2020 Hampstead Board of Selectmen Meetings


Hampstead Board of Selectmen Halt Conservation Commission Criticism
By Penny Williams   12-29-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen, at the Monday night, December 28 meeting, dealt with the concerns and complaints of Carl Cote and Carl Schumacher concerning issues they previously raised about the Conservation Commission discussing plans for the Hadley Road Conservation Parking Lot project in non-public, shutting down further discussion based on Town Attorney rulings.

The two men asked the board if they had a response to their concerns regarding the claim that the Conservation Commission actually violated the Right to Know Law discussing their plans for the parking lot in non public sessions. Cote questioned whether these procedural violations placed the town in a libelous position. Schumacher wanted  to know whether the Conservation Commission was aware of their responsibilities for following appropriate procedures as a town board. He had asked why agendas and minutes for the Conservation Commission meetings aren't being posted.

Board Chair Sean Murphy responded along with the Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault, who is also the Conservation Commission secretary, that Town Attorney had said the town had not been put in any libelous position. In addition the Commission's non-public discussion didn't amount to a substantial change and therefore plans would not need to be invalidated because they fell within what the Commission had the right to do with regard to the Parking Lot project.

The board had informed to the Conservation Commission that they needed to follow the appropriate procedures in conducting their future meetings and that the non-public minutes referred to by Cote and Schumacher would be voted on for release at the January Conservation Commission meeting. It was noted that the Commission is encouraged to take a refresher course in the Right to Know Law.

In a Public Hearing, the Board went over a list of grants the Town has received amounting to $294,100. The board approved the acceptance of the grants.

The board then went into encumbrances, which went smoothly until the Cemetery tree removal request came up.

Cemetery Trustee Steve Wentworth complained that the Sexton, Steve Harms, had failed to get more than a single bid for the jobs despite having been asked to get the bids back in June. The requested encumbrance is for Doug's Tree Service, amounting to $8,000 - $5,000 for one cemetery and $3,000 at a second cemetery for the tree removal project.

After a discussion it was decided that Wentworth needed to get three bids for the total project and get back to the board regarding whether it needs to be encumbered.

The Cemetery also wanted to encumber $19,500 for the Urn Wall since the vendor Hardy Doric  had not been able to complete it due to issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition there is a $340 amount to be encumbered for the walkway and $799 for a new mower. These amounts were approved by the board.

Selectman Joe Guthrie asked about the request from Recycling and Solid Waste for a cement pad amounting to $3,400 for the shed for the Kent Farm Transfer employees. That and the Town Office Building front door encumbrance for $4,900 plus a $1,700 request for replacing the Town Garage door were approved.

Added to the foregoing was a $29,958 encumbrance request from the Planning Board for the Rockingham County Planning Board to work on the Master Plan which was approved.

There was a discussion about a proposed project for a company to review and replace as needed street signage in town requested by Road Agent Jon Worthen.

Selectman Chad Bennett suggested he didn't think it was a necessary project, objecting to paying a company $13,000 to ride around looking at and deciding if new street signs are needed. The board tabled the discussion until Worthen could provide the board with more details about the project at their January 11, meeting..

Theriault asked the board if it wanted to extend the approval of COVID-19 policy beyond the December 31, end date, which allows employees to have up to 80 hours or two weeks off with pay to deal with COVID-19 issues for a family member or themselves without that time off  impacting their PTO (paid time off) time. The board decided they would extend this provision until the end of March and then review it again at that time.

The board asked Theriault to provide more information regarding mileage payments at the next meeting. The Federal mileage allowance is $0.56 cents but the town pays $0.515 cents. The selectmen want to know what the state pays to its legislators and what other towns are paying. The Hampstead rate hasn't changed for around 5 years.

In Other Business:

* The board approved putting the ADA Compliance form up on the Town Web site.

* The board accepted with regret the resignation of Kim Colbert from the Recreation Commission, effective December 22.

* The Recreation Director, Angie Ingraham reports that Recreation had 223 sign up
for the Turkey Trot but only 138 ran the race. The race was won by the following:

* Woman - Amy Bernard
  Men - Nolan Preble

* Teenager Boy - Ethan Charles
   Teenager Girl - Gabrielle Page

* Young boy - Jimmy Pantano
   Young girl - Charlotte Pas

* Senior Citizen - Jane Allen

Ingraham went on to note that the Senior Pick up dinner was held Saturday Dec. 5.
The seniors drove to the back of St. Anne's to pick up their meal, it was a drive thru. 
The dinner was cooked by Jaye Dimando and Kathy Costa, assisted by Kim Colbert
and some other volunteers.  The Recreation Commission members involved in the
Senior Dinner effort included Matt Johnson, Kim Colbert, Melissa Denton, Erin
Pellegrini, and Sara Arroyo all of whom assisted in handing the dinners out and
lining up the cars.  "We served 209 dinners," Ingraham said.  

 


Hampstead Police Department Loses Two Officers
By Penny Williams   12-16-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen learned at their Monday night, December 14, meeting that the Hampstead Police Department (HPD) has lost two longtime police officers.

Chief Joe Beaudoin made the announcement while requesting the board approve paying 39 hours of PTO time to Officer Rick Chambers so he can work as the department is shorthanded.

School Resource Officer (SRO) Mark Conway who worked for the HPD for 12 years and Officer Brian Oljey who worked for the HPD for 8 years have left. Both officers have accepted positions with the Plaistow Police Department as administrative sergeants. Plaistow has been offering $10,000 sign on bonuses for already certified full-time candidates.

