NOT APPROVED

 

TOWN OF PELHAM

BOARD OF SELECTMEN

MINUTES

February 13, 2001 

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

PLEDGE OF ALLEGAINCE

 

PRESENT:           Mr. William McDevitt, Ms. Deb Casey, Mr. James Hardy, Mr. Greg Farris; Mr. Harold                                 Lynde (who arrived at approximately 7:00 pm)

 

Also present:       Mr. James Pitts, Town Administrator, members of the press and general public.

 

ABSENT:             None.

 

Chairman McDevitt opened the meeting at approximately 6:30 pm.

 

MINUTES REVIEW

 

January 23, 2001 

 

MOTION:           (Casey/Hardy) To accept the minutes of the January 23, 2001 Board meeting as                                                            amended.

 

VOTE:                 (5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

OPEN FORUM

 

No persons stepped forward. 

 

APPOINTMENTS

 

Chief Haglund, Part-time dispatcher interviews, non-public session per RSA 91-A: 3 II(b) -personnel

 

MOTION:           (Casey/Lynde) Request for a non-public session per RSA 91-A 3 II (b), personnel

 

ROLL CALL:     Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Ms. Casey-Yes; Mr. Hardy-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes; Mr. Farris-Yes

 

Diane Gorrow, Esquire, non-public session per RSA 91-A: 3 II(e) - legal

 

MOTION:           (Casey/Hardy) Request for a non-public session per RSA 91:3 II(e), legal

 

ROLL CALL:     Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Ms. Casey-Yes; Mr. Hardy-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes; Mr. Farris-Yes

 

Mr. McDevitt informed that the Selectmen would remain in non-public session until after they had a chance to meet with both appointments. 

 

The Board entered into non-public session at approximately 6:40 pm.  Also present was Mr. Pitts.

 

The Board returned to public session at approximately 7:45 pm.

 

MOTION:           (Hardy/Casey) To appoint Mark Theorentini and Daniel Collinge Jr. as part-time                                                           dispatchers for the Police and Fire Departments.

 

VOTE:                 (5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Mr. Paul Zarnowski, Waiver of Article K

 

Mr. McDevitt informed that from this point on the Selectmen would convene as the Board of Health. 

Mr. Paul Zarnowski as the Chairperson for the Board of Health.

 

Mr. Zarnowski informed that an article K application had been received from William and Ruth Flynn of 45 Hobbs Road.  He said the waiver request was to Article K 295:16, the setbacks from the well to the sewer line as well as an additional waiver for the setback from a septic tank to a well. 

 

Mr. Ted Hatim, the designer, appeared before the Board to further explain the waiver request.  He informed that the applicant had a failed septic system.  He proposed a combination septic at the rear of the house which would have two chambers, 1000 gallon and 500 gallon.  He said the Town and state regulation called for 1250.  He said they would like to replace the existing 1000 gallon tank with the proposed combination tank.  Mr. Hatim said that water tests had been done and there were no traces of chloroform or ecoli bacteria.  He informed that with SDR 26 or greater pipe they would be allowed to have the tank within 50’ of an existing well.  He said they had approximately 35’ to work with, so they were seeking a waiver for 15’. 

 

The Board briefly reviewed the plan. 

 

Mr. Farris asked what the waiver length would be.  Mr. Zarnowski said approximately 35’.  Mr. Farris asked that a notation be added to the plan which references the waiver being granted. 

 

Mr. Lynde asked if the tank could be moved further.  Mr. Hatim said that the further they got from the house, the lower it would have to go and that would be too close to the water table.  Mr. Zarnowski also noted the proximately to Golden Brook. 

 

Mr. Farris asked how close the septic was to the rear property line and wanted to know if it would impact any developable property behind them.  Mr. Hatim said it was approximately 100’ from the line and didn’t feel it would have an impact on any additional land.

 

Mr. Zarnowski said he did not have a problem with the waiver and felt the entire situation would be improved with the new tank.

