HANCOCK SELECTBOARD MINUTES

OCTOBER 24, 2011

 

PRESENT:  Roberta LaPlante-Chair, Carolyn Boland, John Jordan – Selectboard

                      Barbara Caverly, Town Administrator/Recording Secretary

 

 OTHERS:  Andrew Wood-Police Chief; Kurtis Grassett-DPW Director; Pay Payne & Marsha Kono-Budget              

                      Advisory Committee; Mary Covington, Hunt Dowse, Mary Garland, Regina Bringolf, John        

                      Hayes-public meeting attendees.

 

LaPlante called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  She then opened the public meeting that was scheduled to give the residents an opportunity to discuss the focus and goals for the 2012 budget.  She gave a quick highlight to the fact there are drops in revenue with timber tax being one of the larger ones.

 

LaPlante then introduced Norm LeBlond, the town's appraiser, to explain what a cyclical update is as compared to a statistical update or a full revaluation.    The Town has just completed a statistical update and LeBlond's role for the town was to spot check the work of the firm doing the update, in conjunction with an employee of the Department of Revenue.

 

LeBlond explained the cyclical 2012-2105 will only correct any possible data errors that may exist on the property record. If there is no error then no change is made to the assessment. In the 5th year (2016) a statistical update will be done, as required by law. Every property in Hancock will have its value adjusted to 2016 market values. By doing the 4-year cyclical and the update in the 5th year, Hancock will be able to level fund the assessing budget.

 

LeBlond's explanation helped to allay the concerns of those who thought the actual valuations would change section by section.  The Selectboard is considering budgeting for a cyclical update starting in 2012 in an effort to keep a more level budget and tax rate and avoid a spike in five years.

 

Once all questions directed to LeBlond and the issues surrounding the various revaluation options were answered LaPlante moved on and asked Grassett to explain any Highway Dept. issues coming forth.

 

Grassett explained an anticipated drop coming in the Block Grant funds this year.  For two years everyone had an additional $30 per registration added on when the vehicle(s) were renewed.   These funds were part of the Highway Block Grant revenue from the state.  This has now been dropped, hence a decrease in the Highway Block Grant.  The drop in this charge and the potential additional funds to be budgeted, to make up the approximately $15,000, will have a different impact on every household, Grassett noted.  

 

The various fuels Grassett has to budget for have a large impact on his budgets.  The 2011 budget for Diesel fuel was figured at $2.60 per gallon, the average paid was $2.97; the 2012 budget will see the figure of $3.25 per gallon.

 

The #2 fuel budget figure for 2011 was $2.65 and for 2012 it will be $3.23.  Propane in the 2011 budget was $2.15 per gallon and for the 2012 budget it will be $2.35.  The gas budget for 2011 was $2.40 per gallon with an average of $2.70; the 2012 budget is $3.15. 

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OCTOBER 24, 2011

 PAGE TWO

 

Grassett noted the Highway Block Grant and the fuel usage account for the over $19,000 increase in his budgets.

 

Asphalt prices have increased substantially.  Grassett noted we now have a monopoly on that product.

 

Dowse asked if this would impact the scope of work to be done.  Grassett replied it would not because of the way he put the budget together.  Next year, 2012, will be a maintenance year with no scheduled projects.  This directly impacts the budget because there will be no time spent on projects that would have some offsetting revenue from grants.

 

Hayes inquired about the CIP.  LaPlante agreed a copy should have been available.  She did note the Selectboard has worked to try and maintain a level spending in that area.  The end of 2011 will see a drop of approximately $95,000 in long term debt and less than that will be coming on in warrant articles for 2012.

 

Jordan noted Conval will probably come in with a bond for work on the high school gymnasium.  Dowse asked if the school rate may decrease but Jordan is not sure about that.

 

LaPlante then asked Chief Wood to speak to any Police Department issues.  The Chief stated the cruiser has 130,000 miles on it and needs to be replaced.  He is looking at a V6 engine rather than a V8.  An average of 60,000 miles is put on the cruiser in a year.  He doesn't feel he needs more than a V6 engine which would also help in the fuel usage.  LaPlante noted that Wood did ask for a cruiser last year and the Board asked that he hold off another year.

 

Dowse asked what Wood is considering for a vehicle.  Answer:  Wood was looking into other makes but they do not come with the police package necessary.  He will be looking at a Ford, either the SUV or car with all-wheel drive and would have a 3.5 liter, V6 engine and better gas mileage.

 

Wood is trying to work into a six-year replacement schedule.  When asked about the cost for a new cruiser in 2012 Wood stated he will seek $35,000 with about $26,000 for the vehicle and the balance for the necessary equipment – change-over of some and replacement of other, i.e. a ten-year-old light bar.

 

LaPlante asked Caverly for any comments on her budget.  Caverly reported the office just purchased a new copier to replace the old one that has worn down to making inadequate copies now.  The new one will come into the budget in 2012 and should help cut down on the cost of cartridges.  The new one will also eliminate the need for a fax machine which would be coming up for replacement in 2012.  The copier is now networked to all computers in the office and has the ability to scan and fax from it, our move into the 21st century.

 

LaPlante inquired of any changes to health insurance rates but Caverly reported she has not received the new estimated rates yet.

 

The condition of the Meetinghouse roof was brought up and Grassett noted a committee has been working on a preservation study.  The steeple has a tilt to it that adds a dimension of instability. A

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structural engineer is needed to come in and make an assessment.  The slate roof underlayment no longer holds nails so there is a problem in view.

