Municipal Departments

Town Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday
8:30 am - 4 pm
Closed 12:30 - 1:00
Friday: 8:30 - 12:30

Town Clerk's Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday:
8:30am-3:45 pm
Closed 12:30 - 1:00
Fridays: 8:30am-12:30pm
First Saturday of the month:
8:30-10:45am

125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
Fax: 603.444.1703

Sep 25, 2017

Board of Selectmen Minutes - September 25, 2017


BOARD OF SELECTMEN’S MEETING
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017
5:00 PM
COMMUNITY CENTER HEALD ROOM

120 MAIN STREET, LITTLETON, NH

Present:  Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Schuyler Sweet, Vice Chairman Franco Rossi, Selectman Milton Bratz, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

Others Present:  Chad Fillion (Channel 2), Robert Blechl (The Caledonian), Justin Roshak (The Courier), Ralph Hodgman, Rudy Gelsi, Jere Eames, Dave Ernsberger, Erin Hennessey (State Representative), Brad Bailey (State Representative), Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Joe DePalma (Public Works Director), Ron Bolt (Energy Conservation Committee), Peter Cooper (Energy Conservation Committee), Jackie DePalma, Janice Balog

Sweet called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM

Pledge of Allegianc 

Appointments:
Energy Conservation Committee – Energy Management Plan Report
Peter Cooper, Chairman of the Conservation Committee started out explaining the various issues they found in Town.  Below is the report Peter Cooper presented to the board. 

Transfer Station

  • A solar-power, motion -activated light at the entrance would improve the safety and security situation. [hold-over from 2016]
  • Consideration should be given to both the Groveton option for undesirable plastics and a 1-through-7 recycling program.
  • User friendly programmable thermostats would be a good investment.

 

Opera House/Town Office

  • A facility manager should be identified.
  • The post-event/end-of-the-day check list should be expanded to include more details about energy issues (e.g., lights out, thermostat control, etc.) and tighter enforcement.
  • The HVAC system has several problems that should be addressed.
  • The stained glass windows need some form of sealing that will (1)  cut down on air leakage, and (2) be acceptable to the Department of Historical Resources.
  • The Conference Room needs some form of window treatment, and air conditioning should be considered. In the interim, check with the Historical Society for possible temporary use of portable window a/c units.
  • A more user friendly thermostat(s) is needed.


Police Department

  • Add a few motion sensors in 2017 to complete this enhancement.

Fire Department

  • Replace or repair any remaining defective windows.
  • Vent the dryer.
  • Install wall-mounted heat pump/AC units throughout the offices.
  • Replace the front and back office doors with more energy efficient units.
  • Consider a more robust vehicle replacing schedule

Public Library

  • Highest priorities remain (1) resolve the heat distribution problem, and (2) tighten up on air leakage through windows. An effort should be made to pursue the heating and wiring suggestions of the local plumber.
  • An alternative to window mounted A/C units should be aggressively pursued, including a cost saving assessment as this might qualify for NH PUC matching funds.
  • An energy audit on the building would be a good next step to help identify, quantify, and prioritize potential energy saving. Audits are not expensive and would expand upon the 2012 Peregrine report (based on a walk through) and provide concrete data on potential savings.

Ron Bolt stated this is the third year the committee has descended upon the board at the point in time when you start to think about next year’s budget.  In the last two years we have had warrant articles that were recommended.  This year we don’t have any articles to put forward.  Bolt stated that some of the items that Peter talked about are relatively inexpensive and can be done with end of year money.  Bolt said the contract that they selected for the Opera House is about $10,000 less than the appropriation.  At the beginning of every year the committee gets together and decide what our priorities will be for the year.  Bolt provided the board with a copy of the list that is broken down into four categories.  Although not all of the buildings are perfect, a lot has been done and achieved over the last several years.  This year we switched our focus on being broader including information and education.  Bolt said they also want to develop a tighter relationship with the school.  They are a Town committee but they have advised the school in the past about a number of issues.  They have also started to distribute a bi-monthly, free newsletter.  They are focused on energy efficiency and solar energy.  The committee participated in this year’s Earth Day celebration.  We were over at Remich Park and had an information booth.  We also had an LED light bulb promotion.  Anyone that showed up and had an interest in the information received a free light bulb.  Franco Rossi asked if the $10,000 left over from the Opera House project could be used for the other items on the list or would it be put in the general fund.  Sweet said they would have to check the language of the warrant article to see if the funds could be used for other energy improvements.   Bratz asked about the public works department and referred to a comment from the committee as follows:  “For a number of reasons it has been difficult to measure the cost savings of the new garage.  The acquisition and installation of a BTU meter at the garage will considerably advance efforts to quantify the savings.  The ECC will work with the DPW to make a best-effort assessment of the new v. old garages.”  Bratz asked if the issue is related to the large gain in solar at the front of the building.  Cooper said they will be installing the BTU meter and checking with other Town’s that have a new garage. 

