HANCOCK SELECTBOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
PRESENT: Roberta LaPlante-Chair, Carolyn Boland, John Jordan – Selectboard
Barbara Caverly-Town Administrator/Recording Secretary
OTHERS: David Chesley-Congressman Bass Representative, Jeff Earls-Cross Country
Appraisal Group, Kurt Grassett-DPW Director, Andrew Wood-Police Chief
LaPlante opened the meeting at 4:00. Boland moved to accept the Minutes of September 12th, seconded by Jordan, unanimously approved.
LaPlante then welcomed David Chesley to the table.
CHESLEY: David introduced himself and gave the Selectboard a very good overview of the status of various economic situations in the country today and how the Federal budget impacts at the state and local level. He noted the stimulus projects are about complete. Boland mentioned Hancock's Main Street Project and how much we appreciated the ability to complete that project without using property tax funds. She noted we have also been the recipient of some hazard mitigation funds from FEMA. The tax rates can't handle increases to the taxpayers with the current economic situation being what it is.
Chesley noted the Federal government is tracking school funding. He also updated the Selectboard on grants for the future. LaPlante noted her concern regarding any unfunded mandates being handed down.
When asked what committees Congressman Bass is serving on, Chesley replied he is on the Energy and Commerce committee and the Health/Medicare/Telecom subcommittee. The Transportation and FAA reauthorization is coming up again this year and the long term needs of the infrastructure will be coming up this fall.
JEFF EARLS-APPRAISER: LaPlante asked Earls to give the Board an overview of his assessment procedures and findings. Earls felt the update went well. He noted most values went down with the average drop being 15-18%. Waterfront property was hard to prove because of lack of sales but he noted Hancock seems to be holding its own. There was one sale for 7/10 acre at $750,000 so he used a figure of $775,000 per acre. Some of the views retained more value than others. The Current Use backland was lowered as a result of the Current Use Board changes to the rates. Main Street maintained a lot of its value. The Board inquired of one or two specific properties and felt the adjustments were justified.
Earls was asked to explain a cyclical valuation process as one option for the Board to consider in an effort to maintain a more even tax rate. This process will be explained, in detail, at the preliminary public budget meeting scheduled for October 24th.
The Selectboard all felt their questions and concerns were answered by Earls and they were satisfied with the results of the statistical update.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Grassett reported there will be a timber harvest on Hayward Road with the logging company planning to access the site from Route 137. The company will be crossing a paved driveway to
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a private residence, trimming a lot of brush and fixing a mud hole to make the road passable for their trucks. Grassett also noted there is no good way to shed water on one hill. He will be meeting with the logger and will tell him what will need to be done to make the road acceptable. Grassett stated it will be up to the Selectboard to determine the amount of the bond. The Board feels a $10,000 bond would be acceptable.
KASSARJIAN CUT: Grassett reported on his conversation with Woody Huntington regarding a timber cut by the railroad bed at Huntington's. It will be very selective with only 18-24 trees tagged. They are planning to cross the town portion of the Depot parking area. They will be trimming a bit of brush. Grassett reminded them to be aware of the Shoreland Protection rules. It appears they will be working beyond the 150' required setback but it remains up to the loggers to confirm they are in compliance.
PROSPECT HILL PROJECT: The invoices are starting to come in. The town has received a credit of $1.90 per ton on the liquid asphalt because of a drop in price. Work on Sugarbush Road will be addressed next summer. Grassett will draft a letter to be sent to the residents of Sugarbush Road outlining his plan.
RADIANT HEATERS: Grassett reported the radiant heaters installed at the Department of Public Works failed an inspection by the state Fire Marshal. There is an issue with the installer who was a subcontractor. Grassett and the contractor will follow up with the sub.
SPEED TABLE: The Selectboard and Grassett had a discussion on what action to take with the speed table. LaPlante stated that at all three public meetings held by the VPC and then at the public meeting in August 2011, it was made clear to her that the residents who took the time to participate and give input at these meetings were against a speed table. She feels the wishes of those people and others should be honored. She brought up that some felt the location of the table isn't where it was initially reported to be installed. Grassett pointed out the speed studies and the state indicated it should be placed where it currently is and that this was part of several minutes of explanation that were given to the topic at Town Meeting in March. Jordan noted it is a safety issue at that location where the beach drive, Post Office drive and Old Dublin Road all converge into Route 123.
LaPlante reported some people would like to see the table moved to the area of the Pine Ridge cemetery. She noted the police officers have been doing a great job of monitoring traffic through town and keeping people slowed down.
Jordan stated he would like to see the table stay for another year or two until the trees close in and create a scenario that naturally slows drivers down.
Chief Wood stated he hasn't seen much difference in the speed and doesn't think there is enough value to continue with it.
Jordan and Boland stated they both favor putting the table in again for another year. Grassett stated he has no strong opinion either way. Grassett did make note that repeated installation and removal of a temporary speed table is time consuming for his department. He further stated he is not certain how well the current table will hold up with repeated removals and installations. A resident present at the
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last public meeting regarding the speed table made note that the permanent table in West Peterborough is far more acceptable than the temporary one here and that if Hancock wants to retain one for the next 3-5 years she would encourage the Selectboard to consider a permanent one like that.
When LaPlante polled the Board Boland and Jordan voted to have the speed table go back in next year and LaPlante wanted it to go away. Grassett explained the next step would be to write NHDOT to lay out a plan for what they would like to do – install a permanent table for the next few years – up to about 5 years. Grassett will remove the current one as soon as he can schedule it. LaPlante said if the table goes back in she would like to see a sign stating it is not a crosswalk.
POLICE REPORT: LaPlante questioned Wood regarding an invoice the Board was to approve for payment. He stated it was for LED portable lights. The flashing lights quit working and they need them for many instances at night.
LaPlante asked Wood to bring purchases from his Special Revenue Fund to the Selectboard for approval prior to making the purchase. Boland moved to approve Chief Wood's request to use the Police Equipment fund for the purchase of the LED lights; seconded by Jordan, unanimously approved.
Wood then asked to purchase another portable radio from his Equipment Fund because all the officers should have their own. Boland moved to approve the purchase of a portable radio for the Police Department, seconded by Jordan, unanimously approved.
LaPlante inquired into the status of the car seized by the Police Department several months ago. Chief Wood stated it is still involved in governmental "red tape". The cash portion is in the special fund set up to be used for allowable specified items.
LIAISON REPORTS: Common Commission: Boland reported they worked on the 2012 budget. The Bandstand needs some repairs and they have received an estimate of $20,000 to $25,000 needed in restoration work. The Commissioners have received two different scopes covering the roof, trim and siding. They are still obtaining proposals.
SAC: Jordan reported he has a SAC meeting coming up on Wednesday, September 21st.
MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS: The Selectboard agreed to hold the employee contribution to their health insurance to the current rate of 5%. Any potential wage increases remain to be determined later in the budget process. The Selectboard approved the final payments to Cross Country Appraisal Group for the statistical update.
Caverly stated she is working on the MS-4 for the Board to review by the next meeting. This form will reflect any areas where revenue is coming in at less than originally budgeted. It ultimately impacts on the tax rate.
ADJOURNED: Boland moved to adjourn at 5:57 p.m.