Select Board
Friday, January 26, 2024
Meeting Minutes

Select Board: Andrew Maneval, Andrea Hodson, Kathy Scott
Attendees:  Assessor Lynn Cook

The meeting opened at 9:00 am.

Agenda, minutes of 1-18 – The board approved the agenda with the added item of a discussion with the Assessor about a potential warrant article on Elderly Exemptions. The board approved the minutes of January 18, following a correction to the percentage increase of the draft 2024 budget over 2023. The draft budget presented at the first budget hearing on 1/18 is 5% over last year’s. The SB further noted that, during the NH Primary of January 23, the board discussed modifications to the proposed 2024 budget, to be reconfirmed this evening.

Potential Warrant Article on Elderly Exemptions – The SB considered information provided by the Assessor on the Town’s current income and asset qualifications for Elderly Exemption. Exemptions are amounts taken off the assessed value of properties for qualifying taxpayers over the age of 65, within certain income and asset brackets as allowable under RSAs 72:33, 72:39-a, and 72:39-b. The Town last updated the exemption amount and qualification thresholds in 2007 and is considering a warrant article for this year.  Following discussion, the board moved and voted unanimously in favor to revise the proposed Elderly Exemption warrant article to include figures proposed in Mr. Maneval’s memo of 1/18, for presentation at the second budget hearing on Feb 8th.

2024 Budget updates – The board noted that the budget changes discussed on 1/23 include: reducing the administrative pay line from 90K to 88K; dropping legal services to 18K; reducing the Planning Board professional services line to $2K; adding $2K to fire department payroll to $33K; and reducing the highway dept overtime pay line to $15K.

The SB further noted the amounts that would change on the Recycle Center budget, with budget numbers favoring a “yes” vote on the RC warrant article. Should the town vote “no” to transition to single-source recycling, the budget would be modified as follows: the line for supplies would go back to $700; the assistant payroll line would reduce to $9K, solid waste removal would be set at $55K ($49K if the town votes “yes” on the warrant article); and heating fuel would drop to $500.  Additionally, RC revenues would be revised downward should the town vote “no”.

The SB will add $1K to Parks & Recreation for new beach signage .

With projected budget revisions , the proposed 2024 budget will be close to $67,500 over 2023. The board will reconfirm with the Road Agent the culvert expenditures for 2023 against the ARPA funds used.

Draft Warrant Review – The SB discussed the order of the Warrant Articles, agreeing as follows: 1) Election of Town Officers; 2) Zoning Ordinance Amendments; 3) Recycling Center; 4) Operating Budget; 5) Fund Capital Reserves; 6) Road Reclassification – Church Alley; 7) Village Road Rebuild – Church Street and School Street; 8) Village Road Rebuild – Church Street, School Street and Church Alley; 9) Fire Department Brush Truck; 10) South Road Bridge; 11) Conflicts of Interest Policy Ordinance; 12) Elderly Tax Exemption; 13) Receive Report of Agents; 14) Business Transactions.

The SB will add an allocation for the Capital Reserve Funds for ReValuation for $5,000, will revise the lapsing date on the South Road Bridge article to 2027 or beyond, and the lapsing date on the Village Road Rebuild to Dec 31, 2026.  The draft Warrant is with the town attorney for review.

The SB reconfirmed agreement on all proposed budget and warrant article numbers to date.

Staffing updates – On 1/23, the Town Clerk swore in the new part-time Police Officer, Milton “Matt” Perry, increasing police coverage in town for 2024 to a total of 68 hours, the balance covered by state police; separately the board reviewed and agreed on the job description for posting of a finance administration opening; the new Tax Collector, Karen Castelli, will start Thurs. Feb 1.

Other business
– The board received a recommendation for Citizen of the Year, which it will consider and discuss following final budget setting.
-Earl Horn informed the board that the school radar signs are still under warranty and Traffic Logix will come to troubleshoot if problems continue.
-The SB signed the Renewal Application for the Town’s Groundwater Management Permit for the landfill, prepared by Wilcox & Barton and to be submitted to DES.
-Mr. Maneval will attend a session on Northern Border Regional Grant opportunities for transportation/road-related and economic development grant option for NH towns. The SB would then discuss possible projects for which to apply for funds.
-The board thanked Moderator Bryan Kingsbury for the suggestion to include the information sheet on the Town’s ReValuation and Tax Bills in this year’s Town Report. The flyer was distributed in the recent issue of Common Threads and remains available on the home page of the town website. A draft Town Report is under production and will be ready for SB review by mid-Feb.
-SB Meeting Schedule – Fri, 2/2 at 9 am; Thurs 2/8 at 7 pm (2nd Budget Hearing); Thurs 2/15 at 7 pm; Thur 2/22 at 7pm; Thur 2/29 at 7pm; Thur 3/7 at 7pm. Town Meeting is Tues 3/12.

The meeting adjourned at 10:40 pm.