Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Jan 19, 2015

Bond & Budget Hearing Minutes Jan 19, 2015


PUBLIC HEARING
LITTLETON BOARD OF SELECTMEN
LITTLETON HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA
159 OAK HILL AVENUE
MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2015
6:00 PM BOND HEARING
6:45 PM BUDGET HEARING

Present: Town Manager Fred Moody, Chairman Milton T. Bratz, Selectman G. Michael Gilman, Vice Chairman Marghie Seymour attending by phone conference from New Mexico on personal business, Finance Manager Karen Noyes, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

Others Present: Chief Paul Smith (Littleton PD), George McNamara (Public Works Director), Jeanne Dickerman (Littleton Library Director), Brian Patnoe (Transfer Station Manager), Bruce Hadlock, Rachel Doriski (Channel 2), The Courier, Brody Tuite, Richard Massimilla, Linda Massimilla, John Hennessey, Ron Bolt, Dann, Robert Blechl (The Caledonian), Rudy Gelsi, Lauren Anderson (Littleton Chamber of Commerce), Brien Ward, Chief Joe Mercieri (Littleton FD) Barbara Astone, Bill Freeland

Bond Hearing – Littleton Board of Selectmen will hold a Public Hearing pursuant to RSA 33 and RSA 40 on the budget and proposed bonds or long-term indebtedness as follows:

Chairman Bratz called the first Bond Hearing to order at 6:00 PM.

Department of Public Works Garage Facility $1,300,000.00
Brody Tuite provided a brief presentation regarding the $1,300,000 Town Garage Building Replacement Bond. There has not been many changes since last year. About two years ago the committee was formed by the selectmen to study the garage. Tuite sated the committee had a study done and it was determined the building could not handle a snow load if the building were to be insulated. The building was built in 1958. They took a look at what they could do, replace or rebuild. The best option is to remove the building and replace the building and expand. The framing members are not easily supported or changed out and not adequate to heat the building as it stands. If we decided to rehabilitate the building we would not get a good payoff. We asked the contractor to give us a price to rehab the building. They stated it would be around a million and on top of that there would be engineer work to be done for about another $200,000. The committee decided to recommend replacing it altogether. There are four doors and six trucks. There is some equipment that has to be parked outdoors. They targeted a number of things, safety and energy were at the top of the list. The new building would have a greater R-value. There will be six bays in the new building and they decided to install solar passive doors. This would provide light and use less heating fuel. To address the safety issues there would be drive through bay doors. The new building would exist where the current buildings sits. Last year we asked the town for $1.2 million. This year the cost has increased $100,000 with the majority of the cost for the contractor and the cost of concrete. The other factor is the decision to install radiant heat flooring. Brody Tuite said they have not really changed the project since last year. The first payment would not be due until 2016. Dann said that his problem is that the taxpayer and the homeowners and the business owners have not been given the option of the same size garage that they have now. There should have been a second warrant article. Brien Ward told the board he would urge the selectmen to put in what the impact would be in 2016 and 2017 on the warrant article. Ward said it could be done similar to how we show the union contracts yearly costs. Bruce Hadlock asked how old the carbon monoxide system is. George McNamara said it is six months old. It was installed after last year’s warrant article failed. Hadlock asked why they can’t use that in the new building. Tuite said they plan to use as much of the current equipment and materials that can be used. Bratz asked Tuite to make a list of the equipment and materials that would be moved over into the new building. Tuite said that the Saturday before voting they will have a table set up at the Transfer Station to answer any questions. George McNamara wanted the town manager to refer back to the letter from Provan & Lorber who evaluated the building. McNamara said this is not a safe building. The letter basically states it would be a waste of time and monetary resources to try to put a number on rehabilitation. McNamara said the building is too small. They are looking to the future. It might be twenty percent too big now, but there might be options for the police, fire and the transfer station to use the facility. As time goes on we won’t have to add onto it in the future. McNamara said the location is fabulous. Bratz closed the first bond hearing at 6:30 PM and opened the second bond hearing at 6:30 PM.

