By Muriel Bristol | September 9, 2019
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have this morning posted belatedly their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held tonight, Monday, September 9.
A correspondent points out that the scheduling of this meeting, at such short notice, violates RSA 91:A, to wit:
Except in an emergency or when there is a meeting of a legislative committee, a notice of the time and place of each such meeting, including a nonpublic session, shall be posted in 2 appropriate places one of which may be the public body’s Internet website, if such exists, or shall be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least 24 hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, prior to such meetings.
That is to say, notifications of Monday evening meetings should be posted no later than Saturday. The prior agenda did state that there might be a BOS meeting on this date (*Next Meeting Scheduled For: September 9th, 2019 (Pending Board of Selectmen Approval)), which hardly satisfies the notification requirement.
Our correspondent might have overlooked the escape clause: except in an emergency. But who decides if this is an emergency? Likely the selectmen themselves. (There are public entities that declare emergencies as a matter of routine, to circumvent union rules).
This might still be a legal meeting, provided the selectmen go so far as to declare an “emergency,” which might be interesting, and telling, in and of itself. How cynical are they, exactly?
The BOS meeting is scheduled to begin with a Non-Public session beginning at 5:45 PM. That agenda has one Non-Public item classed as 91-A3 II (c).
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 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) Economic Development Committee Member Appointment, 2) Wakefield Pantry Outside Services Presentation (Howie Knight), 3) Employee Appreciation Luncheon, and 4) Library Construction Update (Betsy Baker), 5) Preliminary Update with Avitar Regarding 2019 Reevaluation Update; 6) Police Chief R. Krauss: 6A) Emergency Service Zone Acceptance, 6B) Highway Safety Grant Acceptance, 6C) Computer Replacement, 6D) Accept Rx Dropoff Box Donation, and 6E) Dog Warrant Update; 7) School Board Building Permit for Sign Waiver Request, and 8) Town Building Rental Agreement Preliminary Discussion.
Economic Development Committee Member Appointment. “Selections” are not to be preferred to elections. If there is insufficient citizen support or interest for running for election to Town committees, it might be time to start reducing the number of Town committees.
Wakefield Pantry Outside Services Presentation (Howie Knight). Welcome, Mr. Knight. Let’s hear about it.
Employee Appreciation Luncheon. Because the proposed greater-than-inflation raises and COLA just do not express enough appreciation.
Library Construction Update (Betsy Baker). Hopefully, we will hear that this is on time and under budget.
Preliminary Update with Avitar Regarding 2019 Reevaluation Update. Various commenters have mentioned a very large increase in the land component of their valuation. Some have said theirs have nearly doubled since the 2016 Corcoran fiasco. A near doubling would be ridiculous on its face.
These valuations are grossly inflated and the housing bubble on which they are based is expected to burst quite soon. Will there be one of these magical town-wide button-push revaluations when the bubble bursts?
Police Chief R. Krauss: 6A) Emergency Service Zone Acceptance, 6B) Highway Safety Grant Acceptance, 6C) Computer Replacement, 6D) Accept Rx Dropoff Box Donation, and 6E) Dog Warrant Update. What strings might be attached to those grants? The grantor often wants to redirect Town resources to their own ends. Cheap for them, we still pay the employee benefits for employees redirected to someone else’s end.
School Board Building Permit for Sign Waiver Request. Town entities do not have to go through their own convoluted procedures? If they are not important, how about waiving them for all of us?
Town Building Rental Agreement Preliminary Discussion. Let’s hear it.
Under Old Business is scheduled one item: 9) Milton Mills Flag Pole Discussion Follow-Up.
Milton Mills Flag Pole Discussion Follow-Up (Robert Graham). At the last meeting Mr. Graham sought to tap the Durgin Fund to replace Milton Mills’ flagpole. His estimates varied considerably, but would drain the funds’ disposable interest monies (roughly $13,000) – intended for the benefit of all of Milton’s citizens – by a third to a half. Well might those citizens question the universal benefit of such an expenditure.
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 August 19, 2019), the expenditure report, Public Comments “Pertaining to Topics Discussed,” Town Administrator comments, and BOS comments.
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, September 9). BOS Meeting Agenda, September 9, 2019. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/board-selectmen/agenda/board-selectmen-agenda-67
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19