April 29, 2008
Selectmen Meeting Minutes of April 28, 2008
Present: M. Genest, S. Schacht, G. Webber, S. Nelkens, W. Olson, K. Salamy, J. McLachlan, G. Russell, R. Russell, P. Campbell, B. Brown, K. Brown, M. Isotti, D. Winchester, M. Pon, D. Kirkpatrick, E. Voelcker, T. Feyrer, M. Elliott, P. Boule, S. Bonnacci, W. Dekoning, M. DeKoning, D. Boule, G. Willett, A. Merrill, K. Vance, L. Hennessey, B. Giammarino, M. Noble, A. King, D. Cahoon, N. Desindes, R. Varnum, C. Craig, C. Lunetta, R. Haggett, D. Chauncey, W. Prokop, plus an additional 5-6 residents names unknown.
1. The selectmen approved the minutes of the meeting of April 7th.
2. Chairman Genest asked the public if they were here to give the selectmen input regarding the hiring of a new Police Chief. The answer was yes. It appeared that someone had said that there was going to be an open meeting on this issue. Mr. Genest explained that there was no such meeting planned and that the selectmen were going to meet at the end of tonight’s session in a “Non-Public session” to discuss the options that they have as the Board of Selectmen. But, since everyone was here he opened the session up to comments. The comments were as follows: Open the position up to any and all candidates, hire from within the community, require the officers to live in Town, why don’t we look into merging our police department with Bennington or Hancock or both and create a regional department, be flexible and hire the best
person for the job, make sure the Chief becomes part of the community, consider hiring Chief Campbell or Chief Giammarino, who have both expressed interest in the position and already live in Antrim, take your time and make the right decision – there is no rush you have a good group of officers that can handle things while you make the right decision, take your time and look carefully at all the options. Then a written request signed by 21 residents was given to the Board of Selectmen asking them to conduct an open selection process. Selectman Webber stated that he felt that the open process was the right way to go and that in the end it is the Board of Selectmen’s decision as to who to hire for the Chief’s position. He also stated that he had checked and this desire to have someone live in town maybe a nice idea,but under NH law you cannot require it. The most important issue is to pick the most qualified person for the position. He further asked anyone who has
comments on the selection of the Chief to send their comment to the Town’s Website www.antrimnh.org, or stop in at Town Hall and talk to the Town Administrator, or send a letter or give us a call. Your input and comments will all be considered. Selectman Schacht again emphasized the fact that the Board of Selectmen were not rushing into making a decision, that they were looking at all their options, including following the Town’s Personnel Policy and promoting from within. Chairman Genest thanked everyone for their input and stated that they will consider what was said and will advise everyone of the process that they intend to will follow and that the Board does realize that it is solely their responsibility under RSA105:1 to
make the final decision with the goal of selecting the best person for the job. He also stated that it was very important for the Town to recognize and to maintain the high caliber of officers that we presently have on our police force.
The selectmen than moved on to the scheduled part of the agenda –Department Reviews:
2. The selectmen than met with Chief Feyrer and Sgt. Elliott to review the activities of the Police Department in 2008. (See attached review and graph of first quarter activities) It shows calls for service up 26% and at the current rate we will have over 4000 calls for service in 2008. After some discussion regarding the pending changes taking place in the department with Chief Feyrer leaving the selectmen approved the hiring of two (2) part-time officers. Sgt. Elliott will be in touch with Celeste Lunetta regarding the directed patrols of Memorial Park and the Gregg Lake Beach for the summer. The Police Department will be introducing a Bike Patrol, and all the officers are “certified” for Bicycle patrol. The Police Department will be running the Bike Rodeo this weekend at the School and it is a perfect opportunity for residents
to purchase a bike at a very reasonable price and to teach the kids some safety tips. The selectmen thanked Sgt. Elliott for the information and expressed their thanks to all the officers for their understanding during this transition period.
3. The selectmen than met with the Road Agent and discussed budget concerns for snow removal and fuel cost which continue to escalate. Overall our roads are all in good condition and we are anticipating that work will be starting on the North Main Street projects within the next month. We are waiting for final state approval of the design and construction plans to proceed. The Highway Department has raked the beach and parking lot at Gregg Lake and is currently in the process of cleaning debris from the Town cemeteries and doing some spring maintenance on the roads, parks, and sidewalks. The selectmen were advised that we just received notice of another 3% increase in the cost of asphalt, this makes the increase now 7% more since last fall and the concern is that the increases will keep coming as long as the oil prices stay high. The current
plans for us are to do about 5 miles of “Chip sealing” this year and to do a considerable amount of “crack sealing” to protect the condition of many of our roads. This process will save a considerable amount of money compared to asphalt. The Highway Department will also be looking into widening the exit driveway at the Aiken Barn in order to improve traffic flow and safety.
