By Muriel Bristol | May 31, 2019
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, June 3.
The BOS meeting is scheduled to begin with a Non-Public session beginning at 5:30 PM. That agenda has one Non-Public item classed as 91-A3 II (c) – Reputation.
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.
The specific “Reputation” annotation again. This will be the second meeting in a row to discuss matters that would likely affect someone’s reputation, although not necessarily having to do with an application for assistance, tax abatement, or waiver. Perhaps Mr. Brown secured his private chat?
[Added from the court filings database, October 23, 2019: “New Hampshire Supreme Court, Report on Status of Cases, As of September 30, 2019. Case 2019-0278. Three Ponds Resort, LLC v. Town of Milton. 05/15/2019 – Case Filing. 06/04/2019 – Accepted.”]
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, Other Business, and some housekeeping items.
Under New Business are scheduled four agenda items: 1) Strafford Regional Planning Commission Presentation 2. Resident Concerns (Skip Bridges) 3. 174 Ford Farm Road and abutting town-owned lot (Kathy Wallingford / Jim Flanagan) 4. Proposed Budget Committee Schedule / Process and Selectmen Guidance.
Strafford Regional Planning Commission Presentation. The Strafford County Planning Commission will be making a presentation. Some have said that our bridge repairs would not have been put on the back burner if we had been represented on this commission.
Central planning is an oxymoron because of Hayek’s Knowledge Problem. While it is bad at the Town level, it is even worse at the County level, worse still at the State level, and so on.
Milton would be better served by building a replacement bridge from old pallets than it would be in joining the Strafford County Planning Commission.
Resident Concerns (Skip Bridges). Resident concerns? That takes in a lot of territory. The smart money says that he is concerned about Mi-Te-Jo.
174 Ford Farm Road and abutting town-owned lot (Kathy Wallingford / Jim Flanagan). “Out-Buildings possibly encroaching on L34 – Town property … deferred maintenance, yard cluttered.” Overvalued, overtaxed. Placed on the agenda by the Town Assessor and by Jim Flanagan. According to Avitar, James R. Flanagan owns a property at 66 Ford Farm Road.
Proposed Budget Committee Schedule / Process and Selectmen Guidance. The Budget Committee has indicated that they will meet at the Police station to go over the Police budget. They hope to do the same for the other departments.
Guidance for a game with “the house” and using their baseline? Get a brand-new deck. Shuffle it. I have heard that seven shuffles are necessary. Then cut the cards.
Under Old Business are scheduled four items: 5) Request to Repurchase Town-owned Property, Tax Map 37 – Lot 64 6. Acceptance of $5,000 from Atlantic Broadband for the Purchase of Equipment 7. Proposals from Law Firms – Process for Evaluation 8. Disposition of Brookfield Drive Parcel, Tax Map 17 – Lot 5.
Request to Repurchase Town-owned Property, Tax Map 37 – Lot 64. Returning from the last BOS meeting, when the Town’s offer seemed a bit pricey to them. The Town took the land for taxes and then wanted to sell it back for both the value of the land and the back taxes. Crazy. The value of the land or the back taxes with interest, but not both. Only government thinks this way. Thank God for auctions.
Acceptance of $5,000 from Atlantic Broadband for the Purchase of Equipment. Hopefully, more meetings are to be recorded or even just better versions of the current meetings.
Proposals from Law Firms – Process for Evaluation. Definitely something different from the prior evaluation process. The Town has been so poorly advised by a succession of lawyers. Issues of State pre-emption: plain wrong; the whole old fire station saga: wrong and wrong again; and several other issues: just wrong. And there was that whole threatening to sue thing. Perhaps the town needs somebody better acquainted with municipal law than they are with Town officials.
Disposition of Brookfield Drive Parcel, Tax Map 17 – Lot 5. A 4.87-acre lot on Brookfield Drive, seized for taxes in 2015. Avitar says it has 2.87 acres whose condition is 50% and 2.0 acres whose condition is 25%.
Isn’t this the lot the auctioneer described as having one possibly useful acre and the rest all wetlands? If so, it seems like the Town valuation has been putting a shine on a sneaker. A poor piece of land, overvalued, overtaxed, and foreclosed. Color me surprised. Perhaps we could re-designate it as the “Town vernal pool.”
Other Business That May Come Before the Board has no scheduled items.
Finally, there will be the approval of prior minutes (from the BOS meeting of May 20, 2019), the expenditure report, Public Comments “Pertaining to Topics Discussed,” Town Administrator comments, and BOS comments.
The expenditure report has had short shrift for quite some time now. Nobody ever mentions it. By the time of this June 3 meeting, eleven (21.2%) of the year’s fifty-two weeks will have elapsed. It might be nice to know that the amount of money spent so far does not exceed 21.2% or, even better, has been less than 21.2% of the default budget.
Conceivably, there might be higher beginning-of-year costs that will taper off or cease at some point in some planned way. That the BOS might be allowing expenditures to run amok is difficult to imagine. That could never happen.
Imagine, if you will, a second year with a default budget. That could happen.
Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.
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. (2019, May 31). BOS Meeting Agenda, June 3, 2019. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/board-selectmen/agenda/board-selectmen-agenda-63
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19