Thursday, July 20, 2023
Select Board – Andrew Maneval, Kathy Scott, Andrea Hodson
Attendees- Don Scott, Barbara Watkins, Judd Dexter, Steve Tarbox, Scott Stone, Donna Stone, Ranae O’Neil, David O’Neil, Tim Northcott, Ned Hulbert, Earl Horn, Sherry Sims, Winston Sims, Les LaMois, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas, Assessor Lynn Cook, Peterborough resident Dori Drachman
Agenda, minutes – The board approved the agenda. For the minutes of the July 13 meeting, Kathy Scott requested to add that her conflict of interest concerns related specifically to the fact that Andrea Hodson serves on a Community Power Coalition of NH committee with Kim Quirk, a principal of ReVision Energy, the company that was awarded the contract for the town’s solar project. She also had raised concern about Andrea Hodson’s failure to disclose her roles on the various CPCNH committees.
In addition, Ms. Scott’s concern about the Energy & Electric Aggregation committee’s failure to respond to the question she asked for several months, why the town hadn’t heard back from the PUC, was further heightened when she received an immediate response from the PUC following her outreach. She confirmed that the PUC confirmed in writing that any expansion of the array at town offices would fall under the Net Metering 1 agreement.
Eastside Road drainage and grading – The board reviewed Eastside Road resident Steve Tarbox’s concerns and suggestions related to storm damage and road grading, and pointed out that the storms have affected all roads in town. Mr. Maneval noted the board could either try Mr. Tarbox’s recommended solution or pursue a more consensus-based view of regrading Eastside Road. The board also considered Barbara Watkins’ and Dave O’Neil’s recommendations for maintenance of the catch basins and addressing ledge. Following discussion and input from property owners, the board noted it would work with the Highway Department on the catch basin issue and then determine whether more engineering relative to grading is necessary. The board will discuss this matter further with the Road Agent in the coming week.
Assessing – The board heard from Tim Northcott of M&N Assessing and Town Assessor Lynn Cook about the preliminary values submitted on the townwide Property Revaluation. Following their input and explanation of methodology used to bring assessed values more in line with market values, Andrea Hodson moved to approve the preliminary values as presented. Kathy Scott seconded. All voted in favor. The board reiterated that property owners will see these numbers reflected in the next round of tax bills, issued late fall, and that notices about the new values will go out to property owners within the next two weeks.
Finance – The board signed the pay warrant in the amount of $233,190.52 and two transfer authorizations for the Trustees of the Trust Funds. Discussion of the year-to-date financials on the operating budget was deferred to the next meeting.
Cheshire County EMS – The board acknowledged receipt of a response from Chris Coates to the letter sent from the SB, Fire Chief and Rescue Captain. The board has invited CCEMS Chief Mike Spain to attend an upcoming meeting and will coordinate with Wayne Derosia and Sharon Breidt on the possibility of Friday, July 28, at 9 am.
Town Beach – The board reiterated its goal of effecting a transition to enforcement of existing beach ordinances. Andrea Hodson shared a checklist for this rollout, with the board agreeing that use of town beaches should continue to be for Harrisville property owners and their guests only. Parking enforcement will be addressed first through the display of Recycling Center/Beach Stickers. The SB will work with the Police Chief and also continue its communication with the Beach Committees. The board also will reach out to residents through multiple means to raise awareness of the details and timetable for enforcement.
Kathy Scott reviewed the history of town beach ownership and separately noted the board may need to address other beach and swimming areas, and will explore why the 1994 ordinance for Seaver Reservoir states “no swimming allowed.” The SB agreed signage clearly noting penalties for violations needs to be added. Andrew Maneval will draft suggestions for implementation of beach use rules and notification/public awareness.
Department of Energy Block Grant – Andrea Hodson and Dori Drachman presented details on the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and the requirements and opportunities should Harrisville decide to apply jointly with Peterborough. The program’s purpose is to assist property owners to retrofit their buildings with weatherization, heating and energy efficient solutions. Anticipated funding could be in the area of $700,000, to be shared by both towns. Applications are due August 7.
Harrisville would need to submit a letter of commitment. The grant would involve no costs other than time, including identifying a target number of buildings. Southwest Region Planning Commission will handle grant administration were Harrisville or another town to join Peterborough. Ned Hulbert presented a memo outlining support for participation in the grant application opportunity, based on discussion with several community members. Attendees asked how the contractor relationship with BlocPower, who would implement the program and assist property owners, would work. Andrea Hodson will work with Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee members to iron out specific application requirements by the July 28 SB meeting.
Following discussion, Andrew Maneval moved to approve joining in the grant process, subject to clarification of remaining issues. Kathy Scott seconded. All voted in favor.
SB decision making process and conflict of interest – The board deferred this topic to the July 28 meeting. Andrea Hodson, in response to Kathy Scott’s comments, noted all decisions were conducted through an open process, and that she had never discussed with Kim Quirk anything about the town’s project nor was it discussed in any of the CPCNH committee meetings.
Road Committee update – Kathy Scott noted that C.R. Willeke from the NH DOT provided guidance on steps for laying out Church Alley, as this road wasn’t laid out but taken by adverse possession. The next step for the village road project is to obtain easements. Surveyor Russ Huntley will submit a proposal for surveying Church Alley for the board’s consideration.
Other business – Don Scott presented concerns to the SB about the ZBA meeting of July 19, at which he represented property owners seeking a special exception. The SB will share Mr. Scott’s comments with the ZBA Chair.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.