Ossipee will not use dogs to sniff out septic problems


April 20, 2017
OSSIPEE Though it's been suggested at least twice, selectmen here have no intention of bringing in the dogs to sniff out septic problems.

Last year selectmen were told about a new service that exists that has specially trained dogs help locate potential sources of water pollution. This week Ossipee selectmen received a copy of a newspaper article about somewhere in New Jersey using this service.

"This is not New Jersey. In the State of New Hampshire, it is illegal to enter onto someone's property, I believe as it should be. We have no ability nor do I want the ability to take a dog onto someone's property and conduct a search. This is New Hampshire. It is not allowed and I'm thankful that it is not. It is not going to be anytime soon that I, or I believe this board, is going to authorize trespassing on people's property," Selectman Richard Morgan made clear at the April 17 selectmen's meeting.

An article published Aug. 7, 2012 in Portland Press Herald newspaper looks at the work of Michigan-based Environmental Canine Services. The article points out that the service works mainly with municipalities who are trying to detect the sources of human waste bacteria contaminating public waterways and beaches. The company, founded in 2009, specializes in finding sources of human waste in water system.

In 2012, they travelled to work in five Seacoast communities from Portsmouth to Portland, Maine. According to that company's website, "canines are trained to detect the presence of human sewage contamination in water caused by leaking sewer lines, illicit connections and faulty septic systems. Based on the canine responses, the canine handlers, also stormwater professionals, work with investigators on site to determine an immediate source tracking strategy."

Now hiring

Selectmen announced April 17 that the town's finance and benefits administrator Elaine Sherman has resigned. Just last August, Sherman was named Town of Ossipee Employee of the Year with a proclamation that read, "Elaine began her employment with the Town of Ossipee as bookkeeper in January of 2011. She spent the first few years taking advantage of as much training as possible to better understand her role in municipal government and the software she works with on a daily basis. In 2015, she was promoted to the more appropriately assigned position of Finance and Benefits Administrator. Elaine is a very valued employee of the Town of Ossipee. Her input and willingness to take on additional tasks demonstrates that she embraces working in a team environment. She is always there with answers when any employee has a question and she handles all inquiries in a professional manner and with the utmost confidence. Elaine is very thorough with her work and meets all required deadlines with ease. She also takes on every challenge assigned to her and follows it through to its completion."

By April 18 the position was advertised on the town website at www.ossipee.org. According to the job posting, this administrator is "responsible for the day to day operation of the finance office, maintaining and managing the general accounting system of the town, performing accounts payable and payroll functions, and employee benefits administration".

The town is also looking to hire a part-time seasonal laborer/attendant to work at the town's sewage treatment facility, Camp David, on Elm Street. The job pays $13 per hour and is described as "responsible for performing seasonal/daily activities including but not limited to mowing of lawns and fields, monitoring the dumping of septage from haulers, and enforcing the rules and regulations in place."

The deadline to apply for either position is May 3.

Other business

Selectmen voted to sign the paperwork necessary to secure a $2.5 million line of credit the town can borrow against if cash flow is needed. Morgan said he hopes, as has been the case in the past two years, the town will not have to borrow against it until at least October. He said with changes in financial policies, the town has been able to delay the borrowing to later in the year when traditionally in the past borrowing would begin in March.

Town Clerk/tax collector Kellie Skehan was recognized by an Ossipee property owner for her work to help the owner during a difficult time. In a letter read aloud by Morgan, the owner stated that Skehan exhibited a "very human side of town government" when not caring would have been the more expeditious thing to do. The owner noted that Skehan offered advice and encouragement that guided the owner in being able to pay back all overdue property taxes to prevent the town from taking ownership fo the property that has been in the owner's family for 30 years.

Selectman gave kudos to Code Enforcement Officer Steve McConarty for his outstanding work that led to the court ordering two property owners to clean up dilapidated buildings. In another case, McConarty played a critical role in getting a court ruling to allow the town to remove a mobile home that was placed on a Dorrs Corner property without proper permits. Morgan said when McConarty took the code enforcement job he "inherited a mess" of things that have gone on for "years and year and years." The next assignment for McConarty is the town's sign ordinance. Morgan said it will be a "monster of an undertaking." There are a lot of signs in Ossipee and Morgan said some were erected through permitting, some grandfathered, some are in violation and previous boards of selectmen even issued permits for signs that were clearly in violation of the town's ordinance.

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