 

MOTION:           (McDevitt/Casey) To grant the Article K Waiver (Section 295:16) on ML 15-242.

 

VOTE:                 (6 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

The Board of Selectmen reconvened at approximately 7:50 pm.

 

Chief Fisher, Ambulance fees

 

Chief Fisher informed that as April 1, 2001 Medicade would increase their rates.  He said the Town had signed agreements with all the providers in the area, which stated they would pay the rates within their determination of the fees for the services given.  He said in most cases the rates would be either the same or above the Government rate.  He noted amounts of ambulance billing as follows: 1997-  $52,000; 1998 - $102,021; 1999 - $127,000 therefore he felt the revenue was a good source of income for the Town.  Chief Fisher said they used a private billing company, but if there were any discrepancies Mr. Pitts would handle.  He noted that Mr. Pitts worked with people to make their payments by setting up billing schedules if needed.  He also noted the average percentages of collected fees as follows: 1997 - 69%; 1998 - 76%; 1999 - 75%. 

 

Mr. Hardy wanted to make sure that individuals didn’t hesitate to call for emergency services.  He reiterated that if an individual was not able to pay, Mr. Pitts would work out some sort of payment schedule. 

 

MOTION:           (Hardy/Casey) To adopt the ambulance fees as outlined by Chief Fisher’s memo dated                                   February 1, 2001, to be effective April 1, 2001.

 

VOTE:                 (5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Lisa Brown, League of Women Voters

 

Mr. McDevitt said a number of weeks ago the League had visited the Selectmen to discuss a joint venture to give information to the voters regarding ballot items.  He said there was some controversy (which he didn’t wish to get into) but wanted to know if the Selectmen would still be involved. 

 

Ms. Lisa Brown, League of Women Voters said there was a misunderstanding.  Her belief was that they were to be involved with crafting the document.  She said that since they had stated publicly that they would be involved, they wanted to state publicly that they didn’t participate.  She said they weren’t trying to create anything other than it didn’t work out. 

 

Mr. McDevitt recalled the original discussion was a document would be created and sent out with the Town Report.  He asked if the Selectmen would still work with the League.  Ms. Brown asked if the same document would be used.  Ms. Casey believed that the Selectmen’s document would stay virtually the same, but was unsure how the Planning Board’s document would read.  Mr. Lynde asked if Ms. Brown had any suggestions.  Ms. Brown said it was difficult to create a non-partisan document and felt that with more people crafting it would be easier to create such a document.  She didn’t have anything to say about the Selectmen’s document, except that they weren’t involved in crafting the document. 

 

Mr. McDevitt said she was welcome to take a copy of the Selectmen’s document and make suggestions.  Ms. Brown said that the League had decided to create their own document. 

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Gift and Gratuity Policy

 

Mr. Pitts had handed out proposed modification to the document accepted December 20, 1999.  He said the proposed change in paragraph 3 was a definition and paragraph 4 was to enable department heads to be more restrictive. 

 

Mr. Hardy questioned if more restriction should be through the department head or through the Town Administrator.  Mr. Farris suggested that if a department head wanted to add restrictions, they should come before the Selectmen for a vote, then, if approved, it would be added to paragraph 3.  Mr. McDevitt suggested the following wording: ‘policy may be supplemented by department heads with the approval of the Board of Selectmen and upon their inclusion in this document.’

 

MOTION:           (Hardy/Lynde) To adopt as presented the amendments, as recommended by the Town                                     Administrator, and the additional amendment as recommended by Mr. McDevitt.

 

VOTE:                 (5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Selectmen’s Comments on Warrant - tax impact

 

Mr. Pitts explained how the Town raised revenue.  He further explained end-of-year surplus, which if not appropriated or obligated, would be turned over to the fund balance which would then become a source of potential revenue for the following year’s budget.  He noted that the money was not cash, but it was there for emergencies.  He said that each Town’s fund balance was treated the same way by the auditors of the DRA who take everything into consideration, such as monies that are already obligated.  Mr. Pitts then explained ‘no impact on tax rate’ and gave the following example: when a warrant article is presented to Town Meeting and the statement is made that there would be no impact on tax rate, it means that if the warrant article had an amount of money for the year 2002 and the source of the warrant article was from anything other than the property taxes it would be money from surplus included in the fund balance.  He said the monies may have had a tax impact in a previous year, but would not impact the property tax in the budgeted year for the appropriation.  He noted that if the warrant article failed, the money would not be spent, or be taken from the fund balance. 

