By Muriel Bristol | July 3, 2020
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, July 20.
The BOS meeting is scheduled to begin with a Public session beginning at 5:30 PM. There will be a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance before the BOS disappears into a Non-Public session. That session’s agenda has one item classed as 91-A3 II (c).
(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.
This will be another secret confab likely affecting adversely someone’s reputation, someone who did not request an open meeting, assuming that the someone in question even knew they were to be discussed or that they had the option to request an open meeting.
Due to their concerns regarding Covid-19, seating will be limited to allow spacing. (This limitation would be unnecessary if the meeting were held at the Nute High School gym). Should a larger number of attendees appear, the meeting will be adjourned. The session may be watched remotely
through the usual YouTube means or by teleconference. The links for both are in their original agenda, for which there is a link in the References below.
From several agenda items we learn what we did not hear before: The BOS at some point elected Andrew Rawson as its chairman, and Matt Morrill as its vice-chairman.
The quasi-Public portion of the agenda has Old Business, New Business, Other Business, and some housekeeping items.
Under Old Business are scheduled six items: 1) Jones Brook Update: Chairman Rawson; 2) Update Regarding Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Operational Activities / Plans; 3) 2021 Budget Development: a) Police Chief Richard Krauss: Budget Questions / Clarifications, b) Town Administrator Ernest M. Cartier Creveling: Scheduling and Preliminary Default Budget Development; 4) Ordinance Updates Status (Currently Under Final Review); 5) Status of Following Tax Deeded Structures: 20 Dawson, 79 Charles and 565 White Mountain Highway (No Change from Previous Meeting); and 6) Status of GOFERR Grant Reimbursement Application for May 1 – June 30.
Jones Brook Update: Chairman Rawson. Last week this turned out to be improvements to the Jones Brook conservation area, about which we will apparently hear an update..
Update Regarding Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Operational Activities / Plans. Plan to open up. Everyone has seen the photos of people lined up in the hot sun at six-foot intervals in front of the Emma Ramsey Center.
If the Town cannot manage even that it will soon be time to start pro-rating its tax amounts and waiving its requirements. Past time really. Amazing.
The original lockdown orders – whose constitutionality remains very much in question – never proposed to reduce the number of cases. That would be both impossible and completely counterproductive to the stated objective of achieving “herd immunity.” They were intended merely to space out transmission rates – to “flatten the curve” – so as to not overwhelm hospitals. That has been accomplished. Congratulations.
The actual number of deaths has been of the same order of magnitude as those occurring in less novel virus years. Have some sense of proportion. Milton lost ten residents in the much more serious Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, eleven if you count Oscar Morehouse’s death in France. It does not seem as if anything in town was ever “locked down.” One supposes that some may have elected to stay home on their own. Milton, having now three times the population, would need to have had thirty deaths this year – not just thirty cases – to even approach the conditions of 1918.
It seems as if the “heroes” of the last few months have been those staffing grocery stores and gas stations, as well as those transporting their goods to them. Remember to thank them. The next agenda item for the BOS meeting is to be budget planning. How many departments wish to identify themselves as inessential for purposes of constructing the 2021 budget? Speak up.
2021 Budget Development: a) Police Chief Richard Krauss: Budget Questions / Clarifications, b) Town Administrator Ernest M. Cartier Creveling: Scheduling and Preliminary Default Budget Development. Under the terms of the newly-approved Tax Cap, the Town budget cannot be increased by more than the lesser amount of 2% or the inflation rate.
For some budget items to increase more than others would necessarily mean that other budget items must increase less, remain the same, or even decrease. Increasing a larger budget item, or several larger items, might supplant or limit any number of smaller ones. The shape – although not the size – of the new budget would seem to rely, as Mr. Brown told us once, upon the “prudential management” of Town officials.
In other jurisdictions – less enlightened ones – government officials have been known to employ the so-called Washington Monument Syndrome or Firemen First Gambit: underfunding essentials, as opposed to inessentials, in order to cause maximum taxpayer pain and, hopefully, induce a reversal by them of any restrictions on spending. But surely that could never happen here.
Ordinance Updates Status (Currently Under Final Review). Chief Krauss sought a review and revision of the Town’s ordinances. Because we don’t write the laws, we just enforce them?
Status of Following Tax Deeded Structures: 20 Dawson, 79 Charles and 565 White Mountain Highway (No Change from Previous Meeting). These are troubled properties, due to make an appearance at an upcoming auction.
Status of GOFERR Grant Reimbursement Application for May 1 – June 30. Returning from prior meetings.
Under New Business are scheduled three agenda items: 1) Warrant for Unlicensed Dogs; 2) Authorize Vice Chair Matt Morrill to Provide Countersignatures to the Treasurer’s Signature on Accounts Payable and Payroll Checks (where applicable) in the absence of Chairman Rawson; and 3) Board / Committee / Commission Appointment Considerations: a) Cemetery Commission: i) Katherine Ayers; b) Heritage Commission: i) John Katwick, ii) Ryan Thibeault, iii) Eric Salmonsen, iv) Amy Weiss, and v) Katherine Ayers.
Warrant for Unlicensed Dogs. Per usual.
Authorize Vice-Chair Matt Morrill to Provide Counter-signatures to the Treasurer’s Signature on Accounts Payable and Payroll Checks (where applicable) in the absence of Chairman Rawson. Surely Mr. Morrill is a vice-chairman, rather than an inanimate chair. Or is it wrongspeak to say so?
Board / Committee / Commission Appointment Considerations: a) Cemetery Commission: i) Katherine Ayers; and b) Heritage Commission: i) John Katwick, ii) Ryan Thibeault, iii) Eric Salmonsen, iv) Amy Weiss, and v) Katherine Ayers. Is the Heritage Commission so vital that its seating cannot await the next election? And this list leaves unaddressed concerns about those sitting on multiple boards.
There will be the approval of prior minutes (from the quasi-Public session of June 24, 2020, the non-Public session of June 24, 2020, the quasi-Public session of July 6, 2020, the non-Public session of July 6, 2020, the quasi-Public session of July 8, 2020, the non-Public session of July 8, 2020, and the Workshop meeting of July 13, 2020; an expenditure report, as of a month ago (June 17), administrator comments, BOS comments, and Other Business.
The administrator comments will address a correspondence concerning SAU #64, specifically a Thank You Regarding the 2020 Graduation.
Under Other Business there are no scheduled agenda items.
Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.
GOFERR. (2020). Main Street Relief Fund. Retrieved from www.goferr.nh.gov/
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. (2020, July 17). BOS Meeting Agenda, July 20, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/events/a_07-20-2020_bosagenda_0.pdf
Wikipedia. (2020, April 21). Washington Monument Syndrome. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Monument_Syndrome
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19