Selectmen's Update: September 28, 2021
The Board shared several updates regarding the status of federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds and NBRC (Northern Border Regional Commission) funds during their regular meeting. The Town was awarded $840,493 by NBRC earlier this fall to form a public-private partnership that will be responsible for constructing a fiber optic broadband network to service the entire town. Separately, ARPA funds have several eligible uses, namely including the build-out of infrastructure such as broadband, and to cover expenses related to the impact of COVID-19 such as PPE, and facility improvements to support improved safety measures.
The Board will hold a public hearing (in person) on Tuesday, October 19th at 5:00 pm at Town Hall to discuss the acceptance and expenditure of the above-referenced funds. For further questions, please reach out to the Selectmen’s Office or join us for the public hearing.
The Board discussed a proposed easement for Map R1 Lot 31, owned by the Town. The easement would provide a space for the broadband “headend” station to support the proposed broadband system mentioned above. Once the easement draft is approved by the Selectmen, it will be submitted to the Planning Board and Conservation Commission for review and recommendation. Two public hearings will be scheduled upon receipt of recommendations, after which the Board may formally approve the easement.
The Board approved meeting minutes and signed multiple items: two oaths of office, the AP and payroll manifest, a timber Intent to Cut form, raffle permit and two compliance-related letters.
The Board formally approved the NH Department of Revenue MS-1 form. The MS-1 form is a summary of valuation and is the foundation for setting the Town’s tax rate.
Following prior discussion regarding a draft policy, the Board reviewed and approved an updated Employee COVID-19 Policy including COVID-19 exposures/quarantines, and related sick leave. The updated policy is designed to be flexible based upon changing state guidance and prioritizes employee health and safety.
The Board revisited their COVID-19 policy as it relates to Town Facilities and the use of Town Hall specifically. A mask is still required in Town Hall; Town Facilities policies will be revisited on a biweekly basis. As mentioned previously, the Board prioritizes employee and community safety, and keeping Town Hall open with services interrupted as minimally as possible.
The Board also discussed remote participation for board/committee members and members of the public. Per state law and with the expiration of the Governor’s Emergency Order #12, boards may choose to allow remote participation by committee members and/or members of the public under certain circumstances and with several factors being considered. Decisions to allow remote participation will be made by the Board Chairs.
The Board reviewed and approved a draft Complaint Policy following a discussion last week. The adopted policy was created to ensure a fair and transparent process for addressing formal complaints and inquiries. The Complaint Policy can be found on our website or at the Town Hall.
The Board reviewed and approved a request to utilize Town Hall. The Board is considering such requests on a case-by-case basis.
The Parks and Recreation Director provided an update to the Board regarding fall and winter (yes, it’s almost that time!) programming and the impact of COVID-19 on programming, including budgets. The Director is working hard to consistently adapt programming to the most updated and available guidance while ensuring our programs are in sync with programs in neighboring communities.
The Board acknowledged receipt of a Wetlands Permit application for a proposed driveway. The Board also acknowledged an inquiry related to the Town’s permitting for “tiny homes”. The Zoning Ordinance currently addresses this type of dwelling in Section 150-17 as it relates to mobile tiny homes; the Board agreed that no changes to the Zoning Ordinance are desired at this time.
The Board reviewed an ongoing list of site inspections and building permit correspondence from the Compliance Officer. As a reminder, Building Permit application materials can be found on our website.
The Board will reconvene next week at 4:00 pm for their Work Session and at 4:30 with the Budget Advisory Committee to discuss the Fire Department budget and related capital planning.
Have a great week!
Board of Selectmen
P.S. – we still have a committee opening for an alternate member of our Zoning Board of Adjustment! Please contact the Selectmen’s Office for further details or to express interest.