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Joyce Endee

New K-9, cable contract and more occupy Alton selectmen

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
February 08, 2012
ALTON — The Alton Board of Selectmen met on Monday, Feb. 6, and opened its meeting by convening as the board of health.

Tom Varney came before the board for a septic waiver on behalf of Ruth Webb for property on Spring Street.

Varney explained that the property is very small and would include a pair of old fashion dry wells and an upgraded septic tank.

John Dever, the code enforcement officer, had no problems with the proposed plans, and the board unanimously approved the waiver.

Member Peter Bolster was not in attendance at this meeting.

Russ Bailey brought a request from Police Chief Ryan Heath to put a deposit down on a new K9 puppy.

The current police dog will be concentrating on drug issues only. The board approved putting a deposit down, with a total expected of between $1,500 and $2,000.

According to member Cydney Johnson, the process of training a new dog will take about two years.

The board also approved the purchase of shades for the senior center as a cost of $912, after Ken McWilliams, the town planner, suggested the purchase through a memo.

Bailey briefly talked to the board about the proposed franchise agreement from Metrocast. Bailey explained that the agreement is 42 pages in length and that he hasn't had time to review it in detail.

Bailey will be providing each board member a copy of the agreement and will highlight issues within the agreement at a board meeting in the near future.

The board approved two more two towns joining the consortium. This brings the total number of towns to 10, which will reduce the legal fees that each town pays to draft the franchise agreement.

The new contract is a 10-year agreement, but Chair Dave Hussey suggested possibly a five-year agreement because of the changes in technology.

Member Steve McMahon suggested included a clause that would allow the town to review changes in technology.

Bailey said that any changes in contract would be brought before the board for final approval.

Vice-chair Loring Carr questioned the recent announcement that an infomercial will be made about the school and proposed renovations and needs within the school and shown on LRPA-TV.

He asked if political content was allowed and Bailey said that any content submitted to the public access station will be played, but he agreed to look into the issue of political advertisements or commercials.

Bailey and the board briefly discussed the town warrant articles, but they agreed to hold a further discussion on the articles after the town deliberative session.

Bailey suggested making copies of the official ballot and posting them around town and also provided copies of the warrant articles and having them available at the town hall, the library and both schools.

Bailey informed the board that its next scheduled meeting would be on Monday, Feb. 20, which is President's Day.

The board agreed to shift the meeting to Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.

Carr asked if the board had looked into an issue raised by a resident on Bowman Road, and the board agreed to go out and check the road out sometime next week.

Bailey asked the board if they wanted to support Warrant Article 48, which asks to repeal changes to number of water commissioners.

Hussey said that the people voted for this change, and members of the board agreed to oppose the article and Hussey agreed to speak against the article during the deliberative session.

Bailey gave the board an update on the Reed Road Bridge. The town recently received FEMA money, and the board agreed to have a 20-mile per hour zone posted on the bridge.

The board also approved sending out a first request for $163,329 for reimbursement to the state of New Hampshire, which is 80 percent of the project.

The board also reviewed a request from engineers working on the Places Mill Bridge for an additional $15,600.

Carr suggested and the other members agreed to take the steps to not paying the additional monies.

Bailey will contact the engineers about their request.

The board reviewed bids for putting in new HVAC, but they moved the issue to the non-public session held after the regular meeting.

Bailey talked to the board about issue with the town clerk, where some time is needed early in the morning to set up computers and other tasks.

The board agreed to change the operating hours for the town clerk for registrations to include: "8:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m."

Bailey informed the board about a proposed bill that would cut the interest rate on unpaid taxes by 50 percent.

The town would lose an estimated $85,000 this year if this bill went through, and the board approved drafting a letter to the legislature opposing the bill.

Carr talked about the cemetery trustees and their decision to not turn over revenue of approximately $17,00 to the town. The board agreed to draft a letter to the budget committee informing the cemetery trustees of their decision, which apparently was different than what was previously discussed during the budget process.

Carr also brought forward several issues with the town report involving the cemetery trustees. He questioned some language, which he saw as an attack.

The board agreed to try to reword the language and bring it back to the cemetery trustees with the changes.

Carr also talked about a conversation he had with Heath about synthetic marijuana. Carr suggested that the selectmen should create an ordinance to ban the substance.

Bailey said that it was too late to do this in a warrant article, but he said they may be to able to do something as the board of health.

Bailey will contact attorney Jim Sessler and see what the board can do regarding an ordinance.

Hussey suggested that it is very important the town do something about this issue immediately.

The next scheduled meeting of the Alton Board of Selectmen is on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Alton Town Hall.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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