Beaudoin told the board that he is currently conducting interviews as he tries to hire new certified officers. If he hired an officer that needs to go to the Police Academy that officer wouldn't be available for more than a year as the Academy classes are already filled.

The School District is now without their SRO and is looking into what to do about that. Deputy Chief Robert Kelley said, "These were seasoned veteran officers and they will be hard to replace."

The board listened to Beaudoin and discussed the situation briefly learning that paying Chambers his PTO would actually be less expensive than paying time and a half to cover the shifts with other officers. Selectman Joe Guthrie made a motion to approve the SRO request and the board voted to approve the chief's request.

Road Agent Jon Worthen asked the board to allow him to use some unused money from his current budget to purchase a 6 by 12 foot enclosed trailer. He said the trailer costs $4,275 and to equip it properly and build a ramp to the garage would cost around $5,000 total.

Worthen had discussed this with Selectmen Chad Bennett and Bennett said its use would be a safety move allowing the department to haul multiple signs to locations as needed and to pick of tree stumps and other material and to do it in one  trip rather than having to make several trips, thus reducing the cost and time involved in some projects. Bennett made a motion to approve and the board did.

The board open the bids for the Master Plan work. There were three bidders:

* Rockingham Planning (RPC) at 29958.81

* Horsely Whitten (Sandwich MA)  at 64870.00

* Dubois & King (Bedford NH)  at $36385.00

The board voted to forward the bids to the Planning Board for their review and
recommendation.

The board went over department budgets and there were few changes from the first review. The board expressed concern over the Cemetery budget and Guthrie complained that the job description requested by the Selectmen from the Cemetery Committee has never been provided. The budget included an increase in salary for the Supervisor.

The budget bottom line  is $7,496,217.62, an increase of 2 percent or $122,984.82 more than the 2020 budget of $ 7,373,232,80.

The discussion regarding the Right of Way alongside the Town Beach continued. Howie Steadman spoke on behalf of the Sunset Lake Association.

Barbara Gallant and her husband both spoke up suggesting that there should be a friendly way to settle the issue. They pointed out the lake is a town resource and should be enjoyed as well as protected. They as residents living close to the Right of Way and  having a deed for the use of the Right of Way ( one of many) offered to meet and work with the Sunset Lake Association  to resolve this issue.

Selectman Chair Sean Murphy said it appeared to him that there were options: Figure out how to fine users of the Right of Way who are not legally entitled to do so; Change the gate combination monthly; Switch to a protected key system for the gate; Put up a fence along the beach and Right of Way; or, Go back to the way it was and take the gate down.

After further discussion the board approved trying changing the gate combination every month for a year and then if necessary, revisit the situation. The gate is unlocked to allow Bob Houses and the like between November 1, and April 1, and that will continue.

In Other Business:

* The Zoning Board of Adjustment met on December 2 and approved the Special Exception request from Sarah Swan , 186 Harper Ridge Road, for a Photography Studio home occupation . The ZBA approved the Special Exception request from Deanna Clark for a home occupation for dog handling and breeding at 200 Depot Road. The ZBA continued the Variance request of Michael and Colleen Lelievre and Karen Donnelly to allow putting a shed too close to the side lot line at 18 Cortland Road. The ZBA reorganized and Geoff Dowd was reappointed as Chair; Hank Riehl was reappointed at Vice Chair and Dawn Shaw accepted for the present being appointed for the 36th year as Recording Secretary.

* The Hampstead Public Library Trustees met on December 15 and reviewed the visual timeline that personnel had developed to highlight the manner in which the library has responded to the COVID-19 situation. The library is still closed to appointments and will remain so until after Christmas. The treasurers report noted that everything was on track and the Library Director Rosemary Krol should prepay as much as possible as many lines are under spent due to the COVID-19 situation. The Trustees reviewed but didn't make any changes to the Investment Policy.


Hampstead Selectmen Hear More Public Concern Over Conservation Commission Right to Know
By Penny Williams   11-24-20

At the Monday night, November 23, meeting of the Board of Selectmen, residents continued to complain about the use of  non-public and violations of the Right to Know Act all relating to the parking lot being constructed on Conservation land at the end of  Hadley Road.

Last week Carl Schumacher went before the Conservation Commission meeting and had been before the Board of Selectmen the week before complaining that the parking lot development was never run by the general public and residents are getting information only after the development is taking place. He also said the commission has not properly followed the Right to Know Law regarding non-public sessions.

He and Carl Cote were back before the board Monday night with minutes and other documents supporting their claim that the Conservation Commission actually violated the Right to Know Law discussing their plans for the parking lot in non public sessions. Cote questioned whether these procedural violations placed the town in a position where they faced liability and damages. He suggested that members of the Conservation Commission receive training in the Right to Know Law.

The board heard them out and Chair Sean Murphy noted that he agreed it appears proper procedures were not followed. He declined to comment however, deferring to getting information from the Town Attorney first. Selectman Chad Bennett said he wasn't happy with the way things were handled and Selectman Joe Guthrie suggested that the Conservation budget should be subjected to closer examination since it increased 63 percent. (That budget total amount is  $9,179.00)

Murphy said after discussing this with the Town Attorney the board would get back to the residents. Conservation Commission Chair Tim Lovell spoke up saying that he has authorized the unsealing of all the commission's sealed minutes for the residents. By law this can be done at the next commission meeting and those minutes then made available to the residents if requested.

