January 22, 2013BARNSTEAD — The Jan. 15 Barnstead Board of Selectmen's meeting was a short one for the public. The board had been in non-public sessions since 4:30 that afternoon.
Former selectman and Historical Society member Ed Tasker addressed the board during public input.
Tasker informed the board that the Barnstead Historical Society wanted a Warrant Article put before the town to purchase the property of Jack Pinkham to use as a museum and meetinghouse of sorts.
Tasker let the board know that even though the town would purchase the property and it would technically be a municipal building, "we don't want to share it with you."
According to Tasker the society wants the property to have a place to display memorabilia and artifacts, including pieces currently being stored over the town hall.
In answering questions, selectmen's secretary Karen Montgomery stated that the Historical Society did not have the authority to buy property and that a vote would have to be put before the town. She went on to say that once the town buys property it is a town building, insured by the town and falling under the direction of the board of selectmen.
Tasker acknowledged what Montgomery said was true, but reiterated that the Historical Society did not want to share the building.
He asked the board to consider putting forth a Warrant Article for $189,000 to cover the purchase and improvement of the Pinkham property.
Tasker said the town's Historical Society was formed in 1972 and it has only been funded at $5,000 a year for the past eight years.
"We feel after 40 some odd years it is time," said Tasker.
He went on to explain that of the original society there were only two members still alive, and that he considered this undertaking as "my personal challenge to fulfill their legacy."
"I think it is time. You don't have to explain to me about the economy, costs, keeping rates down. I understand," elaborated Tasker.
Tasker said this expense would be a one-time cost and would raise tax rates only $0.45.
"If you choose not to, I bear no grudges we will introduce a petition article to do the same thing," stated Tasker.
Selectman Francis Vardaro acknowledged that the property in question was in an ideal location and that he felt the people should be able to decide this issue.
"We should go for it," said Vardaro.
Board Vice-Chairperson Priscilla Tiede clarified that the building would be used as both a museum and meeting place. Tasker confirmed this fact.
Tiede asked about the hours it would be open to the public.
Tasker stated that keeping the museum open five or six days a week would be "ridiculous," but that he believed it should have regular hours as well as be accessible to the school "almost any day of the week."
He also hoped it could be a source for people doing genealogical surveys.
Chairman David Kerr said that the Barnstead Board of Selectmen had a "bad history" of making decisions right away about issues. He stated the board had some time to decide.
"I don't have any grand expectations. I am just doing what I've been charged with doing," said Tasker.
"We understand the committee's position and will take it up," replied Kerr.
Speeding on Will Smith Road
In correspondence, the selectmen received a complaint about speeding vehicles on Will Smith Road. The board resolved to have the Road Agent Chris Carazzo make sure speed limit signs were posted. They would also request the police department to enforce the limits.
The Barnstead Board of Selectmen meets at the Town Hall every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
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