Condensed from approved minutes
Present: Selectmen Mishcon, Danforth, Gross, Town Administrator Roy, Road Agent Jon Champagne
Road Agent’s Report
Jon reported that he visited the logging operation on Valley Road when the operation was first established. Since then, he has received a report of severe ruts in Valley Road and tree damage in the Town right-of-way. He has taken photographs and spoken with the site foreman. Jon authorized the logger to take down the damaged tree (permission had already been given by the homeowner).
Jon informed the foreman that the operation is being closely watched, and at this time six to eight loads of crushed gravel is needed to repair the road. Jon also explained to the foreman that Tucker Mountain Road is narrow, and he reiterated that they are not to be operating during a storm.
The Road Agent will provide a list of expectations to be given to loggers when they file an intent to cut with the Town. Town Administrator will put a copy of the intent to cut form in the Road Agent’s mail slot.
A mandatory minimum road bond of $50,000 for all logging operations will be implemented immediately.
Jon called the contractor who did the gravel crushing last year and will contact another contractor to get quotes for Spring crushing.
Bridges: There was discussion about the Morrill Hill Road Bridge. Selectman Danforth stated that it may be possible to withdraw from this project and be refunded 80%. Should this go to Town Meeting? Where do funds go? The Board will research this for discussion at a future meeting.
The Lawrence Street Bridge is estimated to cost approximately $500,000, and financial planning needs to start now.
It may be possible to obtain an emergency permit for the Last Street Bridge.
The Maple Street Bridge will eventually have to become a pedestrian bridge, because it is not eligible for bridge aid due to type of structure, materials etc.
Letter to Arch Weathers; Appointment of Jason Dudek to the Conservation Commission; Current Use Abatement – David Reep; Land Use Change Tax – Jordan
Cemetery Trustees and Trustees of Trust Funds
The Trustees of Trust Funds, represented by Joanne Edgar, and Cemetery Trustees Pat Cutter and Mary Anne Levesque were next on the agenda. The purpose of their meeting with the Board was to discuss the distribution of funds from cemetery lot sales.
The Cemetery Trustees have increased their fees, and the distribution of those funds is very arbitrary. Discussion ensued about low interest rates. Joanne is looking into meeting with the State to be approved for investment in annuities. The Right-To-Inter refers only to maintenance by the Town.
There was a definite change in the wording of the regulations. Terry Knowles, Assistant Director of the New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Unit, specified the maintenance fund. Joanne will check with Terry to see what is required to make any change.
Pat Cutter moved that the income for cemetery lot sales be used for cemetery maintenance. Mary-Anne Levesque seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Selectman Danforth moved that revenue from the sale of cemetery plots will be revenue to the Town as voted by the Cemetery Trustees. Selectman Gross seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Pat Cutter reported that many towns make money because they have a Highway Department that opens and closes the graves. Grave digging is not done by anyone employed by the Town of Andover. Bow’s average price for opening a grave is $300 and closing is $258. Andover requires that graves be hand dug. Rob French charges $500 to open and close. The Cemetery Trustees will look into the possible requirements for trench boxes when graves are being dug.
Fourth of July and Events Committee: Town Administrator Roy reported that the Department of Revenue has recommended that a private trust fund, to be held by the Trustees of Trust Funds, be established so the Fourth of July Committee can accept donations and do business as they always have. A trust document will need to be drafted by the Town’s attorney to establish the fund and to specify the method to be used for withdrawal from the fund.
Andrew Guptill presented the Board with a petition warrant article: To see if the town will vote to instruct the Selectmen to form a committee of those residents knowledgeable in highway infrastructure, and/or municipal finance to research possible changes to the Town’s current highway maintenance system with said committee to report back to this body (Town Meeting) in 2014 with their findings and recommendations. The next step in this process is validation that all signatures are those of registered voters. This is done by the Town Clerk.
Mario Ratzki was next on the agenda. He reported that there is a bill before the House of Representatives regarding disposal of real estate that will be heard February 5. Disposal of Real Estate: The town, city, or county shall have 30 days from the date of approval by the long range capital planning and utilization committee to accept the offer and 15 months to complete the transaction. If the town, city, or county refuses the offer, the governor and council may sell, convey, transfer, or lease the real property. Representative Ratzki asked for the input of the Board of Selectmen. The Board agreed that 30 days is not enough time and that 45 to 60 days would be more realistic.