Lovell also noted that the Planning Board had been notified and had sent out the Town Engineer to look at and review the parking lot development. However, Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said she had never received any notification of the parking lot plan and development.

The board continued the discussion with Sunset Lake Association Howie Steadman relative to illegal use of the Right of Way from the road to the lake across the right of way at the side of the Town Beach. Murphy said that the Town Attorney, based on the documents made available had decided the Town doesn't own the Right of Way therefore has no authority to create an ordinance on it that would allow the placing of fines for violations of use of the Right of Way.

Steadman presented new documents dated 1977 that he said clearly shows the Town does own the Right of Way therefore could indeed have an ordinance with a fine for violations. Murphy said the new documents will be forwarded to the Town Attorney for a decision regarding this. The board at the time approved keeping the gate on the Right of Way locked until December 1 to reduce illegal use of the area and the beach.

The board approved Steadman moving forward with  putting up the Heroes' Tree at Town Hall. Steadman said he would let residents know a specific date when this would happen and they could come and attach the starts if the board approved him moving forward which they did.

The board approved the appointment of Neil Lynch to the Conservation Commission; Lauren Muise and Charles Fernandez to the Budget Committee; and, Neil Emerson as an alternate to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Police Chief Joe Beaudoin asked the board for permission to continue to look into a change of place for the department's firing range at the Kent Farm Transfer Station. He said he would work with Bennett, Road Agent Jon Worthen and Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms as well as the Solid Waste Committee on developing a safer place for the firing range at the Transfer Station. The board said they were ok with him moving forward with this.

In Other Business:

* According to Deputy Chief Robert Kelley, the Hampstead Police Department is pleased to announce that arrests and indictments have been made in connection with a commercial burglary which took place in Hampstead on July 29th. Suspects stole over $100,000 worth of recreational vehicles including jet-skis, four-wheelers and side by sides.

"This was a highly organized crime syndicate based out of Providence, RI," said Kelley. "This crime syndicate was committing commercial burglaries all across New England."

Hampstead PD is thankful for all the assistance we received from several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout New England. However we do have to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible perseverance and relentless investigative efforts put forward by our very own Detective Dyer. Detective Dyer's "boots on the ground" approach led him to various addresses in Providence, RI. Detective Dyer's efforts lead to several huge breaks in the case. This was instrumental for identifying multiple suspects and ultimately solving multiple commercial burglaries.
This was a great team effort by several agencies and we personally want to thank Providence, RI Detectives Division, Connecticut State Police, Stafford, CT PD, Salem, NH PD, Easton, MA PD, Cranston, RI PD, Rhode Island State Police and the US Attorney General's Office of Rhode Island.

An investigation launched by the Johnston and North Providence Police Departments, and joined by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, that then merged with a parallel investigation by Rhode Island and Connecticut State Police, Easton, Mass., and the Hampstead, N.H., Police Departments, determined that between November 2019 and July 2020, three Bobcat excavators, ten jet skis, four boats, eight all-terrain vehicles, and ten trailers valued at nearly $700,000 were stolen. It is alleged that members of the conspiracy, often times using rented and stolen trucks, hauled away the stolen excavators, boats, jet skis, ATVs, and trailers from businesses in South Kingstown and Tiverton, RI; Auburn, Rehoboth, and Easton, MA; Waterford, Vernon, and Stafford, CT; and Hampstead, NH. Many of the stolen items were stored in Providence, Johnston, Warwick, North Providence, Scituate, and Gloucester, R.I. Several of the stolen items were hauled to Florida to be sold. An ATV stolen from a dealership in Hampstead, in July 2020 was discovered on Gallup Street in Providence and towed by police to an impound facility. The ATV was subsequently stolen again from the impound.

* Sixteen year old Isabel Povey from Hampstead, was selected as a 2020 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Seeds of Hope and the New Hampshire Food Bank. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to Seeds of Hope.
Isabel started volunteering in her hometown of Hampstead at age seven and has become a force for good, serving with multiple organizations through food drives, coat drives, crop walks and charity events. Over the past three years, Isabel has been growing the scope of her efforts and recruiting new volunteers while leading high impact service projects. On Saturday mornings, you'll find her sorting, packing food boxes and helping the NH Food Bank distribute donations. On Sunday, she volunteers at mobile or local food pantries while helping secure donations to Tag Out Hunger.

When she learned that demand at the NH Food Bank had tripled in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she quickly organized a virtual "Povey Power 5K" on Global Youth Service Day to raise needed funds. She recruited more than over 80 participants and raised over $4,200 in one week. Those funds helped to provide 8,400 meals for the NH Food Bank.

Beyond her work in New Hampshire, she has also created an international nonprofit called Seeds of Hope that delivers vegetable seeds to schools, orphanages and churches in Africa, Pakistan, Haiti and Tonga. She visits Girl Scout Troops and after school programs locally to teach elementary aged students how to grow and share. She has already volunteered more than 1,300 hours in 2020 and shows no signs of slowing down.

"I am so thankful to the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation for this recognition and for allowing me to spread even more hope with this donation," said Isabel. "The need is unprecedented right now so this will make a huge impact for local families. Most of all, I am grateful for this opportunity to show people young and old that we have the power to make a difference, because from the smallest of seeds grow the mightiest of trees."

