APPROVED

 

TOWN OF PELHAM

BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING

MINUTES

January 14, 2003

APPROVED – January 21, 2003

 

CALL TO ORDER

PLEDGE OF ALLEGAINCE

 

PRESENT:

Mr. Greg Farris, Mr. Harold Lynde, Mr. Jean-Guy Bergeron, Mr. William McDevitt,

Mr. Richard Derby

 

Also present:

 

ABSENT:

Mr. Tom Gaydos, Town Administrator, members of the press and general public.

 

None.

              

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

 

MINUTES REVIEW

 

Deferred to next scheduled meeting.

 

OPEN FORUM

 

Mr. Paul Gagnon and Mr. Bob Yarmo (Chairman Conservation Commission) discussed the intent behind a petition warrant article that had been submitted, which requested that $2,000,000 be put aside for the purchase of open space.  Mr. Gagnon said the intent was to keep the Town rural and keep taxes low through open space.  He said if open space could be purchased at a reasonable price, it would be cost effective for the Town.  He said the amount of money had been determined by reviewing other towns that had passed similar pieces of legislature.  He pointed out that the Selectmen would have two opportunities to impose their opinion, 1) to vote to support the warrant article; 2) if the warrant passed, would have the decision if the money could be spent. 

 

Mr. Yarmo reviewed a case study that discussed the economic benefits of open space.  He discussed the money raised for open space in surrounding towns.  He felt it was time for Pelham to take action.  He said in a recent study done by NRPC, Pelham had a low percentage of protected land. 

 

Mr. Bergeron asked how the Conservation Fund had been funded in the past.  Mr. Yarmo said that currently 75% of the penalty tax was used to fund the Conservation Fund.  Mr. Bergeron asked how the amount of $2,000,000 was determined.  Mr. Yarmo said that the amount appeared to be driven by the market value of property, in conjunction with the review of what surrounding communities have done.  Mr. Gagnon said that the number could be adjusted if needed. 

 

Apparently, there had been a misunderstanding by the petitioners of the words ‘raise and appropriate’.  They did not know that the word ‘raise’ meant cash.  He said if there was a way to reword the warrant article, they would.

 

Mr. Farris asked if purchasing development rights had been reviewed.  Mr. Yarmo said that the Conservation Commission had recently sent letters to certain land owners proposing different options.  Mr. Farris said if the warrant article did not pass, the Selectmen could be petitioned to hold a special Town Meeting. 

 

Mr. McDevitt supported the idea behind the warrant article, but had a problem with the wording saying ‘raise and appropriate’.  The Selectmen agreed.  Mr. Gagnon noted that the warrant article could not be withdrawn.  There was a brief discussion and it was pointed out that the warrant article could be altered on the floor at Town Meeting. 

 

Mr. Bob Lamoureux, Blueberry Circle spoke to an attorney in the past regarding petition warrant articles and agreed that this one could be read incorrectly.  He said when it passed, it would go before a judge to determine intent.  He said the judge would ask the petitioners what their intent was when drafting the warrant.  Mr. Farris said there were additional requirements, such as having the warrant reviewed by Bond Counsel.

 

Ms. Julia Steed-Mawson, South Shore Drive said that a report had been drafted that provided creative ways to raise monies that could still be reviewed.  She said that she had spoken with UNH Co-operative Extension said they would be glad to review the issues with the Town to help provide some viable results. 

 

There was a discussion regarding the deadline to obtain additional opinion in connection with the warrant article.  The Budget Committee would be voting on warrant articles January 21, 2003.  Mr. Gaydos noted that the Selectmen would be meeting in the early evening on January 21, 2003 before the Budget Committee meeting.  The Selectmen requested that Mr. Gaydos find out if the warrant article, as written, could be interpreted given the case law on plain language on petitions.  Specifically, if ‘raise’ could be defined as ‘borrow’, given the intent of the petitioners. 

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Ms. Jackie Mierswa and Ms. Pat St. Cyr met with the selectmen to discuss a petition warrant article for a Communications Co-coordinator for the cost of $7650.  Mr. Farris read aloud the submitted petition warrant article, which was to contract for one year, with a non-Town-employee person, to produce a newsletter four-times per year that outlined community events.  Ms. Mierswa explained that the need for the position was realized through the Envision Pelham profile project.  She said that a group had been meeting and refining the position.  She went on to review the submission and explain how the position and the pay were determined. 

