HANCOCK SELECTBOARD MINUTES
MAY 17, 2010
PRESENT: John Jordan-Chair, Roberta LaPlante, Carolyn Boland-Selectboard
Barbara Caverly-Town Administrator/Recording Secretary
OTHERS: Charlie Stevenson-Code Enforcement Officer; Mary Moses-Assessor;
Linda Coughlan-Secretary; Nahida Sherman; Lois Haskins-Treasurer
John Jordan called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. Boland moved the Minutes be approved as read. Seconded by LaPlante; unanimously approved.
The Board met with Charlie Stevenson, at his request. The subject at hand was the increased number of inspections to be required on insulation. Stevenson said it will now require four inspections instead of just one and, if a blower door test is required, that would be an additional one because he would need to be present for that.
Stevenson anticipates an extra four hours per house now, for these inspections. When asked what inspections he does, he responded: footings, foundation, insulation, drainage, rough framing and electric, rough plumbing and Certificate of Occupancy. In order to recoup the cost of the extra inspections, Jordan suggested an increase in fees. LaPlante moved to increase to $0.20 per square foot, the building permit fees for Residential construction; seconded by Boland; unanimously approved.
Stevenson then brought forward an issue concerning a travel trailer being lived in on the property of Fran's Autobody. He will be going down there following this meeting to detach the electrical wire as it is unsafe. There are also concerns with regard to septage.
On another situation, Stevenson was contacted by a person asking that he [Stevenson] condemn his step mother's house because she has emphysema and there is a lot of black mold. Stevenson stated he did an inspection but does not feel it is condemnable; however, it does need some repair work.
Stevenson questioned what authority he or Linda Coughlan has as Health Officer. He does understand why the family is concerned but doesn't feel he can intervene. Jordan suggested he contact the state Health and Human Services for his answers regarding their authority.
Mary Moses/Linda Coughlan: Mary was in to review and answer the Board's questions on the abatement forms that were filed with the Selectboard. Two or three abatements referenced recent appraisals. Moses stated they have to consider the appraisal even though it is outside of the 2006 time-frame when the last town-wide revaluation was completed. Moses also stated that if abatement is requested, the entire property is under review, not just the feature that's included in the abatement request. She stated there are many times when people make renovations but do not obtain a permit that would trigger an inspection of the house.
MAY 17, 2010
One of the properties was vacant for several years and incurred problems because of the long period without maintenance. The buyers were able to purchase the property at a substantial savings. At the time of the 2006 revaluation there were many shrubs that prevented the assessor from doing an accurate measurement; therefore, those measurements were taken and corrected this year. Other notations included a functioning bathroom with only sub flooring and one bath was gutted. Moses stated the new owners had to do a lot of work before they could move in. The abatement request for 2009 was processed and granted by the Selectboard but the value increased for 2010 due to the work that was done prior to April 1, 2010.
Coughlan noted some assessing errors that have occurred over the past two years. Moses stated she does review the work that is done by the others on her team and reviewed the process as a whole. Boland stated she was concerned about the number of errors that had occurred in the recent past.
The Brown abatement was approved. Boland had questioned whether it was listed as a two-family and it was confirmed that it is. Jordan then noted it is now in the commercial zone and the barn is rented out to someone other than the residential apartment renters. Moses stated she will correct the card to reflect it is in a commercial zone and that it also has the barn area being rented. The value of the basement was questioned.
The Coll property was looked at as a "pick up" because it was incomplete at the 2009 check. They had also filed for an abatement calling for that to be considered, as well. The value was increased on the pick up and then received a decrease on the abatement request.
The Mercer filing was denied because there was no supporting documentation.
The Dodge property was obtained at a foreclosure sale. There was some structural depreciation on that property; thus, the abatement was approved.
Moses then explained the assessing process: the first attempt being a site visit. If no one is there they will call and make an appointment. Boland suggested making appointments initially but Moses said that would be more costly.
It was suggested a notice be placed on the website when we know the assessors will be in town as well as the section of town, when that becomes available.
Jordan suggested the assessors talk with the Building Inspector if they are unable to obtain entrance to a house. The reason being he may be able to relay an accurate description of the interior.
MAY 17, 2010
The RRL abatement request is still pending with Moses.
NAHIDA SHERMAN: Sherman came in to discuss the postings on the bulletin board outside the Post Office. She brought in a copy of the notice relaying what is and what is not permitted on that bulletin board. She stated non-profit organization sales are permissible.
Sherman brought up two posters in particular. It was determined the one for the local preschool is for a non-profit; the one for the Hillsborough school would be considered more of an advertisement and should be removed.
Sherman noted that Graham Slamin has fixed the Post Office bulletin board and that he did a nice job.