Town Manager’s Report:

Review & Adopt Investment Policy
Dorsett said this is a policy that has to be reviewed annually and adopted by the select board.  The only changes are on the front page changing the dates.  Rossi said he had a comment on section four.  He thinks the word should be ensure and not insure.  He said he was not really worried about it, but insure would cost some money.  Rossi said the last thing he noticed was in the last paragraph of section four.  This section refers to written communication such as a fax on letterhead, etc.  More and more we are now doing signature verified emails.  Rossi said this might be added somewhere in the future so that we can join the twenty first century.  Bratz said he had a question regarding the treasurer submitting an annual report.  Bratz then asked if the board has been receiving those reports.  Dorsett said the board has been receiving the reports from the finance director.  Sweet said they would act on this during board action.

Sewer Usage Deduct Policy
Dorsett said the policy was approved in 1999.  The policy has been reviewed and the language changed for clarity regarding recreational usage.  This was meant to describe town use, such as the pool, ice rink and watering the athletic fields.  This policy is meant for residential and commercial users who have a deduct meter specifically for irrigation purposes.  The change is to remove recreational purposes and that there cannot be an internal connection from the deduct meter.  Bratz asked for an example of an irrigation system.  Dorsett said it is for irrigation of a field where the water is not released back into our waste water treatment plant.  Rossi said he didn’t see anything in the policy that refers to the right to inspect to identify if any abuse is going on.  Dorsett said that would be addressed in the sewer ordinance.  Sweet said this item will also be addressed under board action. 

Budget Committee/Town Warrant Schedule
Dorsett presented the schedule that was given to the budget committee.  Sweet said he knew the secretary has been working with the school to set the budget hearing and the deliberative session dates.  Rossi said he knew there were issues on the board recommending the social service articles, and that the board felt they could not make a decision because they did not have enough information.  It was requested some time ago that maybe we should schedule a time for them to come in and explain themselves so we could make an informed decision.  Rossi asked if this schedule allows for that or has anyone considered that.  Dorsett said that some of the petitioners did come to the budget committee meetings to make a presentation.  Sweet said the smartest thing to do if they are going to present before the budget committee is to notify us so that we can attend.  Sweet said he was at a budget committee meeting by chance where the chamber did a presentation.  He did not know about it in advance.  Bratz said when it comes to the nonprofits we need to know what we are looking for.  We know the services they provide, but we know very little in the area of their finances.  Bratz said the committee that worked on the house bill was looking for more neutral language where the board would not have to say yes or no.  However the majority of the committee felt it is our responsibility to get that kind of information.  Dorsett said there is a form that could be presented to the agencies and be put into the town report.  Sweet said the first thing that comes to his mind is financial need.  To show financial need would require financial statements.  He knows of an agency that went through some rough financial times.  They are no longer in tough times and most likely show an economical need.

New Bank Account for Parks & Recreation Debit/Credit Card Payments
Dorsett said we want the department to be able to accept debit/credit card payments.  Sweet said this item will be acted upon in Board Action.  

HB324 Impact
Dorsett the HB324 NH Department of Revenue Administration methodology for Utility Assessments has been rejected by the Supreme Court because it is based on a number of incorrect assumptions.  Dorsett said if you take the HB324 and apply it to the 2016 tax impact, Littleton would have a $5.26 increase in our tax rate.  Dorsett said we have met with our local representatives to see how they can help the committee to understand the false assumptions and the discrepancies in the formula.  Dorsett said it is a fairly complicated issue.  Brad Bailey said this bill was brought forward in the house at the end of this last session.  It went back to the committee to be looked at.  He thinks there are some people on the committee that are unaware of the impact would be on specific Towns like Littleton, Monroe and Berlin.  The reason this is being pushed is because the power companies don’t like to negotiate with all the individual Town’s regarding their dam generation.  They would like to put this formula out there.  Unfortunately the formula looks like a big windfall for the power companies and doesn’t do a lot for the communities if this were to go through.  Bailey said he thinks there is a good chance they can possibly stop it but it will take some effort and some education of some of the people on the committee.  If it comes out of the committee and it looks the same way and it is voted favorably, then Littleton and the other towns will fight it.  It hurts mostly the North Country.  If it does pass the house we can probably stop it.  If it goes to the senate we will probably get another shot at it there.  There are some representatives of the committee who are not familiar with what’s going on.  We are hoping in educating them with Andrew’s help and others.  We are going to work very hard on this.  This is the most important proposed legislation of this session.  Rossi asked if there are regions in the state that benefit from this.  Bailey said no, there are about sixty percent that are going to see an increase.  Littleton, Monroe and Berlin really take this on the chin.  Market value is the law as the method used to assess value.  That is not the formula that will be used.  It will be done by one person from the DRA who he calls the tax czar.  Rossi said the DRA has said they do not have a position on this.  Dave Ernsberger said this would be a real mess for the people of Littleton.

