Annual Report of Andover Select Board

By Andover Select Board

Volunteers are the backbone of any small town, and Andover is no exception. We would like to thank all of the many people who give their time to serve on the boards and committees necessary to run our town; all of the people who take care of the parks and ball field, keep the skating rink cleared, coach our kids and offer summertime activities and help in the libraries; teach us about renewable energies and offer opportunities to make our homes more energy efficient; offer a place for community activities, arts, education and exercise. Andover is a better community because of you all.
Morrill Hill Road Bridge was completed and the town has received the 80% reimbursement from the State Aid Bridge Program. This money replenished the general fund balance, which we use for emergencies and for leveling the tax rate.
Last Street Bridge was added to our list of projects in the second half of the year. Substructure materials had to be special ordered or custom made, which has delayed the replacement. The work will be done by our highway department.
The replacement of the Elbow Pond Road culvert qualified for FEMA aid due to the damage done in the 2017 October storm event.  The town invested in a hydrological study of the ever-changing watershed and an engineering design to determine the best long-term solution for keeping the road open. There is an article on this year’s warrant to fund the project, with monies coming from the unassigned fund balance and the Bridge Rehabilitation Capital Reserve Fund. 75% of the cost will be reimbursed through FEMA.

Lawrence Street Bridge, our biggest project, is in line for replacement in 2022 with the State Aid Bridge Program providing 80% of the total cost of design and construction. Hoyle Tanner engineers held a public meeting in October both at the bridge and at town hall to go over the best options for replacement while keeping access open. They received a good amount of feedback and suggestions from residents who attended. After meeting with NHDOT officials, the engineers will again meet with residents with an updated design. At present, the estimate for the town’s portion in 2018 dollars is $638,000. We have approximately $147,000 in the Lawrence Street Bridge Capital Reserve Fund.


Old College Road was the special project this year. We were able to get a jump on it last year when GMI was in the area with a grinder and we were able to grind the existing surface of the most damaged part of the road for half the cost. This year, our town crew, with the help of local contractors, did all the maintenance work (culvert replacement and drainage) in preparation for final grinding, grading and paving, which was put out to bid.
The State provided a special grant through SB 38 to all municipalities through the Highway Block Grand for unfunded infrastructure projects. Andover received $86,000. We used the money to chip seal Switch Road and improve drainage on Boston Hill and Shaw Hill Roads.


The most cost effective way to pay for a highway project is the use the town crew and local contractors to do the prep work, typically regular maintenance such as replacing culverts and drainage improvement. The town has established rates for labor and equipment rental, which is considerably less than outside contracted labor and equipment. The grinding, grading, paving and shoulder work is the major part of a road project done by a paving company, which the town gets bids for.


The Town and the State of NH Department of Transportation have finally determined after in depth research, that the property known as White Oak Pit, is owned by the State. While the research was on-going, the town opted not to continue to excavate sand from the site, and we added $40,000 to last year’s budget to cover the purchase and delivery of sand. The State has recently offered to sell the property to the town for $51,100.  There will be an additional cost for a final survey, driveway permits and establishment of an easement ROW. We believe this is a reasonable offer and it will put to rest years of uncertainty due to lack of records. The property should yield several more years of sand for the town.

Once the town votes to purchase the property, DOT must offer it to other state agencies before it goes to the Governor’s Council for final approval. For that reason, a reduction in the winter materials line will not appear until the 2020 budget.  There will be an article on the warrant to approve the purchase, monies to come from the unassigned fund balance.


The Transfer Station was built in 1989 when town dumps were shut down across the state. Twenty nine years later, it is time to replace the hopper cover and office and bring the rodent population under control. The bog and woods surrounding our transfer station provide a natural habitat for wood rats. Unfortunately, the rats have damaged buildings and created an unhealthy environment with their unchecked expansion into the embankments around the hopper and into the office. The new office building and embankment with concrete blocks are designed to discourage rodent invasion. The materials and design of the office and hopper cover are intended to meet our needs long term and to meet Department of Labor requirements. The Town Building Expendable Trust Fund covered most of the cost for the new building. Final touches for completion, to include the right side wing wall, septic, bathroom and shower will be done when necessary funds are raised.

