Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  February 3, 2022  
 Opened:    7:00 pm Adjourned: 9:05 pm  

Select Board: Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott, Andrew Maneval_____________________

Attendees: EMD and Building Maintenance Jeff Cady, Police Chief Mike Tollett, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas, Finance Coordinator Amy Roberts, Pegg Monahan, Barbara Watkins

Agenda and Minutes – The board approved the agenda and the SB Minutes of 1/27.

Department and committee forum
Police Department – With Chief Tollett’s proposed hiring of an administrative assistant for an estimated 6-8 hours per week, the SB discussed with him the process and standard forms to be used by all departments. The Police Chief outlined his plan. The board will review the job description submitted by Chief Tollett. Following the interview process, he will return to the board with a recommendation.

Finance – Amy Roberts provided an update on guidelines for municipalities’ use of ARPA funds. All funds available to the town, roughly $127,000, can be spent on a broader category of government service. The ARPA committee, following communication with all town departments, prepared a list of recommended priority projects and uses for the funds, including culvert assessment and installation, water testing for potability, installation of potable water at town buildings, administrative costs related to the ARPA program. Other recommendations relate to health and safety and infrastructure and building improvements.  Funds may be expended up until 2024. The SB will continue to review the best use of these funds toward the proposed 2022 operating budget and beyond.

EAC/Community Power update – Andrea Hodson noted the Public Utilities Commission received the Town’s plan, acknowledged receipt of plan, and denied it because the PUC has not finished its rulemaking . The EAC considers this denial pro-forma. The SB moved and voted in favor to approve and submit a response letter to the PUC from the SB.  The letter acknowledges the PUC’s memorandum and notifies the PUC that the Town intends to resubmit the Electric Aggregation Plan closer to the time of rulemaking completion. The letter also requests that the PUC approval municipal and county aggregation rules as quickly as possible to allow the Town to move forward in the timeline approved by Harrisville residents.

Town Report – The draft 2021 Town Report is nearly complete and is anticipated to go to the printer by February 15.

Town Meeting Logistics and Update – The SB confirmed that the 2022 Town Meeting will be at Wells Memorial School. The school will accommodate any need for breakout, or satellite, rooms, which would be attended to by assistant or deputy moderators.

2022 Budget, Warrant Articles – The SB continued to finalize the budget in preparation for the second budget hearing on  February 10. Andrea Hodson noted that the School Budget will be increasing by .90, mostly due to health care premium increases. The SB does not yet know the county tax rate for the coming year.  As of now, the town’s proposed  budget includes a tax increase to 5.43 from the current 5.08.

The SB discussed the proposed Warrant Articles, including proposed contributions to the capital reserve funds, appropriations for roadwork on Sunset Hill and completion of Mason Road, an appropriation for dump truck repair and a new police cruiser, and a possible proposal for $8,500 in funds to paint town offices. Additional warrant articles include a petitioned article for vote on a new parking plan at Silver Lake, and an article to change the Fire Chief position from an elected to an appointed position.  The board also will propose establishing a fund for police department detail work, to allow the revenue from this work to go toward the PD budget versus into the general fund.

Other business
SB Meeting Schedule – The board will hold its 2nd budget hearing next Thursday, February 10, at 7:00 pm and will meet again Friday morning, February 11, at 9:30 am to finalize the budget.

The SB signed off on the holiday schedule for 2022.

The SB signed the pay warrant in the amount of $18,317.09.