* Santa Goes Virtual - For the past 15+ years, the Hampstead Lions Santa Visits have been a Christmas seasonal highlight, and we want to keep the fun going. With the COVID-19  pandemic, we've all been wearing masks and meeting virtually. And it's no different for Santa. He still wants to meet with children this year, while keeping safety in mind. So, Santa will visit the kiddies via a Zoom meeting rather than an in-house visit. The Zoom call, which lasts 10 minutes, costs $20.00 and needs to be reserved in advance. The call can be customized if parents help their children write a letter to Santa and send it via email prior to the meeting. 

Santa's secretary is ready to receive letters on Santa's secret website, and she's busy scheduling Zoom meetings for the following dates and times.

Dec. 18th  -5:00 to 7:00 pm
Dec. 19th- 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Dec. 20th -11:00 am to 6:00 pm

For further information, or to book a Zoom visit with Santa, please contact Santa's secretary at 603-329-5603.

 


Hampstead Board of Selectmen Set 2021 Tax Rate
By Penny Williams

The Board of Selectmen met Monday night, November 9, and the tax rate, up $0.56,  was announced.

The Hampstead Tax Rate for 2020 and for 2021 is as follows:

                                             2021                 2020

* Municipal                             $2.87                $2.69           up  $0.18

* County                                $0.87                $0.90          down $0.03        

* Local Education                   $15.89               $15.46         up $0.43

* State Education                    $1.92                $1.94          down $0.02     

* Total                                 $21.55               $20.99             up $0.56

The Board approved Employees' Hazard Pay presented by Selectman Joe Guthrie. It was noted that the Town received $63,138  for non-dedicated hazardous positions from the state associated with working during the COVID-19 shut down. The board had previously agreed to provide an increase of $7.50 hour for those eligible for the Hazard Pay (not police or fire - they had another funding) and the total amount that would be paid would amount to $30, 938.61. After a brief discussion and clarification and explanation of where the funds came from (state funding) by Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault, the board voted unanimously to approve this.

Recreation Commission Chair Matt Johnson asked the board what decision they had reached with regard to the Town taking over the mowing of the Depot Road Fields from the current vendor. He indicated he needed a decision because the vendor contract needs to ended in the next week if it was not going to be renewed.

 Selectman Chad Bennett said he had worked with Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms to assess the personnel and equipment impact of such a change. Harms indicated it was  doable and there was time to hire the extra personnel needed and that the equipment the town has at this point will do the job.

The decision was made to try having the Building and Grounds mow the Depot Road Fields for a year and see how it goes since the calculation appears to indicate this will be a considerable savings for the Town. If it works out then after the conclusion of a satisfactory year, additional equipment can be considered for purchase to accomplish this added mowing assignment.

The Sunset Lake Association in Public Comment complained about violations to the boat launch policy for the lake. Howie Steadman made the presentation and Don Shedd spoke as well.

The policy now is that to launch a boat an individual must get a launch permit from Town Hall - have a property deed and own property in Hampstead and have a boat registration. They get a code to unlock the gate the Association installed a couple of years ago to address violations of boat launching.

Steadman and Shedd said there have been a large number of violations with cars with Mass license plates having the code to unlock the gate but not having permits.

Police get called but Police Chief Joe Beaudoin confirmed there is little his officers can do to enforce the policy since the Town doesn't own the land and there isn't an ordinance that would make a fine enforceable.

This issue is resurrected every few years and never seems to get fully resolved. It was left that Town Attorney would be contacted to see what needs to be done to address this situation and to see what can be created to provide the police with an enforceable ordinance and fine.

Another issue that has been discussed and debated for many months resurfaced. Karl Schumacher, Collins Drive, complained to the board that the Conservation Commission parking lot being developed in the new neighborhood is of great concern to the local residents because it will, they contend, attract unlawful activity. It was also indicated that the property values would be devalued because of this parking lot.

Originally, the developer of the new subdivision lots was going to develop the parking lot for the commission. That plan was presented to the Planning Board back when the subdivision was being approved but then the developer dropped that plan and wasn't doing the parking lot.  The Conservation Commission took over the parking lot development.

Schumacher complained that the Commission has not provided his group with the minutes from meetings discussing plans for the parking lot and that those plans were discussed illegally in non-public sessions. He complained that plans for the development was not provided as requested.

He and another resident who has been consistently vocal in opposition to the parking lot Darlene Cote, asked the board to exert their leverage and authority to make the Commission listen to and take into account the resident concerns. The Conservation Commission was not represented Monday evening.

Chair Sean Murphy said the board would look into the residents' complaints and concerns and discuss the situation with the Conservation Commission and if necessary Town Counsel.

Liaison Guthrie said he would talk to Conservation Chair Tim Lovell and see if he can figure out what is going on. The board will have some response for Schumacher at their next meeting.

The Board heard a presentation from Henry Herndon on the Clean Energy NH program that is in the process of getting up and running and which offers Municipalities an opportunity to join other municipalities in getting negotiated electric and utility rates which would likely be lower because of the economy of scale. If the town participates all residents and businesses would be participants in the program unless they opted out.

Current utility program vendor Tad Dziemian, White Columns Office Solutions, LLC has been providing the town with negotiated rates and residents wishing to participate would be provided similar rates through him. The board indicated they would keep tabs on this new program as it develops.

