Selectmen Meeting Minutes –October 16th, 2006
Present: M. Genest, R Haggett, and B. Pratt
Also in attendance: W. Prokop, T. Goodwin, L. Henderson, R. Rabideau, P. Beblowski, D. Wunch, M. Beauchamp, R. Edmunds, P. Loverning, B. Beauchamp, B. Hennesey, R. Seavey, D. Hanson
The selectmen approved the minutes of October 2nd, 2006 meeting.
The selectmen reviewed the wording for the Public Notice for the Informal Public Sessions to review the new proposed tax maps and property lines and acreage. This session will be planned to be held in November of 2006. The Town Planner will be instructed to proceed with the notice and the sessions.
The selectmen were advised that Senator Gregg and Sununu have been assisting the Town with FEMA to insure that we get a fair hearing on the White Birch Point Bridge project.
A selectman and the Town Administrator will be attending a DES sponsored dinner and meeting on October 25th in Concord that will cover how towns can get more solid waste technical assistance from the state.
The selectmen agreed to contact the Bennington Select Board regarding the “Preambulation of Boundaries” which is scheduled to be done this year. Chairman Genest will be getting in touch with Chairman Germain to schedule a specific date and time.
The selectmen approved the application of Mr. Richard Swain for membership in the Fire Department, pending the completion of background checks.
The selectmen were given a copy of a letter from Shelley Nelkens regarding the Thermal Imager recently obtained by our Police Department as a grant. She expressed a concern that this technology would be used improperly to establish probable cause and she referred to a 2001US Supreme Court Case, which found that surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant. A copy of her letter and attachments are attached. The selectmen agreed to ask Lt. Scott Dunn to address the concerns of Ms. Nelkens and to reply to them in writing.
The Board of Selectmen approved the grant application, prepared by Chief Feyrer for the Police Data exchange plan. This would be a 100% grant with no matching funds required and is part of a forty six (46) department statewide grant application. The value of the entire grant is just over one-half million dollars.
P. Beblowski then explained to the Board of Selectmen his request to have Dr. Wunch make a presentation to the Board. He felt that a Geological Survey would be helpful in the up-dating of the Master Plan and would be a very valuable tool for the Planning Board to have for reviewing future development plans. Dr. David Wunch is the State of NH Geologist and Director of the Statewide Mapping Program. He heads the program that is completing bedrock and surficial mapping throughout the state. His program is funded by the State of NH and the Federal Government and asks for some support with “Local” matching of funds at a very reasonable level. He gave a Power Point presentation as to what the features and benefits of his groups services would be to the Town of Antrim.
It was felt that this information could fit well with the current GIS Mapping that we are now finishing with Cartographic Associates that will update all our tax maps and roads. The selectmen agreed to have Dr. Wunch get back to P. Beblowski with an estimate of cost and timing on this grant application. P. Beblowski will also discuss with the Antrim Conservation Commission their views and possible financial support of some or all of the initial cost. The selectmen will look forward to getting a recommendation from P. Beblowski and the Conservation Commission as soon as possible.
The Board of Selectmen thanked Dr. Wunch for his presentation and for taking to time to come to Antrim to explain the program.
The selectmen met with Chief Beauchamp. Deputy Chief Edmunds, Deputy Chief Lovering, B. Beauchamp, and B. Hennessey to discuss their concerns regarding the Ambulance Revolving Fund and the fees received from Bennington and Stoddard. Chairman Genest gave a presentation of the background and all the steps that were taken between 2004 and the present as it pertained to the ambulance. He clearly stated that the Board feels that the ambulance service that is being provided through the Fire Departm ent is excellent. The service operates at no cost to the taxpayers, since we switched over to billing and in fact will be building revenue in its Revolving Fund as the years go on. He felt that there were two points to be covered:
a. Clarify the understanding of the Ambulance Revolving Account
b. Clarify the use of the fee charged to Bennington and Stoddard to provide
service to their towns.
He than went on to recap how the Revolving Account was set up and how the wording is governed by RSA 31:95-h and that the warrant article that was presented and passed at last years Town meeting clearly stated the purpose and the intent.
Generally, everyone was in agreement with the facts as presented. However, the issue was that the ambulance representatives were not aware that they would have to pay for the cost of leasing the new ambulance out of their “Revolving Fund”. The Chief felt that the Town Administrator did not tell them that this was going to happen. Deputy Chief Lovering stated that if they knew that they would not have gotten an ambulance until 2007 and they would not have leased it. However, she had expressed previously to the newspaper that the new ambulance was not costing the taxpayers of Antrim a single penny because the cost was being covered by “Billings”. Selectman Pratt asked Deputy Chief Lovering what the difference was between paying for the ambulance from billing or paying for it from the Revolving Fund,
which comes from billings. According to Chief Beauchamp they were under the impression that all the funds that were collected in 2005 should have been reserved somehow for the ambulance only, but that it got intermingled into the General Fund and that was not right. M. Genest pointed out that before the Revolving Account was set up, everything went into the General Fund and that all we were doing was following the rules and regulations of the Department of Revenue.
After considerable discussion on this subject it was agreed that what we have as a “Ambulance Revolving Fund” is what we have, and it follow the letter of the law. The selectmen asked the Chief and his associates to develop a 2007 budget for both the Town portion of needed financial support and one for the “Revolving Fund”. We cannot change the past we can adjust as we move forward. The Chief agreed to proceed accordingly.
The discussion then switched to the Fees that the Town is collecting from Bennington and Stoddard. The Chief felt that those fees belonged to the “Revolving Fund”. The selectmen expressed the fact that these fees are set by the three select boards and are not set by the Fire Chief. These fees were set up to cover write offs and to cover the cost of non-budgetted items such as Workman’s Compensation Insurance, Liability Insurance, electric, etc. Again, a lot of discussion took place as to different points of view. In the end it was agreed to have the Chief and his associates prepare their 2007 budgets that will show how they would like the fees received from Bennington and Stoddard applied. They could be credited to the Revolving Account and in turn all the non-budgetted expenses would be charged against
the account. It is estimated that that cost will be between $11,000 and $12,000 for 2007. The Chief agreed and all budgets are due on October 20th, 2006.
Deputy Chief Lovering asked for some backup information on check #5023 which was written out of the Revolving Account. The Town Administrator will provide the back up to her this week.
The selectmen reviewed general correspondence and approved payroll and A/P for the week. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for 10/30/06.