Town of Chester – Board of Selectmen’s Meeting – December 5th, 2013
Town of Chester
Board of Selectmen Meeting
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
7:00 PM Call the Meeting to Order
Pledge of Allegiance
Chairman’s Additions or Deletions
Public Comment (10 minutes)
Approval of Minutes
Public Comment (10 minutes)
1.1 Call to Order
Chairman Landau called this meeting of the Town of Chester Board of Selectmen to order at 7:05pm.
1.2 Roll Call
Members of the Public present, at various times:
Matt Rittenhouse, Tri-Town Times
And other persons unknown to the Recording Secretary
1.3 Pledge of Allegiance
Chairman Landau led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
1.4 Additions and Deletions
Two items will be brought up during roundtable: vacation time, and an email about Warrant Articles.
1.5 Public Comment
Barbara Dolloff stood and was recognized. She asked why the firefighters had not been included when the Board voted to give employees a 50¢/hour raise.
Chairman Landau stated that the firefighters were considered volunteers, so they do not follow the same routine as regular employees do. He stated that the firefighters were stipend-compensated volunteers, just as the Board of Selectmen are. Selectman Cannon added that the Fire Department pay rates had been completely overhauled a year ago, with some receiving a ~$1.50-$2.00 raise at that time. Mrs. Dolloff opined that this should have been clarified in the newspaper, as the editorial inferred that the omission of the firefighters had been a mistake.
Chairman Landau also noted that Selectman Castricone had not been a member of the Board of Selectmen when the firefighters’ pay structure was overhauled.
As no other Members of the Public wished to be heard, Public Comment was closed at 7:11pm.
II. Old Business
2.1 Approval of Minutes
November 14th, 2013: Chairman Landau moved to approve these minutes as drafted; Vice-Chairman Hagan seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
November 21st, 2013: Selectman Castricone moved to approve these minutes as drafted; Vice-Chairman Hagan seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
2.2 CFD K-9 Policy
Fire Chief Antoine had drafted a policy to address his Search & Rescue dog. Selectman Cannon had made some changes in terminology, and to clarify certain items; he also added a paragraph stating that the cost of the dog’s usage would be covered by the Town.
Selectman LeBlanc objected, stating that when Fire Chief Antoine had first brought up getting a dog, he had stated that the dog would be at no cost to the town, plus he would be using his own private vehicle to transport it. Selectman LeBlanc added that Search & Rescue was Fire Chief Antoine’s personal hobby done on his own time, and that as such the Town should not be funding it. Vice-Chairman Hagan noted that a Search & Rescue hobby was not the same as, perhaps, a scuba diving hobby; it was intended to be a life-saving activity. He did agree, however, that when the subject was first raised, the dog was intended to be at no cost to the Town.
Chairman Landau is concerned about establishing such a particular policy. The dog does not belong to the Town; moreover, the Command Vehicle is not specifically the Chief’s car; it is intended for the use of the entire Department, and for the benefit of the Town.
Selectman Castricone agreed, stating that the Command Vehicle and its equipment should remain in Town. He stated that nobody should be in a Town-owned vehicle other than a member of the department to which the vehicle is assigned, or an elected official. He is concerned that Fire Chief Antoine takes the dog to training in the Command Vehicle every Wednesday, even though the Board was originally told that training would be attended in the Fire Chief’s personal car, and on nights and weekends.
Mrs. Dolloff stood and was recognized, asking if the use of the dog was considered to be mutual aid. It is not, according to Selectman Castricone, as the Search & Rescue organization is a private one.
David Sprague stood and was recognized, asking if perhaps the dog should be treated as a firefighter. Vice-Chairman Hagan stated parenthetically that there were dogs that were considered active military personnel. However, according to Selectman Castricone, Fire Chief Antoine had not suggested this when the dog was originally brought up.
Selectman Castricone stated that this should be a Town policy, not specifically a dog policy. Copies of a similar policy from Needham, MA were handed out; Selectman Castricone will send a soft copy to each member of the Board. Selectman LeBlanc will review it, make notes, and discuss it with the Board before it is sent to Town Counsel. Fire Chief Antoine should be brought in to meet with the Board once they are resolved on what needs to occur.
III. New Business
Finance Director Smith provided a draft budget form, based on the Fire Department one, for each department to use during their budgeting process. She also provided a tentative schedule, with December 19th being the first date.
Department Heads are required to provide their draft budgets to the Board of Selectmen at least one week before their scheduled meeting, and preferably two weeks. Otherwise, the Board will go with that Department’s prior year budget. Lines of $5k and over with material changes – 5% increase or over – will require detail and discussion. That said, if there are multiple lines in a budget with increases just under the threshold, those will also be scrutinized.
Colin Costine stood and was recognized. He stated that all Departments know when Budget time is each year; it should not be a problem to have their budgets ready two weeks in advance.