 

Mr. Bergeron asked if a new Town position would be created if the warrant article passed.  Ms. Mierswa said they intended on the position being one that was contracted.  Mr. Gaydos believed for liability reasons the position should be held by a Town employee.  Mr. McDevitt disagreed.  He believed the intent was to avoid adding complement to the Town.  He said the position could be done by a person in their home.  Ms. Mierswa said using volunteers to create and distribute the newsletter, was attempted, but could not be done. 

Mr. Bergeron asked if a warrant article was needed each year.  Ms. Mierswa was unsure.  Mr. McDevitt believed the position should be revisited each year so it could be reviewed for effectiveness. 

 

There was continued discussion regarding how the information would be circulated to residents.  It was explained that the information in the newsletter was not only regarding dances and parties, but would, include information about Town government, or issues that may affect residents, while maintaining non-political. 

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Bergeron) To support and recommend the $7650 petition Warrant Article for the electronic newsletter.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

APPOINTMENTS

 

PUBLIC HEARING for the conditional layout of an existing private right-of-way (Campbell Road, Gaston Street, and Andover Street)

 

Mr. Gaydos said that a contractor and an engineering firm had been asked to review the 2500ft. (1500ft. of Campbell Road, 300ft. of Andover Street, and  700ft. of Gaston Street).  He said it was determined that the cost would be approximately $300,000 plus interest (5%) and associated costs totaling approximately $393,000 to upgrade the mentioned streets.  He provided two breakdowns for review, 1) portioned cost by address using land value only, 2) total valuation of what was currently on the property. 

 

Mr. George LaBonte, Jr., and Mr. Lance Ouellette met with the Selectmen to review the submitted petition to make the roads public ways.  Mr. LaBonte said two years ago a group of residents met with the Selectmen and received suggestions on how to take care of some of the problems with private roads.  He said that a petition drafted to request that the roads be turned over to the Town and become public ways.  He said that there was a small association in which not all the residents participate, which was a problem.  Mr. LaBonte discussed the alternatives that the residents had and said that they opted to submit a petition. 

 

Mr. Gaydos discussed the details of the betterment process and the associated costs.  He explained how the cost of the betterment would be divided over a 10-year period.  One resident wanted to know if in lieu of paying $1500 per year for plowing, the request was to pay $400,000 for betterment.  Mr. McDevitt answered yes.

 

Mr. Art Fehmel, Campbell Road said that the first 1000ft. of Campbell Road was Town owned.  It was agreed by the Selectmen that the first 1000ft. of Campbell Road was Town owned.  Mr. Fehmel pointed out that certain properties on Mr. Gaydos’ list were within the first 1000ft. of the road and should therefore be deleted from the list.  Mr. McDevitt said a mistake had been made on the list.  Mr. Gaydos said if the portion of the road to be included in the betterment was 500ft. the costs would be adjusted. 

 

Mr. Bergeron asked if the bond would affect the tax rate.  Mr. Gaydos said that the Town was sponsoring a bond for the betterment project, which would be funded over a 10-year period and therefore would not show up on the tax rate.  Mr. Bergeron confirmed that the betterment did not affect the tax rate.  Mr. Gaydos said if certain individuals were not paying their taxes, the cost would be covered by the Town, but the property would then have a lien.  Mr. Bergeron suggested that language be included on the warrant article that stated it would not affect the tax rate.  Mr. McDevitt explained that the money would be raised an appropriated, but offset by the betterment funds raised from the residents of the affected roads.  Mr. Gaydos said if someone was not in favor of the betterment, than it would not be moved forward.  Mr. Lynde disagreed, his understanding was if a petition was received by the Selectmen a public hearing was held so that people would understand the implications.  Mr. Gaydos reviewed RSA 231:28 (betterment process) and read a portion aloud. 

 

Mr. Ouellette informed that the previous Town Administrator Jim Pitts said that only one signature was needed on the petition.  He said the petition had grown since it was originally circulated. 

 

Mr. Lynde asked if the details of the road construction were known.  Mr. Gaydos said that the existing plans had been reviewed and contractors had been spoken to for the determination of the work to be done.  Mr. Lynde said that although the Selectmen had accepted the petition, a formal vote to lay out the road was still needed.  He explained how the charges would be broken down between the homes.  Mr. McDevitt discussed the differences in the Spring Street betterment assessment. 

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Ms. Mary Leconis, Andover Street was alarmed at the assessment costs.  She didn’t feel spending $400,000 was reasonable compared to the current $1500 per year for snowplowing.  Mr. Ouellette explained that the betterment costs were not only for snowplowing, which if it were subcontracted out could cost approximately $8,000-$10,000 for one season.  He discussed the conditions of the roads, and said that the Town would not plow if the roads were not up to standard.  He said a few years ago the cost to repair a 500ft. portion of Gaston Street was $5500, which was a good deal for 2” of pavement.  He said if the residents were to pay for the roads to be improved on their own, the cost would most likely be triple what the Town was offering.  Mr. Ouellette noted that the Town could eliminate the snowplowing at any time, and the residents would then be responsible. 

