Friday, January 13, 2023
Select Board: Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott and Pegg Monahan (10:40 am arrival)
Attendees: Fire Chief Wayne Derosia, Andrew Maneval, Earl Horn, and Mary Armstrong
The meeting opened at 9:00 am.
Agenda, minutes – With requests to add two items: 1) A proposal from the Road Work Committee to hire Dynamic Drilling and Blasting to confirm ledge locations on Church and School Streets; and 2) a request for a non-public discussion under board maintenance, the board approved the amended agenda. Subsequently, the board moved and voted in favor to approve the meeting minutes of January 5.
2023 Budget – Andrea Hodson noted the submitted budget from the Town Clerk. Kathy Scott added the requests from the Recycling Committee for RC facility improvements, as recommended to the committee by Jeff Cady, including fence repair, trailer deck repair, crusher equipment and paint for the office, in addition to an appropriation for training in the amount of $700. The Fire Chief’s proposal is forthcoming upon additional quote information for Tanker and Engine Truck repairs. COLA increases to each department’s payroll lines also remain to be added, as does any adjustments to medical insurance line to reflect any increase as of July 2023, when the policy is renewed.
Remaining items to be inserted in the 2023 budget include:
Ambulance service – A discussion and decision on service provider is scheduled for next week, at the 1/19 SB meeting. The board doesn’t anticipate budget change; Highway – The Road Agent is confirming cost of culverts in the coming year. The warrant article amount for the new plow truck also will be confirmed; Cemetery – The office will check with Leslie Downing whether any maintenance at Island Cemetery will affect the proposed budget; Health Agency contribution requests; Welfare Director’s proposal; and Beach and Recreation Committees budgets. For Old Home Days, the board noted that, should residents want to offer an alternative to the traditional fireworks event, they are invited to propose ideas.
Warrant Articles and Capital Reserve Funds – The board reviewed draft Warrant Articles as of this time, which will include Capital Reserve Fund contributions, a proposal for a solar array on the Highway Barn, appropriation for the 2023 Property Re-Valuation, funding for a new highway dump truck, and a required vote based on a 2022 NH House Bill to extend eligibility for the expanded Veteran’s Tax Credit.
Fire Department Emergency Tanker and Engine Repairs – The Fire Chief noted he still awaits one quote on the tank portion of the Tanker repair, but reiterated the initial quote of $55,000. He submitted to the SB a written quote for tire and wheel repairs for just under $9,000 and for brakes and hoses for approximately $2,500. He requested to start on these while awaiting the remaining quote. Following discussion, the SB moved and voted unanimously in favor to accept the proposal from Chief Derosia for the $9K and $2,500 estimates for tires, brakes and hoses, as well as the approximately $55,000 for the Tanker repair. The board and Chief added that, based on availability of only two options for facilities and mechanics to do the required work, and based on the emergency nature, the jobs are not going out for bid.
Phone equipment/Crexendo Voice over Fiber – The board considered two submitted proposals from Crexendo. Due to the need for equipment upgrade and with the opportunity to significantly reduce phone expenses, the board voted to approve the Crexendo agreement involving buying equipment outright at a cost of under $2,500 versus amortizing it over the five-year contract. In addition the town would pay a monthly rate of roughly $170 for 16 phones. Crexendo offers a lifetime warranty on its equipment. The board also moved and voted in favor to approve $22.86 per month for one fax line package with two separate phone lines to accommodate both the Town Clerk and Police Department needs.
Community Power – Andrew Maneval provided an update from the Energy and Electric Aggregation Committee. The committee anticipates presenting its recommendation to the SB on a supplier vendor at the SB’s January 19 meeting. Any recommendation requires SB approval and SB signature on a cost-sharing agreement and member service agreement, which would be presented the following week.
Mr. Maneval explained that, should the SB approve the recommendation, the Risk Management Committee will work to estimate what energy rates would be, and to ensure that the default rate would be below the default rate then available. Group members could then decide to decline to launch if they don’t like the numbers, but this is not likely. After the decision is made, and the power is purchased, the Town launches. Mr. Maneval explained how the agreement would work, including the option of the Town to terminate, and including that decisions by any one member town cannot burden any other member town. Lebanon, Walpole and PB have already agreed to sign agreements that Harrisville Community Power and the SB will consider. Any customer can exit at any time without any exit fee.
The PUC has until February 7 to approve the Town’s updated plan. Separately, the board reviewed and signed a letter to the PUC, which includes an updated Rule citation based on PUC proceedings since the town first submitted the Community Power Plan to the commission.
Mr. Maneval noted that there will be a public hearing prior to the launch of Community Power to answer customer questions and to review the power plan options in more detail.
Recycling update – Mary Armstrong presented a proposal for Styrofoam collection at the RC, with a hoped for launch the first week in February. The program aims to store Styrofoam dropped off by residents on their weekly visits to the RC, until April 27, when a large Styrofoam collection event at Wells Memorial is scheduled. Between the first week in February and late April, the old recycle collection barn will be open during regular Recycle Center hours, for residents to drop off their Styrofoam. The material can be broken down to fit into the blue plastic collection drums that will be on site.
Following discussion and the recommendation of the Recycle Center Committee, the SB moved to endorse and support Styrofoam effort and collection plan. All voted in favor.
Department Head Meetings – The next Department Head meeting is Friday, January 27, at 9:00 am, at start of the SB meeting. The board noted that after Town Meeting, the SB will schedule these quarterly.
First Budget Hearing – Thursday, February 9 ,at 7:30 pm.
Second Budget Hearing – Thursday, February 16, at 7:30 pm. Based on input from the hearings, the Board will finalize budget on Friday, February 17 for final preparation and printing of the Town Report, and to meet the required deadline for posting.
Staffing / Bookkeeper – The board discussed the need to revise the proposed Bookkeeper Agreement to reflect that this will be a contracted position rather than a town employee.
-Cleaning – Pegg Monahan awaits two responses and will confirm with the Police Department its interest in cleaning service. Separately the board confirmed trash from the library should be taken to the town transfer facility as needed.
Finance – The SB signed the payroll warrant in the amount of $20,875.81. A majority of the board did not feel it was appropriate to compensate a board member for duties related to backfilling the Finance Coordinator position without confirmation that such a policy existed and that an approved pay rate was already in place. The board did agree that moving forward, with a proposal in place, the work could be compensated.
Assessing – The board signed the permanent application for the veterans tax credit.
Road Work Committee – The board discussed the proposal submitted January 12 by Seth Kallman to hire Dynamic Drilling & Blasting to more closely identify location and depth of ledge along Church and School Streets to plan for pipe and catch basin locations. Members raised the issue of liability insurance. Kathy Scott confirmed proof would be provided to the board and that Dig Safe would be done ahead of the drilling to mark underground utilities. The board then moved and voted 2-0 in favor to accept Mr. Kallman’s proposal to hire the drilling company at $2200 per day, pending receipt of a certificate of liability insurance, with the expectation that the work would take one day. Andrea Hodson abstained due to absence of the insurance certificate, a contract and exact timeframe for completion of the work.
Board maintenance – In continuing discussion of board maintenance, Pegg Monahan moved for Kathy Scott to assume chairmanship of the Select Board until Town Meeting. Andrea Hodson seconded.Members voted unanimously in favor. The board will continue to post draft agendas on Mondays.
The meeting adjourned at 12:05 pm.