Meeting location: Town offices
Date: December 13, 2018
Members present: Jay Jacobs, Jonathan Miner, Kathleen Scott
Meeting opened: 7:00 pm; Meeting adjourned:
Members of the public: Rosemary Cifrino, Andrew Maneval, Don Scott, Sharon Wilder, Karen Coteleso, Michael Price, Ned Hulbert, Mary Day Mordecai, Alison Weber, Barbara Watkins, Erin Hammerstedt, Max Boyd, Lee Baker, Lisa Anderson, Scott Neary, Wes Tarr
Documents signed or reviewed:
SB deferred approval of SB Meeting Minutes of December 6 and December 7.
SB acknowledged receipt of checks from NH Department of Labor, noting savings of $1,000 for assessed violations related to safety and employee payroll. The final assessed penalties were $200 for safety and $200 for employee payroll. The SB expressed thanks to all its employees for their efforts in tending to all Department of Labor matters.
Edmunds Associates – SB declined offer of financial software product.
At 7:12 pm, per RSA 91A, 3II, SB moved to enter into Executive Session to speak with the welfare director about a donation she received to provide fuel needs for a resident. SB exited Executive Session at 7:20 pm.
Departments, Boards and Committees:
Library – Trustees attended to discuss proposed 2019 budget submitted to SB. The increase in operating expenses reflects a discrepancy in 2017 reporting, not an actual increase in projected expenses. SB and Trustees also considered possible future options for a library location.
Transportation Committee– Committee members update the SB on current priorities, including crosswalks at the General Store and at the school. Mary Day Mordecai noted that the committee has requested $1,000 in PB 2019 budget for engineering and other assistance on the project. They also are working with Historic Harrisville on potential signage to reduce speeding through village. On Safe Routes to School, Kevin Robins from Wells Memorial is working with the Police Chief on school safety zone. On production of trail maps, Barbara Watkins noted that Henry Underwood of the Southwest Region Planning Committee has offered to help free of charge.
With the expiration this month of the SB’s one-year commitment to the Complete Streets Resolution, the Transportation Committee requested that the SB consider a 5-year renewal. Members believe the extended commitment will increase the town’s chances of receiving grant money. Following discussion, SB moved to modify language in the Complete Streets Resolution from a one year renewal to a term ending December 2023. All voted in favor.Transportation Committee will amend the document for SB’s signing.
Subsequently, Andrew Maneval addressed the SB about consideration of a $5 motor vehicle registration fee, which derives from RSA 261:153 and the funds from which support municipal transportation improvements. Mr. Maneval shared a draft Warrant Article, which the Transportation Committee asked him to prepare. While the proposed draft addresses improvements specifically for pedestrian and bicycle safety and facilities, Mr. Maneval noted that numerous towns in NH assess this fee for transportation purposes of various kinds.
Extensive discussion ensued on the committee’s position that transportation measures that support pedestrian and cycling safety will foster the town’s goals of attracting young families and promoting economic and overall vitality. SB concerns focused on the cost of such projects to taxpayers who may or may not benefit from such initiatives and on the continued debate between preserving the town’s unique rural qualities versus modernizing in ways that go against the reasons residents moved here. The critical question is what the town wants to be and on what types of projects it wants to spend its money. SB also mentioned the lack of affordable housing for attracting young families. SB further encouraged the committee to propose to the town specific projects with specific price tags so that all residents can vote. All agreed the conversation was important and should continue. The Transportation Committee will revisit the proposal.
Conservation Commission– SB acknowledged receipt of correspondence from Winston Sims regarding watershed management and town ordinances; Ordinance Revision Committee will consider stormwater management in the coming year. On proposed work by Keene State to manage waterflow off Prospect Street onto the Harrisville Pond boat ramp area, SB stated it is open to the concept but, prior to endorsement, would like to see more conceptual ideas. SB will confirm exact boundaries around the ramp and fire house. Project possibly to be overseen by HCC.
Tax Collector– SB noted correspondence in the matter of Thomas R. Carroll v. Town of Harrisville; SB signed abatement for the Porter Izola Colony Revocable Trust for properties located at # 2 and #8 Peanut Row.
Highway Department– SB acknowledged receipt of notice about pavement marking workshop in Nashua.
Education Tax Warrant – SB noted requirement to assess sum of $399,000 for the 2019 Education Tax per RSA 76:3, an amount based on the uniform rate of $2.06 per thousand of the 2017 Equalized Valuation without utilities in the amount of $193,782,000. SB noted that the $2.06 is in addition to the town school tax. This assessment will appear as part of the Tax Warrant.
Jaquith Road Residents – Ned Hulbert opened a lengthy discussion about the recent use of Jaquith Road rather than Hancock Road by town vehicles to access the O’Neil excavation pit. Central to the issue was a recent PB hearing at which Jaquith Road residents had expressed objection to the use of the Jaquith Road entrance/egress and after which the PB approved a 7-year excavation permit extension with the condition that access via Jaquith Road was not allowed. Given subsequent, extensive use of this route by Town trucks to haul sand, residents voiced strong feelings to the PB co-chairs, who sought answers from the SB. While the Road Agent confirmed the hauling was now complete, residents wished to continue the discussion.
Conversation included RSA 155(e) and the regulations surrounding excavation permits. The SB’s position was that it was within its legal rights to authorize the Road Agent’s use of Jaquith Road for safety reasons. Mr. Hulbert explained that the issue wasn’t necessary the legality but the residents’ feelings. Lisa Anderson expanded on residents’ frustration that for years they have consistently urged the town to impose the vehicular restriction related to the excavation site, and that the SB did not inform residents that town vehicles would be conducting business via that route. Ms. Anderson expressed lack of trust and belief that such action would continue over the long term.
SB explained the chronology of events, acknowledging the objection of residents but noting the importance of ensuring safety of town employees and town equipment and the need to treat all town roads, including Jaquith and surrounding roads, with this sand. They further explained why this year’s weather conditions, the workload of the Highway Department, and the lack of needed material made the matter unique and urgent. Subsequently, Kathy Scott stated her belief that communication, including a response memo to the PB co-chairs, was up to the SB and that it failed in that regard. She hoped for a better communication process moving forward. Ms. Anderson wished to add her own safety concerns about using Jaquith Road and her concerns about tunnel vision and that the town didn’t consider other options. Max Boyd stated he believed there was intentional deception by the SB which emphatically denied the accusation. SB and the Road Agent also explained why that particular sand pit was chosen, including for cost and timing reasons. Scott Neary expressed for the record that he was appealing the PB’s approval of the extension of the O’Neil excavation permit.
After additional comments from all sides were heard, Kathy Scott moved that the SB distribute a memo apologizing for the lack of communication in this matter. Jon Miner seconded.The vote was 2-1 in favor with Jay Jacobs opposed believing the SB acted legally, without disrespect and in the best interests of the town.
SB acknowledged receipt of the following: Dam Bureau information related to follow up work on Seaver Reservoir Dam; NHMA State Aid and Labor Law Training
December 14 – Jeff Cady will meet with the SB at 9:30 pm.
December 20 – Senator Jay Kahn will meet with the SB at 7:00 pm
December 25 – Christmas Day – Office closed