May 29, 2001

APPROVED Ė June 5, 2001






Ms. Deb Casey, Mr. Greg Farris, Mr. William McDevitt, Mr. Harold Lynde (arrived at approximately 6:55pm), Mr. Jean-Guy Bergeron


Also present:



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




Chairperson Casey opened the meeting at approximately 6:30 pm.




May 15, 2001




(McDevitt/Bergeron) To accept the minutes of the May 15, 2001 Board meeting as amended.




(4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.


May 22, 2001






(McDevitt/Bergeron) To accept the minutes of the May 22, 2001 Board meeting as amended.


(4 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.










Ms. Barbara Loughman, Esquire


Mr. Pitts informed that the non-public request was for legal consultation regarding a tax abatement court case involving the Town.








(McDevitt/Farris) Request for a non-public session per RSA 91-A:3,II,e (legal).


Ms. Casey-Yes; Mr. Farris-Yes; Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Mr. Bergeron-Yes



The Selectmen entered into non-public session at approximately 6:40pm.Mr. Lynde arrived at approximately 6:55pm.The Selectmen returned to public session at approximately 7:15pm.


Gordon Graham, Esquire, waiver of liability - winter maintenance of private roads


Ms. Casey said there had been a request made by the Selectmen to put together a process and procedure if the Town decided to move forward with plowing roads.She said the process included drafting a waiver of liability.


Attorney Gordon Graham, Town Counsel handed out a draft copy of a waiver of liability for the Selectmen to review.He said that since the last meeting he had researched the difficulty in seeking the owners of the private roads.He said that generally, the standard law for private roads was that abutters to a road were presumed to own to the centerline of the road.He said that the abutters to the road also provided a right-of-way (to pass and re-pass) for people who lived farther down the road.


Ms. Casey asked if the residents needed to research the deeds or just prove that they are the owners of a specific property.Attorney Graham believed they only needed to prove they were the owners, but said there still may need to be some research done on deeds, which contain boundaries on private rights-of-way.


Attorney Graham said that he started to draft a policy as part of an indemnification (within the Townís winter maintenance agreement) which became cumbersome, so he took out all the policy language from the agreement.He briefly explained statutes and suggested that a policy be created for winter maintenance on private roads.He said he had also drafted an agreement for winter maintenance and proceeded to review and explain the clauses contained within.He said there was a provision to terminate the agreement within 60 days but suggested that it be lengthened to 180 days.He ended by saying that the agreement would need to be agreed to by the Selectmen and the residents (based on tax map and lot number) and have the signatures verified.


Mr. Farris wanted to know what would happen if there were undeveloped land on a private road, and the owner didnít want to sign the agreement.Attorney Graham said as soon as some people choose to not partake in the agreement there would be questions such as liability and fairness (of bill being charged to the others).He said there were basically two options, 1) make an exception; or 2) the Town wonít act until all signatures are obtained.


Mr. Lynde felt that people who lived year-round would sign the agreement and the seasonal or vacant properties wouldnít sign.He suggested a letter sent to the seasonal or vacant lot owners that said the Town would proceed unless they object.Attorney Graham didnít believe a perfect system could be created.He said by the Town offering a service that it wasnít required to (and making it constitutional) the process exposed the Town to some risk and a decision would need to be made as to if the risk was unreasonable.


Mr. Farris asked if the agreement could include a similar clause as included in the one drafted for Spring Street where if a majority of people signed the majority would assume the cost for plowing the road.


Mr. McDevitt didnít believe there was a simple solution.He felt there should be some consensus if the Town would assume liability for damage that may occur.Attorney Graham said there was a fine line in New Hampshire law for how much maintenance a Town can perform before it is deemed a public road.He felt that in this instance, based on the creation of the agreement and the fact that the funds used for plowing would be completely reimbursed (and not expended from public funds) the Town was not accepting the road as public.


Mr. Farris asked if language should be included which states that the Town would proceed if a majority of residents accept and will accept the total cost of the plowing.Attorney Graham suggested that type of language be included as an appendix to the winter road maintenance policy.


Mr. Bergeron said at the last meeting there was a discussion regarding idle equipment use for plowing.He asked if the agreement was in place, if the public roads would be plowed first, before all the private roads.Ms. Casey believed Mr. Don Foss would make that determination.Attorney Graham didnít believe that would be a requirement.


Mr. Farris went back to his question of majority.He wanted to know if the majority signed, would they be the ones responsible for payment.Ms. Casey believed that the majority question should be determined by the Selectmen, but the residents would be responsible for payment.Mr. Farris wanted to know if the people who signed the agreement would be the ones responsible for coming up with the fee assessed to the road.Ms. Casey answered yes.Attorney Graham briefly discussed the Spring Street Extension agreement which was governed strictly by statute.He said there was a statute (from 1887) which discusses winter roads, but itís rarely is used because it doesnít do much for the Town.He said the newer statute (declaration of an emergency way) which has been used if the qualified criteria are met.He said in order for the winter road statute to qualify, all of the abutters must approve.


Mr. Farris wanted to know if the people who didnít sign the agreement would be able to petition or bring the Town to court on the basis that by plowing the Town has assumed maintenance and it is a Town road.Attorney Graham said it could be challenged, but didnít believe it would be successful.He said the Town wasnít agreeing to accept the road and wouldnít be using public funds to plow.


Mr. McDevitt didnít have a problem providing residents with a draft copy of the agreement.Ms. Casey said people could obtain a copy by contacting Mr. Pitts or herself.She said that the Selectmen needed an opportunity to review the information provided.She informed that further discussion would take place at the next meeting, which would not be a public hearing, but comments would be allowed.


