HANCOCK SELECTBOARD MINUTES
MAY 10, 2010
PRESENT: John Jordan-Chair, Roberta LaPlante, Carolyn Boland - Selectboard
Barbara Caverly-Town Administrator/Recording Secretary
OTHERS: Kurt Grassett-DPW Director; Margaret Carlson; Ron Mack-Legislator
Jordan called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. Boland moved to approve the Minutes of May 3, 2010 as read; seconded by LaPlante; unanimously approved.
DPW REPORT: Grassett came to the table with his list of questions and reports for the Selectboard. His initial observation to the Board was that the new health care plan does not allow purchases of over the counter medications with Flexible Spending Accounts.
TRIMMER: Grassett asked permission to purchase a replacement string trimmer for the Highway Department at a cost of $199.95. Payment for this will be made from the Highway Equipment fund. The Board unanimously approved the purchase and funding.
#2 FUEL: The current group purchase price has come in at $2.60 per gallon for Conval and the towns interested in joining. Grassett is asking for the Board's approval to go with this rate. He had budgeted $2.45 per gallon. He reported he has been purchasing 5,000 gallons for the town with the Library purchasing an additional 1,600 gallons. Currently, Grassett has some fuel left from this last heating season. In addition, there is work coming forth that should help lower fuel consumption for the future. This work consists of insulating and photovoltaics through the weatherization grants.
Grassett said he can work within the budget by purchasing 4,750 gallons plus using up the balance of last year's gallons. His plan is to fill all the tanks with the fuel still in the current contract because it has no end date.
Boland moved to purchase the 4,750 gallons at the price of $2.60 per gallon; seconded by LaPlante. The motion was unanimously approved.
PICKERING FARM: Grassett reported he has looked over the Bryer drainage issues and feels he can move the first culvert back to the existing bar way. He did a grade check and that move is possible. Bryer had asked him to eliminate one drainage line further down the road that would mean running the water double the distance down the ditch line. This cannot work because the distance is too long and the grade insufficient. Grassett and Jordan will review the status with Bryer in a week or two.
FULLER LETTER: The Selectboard reviewed the letter Grassett drafted to Fred Fuller regarding the diesel fuel issues. LaPlante raised two questions on phraseology and Grassett agreed with her and said he would change those in the letter.
MAY 10, 2010
PUBLIC HEARING: A public hearing to accept the weatherization funds will be held once the agreements have been received. Grassett stated the town will have 30 to 60 days to hold the hearing, sign the agreements and return them.
MEETINGHOUSE: Grassett, Boland and the church reps are hoping to have a meeting Thursday night to discuss using joint funds to have Elizabeth Durfee Hengen, Preservation Consultant, in to start her work while waiting for the weatherization agreements.
SUMMER HOURS: Grassett said he would like to start the summer hours a week or so earlier than Memorial Day. The Selectboard concurred.
Grassett also noted Graham Slamin is out with a back injury for one or two days and then will return to light duty.
MARGARET CARLSON: Margaret met with the Selectboard to re-visit the health insurance issue that was discussed during her term as a Selectperson. The original discussion centered on having the employees start to contribute toward their health insurance. It was first thought to have them contribute 1% per year for five years. Carlson feels the employees should have a bigger stake in their health insurance and make them more aware of medical costs and choices in treatments as well as the burden on the town as the rates increase.
The Selectboard explained they had planned to follow through with employee contributions and had held discussions with the employees prior to the change in the economy. The Board stopped giving a cost of living increase but did give the step increase two years ago. The health insurance plan was also changed to a point of service plan with a deductible in order to lower the cost. This year there was neither a cost of living nor a step increase and an employee contribution would have meant a decrease in pay. The Board felt that would be unjust so continued to pay the full insurance costs.
Carlson feels that a cost of living should be given and would then justify asking for employee contributions to their insurance. The Selectboard also feels that each employee should receive a notice telling them the value of their benefits.
Caverly was asked to call for pricing on a plan with a higher deductible.
Carlson encouraged the Board to start discussing this with the employees soon to give them time to understand the process. There are several possible options to be considered by the Board, as well. The Selectboard concurs with the need to move forward on this again.
MAY 10, 2010
LIAISON REPORTS: Planning and Zoning: Boland reported she attended the Planning and Zoning Spring Conference along with Dan LaPlante, Stephen Froling and
Jon GrosJean. It centered on workforce housing. She was pleased to report the town has done its due diligence in this respect. The program was more targeted toward the larger communities. The Legal Updates changes centered on use and area variances.
