Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Nov 16, 2015

Approved Minutes Nov 16, 2015

5:00 PM

Present: Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Milton T. Bratz, V. Chairman Schuyler Sweet, Selectman Edward Hennessey, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

Others Present: Brody Tuite (LIDC & River District Redevelopment Commission), Darin Wipperman (The Courier), Katherine Dorisky (Channel 2), Karen Noyes (Finance Director), Dann, Rudy Gelsi, Ron Bolt, Brian Patnoe (Transfer Station Manager), John Hennessey (River District Commission) Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), Amy Hatfield (Tax Collector) Roger Merrill (Library Trustee)

Pledge of Allegiance

Bratz asked for a minute of silence in memory of Bill Height who was a former selectman from 2000 to 2006. He passed away a couple of weeks ago. Bill served the Town well during a very difficult time. There were tensions between the members of the community and the board as well as the Town Manager at the time.

Brody Tuite – LIDC and River District Redevelopment Commission
Brody Tuite said the highway department is in the process of moving into the new garage. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 10th. Tuite went on to say the premise behind the River District
Redevelopment Commission and the LIDC is to start working on some focused projects. The River District is going to continue on their already designated targeted areas. There are two projects they would like to work on. One is the Brooks Pharmacy Plaza. Everyone agrees they would like to see that taken care of. It has been in limbo for a number of years. Secondly there is a section on the river from where the new multimodal bridge comes out. It is a really nice smooth spot and there is already transition there. The town is in charge of maintaining it. There is a small section with heavy aggregate. As part of the master plan of the river project this could fit right into that. There is a nice walking path that has become overgrown. He came here tonight to make sure the board knows what is going on. We would like the board to work with the sewer right of way to see what we can do to transition that area. He is not sure if that area would have to be rezoned. He would also like the board to draft a letter to the owner of the Brooks Plaza area to see what their intent is. Sweet said it is privately owned by an individual from Boston. Tuite said what is nice is that the LIDC in the past has used vacant land and have been able to get it redeveloped.

Town Manager’s Report:
Tax Rate Setting – Fund Balance
Dorsett said they need to review the fund balance to see what amount to use if any to offset the tax rate. Dorsett provided the board with a spreadsheet that showed the current fund balance as $486,269. Last year the board used $150,000 to offset the taxes. Dorsett said the Finance Director is recommending the board use $105,000 of the fund balance. Dorsett said that if you use the $105,000 it would reduce the tax rate from .54 cents to .40 cents. Noyes said the recommendation from the DRA and the GFOA would be to leave the fund where it is and not use any. Noyes went on to say that their recommendation is to keep two months of accounts payable and payroll. Noyes said she calculated that if they were to do that it would be over two million dollars. That would be 12.5%. She is not sure of how many Towns can actually do that. Bratz said his recommendation is to put it at $150,000 like it was last year. Hennessey said that they would have to borrow the $150,000 at some point. Noyes said that the most recent TAN that they have not borrowed against yet, we ended up getting a rate of .64%. Dorsett said they should look at the Town policy on the reserve fund in the near future. The policy should be amended to reflect more accurately what the board has done with the fund balance. Bratz said the argument here is that this money belongs to the taxpayers. The $150,000 would represent a .20 cent drop in the tax rate. Bratz said the philosophy in the past has been to keep the balance at the minimum. Noyes provided the board with the total of receivables due at this time. They have a total of $280,130 in unpaid property taxes. Another thing to keep in mind is that by using the fund balance there will be less to use for warrant articles. Sweet asked what the collections on the back taxes would be based on past history. Noyes said that most of the time by January 97% of the current taxes are paid. Sweet asked what the chances of collecting the delinquent taxes were. Noyes believes that $50,000 is probably uncollectable. Noyes said they have the lien process and it may come down to deeding the property and selling it. Hennessey made the motion to use $105,000 of the fund balance. Sweet seconded the motion. Bratz asked if there was any further discussion. There being none he asked for a vote. The motion passed 3-0. Dorsett said the Town’s tax rate will increase .40 cents, the school by .40 cents, state school increase .26 cents, county by .06 cents. The total tax rate per thousand is $23.33. Dorsett said the DRA will take this information and give us our tax rate, currently this is just an estimate. Noyes said she will report online with the DRA and give them the information. They need to send a note to the tax collector. There is a process that has to take place to make sure we are within the variance we are allowed. Bratz asked if the time frame was three weeks. Noyes said it is a lot quicker than that because of the portal they now use. She thinks the tax bills will be out before Thanksgiving or maybe just after.

