Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  August 12, 2021  
 Opened:    7:00 pm Adjourned: 9:05 pm  

Select Board Present: Andrea Hodson, Jay Jacobs, Kathy Scott____________________

Attendees:  Police Chief Mike Tollett, Andrew Maneval, Les LaMois, State Senator Jay Kahn, Sarah Kendall

Andrea Hodson reviewed appropriate meeting decorum according to the guidelines posted in the conference room.

Agenda – The SB approved the agenda as submitted.  They discussed timing of posting the agenda, ultimately agreeing to continue to post it on Mondays, though it is possible modifications will be made up until the day of the meeting based on unforeseen circumstances.

Minutes of 8/5 – The SB moved to approve the minutes of the previous meeting as written. All voted in favor.

Update State Senator Jay Kahn – Senator Kahn briefed the board on this legislative session in Concord. Leg session defined by budget. He discussed with the board the issue of remote/zoom meetings and whether or not it’s appropriate for public officials to attend remotely. He expressed concern that the tax relief that passed could result in $200 million in lost revenue to the state that could have been applied to causes such as property tax relief and municipal services.  The Senator noted he has fought hard for education funding and supports restoring housing for families through residential redevelopment. low and moderate income housing and believes electric aggregation is a good thing. He expects the signing of the related HB315 to happen soon.

The SB and Andrew Maneval of the Telecommunications Committee noted the town’s interest in improving cell phone service and emergency communications and asked Senator Kahn if any regional effort is under way. The Senator shared contact information and confirmed that emergency services is a priority, noting upcoming meetings with Homeland Security and stormwater officials, DOT and DES to address flood conditions and needs in western NH. In light of the American Rescue Plan funds coming to the state, and to Harrisville, the SB noted it is working on identifying projects and putting a process in place to solidify and implement them.

All agreed it’s a long term process. The Senator mentioned the Stormwater Revolving Loan Fund, in which 20% of expenses are relieved by the state and towns raise 80%. Next year is the next opportunity for those.

Jay Jacobs asked the Senator to look into the NH Fire Standards Bureau and the underrepresentation of small towns and all-volunteer fire departments like Harrisville’s, who are represented by a “Rural Town Member”. Mr. Jacobs hopes there can be a representative from a town Harrisville’s size who can speak to the challenges of all-volunteer departments held to the same training standards and requirements as full time paid departments. Mr. Maneval echoed that our town faces different challenges as a small, all-volunteer department and noted that more support from regional ambulance or fire companies could help. He requested of Senator Kahn to get someone at the regional level involved.

When the board asked about the possibility of the state allowing towns to follow the European model and allow cameras to detect speeding and traffic violations, the senator noted it was not likely this legislative session.

Andrew Maneval asked about the status of the follow up to the report on funding for public education, Senator Kahn stated they continue to work on it. A decision on the ConVal case is not expected until 2023. The senator believes aid distribution is inequitable to low property value communities and, while Harrisville’s will remain constant, Cheshire County as a whole will lose several million in state aid.

On pending redistricting, Senator Kahn believes the commission will start work next month and complete it by 2022, before the next election.

Andrea Hodson and Andrew Maneval spoke to the Electric Aggregation Committee’s observation that the agencies involved in rulemaking, the Department of Energy and PUC, seem at cross purposes, affecting Electric Aggregation Plans. They wonder who will be in charge of rulemaking and that, as of now, it straddles both entities. Sen Kahn sees the next legislative session as an opportunity for things to settle down and the roles of the agencies to become clearer. 

Library Trustees – Les LaMois noted that the Library Trustees and Discover Books agree that the town office parking lot, near the bike rack, is the best location for the book bin. The SB agreed with proposal. 

Earl Horn / HCC – Mr. Horn attended to discuss the Recycle Center Ambassadors program, which the Conservation Commission would like to launch with SB support. The HCC is aware of the onset of the Recycle Center Committee work, and doesn’t want to get ahead of this.

The HCC is looking to possibly set up a schedule to be at the RC to observe visitor disposal and to hand out information about recycling guidelines to enable better and more efficient recycling.

All agreed that the goals are to get more people to recycle and also to ensure that more that leaves our location actually gets recycled and doesn’t go into the landfill because of contamination. The SB will share this proposal with the RC Coordinator. Jay Jacobs stated he sees this as fitting in with Recycle Center Committee’s mission, as education, efficiency and cost management are needed and helpful pieces. Mr. Jacobs also raised the idea of focusing on kids as helpful ambassadors to the recycling cause as a whole.

Other business
Food truck at Sunset Beach – The board will research the vendor license that the town police department used to use.

Request from Firelight Theater Group – In response to a request from a theater group to have Church Street closed in front of the General Store on the evening of Friday, September 24, the board will talk to the police chief and ask the event organizer for more details.

Tax Collector – The SB signed two deed waivers and deeded two parcels.

The SB signed the pay warrant in the amount of $25,804.33.

Spring on Skatutakee Road – The NH DES received a complaint that the town was inviting people to drink water from the Skatutakee Road spring and requested town officials to change the posted sign to read “water not potable”.  As in the past, the SB reiterated that this is not a municipal water supply and the water quality cannot be guaranteed. A representative from DES will meet with the board at a future date.

Fuel bids – The Finance Coordinator is in the process of soliciting bids for fuel for the coming year.

The Class VI Road Maintenance Application and Form will be discussed at the next SB meeting on Friday, August 27.