Budget and Property: Jordan reported they are working out capital improvements priorities for this year and doing a small cost analysis. There was further discussion of the Food Service noticing they are running a $300,000 deficit.
The School Board was asked to address Article #5 but they did not wish to. A committee will be set up with SAC, Budget and Property and Education included. This item went to the Tuesday School Board meeting. Jordan also noted that Article #2 is very much on the table.
Jordan reported the Main Street Corridor public meeting went well.
LaPlante reported the LGC Dinner, a series of dinners being held around the state by LGC, was designed to bring groups together for discussion. Maura Carroll gave a comprehensive summary of the current HealthTrust issues being faced.
RHINES PROPERTY: The Selectboard wants the Conservation Commission to present a total package on the purchase of the Rhines property, to the Selectboard. There still appears to be some missing deed documentation. There is a question of whether the Conservation Easement is valid because, originally, the Rhines did not own it all.
ABATEMENT REVIEW: The Selectboard reviewed the Assessor's response to the six abatements filed. The Dexter and Payne abatements were approved. The Board has asked Caverly to schedule Mary Moses, the assessor, to come in and explain her process on the others. Caverly will schedule Mary.
RON MACK: Mack was in to speak with the Selectboard on some legislation issues. He explained how the towns will now have an opportunity to institute a local Rooms and Meals tax that would be in addition to the state one. It would be processed by the state but it would return to the town, minus an administrative fee.
On another note, Mack said they are trying to work on an increase in rates for current use property but there is a strong lobby. Perhaps the Selectboards of many or all the towns could band together and approach the Current Use Board.
MAY 10, 2010
Mack stated he and Kurt Grassett walked the Camp Guild property looking at the Adams boundary area to determine how it should be graded to prevent extended run-off onto the Adams property.
The well monitoring issues pending with DES will be discussed between Mack and Grassett.
Mack reported the permit to do some temporary repair to the Nubanusit boat landing has just been signed by Jordan and will be sent to DES today.
Jordan then moved to the Conservation Commission and gave Mack the make-up of the Commission. Mack questioned why Stephen Froling as not re-appointed. Jordan stated the Selectboard chose not to renew him because there are other people interested in serving on the Commission. Mack stated he is disappointed with the process used regarding the Conservation Commission.
Mack then presented the Selectboard with his letter of resignation. The Board asked him to reconsider but he replied he wouldn't do that. The Board then accepted his resignation with regret.
TO: Hancock Select Board May 9, 2010
FROM: Ron Mack, Chair and Conservation Commission
Re: Resignation May 10, 2010
With an extreme sense of sadness I am tendering my resignation from the Conservation Commission. I have served on the Commission since 1995 (with a short break in the early 2000's) and during my tenure the Commission has always enjoyed the honest, and open support of the Selectboard. The Board and Commission have not always agreed, but we always worked thru the issues with HONEST and forthright communication.
Unfortunately, the Board has made several decisions over the past eight months that have eroded my confidence in regards to the clarity and veracity of the communications received by the Commission from the Select Board's assigned contact to the Commission.
And finally, fully acknowledging the Board's right and authority to remove or refuse to renew a sitting member on the commission, I feel that in doing so without discussing the Board's intent with the Commission Chair (and the member being removed) is, at best, terrible policy. Then, piling additional lousy policy onto terrible policy, the Board fails to notify the Commission Chair, (or the now unofficial sitting Commission member) of their decision.
Has the Board considered what kind of negative message this sends to the on the job working volunteers that are the life blood of our community? Have you considered the effect this flawed policy will have on those considering volunteering?
The message I read in this type of policy is come and help, we need you, but if we do not care or agree with what you do, you are gone
With profound regret,
End of letter.
It was noted that Stephen Froling was a Planning Board representative to the Conservation Commission. It is up to the Planning Board if they wish to send a representative to the Commission.
PETERBOROUGH POLICE: Jordan reported Pam Brenner, Peterborough Town Manager, told SAC that the Peterborough Police have to respond to Conval High School many times over the course of a year and she feels the other towns should contribute to the Police Department. SAC will be meeting with the Peterborough Police Chief, Scott Guinard, on May 11th to hear what the issues are.
ADJOURNED: Boland moved to adjourn at 5:56 p.m.; seconded by LaPlante; unanimously approved.