Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Carroll County Delegation to Meet Tomorrow in Concord

The Carroll County Delegation will meet in Executive Committee on Thursday March 23, 2017 During Legislative Lunch Break at Approximately 12:00 P.M The purpose of this meeting is to ratify the 2017 County Budget and approve the Hales Location Budget. The meeting will be held in room 201 in the Legislative Office Building, 33 North State Street, Concord NH 03301.
Carroll County Delegation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Inmates Running the Asylum

Thank God ( He is good) I don't have to sit and listen to anymore incoherent rants and schizophrenic tirades from...yes you know who it is. Not hard to guess.
Especially glad not to get dozens of emails per week copied to everyone he mistakenly thinks cares.

Read and enjoy this latest lunatic rant linked below. Mind you, this is someone who has never run for office in this town and the one committee he was on couldn't wait for him to quit, which he finally did.

From tomorrow's Laconia Daily Sun.

( I should add that the " legal error" is not the one he references. Three advanced degrees so he should be able to figure it out.)

Madison Voters Approve Appointed DPW Head

Seems we are not alone in making this move.
According to the Conway Daily Sun, Madison voters, by an 81 to 24 secret  ballot vote, approved Article 11, having the selectmen appoint a full-time director of public works in 2018 when the current Road Agents term will expire. Madison Select Board chair Josh Shackford commented that they have limited oversight of an elected Road Agent and that a DPW director could handle more duties then what is specified on the law for an elected Road Agent. 
As the article indicates, there were some other issues involving the current and long time Road Agent that may have swayed voters who in the recent past rejected this change. Nonetheless, it signals a shift in small towns in NH,  recognizing that times have changed. 

Accessory Dwelling Units, Village Overlay District Now Part of Zoning Ordinances

With barely  mention at Town Meeting, two very important changes to our Zoning Ordinances easily passed last Tuesday.

Article 2  establishes the creation of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) as an accessory use to existing single-family detached dwellings.
In-law apartments or a place for elderly parents to age in place , be near family and live independently are now legal throughout NH and this amendment codifies how they will be allowed in Moultonboro. The law passed last years requires towns to allow ADU's , but allows each municipality to tweak it to meet their specific needs. Here is a link to the ordinance.

Article 3  establishes a Village Center Overlay District (VCOD) to encourage the development of the Moultonboro Village Center in a manner consistent with its historic pattern, including the size and spacing of structures and open spaces. This will set the tone for how the village area of town can be developed. Changes are coming to the village, including I hope, a town common which I would urge the select board to follow up with my suggestion to engage a landscape architect to develop a conceptual plan of how that might look. It is a great and unique opportunity that will not come again and should not be wasted. Here is a link to that ordinance.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three of Five

I don't have the final count of attendees for Town Meeting, but the highest vote total on the tallied votes was 220.  Roughly 5% of registered voters. Considering the weather event this week and the aftermath plus the lack of any controversial events on the warrant, it is not surprising.
Even so, voter passed a $7.5 million budget without any comment other than the few about the " hearts and flowers."
It was perplexing though to see Article 15 (petitioned) to rescind the authority given to the BoS in 2003 to  acquire or sell land, buildings, or both pursuant to RSA 41:14-a. There was no logical or reasonable reason to even present that article.
In addition to containing a serious legal error, the petitioned article and discussion omitted that the written petition of 50 registered voters presented to the selectmen, prior to the selectmen's vote to buy or sell, would require the selectmen to place the question on the warrant. A "special meeting" was mentioned ( and yes many of us do know how to call a special meeting) , but there would be no need for it unless the BoS needed to make a fairly quick decision on a potential deal. The fail safe was still there, but voters were not made aware of that.
Th argument made in support of the article by the lead petitioner, was that only three selectmen ( a majority of the BoS) could sell town land or buildings was specious at best. A majority of duly elected selectmen whether it be three of five, or two of three, are empowered to make many decisions on behalf of the town. That is why they are in office. That is how towns are run.
Time now to move on to whatever the future of the two properties that were the real target of this article, the Lions Club and the Taylor Property, may be.

Time for " Selectperson"

A quick random post. Isn't it time that the powers that be in Concord put forth legislation that removes gender from public office titles? Many women serve on select boards so why not address them  ( officially and legally) as  " Selectperson" or "Selectwoman?" It is 2017 after all.

Give Our (Still ) New Road Agent a Chance

 Some of the comments made at last Saturday's Town Meeting while not overtly critical, were in my opinion, negative in nature toward our newly hired Road Agent/ DPW director. Chris Theriault has been on the job since August 29th of 2016, just about seven months. He is the first Road Agent that was not elected by voters, but rather voters gave that authority to the BoS at the 2016 Town Meeting to appoint one.
The BoS did their due diligence and hired Chris.
Not long after he settled in, the winter of 2016-17 began, numerous personnel issues had occurred and he was the new guy trying to fill the shoes of long time town fixture, Scott Kinmond. Scott was a difficult act for anyone to follow and Chris, being new to the job, had an expected learning curve. He does things differently than his predecessor and that is okay and expected. Change, especially after many years of doing things the same way, is not easy. If anyone expected that we would hire or even find a Scott Kinmond clone, they were not being realistic.

