Wakefield selectmen near end of 2012 budget review


Halloween in Wakefield will be on Monday, Oct. 31, 5 - 8 p.m.


October 20, 2011
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield selectmen spent the first part of their Oct. 12 meeting continuing their review of the 2012 budget, going over the building inspection and code enforcement budget requested by Building Inspector and Zoning and Shoreland Compliance Officer Arthur Capello.

Capello also submitted a revised job description. The only change was to include supervision of Administrative Assistant/Permit Technician Cheryl Labrie.

A key issue for Capello in finalizing the budget was the need to replace the vehicle he has been using, a former police cruiser that needed a number of repairs this year. One option is to purchase a new or used vehicle with four-wheel drive appropriate to Capello's work. This would require a warrant article and Budget Committee approval.

The second option is to count on the voters approving a new police cruiser, which would give Capello another former cruiser to use.

Capello's preferred option was to submit a proposal to the Budget Committee for a dollar figure for a replacement vehicle. He said he preferred to stick to an amount that would give him flexibility in getting the best vehicle for the approved amount from the state list rather than specify a specific vehicle.

Selectman Mark Duffy was not present at the Oct. 12 meeting. Selectman Peter Kasprzyk said he had no problem with Capello bringing his proposal to the Budget Committee. Selectman Chair Ken Paul said going forward with the proposal was OK with him but he did not support the vehicle request, his reason being he was not sure the voters would approve it, given that the town is also asking for a new cruiser. Also this would be the third time a vehicle has been requested.

Kasprzyk said he thought the voters would support the request this time, given the alternative of not paying 50 cents a mile and saving money. He argued that the Budget Committee and voters should be given the chance to decide. There is also a good chance the cruiser Capello is using won't pass inspection, and if that happens and a new cruiser is not approved, the town would be in a tough spot. Capello would have to use his own car and bill for mileage.

Town Administrator Teresa Williams suggested leaving $4,000 in Capello's budget for gas and mileage "just in case."

Paul said he would prefer going lighter on the mileage and push for one of the two proposed vehicles.

Williams checked Capello's vehicle expenses through Oct. 11 online and reported expenses to date were $1,900, including $1,000 for repairs, which was 83 percent over budget, with more than two months to go.

In the end the gas and mileage line was set at $2,250 and the total Building Inspection/Code Enforcement budget at $93,071, up from the $87,000 budget for 2011.

Other business

Selectmen approved holding Wakefield's Halloween on Monday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. Kasprzyk questioned whether Sunday night would be better, but it was pointed out that Sunday was also a night before school, just like Monday.

Selectmen reported that they were down to reviewing capital reserves and would hold one more budget review meeting on Oct. 18. The first Budget Committee meeting on the budget will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A review of the Time Warner cable contract was on the agenda but Paul and Kasprzyk agreed to table the matter so that Selectman Duffy can participate.

Public Access Station Manager Jerry O'Connor reported that he had not received a copy of the revised contract and asked if the promised information on establishing a 501(c)3 non-profit organization had been received. Williams reported she had received the non-profit information and would send it along to O'Connor together with the revised contract.

Selectmen approved $1,550 for North Wakefield Road bridge expenses submitted by Peter Cooperdock. Williams reported that there is $6,500 left in the bridge account and that the town needs to get the cost of a box culvert needed to finish the project. She also said she is still waiting for a letter from the NH Department of Transportation to see if the bridge has been removed from the red list of failing bridges.

Williams reported that the town has now switched phone service to Time Warner cable and should save $500 a month. She was asked to find out what will happen to the phone serve if power goes out, as it did during Tropical Storm Irene.

Williams told selectmen that Robert Saunders is willing to talk with them regarding options for disposing of the town's ash pile. The ash was left over from the burn pit when no one was checking for treated lumber and other hazardous materials. The pile was last tested in 2008, when it was determined that the estimated 500 tons would have to be trucked separately to the landfill at a cost of $50,000. Williams reminded the board that the town has to get rid of the pile by next summer. Paul asked Williams to get the cost of retesting the ash pile.

Williams read a letter from a resident thanking Fire Chief Todd Nason and his department for their quick response to a Labor Day fire caused by lightning.

The board acknowledged as letter of resignation received from Bill Day and thanked him for his four years of service on the Conservation Commission, including two years as chair.

The next meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room.

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