Someone has moved the rock that was blocking the access to Lower Beech Pond at Brown Road.
As you can see in the video, it’s evident that the rock was dragged along the shoulder. It has been left a considerable distance from its prior position. It is also within the town’s right of way, which extends 14’3″ to either side of the pavement.
This week Tuftonboro Road Agent Jim Bean moved the rocks on Brown Road that had been placed in the town’s right of way by Ted and Carol Steinman along their property. The Steinmans put the rocks in the right of way last year after getting approval from Carolyn Sundquist, who was at the time the chairman of the board of selectmen. The current board of selectmen has disavowed Carolyn’s actions, saying that she acted alone without the full approval of the board.
Here is a photograph of the access to the pond on May 18:
The selectmen voted unanimously last Friday, May 19, to expend $16,450 from the Library Capital Reserve Fund, for a conceptual design for renovating the current library building, following a presentation by Skip Hurt.
Selectman Chip Albee said that he didn’t think any proposal for a library would be ready for Town Meeting 2018. “To be honest, I don’t see it going on the warrant next year,” he said. “[The library trustees] haven’t gotten to the position where they have consensus on their board about what the want to build. So until that happens, [the board of selectmen] can’t get involved. And until we’re involved, and they’re involved, and we all agree, we can’t get the town involved,” meaning a warrant article at Town Meeting, “so there’s more stuff that’s got to go down before.
Approximately $70,000 was spent on a failed 2015 plan to build a new library across the street from the current library. The plan required a 2/3 vote at Town Meeting because it required a loan due to its projected cost of more than $2.3 million.
Selectman Bill Marcussen said today that at Town Meeting in March 2017, when voters were discussing Warrant Article 9, there “were opinions voiced at that point that are demonstrably at odds with reality.”
Voters discussed Article 9 for 20 minutes and amended it twice before taking a final vote on it, making it the most discussed article at Town Meeting. But Bill said today that “the discussion didn’t go on to a further conclusion.”
“I believe that the vote as it was taken was done without full understanding on part of some of the voters,” he said. However, before the final vote on the article, Town Meeting’s Moderator, Dan Barnard, asked the voters: “Does everybody understand where we’re at? We’re voting now on Article Number 9. It has been amended to limit the selectmen’s prerogatives to sealed bid, and is constructed in such a way that the authority will expire at the end of one year.”
Bill also claimed that “it was a close vote, as you know.”
A close vote would not make the vote any less valid. At Town Meeting articles pass with a 50% + 1 vote, unless the article involves taking on debt that future Town Meetings would be obligated to fund. In that case a 2/3 majority is required.
However, none of the votes on Article 9 were close.
The first amendment to Article 9, which I put forward and that removed the language “indefinitely, until rescinded” from the article, had a recorded vote of 67 yes to 57 no (roughly 55% to 45%). The second amendment to Article 9, which was put forward by Steve Snow and limited the selectmen to selling by sealed bids, had even more overwhelming support and the Moderator, Dan, did not call for a recorded vote but instead declared that amendment passed by show of hands.
The final vote to pass Article 9 as amended was not close, either. Dan again did not call for a recorded vote but instead declared the article as amended to be passed by a show of hands, indicating that a clear majority favored it. All three current selectmen are shown on video voting for the amended article.
Reversing his previous statements, Selectman Chip Albee acknowledged today that Warrant Article 9 had been amended to authorize the selectmen only to sell tax-deed properties by sealed bids, and not by public auction or any other means. However, Chip maintained that there’s nothing in the law, RSA 80:80, that allowed Town Meeting to restrict the selectmen’s options in regards to selling property.
For reference, here is the text of the RSA:
80:80 Transfer of Tax Lien. –
I. No transfer of any tax lien upon real estate acquired by a town or city as a result of the execution of the real estate tax lien by the tax collector for nonpayment of taxes thereon shall be made to any person by the municipality during the 2-year period allowed for redemption, nor shall title to any real estate taken by a town or city in default of redemption be conveyed to any person, unless the town, by majority vote at the annual meeting, or city council by vote, shall authorize the selectmen or the mayor to transfer such lien or to convey such property by deed.
II. If the selectmen or mayor are so authorized to convey such property by deed, either a public auction shall be held, or the property may be sold by advertised sealed bids. The selectmen or mayor shall have the power to establish a minimum amount for which the property is to be sold and the terms and conditions of the sale.
II-a. If the selectmen or mayor are authorized to transfer such liens during the 2-year redemption period, either a public auction shall be held, or the liens may be sold by advertised sealed bids. The selectmen or mayor may establish minimum bids, and may set the terms and conditions of the sale. Such liens may be sold singly or in combination, but no fractional interest in any lien shall be sold. Such transfer shall not affect the right of the owner or others with a legal interest in the land to redeem the tax lien pursuant to RSA 80:69, or make partial payments in redemption pursuant to RSA 80:71, but the transferee shall become the lienholder for purposes of RSA 80:72 and 80:76.
III. The selectmen may, by a specific article in the town warrant, or the mayor, by ordinance, may be authorized to dispose of a lien or tax deeded property in a manner than otherwise provided in this section, as justice may require.
IV. Such authority to transfer or to sell shall continue in effect for one year from the date of the town meeting or action by the city or town council provided, however, that the authority to transfer tax liens, or to sell real estate acquired in default of redemption, or to vary the manner of such sale or transfer as justice may require, may be granted for an indefinite period, in which case the warrant article or vote granting such authority shall use the words “indefinitely, until rescinded” or similar language.
V. Towns and cities may retain and hold for public uses real property the title to which has been acquired by them by tax collector’s deed, upon vote of the town meeting or city council approving the same.
