Minutes of November 5, 2018

Town of Sullivan, NH 
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes, November 5, 2018
Sullivan Town Hall

Board members present: Laura Merrifield, Jeff Burbank and Marsha Cook 

Department Heads/Officers: Leslie Casey, Planning Board Chair; Eric White, Conservation Committee Chair; Mary Hull, Cemetery Committee; Chris Pratt, Library; Al Henry, Fire Chief 

Staff: None

Public: None

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Laura Merrifield called the meeting to order at 6:00. The minutes were tabled until after the budget presentations were complete.     



Planning – Leslie Casey presented the budget.  She explained the overall budget was trimmed because some of the line items, like postage and training, have not been used fully in the last several years.  

She reminded the Board the Master Plan capital reserve is a project for 2025 and the goal is to have $15,000 by the time it is necessary to update the town’s plan. 

Cemetery – Mary Hull, representing the Cemetery Trustees, said it is hoped that the tree trimming budgeted for last year will be spent before the end of the year.  If it is complete there would be no funds requested in 2019.  If not completed before December 31, 2018, then the trustees will be requesting funds.  They are waiting for a response from a tree cutter and will keep the Selectmen informed.  Discussion ensued about mowing the cemeteries.  Laura Merrifield will research an anticipated price increase. It was also noted that the full mowing cost has been equally split between Town Hall and Cemetery for several years.  It may be possible that is not a correct method for allocation.  Research to follow. 

Mrs. Hull reported that 70 stones in the 4 Corners Cemetery have benefitted from the headstone preservation plan proposed last year.  Inclement weather has hampered this project and the trustees would like to continue with additional funding in 2019.  

On a question from Selectmen Cook, Mrs. Hull replied that the “Patriotic” line item is for flowers and flags.  

Conservation – Chairman Eric White stated the budget is unchanged from prior years.  One variable is in the “Town Clean Up&Recycling” line because it is dependent on the receipt of grant funds.  As in year’s past, the Committee is requesting a contribution of $1,000 to the Land Conservation Capital Reserve.  
Chairman White stated he would be stepping down as Chair of the Conservation Committee.  He intends to continue as an alternate, and Wendy Pelletier has agreed to serve as Chair.

Library – Chris Pratt, representing the Public Library, reviewed the 2019 budget request.  He noted that typically the Board of Selectmen decide wage changes. He noted the budget was up somewhat primarily due to fuel costs.  Further research is needed on this issue. He stated the 2018 cost of fuel was far greater than expected and he had been told the Library was on a floating per gallon rate that equated to about $2.99.  This unexpectedly high rate results in a significant increase in dollars while gallons consumed have been less.    

Mr. Pratt explained the phone line expense included the annual alarm fee plus the cost of three lines (1 for phone, 1 for internet and 1 for the alarm).  

Selectmen Burbank inquired if Mr. Pratt was familiar with ERates, a federal subsidy program meant to improve technology in schools and other public places.  Mr. Pratt stated that computer usage at the Library is minimal.  

In terms of future needs for building maintenance, Mr. Pratt indicated the paint is starting to peel but no other potential capital improvements were necessary at this time.  

Fire – Chief Al Henry presented the fire department budget.  He noted that phone, electric and heat were typically completed by the Selectmen.  The Chief explained the 2018 budget was only about 60% expended as of the end of September primarily because the Fire Department was waiting to find out if it is possible to find the parts necessary to repair the rescue vehicle.  If it is possible to find the parts much of the remaining budget would be used to cover that expense.  Discussion ensued regarding diesel fuel and the contribution the Fire Department makes toward the overall expense.  It was decided that due to the latest negotiated price it is necessary for the contribution to increase.  The Chief concurred and an adjustment from $2,000 to $3,000 was made with offsetting reductions to Vehicle Repair and New/Major Equipment.

The Chief reported the 1983 Chevy rescue vehicle (carries jaws of life and other necessary tools to accident scenes) will not pass inspection and has been removed from service.   It is not known if parts can even be found make it road worthy and whether it is cost effective to pour money into such an old vehicle.  The department is on the lookout for a replacement.  A new vehicle could be between $200,000 and $250,000 so they are focusing on used vehicles.  Any acquisition would be from the capital reserve which presently holds about $80,000.

The Chief explained the training line item for 2018 was higher than expected due to 1 person taking a Firefighter I class and 2 people taking an EMT course.  He spoke of the point- based system that requires volunteers to earn the Town’s contribution toward training.  He also expressed his concern for the difficulty in retaining volunteers – an unfortunate circumstance across many area towns. 

The Chief noted the capital reserve request of $25,000, if approved, may help to acquire a new rescue vehicle or to accelerate saving for some other piece of equipment. He said the capital reserve had been underfunded for several years.   

In terms of future needs for building maintenance, the Chief explained the overhead doors will not hold a coat of paint.  They are functional but are rusting.  He will research the cost of replacement.  The front door needs replacement and he is monitoring a separation in the concrete blocks.  It was discussed whether it would be prudent to have a professional evaluate the building.  It was generally agreed that may be something the Board might undertake during 2019 in order to determine if there are major repairs necessary in the future.   

The Selectmen noted there had been no request from the Recreation Committee but allocated $1,000 as that number had been sufficient for a number of years.    

The budget presentation ended at 7:35 PM and the Board continued with its regular meeting.   

Marsha Cook made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 29, 2018 meeting, seconded by Jeff Burbank.  The minutes were unanimously approved as amended.  

Review Draft Communication re: 267 Centre St - The board made a couple of slight adjustments to the draft and agreed to mail it with a deadline for response by November 21.

Review Communication from Avitar re: LUCT for 96 Ferry Brook Rd and 373 Rt. 9 - Both properties are awaiting a bill due to removing land from Current Use. The Board voted to proceed with issuing the bills. 

Sealed bids – 24 Arlen Drive - Laura Merrifield made a motion to go in to a non-public meeting for the purpose of land matters at 8:02 PM. Marsha Cook seconded. The Board returned to its Public meeting at 8:10 PM. 

The Board decided to compile the amount owned on the property before deciding on the status of the bid.

Payroll, Vendor Payments and Purchase Orders - Purchase orders and manifest approved as submitted.  The question from last week about 2 E-pay entries was answered because the second one was from a stipend.  The same question was asked again this week due to 2 additional entries. It will be followed up on for the next meeting.

Miscellaneous/General Discussion
Monday, November 12th,  is a holiday, Board meeting is on Tuesday 
The auditor letter was reprinted on letterhead and re-signed
The Keene Sentinel was called about ad being changed. They agreed to correct posting and ran for 3 extra days (Friday-Sunday).
Updated CPR cards from Diluzio are on the way.
DES letter for cell tower site received. DES is asking for updated drawings from the contractors.
Monthly trustees reports- received.

Board of Selectmen-General Discussion
Selectman’s office is closed on Tuesday.
Elections tomorrow: Laura Merrifield has morning (8-1), Marsha Cook (1-7).
Laura Merrifield and Marsha Cook with both will be in the office on Wednesday.
Marsha Cook will cover the office on Thursday.
The Board discussed some general budget paperwork time frames.


MOTION: Laura Merrifield moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:43 pm.
SECOND: Jeff Burbank
APPROVED:  Unanimously Approved

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Burbank and Laura Merrifield