Chairman Landau would like the “Fireworks” line changed to “Town Fair”; Selectman Castricone will alert Finance Director Smith. This is separate from the Recreation budget; although they run the event, the income goes to the Town.
IV. Selectmen’s Business
He reminded those in attendance that if physically able, they should approach the microphone when wishing to speak with the Board.
He asked for an update on the LGC funds that he thought were being returned to employees; Finance will be approached, and this will be discussed next week.
He brought up the subject of the Town Fair Police Detail. Although the Board had originally expected to pay for this expense, considering that revenue was generated at the Fair, it was agreed that the expense would come out of this revenue – otherwise it would simply go into the unexpended fund balance. Selectman Castricone moved to pay the Town Fair Police Detail out of the Town Fair proceeds; Selectman LeBlanc seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
He asked if anyone would like to take over the Fire Department liaison position, as his time has recently become limited. Vice-Chairman Hagan and Selectman LeBlanc volunteered to co-liaise. Chairman Landau will alert Administrative Assistant Martin of this change.
He attended last night’s Planning Board meeting. Peter Smith, a developer with interest in the Chester College property, also attended and discussed his new idea for the property. His new idea splits the work into two phases, and reduces the number of bedrooms in Phase I from 168 to 141, mostly in 2-bedroom units which will be sold, not rented. Garages would be around the back; there would be no driveways coming off of Route 121. The Adams Building would be torn down, and Preston Hall would remain as a summer camp if at all possible. He will be meeting with the Conservation Commission next week. Stuart Arnett has a copy of the plan and will be reviewing it. Vice-Chairman Hagan asked if there would be a restriction to seniors without children; that is the plan, but if the units do not sell, changes are always possible.
Staff Attorneys at the New Hampshire Municipal Association will be presenting a one-hour long Webinar on Budget Committees on Tuesday, December 10th, 2013, at 12:00 noon. Administrative Assistant Martin should be contacted for further information.
The ZBA meeting of Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 will be a continuation of the Roger Garrett appointment, and a PSNH appointment.
The Public Hearing on the Pole Petition is on Thursday, December 19th, 2013 at 7:00pm.
Administrative Assistant Martin has procured a $1k grant for the skid steer.
Administrative Assistant Martin was accepted to the LGC Leadership School, to which she had applied at his direction. Classes will be held on six dates during 2014: 1/8, 3/19, 5/7, 6/4, 9/24, and 12/3. The cost will be ~$900, but it is likely that she will receive a scholarship. Chairman Landau moved to allow Administrative Assistant Martin to attend the Foundations of Local Government Leadership Program in 2014; Selectman Castricone seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
There is an issue with the well at the Wason Pond Community Center; during the summer it leaks with surface water and becomes contaminated. Skillings came in and sealed it, and sent an invoice for $1,300 for this work. The well was drilled under the American Resource and Recovery Act as a blueprint ready project; Chairman Landau has contacted DES to see if there are any funds remaining to cover this repair.
The Planning Board has sent a message to the Highway Department about available funds.
He has received correspondence about a proposed Warrant Article to change the way Current Use penalty funds are handled. At present these penalties go into Conservation Funds, which benefit the town; he believes that this should not change. Selectmen Cannon and Castricone would like to know what the Conservation Commission thinks about this subject. Colin Costine stood and was recognized. He stated that Maureen Lein had written a Masters’ thesis on this subject; this should be found and re-read.
There was some discussion about the proposed roof to cover containers at the Transfer Station. He and Administrative Assistant Martin worked together to draft an RFP, using the Dubois & King engineering documents; he passed out copies to all Board members, and they should peruse and be prepared to discuss next week. Apparently Tom Bolles of Dubois & King believes that this structure can be built for less than the $57k raised and appropriated via Warrant Article. According to Selectman LeBlanc, Lloyd Healey does not believe that there is a need for a garage at this time. There was some discussion about whether this must be a steel structure, or if it would be possible for it to be a timber structure; Mr. Bolles is willing to look at timber proposals.
4.2 Public Comment
As no members of the Public wished to speak, Public Comment was closed at 8:57pm.
4.3 Non-Public Sessions
Chairman Landau moved to go into non-public session under RSA 91A:3 II (c), Reputation; Selectman Castricone seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
The meeting room was closed at 8:59pm.
The meeting room was re-opened at 9:06pm.
Selectman LeBlanc moved that the Board come out of non-public session; Vice-Chairman Hagan seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
Selectman Castricone moved that the Board seal this non-public session on Reputation for a period of three (3) months; Selectman LeBlanc seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
The next meeting of the Board of Selectmen is Thursday, December 12th, 2013 at 7pm in the Meeting Room.
Selectman LeBlanc moved to adjourn the meeting; Selectman Cannon seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative; so moved.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:08pm.
Debra H. Doda