Thursday, April 6, 2023
Select Board: Andrew Maneval, Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson
Attendees: Dave Kennard, Police Chief Steve LaMears, Don Scott, Erin Hammerstedt, Earl Horn, Les LaMois, Ned Hulbert, Mary Day Mordecai, Road Agent Wes Tarr, Allison Weber
The meeting opened at 7:00 pm.
Agenda – With the addition of an item on the Agricultural Commission, under agenda topic #4, Boards and Committees, the board approved the meeting agenda.
Minutes of 3/31 – The board approved the minutes subject to the following amendment: Kathy Scott noted she did not agree with tasking the Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee to draft the solar project RFP and had further urged that the project should be overseen by a team with professional experience in the solar, electrical and contracting industries, and not by the EEAC. The board thus restated that it had not reached a consensus on responsibility for drafting the RFP and that they would revisit the matter this evening. The vote on the meeting minutes was 2-0 in favor, with Andrea Hodson abstaining due to insufficient time to review them.
SB Rules of Procedure – The board opted to allow more time to review the draft and proposed comments shared by Andrew Maneval and will revisit this o 4/13. The Chair reminded colleagues that suggestions can be sent but not discussed before next week’s meeting.
Police Department – Chief LaMears requested to hire a part-time officer given the need of a current part-time officer to reduce his hours. The board and Police Chief discussed questions related to the PD budget, police detail work, and mutual knowledge of the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Chief LaMears noted the officer would also be assisting the Town of Nelson’s department. Following discussion, the SB moved to authorize the Police Chief’s request to hire the part-time officer. The chief will schedule an end of month meeting of the department and SB.
COLA and compensation – Andrea Hodson requested another week to research comparable salaries for certain positions in order for the SB to make its final determination on salary adjustments for the Town Clerk and Highway Department staff. 2023 pay letters for all employees are otherwise in process. The board otherwise approved a straight 4% COLA except the positions mentioned above, which will be further deliberated.
Road projects (moved ahead in agenda) – The Admin Assistant will draft the road project RFP based on previous templates for the board to review next week.
The board discussed the Sunset Hill Road project with the owner of Wellscroft Farm, members of the Transportation Committee and the Road Agent. The Transportation Committee expressed concern that roads are widening; however the Road Agent and Wellscroft Farm noted their concern for adequate width for vehicles to pull over and / or pass, particularly in difficult conditions. All confirmed the existing widths along the road, as proscribed in the Warrant Article, will not be exceeded.
The Transportation Committee expressed continued interest in being involved in road project discussions from their origin, given the town’s commitment to the Complete Streets Resolution which supports road use not only for vehicles, but for pedestrians and bicycles. They expressed appreciation for being heard before bids were submitted or the project had gotten under way. The board confirmed that the RFP would include specifications for road dimensions, length and varying widths.
The Transportation Committee also noted its ongoing work to update the Master Plan, and would like to formalize with the SB and Highway Departments a process for collaboration as early as possible in transportation projects. No issues were expressed regarding the Tolman Pond Road and Piper Lane roadwork projects.
Board/Commission/ Committee appointments – Andrea Hodson informed the board that the ZBA Chair prefers to have a Select Board Representative serve on its board, though this is not a statutory requirement as it is with some other boards. Andrea Hodson will be the SB Representative.
-Agricultural Commission – At the commission meeting on April 4, members discussed that they believe they have a budget balance of $1170 dating back several years. The board noted that with the town’s operating budget, any unused funds or miscellaneous revenues go into the town’s general fund and are not earmarked for a particular department or expense. The board encourages the Agricultural Commission, in the annual lead up to the budgeting process, to determine how they want to approach the issue of an advisory committee budget.
The board confirmed that the members of the Agricultural Commission currently include, Deirdre Oliver, Scott Oliver, Dave Kennard, Suzanne Brouillette, Debbie Abbott, Eric Swope, Steve Weber and Sarah Heffron. The next meeting of the commission is June 6th.
Andrea Hodson noted that from here forward the Community Power Coalition of NH board members will be elected, rather than appointed. She reconfirmed that these are volunteer positions. Andrew Maneval is no longer serving on CPCNH and is rolling off the EEAC.
Buildings/exterminator needs– The Admin Assistant confirmed that at this time only the Fire Department is in need of exterminator service for mice and ants. A quote is forthcoming, to be reviewed by the SB. The town expressed interest in non-poisonous treatments.
–Repairs to existing solar array – The board noted that the malfunction of the inverter was due to the recent power outage. Kathy Scott will invite Charles Michal to educate town employees and the board about maintainance procedures.