River District Commission Redevelopment Project $ 500,000.00
John Hennessey said the selectmen authorized the commission about two years ago and Town Manager Fred Moody helped move the project along. The commissioners have worked with Littleton Water & Light Department, the LDIC and Littleton Main Street. In the past year we have added liaisons from other town organizations. There have been over thirty businesses that have put forward financial support. The corridor between Saranac and Mill Street has some serious infrastructure issues. The project will fuel economic development and is broken down into five phases. The plans have now been completed. Hennessey said the commission is asking the board to support this bond. The bond would be contingent upon receiving a $2 million or more of state or federal or other funds. The bond would not be placed until 2016. It is a $7.5 million project and the town would pay ten percent. Bruce Hadlock said he would like to see the actual wording of the bond. He does not like to think you have an open end and you can do anything you want to do with the money. Ron Bolt had a couple of questions on the wording. Bolt was uncomfortable about using other funds and there is no detail on leveraging of other funds. Bolt said it was a little vague. Richard Massimilla he had attended a meeting when Horizons were there and there was a discussion on the traffic flow. Massimilla said the residents had worries about the traffic flow. He asked if those concerns had been addressed. Hennessey said traffic is going to remain the same except for a one way stretch close to where the bank of New Hampshire is. Hennessey said he believes the resident’s concerns were addressed. Massimilla said that some of the area wasn’t wide enough to accommodate a sidewalk. Is there going to be a situation where a sidewalk will disappear down there. Hennessey said there is no pedestrian safe route. There is a planned five foot curved sidewalk. Ron Bolt said he supports both projects but he is concerned about two bonds. The highway garage almost passed by a few votes last year. Bolt said he thinks we a jeopardizing the highway garage. We could lose one or the other or possibly both. Dann said he is against the project. Dann said the people who use the utilities should be the ones paying for them. Dann said the bridge should be paid for by the business owners. If this is passed we will be passing costs to future taxpayers. Our children and grandchildren are being burdened even before they are born. Rudy Gelsi also spoke against the project. He took a walk along Main Street and about forty five people on Main Street don’t like the project. Brien Ward said that it is his experience that the funds will be needed a year from now. Ward said he does not believe the funds will not be necessary until 2017. If there is any way you can roll it over to 2017 then the first payment will not be due until 2018. Bratz closed the Bond Hearing at 7:00 PM. He then opened the Budget Hearing.

Moody stated the warrant has forty eight articles a little longer than last year. He would like to go over the thirty two pages of the operating budget and the draft warrant articles. Moody also provided a relatively short overview. The Deliberative Session is coming up on February 3rd and the Town Meeting will be on March 10th. Moody reviewed the 2015 proposed budget is $8,064,738 which is $64,461 over last year’s budget which is .99% percent increase. The default budget is $7,907,131which is less $78,000 or .98% decrease. Moody then provided an explanation of the increases and decrease of the proposed and default budgets. Moody added that under the line of General Government they had included the Littleton Chamber of Commerce. Many of the outside agencies submit petitioned articles requesting funding. The chamber was delayed in getting their petitioned warrant article to us. It has been requested we add $15,000 for the funding for the Littleton Chamber of Commerce as we have funded in past years. Dann asked what the total cost was for wages and health care. Moody said it was a little less than fifty percent. Ron Bolt wanted to object to the board’s action regarding the late entry by the Chamber of Commerce. Bolt said that he hoped that next year a petition would be expected.
He does not think they should be rewarded for not getting the petition in on time. There being no more questions the board then reviewed the list of warrant articles.

Moody then began the review of the 48 articles.
Article 1: Election of Officers. One Selectman, one Trustee of the Trust Funds, one Park Commissioner and three Library Trustees.

Article 2: Department of Public Works Town Garage Replacement Building. This was already discussed during the first bond hearing held earlier.

Article 3: River District Commission Redevelopment Project. This was discussed during the second bond hearing held earlier this evening.

Article 4: Synthetic Cannabinoids Ordinance. This was discussed previously at a public hearing as required by law.

Article 5: Operating Budget. This was reviewed prior to going over the warrant.

Article 6: Sale of Town Property. Moody said this article is to adjust a lot line and sell the following Town Property including development rights after two duly noticed public hearings and consultation with the Town Planning Board and the Conservation Commission in accordance with RSA 41:14-4a. Washington Street Map 79-Lot 201.

