HANCOCK SELECTBOARD MINUTES

FEBRUARY 6, 2012

 

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

                      Barbara Caverly-Town Administrator/Recording Secretary

 

 OTHERS:  Kurtis Grassett-DPW Director; Andrew Wood-Police Chief

 

LaPlante opened the meeting at 4:00 p.m.

 

NON PUBLIC:  At 4:00 p.m. Jordan moved to go into nonpublic session under RSA 91-A:3, ll to discuss the hiring of a person as a public employee; seconded by Boland; vote:  LaPlante-aye, Boland-aye, Jordan-aye.  The nonpublic session was closed at 4:05 p.m.

 

MINUTES:  Jordan moved to accept the Minutes of January 23 and January 30th; seconded by Boland; unanimously approved.

 

HIGHWAY REPORT:   Grassett reported the town has received a check in the amount of $4,876.67 from FEMA for the December 2011 snowstorm.  A public hearing will need to be held to accept the funds.    A date has not yet been set for the hearing.

 

Evergreen Hill:  The next road of concern for Grassett is Evergreen Hill.  He has started budgeting for culverts to do a closed drainage system on that road.  He would like to put the FEMA funds toward the project.  Those funds would allow him to get approximately 500 to 600 feet up the hill.

 

Main Street:  Grassett brought in a form to be signed by LaPlante in order to obtain the $5,000 balance due the town from B.U.R. on the Main Street project.  This will close out that project.

 

Retirement:  Grassett will be receiving a retirement notice from an employee very soon.    He will need to move forward to fill that slot and asked the Board for their thoughts.  There is one prospective candidate but the position will need to be posted for any others who may be interested.  The notice will be posted only after Grassett has the notice in hand.

 

LIAISON REPORTS: 

SAU:  Jordan reported the budget presentation was contentious and included discussion of the bond and the return of surplus from 2011.  The district is currently spending money from 2011 that was not in the budget.   Discussion of the bond included a review of comparative costs on options A, B and C as well as the size differences.  Jordan stated he will be speaking under the Public Comment portion at the school board meeting.  Boland thanked Jordan for being there and having good knowledge of the topic.

 

Recreation:  LaPlante reported the Recreation Committee will be meeting Feb. 7th to finalize the Winter Frolic.

 

POLICE REPORT:  Chief Wood was in to discuss the Advisory CommitteeÔs feelings regarding the police cruiser on the 2012 warrant.  If the current cruiser is held for another year it may need additional funds in the maintenance line.  He would add $1,000 to that  line.  Wood feels he needs administrative help above having another cruiser.  He will work with whatever budget is approved.

 

SELECTBOARD MINUTES

FEBRUARY 6, 2012

PAGE TWO

 

Wood stated he still needs to keep part time officers active, to maintain their interest in staying here as well as in keeping them current.  The Hancock Police Department is being more proactive.  He feels the overlaps of shifts are working well.  There are fewer juvenile issues because the officers are being seen in more locations now.  Further, he still wants a part time secretary.  He would like to have 2500 hours as a temporary position.  The position will need to be posted and a job description needs to be available.   The Selectboard feels the general public doesn't realize how much work was not being covered for a few years, in the past.

 

Boland noted the government and prosecution is increasing workloads and demands on everyone.  She feels Wood needs to keep the staff because what is being done by the officers does work in keeping burglaries and other crimes lower.  Wood does not expect Officers Weeks and Hetrick to assist with prosecution.

 

Wood stated he is currently spending about three quarters of his time in the office; he is not getting some things organized that need to be.

 

Discussion of the use of the confiscated money was held.  Chief Wood stated there are limitations on what that money can be used for, i.e. drug related issues can be considered.

 

ELDERLY EXEMPTION:  The Board reviewed some data just received and concluded it would be best to hold on making any changes to the exemption and the qualifications until 2013.

 

POLICE BUDGET:  The Selectboard discussed the Police budget again and agreed to add $1,500 to the part time line.

 

RECESSED:  The regular meeting of the Selectboard was recessed at 5:30 and will re-open for the public hearing of the budget and warrant at 7:00 p.m.

 


 BUDGET/WARRANT PUBLIC HEARING

February 6, 2012

 

LaPlante opened the hearing and thanked Pat Payne, Marsha Kono and the whole Budget Advisory Committee for their work. 

 

The expenses were the first area to be reviewed.  LaPlante highlighted the areas with the greatest increases.

 

The increase in the Executive line was, in large part, the inclusion of the cyclical revaluation and a new server.

 

Employee Benefits:  The health insurance has increased but it was noted that the employees will also be increasing their contributions from 5% to 7.5%; the employer's share of the NH Retirement for Police has increased significantly.  The employees are receiving step increases on their date of hire.

 

Cemeteries:  The large increase in the Cemetery budget is for the work to be done on the land donated by the Amidons, next to Hillside Cemetery.  This increase does have total revenue offset from the cemetery trust funds.

 

Police:  The increases in the police budget are due to major fuel increases, increased cost of ammunition and an increase in dispatch services.

