversource would like cut or trimmed. Chris McGrath said the trees should be cut to prevent people from losing power and preventing trees from falling on cars etc Selectman Laleme said it will be on the agenda again next week.
At 8:05 Selectman Blanchard moved to adjourn. Selectman Laleme seconded. Carried 3-0.