Article 7. Dells Dam Transfer of 2012 Warrant Articles. Moody stated that two articles were approved in 2012. One for the improvements and the other for culvert replacement. We have been studying the issue since 2012. We may be able to meet DES requirements by raising the dam face and height by about eighteen inches. There avoiding having to remove the dam which would be very costly. Brien Ward asked if they have received an estimate of the cost to increase the height of the dam. Moody said the engineering firm they were working with could not give them an estimate until they had the design done.

Article 8: Authorizing Trust Funds to compensate for management from Capital Reserve Funds.
RSA 35:9-a-II to authorize the Trustees of the Trust Funds to pay for Capital Reserve Fund Investment Management Services, and any other expenses incurred from capital reserve funds income.

Article 9: Replace Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Equipment. The selectmen have recommended we take $13,299 out of fund balance as a grant match from the grant obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

Article 10. Establish Conservation Commission Capital Reserve Fund. Moody explained that this is a housekeeping article in that it is from funds that were deposited since 1984 in the amount of $57,795. Moody went on to say that this is also a recommendation by the auditors
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Article 11. Fire Department Vehicles Capital Reserve Fund. This is for $50,000 with a tax rate impact of 0.56 cents. Engine Six is getting old and the department retired their pickup truck last year. We’d like to put some money aside to build up a capital reserve fund and to have access to funds if a good used surplus vehicle becomes available.

Article 12: Purchase of Police Cruiser. The cruiser cost would be $37,500. $20,000 would be taken from fund balance. $17,500 would be raised form taxes. Tax Impact .023 cents.

Article 13: Purchase Police & Police Cruiser Safety Equipment. The cost would be $6,000 to be taken from the Special detail Revenue Fund.

Article 14: Increase Patrol Officer Staffing. The cost of $63,857 for the purpose of increasing the current level of patrol office staffing for the department. The nine month estimated cost is $63,857 and the full year cost is estimated to be $85,142. Dann asked if the $63,000 included the benefits. Moody said it included the benefits.

 

Article 15: Highway Truck Replacement. To see if the Town will authorize the selectmen to enter into a three year lease agreement in the amount of $79,500 for the purpose of leasing a 2015 or newer Heavy Duty Truck, Plow and Equipment and the raise and appropriate the sum of $27,400 for the first year’s payment.

Article 16: Highway Garage Capital Reserve Fund for Salt Storage Shed. Moody said they are asking for $20,000. The estimated cost for this is around $65,000. Being able to buy salt and sand in bulk will save the Town money in the long run. The $20,000 would come out of the fund balance and there would be no tax impact on the tax rate.

Article 17: Used Excavator and Trailer Purchase. To see if the Town will enter into a three year lease agreement in the amount of $95,000 for the purpose of leasing a new or used Excavator and Trailer. And to appropriate the sum of $32,935 for the first year’s payment. Moody said the Highway Department has not had an excavator in the past. They have only had a backhoe. An excavator is more versatile.

Article 18: Retaining Walls & Sidewalk – Church Street & Other. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $70,000 for the purpose of Reconstructing, Rebuilding and Improving Retaining Walls and Sidewalk on Church Street and various other streets. If approved $10,000 will be donated from an adjoining land owner towards work being done and to authorize the board of selectmen to accept the donations or gifts for this purpose. And to further authorize the withdrawal of $10,000 from the Sidewalk Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund established in 2013.

Article 19: Transfer Station Container Replacement & Repair. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $12,000 for the purpose of replacing or repairing 40 Cubic Yard containers at the Transfer Station and to authorize the withdrawal of $12,000 from the Transfer Station Special Revenue Fund. No Tax Impact.

Article 20: Transfer Station Improvement Maintenance Replacement & Purchase. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $12,000 for the purpose of replacing, fixing, purchasing and maintaining equipment, building, containers, and vehicles in addition to purchasing additional supply of bags all at the Transfer Station and to authorize the withdrawal of $12,000 from the Transfer Station Special Revenue Fund. No Tax Impact.

