$16,450 to Develop Conceptual Design for Library Renovation

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.

Video courtesy of Joe Kowalski.

Watch Skip Hurt’s library renovation presentation to the library trustees here and his presentation to the trustees, selectmen, and public here. The trustees also discussed Skip’s presentation here.

Chip Albee Admits Article 9 Was Amended, Still Thinks Selectmen Have Authority to Do Auction

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.

Selectmen’s Meeting, May 8, 2017

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
2:44:08 Junkyards
2:50:12 Tax-Deeded Properties
3:02:01 Cow Island Project
3:04:21 SELECTMEN’S UPDATES
3:04:25 Bill:
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
3:12:45 Chip:
Parks & Rec
Conservation Commission/Jack Parson/Sand replacement at beach
3:17:01 CORRESPONDENCE
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.”
Bill: “Right.”
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.”
3:35:24

Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen

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.”

But we did. Continue reading “Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen”

Selectmen’s Meeting for May 1, 2017

0:00 CALL TO ORDER / PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
0:30 PUBLIC COMMENT
6:10 APPOINTMENT: Richard Sager
35:40 REVIEW and approval of minutes
41:25 SIGNATURE FILES
51:40 CONTINUED BUSINESS
59:00 SELECTMEN’S UPDATE
1:06:30 Highway Department several lines items over budget
1:08:20 Calendar announcements
1:09:40 Correspondence
1:16:00 RTK from Don McWhirter
1:24:00 OTHER BUSINESS
1:26:00 PUBLIC COMMENT
1:26:10 Chris Sawyer — Fire truck
1:27:15 Guy Pike — Stonewalls in town rights of way
1:27:40 Max Ledoux
1:29:00 RETURN TO BUSINESS: redo motions from last Friday’s meeting because wrong dates were used by accident

Selectmen Visit Brown Road

On Friday, April 28, the board of selectmen (Lloyd Wood, Bill Marcussen, and Chip Albee) met at Brown Road to set the edges of the town’s right of way on the property of Ted and Carol Steinman. The selectmen’s meeting was posted as a public meeting and Guy Pike, Ben Ladd, and I attended. At issue for the selectmen to examine was a line of large rocks the Steinmans had installed on the of the road last summer within the town’s right of way.

Brown Road Road at Lower Beech Pond is a 3-rod road, meaning the town’s easement is 49.5 feet wide. (A rod is equal to 16 ½ feet.) While a road might not be in the exact center of the original easement, the Steinman’s attorney last week stated that their assumption is the road is centered in the easement. The pavement of the road is 21-feet wide, according to the selectmen’s measurement, which means the town has a 14¼ foot right of way on either side of the road (21+14.25+14.25=49.5).

Although it appeared Lloyd was opposed in general to spending public money, Albee and Bill indicated that they were in favor of having the town Road Agent (Jim Bean, an elected official) move the line of rocks out of the town right of way, farther onto the Steinman’s property.

There is a separate issue of the public access to Lower Beech Pond, which the Steinmans also blocked off.

One possibility there is that NH Fish & Game could install a boat ramp. It’s unclear what the town would have to do, if anything, in preparation for that. Chip mentioned the town could stabilize the bank for Fish & Game.

The board will likely have more to discuss on this issue at Monday’s meeting at 4PM at the town offices.

Brown Road Boulder Issue: Ted and Carol Steinman Meet with Selectmen

Saying that they had met with Carolyn Sundquist “at this table” in a “series of meetings,” Dr. Ted Steinman and his wife, Carol, accompanied by their attorney, Jeremy Eggleton of the law firm Orr & Reno, described to the board of selectmen (left to right: Chip Albee, Bill Marcussen, Lloyd Wood) on Monday, April 24, how last year they had sought and “followed directly the town’s directions” when placing boulders along the edge of Brown Road on their property in order to block access to Lower Beech Pond from boat trailers and bob houses.

Carolyn Sundquist’s emails concerning Brown Road were obtained by Guy Pike through a Right to Know request last December. In one email to Road Agent Jim Bean dated August 25, 2016, Carolyn Sundquist wrote “I advised the Steinmans to go ahead with placing boulders in front of the access.”

Continue reading “Brown Road Boulder Issue: Ted and Carol Steinman Meet with Selectmen”

Resident Seeks Richard Sager’s Invoices

Resident Betsy Frago has made a Right to Know request under RSA 91-A to inspect the invoices from Richard Sager to the board of selectmen from August, 2016, to the present. Sager is the board’s attorney. The selectmen, however, have not been completely forthcoming.

