Selectmen's Update - September 19, 2023

Selectmen’s Update – September 19, 2023

Thank you to all who attended last week’s meeting and session focused on the White Mountain National Forest Vegetation Management Project. Special thanks to Advice to the Players for their flexibility in accommodating a shift in meeting spaces given our surprisingly large attendance.

As a reminder, the Forest Service will be hosting a site visit September 24th at 10:30 AM at Ferncroft to continue public discussions about the proposed project. We are told additional outreach opportunities will be scheduled with neighboring communities’ Selectboards.

A second public comment period will be available, and members of the public are encouraged to use the Forest Service’s comment portal to respond to the project. Please note – while we have facilitated public engagement opportunities for this project, the Selectmen have no authority in project planning or implementation.

Also in the meeting, the Board reviewed and approved documents including a temporary use authorization for use of the town’s beach facilities by a local organization. The Board recently adopted a Temporary Use Authorization Permit to standardize the Board’s processing of one-time, limited scope/temporary approvals.

The Board reviewed and approved a monthly report for the Town’s HOP (Housing Opportunities Planning) Grant project underway. The town has partnered with Barrett Planning Group to engage in a professional review of the town’s regulations as it relates to potential housing barriers; the grant steering committee – comprised of Planning Board members and interested community stakeholders – will be conducting public outreach in the coming weeks and months to solicit community input regarding housing challenges and community needs. 

The Board reviewed and approved an amendment to the Town Swimming Facilities Ordinance to prohibit the use of soaps/detergents at our swimming facilities.

The Board reviewed and approved meeting minutes. Please note: as part of our ongoing website revitalization project, we will be removing some older content from the website. Meeting minutes published prior to 2022 are still available upon request to the Selectmen’s Office.

In other business, several topics were discussed:

  • The 2024 Budget season has begun! The kick-off 2024 budget advisory committee meeting was yesterday, September 18th. Future meetings will be at 4 PM bi-weekly, occurring on the Selectmen’s non-meeting weeks through early February. Public attendance is encouraged! We anticipate much discussion about the budget impact of our post-pandemic population (increase) related impact on town services.
  • Research was conducted regarding regulations associated with bear dogs/hunting, in response to community conversations centered around the topic. Please note, per RSA 207:59, the town cannot adopt an ordinance restricting hunting.
  • The Energy Committee is reviewing responses to the Town’s Request for Proposals for a 2024 municipal solar array project. The Energy Committee is working to evaluate proposals and will bring forth a recommendation to the Selectmen for 2024 budget considerations. Stay tuned for more public outreach events between now and Town Meeting to familiarize voters with the proposed project.
  • The Town website revitalization project is ongoing and we hope to have an updated website rollout in the next 60 days. Our administrative team is working to develop a coherent site structure while also working on content migration. More updates and information will be provided as we near rollout.
  • The town has an upcoming vacancy for a Highway Maintainer. Interested applicants must submit a signed position description (here) as well as a signed general employment application. The Town of Sandwich is an equal opportunity employer. Position is open until filled.
  • The town will be seeking bids for the position of Town Buildings Maintenance Contractor. A request for bids will be published next week. More information will be available on the town website at that time.

The Selectmen will meet next week with a work session at 4 PM and regular meeting at 5 PM. As a reminder, meetings (including work sessions) are open to the public with few exceptions.

Don’t forget – special town meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 26th at 6 PM at the Sandwich Central School. Voters will consider appropriation of $750,000 for the purchase of a Fire Engine; and further to fund the purchase with $500,000 to come from the Fire Protection Equipment Capital Reserve, to authorize the Selectmen to trade in or sell the 2005 Fire Engine to offset purchase, and to fund the balance, not to exceed $250,000 from unexpended fund balance.

For questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Selectmen’s Office.

Board of Selectmen

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Mailing: PO Box 194, Center Sandwich, NH 03227
Phone:  603-284-7701

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