Article 21: High Street East End (additional Funds). To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate an amount not to exceed $60,000 for the purpose of designing, engineering, paving and upgrading Grove Street above Highland Ave. and upgrade sewer systems related to this road, which is estimated to cost $165,000 and to further to authorize the withdrawal of $20,000 from the Sewer Replacement, Connection, and Sewer Restricted Fund Balances. Any savings seen on this project will be used for and expended on other Town roads. Estimated tax impact .052 cents.

Article 22: Grove Street above Highland Avenue. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $165,000 for the purpose of designing, engineering, paving and upgrading Grove Street above Highland Avenue and upgrade sewer systems related to the road and further to authorize withdrawal of $60,000 from the Sewer Replacement, connection, and Sewer Restricted Fund Balance. Estimated tax impact .136 cents.

Article 23: Knight Ave. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate an amount not to exceed $150,000 for the purpose of designing, engineering, paving and upgrading Knight Ave. and upgrade sewer systems related to this road and further to authorize withdrawal of $70,000 from the Sewer Replacement, Connection, and Sewer Restricted Fund Balances previously established for this purpose. Estimated tax impact .104 cents.

Bruce Hadlock said they were going to exhaust the sewer fund and they won’t be able to do anything on the River District. Moody said the fund is replenished each year. Brien Ward said that Littleton Water & Light were also involved. Moody said the three major projects were being proposed for this summer.

Article 24: Energy Conservation Committee Lighting & Energy Improvements at Town Owned Buildings. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $25,000 to replace or install cost effective, energy efficient lighting and sensors in several Town owned buildings. Specific lighting improvements will be prioritized and selected based on safety, operational effectiveness, and cost savings. Estimated tax impact .032.
Bruce Hadlock said he was not convinced what they are doing is best for the community. Water & Light still need to make a profit. They will have to raise the cost for the people. Bruce Hadlock said this should be voted down. Dann said this should be voted down. Ron Bolt noted that every utility company offers discounts for conservation.

Article 25: Cottage & Pleasant Street Sidewalk Improvements. (NH Transportation Alternatives Grant. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $559,080 for the design, engineering, and construction of the Cottage Street Sidewalk and Pleasant Street Sidewalk Improvements. With said funds for the full cost of these improvements will come from the NH Transportation Alternatives Grant, Safe Routes to School Grant and previously appropriated local funds. No tax impact.

Article 26: Remich Park Building Replacement Fund. To see if the Town will vote to establish a Remich Park Building Replacement Fund Capital Reserve Fund under the provisions of RSA 35:1 for studying, planning, designing, engineering and building a new Remich Park Building and to raise and appropriate the sum of $10,000 to be placed in this fund. Estimated tax impact .013 cents.

Article 27: River District Land Acquisition. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $40,000 for the purpose of acquiring land or right of ways and/or buildings or both for the purpose of designing, planning, developing and constructions of an improved access corridor along the Saranac St., Ammonoosuc St., and Mill St. area of the River District. Estimated tax impact .052 cents.

Article 28: Unexpended Conservation Commission Funds. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $379 to be placed in the Conservation Commission capital Reserve fund previously established. No tax impact.

Article 29: Unexpended Supplement Local Assistance (Welfare). To see if the Town of Littleton will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $1,500 to be placed in the Local Assistance Expendable Trust Fund with said funds to come from the Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance. No tax impact.

Moody then moved onto the petitioned warrant articles.

Article 30: Library Restroom and Sewer Repairs. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate $17.500 for the purpose of replacing the library sewer pipes and restoring the basement restrooms, $7,500 of said funds to come from the Sewer Reserve Fund, and $10,000 from taxation. Estimated tax impact .013 cents.

Article 31: Full Time Librarian Position. To see of the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $34,449 to restore a permanent full-time position, said funds which include salary and benefits to come from taxation. Estimated tax impact .045 cents.

Article 32: Library Building Improvement Fund. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $15,000 to be placed in the Library Building Improvement Fund which was created at the 2014 Town Meeting. Said funds to come from taxation. Estimated tax impact .019 cents.

Article 33: Littleton community Center Capital Reserve improvement Fund. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $30,000 to support a donation to the Littleton Community Center Capital Reserve Improvement Fund towards phase two replacement and upgrade of the wiring system for the Littleton Community Center main building. Estimated tax impact .039 cents.

