Select Board
Friday, September 29, 2023
Meeting Minutes

Select Board – Andrew Maneval and Kathy Scott. Absent: Andrea Hodson
Attendees – Jodi Farwell, Thomas Havill, Lucas Miner, EMD and Facilities Jeff Cady, Police Chief Steve LaMears, Fire Chief Wayne Derosia, Treasurer Anne Havill, Assessor Lynn Cook, Deputy Town Clerk Jillian Miner, Library Director Susan Weaver, Health Officer David Belknap, Road Agent Wes Tarr, Town Clerk Cathy Lovas

Dedication of the Jay C. Jacobs Meeting Room – Andrew Maneval recalled the many contributions to the town and community by longtime Select Board member Jay Jacobs, who passed away in 2021. Mr. Maneval thanked Jay, and Jay’s family, and noted that naming the Town Hall Meeting Room after Jay serves as a lasting reminder of his leadership and commitment. The dedication is commemorated in the engraved sign above the room entrance. Jodi Farwell thanked Rich Lavatori for putting forward the idea to the Select Board.

Agenda, minutes – The SB added to the agenda the request from Mr. Hoy, the request from Police Chief, the complaint received by David Belknap, and an update on the village road project. With these, the board approved agenda. The SB also approved the minutes of 9/21.

Meeting with Department Heads – The SB shared its timetable for 2024 budget preparation and year to date expenditures for each department, commending department heads for the successful management of their budgets.  Budgetary goals include managing encumbrances by obtaining or signing contracts for services well before year end to set against 2023 versus 2024 expenses. The board will hold two budget hearings prior to the March Town Meeting.

The board and department heads touched on completed projects and those under way, including the town wide property revaluation, Recycling Committee, the Village Road project and resumption of the Ordinance Review Committee.

Additional highlights:

  • The Assessor noted that, overall, property values in town are up 66% from previous years. Assuming no increase in spending, the tax rate should come down;
  • The board will schedule budget meetings with individual department heads, beginning in early November;
  • The Town Clerk raised the need for a Document Retention Committee consisting of the Town Clerk, a SB member, the Tax Collector, Assessor and Treasurer. Mr. Maneval will serve as SB representative. The committee oversees what documents are retained and which can be destroyed, per the RSAs and retention timetable.
  • The final updated Hazard Mitigation Plan is expected from SWRPC and will be posted on the website and available at town hall for public review. The SB will ask for the committee’s recommendation prior to accepting the final version.
  • Fence repair at the Transfer Station is complete. Painting of the library cupola is still expected this fall, and the walkway will be repaired. Mr. Cady will also have the library bathroom vanity and faucet replaced before year-end. For the old Fire Station and old Highway Garage and window replacement at the PD, Mr. Cady requested a long-term plan from the board in order to prioritize recommended repairs. The SB agreed.
  • The Road Agent noted boulder removal along Eastside Road will be done next week.
  • On the resident complaint to the Health Officer that someone representing the town accused him of spraying knotweed along the rail trail, the SB noted it is not aware of anyone’s doing this and asked the resident to please contact the SB if it happens again. Mr. Belknap is consulting with the Conservation Commission chair about it.

Recycling Committee, update – Kathy Scott noted that, with recycling markets again open, there is interest in resuming recycling on a larger scale, with the possibility of phased-in changes. The committee is working with a consultant to make recommendations. Any changes would be voted on at Town Meeting.  Regarding the consultant’s request to have the town’s old baler and other stored equipment assessed for use or sale, the SB moved and voted in favor to approve the $780 expense.

Police Department – With the goal of managing next year’s budget and with the additional room in the 2023 PD budget, the chief presented requests for needed repairs to the 2016 Tahoe’s rocker panels, new tire rims for the Explorer, firearms and ammunition and request for a mobile radio. The chief also recommended capital reserve set-asides for longer term vehicle needs. The SB voted to approve the mobile radio, tire rims for the Explorer, fire arms and ammunition and Tahoe rocker panel repair.

For PD staffing, the chief discussed the potential for a part-time/20-hr per week and an interested candidate. The SB looks to chief’s recommendation and will meet with the candidate prior to any final decision.

Other business

  • Radio Tower proposal – The board mentioned the pending radio tower application at Cobb Hill for public safety purposes and is looking into the potential assessing ramifications.
  • Village Road project – Russ Huntley is proceeding with the survey. Committee will meet as soon as his work is complete.
  • South Rd bridge east wing wall – The SB will meet with the Friends of Russell Reservoir on this and other topics at its Oct 5 meeting. The Road Agent recommends outsourcing any excavator work that is needed.
  • The SB signed the oath of office for Don Kilgus to serve on the Energy and Electric Aggregation Committee.

The meeting adjourned at 10:45 am.