By Muriel Bristol | November 17, 2018
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, December 17.
The meeting is scheduled to begin with a Non-Public preliminary session at 5:00 PM. That agenda has five Non-Public items classed as 91-A:3 II (a), 91-A:3 II (c), 91-A:3 II (d), 91-A:3 II (e), and 91-A:3 II (c).
91-A:3 II (a) The dismissal, promotion, or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of such employee, or the investigation of any charges against him or her, unless the employee affected (1) has a right to a meeting and (2) requests that the meeting be open, in which case the request shall be granted.
While the language of this RSA encompasses dismissals, that would run very much against trend in the Milton Town government. The Town has had a truck driver position posted and there is that whole matter of the Town Clerk/Tax Collector Central Deposit.
91-A:3 II (c). Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.
These (c) items are perennial favorites. There are two of them this time. At some point, the “public body itself” might begin to wonder why there are so very many. Might it be something they are themselves causing?
91-A:3 II (d) Consideration of the acquisition, sale, or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community.
Again, one would certainly hope that nothing additional is being acquired or leased. Sales might extend to old fire stations or the condemned properties, now owned by the Town, whose demolitions are out to bid. There is also the proposed $1 sale of historic District No. 1 Schoolhouse.
91-A:3 II (e) Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed by or against the public body or any subdivision thereof, or by or against any member thereof because of his or her membership in such public body, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled. Any application filed for tax abatement, pursuant to law, with any body or board shall not constitute a threatened or filed litigation against any public body for the purposes of this subparagraph.
It would seem that the public body, or some part of it, or some member of it, is being sued. Quelle surprise!
The BOS intend to adjourn their Non-Public BOS session at approximately (*) 6:00 PM, when they intend to return to Public session.
The Public portion of the agenda has New Business, Old Business, and housekeeping items.
Under New Business are scheduled seven agenda items: 1) Approval of 2019 Holiday Schedule (Heather Thibodeau), 2) Discuss Casey Road Land Protection Committee Warrant Article (Karen Golab), 3) MFPL & LCHIP Grant (Betsy Baker), 4) Eversource Contract Payment (Richard Krauss), 5) 2018 Encumbrances (Heather Thibodeau), 6) Public Hearing: No Thru Trucking Ordinance (Heather Thibodeau) *7:00PM, and 7) Open Bids for RFPs (Heather Thibodeau).
The initial agenda item seeks approval of a proposed 2019 holiday schedule. How many days?
It seems that Casey Road Land needs its own Protection Committee. This sort of begs a question: is the Conservation Committee’s protection insufficient in some way?
The Milton Free Public Library (MFPL) has announced that they will be receiving a $36,000 Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant. LCHIP is “an independent state authority.” Its taxpayer money comes from county registry of deeds fees and Moose license plates. (TANSTAAFL).
Eversource Contract Payment is a bit vague. Higher than expected energy costs have been mentioned previously. But the Fire Department was mentioned then as being a bigger problem than the Police Department. The Town does get some money off from its solar farm at the transfer station.
The 2017 Encumbrances below has to do with the Three Ponds Protective Association’s (TPPA) grant not having had a legal vote to “encumber,” i.e., carry over, unused monies from last year to this year. This agenda item would have to do with not making the same mistake again. Encumber early and often.
The Proposed Heavy Hauling Ordinance Discussion Follow up continues from past meetings. This would be the second of two hearings. It is all about forbidding logging trucks from passing and repassing on Governors, Hare, and Nute roads to and from Middleton Lumber (on NH Route 153 in Middleton). This can not affect similar heavy-duty traffic by Milton residents over those very same roads.
Under Old Business is scheduled six items: 8) Review Cemetery Budget (Heather Thibodeau), 9) Warrant & CIP Warrant Article Discussion & Approval (Heather Thibodeau), 10) TPPA 2017 Encumbrance Discussion Follow-up (Heather Thibodeau), 11) Department Budget Updates (Heather Thibodeau), 12) Adjustment to Town Department Holiday Celebration (Heather Thibodeau), and 13) Town Clerk/Tax Collector Central Deposit Discussion Follow-up (Board of Selectmen).
Previously, the BOS had discussed adding someone to the Cemetery Budget. That person would handle the administrative aspects of having a Town Cemetery. The previous discussion was notable for being completely free of any actual facts in setting the budget amount.
A Warrant Article discussion and approval. And Tax Acceleration Program (CIP) discussion and approval. Expect unanimous votes. Because that is certainly not what will happen when the taxpayers speak for themselves. Draw your own conclusions about “representation.”
The TPPA 2017 Encumbrance has to do with the Three Ponds Protective Association’s (TPPA) grant not having had a legal vote to “encumber,” i.e., carry over, unused monies from last year to this year. Yes, the prior BOS (Rawson, Thibeault, and Long) did vote, but they did so after the legal deadline, so the original money is incapable of being carried over. It drops instead into the General Fund. At the last meeting, all sorts of wild schemes were afoot to reallocate new money and make it as if it was the old money encumbered. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Town budget updates. The annual insurance increases walked in the door at the conclusion of the departmental budget submissions. That would occasion departmental budget increases.
An adjustment to the Town Department Holiday Celebration. The dual Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays fall this year on successive Tuesdays. Imagine that decisions must be made regarding closing Town Hall for all or part of the Mondays. One supposes Boxing Day could be in the mix too.
The Town Clerk/Tax Collector Central Deposit Discussion Follow-up is a bit of a misnomer. The Town Clerk has the BOS over a barrel. The Town Treasurer has recommended giving her whatever she wants. As has the financial advisor (did you know they even had one?), the Town Counsel, and everyone else. Expect to learn how things are folded: cheap suits, houses of cards, and, especially, poor poker hands.
There is a new boxed item list at the margins entitled Outstanding Items. No, there is nothing particularly deserving about them; it is just that they have been held over from prior sessions. The alternative name might be Selectman Lucier’s Bucket List. They include Town Owned Property, Recreation Revenue & Office Discussion, Website Update, Property Maint. Code, Town Report, Atlantic Broadband Contract, NH Listens, and Junkyard. In no particular order.
By the way, do not forget to add the taking down of the invalid no parking signs from the invalid and now rescinded no parking ordinance. They are still there.
Finally, there will be the approval of prior minutes (from the BOS Meeting of November 5, and the Joint BOS-BC Meetings of December 5 and December 11), the expenditure report, Public Comments “Pertaining to Topics Discussed,” Town Administrator comments, and BOS comments.
Ms. McDougall has called a fourth meeting of her Milton Advocates group. It will take place again in the Nute Library’s Community Room, on Saturday, December 29), at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. All town residents are invited. Bring your best manners. (Not her words).
Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.
LCHIP. (2018). Land & Community Heritage Investment Program. Retrieved from lchip.org/
State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 91-A. Access to Governmental Records and Meetings. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/91-A/91-A-3.htm
Town of Milton. (2018, November 16). BOS Meeting Agenda, December 17, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_860_3404723203.pdf
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19