Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  January 13, 2022  
 Opened:    7:00 pm Adjourned: 9:50 pm  

Select Board: Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott, Andrew Maneval______________________

Attendees: Ted Braun, David and Susan Lord, Don Scott, Road Agent Wes Tarr, Police Chief Mike Tollett, Erin Hammerstedt, Mary Day Mordecai, Julia Pakradooni, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas, Ted and Wendy Pearre, Barbara Watkins, Ben Dexter, Ned Hulbert, Earl Horn, George Colony, Becca Kelly, Patricia Colony and Chick Colony, John Newcombe, Health Officer David Belknap

Agenda, Minutes – The SB moved to approve the agenda as drafted and to approve the meeting minutes of January 4.  All voted in favor.

Town Clerk – Cathy Lovas discussed with the SB the idea of proposing a warrant article that enables the Select Board, in concert with the Town Clerk, if desired or conditions warrant, to separate town elections from town meeting. She had raised it as an option last year, and the SB decided not to bring it forward at that time. Ms. Lovas and board members discussed the RSA, which requires a petitioned article with 25 signatures or more, and affords the board flexibility for announcing two separate dates for the two proceedings. The SB is generally in favor, will review the RSA more closely and discuss it further.

Petitions with electronic signatures – Regarding the submission and acceptance by Select Boards of petitions with electronic signatures, the Town Clerk informed the SB that the state recommends consultation with town counsel. The board and Town Clerk agreed on the importance of the need to verify that signatures are those of registered voters, a process in place.

Deputy Town Clerk – Cathy Lovas formally recommended Jillian Miner for the Deputy Town Clerk position. The SB moved and voted unanimously in favor.

Transportation Committee – Mary Day Mordecai thanked the SB for the committee’s opportunity to offer input on the Mason Road rebuild. Committee members include Ms. Mordecai, Erin Hammerstedt, Earl Horn, Police Chief Mike Tollett, Road Agent Wes Tarr, Barbara Watkins and Alison Weber.  The TC is committed to Complete Streets’ mission to accommodate all forms of transportation.

For Mason Road, the TC has researched recommended road widths and surfaces, and shoulder widths and surfaces, how these relate to the complete streets mission and obtained the sentiments of residents along Mason Road on these matters. The TC has considered widths between 18’ and 22’ and discussed road standards of the state and under town regulations. Ms. Mordecai noted that a 20’ width would meet state and local standards for roads with average traffic of 50 – 200 vehicles per day; Mason Road falls in the lower range. Most ,though not all, TC members were comfortable with 20’ and thus this is the recommendation of the committee.

The committee further recommended that the shoulders of Mason Road be consistently maintained for use by pedestrians; bigger picture, would like to do further research with Mason Road as first opportunity, and to work with all relevant town officials and with residents on future road projects.

SB member Kathy Scott raised the importance of preserving the historic viewshed and of understanding the role of the layers of road construction underneath the surface. She recommended the board and TC defer to the Road Agent if terrain and slope in different locations along Mason Road warrants different treatment.  The TC understood and would simply ask the Highway Department to do what it can where they can to accommodate pedestrians.  The Road Agent believes a 2-foot shoulder could be maintained in most places on either side, except the hill heading to the Dublin town line which, because of the slope, may require paving.  SB members agreed with the TC on the 20’ road width and 2’ shoulder width as it makes sense, noting some residents’ preference for pavement leading to grass as the best surface for walkers, cyclists and cars as well as for preserving the scenic vista.

The idea of a designated parking area for visitors will be discussed further at a later date. Residents and TC members expressed mixed opinions.

Highway budget and Warrant article – The Road Agent explained the difficulty in obtaining any model of new dump truck given the very lengthy manufacturer delays. Parts are also a problem.  Following discussion the board asked the Road Agent to secure lease vs. purchase quotes and to put the town’s name in to reserve one. Potential delays in delivery or existing equipment problems may mean the town has to outsource plowing and sanding. The state rate is $95 per hour. Mr. Tarr will work with his contact to secure more definitive options and numbers.

Police cruiser and Warrant article – The Police Chief is in the process of securing one more lease option. He also confirmed with the board that, following the retirement of our regular prosecutor, the county attorney will take over this responsibility at an annual cost of $3,848.04, an increase of $848.04 in the 2022 budget for prosecutor needs.

Silver Lake Parking – George Colony, representing the Silver Lake Citizens Advisory Committee, returned to the SB with the committee’s recommendations for vehicle, boat trailer and emergency vehicle parking at the Silver Lake boat ramp on Breed Road. The committee has worked since last spring with various state agencies, include the Public Waters Access Advisory Board (PWAAB), and private citizens to formulate a proposal that all involved believe is the best solution. Mr. Colony walked the board through the proposal and parking design, which includes access for lake patrol and emergency vehicles, and tie-down and handicap access area, vehicle parking on the north side of Breed Road and vehicle-trailer parking on the south side.

Significant funds have been invested in the area over the years, mostly by the Silver Lake Land Trust with some from the town. Following its annual visit in July, the state expressed it was impressed by the design and condition of the area, the erosion control measures, and existing accessways as compared to other lakes around the state. Ted Braun spoke to the importance of the Lake Host program and invasive species prevention that is key to protecting public waters and town property values, missions of the town’s Conservation Commission as well. The proposed parking plan is a product of public hearings on the matter in 2021, extensive research, and discussions with the relevant state entities, who look to towns to manage these sites. The proposal is focused on access, safety and maintaining the character of Silver Lake.

The proposal will be presented to voters at the March 8 Town Meeting as a petitioned warrant article. The SB commended the committee on the quality of its proposal. The committee in turn thanked the board for working with it.

Additional budget items
Conservation Commission – The HCC proposed a new line item in its 2022 budget, $5,000 for invasive species management. The SB is okay with this proposal.

Planning Board – The PB’s budget came in slightly lower. The SB will further consider the line item for community workshops.

Monadnock Disposal – The board will ensure the budget aligns with the contract with MDS.

Other correspondence/business
Wilderness Trail – The SB will review the question before the Planning Board for a potential subdivision.

-The SB will schedule a meeting with board/committee chairs

Health Officer – David Belknap furnished town employees with 20 N95 masks for use at their discretion. He will get an estimate for securing a small stock of KN95s as well.

-Assessing – The SB signed a timber yield tax bill.

150th – The SB signed the parade permit application to the DOT for the 150th celebration in late July 2022.

City of Keene meeting invite – Andrew Maneval will attend the Keene legislative update meeting on Monday, January 24.
-The SB Budget Hearing is next Thursday, January, 20, at 7:00 pm.