 

Fire:  The Fire department budget actually dropped this year.  This was due in part to a move of their electricity line to the Town Buildings electricity line.

 

Highway:  Much of the highway budget increase is due to the increase in the fuel costs.  This increase impacts many areas of the highway budget, beyond the gas and diesel lines.  Grassett noted the decrease in the Highway Block Grant and explained some of the changes in the gas tax that impact the block grants.

 

Recreation:  This department is seeing an increase because of plans to include recreation programs that will be offered this year, i.e. bus trips.  These will, however, have revenue offsets.  The Summer Recreation Program and the swimming lessons have some revenue offset to them.

 

LaPlante then moved to the Revenue budget:

 

Motor vehicle fees:  These have been at a decreased level for the past several years and have not seemed to rebound yet.

 

State revenues:  The NH Rooms and Rental took a significant drop last year and will continue at the lower rate.

 

State and Federal Floodland:  LaPlante noted that has decreased because the State of NH will not be paying the portion due from the Federal Government share that has not been paid to NH.

 

Sale of Town Property:  That line has a large increase this year due to the sale of a piece of property taken by the town, by tax deed. 

PUBLIC HEARING

FEBRUARY 6, 2012

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Income from Rents:  This line has increased because the United States Post Office rent rate has commenced its new five-year increase.

 

LaPlante then moved on to the Selectmen's Tax Calculation Sheet.  It was noted the town portion represents 26% of the whole tax rate.

 

The warrant articles were then reviewed.

 

Town Clock:  Marie Fogg asked what is planning to be done to the town clock.  The response was to have it repainted and the hands and numerals re-gilded.  LaPlante noted that article for $8,400 will be paid from the 2011 fund  balance.

 

Meetinghouse:  David Carney asked if there is an update on the Meetinghouse roof.  Grassett responded the roof is at the end of its useful life; nails are no longer holding.  There are some structural issues that impact the steeple.  When the building was moved in 1851 an inside wall was moved but nothing was put in to hold the weight of the steeple.

 

A structural engineer is needed to determine where columns are needed underneath in order to stabilize the steeple.  The fact that it is built on so much sand has definitely helped the building over the years.  A plan will be worked on for the balance of the work, i.e. roof and stabilizing, for next year.  The current plan for 2012 will continue to protect and preserve the building now. 

 

The Grapevine:  Jane Richards-Jones spoke to the article noting they are no longer receiving any state funding.  The spokespeople would like to see the town place the amount back up to the $5,000 originally asked for this year.  LaPlante addressed the fact that Hancock is paying 25% more but fewer people from Hancock attend.  She is concerned for Hancock giving more than their fair share compared to the other towns.  Kristen Vance stated it is based on population.  They are asking Hancock for 25% more but it hasn't reached that percentage yet in attendance.

 

Vance noted they have started a substance abuse program this year that is an evidence based curriculum.  The state funding was lost for that program but they did obtain an outside supporter.  LaPlante stated she is willing to go up to $4,000; however, the Board agreed it will stay at $3,750 in the warrant and further action may be taken at town meeting if someone so chooses.  Beth Bradford also spoke in favor of supporting The Grapevine to the requested amount.

 

LaPlante said she would like to see what the population is for each of the four towns involved.

 

Vance stated if the town's share had increased each year it would have equaled 3%-4%.  Other statements made:

o   Prevention preserves

o   Consider working more directly with the Welfare Officer

o   There has been an increase in charitable donations

o   The Grapevine is working on other areas for long term sustainability

 

PUBLIC HEARING

FEBRUARY6, 2012

PAGE THREE

 

LaPlante suggested bringing to town meeting a list of items people from Hancock actually participate in.

 

The warrant article pertaining to the renovations to the bandstand will be covered by $10,000 from the Hancock Improvement Association and $10,000 from the 2011 fund balance.  There will be no 2012 tax dollars needed for either this article or the town clock repair.

 

LaPlante noted the $520 for St. Joseph's  Community Services replaces the funds previously given to the Senior Nutrition program for many years.  That program no longer exists but several people do make use of the St. Joseph's Meals program.  Boland stated this program actually has delivery people who spend some time with the people to determine that they are, in fact, doing all right or whether there are issues that someone should look into.

 

The importance of continuing to build both the Bridge Capital Reserve fund and the Meetinghouse Capital Reserve fund were duly noted.  These funds are also needed when the town goes for a grant, as they will indicate the town's intentions, long term.

 

David Carney, speaking with regard to the budget, suggested having more detail in some areas of the budget in the future.    This will be considered for another year.

 

Carney noted the Child Advocacy was in the previous year's warrant but not in this one.  Chief Wood stated the program is not being used by Hancock at this time.

 

There being no further discussion, LaPlante closed the hearing.

 

The Selectboard then reviewed all the warrant articles and determined their placement within the warrant.

 

ADJOURNED:  The meeting and public hearing were adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Barbara Caverly

Recording Secretary