In Other Business:

* The Hampstead Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) met November 4, and addressed several hearings. The first, a Variance request from Dominic and Paula Whitamore to permit commercial use of a workshop and office at 141 Central Street in the residential zone was approved. The request of Chad and Elizabeth Clark for a Variance to permit demolition of a seasonal dwelling and construction of a new dwelling that will not meet setbacks at 20 Bailey Shore Road was approved. Three requests for Variances were requested by the April May Realty for property located at 664 Route 111. The first is to permit alteration of surface configuration in poorly drained soils; the next to allow placement of a septic system within the wetland buffer and the third to allow construction of a building within 50 feet of poorly drained soils. After a lengthy discussion all three were all approved.

 

 

 


Hampstead Selectmen Heard Seniors Holiday Dinner Will Be Pick-up Only
By Penny Williams  10-28-20

 The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday night, October 26, and seniors learned the good news that the always popular Seniors Holiday Dinner is on, although different, due to the pandemic.

Recreation Chair Matt Johnson said the Seniors Holiday Dinner this year will be a "pick-up" rather than a "sit down" meal because of the COVID -19 guidelines and issues. The dinner pick-up will take place on Saturday, December 5 at Saint Anne's Catholic Church on Emerson Avenue.
 
Recreation Director Angie Ingraham added, "You will drive around the back of St. Anne's and pick up your meal between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.  You must be a Hampstead Resident.  To sign up to receive a free meal you need to contact me, Angie Ingraham.  We prefer that you  email me at hampsteadrec@gmail.com, but  you can also call 603-329-4100 x112.  Please leave your name, phone number and address. On December 5th when you pick your meal please bring your driver's license. The meal will be: Turkey, Potatoes, Stuffing, Peas, Gravy, Roll, Cranberry Sauce and Apple Crisp for Dessert."  

Johnson went on to tell the board that he has calculated that having town employees mow the Depot Field complex would be a cost savings for the town. He indicated that Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms was ok with it except he had concerns about being able to have summer help qualified to do that mowing. Another concern is that the town employees might not be able to manage to always adhere to a set schedule for mowing but Johnson didn't see this as a major deterrent. It was suggested that if the board agreed to this change that it be for a single year to see how it goes but a decision needs to be made in early November so the current vendor mowing contract can be ended.

The board decided it needed to touch base with Harms before making a decision because there is also the issue of possibly needing a second large mower to actually be able to deal with this. This will be taken up at the next meeting after the board members talk with Harms.

Recreation member Kim Colbert asked the board if they were ready to approve opening the Veterans' Memorial Gym up to more than one group. It was determined that cleaning can be set up for having two groups in during the week but still no groups on the weekend. After a brief discussion the board approved adding another group effective immediately and to review this at the end of November.

The board heard from the Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault about the budgets that hadn't been reviewed at the meeting on October 14. She went over the Executive, Legal, Personnel Administration, Government Buildings, Insurance,  Regional Associations, Street Lighting, Pest Control, Welfare, and noted that Recycling is still not up to date.

Chuck Ashford complained that Selectman Chad Bennett had never gotten back to him regarding whether Johnson Meadows is a town road when this was an issue two years ago. Bennett apologized but said he felt that the board had publically noted following the question originally being raised that Johnson Meadows is a Town road and therefore thought the matter closed.

Jon Worthen, Road Agent, gave the board a preliminary list of roads he would like to work on next year. He said he would have the actual figures supporting his list for re-paving of some and crack sealing for others at the next meeting.

In Other Business:

* Hampstead Conservation met on October 21 and a resident from Fairway Drive brought up again the discussion regarding the Conservation parking lot that is being built at the end of the new development in the area. The argument remains that the parking lot will attract bad actors and be a safety and security risk for residents in the area. The Conservation Commission Chair Tim Lovell let the discussion go on for awhile but closed it saying that this has all been discussed before and the parking lot is going in. The board heard about a lot that is going to be added off Faith Drive. The commission plans a site walk. The budget was discussed and set and there was a further discussion of trail mapping and blazing.

* The Hampstead Library Trustee meeting was held on October 20 and the Trustees heard from Chris Adams, Edward Jones  about their investment accounts. Director Rosemary Krol said curbside pick-up is 6 days a week and the meeting room has been opened for Library programs only in small groups. The Treasurer's report indicated that everything is on track.

* According to Deputy Police Chief Robert Kelley, Hampstead police make an important arrest. On the evening of October 11th, 2020 Hampstead Police Department responded to Central Street for a report of gun shots. Upon initial investigation it was determined that it was actually two different sets of gun shots, within a few minutes of each other. After an intense week-long investigation, Hampstead Police Department identified a suspect and an arrest was made on Tuesday October 20th, 2020. Alex Barrera, 39 years of age, of Hampstead, was arrested and charged with (13) counts of Felony Reckless Conduct with a Deadly Weapon and (2) counts of misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Minor. The investigation determined that Barrera fired a total of 13 gunshots from a moving vehicle, while having a teenaged juvenile in the vehicle.  

Barrera was processed and released on personal recognizance bail; he will be arraigned in Rockingham Superior Court on a date to be determined later. This was a single incident and the public is not in any danger. Hampstead Police Department would like to acknowledge  this case  may not have been solved  without the assistance of; Danville and Plaistow police departments, the brave witness who reported it, the person who posted the incident on social media, the residents who came forward with crucial home security footage after seeing the social media post, the area business which supplied crucial surveillance footage and information, the Central Street resident who located additional spent casings with his metal detector and the relentless investigative work done by Detective Adam Dyer.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Review the 2021 Town Budget
By Penny Williams   10-16-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen held their first review of the draft budget on Wednesday evening, October 14. Not every budget was in but most of were and while there was a lot of discussion on many, no changes were actually made.

