"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, April 24, 2015

Board of Selectmen Highlights April 23rd, 2015

In addition to a rather testy discussion started by yours truly about a right to know issue involving improper use of emails to conduct BoS business and changing meeting times , there were a few items of interest discussed:
  • Interim TA Carol Granfield was introduced.
  • At the citizen input section, Eric Taussig discussed some issues with meeting postings and the notices on the Town calendar as well as expressing concerns that whomever is hired as the new Town Administrator would not write the contract them self or receive the same contract as was used for the previous TA and especially that it not require anything more than a majority vote to not renew. He was advised that a new contract will be written and would require only a majority vote provision. He was also advised that we would work with counsel to review the contract. 
  • Three "Adopt a Facility " local landscaping companies were approved to provide free mowing and trimming services for certain town properties. They will only be compensated for other landscaping services.  McCarthy Lawn Property Management, LLC adopted the Public Safety Building, Miracle Farm Landscape Contractors adopted the Town Hall and Library and Donnybrook Home Services adopted the Recreation Center, Lions Club and the Historical Society. They were thanked by the BoS for their community service and partnership with the Town.
  • Adopt a Spot volunteers were also announced. Miracle Farms volunteered for the Rt.25 Center Harbor Town Line and the Public Safety Bldg. Karen and James Nigzus Family for Playground Drive. The Moultonboro Women' s Club for the median in the Town Hall parking lot. Donnybrook Home Services, LLC for the Recreation Bldg, the Lions Club flagpole area and the Sutherland Park center garden. Moultonboro Toastmasters for the Public Safety Bldg. Bob Patenaude for the Town entry sign at the Bean Road Town line. 
  • The process for hiring a new TA was discussed. The importance of public input was stressed and a process utilizing the interim TA as a primary focus of her role was approved. Developing a list of desired qualities in a new TA will be developed with input from the public. 
  • The spring town newsletter was approved and will be sent out with the mid-year tax bill. I did make the comment that it was very informative, but perhaps it can be "prettied up" a bit in the future. 
  • Josh Bartlett discussed his progress with the TWC contract renewal process. Some decisions will need to be made such as franchise fee which can range from 0 to 5%.  I mentioned I am in favor of 0% as I see it as  a tax on those of us that pay for cable services. A comment as made that it is the same as paying for the schools and not having kids in the system. I don't see it that way . I can cancel my cable subscription, but I can't cancel my school tax bill. 


Anonymous said...

Who will be reviewing the TA's contract the present town counsel or a NEW town counsel? Remember it was the present town counsel that got us into the mess with the last TA's contract.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Regarding the Time Warner franchise renewal agreement:

The present contract, that was signed in 2001 with Adelphia, and subsequently acquired by TW, via bankruptcy of Adelphia, stipulates a 2% of gross revenue franchise fee to the town. The contract expires in 2017.

If my memory doesn't fail me too badly, last year's revenue to MoBo from TW was around $33,00 (2% of $1.65 million). That's the franchise fee on your bill. My last month's bill was $142+ with 88 cents as the franchise fee.

Federal law stipulates the range of the fee from o% to 5% max, as Paul mentions. So if the fee were max at 5%, MoBo would have gotten around $82,500 ... sidewalk anyone!

The fee is passed onto the subscribers. It's part of your bill from TW.

I'm presently "cutting the cord" on "cable" and migrating to "streaming" and using SlingTv, Roku boxes, etc. However, the key factor (especially for those of us that believe "cable" is becoming obsolete) is high speed broadband.

I'm not going to get on my soapbox here, on what MoBo is doing, or not doing, regarding broadband.

I share the blogger's position on money to TW for being a subscriber. We differ in semantics. I don't look at it as a tax because the whole town does not pay for the services; ergo, it is, legally, a fee. If it were a tax, then everyone in town pays, whether they get cable or not.

I agree that it is NOT the same as paying for schools; the consistency of difference between a tax and a fee.

I'll add, NOT ALL, of the fee from TW has been going into the Tech Fund. Some of you may remember I asked that question at the 2014 town meeting. Most of it does, and the rest goes into the General Fund, where most municipalities put the money. You had to take the TA's position, because nobody else had a clue. The math didn't add-up; ergo the question.

Some pay the fee (or tax, as Paul calls it)and the BoS, not an Official Budget Committee (you) decide what to do with money.

Why doesn't the town give back that money to the subscribers (only), as a rebate on town tax (just kidding)? Their money went to TW, not the whole town!

I can hear the non-resident taxpayers now ...

Real taxes are bad enough, but being charged a fee, and then spending the money on those who feel entitled!

Putting the money ... all of the it ... into the General Fund would at least provide the whole town, not a select few with the benefits of the money. Kind-a-like public money spent for the public.

Just because some vote, in the distant past, at some 2007 town meeting, a decision that is nebulous, and lacks understanding, and was a bad decision, in my view, should continue to put Town Revenue into some fund? I thought the legislative body wanted transparency in town government ... not past deals.

What should the TW "kitty" money be spent on? Haven't times changed?

Good Catch said...

Joe, thanks for the clarification, glad someone's paying attention to details.

Eric Taussig said...

SelectBoard Chair Shipp assured me that Counsel would review the next TA contract and that there never will be another contract that requires 4 votes to terminate.

The prior contract that Carter Terenzini had, purported to require a super majority of 4 votes even though the Board can approve or disapprove any other action with a simple majority. The effect of this clause required the BoS to negotiate an enhanced severance package notwithstanding the "voluntary" resignation of the TA.

Huston, we have a problem said...

When will the video of the 4/23/2015 Selectmen meeting be available to view on the town website?

I just read the minutes,

and it sounds like the meeting got testy from time to time over questions about the RTK law. What's it going to take for those running the town to understand the law and get it right?

Kuddos to Attorney Taussig said...

Only watched the first 22+ minutes of the 4/23 BoS meeting and would like to thank Eric Taussig for his words of wisdom to the Selectmen.

Let's hope the Selectmen do their due diligence this time and hire the right person to fill the vacant Town Administrators position.

Still much confusion over the RTK law. I trust ALL 5 Selectmen will be attending the May 4th RTK presentation in the town hall @7pm. Wonder how many town committee and board members will make the effort to attend that meeting? I understand the RTK presentation is also open to the public.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Atty Taussig. You enumerated several issues that could lead to more serious delemas down the road. Of particular note is the disservice we Recieved from out current long time town attourney. His continued employment must be carefully reviewed. His close affiliation with out ex town manager revealed many shortcomings in our town legal deportment.