Are They Still There?

By S.D. Plissken | November 23, 2018

Yes, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) is still there. After the Budget they just imposed upon us, they should be gone. What was it that TV lawyer used to shout out by way of objection? Incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial! It is quite difficult to miss them when they won’t go away.

The Historical Society Discussion began with Chairman Thibeault’s disclaimer about being Vice-something-or-other at the Historical Society. It turned out to be a mutual willingness – a three-way deal, actually – for the Town to sell the historical Plummer’s Ridge (District Number 1) Schoolhouse back to the Historical Society for the sum of $1. It would then be moved across the street to one of the condemned sites whose building is scheduled for demolition. The Historical Society would retain their current Milton Mills building, but add this other old building and site to their holdings.  It would have a modicum of parking, as well as some ability to get septic and such, which is not practicable at their current site.

One would hope that our wise overlords would consider a lengthy lease arrangement – say, 99 years with an option for 99 more – instead of an outright sale. That worked well enough for Hong Kong and Guantanamo. If the Historical Society were to collapse – several BOS meetings have had agenda items devoted to how parlous their situation is – then the Town would retain ownership of its historical building.

At the very least, the BOS should include some sort of reversion or first-refusal clause in the deed. We would never be confronted with a successor Plummer’s Ridge Schoolhouse Tattoo Shop and Head Emporium or a Plummer’s Ridge Schoolhouse Massage Parlor.

The Three Ponds Protective Association (TPPA) gave a lengthy rundown of their efforts to eradicate Brittle Naiad from the Three Ponds. In point of fact, one of the things mentioned was that it would be impossible to ever entirely eradicate it. It is with us until the end of time. With TPPA’s own money, as well as with grants from the States of New Hampshire and Maine, and the Towns of Milton and Lebanon, they have eliminated much, but not all, of the invasive plant.

Some of these government entities were mentioned as already balking at future grants. But, our own wise overlords voted for another $10,000 go-around next year and put future go-arounds into the Tax Acceleration Program (CIP) plan, evidently in perpetuity. They did so unanimously, of course. It emerged at the end that none of these rounds have done anything much about infestations upstream, or done anything whatsoever about infestations downstream at Spaulding Pond, which has, if anything a greater degree of infestation. It is not a Salmon Falls or Milton Waterways Protective Association, just a Three Ponds Protective Association.

The Recycling Grant (Pat Smith) and Approve Transfer Funds from Highway Vehicle CRF (Capital Reserve Fund) to General Fund (Pat Smith) were both accepted unanimously. The grant would partially pay for a 30-yard container. The $1,420 grant from New Hampshire the Beautiful would pay partially (20%) for a $7,100 30-yard open-top solid waste container for the transfer station. Vice-chairwoman Hutchings wanted to make sure that taxpayers knew that the money would come from prior taxes, rather than future taxes. The other item was authorization a withdrawal of $38,631, for a previously approved new Ford F250 pickup truck.

The Town Administrator’s Warrant Article Discussion had to do with presenting drafts of the Town’s various Warrant Articles. Discussion on them is scheduled for December 3. Selectman Lucier asked if his various bucket list items were included.

This question engendered again some degree of friction amongst the BOS members. The disappearing Agenda items issue emerged again. Say, for example, Selectman Lucier, or one of the others, has some brainstorm. Chief Krauss, or the Town attorney, or one of the other Selectmen point out some possible difficulty with the brainstorm. Its Agenda item is then tabled for clarification or receipt of further information. And never mentioned again.

In that sense, their little apparatus has a procedural flaw. Some of those present were looking at the Town Administrator. Wouldn’t it be her task to follow behind the BOS, shovel up their little nuggets, and try to direct them where they need to go? You know, to sort of “administer” things? Or is it for the Chairman to follow through to a conclusion? You know, as their supposed leader. Or is it for the individual selectman with the brainstorm?

The Proposed Heavy Hauling Ordinance from Selectman Lucier’s bucket list progressed to its next phase, which involved scheduling two Public Hearings on the subject: December 3 and December 17, each at 7:00 PM.

Chairman Thibeault pondered the effect this Proposed Heavy Hauling Ordinance might have on Middleton’s economy. Some seemed astonished. He doesn’t care a fig about taxing Milton’s economy and taxpayers to the margins, but Middleton’s economy is now a concern? That would be a valid reason to allow heavy trucking to damage Milton’s roads and endanger its children? The BOS has failed to represent Milton taxpayers, but Middleton has found an advocate. How can we miss him, if he won’t go away?

There was some actual back and forth, friction even. Chairman Thibeault had taken the item in question, verbally, to the Planning Board, who may or may not do anything about it. Is that the procedure? (We need to see that Org chart again). The Chairman seemed peeved, but whether he was annoyed with Selectmen Lucier, or the Planning Board, or both, was difficult to say.

In the secondary Public Comments, Ms. McDougall suggested a consolidated historic area, such as Strawberry Banke, and pointed out that brittle naiad is “rampant” at Spaulding Pond. Selectman Lucier had never heard that before. Well, of course, you only listen to interest groups.

Mr. Williams reminded them of a prior suggestion: tabled items should go onto the Old Business list – and stay there – until they are fully resolved.

Mr. Brown had also a procedural suggestion. He then told a historical anecdote about Admiral Byng during the Seven Years War. The British Admiralty hanged him for “failing to do his utmost.” Voltaire satirized this event in his novel Candide: In this country, from time to time, we hang an admiral to encourage the others. Hmm.

The Town Administrator announced that the Senior Citizens’ dinner is postponed from Tuesday, November 20, to “next” Tuesday, which would be Tuesday, November 27; and that the Town Christmas Tree-lighting will be on December 2, at 4:00 PM, at Veterans’ Park. She also wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday with their families friends, and that we should all remember to be thankful for our blessings.

Selectman Lucier wanted everyone to remember the Leo Lessard Memorial Blood Drive at the Assembly of God church on December 22.


Due to a full schedule of community Christmas events, Ms. McDougall’s Milton Advocates meeting has been postponed one week from December 1 to December 8. Same time, same place, different day. (Same good manners).


References:

Town of Milton. (2018, November 16). BOS Meeting Agenda, November 19, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_847_3934517289.pdf

Town of Milton. (2018, November 19). BOS Meeting, November 19, 2018. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD_oY1EhflY

Town of Milton. (2018, November 20). Public Hearings, December 3 and December 17, 2018, Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_849_1922881116.pdf

Wikipedia. (2018, October 24). John Byng. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Byng

 

 

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

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