Meeting location: Town offices
Date: February 2, 2017
Members present: Jay Jacobs; Jonathan Miner. Members absent: Andrew Maneval
Meeting opened: 7:00 pm; Meeting adjourned: 8:15 pm
Documents signed and reviewed:
SB signed Weekly Financials in the amount of $11,846.00.
SB accepted and signed Selectmen Meeting Minutes for both meetings on January 26, 2017.
SB noted that Sean Laine will be in on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 to sign the Bill of Sale for the Fire Truck.
SB acknowledged the email from Andrew Maneval regarding John Cucchi.
Regarding the question of honoring veterans on Town Meeting Day, the SB will pass on the information to the moderator.
Assessing – SB signed the Application for Current Use for James & Virginia Upton at 54 Brown Road (Map-40 Lot-32-2).
Building Inspector – SB reviewed Signed Demolition and Building Permit for Louis and Cathy Lovas of 324 Hancock Road (Map-21 Lot-25) and Signed Building Permit for Pamela Barrows of 99 Nelson Road (Map-60 Lot-20).
Conservation Commission – SB noted the email from Winston Sims regarding Warrant Articles and The Agenda for February 1, 2017.
Winston Sims attended the meeting to discuss the closing of the Land Conservation Trust Fund (LCTF) and to ask the SB about its thinking behind the Warrant Article. Jay Jacobs responded that since the fund was established, there have been multiple development rights purchases and it was his belief that the SB, even at the time the fund was created, always sought some criteria for and details about potential property before funds were set aside. Jay Jacobs also noted the increasing activism and increasing budgets of other conservation trusts in the area and that these entities have been able to act on conservation interests that became a priority in the area. He also commented on the existence of individual efforts and funds available in the community, negating the need for the town’s involvement. Jay Jacobs further noted the availability of funds from the conservation tax to mitigate the costs of surveying or fees associated with putting land in conservation. Jay Jacobs added that, if ever money was needed for conservation easements, it was likely the Town wouldn’t be able to access the money at the time it was needed because of the required vote of the town to take it out.
Winston Sims then asked why, in the course of drafting the Warrant Articles, the Conservation Commission wasn’t included in the discussion and why the topic wasn’t raised sooner. Jay Jacobs replied that it wasn’t discussed as a board until a little over a week ago and that the idea came up suddenly. Winston Sims stated his concern that there was no discussion around it. Harry Wolhandler added that, at the HCC meeting the night before, the committee formally passed a motion asking the SB to explain the original purpose and reasoning for the Warrant Article and voted, again unanimously, to request that the SB reconsider and withdraw the proposed article. Winston Sims added it was the sense of the HCC that SB didn’t want to bring the discussion to the HCC and that it reflected a lack of confidence by the SB in the HCC. Jay Jacobs responded that that was patently false and that the decision had nothing to do with HCC and everything to do with the financial responsibility of the town and of the SB’s carrying out what it sees as responsible policy in various areas.
Winston Sims asked if there were other trust funds considered for budget cuts and Jon Miner stated that the LCTF was found to be redundant and that the HCC has a fund it can access as a board for similar purposes. Jon Miner added that, however the money is obtained, it remains taxpayer money sitting in an account and that the HCC continues to have the right to bring a specific initiative forward for a vote by the town.
Winston Sims asked why the funds from a closed LCTF couldn’t just be transferred to the HCC. Jay Jacobs noted he was against that in the same way he opposes money from tax penalties going into the conservation fund and opposes the state legislature’s reasoning behind establishing conservation funds with deferred taxpayer dollars and lack of control or oversight. Winston Sims disagreed with Jay Jacobs’s reasoning and supported the idea of accountability. Harry Wolhandler stated he understood Jay Jacobs’s feelings but noted the strong sentiment at the state and local level of the value of conservation efforts for farmers and future generations. He added that, notwithstanding the feelings of his co-members and the desire to have been included in the decision, he doesn’t necessarily disagree about the closing of the LCTF. He added he believes the HCC needs a better plan for protecting the town’s natural resources.
Jay Jacobs offered that the discussion can continue until Town Meeting and then asked the question how much is enough, stating that 23-25% of land base is already in conservation protection. He sees a conflict between locking up more land and the initiatives under way to attract young families and the vision of the town as represented in the Master Plan.
Winston Sims reiterated the HCC’s ability to help support individual efforts to conserve land and the need for associated funds. He asked the SB to withdraw the Warrant Article prior to Town Meeting. Jay Jacobs stated the SB as a whole drafted and approved all the Warrant Articles and that the voters should decide at Town Meeting. Both he and Jon Miner stated that that was the most democratic way to resolve the matter. Winston Sims stated that the HCC’s request of the SB to reconsider its decision and withdraw the article remains on the table and Jay Jacobs stated the request was noted.
In a separate matter, Harry Wolhandler requested SB advice on John Cucchi’s threats and asked if individuals serving as board members are indemnified. SB responded that town officials are indemnified as long as their actions are deemed official and fall within the scope of their official position.
Planning Board – SB noted Corrected Meeting Minutes for 1-11-2017.
Road Agent – Wes Tarr met with the Selectmen to inform them of the quote from All States to pave
Hancock Road, an estimated 1.7 miles, and between 22- and 24- feet wide, requiring 2300 tons of asphalt, at $170,000.
Tax Collector – SB reviewed 2017 MS-61 Tax Collector Report.
Pegg Monahan attended as representative of the Senior Center to follow up on their request for a donation. Jay Jacobs thanked her for her helpful presentation and informed her of the SB’s decision to donate $200.
NH DOT – SB noted Inspection of Red List Bridges Report.
Email hosting options – SB discussed the problem regarding the email server and will work with the office to help resolve the matter.
Street Light Replacement – SB to further review options and consider the feedback from the City of Keene on replacing the town’s streetlights with LED lights.
SB noted Southwest Region Transportation Projects Considered for fiscal year 2019 – 2028.
SB noted Spring Planning and Zoning Conference on April 29, 2017.
NH DES – SB acknowledged receipt of 2016 Landfill Closure Annual Report.
NH Retirement – SB acknowledged receipt of Employer Notification Legislation Potential Cost Impact and Employer Notice: Resources for New Members.
SB noted Solid Waste Operator Training Workshop Calendar.
February 9th – John Cucchi will meet with the Selectmen at 7:00pm
February 20th – Presidents Day (Office Closed)