WEBMASTER LIAISON: Sherman asked if she should have a liaison. The Selectboard asked Caverly if she would be it and she agreed.
Sherman brought up the possibility of advertising on the website, questioning if it would be appropriate to charge for ads. LaPlante noted that Peterborough charges for ads on their website. The Selectboard feels it is appropriate to charge and Jordan suggesting basing the charge on the same rates as for Hancock Happenings advertisements. Sherman will follow up on this.
Many committees still don't know how much they can use the web, stated Sherman. The various committees need to be reminded of RSA 91-A as it relates to posting. The town website is the only official internet resource for Hancock notices.
Sherman asked if there is a listing of when a building permit is required. It was suggested that instead of posting a list there be a reference to the Zoning Ordinance on the web. People would then be able to read that portion for themselves.
On another topic, Sherman handed out copies of her two emails sent to the Hancock Selectmen and to Caverly's office email regarding comments on the Conservation Commission questioning the integrity of the Selectboard. Sherman feels there is no question of their integrity. The two handouts were:
This one dated Thursday, 13 May 2010 at 8:40:02:
Minutes of the May 11 Conservation Commission
I attended the May 11 meeting of the Conservation Commission. When I was posting the minutes of the above meeting to the web site, I read them and was very surprised to see that the last sentence did not reflect what Selectman LaPlante actually said. I know that minute s don't always record all details; however, what was left out of that last sentence is a key answer to Francelia Clarke's question. The statement in the minutes as it is written leads people to infer the opposite of what Selectman LaPlante said.
And this one dated Mon, 17 May 2010 at 13:52:06:
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.
I just went back through some of the HCC and board minutes of the past few months and I can't figure out what this is about. "Veracity"? I certainly don't see any such problem in the minutes.
Sherman stated the first Minutes could create problems because they were incomplete. She told LaPlante she found her to be very kind, cool and professional in her response to the Commission.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES
MAY 17, 2010
LaPlante's recollection of Lee Baker's statement regarding "maybe there should be a clean slate". This total topic was not fully reported in the Minutes.
Further, Sherman has a problem with attacking the "veracity of the Board" as stated in Ron Mack's resignation.
LOIS HASKINS: Lois handed out a draft Investment Policy for the Selectboard to review. She had read over ones from Lyndeborough, Windham, Concord and Laconia before putting together a draft for Hancock. She noted the three issues to be addressed, in this order, are: safety, liquidity and yield.
Haskins proceeded to review the "Scope". Caverly will schedule her to meet with the Selectboard next week to discuss and process the policy.
Haskins then moved on to other areas she and Gail Hoffmann learned about during their GFOA seminar at the Red Jacket in North Conway. Some of these included:
Haskins wished to clear up a misconception that she has heard. She made note that the Treasurer is not the Financial Officer for the town. She also suggested the Selectboard consider posting a letter on the website addressing what is being planned in the financial arena of the town.
Haskins stated she and Hoffmann both felt the conference was very worthwhile and the accommodations were good.
LIAISON REPORTS: Church fund raising for Meetinghouse: Boland reported on the discussions with the church regarding their fund raising. They plan to contact a few people individually to complete the painting portion and then organize a separate committee for the structural items under a separate 501C3. As that committee moves forward it would probably include people not involved in the church.
MAY 17, 2010
Recreation: LaPlante reported the new Waterfront Director, Katie Cousins, is willing to have a "carry in, carry out" policy for trash in order to eliminate the dumpster currently on site. Cousins plans to hold two sessions, 2-weeks each, for swimming lessons, in July. She would also like to give swimming instruction to older children and adults.
Cousins said she would like to have a canoe and/or kayak available for use by residents. The Selectboard promptly stated that would not be permitted. There is too much liability involved and it places too much responsibility on the beach staff.
The beach will be open from June 28th through August 22nd.
John Jordan will be attending the Norway Pond Committee meeting Wednesday, May 19th, in lieu of Roberta.
Conservation Commission: LaPlante reported on the meeting of May 11th, noting that Mark Ellingwood verbally resigned from the Commission at that meeting.
Jordan stated the town needs to move forward. The Board discussed some of the work the Commission does:
LaPlante suggested a member of the NH Association of Conservation Commissions come and speak to the new members of the Commission once they are in place.
Jordan reiterated that the "clean slate" issue mentioned at the meeting did not come from the Selectboard. The Selectboard had people who came forward as being interested in being on the Conservation Commission. The Board noted Stephen Froling is on two separate Boards – Planning Board and the Conservation Commission – and his term was up on the Conservation Commission so they felt it was time to let someone else come on. He further noted Stephen Froling could still be on the Commission as a member of the Planning Board.
The Selectboard took exception to Dick Warner's statement at the May 11, 2010 meeting: "Dick indicated that he believes the commission was downgraded with Stephen's departure."