The following budgets were reviewed and the amount and percent of increase or decrease determined. Most department increases resulted from salary and/or benefits, additional personnel, or state costs such as Retirement. Decreases came from such things as there being fewer elections this coming year and the cemetery urn project not in this year's budget or not including the cost of fireworks display for the town.

* Animal Control - level funded at $22,072
* Cable - level funded at $40,012
* Cemetery - $48,100 - reduced by 51 percent
* Planning Board - level funded - $95,298
* Code Enforcement - $155,184.86 - increased by 5 percent or $7,907.86
* Conservation - $9,179 - up $924. or 4 percent
* Emergency Management - level funded - $10,476
* Fire Department - $1,186,418 - up $56,416 or 5 percent
* Highway - $975,134 - up $20,854 or 2 percent
* Library - $615,262 up $24,050
* Patriotic Purposes - $4,750 - down 41percent or $3,750
* Recreation - $102,900 -up $5,500 or 6 percent
* Tax Collector - $52,153 - up $370 or 1 percent
* Town Clerk -  $153,831 - up $2,834 or 2 percent
* Election Administration - $7,600 - down $6,000 or 44 percent
* ZBA - level funded - $7,955
* Police Department - $1,653,525 - up $41,324 or 3 percent
* Water Resource Committee - $23,500, up $850 or 4 percent

The board did take action on one issue that came up. It approved the motion of Selectman Joe Guthrie to allow the Veterans Day Celebration ceremony event to take place on the field behind the Town Offices starting at 11 a.m. on November 11.

In Other Business:

* The Zoning Board of Adjustment met on October 7 and heard four cases. One case, Chad and Elizabeth Clark's request for a variance to allow demolition of a structure and construction of a new dwelling on an undersized lot at 20 Bailey Shore Road until the November ZBA meeting.

* One case heard was continued to the November meeting. The board allowed  Dominic and Paula Whitamore to continue their hearing to the next meeting in order to get additional information required by the board.

* The ZBA approved Debra Soucy, 6 Summer Street to construct a deck.

* The ZBA denied Michael Loconte request for a variance to construct a garage at 75 Croy Path that would not meet setbacks.

* The ZBA approved Stephen and Brittany Flynn's request for a Special Exception to allow a home occupation of selling firewood at 342 Sandown Road.

                                   


Hampstead Selectmen Approve of Modified Christmas Parade
By Penny Williams    9-30-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen  meet on Monday night, September 28, heard from Roxanne McGaffigan about the Lion's Club hopes for modifying the traditional Christmas Parade so it could go on safely and meet CDC COVID-19 guidelines.

The proposed plan is to have the parade mobile - no walkers (unless the three selectmen wish to walk she said) - and follow an extended route so people would be more spread out. The date for the proposed parade is Saturday, December 13, at 2 p.m. It would consist of floats and cars but no walkers. It would go along the main thoroughfare but not go into any subdivisions or side roads. There would be no candy thrown and nothing held after the parade. The model for the parade, she indicated, would be the parade that was held for Pinkerton Academy graduates in the spring.

The route has not been established yet but McGaffigan said the Lion's Club planned to work with Police Chief Joe Beaudoin on that and everything else relating to the parade. Selectman Chad Bennett said he was ok with the idea of a modified mobile parade and the board could approve the proposal and deal with the actual parade route down the road when it could be posted.

The board agreed with McGaffigan that the tradition of the parade should continue if it can be done safely and done while following CDC guidelines. Selectman Joe Guthrie made the motion to approve the modified Christmas Parade proposal with the route to be approved by the Police Chief and the board voted unanimously to approve it.

Beaudoin asked the board to approve him providing whatever officers are needed for the parade at no cost to the town by paying for the officers out of the department's Special Duty Fund. The board voted to approve him doing this and he asked that they approve him doing the same for the Recreation Commission's Turkey Trot at Thanksgiving if it takes place. The board approved that as well.

Darlene Cote presented her plastic recycling project to the board. She is collecting plastic bags for TREX on behalf of the Conservation Commission. In return for 500 pounds of plastic she turns in, TREX will deliver a composite bench which will be given to the Conservation Commission to put along a trail of their choosing. She said people can drop off plastic bags at her home, 30 Collins Drive, or call her to make arrangements for her to pick it up at 603-378-0189. Cote indicated this is an effort to promote recycling and to keep plastic out of the landfill.

Ken Richards, Water Resource Chair, discussed the drought conditions and the possible steps Hampstead and the selectmen might want to think about taking to address the situation, He referred people to the Water Resource web page where the NH Drought Management Team Update is located for information and noted it would be updated again on October 1.

Selectman Chair Sean Murphy thanked Richards for the committee's suggestions but noted they would have to run any policies, especially ones including any fines, by the Town Council, but he asked the committee to keep the town posted.

The board discussed Trick or Treating and after a long discussion it was decided that Hampstead would declare Trick or Treat Day to be Saturday, October 31, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. While it was pointed out that door to door trick or treating is considered high risk by the CDC guidelines it would be allowed in Hampstead on that day between those hours and the police would be on the alert. However, Murphy reminded folks if they don't wish to participate, simply turn your lights out.

