Selectman decide to hold off on town remapping
December 25, 2009
TUFTONBORO — The Tuftonboro Board of Selectman held its last regular meeting of 2009 on Dec. 21 at the Town House because back at the town office building, staff members had taken over the usual meeting space to assemble holiday gift baskets for residents in need.
Cartographics, the mapping company, wrote that they could start remapping in January, but Selectman Bill Stockman spoke against it, saying that the board needs to hear from the planning board and the Conservation and Agricultural Commissions before making decisions about the town's mapping needs. He said they also need to look at the matter from an assessing standpoint and have people on various boards read through the literature provided by Sue Weeks on GIS.
Ted Wright, a local surveyor who also serves on the budget committee, recommended that Tuftonboro could get along fine with just base mappings, and commented, "A town this size doesn't get the benefit for cost," explaining that towns with a population of 5,000 or more have water and sewer systems to deal with.
"From a surveyor's point of view," he added, "our maps are fantastic compared to other towns… if we need GIS at some point, we will have to remap, but it's not a real benefit at this time."
Betsy Frago offered from the audience that other companies had asked to know more on what the town wants before submitting a bid.
Stockman said that he had heard that some towns who had work done by Cartographics had more problems to deal with. Wright added that the systems also require maintenance and said, "This is just the tip of the iceberg."
The board agreed that it was not ready to move forward on a decision on remapping at this time.
Fire Chief's report
Fire and Rescue Chief Adam Thompson arrived at the Town House in the department's new vehicle, which is now in service and reported on his year-to-date figures along with other business.
The department responded to 128 fire calls, 146 medical emergencies, 25 service calls, and 10 special details, a total of 309 this year, and completed 22 oil burner inspections and 26 gas furnace and 10 wood stove inspections.
Thompson said they have received calls regarding inspection of previously installed gas installations because gas companies won't hook up to a system that is not up to current standards.
The ambulance contract has been given to CarePlus, which will begin service as of April 1; until then, Lord Ambulance will continue its service. Thompson said that Lord Ambulance has served the town well, but he chose CarePlus for its competitive bid.
Frago asked if the new drivers would have directions for all Tuftonboro addresses; Thompson assured her they would.
Thompson reported that Ellen Laase set up an H1N1 flu evening clinic at Kingswood High School for Dec. 22 and 150 people showed up for shots at the Tuftonboro School Clinic. Continuing on the health and safety front, any rental property is required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed, and over a two-year period existing homes will have to meet that same state requirement.
Jerry and Rocky Holmberg came before the board to discuss highway department matters. Chairman Dan Duffy told Holmberg that he had tried to call them to postpone discussion until he and the other selectmen had a chance to read the packet of information that Holmberg had dropped off at the office.
Holmberg said that he and his son had done a time study of man hours in 2007 -2008 and had some ideas to share on how to save money and get road work in town accomplished more efficiently. Duffy said they will put the matter on the Jan. 4 agenda.
The ZaDeDa development came up for discussion in regard to the money put in escrow. Selectman Carolyn Sundquist reported that Town Counsel Rick Sager said that the money should be given to the ZaDeDa Association to do the needed work on the road, and a release should be signed absolving the selectmen from any further responsibility.
A public hearing on dispensation of the money will be scheduled to coincide with a regular selectman's meeting. Until then, the board will transfer it into the planning board's account.
Forest Land Improvement, Inc. asked for permission to use land behind the 19 Mile Bay parking lot as a staging area for a timbering operation. Selectman Stockman noted that it would bring in some revenue for the town and "we'll gain a trail out of it."
He added that he thinks it would be wise for the town to consider having a 10 to 20 year forest plan done for that property as well as other large parcels with timber, such as the Gould property and land behind the school. "It sounds like a long time, but 10 years goes by pretty quick," said Stockman.
Sundquist said that she was going through some of the numbers from last year and saw that the town has been paying $28 a month for two electric meters on the Gould property that have not been used during the last year. She suggested that the board consider having those disconnected. All agreed.
She also said that Raeburn Hodgdon had come in to suggest that half of the year's surplus be used to lower the tax rate. She then commented that the town is required to hold that amount (about 10 percent) in reserve. Stockman said that having the reserve affects the town's bond rating.
Duffy reported, as the selectmen's representative to the planning board, that the board met with members of the Conservation Commission to discuss the wording of the model conservation easement and all went smoothly. He said that Tony Lyon, chairman of the Agricultural Commission, asked them to include that commission in the wording for input, too.
The Center Harbor food pantry, the eighth largest in New Hampshire, asked for consideration of a contribution in light of the current demand for their service. The selectmen voted to send a $500 donation from the Gifts and Donations Fund.
Duffy read a letter from Lew and Linda Williams describing coming home from Wolfeboro along Route 109A, after the big snow storm on Dec. 13, along slippery roads until they reached Ledge Hill Road in Tuftonboro, which to their gratitude was plowed and sanded.
Sundquist commented that it was nice to get a letter of appreciation; most people just write with complaints.
Sundquist reported that the budget committee had suggested that rather than put money into capital reserve for the fire station, it would be better to pay off the Gould property and go into 2011 with no debt. The board agreed to follow the suggestion. The estimated cost is $115,000.
Lloyd Wood, chairman of the budget committee, had asked to reconsider placing $10,000 in capital reserve for a generator at town hall. Selectmen do not support that.
The budget committee raised the idea of having pay raises granted on hire dates throughout the year. Stockman opposed that and said, " I think the budget committee is stepping out of line." Joe Kowalski interjected that the committee called them merit raises. The selectmen were in agreement that there would be no pay raises this year.
During public comment Frago asked that whenever selectmen take a vote or make a decision in a work session that they bring it to public attention in their next regularly scheduled meeting. She said that the minutes are not online and most people are not going to go in to the town offices to ask for them and also have to pay for copies. She noted that the Granite State News does not cover work sessions and the meetings that are recorded by local TV are put on only as space allows.
She noted that a decision was made on which appraiser would be hired and that a rough estimate had been asked for the cost of a standalone fire station. "What exactly was the agreement," she wondered. Duffy answered that they had decided to have a standalone fire station on the Dearborn property.
The next regular selectman's meeting will take place on Jan. 4, 2010, at 7 p.m. in the town office building.