 

Mr. Al Lerned, 25 Gaston Road said that he originally signed the petition under the impression that once the estimated cost was determined he could decide if he still wanted the work done on the road.  He said the current cost was not affordable.  Mr. Farris said that the costs needed to be revised downward due to the elimination of the Campbell Road portion. 

 

Ms. Connie Crooker, 2 Andover Street said that an additional financial issue that had to be reviewed was their mortgage and home owner’s insurance.  She said that insurance companies would not cover them if a private contractor was plowing the roads.  She was in support of the petition

 

Mr. Kevin Crooker, 2 Andover Street said that his street didn’t have an association and no way of collecting money.  He was in support of the petition.        

 

Mr. Don Chelton, 22 Campbell Road was undecided whether he was for, or against the petition.  He wanted consideration given to the number of signatures on the petition, which represented only a portion of the residents being affected.  He discussed the ownership rights and said the Town could not take a person’s property, since he believed the residents owned to the center of the road unless powers of eminent domain were invoked.  Mr. LaBonte informed that the residents had an easement for passage, but not ownership of the roads.  Mr. Chelton said that the costs and amount of footage that needed to be reconciled.  He felt that $100 per foot was expensive.  He discussed his understanding of the betterment process, which was that the Town could not collect more money than the actual benefit to individual properties.  Mr. Farris read the RSA in connection with the betterment process, which noted that if a majority of the residents affected did not want the petition to move forward, they could themselves submit a petition to stop the betterment process within 10-days from the Selectmen’s vote. 

 

Mr. John Patterson was in favor of the petition.  He didn’t feel that the using the square footage of the road was fair since he owned a parcel that had a horseshoe road around his home. 

 

Mr. Ouellette informed that initially the association had held a meeting to review the assessed roads, and at that time Methuen Street did not want to be involved.  He noted that the street was very narrow and would require an extensive turn-around (per Don Foss).  The owner of the home on Methuen Street asked that the street not be snowplowed because of the narrowness, he would be stuck.  Mr. McDevitt reviewed the language of RSA 231:29, which said the betterment fee would be against the properties abutting or served. 

 

There was further discussion regarding the betterment fees assessed and the number of signatures required.  It was noted that one signature was all that was required on the petition.  Mr. Farris discussed the possibility of holding an additional meeting.  Mr. Gaydos discussed the warrant article and at what point it could be stopped.  Mr. Lerned reiterated that he would like to view the correct costs.  He suggested postponing the meeting until the information was circulated to the residents in the area.  The discussion continued to determine what direction would be taken at this time.  It was decided to continue the public hearing until the January 28, 2003 meeting so that Mr. Gaydos could have the betterment figures adjusted and mailed to the residents.   

 

CTAC 2003 Budget, Jim Greenwood met with the Selectmen to review equipment purchased and what items were still needed.  He noted that the Town had not yet signed a franchise agreement with Adelphia. He said prior to 2002 there was adequate grant money available, but during 2002 the money had been exhausted.  He noted that until a franchise agreement was signed, no additional money would be available for equipment or repairs during 2003.  Mr. Greenwood reviewed the warrants being requested. 

 

Mr. Farris asked the status of the Adelphia contract.  Mr. Greenwood said the final draft was just about complete.  He understood that a representative from Adelphia would be meeting with the Selectmen January 28, 2003 to discuss issues other than the agreement.  Mr. Gaydos said that Adelphia would like the opportunity on January 28, 2003 to hold a non-public session regarding contract negotiations.  He said the meeting could be moved to February 4, 2003 if needed.  Mr. Farris felt that the CTAC members should be invited to the meeting.  There was a discussion regarding notification of CTAC when meetings were scheduled.  Mr. Dave Hennessey questioned why the Selectmen would hold a non-public meeting with Adelphia regarding the contract since the negotiations had previously occurred.  Mr. Farris felt that a discussion regarding the contract should be held in non-public session.  There was a discussion and it was decided to hold the meeting Adelphia on February 4, 2003.   

 

Mr. Greenwood asked that the representative to CTAC meet with the Budget Committee and request that the budget be reconsidered.  Mr. McDevitt said he would bring the budget up for reconsideration on the basis of new information.  Ms. Holly Saurman suggested informing the Budget Committee that the new information was that, to date, a contract had not been signed with Adelphia.  Absent the contract, grant money was absent.  Absent grant money, we are unable to make the improvements/repairs and additions to the equipment to continue service as it is today and should be in the future. 

