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Selectmen meet with police, highway departments

May 20, 2014
BARNSTEAD — The May 13 meeting of the Barnstead Board of Selectmen was focused on checking in with the police and highway departments.

Officer Joe McDowell is acting police chief and met with the board regarding his department.

McDowell spoke with the board at length regarding faulty home alarms and the wasted resources the police used in answering those calls.

The board discussed the possibility of billing the homeowners.

Selectman Gordon Preston stated he believes the same thing happens with the fire department and he feels a fine is reasonable.

Chairman James Barnard agreed, stating the town should consider billing for the officer's salary and for the cost of running the car during the response.

McDowell replied that he thought Alton and Pittsfield have ordinances dealing with this issue already.

Barnard requested McDowell get a copy of the ordinance from the other towns for Barnstead to reference.

McDowell also asked the selectmen to look into making Maple Street a school zone.

Selectman Andy Houle agreed, stating if Maple Street is not marked a school zone, it needs to be done.

McDowell stressed that the town needs to get drivers to slow down in that area.

Selectman David Kerr suggested the town might need to make a new ordinance in order to make that area a school zone.

McDowell and the board also discussed the new laptops for the police cruisers and how to fit them with a secure network, which could be accessed from the vehicles as well as when the computers are brought out of the cars.

It was agreed McDowell would need to purchase some Microsoft software at $200 a program. The police department has four new laptops, so the total cost would be $800.

Houle made a motion approving the purchase and the board unanimously approved it. The money will be taken from the town's computer software budget line.

Highway department

Barnard asked Road Agent Jim Doucette how he felt things were progressing.

Doucette replied he believed his department was working through their goals pretty well, but they were running into some difficulty due to being short on workers.

He also stated he is trying to get one of his employees CDL licensed, but the appointment for testing was a ways out.

Doucette is calling the DMV everyday to see if there has been a cancellation so he can get the employee in sooner.

Barnard asked how the culvert work was going.

Doucette stated the highway department has done several already, but again the problem currently is the short supply of men to work.

He was going to do another culvert on Monday, but an employee called in sick.

So far they have done two on Beauty Hill Road and two on Roger's Road. They have also done stumping and ditching on Province Road.

On Coldbath Road they are helping with chipping because the tree company is taking down so many trees for free.

Doucette stated he currently has two full time openings and one employee out on disability.

Selectwoman Priscilla Tiede reminded Doucette he could use his part-time employees to fill in the gaps.

Selectmen's Secretary Karen Montgomery stated there was a job advertisement in the selectmen's folder to be approved for the highway department.

Tiede asked if part-time help was needed too.

Doucette stated it would be very helpful, especially in order to run the mower.

The board decided to add a request for part-time help to the advertisement already in the folder.

The Barnstead Board of Selectmen meets each Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. in the Town Hall.

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