Minutes of June 14, 2011

Present:  Randy Smith, Roger Sweet and Becky Cummings.

The town fax machine was down the day of the ZBA hearing for Antis so they did not know the application for a back lot building permit had been withdrawn.   The application was denied by the committee because no one appeared for Antis.  After learning of the withdrawal, the ZBA rescinded their decision. 

Eric attended the recent selectmen’s meeting with Butch Brooks to discuss the forest management plan for the Town Farm.  The selectmen said the conservation commission is responsible for paying for the plan.  Eric later met with Rick Hotchkiss to determine if perhaps the land use change tax could be used.  Rick said he preferred it not be.

Eric pointed out that at an April 1999 meeting with the town attorney, the trustees of trust funds, the selectmen and members of the conservation commission, the attorney stated any cost of maintenance could be taken out of the Town Farm (Winch) Trust.  Rick said he would rather keep the money in the bank to grow.  Rick had suggestions and dictated them in a letter to Jody, the town administrator.  The C. C. voted to adopt Rick’s suggestions in this letter. See attachment*.  We are over our budget this year by $800 because of the forest management plan.

Becky suggested perhaps a small capital reserve fund could be set up for the future maintenance of town properties (land).

Two Intents to Cut have been filed.  One is from Lakeville Shores again for the Hubbard Rd. property.  The other is for Daniel Smith on Gilsum Rd. 

Ralph Jernberg from the Access program asked for suggestions for his kids’ program this summer.  Eric thought perhaps Steve Roberge could do a habitat workshop with them at his place.  Roger thought they might like to make new boxes for the information flyers on the town’s protected properties. 

Roger handed in a thank you note to the conservation commission from Sullivan School for sponsoring the Harris Center Programs for the students  “This program allows for our students to explore their natural environment and to learn skills that last a lifetime.”   The note will be printed in the next town newsletter. 

Meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Becky Cummings

*Attachment from Selectman Rick Hotchkiss
Hey Jody,
I  had the opportunity to sit down with Eric White this weekend and discuss the way we would like to operate along with the Conservation Commission.  The Conservation Commission has responsibility for managing three major Town of Sullivan owned properties The Ester Winch Town Forest (113 acres) Jewett Park (4.5 acres) and a section of wetlands off of Martin Court (7.26 Acres). 
I see from the town report that in addition to the Town Cemeteries and the area with the Town Hall, Fire Department and Library, there some scattered small vacant pieces of land which  the Conservation Commission may oversee or want to oversee.
OK,  Back on subject.  Eric understands that the net income of any timber harvesting, or income from berry picking, maple sap harvesting etc. all goes into the winch trust fund and is to only be withdrawn for use in the support of the poor.  Any money required to pay for any other activities to do with the Town Forest whether it be repairing the land or managing the forest  will have to be derived form a source other than the winch trust.
The Conservation Commission generates and submits its annual operating budget like all other departments.  I suggested that such activity as the recent forest management plan should also be included in the budget for that year. The Commission’s budget should include the cost of activities they have planned for these properties. 
In regards to their annual operating budget, just like all other departments, the department head will fill out a purchase requisition for all expenditures.  Expenditures lower than $500.00 can be approved by the department head (chairman of the Conservation Commission as an example) and  once approved the purchase requisition is a purchase order and the procurement can move ahead.  A copy of the purchase Requisition/Order is turned into the Administrative Assistant where it will eventually meet up with the associated invoice.  Purchase requisitions for $500.00 or greater, are turned in to the Administrative Assistant and must be first approved by the Select Board before they become purchase orders and the procurement can move ahead.
The Conservation Fund is a different animal.  It has statutory limits on what it can be spent for.  Any expenditure from the Conservation Fund must be approved by a majority of the Conservation Commission.  To keep all of our records straight, expenditures from this fund will also use our purchase requisition/order form.  Select Board approval is not needed but the majority vote of the Commission is needed.  After obtaining the majority vote, that vote will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and the Chairman and Secretary of the Commission will sign the purchase requisition which will make it a purchase order and the procurement can move ahead.  In the case where the final price is unknown (as happens at times with the fire or highway depts.) the price shown on the purchase order will be a NTE (Not To Exceed) price.  Copies Purchase Orders generated in this manner will also be turned in to the Administrative Assistant where it will eventually meet up with the associated invoice.  Such Purchase orders should also indicate that they will be paid from the Conservation Fund.  After we receive the Invoice and Pay the invoice, the Conservation Commission will execute the necessary paperwork for the treasurer so that the money is transferred from the Conservation Fund to reimburse the Town’s general fund.  I recommended that the Conservation Fund be used “sparingly” and that items might be better in the operating budget instead,  this would help build up the reserve in that Fund for the purchase of land,
Purchases from the Conservation Fund to Purchase Real Estate or rights in Real Estate require a more complex process as outlined in the statutes.
There is one more fund which is the Capital Reserve Fund for the purchase of Real Estate.  This fund is small and will just continue to grow.  I anticipate that it would be used in conjunction with the Conservation Fund if the correct opportunity were to arise.
Eric will fill out the Purchase Requisition Form and provide the bill from the forester.  At Monday’s meeting I anticipate we will approve both the purchase requisition and payment of the bill.  The Conservation Commission’s budget will run over this year but that won’t be an issue.
I have copied Eric White on this so he can check that I have characterized our discussion correctly.
Best regards,