 

Mr. Farris read aloud a letter from Mr. Keith Frolics which noted that the entire franchise fee (5%) paid to the Town was not being passed through.  Effective immediately, the franchise fee passed through to customers would be increased from 2.563% to 5%.  He said that a greater percentage of the fee being collected could be requested.  There was a general discussion regarding the concept behind the franchise fees and their uses.    

 

MOTION:

(Lynde/Derby) To reconsider the CTAC budget.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

    

 

MOTION:

(Lynde/Bergeron) To increase line 5 - equipment repairs from $0 to now read $1500; to increase line 7  - new equipment from $0 to now read $3350, which amended and increased the total bottom line to $49,555.   

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Municipal Building

 

Mr. Gaydos began discussing receptacles and outlets within the Police Station and Municipal Building.  It was realized, after reviewing minutes from the January 7, 2003 meeting, that the Selectmen had already taken action regarding the scope change request.

 

Mr. Bergeron reviewed a list of concerns that he composed during the groundbreaking ceremony that, in his opinion  had not been clarified.  He reviewed items such as, the remaining concrete wall, the size of the support beams, concerns regarding snow load, insulation installation, size of the studding, how the walls will appear once complete.  He said he also reviewed the window headers.  Mr. Gaydos said that weekly meetings were held to review items such as what Mr. Bergeron had referred to.  He discussed the difficulty with the removal of the chalkboards and noted that such issues were unforeseen items.  Mr. McDevitt invited Mr. Bergeron to the weekly building meetings.  He also suggested that Mr. Bergeron discuss his concerns with Building Inspector Roland Soucy.  Mr. Bergeron said that he would attend the meetings when time allowed.  He said that he discussed his concerns so people would know that he was an active participant in the work being done.  Mr. Farris appreciated Mr. Bergeron discussing concerns and asking questions. 

 

Mr. Gaydos suggested having Mr. Soucy compose a short paragraph addressing Mr. Bergeron’s concerns.  He went on to discuss the pace at which work was being done and the amount of questions that needed to be answered in the field.  He wanted to know if there was a way to obtain answers quickly. 

 

Mr. McDevitt reminded the public that Bread Loaf would hold a public tour January 21, 2003 at 3:30pm at the side entrance of the new Municipal Building.  He then reviewed the current construction schedule, which showed substantial completion of the Police Department in the second week of June and substantial completion of the Town Offices in the first week of June.  Mr. McDevitt said that the project was running under budget.  He said that there was contingency money set aside for a lot of the scope changes.  He went on to discuss the type of issues/changes happening during construction and asked if the Selectmen would consider authorizing Mr. Gaydos to approve changes that were absolutely necessary, when time was of the essence.  Mr. Farris asked if the changes referred to were basic code issues that needed immediate answers, or aesthetic scope changes.  Mr. Gaydos said that both should be addressed.  Mr. McDevitt said that he was referring to items that could not wait a week for the Selectmen to discuss.  The Selectmen discussed the types of situations that could need immediate answers.  It was decided to have Mr. Gaydos contact the Selectmen (via phone, e-mail etc.) to inform of the options so that if there were any objections, they could be know. 

 

Regional Water District

 

Mr. Bergeron said that Nashua held a special meeting from 6am-8pm regarding the purchase of the Pennichuck Water System.  He said that he had attended the meeting in Bedford and signed, on behalf of the Selectmen, in connection with what had been previously voted.  He said if Nashua voted to move forward with the purchase the 25-page Charter should be reviewed.  He ended by saying if in the future there was additional information, he would provide the Selectmen with copies. 

 

A note was given to Mr. Farris that informed that Nashua voted in support of the Regional Water District. (6,525 voted yes; 1,867 voted no)

 

Town Report

 

Mr. Gaydos said that the Department Heads were submitting reports by the first week in February.  He said bid recommendations for printing would be provided at the next meeting.  He asked that the agenda item remain until the Town Report was resolved.   

 

Warrant Article - payment to CLD

 

Mr. McDevitt said that there had been some discussions by the Budget Committee regarding the warrant article for payment to CLD in the amount of $130,000  for past debts.  He said there was a second sentence that referenced recouping the money from developers.  It was believed that the Budget Committee would approve the warrant article minus the second sentence referencing recouping the money.

