Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  December 28, 2021  
 Opened:    8:30 am Continued: 11:25 am to Friday, December 31, at 8:30 am  

Select Board: Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott, Andrew Maneval_______________________

Attendees: EMD and Building Maintenance Jeff Cady, Finance Coordinator Amy Roberts, Police Chief Mike Tollett, Health Officer David Belknap, Don Scott, Road Agent Wes Tarr, Alexa Thayer, Sarah Tibbetts, Ed Tibbetts

Building maintenance – Jeff Cady reviewed the status of maintenance projects and shared his recommendations for 2022 for town buildings. He discussed with the board the potential budgetary impact. The buildings involved include the Old Highway garage, the Highway Barn, Fire Station, Town offices, and the library.
Regarding the budget line related to Covid expenses, Mr. Cady noted that town has ample supplies of PPE, and that ARPA and other funds remain available.

For the Recycle Center, the committee needs to start its work before any steps are taken; the Road Agent estimates approximately an $8,000 cost for asphalt and grading work in the drive-around area.

Police Department – The Police Chief presented his proposed budget and warrant articles related to the PD budget. His focus is on updating the facility as well as PD equipment, including firearms, communications, and software, and police training. He also is developing a current Manual of Operational Guidelines. Chief Tollett noted that increased department expenses are in part due to an increase in training costs to towns; the police academy has been affected by state budget cuts requiring towns’ need to pay and the required training hours have doubled and will continue to increase. The chief also would like to add another part-time officer to the Harrisville force.

The board and the chief also discussed the pros and cons of two potential warrant articles related to establishing a separate fund for PD revenue and expenses. At issue is whether or not, for budgeting purposes, revenue from police detail work would continue to go into the general fund or would be allocated directly to the PD for department expenses. The board noted the implications related to payments to the NH Retirement system.  A third proposed warrant article addresses replacing the police cruiser, which is on schedule for replacement at an estimated cost of $61,000. The board will continue to discuss these.

Highway Department – The Road Agent review with the SB the proposed budget for the Highway Department, including anticipated expenses for road material and equipment. Warrant articles are likely to include Mason Road (begun in 2021) and Sunset Hill, and possibly funding for a new vehicle. Mr. Tarr and the board discussed cost and availability of trucks and the need for a new one.

Other business
Transportation Committee – On Thursday, January 13th, the SB will continue its discussion with the Transportation Committee on plans for Mason Road.

Mask mandate – Health Officer David Belknap recommended to the SB that the mask mandate be reinstituted at town offices and the library. The board agreed with this recommendation in light of elevated exposure to Omicron and the death rate. The SB will review this policy from time to time.

SB schedule – The Select Board continued the meeting to Friday morning, December 31, at 8:30 am at town offices to discuss budget encumbrances and to sign the pay warrant.