VI. For purposes of this section, the authority to dispose of the property “as justice may require” shall include the power of the selectmen or mayor to convey the property to a former owner, or to a third party for benefit of a former owner, upon such reasonable terms as may be agreed to in writing, including the authority of the municipality to retain a mortgage interest in the property, or to reimpose its tax lien, contingent upon an agreed payment schedule, which need not necessarily reflect any prior redemption amount. Any such agreement shall be recorded in the registry of deeds. This paragraph shall not be construed to obligate any municipality to make any such conveyance or agreement.
Source. 1987, 322:1. 1992, 173:3, 4. 1993, 176:10. 1997, 266:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.
Whether or not 80:80 allows Town Meeting to place restrictions on the manner of sale of tax-deeded properties is a completely different question from whether Town Meeting amended Article 9 to authorize the selectmen to sell the tax-deeded properties by sealed bids only. I am glad that Chip has moved on and is no longer saying that the amendment did not happen.
The board of trustees met May 11, 2017, for their regular monthly meeting. The main topic of discussion was Skip Hurt’s proposal to expand the current library rather than construct a completely new building.
0:00:00 Call to order / pledge
0:00:25 Public input (none)
0:00:50 Approval of April Minutes
0:02:10 Treasurer’s report
0:03:05 Librarian’s report
transferring from vhs to dvd: interviews from town’s bicentennial in 1995
Tuftonboro central school student art Friday
Plant sale in June during town-wide yard sale. Also $10/bag book sale.
0:10:50 NEW BUSINESS
0:10:55 Discussion of Skip Hurt’s proposal to renovate/expand current building
Paul: If there’s potential for savings we need to pursue this
0:13:30 Gordon: Christie and I spoke and we have concerns about interior layout. Don’t believe bathrooms are currently up to code. Sceptic system is 47 years old. central air.
0:17:00 Gordon: In my heart of hearts I don’t want to do something just to do something. I want to do it right. I would under no circumstances go ahead without voter approval.
0:18:25 Gordon: mistake to go forward without town approval firm town funding. untenable.
0:19:03 Mary Ann: Agree. Can’t go forward without town approval.
0:20:30 Mary Ann: Applaud Skip. Exciting for me when he came in. Don’t want to spend money here when we already spent money on the other side of the road. Concerned about health issues renovating building.
0:23:35 Paul: what I like about Skip’s plan is it breaks the connection between us and the police building.
0:24:50 Gordon spoke with Anthony from SMP to get some cost estimates for developing a scope of work
0:32:45 Gordon: we should have another joint meeting with selectmen
0:37:30 Gordon: what are we going to do if we don’t do anything on this and we get to Town Meeting and there are two library articles?
0:37:45 Paul: and what do you say when someone gets up and say “you wouldn’t even spend a nominal amount of money to save us $1 Million?”
0:40:45 Public input
0:41:00 Joan Theve
0:43:45 Bob Theve
0:45:50 Steve Brinser
0:46:25 Carla Lootens
0:49:45 Steve Brinser
0:56:00 Steve Brinser
0:57:20 More New Business: Adoption of Town Harassment Policy
0:58:15 OLD BUSINESS
0:58:20 Capital Campaign Committee Activity
0:59:25 NH Library Trustees Conference
1:00:10 NEXT MEETING: June 8
1:00:45 Motion to Adjourn
0:00:00 CALL TO ORDER / Pledge of allegiance
0:00:25 PUBLIC INPUT
0:00:32 Chris Sawyer
0:02:41 DEPARTMENT UPDATES
0:02:45 Jack Parsons / Code & Buildings
0:04:38 Clay Gallagher / Transfer Station
0:39:20 Jim Bean / Bridges (with Peter Holden, Holden Engineering)
1:10:05 Jim Bean / Highway Department
2:26:08 REVIEW & APPROVAL OF MINUTES
2:27:17 SIGNATURE FILE
2:35:49 Discussion about cemetery abandonment (Thomas-Moulton cemetery) public hearing to be held July 24.
2:44:05 CONTINUED BUSINESS
2:50:12 Tax-Deeded Properties
3:02:01 Cow Island Project
3:04:21 SELECTMEN’S UPDATES
Donation to Special Olympics in honor of Steve Honeycutt. Amend previous motion to $75 donation. Passes 3-0.
Milfoil control committee to meet. Needs new members.
Planning Board meeting looked at zoning changes / GIS maps
Parks & Rec
Conservation Commission/Jack Parson/Sand replacement at beach
Department head meeting May 12 at 10AM
Letter from Carol Steinman
Boat ramp stuff
3:22:15 Jack Parsons has sent a letter to property owners in regards to littering on Durgin Road (two couches and a stuffed chair have been at the end of a driveway for at least six weeks)
Dump stickers and 19 mile Bay parking stickers
3:32:00 OTHER BUSINESS
Jeff Moody / boat ramp
3:32:29 PUBLIC INPUT
Elissa Paquette: “The certified minutes that you’re talking about, is that what is online?”
Chip: “I have no idea if it’s online.”
Karen: “Those are her final minutes. I understand the first draft didn’t have that same decision.”
Elissa: “So you were reading the final minutes.”
Chip: “I’m reading the minutes that were given to us as final from the town clerk…”
Lloyd: “Those are considered…”
Elissa: “[inaudible]…it was a draft…”
Chip: “I don’t think there was significant change from the draft to the final.”
Elissa: “oh, ok.”
Chip: “In that respect.”
3:34:45 Elissa: “I spoke to Dan Barnard and he said he and Heather agreed with Max and that they had amended the minutes.”
Selectman Chip Albee is insisting that Town Meeting did not restrict the sale of tax-deeded properties to sealed bids only. “This discussion about whether or not [inudible] should only be put out for sealed bid, and not be auctioned, I think the question in my mind is not whether or not the town voted on that, because they didn’t.”