By Muriel Bristol | November 17, 2019
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, November 18. The BOS intend to begin their Public BOS session at 6:00 PM.
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) Request to Purchase Vehicle (N. Marique), 2) Action on Tax Anticipated Note, 3) School District November 15th, Vote Update, and (at approximately 7:00 PM), and 4) Public Hearing – RSA 31:95-b, To accept and expend unanticipated revenue from the State of NH in the amount of $74,990.03.
Request to Purchase Vehicle (N. Marique). Fire chief Nicholas Marique negotiated the purchase of a fire engine from the Town of Gray, ME, and here will seek authorization from the BOS to complete the purchase.
(One may note with satisfaction the simple mathematical fact that $85,000 < $500,000).
Action on Tax-Anticipated Note. Huh?
School District November 15th, Vote Update, and (at approximately 7:00 PM). The BOS Workshop meeting of October 28, included a School Board Anticipated Revenue Discussion. (“Discussion” usually signifies a spending proposal).
The School District was offered $361,003 in “anticipated” revenue from the State, while the Town was offered $74,990.03 in “unanticipated” revenue. The School District sought ballot authority in a special election to spend their “anticipated” revenue on an air handler system and fire alarm systems. (These systems appear already in their CIP plan).
Evidently, the BOS will be briefed by the School District on the outcome of its authorizing vote taken yesterday, i.e., in the School Board Special Election.
Public Hearing – RSA 31:95-b, To accept and expend unanticipated revenue from the State of NH in the amount of $74,990.03.
31:95-b Appropriation for Funds Made Available During Year. – I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any town or village district at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing, indefinitely until specific rescission of such authority, the board of selectmen or board of commissioners to apply for, accept and expend, without further action by the town or village district meeting, unanticipated money from the state, federal or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year.
Such an action requires prior passage of an authorizing warrant article, such as featured in the School Board Special Election. It would seem that Milton taxpayers may have been deluded enough in the past to have granted an indefinite spending authority to the BOS in advance.
Even with prior authority, unanticipated amounts larger than $10,000, as in this case, require that a hearing must be held. You know, the pro forma kind of “hearing” in which the BOS will “hear” what it wants to hear. It invariably favors increased spending for the Town, rather than lower taxes for the townspeople.
Current voters should consider rescinding their perpetual standing authorization at their earliest opportunity. Until that can be accomplished, they should take special note of exactly who votes to spend, rather than return, their “unanticipated” money.
Under Old Business is scheduled but one item: 5) Budget Progression.
Budget Progression. The budget process “progresses.” With apologies to Yeats:
And what rough increase, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Milton to be born?
Other Business That May Come Before the Board has no scheduled items.
There will be the approval of prior minutes (from the BOS Meeting of October 21st, 2019, the BOS Meeting and Workshop Meeting of October 28th, 2019, the BOS Workshop Meeting of October 30th, 2019, and the BOS Workshop Meeting of November 4th, 2019), the expenditure report, Public Comments “Pertaining to Topics Discussed,” Town Administrator comments, and BOS comments.
The BOS meeting is scheduled to end with a Non-Public session. That agenda has one Non-Public item classed as 91-A3 II (l).
(l) Consideration of legal advice provided by legal counsel, either in writing or orally, to one or more members of the public body, even where legal counsel is not present.
The BOS had a similar item on the agenda of its previous Non-Public meeting. It would seem that the Town faces still – or faces again – litigation by someone who does not agree unanimously.
The NH court filings database contains the following entry: “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.”
Lastly a look back. The BOS workshop meeting of October 30, 2019, had a Non-Public session that should not go unremarked. If only because that agenda had, for the second time in recent weeks, a Non-Public item classed as 91-A3 II (a).
(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.
Promotion and pay raise would be the safe bet again. The BOS’ budgetary arrow points only one way.
Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.
State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 31. Powers and Duties of Towns. Miscellaneous. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/III/31/31-95-b.htm
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, November 15). BOS Meeting Agenda, November 18, 2019. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/miltonnh/files/agendas/11.18.19_bos_agenda.pdf
Town of Milton. (2019, November 15). School District Special Election. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CGKIbdDWk8
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19