 

Mr. Hardy left the meeting.

 

Mr. McDevitt confirmed that in either case the property tax rate would not be affected.  Mr. Pitts said with a warrant article written that way the tax rate could not be impacted. 

 

Mr. Farris asked if the warrant article had to be specific that the money would not be raised by taxes.  Mr. Lynde felt it would have to. 

 

Mr. Pitts went on to explain that it was dangerous to rely heavily on taking large amounts of money from the fund balance to keep taxes down, unless it was to purchase one time only items.  He noted that if there was a decrease in state grants, license fees etc. there would only be two choices left, 1) reduce appropriations, and 2) increase property taxes or a combination of both. 

 

There was a brief discussion regarding costs being offset by recurring costs, such as hiring employees.  There was an additional discussion regarding how the tax rate is estimated and calculated which lead to a discussion of where monies should be obtained from, the fund balance versus licensing fees etc.

 

Mr. Pitts reiterated that if a warrant article were to raise money from the fund balance for a subsequent year would not have an impact on the tax rate for the budget year it would be used.  He said if the warrant article were defeated and the amount of money were to be used to lower the tax rate it would have a lowering impact on the tax rate, but it would be a separate and distinct action and would have nothing to do with the warrant article. 

 

Mr. McDevitt said at the Town deliberative session there was a question regarding Article 31.  He said if the article to cancel the Capital Reserve Fund passed, why would there be no tax rate impact.  Mr. Pitts said the Capital Reserve Fund would be closed, and the monies would go directly into the fund balance and so it would not decrease the property tax rate.  Mr. Lynde wanted to confirm that monies controlled in trust funds would not be identified as part of the fund balance in the audit.  Mr. Pitts answered no, it would be separately designated and accounted.

 

Mr. Lynde said the people in Town should feel fortunate that the fund balance has maintained a creditable balance. 

 

Mr. Pitts noted that the Town’s auditor used the GAAP system when auditing the fund balance and only counted the debts owed to the Town that they feel would be reasonably collected within 90-days of the end of the budget year. 

 

Mr. McDevitt said the Selectmen were correct in the statements made regarding the tax impact.  Mr. Pitts agreed. 

 

Resignation - Police Department

 

MOTION:           (Casey/Lynde) To regretfully accept the resignation of Mr. John Ogden, a special officer                                              of the Police Department.

 

VOTE:                 (4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

MOTION:           (Lynde/Casey) To regretfully accept the resignation of Carla Bourdelou, a crossing guard                                              effective as of Friday, March 9, 2001.

 

VOTE:                 (4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Mr. McDevitt said a letter was received by Chief Haglund informing he would be on vacation between February 23, 2001 and March 5, 2001 and between March 6,2001 and March 9, 2001 he would be chaperoning the 8th grade to Washington D.C. and would return to work March 12, 2001.  Chief Haglund recommended that Sgt. Gary Fisher be the officer in charge during his absence.

 

MOTION:           (Casey/Lynde) To accept Chief Haglund’s recommendation to appoint Sgt. Gary Fisher                                 as officer in charge during Chief Haglund’s absence.

 

VOTE:                 (4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Well regulations

 

Ms. Casey had previously provided the Selectmen with changes she would like to make to the well ordinance.  She said at the time it passed the EPA had not yet announced the acceptable level of arsenic, but as of January 22, 2001 they stated the level as .010 mg per liter.  Ms. Casey asked that the Board of Health consider amending the well ordinance to reflect the number provided by the EPA.  She also urged the Board of Health to consider adding a uranium screening test be added to the required water tests. 