Betsy met with the selectmen at their meeting on Monday, April 24, to find out why they have not provided her access to the records yet.

Betsy has already obtained the town check register for that period and determined that Richard Sager was paid $13,961.40 in taxpayer money during that period. She would like to know what that money was spent for.

An analysis of the check register shows that since the selectmen launched a lawsuit against Bob McWhirter and me in early December of last year Tuftonboro taxpayers have paid Richard Sager $11,113.30.

Sager’s March payment, funded by taxes, was $4,244.18. Sager’s payment in the month before the selectmen sued Bob and me was for $70. In the three months before the lawsuit, Sager received on average $218 each month. Since the lawsuit, taxpayers have written Sager checks for on average of $2,778.33 each month (December – March).

The selectmen are suing me because they are attempting to illegally charge me $6.50 to inspect government records even though RSA 91-A specifically forbids them from charging a fee for the inspection of a governmental record.

 

Selectmen’s Meeting for April 10, 2017

Time stamps are approximate:

0:01 Pledge of Allegiance
0:25 Library update
Christy doesn’t like Trump’s proposed budget that cuts federal funding to libraries
Friends of the Library to donate another $10k. $40k+ over last… ten years.
new fiction book club starting
5:20 NarCan training at library on May 5
7:00 Bill asks Christy to attend emergency management debriefing on Friday
8:10 Roads department update
$5,000 over cleanup budget already
45 road events this year (29 last year)
Dame, New, and Brown Roads are in particularly tough shape
12:15 Selectmen discuss planned emergency management debriefing
13:15 Review and approve minutes
19:18 Signature file
Public employee salary adjustment for RETROACTIVE PAY RAISES
21:00 written permission to send information to auditors
23:20 copier agreement: $.13 per page (Lloyd misread: fee is actual 1.5 cents per page!)
Chip: that gives us a basis for charging for copies
25:10 Veteran’s credit for property taxes two properties
first approved, second denied — application by surviving spouse who moved to NH after the veteran died. credit only available to resident veterans and surviving spouses
31:08 tax levy gravel pit
32:00 notice to excavate
33:55 Continued Business
Board meeting schedule
40:00 Brown Road
Chip: Carolyn Sundquist told Steinmens they could put the boulders in place.
45:25 Lloyd asks for public comment
Bob & Sue both said just remove the rocks
Chip: The rocks were placed there because one selectman made a decision so we need to make a decision as a board
Max: Aren’t the rock the Steinman’s property? If the town removes them, might the Steinmans retaliate legally?
Jim: Just wants to be sure so that if we move the rocks we don’t have to do it again
52:00 Town copy policy
53:40 Bill: clear that “actual cost” not intended to cover labor!
54:45 Chip: We’re not in it for profit
55:05 Lloyd NH supreme court accepted Merrimack county Superior Court decision (Kelley v. Hooksett Assessing Office, Case No. 11-CV-266): you can’t charge for labor.
57:00 Chip: spending $275/hr for an attorney to argue about cost of copy. (Chip probably misspoke: Sager’s last known fee was $175/hour)
57:50 Chip motion to change copy fee to $.15 per page. Motion passes 3-0.
58:50 Police cruiser
59:09 Lang Pond
Review checklist (Jim Bean)
1:11:25 Jack Parsons
1:11:55 Update town contact list (?)
1:12:30 Lake Road boat ramp proposal
1:13:45 Selectmen’s update
Bill:
Planning board
cemetery trustees
old homes days committee will meet April 18 (open meeting)
Master plan update. Zoning in town.
Lloyd: Multitown roundtable April 11 at 6:30 at the fire station in Tuftonboro
1:21:00 Lloyd is recusing himself from fire department-related issues since he’s on the department
1:21:30 Correspondence
1:21:40 Brown Road correspondence
1:23:25 Lloyd wants to send $100 from the town to special olympics in honor of Steve Honeycutt (his obit. requests such donations in lieu of flowers)
1:24:50 RTK response to Ed Comeau
1:32:00 Chip felt Sager’s response was trying to pick a fight and Chip wants to avoid that.
1:34:09 Continue with other correspondence
1:42:13 Other Business
Court case continued. No hearing on April 18.
1:44:00 Public Input
1:44:20 Bob McWhirter asked about emergency management debriefing scheduled for Friday.
1:46:33 Max Ledoux asked the board to investigate using a payroll company to process employee paychecks
Joe Kowalski: Is there a fee for bringing in your own scanner to make copies of public records (No)
1:48:00 Guy Pike: Municipal estoppel (re Brown Road)
1:49:40 motion to adjourn