4. The selectmen than met with C. Craig to discuss the operation of the A.R.T.S. Department. We have filled the part-time position that was advertised and we have just finished installing the concrete pad for the C&D material dumpster. We had a successful Hazardous Waste Day with Hillsborough this month and everything seems to be working out fine with Corcoran Environmental Services, Inc., our new hauling contractor. All expenses are in line with the budget, with the exception of propane fuel. We are now anticipating that our single stream recycling will be delayed 3-6 months due to start up problems with the new facility in Manchester.
5. The selectmen than met with C. Lunetta and R. Haggett regarding the activities of the Park & Recreation Department. The selectmen were advised of a very positive meeting that was held with the selectmen from Bennington regarding the use of Sawyer Field and the establishment of one “Majors” baseball team that will be a combined Antrim/Bennington team that will play at Newhall Field in Bennington. There appears to be significant interest in establishing a Lacrosse Team which is being explored by the department. Soccer will be starting soon for all ages and is a very popular activity in Town. Memorial Park improvements were discussed including the addition of a play gym, and the new skateboard equipment that has been ordered. The selectmen expressed their concern over the size of the skateboard equipment that has been ordered
and are afraid that this will start to cause problems in the future due to the encroaching on the basketball area. C. Lunetta stated that this was discussed by the Recreation Commission and that they voted to proceed with this plan and that they have all the volunteers lined up to build and install the equipment. The selectmen were asked what they thought of the idea of having a mural painted on the new fence in Memorial Park. The selectmen would like to have the input from the abutters, and to see the design plans before they express any opinion. Antrim in the Evening schedule is all set for the season and will be posted shortly. The Fishing Derby will be held this coming Saturday, May 3rd and we are expecting a large turnout, some big fish, and a lot of fun. The summer programs and beach staffing are all set for the season. We are planning on having a meeting soon with the SAU to discuss the finalization of the Town Gym Agreement and to discuss several concerns
regarding use, access, etc. The community bus is getting a lot of use recently for adult trips and the trend seems to be growing and we are working closely with the area Transportation plans. The overall budget is in line and we are hopeful to shift more and more of our costs towards fees as our programs continue to grow.
6. Selectmen met with D. Chauncey who gave the selectmen an overview and an up date on the “Safe Routes to School” program and the grant application. This is a federal funded program with a 100% reimbursable grant of up to $20,000.00. This program promotes children’s health and safety and encourages pedestrian friendly downtowns. The selectmen voted to endorse and support the program and the grant application.
7. The selectmen reviewed miscellaneous correspondence that was received and approved the payroll for the week.
8. The selectmen voted to go into a Non-Public Session per RSA 91a:4 to discussion personnel issues at 8:00 P.M.
8. The selectmen ended the Non-Public Session at 9:00 P.M. and voted to go back in Public session.
9. The selectmen voted to seal the minutes of the Non-Public session. The selectmen voted to follow the following plan regarding the appointment of a Police Chief.
a. They will have the Town Administrator immediately contact
the towns of Bennington and Hancock to see if they would be
willing to explore the feasibility of creating a “Regional Police
b. Sgt. Matthew Elliott will be the officer in charge of the Antrim
Police Department when Chief Feyrer leaves on May 22nd, 2008.
c. No decision on the process, or the selection of a new chief will begin until the selectmen have the opportunity to discuss option “a” above with the towns involved. As was expressed at the meeting, we have a fully functioning department that is well managed and there is no rush for the board to make any decision at this time.
d. The Board of selectmen encourages any interested residents to send
signed letter to the Board of Selectmen with your comments on the
process or to stop at Town Hall and to give your input to the Town
Administrator. All comment will be reviewed by the Board.
e. Progress reports will be issued on a monthly basis to all our residents
via our website, Antrim Advisor newsletter, or noted in selectmen
Meeting adjourned at 9:20 P.M. Two of the selectmen will be attending the Regional Selectmen’s meeting in Hancock on Saturday, May 3rd and the next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Monday, May 12th to continue the department reviews. The meeting will start at 5:00 P.M. The Board of selectmen will be meeting with the Deering Board of selectmen on Monday, May 19th, at 8:30 A.M. at the Deering Town Hall to discuss matters of mutual interest.