Bill Marcussen: Town Meeting Voters Didn’t Know What They Were Doing

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The first amendment to Article 9, which I put forward and that removed the language “indefinitely, until rescinded” from the article, had a recorded vote of 67 yes to 57 no (roughly 55% to 45%).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.

Library Trustees’ Meeting May 11, 2017

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
0:46:50 Terry
0:49:45 Steve Brinser
0:50:15 Ruth
0:55:00 Max
0:56:00 Steve Brinser
0:56:45
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

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”

Narcan Training at Tuftonboro Free Library

Carroll County Coalition for Public Health presented a free training in the use of NarCan at the Tuftonboro Free Library on Friday, May 5. NarCan, also known as Naloxone, is used to reverse drug overdoses.

Video thanks to Joe Kowalski.

Library Renovation Proposal Presented to Selectmen, Library Trustees, and Public

Skip Hurt followed up on his presentation to the library trustees a few weeks ago by showing his plans for a renovated library this morning to about 30 people, including the selectmen, library trustees, and several former members of the disbanded library building advisory committee.

The key points of Skip’s proposal are that his plan has a peaked roof, unlike the proposed Dearborn library; he estimates a cost savings of $1 million, compared to the proposed Dearborn library; and, he says, construction could begin as early as September and could be down in stages. His proposal, he believes, does not require a 2/3 majority vote at Town Meeting because the town would not have to borrow in order to finance the project.

The library trustees will have a meeting Thursday, May 11, at 8:30 AM at the the library to discuss whether to take any action on Skip’s proposal


Video time stamps:
0:00 Skip intro
6:00 “Continuous use of library during construction”
7:40 Cost of Skip’s plan: approximately $1.3 million
10:50 $70k for material / $70k for labor (generous est) for new roof.
12:00 HVAC
13:00 Existing bathrooms for meeting room. Two new bathrooms for new part of library.
14:30 Parking. Police building report had a 30×30 garage on the back of the building. So assuming the committee did its work, that’s a parking lot. Plus a bigger parking lot in woods behind.
19:15 $1.3 million savings compared to plan for new building across the street on Dearborn property
20:00 Questions/Discussion

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

Richard Sager Appointment with Selectmen on Auction of Tax-Deeded Properties

Richard Sager met with the selectmen on Monday, May 1, to tell them that they can still conduct an auction of tax-deeded properties even though Town Meeting voted to restrict the selectmen to selling the properties by sealed bids only. He then went own to promote his own services as auctioneer.

You may want to review the video from Town Meeting of Article 9 being amended:

(If you want, you can skip to the 15:12 mark to see Steven Snow amend the article specifically to restrict the selectmen’s authority to selling properties by sealed bid.)

The language of the amended article as passed by a show of hands (i.e. with a clear majority) was:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid.

Sager incorrectly thought the language was:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require.

This is because the first draft of the minutes was incorrect. However, Heather Cubeddu, Town Clerk, has corrected the minutes on the town website. Sager likely printed out the draft minutes back in March and then didn’t check to see if they had been updated before his meeting with the selectmen.

He told the selectmen that, according to a conversation he had with someone at the New Hampshire Municipal Association, the words “as justice may require” mean that the selectmen could still do an auction even though “public auction” was specifically removed from the article by the voters. However, as demonstrated, Town Meeting removed the the “as justice may require” language completely, rendering Sager’s argument moot.

The relevant statute, as reference in the warrant article, is 80:80-II, and reads:

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.

Clearly, the selectmen are “so authorized” to sell tax-deeded properties by “advertised sealed bid” only. The selectmen are not “so authorized” to conduct a “public auction.”

The selectmen had simply forgotten that the article had been amended. But I have sent them the above video from Town Meeting, and I am sure that after they review it they will follow the will of the voters and not conduct an auction.

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.