No one in my recollection, had complaints this winter about the work of our town employees and in fact, all that I had heard were very complimentary. They did a great job in one of our most harsh winters. Heck of way for a new DPW Director to get his feet wet.
Yes there were issues with private road plowing and yes there were some communication issues, but is very unfair to base a persons overall job performance on how well private contractors plowed their assigned roads. It certainly needs to improve and one change made recently is to consider clearing of private roads on a par with clearing town roads. That may require additional contractors and increase cost, but it will certainly improve the speed of which roads are plowed.
In customer service, a business can do 99 things perfectly, but do one thing wrong and no one remembers the positive, only the one negative. Look at things in totality and not in isolation. Chris brings many good qualities and experience to our town, and in the long run, if we give him a chance, he will be successful.
I do hope that our new ( renewed?) BoS member who has been very critical of Mr. Theriault, will also give him a chance and now as a member of the BoS, he also needs to remember that he is Chris's employer and should do all he can as such to make sure he is successful in running our DPW.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gilford Minimum Road Standards

A reader sent me this link to the Gilford Minimum Road Standards , which I think lays out a good template for other towns, including our own. It is a fairly comprehensive policy, 16 pages long and begins with this introduction: ( bold is mine)

"These standards are established to encourage safe and efficient roads in Gilford while promoting smooth traffic flow and optimum sight distances. They are designed to ensure wise use of municipal revenues for road construction and maintenance and to provide suitable travel for intracommunity and intertown commerce. They are intended to minimize conflict with pedestrians and assist in maintaining quiet residential neighborhoods consistent with Gilford’s rural character.
These standards shall apply to all new street and road construction as well as the upgrading of private ways when same are proposed for acceptance as a public way by the Town. Any road(s) accepted by the Selectmen shall meet or exceed the Gilford Minimum Road Standards in effect at the time of Gilford subdivision approval. If the physical condition of the road(s) has deteriorated before acceptance by the Town, the road(s) must be reconstructed to meet the Gilford Minimum Road Standards in effect at the time of subdivision approval (added 10/3/74 by Board of Selectmen)."

Enforceable and reasonable and I think addresses many of the concerns of the Town as well as citizens.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Town Meeting in a Nutshell ( Correction: Joyce Larson)

School District meeting was uneventful. All articles passed unanimously. It was announced that Superintendent Noyes agreed to stay on at 80% for another year. Outgoing Board member Richard Brown was honored for his term on the School Board and after adjournment, Lauren Lavoie Sturgeon and Joyce Larson were sworn in as School Board members,

Town Meeting started quietly , breezing through Articles 4 through 13 with overwhelming show of cards approval. There was a brief discussion on the inclusion of the so called " hearts and flowers" requests as some felt they should be included as in the past as separate petitioned articles.

Article 14- a petitioned warrant article seeking to pave a short portion of Blacks Landing Road paved from the uphill  grade from Berndorf Road to NH Route 109. It was defeated by a show of cards 104 NO to 79 YES

Article 15- A petitioned warrant article  to rescind the authority of the BoS to sell and or buy property and/or buildings, with the exception of tax deeded properties. Defeated 120 NO to 95 YES.

Article 16- A petitioned warrant article seeking to repeal BoS policy # 2 which establishes recommendations for private roads.
A motion to amend the article by including language that sought to have the legislative body direct the BoS to continue to plow private roads and defend an affirmative vote in court. Town Moderator Harry Blood ruled correctly, that the amendment was not properly warned and thus would not be accepted. A motion to overrule the moderator was easily defeated 67 YES to 107 NO.
Back to the original article, after lengthy discussion, the article as originally written was approved by a vote of 157 YES to 47 NO.
BoS Chairman Shipp honored the Proutys for many years of volunteer service and read the dedication to them in this years Town Report. Jordan Prouty thanked everyone and that he and Phyllis were very honored.
After some nice compliments from Chairman Shipp I was presented with the traditional granite token of appreciation for my service on the select board.

Despite Selectman Wakefield's comments that continuing to publicize the issue of plowing private roads could backfire, a " sense of the meeting" motion was made for the town to continue plowing private roads, something that the BoS have never said they would stop doing.

Meeting adjourned at noon.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Outage Update, Crews Ahead of Schedule

MARCH 17, 2017; 5 P.M.

Thanks to a day of hard work, line crews are poised to restore a large number of NHEC members by tonight. Power was restored today to approximately 1,000 NHEC members affected by the March 14 winter storm. At the time of this update, approximately 2,000 members remained without power, nearly all of whom were located  in Moultonborough, Tuftonboro and Sandwich.

·        Power was restored today to the full length of the main line that runs along Route 109 from Moultonborough to Center Tuftonboro. Crews are currently working to restore power to numerous side roads and neighborhoods off Route 109.
·        We expect power will be restored TONIGHT to the Suissevale and Balmoral developments, as well as neighborhoods off Clarks Landing Road and Blacks Landing Road.
·        Most of Bald Peak Colony Club will remain without power overnight. Substantial tree damage in this development has slowed the restoration progress there, however crews have been assigned to and are working all known trouble spots. We expect power to be restored to the Bald Peak Colony Club by Saturday night.
·        Most locations in North Sandwich have been restored today, however areas in the vicinity of Little Pond Road and Mason Road will likely remain without power tonight. We expect restoration of this area of Sandwich by Saturday night.
·        The main line serving Route 171 is expected to be restored by tonight.
·        Among the last areas to be restored will be the High Haith Road area of Center Harbor. The area known as “The Jungle” has suffered extensive tree damage. Crews have been in the area with heavy equipment preparing the electrical system for restoration. However, there are numerous broken poles and downed wire that will need to be replaced before the area can be fully restored. We expect this area to be restored by Sunday night.