 

Dowse inquired if there are any strains on welfare forthcoming.   Caverly and the Board noted that Linda Coughlan, Welfare Director, does an excellent job in handling Hancock's cases.  To date we've managed well, with the assistance of her Helping Hands account.

 

The public meeting portion of the Selectboard meeting was closed at this point, there being no further discussion.

 

POLICE REPORT:  Chief Wood came to bring the Selectboard up to date on his budget.  His Part Time and Over Time wages are getting very close to budget; fuel will be over.  LaPlante asked if there are any full time hours that can be adjusted and Wood stated there are not.

 

DPW REPORT:  Dump Committee:  Grassett reported the Dump Committee met and are working on creating a "needs" list and funding.   One possible way would be to restrict some funds for a capital expenditure.  There are storage issues at the facility.  All baled goods should be kept under cover but, due to lack of covered storage, the cans are kept outside.  The compactor is getting old and reaching the point of metal fatigue.  The town purchased the compactor, used, 20 years ago.  The projected life span is 25-30 years.  The committee looked into purchasing parts to make it operable but they can't purchase them any longer.  The other factor is a possible tear in the metal that is not in a location to be visible but could cause the whole unit to stop functioning.  One of the committee members checked with McGuire equipment and obtained an estimate of $21,113 for a new one.  That one comes with the option to put a switch to 3-phase and will go from 2-yard to 3-yard capacity.  It still needs to be determined whether Monadnock Disposal can handle a 3-yard container.  The next question will be how to purchase it.  One option being considered is a 3-5 year lease/purchase.

Common-bandstand:  The Common Commissioners went out for proposals for repair of the bandstand and received two back.  One came in with the plan to check various items that would need repair; another one came back with a plan for a restoration of the structure.  The Commissioners are looking at restoration and have spoken with that individual.  It was noted the roof is fine but other work that may need to be done will depend on what is found when the walls are opened up.   The estimate for the restoration is approximately $20,000 from roof down to do an historic preservation.

HIA has some funds remaining from the wires project and will pledge $10,000 towards the restoration.  The remaining $10,000 needs to be raised.  The commissioners are aware there are already several fund raisers under way and are reluctant to have another one.  One option would be a warrant article for $20,000 with $10,000 coming from HIA and the remaining from donations and any remaining balance from taxation.  Grassett will draft a warrant article and the Selectboard will consider other funding options that may be available.

 

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The Selectboard has discussed the two proposals received for the restoration to be done and will be moving forward.

 

Dump: Grassett brought forth the topic of winter hours on Wednesday at the Dump.  The original discussion was to drop to 6:00 p.m. in the winter.  However, there is high usage between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  The committee is now thinking about moving the closing time from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. about December 1st through the end of February.  There is an article in the November Hancock Happenings asking for people's input regarding the change in time.  The Selectboard agrees with the proposed change unless the general public comes forth with other thoughts.

 

Class VI road:  Grassett reported the Monadnock Paper Mill has two proposed timber harvests scheduled on their property bordered by Antrim Road and High Street and the Antrim town line.  There are several Class VI roads on that property and some of them will need to be fixed up in order to move the equipment in and out for the harvesting operation.  One thought that the forester is interested in is that of moving the roads to Class A trails.  Grassett will speak with the property owner and, if he is interested in the concept, it will need to be taken to a Town Meeting vote. 

 

NONPUBLIC: At 8:40 p.m. Jordan moved to enter into non-public session to discuss a personnel matter pursuant to RSA 91-A:3,ll (a); seconded by Boland; roll call vote:  LaPlante-aye, Boland-aye, Jordan-aye.

 

Upon returning to public session at 8:45 p.m. Jordan moved to seal the Minutes; seconded by Boland, unanimously approved.

 

AGENDA ITEMS:

Main Street businesses to the website:  Caverly brought to the Board the webmaster's interest in placing a synopsis of the businesses on Main Street on the website.  This would include a photo or two and a short write-up of the business.

 

Home Based Business:  The Selectboard asked that Linda Coughlan send one more letter to the owner of a home based business that has not completed the required form to determine if further steps are necessary.

 

Work Zone/Police Details Policy:  Boland said she will take on the task of reviewing and reworking any areas of the Work Zone and Police Details policies, as needed, and bring in for review by the entire Selectboard.

 

Town vehicles:  Jordan asked the Selectboard to consider a policy stating all town vehicles are to remain in town unless out of town on official business.   The Board discussed and it was determined there are some differences in the line of duty for the Police Department, Highway Department and Fire Department. 

 

MINUTES:  Boland moved to accept the October 17th Minutes as amended to include one topic that was initially omitted:

 

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OCTOBER 24, 2011

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The Selectboard, having reviewed a draft letter to the NHDOT regarding a possible permanent speed table, reaffirmed their position of September 19th, that the speed table be put in one more year.

Seconded by Jordan, unanimously approved.

 

LIAISON REPORTS:  Planning Board:  Boland reported no meeting was held last week.

Recreation:  LaPlante reported the Recreation budget will be forthcoming.

 

PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS:  LaPlante feels the Selectboard needs to get started on these evaluations, which have been under discussion for some time.  She asked Caverly to print out the necessary job descriptions.

 

ADJOURNED:  The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Barbara Caverly

Recording Secretary