Fire/Rescue Department – The SB and Fire Chief await confirmation from the Town of Nelson on a meeting date and time of Wednesday, April 19, at 4:00 pm to discuss Fire and Rescue support to Nelson. A representative of Mutual Aid has also offered to attend.
Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee update – The EEAC will publish Q/A that aren’t already posted. Two prospective candidates to join the EEAC will come before the SB if recommended by the committee.
Andrea Hodson expressed confidence that the EEAC can draft the RFP, noting the committee’s success to date on Community Power implementation. The committee would leverage experts in their extensive network. She and Mr. Maneval noted the SB could then revise as needed and approve the RFP. Kathy Scott disagreed, noting this is a building project that calls for subject matter experts and a project implementation team. She recommended several names of qualified individuals. Mr. Maneval suggested combining participants from the EEAC with additional individuals with project-specific qualifications.
Following additional discussion, Andrew Maneval moved that the EEAC, once it has established its membership, create an anticipated schedule for drafting an RFP, then notify the SB and office, and that Kathy Scott be delegated the responsibility to recruit interested additional delegates to review the draft simultaneously, and join with the EEAC to collaborate on creating an RFP for review by the board. Andrea Hodson seconded. During discussion, Kathy Scott noted her interest in working with a separate subcommittee, advocating that the RFP be drafted by non-EEAC individuals. The board voted 2-1 in favor, with Kathy Scott opposed due to the above-stated reasons.
Andrea Hodson will come back to the SB next week with the EEAC’s proposed membership, and their approach and timeline for the RFP.
–Net metering – The board discussed net metering and the difference between net metering and group net metering, and the existing and future possibilities for the town. The board separately noted that the town can enroll its meters in Community Power this month, which will save the town money on its electricity bills, and voted unanimously in favor to enroll the town meters at the default rate, except for the meter serving the solar array at town offices. When the new solar array comes online, the board will investigate the opportunity for group net metering.
For ratepayers, the board confirmed that as of now, as long as individuals’ solar systems do not generate more than is used by the customer in any given month, customers can join Community Power and gain that advantage. The issue is for customers who are producing excess energy to the grid.
Correspondence and other business
-SB signed pay warrant in the amount of $XXXXX
-Legal update – Andrew Maneval updated the board on his conversation with town counsel. The board authorized Mr. Maneval to review the engagement letter from Drummond Woodsum on the PFAS case, and subject to absence of concerns, authorized Mr. Maneval to sign. Mr. Maneval will follow up with counsel about the junk case and report back next week.
-Auditor – Vachon Clukay will be on site the first week in June. Document preparation is under way and will be provided to town offices by May 5 in preparation for their review of the 2022 financials.
-Highway Truck – The Road Agent informed the board that the truck for purchase will be ready in 2 weeks. He will obtain an invoice for the board for the capital reserve fund transfer.
-The SB signed the Oaths of Office for reappointments of the following Board and Committee members: ZBA members Jeff Trudelle, Member, and Hal Grant, Alternate; Planning Board: Jon Miner, Alternate, Kate Neary, Alternate and Ned Hulbert, Alternate; Conservation Commission: Harry Wolhandler, and appointment of new member, John Sandri.
–Heating Oil for 2023-24 – The SB voted unanimously to accept the invitation from SAU 29 to bulk buy heating oil with the school district and the town of Marlow, at the price of $2.95/gallon, for the 2023-24 season. The Admin will notify Mr. Lazzaro, SAU Business Manager.
-The SB signed the Land Use Change Tax bills for Julia Pakradooni and Mark and Sonja Bianchi.
The SB signed the Intent to Excavate for Hillsboro Aggregates, Map 10 – Lot 6.
-David Blair correspondence on Sanctuary City bill – Mr. Blair requested the SB consider a letter to the legislature. The SB will discuss next week. SB 132 passed Senate and is going to the House.
Agenda for next week, 4/13: SB Rules of Procedure; COLA follow-up; Report on makeup of EEAC and feedback from Kathy Scott on discussions with potentially interested parties; legal update; RC permits for non-residents; Draft RFP for road projects.
SB Projects this year: As scheduled, the board will also address subcommittee updates, including Recycling Center Committee and Road Work Committee for Church/School Street project.
At 9:30 pm, the SB moved to adjourn public meeting and enter non-public session per RSA 91-A 3II c to discuss an application for an elderly tax deferral. Following discussion the board signed. At 9:32 pm, Board exited nonpublic session.