Approval of Investment Policy:
Bratz said the policy has to be approved annually. Noyes said there are no current investments with the fund balance being so low because of limited resources. Sweet asked about section five “Authorized Depositories.” Sweet said the policy exempts two of the five local banks. It only allows for savings banks and does not allow for charter state banks. Hennessy suggested the policy should state all banks that do business in New Hampshire. Noyes said she would take out the word savings and deposits on the second bullet of section five. Sweet said it should state banks registered to do business in the state of New Hampshire. Sweet moved to approve the policy as amended. Hennessey seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Sale of Town Property – Second Public Hearing will be held November 23, 2015
Bratz said this item is just an alert that the second hearing will be held at the next meeting.

Brian Patnoe – Transfer Station Fee Adjustments:
Bratz said this is the result of a recommendation made by the budget committee. They asked the Transfer Station to review the rates for the services they provide. Brian Patnoe said they came up with a few small increases. Patnoe reviewed the increases with the board as shown below:
Small (Up to 12”) $1.50 $2.00
Regular (13” to 16”) $2.50 $3.00
Truck (17” to 22”) $11.25 $15.00
With Rims are current double price but recommend a flat +$1.00 per tire increase. Larger Tires will be based on Cost of Disposal + $20.00
Microwave $5.00 $5.00
White Goods $5.00 $10.00
Refrigerant Items $10.00 $15.00
Demo per pound $0.08 $0.10
Demo per cubic yard $26.50 $32.00
Sheetrock per cubic yard $32.00 $40.00
Dirty Shingles per cubic yard $53.00 $65.00
Mattress/Box Spring $15.00 $20.00 ($15 for twin)
Sofas $16.75 $20.00 ($30.00 for sleeper)

Small $1.35 ($13.50 per roll) $2.00 ($20.00 per roll) $0.50 per roll
Large $2.00 ($20.00 per roll) $3.00 ($30.00 per roll) $0.50 per roll
Clean Shingles (cubic yard) $47.00 $60.00
Flor. Bulbs $0.06/ft for businesses $0.25 for 2,3,4 ft, CFL, Round
$0.50 for 6 ft or 8ft (EVERYONE)
Brush FREE $5 (Car), $10 (Truck), $20 (Large)
Paper Shredding FREE $0.10 per pound for Littleton
$0.25 for non-residents
Electronic Disposal $0.20 per pound $0.25 per pound

Patnoe said rates are slightly different for non-residents. Bratz asked how they determine who is not a resident. Patnoe said they ask. They get a lot of people from Franconia. Bratz said that years ago they had stickers to identify residents. Dorsett said they have been talking about the possibility of bringing the stickers back. Hennessey asked why they stopped doing the stickers. Patnoe said he did not know because it was before he started working at the Transfer Station. Sweet said there was a cost to do it and it was a pain in the neck. Patnoe said he looked at other communities and based the fee changes on what others are charging. Dann asked what Brian Patnoe estimates this will reduce the $78,000 they are short. Patnoe said he is estimating an increase in revenue of about $30,000. This would reduce the shortage almost in half. Dorsett said they are just looking for the board’s support. They will hold a public hearing to approve the fee changes next week. Bratz said the board has consensus on the fee increases. Sweet thanked Patnoe and stated he did a good job.

Equalization Certificate:
Sweet made the motion to accept the Equalization Rate. Hennessey seconded the motion. Motion passed

Old Business:
Bratz said they have an appointment to make to the Library Trustees. Roger Merrill said Ruth Taylor resigned from the board two and a half months ago. Marci Hornick agreed to be appointed to the position. Sweet moved to appoint Marci Hornick. Hennessey seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

New Business:
Opera House Rental Agreement
Bratz explained to the board that there was one more document passed out to them entitled the Memorandum of Understanding. We discovered at the last Budget Committee Meeting that we have different entities responsible for different tasks. Part of it was delegated to the Chamber of Commerce by contract. When you read the memorandum of understanding it becomes very clear that the lease does not spell it out. They have janitorial, security, crowd control responsibilities along with others tasks. The Opera House Commissioners were also there at the meeting. All that we provided the budget committee was the venue revenue. The budget committee wants to see the whole operation with revenues and expenses. There was a significant amount of confusion regarding who was responsible for what. Bratz said the Chamber is not happy with the current lease and they are thinking about moving out of the Opera House. Bratz said that Andrew is going to be meeting with them on Wednesday to go over the Memorandum of Understanding. Bratz said that Dorsett will come back to the board with recommendations. Bratz believes the delegation of responsibilities were given to the chamber when a position in the Town Office was eliminated. The position was that of the facilities manager. Bratz said there was a situation recently when the building was over capacity of the 250 allowed when Bernie Sanders was in Town. Bratz said that Dorsett will meet with the commission and then the chamber to review the lease and the agreement. Dorsett asked the board to review the information and to contact him ahead of time if they noticed anything that sticks out to them. Bratz said his concern is that the delegation appears to be is that when you are asking renters to do the things that are listed in the agreement, then there is the question of oversight and feedback. Bratz said they need to take a look at the whole thing and wait for Dorsett to make some recommended changes.

