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Busy evening for New Durham Board of Selectmen


August 14, 2012
NEW DURHAM — The New Durham Board of Selectmen met on Aug. 6 and opened with a public forum. Chairperson of the Boodey House Committee, Cathy Orlowicz came before the board with to request a special event permit. The permit was for an event at the old Free Will Baptist Church, on New Durham Ridge, to raise funds for the relocation and restoration of the Boody House. The event was to showcase live music and light refreshment. The Boodey House Committee suggested a $10 donation for the event. Theresa Jarvis made a motion to approve the permit for the requested date of Aug. 12. The motion was seconded by Jeffrey Kratovil and was approved unanimously.

Resident Barbara Hunter came before the board for clarification regarding the board's recent decision to repeal the town dog ordinance. Police Chief Shawn Bernier verified that the town of New Durham now enforces the state laws pertaining to dogs and other domestic animals.

Town Administrator Allison Webb stated that when the town ordinance was adopted, some of the statutes used were wrong, rendering parts of the ordinance unenforceable. The board had been aware of the issue for some time, but tabled the discussion during budget season and recently decided to abolish the ordinance. Webb stated that she would add the state statutes to the town Web site so residents could easily look up and be informed of the laws pertaining to their animals. Jarvis suggested adding the statutes to the police Web site as well.

Camilla April of Linda's Purple Dragonflies, came before the board to request a raffle permit for an upcoming fundraiser. The fundraiser is scheduled for Nov. 13 and tickets are $5. The selectmen inquired what the prizes for the raffle will be. April informed them the first prize is a Kindle Fire. Second and third prizes are gift cards to Applebee's and Dunkin Donuts, respectively. Jarvis made a motion to approve the raffle permit. The motion was seconded by David Bickford and approved unanimously.

The board then met with Bernier and potential hire Nathan Slight. The board spoke briefly with Slight concerning scheduling and hours, as Slight also works as a part-time officer for the Marine Patrol. Slight stated that he did not foresee any scheduling issues. Bickford made a motion to hire Slight as a part-time, certified officer. Jarvis seconded the motion and it was passed by unanimous decision. The board inquired of Slight's official start date, and Bernier told the board that he will consult with Slight to determine the exact day.

The board then discussed the town's long term and short term disability insurance coverage and carrier. Under the current carrier, employees receive 66 percent of their pay while on disability leave, but are not allowed to supplement to their loss in wages by using sick-leave or vacation time accrued. Webb detailed policies from Local Government Center and Unum.

Webb's recommendation was for Unum, which allowed employees to supplement their lost wages with sick-leave and vacation, and added that she felt that having this ability would be an added benefit to the employees. Jarvis made a motion to change the town's long term and short term disability insurance carrier to Unum as of Sept. 1. The motion was seconded by Bickford and passed by unanimous decision.

Jarvis made a motion to authorize the chairman to sign documents from Aug. 6, through the election of town officials in March. The motion was seconded by Kratovil and passed unanimously. The purpose of this motion was to allow the board to proceed with town business expediently, not having to make a motion to authorize the chairman to sign each instance that a signature is required.

The board unanimously approved an abatement refund in the amount of $20 for 250 Ridge Road.

The board unanimously approved an abatement refund in the amount of $18 for 104 Kings Highway Road.

The board unanimously approved extending the performance period of the Emergency Agreement Plan until Sept. 30, 2013.

The board then approved several purchase orders, all unanimously.

The board was then addressed by an informal committee made up of Forest Fire Warden David Stuart, Fire Chief Peter Varney, Deputy Fire Chief KG Lockwood, Town Mechanic David Valladares and Road Agent Michael Clarke.

Stuart informed the board that the current forestry truck is out-of-service, due to a severe break down. The vehicle in question is 30 years old and will cost more to fix than it is currently worth. Lockwood told the board that the informal committee had consulted with each other to come up with several proposals for replacing the ailing forestry truck. All of the ideas, from acquiring a military surplus vehicle to purchasing a new truck had all presented various issues, the common denominator being the expense.

The group did come up with a creative proposal, in the interest of saving taxpayers money: transfer the 2010 F350 flatbed from the highway department to the fire department and convert it into a new forestry truck. Lockwood told the board that when the F350 was purchased for the highway department it was intended to be a seven-year vehicle. If it were to be converted into a forestry vehicle it would actually become a 20-year vehicle, due to less mileage and not having to endure to punishment of plowing.

A lengthy discussion concerning methods of forestry firefighting followed, detailing the use of ATVs and the recent addition of the Mule during forest fire applications. Jarvis commented that she felt that, in her opinion, "the town must have a forestry vehicle."

Bickford made a motion to transfer the 2010 Ford F350 flatbed from the highway department to the fire department for forestry and to authorize the highway department to purchase a new one-ton pick-up with a 9' Fisher plow, not to exceed $35,000. The motion was seconded by Jarvis and passed by unanimous decision.

Valladares then provided the board with an update on the recently decommissioned Chevrolet Impala police cruiser. Valladares informed the board that the Impala will be ready to display next week to view for the bidding process to begin. The Impala will be located in front of the transfer station for viewing. Valladares also reported that the Ford Explorer police cruiser that was damaged will be fixed and back in service next week as well.

The board then reviewed the town's video policy and discussed changes to the language. The board discussed reviewing the purchasing policy at a meeting in the near future and possibly making revisions. The board discussed scheduling and the process of hiring a new full-time officer so that the candidate who is selected can make the deadline to be admitted to the Police Academy in September.

The board then reviewed the minutes for the meeting held on July 16. The board approved the amended minutes unanimously.

The next New Durham Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. in the Fire Station Community Room.

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