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Lynde) To reconsider the warrant article referencing payment of $130,000 to an engineering firm.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Lynde) To adopt the warrant article as written and reviewed by the Selectmen.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. McDevitt discussed an additional warrant article to raise $30,000 from surplus for payment of basic wiring, telephone and data.  He said the Budget Committee was not in favor of raising the funds from surplus.  There was a brief discussion where the money could come from.  It was decided to withdraw $10,000 from the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund and $20,000 from surplus to offset the cost.

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Lynde) To reconsider the warrant article for $30,000 for wiring, telephone and data.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. McDevitt read aloud the amended warrant article and made the following motion:

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Derby) To raise $30,000 for the warrant article read aloud by withdrawing $10,000 from the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund and $20,000 from surplus.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. McDevitt ended by saying there was a warrant article to withdraw $15,000 from surplus for Planning Department furniture.  The Budget Committee rejected withdrawing the money from surplus.  Mr. McDevitt said the warrant article no longer made sense and suggested amending the warrant article for purchasing furniture from $40,000 to now read $55,000.

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Lynde) To withdraw the warrant article approved that allowed $15,000 to be taken from surplus for Planning Department furniture. 

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Derby) To reconsider the warrant article for purchasing furniture at the Municipal Center.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Derby) To amend the dollar figure contained in the warrant article for purchasing furniture at the Municipal Center from $40,000 to now read $55,000.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Highway Bids - recommendations

 

Mr. Gaydos provided the Selectmen with a packet containing Mr. Don Foss’ recommendations.

 

MOTION:

(Derby/Lynde) To accept the packet as recommended by the Highway Department.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. Farris noted that the bids would be available to the public.

 

Little League Warrant Article

 

Mr. Farris informed that a petition warrant article had been received by the Pelham Little League which would combine raised funds with private funds to complete the installation of lighting at Muldoon Park.  Mr. Gaydos said that the signatures were being verified. 

 

MOTION:

(Derby/McDevitt) To accept the petition warrant article submitted by Pelham Little League.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. McDevitt said that the idea was the playing time would be increased by the installation of the lighting.  Mr. Bergeron asked who would pay for the electricity.  Mr. Farris said electricity was included in the fees.  He said there was a meter on a pole that kept track of the usage. 

 

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT/SELECTMEN’S REPORT

 

Mr. Gaydos read a warrant article from LCHP, which, if approved, would send a resolution to the NH General Court to keep LCHP running.  He then read the warrant article aloud.  He noted that it was not a money article. 

 

MOTION:

(Lynde/Derby) To accept the warrant article as read aloud by Mr. Gaydos. 

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. Gaydos said he needed the insurance line item to be reconsidered to increase the workman’s comp. by $15,000.

 

MOTION:

(Lynde/McDevitt) To reconsider the insurance budget.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

MOTION:

(Lynde/Bergeron) To increase the allocate for workman’s comp. by  $15,000, and increase the bottom line by $15,000.

 

VOTE:

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. 

 

Mr. Gaydos said a letter had been received by the Technical Committee which informed that three slightly used network switches had been purchased per the spending previously authorized by the Selectmen.

 

Mr. Bergeron had no report.

 

Mr. Lynde congratulated the wrestling team for excellent results in a tournament, where several members of the team had high results.

 

Mr. Derby had no report.

 

Mr. McDevitt said he had received a letter from Plan New Hampshire, a company that created (at no charge) reuse plans of municipalities.  He gave copies to the Selectmen for review.  Mr. McDevitt then handed out a draft copy of a hiring policy for part-time employees that the Selectmen could discuss at a later meeting. 

 

Mr. Farris had no report. 

 

REQUEST FOR NON-PUBLIC SESSION

 

MOTION:

(McDevitt/Bergeron) Request for a non-public session per RSA 91-A:3,II, a & c (Personnel; Matters which, if discussed publicly, would affect adversely the reputation of any person)

 

ROLL CALL:

 

Mr. Farris-Yes; Mr. Lynde-Yes; Mr. McDevitt-Yes; Mr. Bergeron-Yes; Mr. Derby-Yes

 

Mr. Farris noted that when the Board returned, after the non-public session, the Board would not take any other action publicly, except to seal the minutes of the non-public session and to adjourn the meeting.  The Board entered into a non-public session at approximately 11:30 pm.  Mr. Gaydos was also present during the non-public session.

 

The Board returned to public session at approximately    pm.

 

MOTION:

 

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

 

VOTE:

 

(   ) The motion carries.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION:

(     ) To adjourn the meeting.

 

VOTE:

 

(     ) The motion carries. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately      pm.

                                                                                          Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                          Charity A. L. Willis

                                                                                          Recording Secretary