 

Mr. Lynde felt that as new people moved into Town they should be aware of the water tests.  Ms. Casey said at the time the ordinance was being drafted she requested that it be more strict, but received resistance from the Board.  She said it was decided at that time to simply provide the water test results and leave as a buyer beware situation.  She said home owners are provided with the tests before they purchase.  Mr. McDevitt informed that the water tests are completed before a certificate of occupancy is obtained.  Mr. Farris felt the onus was on the developer to have the tests done. 

 

Ms. Casey asked if it could be added to the ordinance during the next meeting, however she said she wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting of February 27, 2001.  Mr. Pitts will have the information available for the Selectmen. 

 

There was a brief discussion regarding a land donation issue that would be possibly discussed during the February 20, 2001 meeting.  Mr. Lynde informed that the land owner was anxious to move forward.  He asked that a letter be signed by Mr. McDevitt to be sent to Ms. Diane Wolven and her attorney informing they could move forward.  Mr. McDevitt said he would meet with Mr. Pitts to discuss. 

 

Mr. McDevitt said a question had come up regarding articles 36 - 41, the trust funds Park and Recreation had specified.  He said article 36 referenced the Raymond Park Capital Improvement Fund, which he was unable to find, but would look again.  He said Article 37 which referenced the E.G. Raymond Memorial Park Capital Reserve Fund, he found that it had been established during the 1980 Town meeting.  He said it was an expendable trust fund and therefore did not need a warrant article.  He said Article 38, Golden Brook Park Public Trust Fund was created in 1996.  He said that Article 50 and 39 were both expendable trust funds which didn’t need a warrant articles.  He said Article 40 and 41 spoke of public and private trust funds for Muldoon, which he could not locate.  He said the only trust fund  for Muldoon Park did not specify either public or private.  Mr. McDevitt believed all the funds were created at Town meetings. 

 

Ms. Casey questioned if the warrant articles should still go forward.  Mr. McDevitt said they would have to because they were petitioned.  Mr. Farris informed that since it was petitioned , legal counsel would review and the Board would not have to enact the warrant articles. 

 

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT/SELECTMEN’S REPORT

 

Mr. Pitts informed that the one-year old truck that had some problems made it back online just before the snow storm.  He didn’t feel the Town would have made it through without the new truck.  Mr. Pitts informed that the Town Report would be dispersed by the Boy Scouts during the weekend of March 3, 2001. 

 

Ms. Casey informed that the Pelham High School wrestling team would be participating in the IMS  State Tournament in Bow, NH on Saturday.  

 

Mr. Farris said that Park and Recreation met and discussed the warrant articles and how they should be used such as for running, maintaining or improving the parks.  He said they would be reviewing the costs of actually running the park buildings and establishing user fees so the monies would not come out of trust funds.  Mr. McDevitt said they could meet with the Board preliminarily to discuss.  Mr. Farris said that Mr. Victor Danevich, Chairman of the Planning Board attended the meeting to discuss the Master Plan.  Victor had informed that the Planning Board would be reviewing to come up with a section for Park and Reek and create a 7-year plan.  Ms. Casey informed that Mr. Jeff Gowan would be running the Master Plan meetings. 

Mr. Farris then informed that there had been a CTAC meeting for contract negotiations.  He wanted it known that the members of the committee were solely working for the benefit of the Town and that no person was receiving any compensation (either free TV or money). 

 

Mr. Lynde said that Conservation held a public hearing for the acquisition of conservation land as required and all the criteria had been met.  He informed there was a bill proposed to ban trash barrel burning in the state.  He said the burning was responsible for approximately 17% of dioxides in the state. 

 

Mr. McDevitt thanked the Board and Mr. Pitts and everyone involved for a well run Town Deliberative Session.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION:           (Farris/Casey) To adjourn the meeting.

 

VOTE:                 (4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:25 pm.

 

                                                                                          Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                          Charity A. L. Willis

                                                                                          Recording Secretary