Selectmen's Update: June 9, 2022
Town Clerk/Tax Collector Alison Gage joined the work session to provide an update on the Town’s properties due for tax liening and deeding (failure to pay taxes for multiple years leading to the Town’s seizure of the property). Sandwich is fortunate to have very few properties in this situation. Ms. Gage reports motor vehicle registrations appear to be on track with prior year receipts.
The Board discussed communications methods for Town updates. Historically, the Board has used the SandwichBoard as a courtesy and means for reaching a wider audience beyond the town website. However, the Board acknowledged a need to emphasize the Town website as the primary source of Town information to carry out our vision of bringing out the best in our community and minimize engagement in contentious public exchanges.
Julie Dolan introduced a proposal packet on behalf of the Sandwich Sidehillers regarding potential recreational trails that will require crossing and/or sharing of two Town roads. The Selectmen agreed to further consider the matter at the regular meeting of June 20th to allow time for the public and stakeholders to prepare for and participate in the conversation.
In the regular meeting, the Board opened one sealed bid for the Town Building Maintenance Contractor position. The Board will invite the bidder to a future Selectmen’s meeting for further discussion regarding responsibilities of the role and the bidder’s experience.
The Board discussed an employee “opt-out” program for the Town’s health insurance policy which would provide a stipend for eligible employees who do not participate in the Town’s health insurance plan. The Board weighed their desire to encourage employee health, equity amongst employees, reduction of Town costs, and some potential unintended consequences. The Board decided to ultimately forego an “opt-out” policy at this time.
The Sandwich Climate Action Coalition and Energy Committee will be co-hosting an event to demonstrate electrical vehicles and tools during Old Home Week. The Board approved a request by the representatives of the groups to use the Town Hall parking lot for the event.
The Board reviewed and approved a Home Occupation Questionnaire for Map R11 Lot 45. The Board discussed and accepted a proposal to acquire a Fire Chief’s vehicle pending some follow-up. 90% of the vehicle cost will be covered by a state grant that is an extension of federal ARPA funding. The Chief’s vehicle is due for replacement and this represents an estimated $45,000 savings to taxpayers.
The Board approved updated Tax Anticipation Note documentation, signed the AP and payroll manifest, and a facility use agreement.
As summer traffic has increased, so too have discussions with the Police Chief about speed limits and speed limit signs. A perennial discussion, the Selectmen agreed to postpone posting additional speed limit signs around town until further discussion determined if speed limit changes are necessary. The Board will revisit the topic next meeting when the Police Chief is in attendance to also help review the traffic and safety implications of the Sandwich Sidehillers’ proposal.
The Board discussed committee member best practices, particularly as it relates to potential or perceived conflict of interest and general procedures for addressing matters that include conversations about abutting properties, an ever-present theme in small town business! The Board will be hosting a committee member “summit” this coming Monday at 4 PM at the Fairgrounds to review the application of our vision, mission, and core values and discuss committee best practices and RSA 91-A among other topics.
In response to several inquiries about the Town-owned property for sale at 827 Whittier Highway, the Board discussed how to most effectively and consistently respond. Pictures of the property are available here, however visits to the property will not be allowed due to liability concerns. As a reminder, the property file card and assessor descriptions for all properties in town are available on the town website through the Avitar application available here. Additional material may be available on file at Town Hall.
The Board reviewed a proposal by the Sandwich Performing Arts Coalition to improve the lighting and rigging of the upstairs at Town Hall; the SPAC is seeking funding from the Quimby Fund for the improvements.
The Board will reconvene today for an employee training, then for the Committee member summit next Monday. The next Selectmen’s work session and regular meeting will be on June 20th with agenda items to include the Sandwich Sidehillers proposal, Tax Exempt Organization application reviews and other items.
Board of Selectmen