The board approved appointing Bill August to negotiate the Hampstead Cable contract with Comcast. The current contract doesn't expire until 2023 but negotiations take a long time and August is familiar with the Hampstead contract and Hampstead Cable preferences. It was noted that the part time Hampstead Cable Manager, Bianca Nicolosi had been given a raise to $35 per hour. Guthrie also read some of the very complimentary comments the Cable had received regarding its summer concert series.

Hampstead Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault told the board she is still sending in claims for reimbursement to GOFFER and FEMA and that there is a final round for submission between September 30 and October 15.

She said the Planning Board is looking into what needs to be done to bring the town's Master Plan up to date and to address the Capital Improvement Plan.
 
Household Hazardous Waste Day will be at the Hampstead Middle School parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon on October 24.

Theriault said the town has received a $25,000 surplus from Health Trust and the rate of increase was held to 5 percent in the premium. The budget hearing will be on October 14, instead of the previously announced date and she will notify everyone regarding this change,

In Other Business:

* The Conservation Commission met on September 16. Soil Scientist Bruce Gilday spoke about a parcel of land owned by Carl Hubner on Maple Avenue. He said the plan to install a box culvert for the wetlands road crossing would provide adequate access to wildlife. The commission chair Tim Lovell noted that a number of benches from a Scout project have been placed on conservation trails. The commission continued discussing their efforts to map all the town's conservation trails. 

* The Hampstead Recreation Commission met on September 21 and heard from Travis Henry about his Eagle Scout Project at the Town Beach that would develop a new Kiosk Board. The Sunset Association would be in charge of the up keep of the information. The board approved Travis Henry going forward with a Kiosk board at the Town Beach.

* Hampstead Association of Softball and Baseball announced that
Holiday Lane will be shut down at the beginning of October.

* The commission approved the Knights of Columbus on October 10th, from 3p.m. to 8p.m. holding an outdoor mass with St. Anne’s. K of C will be selling food and having games. There will be a corn hole tournament on the Town Hall field.

* The commission plans to get a permit to have Recreation Director Angie Ingraham order new lines and buoys for the beach as well new sand.

* Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms ran the new wires to zones 2 and 3 at Depot Road field for the irrigation. There are some sprinkler head issues behind the 2nd and 3rd base on the baseball field but Harms got the new control and put it in.

* The Commission will shut done Holiday Lane irrigation on October 5th and the the batting cage will be brought in.

* The Civic Club needs a port a pottie at the Town Hall for Soccer and Ingraham will get the port a pottie from Holiday Lane and move it to the Town Hall.

* The Softball Team gave the commission the donation for using the Depot Road Softball field.

* It is time to sign up for the Turkey Trot day event. The event will be on November 26. The commission will work with the New England Timing Company on a staggered start.

* The commission plans another movie night at the Town Hall field on Friday October 2, at 6:45 p.m. A sign up sheet will be sent out and she will ask Jennifer Howard for some NJHS helpers. They will need 3.

* The Recreation Commission will have a Budget Work Session on Oct. 5th using Zoom at 7 p.m.

 

 


Hampstead Selectmen Hear From the Water Resource Committee
By Penny Williams    9-15-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday night, September 14, and heard a drought update  from The Water Resource Committee.

Ken Richards, Committee Chair, discussed how the state is monitoring the drought issue noting that currently Hampstead is considered in the NH Drought Management Team's  D-2 category, or Severe Drought. Nevertheless, he said the area is holding its own.

He went on to explain that the most significant water use during the warm season is outdoor watering. He reminded the board his committee has already advised the Town to consider a voluntary restriction of outdoor watering and the committee has put out a flyer, sent to homes in August, about water conservation. With little water in the immediate forecast he suggested the Town might well be advised to think about applying water use restrictions in the near future.

He discussed the fact the Selectmen can promote conserving winterizing irrigation by posting information about the situation. However, he said that at this point in time his committee feels this would be still be at the voluntary level.

Committee member David Treat said the committee recommends accepting the single bid for the committee's Outreach Education from the Rockingham County Planning Commission. For the Mapping contract he said the committee recommends awarding the contract to Sanborn Head. The Board of Selectmen approved the contract award recommendations and Treat said he would move forward with the contracts the next day.

The board opened the three bids for the Meeting House parking lot .
* Advanced paving - $16,326
* R & D Paving $ $16,252
* Petra Paving $12,691 -possible addition of $659

The board discussed the bids and Selectman Joe Guthrie made a motion to award the contract to the low bidder, Petra paving and the board approved.

The board entered into a discussion about Halloween. Selectman Chad Bennett wasn't ready to call Halloween off until he knew what surrounding towns are doing. In the end the board decided to have Halloween on October 31 but will discuss it further at a future meeting if things change.

The board discussed opening the Veterans Memorial Gym with Recreation. It was decided to allow one group/program a day in the gym and to ensure it is cleaned between uses. There would be no weekend use. The board and Recreation will try this, track the use and users and see how it goes. The board asked Recreation to provide a report next month.

Recreation discussed the drainage project that needs to be done before a decision is made on repairing the tennis courts. In the end it was decided to award Dependable Construction the drainage project at a $7,675 cost.

The board approved having the Hubbard Company do the Emergency Operations Plan as recommended by Fire Chief Michael Carrier who applied for a grant. The Town will have to pay $8,000.

In Other Business:

*  The recycling and Waste Disposal Committee met on September 9. Saturday, September 12, was a bulk disposal day so they expected some items to be collected for the swap shop.  Tina Harrington was there in the morning (along with flyers for Household Hazardous Waste Day (HHW).  Ellen Cabral was there in the afternoon.  It was noted that in July there were only a couple of people that showed up, but there were more in August.