Mr. Lynde said the residents would need to come up with the means of collecting money, helping to obtain signatures.He also wanted to make sure that anyone who owned property was informed.Ms. Casey added that there should be a timeframe for response for people who disagreed with the agreement.Attorney Graham suggested that the policy for winter maintenance be in place before any agreement was entered into.


Interviews for Firefighter/Paramedic positions

Interviews for Firefighter/EMT positions








(McDevitt/Bergeron) Request for a non-public session per RSA 91-A:3,II,a & b (personnel & hiring public employee).


Ms. Casey-Yes; Mr. Farris-Yes; Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Mr. Bergeron-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes



The Selectmen entered into non-public session at approximately 7:50pm.The Selectmen returned to public session at approximately 9:40pm.




















(Farris/Lynde) To accept the following candidates to the following positions:

Mr. James Midgley, Firefighter/Paramedic subject to six months probation and physical examination starting June 3, 2001 at 12:01am; Mr. Mark Steven Cobb, Firefighter/ Paramedic subject to six months probation and physical examination starting June 3, 2001 at 2:00am; Mr. Daniel Farwell, Firefighter/EMT subject to six month probation and physical examination starting June 3, 2001 at 1:00am; Mr. John Rgnetowicz, Firefighter/EMT subject to six month probation and physical examination starting June 3, 2001 at 3:00am; Mr. Gregory Atwood, Firefighter/EMT subject to six month probation and physical examination starting June 3, 2001 at 4:00am.


(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.





Discussion of budget formal


Ms. Casey said the number of budgets remained the same, but they were rearranged for recording purposes.She said currently there were forty-two different budgets, but under the proposed, there would be twenty-two.She explained how certain budgets were combined.


Mr. Lynde discussed how the budget categories were recognized by the state and wanted to make sure that with the new format, the Town would still be able to easily put information on the MS7 forms.


The Selectmen discussed the proposed setup of the budgets and what would be eliminated and what would remain the same.Mr. Pitts informed there would still be itemized information for each department.


Mr. Pitts proposed that the full-time custodian and seasonal part-time parks maintenance employee be eliminated.He proposed the use of contracted service to clean all Town buildings.He said the Highway Department would then add a building and grounds section that would be comprised of two full-time employees.He said during October through March they would be under the supervision of the Road Agent, and during April through September they would work with the Parks and Recreation Department.


Ms. Casey said the computer budget would also go away and be rolled into the budgets of the people currently using the computers.


Mr. Farris discussed the hiring of the two-full time positions and the purchasing of computer equipment.Mr. Lynde believed with the hiring of the two positions, there may be a reduced cost for the Highway Department.Mr. McDevitt discussed the current status of maintenance at the Senior Center, Library and the Town Hall.He didnít feel that hiring people for maintenance would be a great increase in budget.He felt that there should be pride in keeping buildings around Town clean and well maintained.


Ms. Casey said she and Mr. Pitts were seeking the okay to proceed with re-organizing the budget.Mr. Lynde agreed with Mr. McDevitt regarding hiring people for maintenance.He asked that the account numbers be included for easy reference when filling out the MS7 forms.Mr. Pitts said he would have financial review.


Mr. McDevitt felt that review of Tech Staff should be reviewed.Mr. Lynde discussed what the goals of the Tech Staff were.Mr. Pitts suggested that each department head create a list of what they need.Mr. Bergeron discussed the possibility of centralized purchasing.Mr. Pitts discussed how the Townís current software could be expanded to handle purchase orders.


Ms. Casey said that the goal was to have the Budget Committee review the budgets based on the new form.As an example, Mr. Pitts showed that the Merrimack Selectmen review their entire budget in one day.There was a brief discussion about creating a review process, it was suggested and decided that Mr. Pitts would create a two-day budget review schedule.


The Selectmen agreed to a reorganization of the budget format.




Mr. Bergeron discussed Mr. Bruce Masonís report from the Solid Waste Facility in which he discussed the trailers, the back up of the metal pile and that the conveyor would possibly need to be changed.


Mr. Farris informed that the Fire Department received a reimbursement check in the amount of $26,000 from the Federal Government.Mr. Pitts commended the Fire Chief, Police Chief and Highway Department for their documentation on the grant application, which was the reason the Town received the grant.Mr. Farris noted that the cemetery had placed signs up restricting dogs and bikes.He wanted to know the reason that bikes would no longer be allowed, since it was a good place for mothers to bring children to learn riding with training wheels.Mr. Bergeron said he would review.


Mr. Lynde discussed the special Planning Board meeting held for the second grade.He felt it went very well and it was a good opportunity to find out what children want and to answer their questions.He felt that the Selectmen and the School Board should listen to the questions the children have.He gave credit to Mr. Victor Danevich, Planning Board Chairman and Mr. Jim Greenwood who set up a bi-directional feed.


Mr. McDevitt thanked the members of the garden club for their work in front of the Library.He also thanked Ms. Sue Waldo of Dracut for her work at the Library.


Ms. Casey provided the Selectmen with a copy of the master plan survey and asked that comments be forwarded to her within two weeks.She said the Memorial Day march was nice and thanked Mr. Pitts for attending and saying a few words publicly.She informed that the Abbott Bridge historical marker ceremony also went well.She said that the three lieutenant candidates would be meeting with the Selectmen within the next two weeks.Ms. Casey ended by congratulating Mr. Pat Moulton for winning the 3200 meter state championship,Mr. Danny Sawicki for winning the 1600 meter state championship and Ms. Crystal Graham who broke the school record in the 3200 meter.





(McDevitt/Bergeron) To seal the minutes of the non-public session indefinitely.


(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.








(Lynde/McDevitt) To adjourn the meeting.


(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.



The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:35 pm.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Respectfully submitted,


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Charity A. L. Willis

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Recording Secretary