Article 34: Glenwood Cemetery Association. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $15,000 to continue repairs of the cemetery wall on West Main Street. Estimated tax impact .019 cents.

Article 35: Increase the Number of Selectmen. The undersigned resident of the Town of Littleton, NH do hereby petition the Town Board to increase the number of Selectmen from three to five and to make the yearly salary for each of the five positions the same and equal with the New Hampshire State Representatives as soon as the present selectmen’s contract expire. No tax impact. George McNamara asked what the current salary was for the selectmen. Bratz said it is $2,800 for the chairman and $2,500 for each selectman. Dann said the article states no tax impact but there is an impact. This is the only article that actually saves the taxpayers money. Dann said there would be a savings and this article should be corrected to show the savings. Bruce Hadlock said the he believes the selectmen have expenses. The more people you have on the board the more expenses. Bratz said there is a problem trying to fill these positions and the salary is a stipend to cover whatever costs the selectmen might incur. Seymour said her comment was that you really do get what you pay for. Brien Ward said that in 2009 or 2010 Linda Warden started an initiative to do the same thing. She ending up withdrawing it because he thinks there was a super majority requirement.

Article 36: New Walking Bridge on Bridge Street. To see if the voters of the Town of Littleton want to build a new walking bridge on Bridge Street to cross the Ammonoosuc River that would require the Town to pay the upkeep and maintenance in the future. No Tax Impact. Bruce Hadlock said that this article was put on here because it should have been put on by the Town. Hadlock said this is a bridge to nowhere and the Town will still have to pay for maintenance. It seems foolish to put a bridge in here. Dann is the bridge being asked for in the River District setup. Are we looking at two bridges? Bratz said this bridge would be a walking bridge. John Hennessey said this bridge would not be paid for with Town funds.

Article 37: Passage of an Article Relative to Fishing at the Dells. To see if the Town of Littleton will approve passage of an article relative to fishing at the Dells. No Tax Impact.

Article 38: Fishing at Dells Dam (Not a petitioned warrant article). To see if the Town will vote to approve the following regulation pursuant to the powers granted under RSA 35-B, relative to fishing at the Dells owned by the Town of Littleton. No person over the age of sixteen shall fish at the Dells. Dann said this should be setup so the users pay. George McNamara said that he supports this article.

Article 39: Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. Shall the voters raise and appropriate $34,000 for the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. for the Littleton Area Senior Center.

Article 40: Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, In. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $15,000 for the Ammonoosuc Community Health Services.

Article 41: Boys & Girls Club of the North Country. To see if the Town will appropriate the sum of $10,000 to support the Boys & Girls Club of the North Country.

Article 42: Support Center at Burch House. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $3,080 for the Support enter at Burch House.

Article 43: North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $21,000 for the north Country Home Health & Hospice.

Article 44: North Country Transit: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $4,000 to support the North Country Transit.

Article 45: Northern Human Services. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $9,696.12 as the Town’s contribution to the White Mountain Mental Health and Common ground programs of Northern Human Services.

Article 46: Tri-County Community Action Program. To see if the Town of Littleton will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $11,000 for the Tri-County Community action Program.

Article 47: Caleb Caregivers Inc. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $2,000 for Caleb Caregivers Inc.

Article 48: New Beginnings: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $1,000 for the Center for New Beginnings.

Moody said they had a comment from DRA on articles 46 & 47 there is some question as to whether they are an appropriation. Moody said he wouldn’t want them to be turned down by the DRA if they are voted in favor. Moody said hopefully someone will be speaking to those at the deliberative session and can make the clarification. Dann said that this is one of those occasions that you get to use a word that you normally use. He was shag grinded to learn that an employee who works for the Town and is paid by the taxpayers went out and solicited these charity groups to come in and take money from the Town. He does not think that is appropriate at all. Moody said that is an incorrect assessment. Moody said there was a reaching out to agencies to advise them of the deadline and the requirements should they wish to submit a petitioned warrant article. It was not a solicitation. Dann said no it was solicitation they were saying how about coming in here and taking some more money from the taxpayers.

Bratz asked if there were any other comments or questions. Hearing none Bratz asked for a motion to adjourn. Gilman made the motion to adjourn. Seymour seconded the motion. The Bond/Budget Hearing adjourned at 8:20 PM.