Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

Location:          Town Offices                            Date: January 27, 2022_

Opened:           7:00 pm                                   Adjourned: 9:50 pm____

Select Board:    Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott, Andrew Maneval_______

Agenda, minutes – The board moved to accept the agenda and subsequently moved and voted in favor to approve the minutes of January 13 and January 20.

Silver Lake Parking Plan – Kathy Scott noted the Public Water Access Advisory Board will meet February 7 from 9-noon. The public is welcome to attend. Kathy Scott will notify PWAAB that the SB is on board with the current proposed parking plan. PWAAB is interested in hearing about the process for the plan’s creation as it involved so many entities and feels the process has worked successfully.

Town Clerk  – Cathy Lovas reported that, to date, the secretary of state has issued no special conditions for Town Meeting. She awaits notification from Wells Memorial School Board regarding conditions for use of the school on March 8 for elections and the deliberative session.

While zoom is not an option for non-attendees, there may be the option of ‘satellite rooms’ to separate voters into smaller gatherings. This would require assistant moderator(s) to oversee any additional locations.

Regarding the acceptance of electronic signatures on petitions, Andrew Maneval noted the SB could confer with town counsel and/or be comfortable knowing people and ascertaining their status as registered voters.

The board and town clerk further discussed the RSA 39:2-a, given different interpretations of language about the SB’s ability to schedule elections and town meeting on two separate dates. This would have to be a petitioned Warrant Article. Cathy Lovas will double-check with the Secretary of State whether, if adopted, separating the proceedings is mandatory.

Fire Station windows – The board approved the purchase of the additional fire station windows, at a discounted cost from the estimated and budgeted rate, given the deadline for ordering at the reduced price.

Police Department – The board will request Chief Tollett’s attendance at an upcoming meeting to discuss his plans for a department administrative assistant, and to discuss the job application form and job profile.

Legal counsel/board and committee use of – The SB discussed the process for board and committee access to legal counsel, noting preference for requests to come through the SB. The board will draft a memo outlining the preferred process. The SB further considered the conceptual consultation currently deliberated by the Planning Board involving subdivision regulations.

WiFi at town offices – the internet connectivity issue at town offices is being resolved by Consolidated Communications and the town’s IT consultant.

Committee staffing – The SB named Kathy Scott to be SB Liaison to HHI, her schedule permitting.  Separately, Kathy Scott noted the Historic District Commission’s effort to recruit new members in light of several resignations.

Ambulance service – Andrea Hodson confirmed that the county will bill for service on a quarterly basis, in advance, as opposed to the former billing by Diluzio which was done in arrears on an annual basis. For the first year of this transition, the town will have access to ARPA funds to cover the additional costs. The county will notify the SB when the purchase is finalized.

2022 Budget – The SB continues to finalize the proposed 2022 Operating Budget for presentation at the second Budget Hearing on Thursday, February 10, at 7:00 pm.

The board also continues to review the proposed tax rate, likely to rise from 5.08 based on increased vendor, fuel and utility costs and an approved COLA of 3% for eligible town employees, but also likely to be lower than initially estimated.

The SB approved a rise in employee medical plan contributions from 10% to 15% beginning in July, as discussed at the first budget hearing, based on increased Health Trust premiums.

MCVP – Based on input from the police chief, the board raised to $500 its proposed contribution to Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention.

Electricity costs – Based on estimates from Eversource the SB will adjust proposed 2022 electricity costs factoring a 40% increase, down from a 60% increase as forecasted for.

Warrant articles – In addition to warrant articles for capital reserve fund contributions and road work, the SB will propose an article related to transitioning the position of Fire Chief from an elected to an appointed position beginning in 2023.  The board anticipates a petitioned article will be submitted for a parking plan at Silver Lake. Petitioned articles are due Tuesday, February 1.

Select Board Meeting calendar, including 2nd Budget Hearing – The board will meet Thursdays Feb 3, 10, and 17 and Friday, February 25, at 9:30 am.  The second budget hearing will be Tuesday, February 10, at 7:00 pm.