Other Business:
Appoint Trustee of the Trust Fund Vacancy – Term Expires March 2016
Sweet made the motion to appoint Christine Sheley to the Trustees of the Trust Funds. Hennessey seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Approve the following minutes: October 26, 2015
Hennessey moved to approve the minutes. Sweet seconded the motion. Bratz said the minutes had an error under the Public Hearing for the Sale of Town Property. The draft minutes had Washing and it should have been Washington Street. The following correction will be made.

Public Hearing: Sale of Town Property Washington Street Lot (Map 79, Lot 201). ). Bratz said the following also needs to be amended: “Bratz explained the purpose of this public hearing is to sell a small piece of land to an abutter who will not be impacting the school’s storage building in any way.” The correction to be made is: Bratz explained the purpose of this public hearing is to sell a small piece of land that will not be impacting the school’s storage building in any way.” Hennessey made the motion to approve the amended minutes. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Citizen Concerns/Comments:
Dann said he wanted to speak to the Brooks Pharmacy Plaza. He holds private property dear and he hopes they will not use any force or pressure to a private owner on what they are to do with their property. Bratz asked him if he has been to the property. Dann said he had not been there recently. Bratz said they are paying their taxes but the building is slowly deteriorating. There is mold growing on the back of the building. Sweet talked to the owner years ago when Brooks went out. He had contacted them because there was a possible tenant. There was a long term lease with Brooks and he didn’t care if they went or not. Sweet assumes that has since expired.

Noyes said she was not sure if this was missed or not, but she believes it was. The Littleton Coin Company donated $1,000 to the Opera House Commission for the electrical upgrades and other improvements. Noyes said we need the board to make a motion to accept and expend the funds for the purpose given. Sweet made the motion to accept the donation. Hennessey abstained from the vote. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0 with 1 abstention.

Dann did a three minute presentation for the Channel 2 viewers regarding taxation.

Ron Bolt wanted to acknowledge the passing of Bill Height but would also like to mention the passing of Carlton Hilgenberg. He did many things for the municipality. Ron said what he did on the Highland Avenue culvert was amazing. He would like to request that his name also be considered for recognition perhaps in the Town Report. Bratz said they have had a brief discussion about that and Carl’s name was brought up as well. Bolt said the second thing was he understands the delicate balance of open government and fully closed government after being on both sides. A couple of things at the last meeting made him think they were leaning toward one side. The method in which the new selectman was picked, started in a nonpublic meeting. Bolt said that was not illegal or anything like that. The other thing was the acceptance of the donation from a charitable organization. There was no explanation presented until somebody asked about that. The explanation was that this was an activity that was going on with all the charitable organizations. All he is saying is to not go too far in the wrong direction and to keep the public informed.

Bratz said the board would take a short break before going into the following nonpublic sessions.

Sweet made the motion to go into nonpublic session per the following RSA:
RSA 91-A:3, II (a) The dismissal, promotion, or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of such employee, or the investigation of any charges against him or her, unless the employee affected (1) has a right to a public meeting, and (2) requests that the meeting be open, in which case the request shall be granted.

Hennessey seconded the motion. The board entered the nonpublic session at 5:57 PM after a unanimous roll call vote. The purpose of the nonpublic session was to review the negotiations between SEA Police Union and the Town. The board came out of the nonpublic session at 6:18 PM. Sweet made the motion to seal the minutes. Hennessey seconded the motion. Motion to seal the minutes passed 3-0.

Sweet made the motion to go into nonpublic session per the following RSA:
RSA 91-A:3, II(c) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of this board, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to include any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.

Hennessey seconded the motion. The board entered the nonpublic session at 6:18 PM after a unanimous roll call vote. The board came out of the nonpublic session at 6:29 PM after a unanimous roll call vote. Sweet made the motion to seal the minutes. Hennessey seconded the motion. Sweet made the motion to adjourn. Motion to seal the minutes passed 3-0. Hennessey seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. The meeting adjourned at 6:30 PM.