Other Business:
Dog Park Committee Applicants
Sweet said they had a great response from the ad we placed.  Sweet said they would formally make the appointments under board action.  The volunteer’s to be appointed are as follows:  Jan Mercieri, Kaela Ray, Lynn Chartier, Krystal Cleaves, Jill Kimball, Dawn Lambert, Kelley Pilotte, Jen Stroker, Sue Pilotte, Jen Krol, Lori Fillion and Joan Bratz.  Sweet then read out the committee’s mission statement. 

Old Business:  None

 New Business:  None

Public Comments:
Ralph Hodgman asked if the energy committee report could be made a part of the minutes.  Sweet said yes.  As for the nonprofits that request funds it would be important to know how many residents they actually help.  A lot of them are from out of Town. 

Janice Balog asked to speak.  She is not sure if the board is aware of the parking problems on Mill Street.  She is affiliated with the Littleton Studio School.  She has had many conversations with Mr. Dorsett and Ceil.  We were assured that we would have access on Mill Street where we have a loading area.  They have large deliveries of clay and painting supplies.  She is on the Board of Director’s and was their Treasurer and the bookkeeper.  She had to resign those positions because she is disabled and is not able to park for her job.  Ms. Balog expressed her displeasure with the parking situation on Mill Street at length. She went on to say she filed a complaint with the Governor’s Commission on Human Rights and they accepted it and they filed a lawsuit.  The NH DOT liaison for disability access drove by several times and he said the spot at the end where there is not curb, would be the perfect place for her parking spot.  Ms. Blog told the board that she would prefer they put up a sign stating “Littleton Studio School Reserved Parking.”  Sweet told her that while the board understands her problem, he believes she filed a lawsuit.  Balog said she did not file the suit, the state did.  Sweet said the board could not comment.  Balog said all she is asking is that they need a parking space, you don’t even have to make it disabled, just a space.  Make it a Littleton Studio School space.  Sweet told Balog that by filing the complaint and the lawsuit there is nothing they can do.  Sweet said they would be remiss to try and resolve this and discuss it with her at this point.  There are plans in the future when all this mess is cleared up to accommodate that.  Balog said that does not help the other people at the Studio School, it does not help anyone. Even the DOT asked why there are concrete blocks there.  We have a perfectly good new sidewalk.  Who is going to plow that?  We are not going to shovel it. Are you going to come down and shovel it?   Dorsett said there is a plan that once certain types of activity are done at the site, a new safety plan will be in place.  It does involve removing the blocks.  Those blocks are in place due to safety concerns with larger construction vehicles.  Balog said the problem is that no one uses the pedestrian safe zone.  They still use the street. Now it is even narrower and people are going down the wrong way on the street.  It is a disaster down there. Sweet asked Balog what she would like the board to do.  Balog said she would like to take that space that is now there that people park in anyway, and label it Littleton Studio School Reserved.  It could be used for loading and unloading and has already been arranged with Chutter’s and is adjacent to their loading zone.  We can also use it for our disabled patrons when needed.  Sweet asked her what if every business asked us to do that.  Balog asked if every other business has concrete blocks in front of it.  Sweet said they would consider her request.  Balog said that was all she was asking. 

Rudy Gelsi said he wanted to remind the Town Manager about a letter he wrote to the Zoning Board.  Special favors do not work.  Gelsi said there is no parking down there because of the special favors.  Dorsett said he disagreed and stated there are no special favors here.  Gelsi replied by saying oh yah sure. 

Board Action:
Bratz made the motion to approve the Investment Policy.  Rossi seconded the motion with the change as discussed earlier (change insure to ensure).  Passed 3-0.

Bratz made the motion to approve the Sewer Usage Deduct Policy.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Passed 3-0. 

Bratz made the motion to approve the New Bank Account for Parks & Recreation Debit/Credit Card Payments.  Rossi seconded the motion.  Passed 3-0.

Rossi made the motion to appoint the following to the New Dog Park Committee:
Jan Mercieri, Kaela Ray, Lynn Chartier, Krystal Cleaves, Jill Kimball, Dawn Lambert, Kelley Pilotte, Jen Stroker, Sue Pilotte, Jen Krol, Lori Fillion and Joan Bratz. Bratz seconded the motion.  Passed 3-0.

Approve the following minutes:
March 13, 2017 – Bratz moved to approve.  Sweet seconded.  Passed 3-0.
March 27, 2017 – Bratz moved to approve.  Rossi seconded.  Bratz said the word committee needs to be added to the second paragraph on the second page.  Passed 3-0.
April 10, 2017 - Bratz moved to approve.  Rossi seconded.  Passed 3-0.
April 24, 2017 - Bratz moved to approve.  Rossi seconded.  Passed 3-0.

Rossi motioned to adjourn.  Bratz seconded the motion.  Motion passed 3-0.  The meeting adjourned at 6:10 PM.