You will also notice the grading done directly across from the recycle building to hold 3 storage containers and to provide improved drainage. This was done in advance of and in coordination with the construction of the new Verizon Communications Tower on the hill to the west of the transfer station.
The market for single stream recycling (all recyclables in one container) has collapsed and the cost to dispose of single stream tripled in the last nine months.  The select board decided to return to source separated recycling, which will allow us to make money on separated commodities such as cardboard and aluminum cans.

We turned to Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) for help and they sent a team of seasoned transfer station managers and NRRA staff to review our operations and make recommendations for switching to a source separated program. The recommendation was to purchase 2 balers and 3 storage containers for baling and storing mixed paper, mixed plastics and aluminum cans. All other recycling, including glass, e-waste, batteries, florescent bulbs, tires, metal, etc. remains the same. The balers and storage containers were purchased using the Transfer Station Equipment Capital Reserve Fund and a grant from New Hampshire the Beautiful.


The Select Board and the Library Trustees have been looking at an alternative plan to replacing the handicapped accessible ramp and to improve the entrance to the library. The ramp is aging and the granite steps are steep and slippery. We are looking to redesign the entire entrance to include regrading and creating a small outdoor community space. The primary goal is to improve safety and accessibility. We are looking at using multiple sources of funding including grants and community fundraisers. We are not asking for money at town meeting this year, as plans are still being developed and we hope to get a lot of community feedback during the year.

Inside the Town Office Building, we are planning to bump out the wall dividing the reception area and the administration area to provide more space and an improved layout for administrative staff. This will come out of the town building maintenance line of the operating budget.


Plans for the Verizon Communications Tower on the hill adjacent to the Transfer Station are ongoing. Verizon is waiting for the federal permit process to be completed. As you may recall, the tower will generate a six figure leasing fee from Verizon divided over the next 20 years.


The town has developed a plan with MainStay Technologies, our IT company, that will work in 5 year cycles. This will include workstation replacement and upgrades, security and backups and software upgrades. The town office will be switching from a “dummy server” to Azure Directory Server, which is a cloud host server leased by the town. The cost is about half that of a physical server. Cloud hosted servers are better at authenticating incoming data and backup is automatic.


Town Meeting in March 2017 approved air-based heat pumps and solar panels for the town office/library building to save energy and lower costs for the town. The heat pumps were installed in April 2017 and the solar panels went live at the end of October 2017. We now have a year of experience with the new systems.

Here are key results:
The solar panels are producing the power expected, and even a little more, in a year with higher than normal rain and cloud cover (22,105 kWh produced compared to 21,820 expected)

The PV system meets the needs of the building (the building consumed a total of 21,681 kWhs, a little less than it produced).

The energy upgrades and solar panels together saved the Town approximately $560 in electricity and oil costs.  Once the Town owns the solar panel system, that savings will rise substantially: for this year, the savings would be approximately $2900.  As New Hampshire Electric Co-op rates continue to rise, these expected annual savings will grow.

Now that we better understand the performance of the heat pumps and the solar panels, we can adjust heating and cooling patterns to use more of the power the solar panels generate directly in the building (versus “exporting” it to the Co-op for a credit), with the expectation that this will further reduce Co-op bills as well as oil usage.

Staff and visitors to the Town Offices say that the lighting, temperature control and air quality are all improved.  The quiet and steady air conditioning by the heat pumps is especially appreciated.

Finally, since going live in late October 2017, the Town Offices solar PV system has saved over 36,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of over 910 newly planted trees!  This shows that it is possible both to save money and to help the environment.

KENO 603

Keno 603 is a new game being offered to cities and towns by the New Hampshire Lottery as of December 2017. Establishments holding a valid liquor license (a “pouring establishment”) can offer the game. All revenue generated by the game goes to funding full-day kindergarten. Voters must approve the operation of Keno by a vote at Town Meeting. All towns that offer full-day kindergarten, even those that do not vote to allow Keno, will receive these funds. Google “Keno 603” to find out more about the game.