MAY 17, 2010
Jordan noted the Selectboard received resignations from Paul Faber, Dudley (Lee) Baker, Pierce Rigrod, Dick Warner and Mark Ellingwood, in addition to Ron Mack's of 5/9/2010. He stated the Selectboard regret this but accept these resignations with regret
and thank them for their years of service. They feel the Conservation Commission has been doing an excellent job. LaPlante stated she hopes these people feel they would like to help out the town in another capacity.
SAC: Jordan reported on the meeting between SAC and the Peterborough Police Chief. They are interested in having a Special Resource Officer in Conval and will be attending a SAC meeting on May 27th to give more information.
Boland stated she would like to see more updated figures than was on the original handout Jordan brought back. Jordan stated this officer would be part of the Conval District budget with 63% attributed to the school and 37% to the Town of Peterborough, with the benefits pro-rated. The town of Peterborough would utilize the officer during the summer months when the school is closed.
ZBA: Jordan reported the Board of Adjustment heard the Roper case for a septic system that needs an approval for setback because it doesn't meet today's requirements. David Carney was present as the new alternate to the ZBA.
HEAT: No contract has been received for the energy grants as yet. Eric Aldrich from the Archives Committee met with HEAT. There were no issues other than to note it is very dry in the Archives room during the winter months.
The temperature monitoring reports were reviewed and a spike at the Police Station during a weekend in January was noted.
Rhines Property: The Selectboard inquired whether the funds have come in from the Monadnock Conservancy yet. Caverly will check on this.
The Board would like the Rhines documents turned in to them in chronological order. Caverly will contact Town Counsel regarding the status of this.
Jordan and Boland noted LaPlante's letter to them dated May 11th and asked that it be included in these Minutes (May 17, 2010).
To: John and Carolyn
Subject: Ron Mack Resignation Letter
Date: May 11, 2010
Hi John and Carolyn,
I wanted to share a few thoughts I had regarding Ron Mack's resignation letter submitted at yesterday's select board meeting.
Overall, I disagree with Ron's rationale and I am sorry he decided to resign. I think that our decision not to renew Steve Froling's term was communicated to Ron in a timely fashion by Barb Caverly the week of April 19, at our direction. All of our meeting minutes are easily available through the web site and any committee chair could have attended any of our meetings to inquire about or discuss the status of any committee member whose term was expiring.
Ron refers to the lack of "clarity and veracity' of communications between the Conservation Commission and our appointed rep to the commission, John Jordan. Ron is simply wrong on this point, and this is not the first time he has falsely made this claim. Our thoughts on the LUCT changes we were considering during the budget process were discussed with Ron at several times and he agreed to bring them up at Commission meetings. But then he claimed surprise when the warrant article changing the LUCT allocation was developed. It is inappropriate of Ron to call into question the truthfulness of this board.
Having said that, I think there is a constructive element we can take from Ron's letter. It would be beneficial, I think, if we structured our reappointment process a little more tightly. Getting input from committee chairs before we begin our deliberations might give us better insight into each member's desire to be reappointed and their value to the commission or board on which they serve. Or maybe we could directly inquire with each person whose term is expiring. Some towns require all members whose terms are expiring to reapply and come before the select board to discuss their interest. Perhaps we could adopt procedures incorporating some of these elements. I look forward to discussing this with you at an upcoming meeting.
I know we are all sorry that Ron decided to resign his position on the Conservation Commission. I hope that we can ease some of his regrets over time by continuing to do our best to manage the Town's affairs effectively and improving our processes continuously.
End of letter.
Jordan then stated he liked LaPlante's suggestions for appointments, moving forward. He noted they are three- year terms and people need to understand opportunities should be offered to others.
Boland stated she feels they need to provide the best service and Board to the town that can be provided and LaPlante agreed.
The Selectboard needs to create and keep running policies that are best for the town and keep a pool of volunteers.
LaPlante brought in an article from the NH Association of Conservation Commissions to be placed in the Reading file.
LaPlante stated she will contact Francelia, Tom and Kristen regarding moving forward with the Conservation Commission.
SAC MINUTES: Caverly asked if the Board would like the SAC Minutes put on the Hancock website. They feel the school's website is sufficient.
HAPPENINGS: LaPlante asked that either Boland or Jordan put a note in the Happenings regarding the award to the VPC and a thank you for all their hard work.
FROLING: Caverly brought forth her email request for information received from Stephen Froling, to determine if the Board had any information beyond that in the Minutes. Their response was that the Selectboard does not respond to email requests for documents. They need to be submitted, in writing, to the Town Office. He is more than welcome to make an appointment to meet with the Selectboard.
ADJOURNED: Boland moved to adjourn at 6:25 p.m.; seconded by LaPlante; unanimously approved.