The  HHW flyer will remind people to stay in their cars, not to bring containers that they want to keep, and a note that schools and towns are not supposed to be part of the Household Hazardous Waste Day.  The committee discussed this aspect and agreed to put it on the flyer and let the other towns know, but if things come in to accept them.  Without having had the spring collection, it is expected to be busier than normal for the fall collection. 

The committee reviewed the year to date tonnage for curbside pickup and for the transfer station. The curbside trash has been going up and there was concern if there would be enough in the budget to cover the increases.  It looks like the balance of the budget should cover the estimate of about 880 tons.  There was a request to do the same analysis with the bulk disposal to make sure the budget will cover those costs.

* Hampstead Library Trustees met Tuesday, September 15. The Hampstead Public Library has hired Jenn MacLeod as the Youth Services Librarian and she started last week on September 9th.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in University Studies focusing on Family History Research and English with a concentration in Child Development. In 2021, she will begin her studies for her Master of Library Science degree. She loves creating programs and finding the best new books for kids of all ages.   First story time will be on the 30th in person outside the library

* Trustee Treasurer Charlene Flarherty reported the budget is on track for this point in the year and many items are under-expended. Next month will begin budget planning discussions. The news from  Ray Noel and his Investment Firm showed that there was a gain on investments. Given our capital preservation policy that we have in place with him he made some changes to investments and will evaluate in the 4th Quarter.

People are appreciative of what the library is offering and acknowledge that we are working. We’re continuing to increase slowly. Library has added more appointments for in –library browsing.  

Youth Services Librarian Jennifer MacLeod who started last week is focusing on getting programming going.

Path to the garden - railings to be installed in the next few weeks and a dedication will be planned thereafter.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Discuss Election Assistance and Absentee Ballots
By Penny Williams   8-25-20

  The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, August 24, and approved Town Clerk Patricia Curran signing the paperwork relating to applying for an absentee ballot election grant.

The Board of Selectmen posted a Public Hearing for Wednesday, September 2, at 7 p.m. for the grant that would be received from the State of NH under the Election Assistance Commission through the CARES act which will allow Hampstead to apply for up to $21,680.78 in funds for election costs for the State Primary in September and the Presidential Election in November relating to absentee ballots. Hampstead needs to pay 20 percent of actual costs.

Curran said increases in requests for absentee ballots have been huge; 53 in 2016 and as of two weeks ago 464 had been requested for the Primary while the Presidential election is expected to see 30 to 40 percent of the total vote by absentee ballot.

The board approved Curran signing and sending in the documents relating to the state for reimbursement for absentee ballots. There will be a Public Hearing regarding accepting the unanticipated funds scheduled on September 2.

Curran told the board that 50 stand alone voting booths have been ordered so as to maximize the social distancing requirements. She indicated that masks would not be required by voters but encouraged. She said if masks were to be required a separate area and all that goes into the voting process would have to be created for those not wearing a mask and that isn't practical. Even with the increase in absentee ballots she is anticipating 3,000 voters to on November 3 with the Hampstead polls at the Hampstead Middle School open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The traffic will be one way entering through one door and exiting out another.

Moderator Neil Reardon expressed concern for election officials working the entire day both on September 8 and November 3. He expressed concern over making sure social distancing is maintained and that mark wearing be encouraged if not required.

Police Chief Joe Beaudoin asked the board to authorize advertising for a full time police officer since the School District has requested Detective Mark Conway to be the School Resource Officer again. He said the school district wanted Conway to start now but he had said he would be available as of September 8. The board approved his request.
 
Beaudoin also asked to be allowed to hire a certified officer part time. He said his candidate has worked for the Manchester Police Department for 20 years and is currently working part time for another local department and would be looking for one shift a week. He asked if he could bring the officer in to meet the board at their September 14, meeting and the board approved his request.

After a discussion about the proposed paving project at the Meetinghouse park, Selectman Chad Bennett ended the discussion calling for the project to go out to bid again.

The single bid received was discussed at the previous meeting but Bennett expressed concern about needing to actually proceed with this project correctly which would entail going back to the beginning and starting over again by seeking bids for the project. The board approved and the RFP will posted and bids sought.

The bid for the Veterans Memorial Gym roof project recommendation from the Recreation Commission was that the board approve the $25,535 bid from Lane Roofing in Derry. Lane Roofing added an amount to the work and the  bid which brought the total bid amount to $25,745 which was approved by the board.

Recreation indicated that they thought there would be some money to put toward the project from the budgeted amount for the tennis court work. The commission wants to do the drainage aspect of the tennis court work this year in order to see if this makes a difference. They would defer any actual tennis court work to next year thus freeing up some money.

The board opened and handed over to the Water Resource Committee four bids for Water Supply and Contamination Mapping for their review and recommendation. The bidders included:

*Aries Engineering out of Concord, NH

*Geosphere Environmental Management, Inc.  out of Exeter NH

*Sanborn Head out of Concord, NH

*Geo Insight of Manchester, NH

There was only a single bid for the Education and Outreach for the Water Resource and that was from the Rockingham Planning Commission for $8,000.  The board opened the single bid and handed that over to the committee for their review and recommendation.

Selectman Joe Guthrie brought up the sidewalk work needed at the Public Library. After a discussion that included Road Agent Jon Worthen and information from Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms, the board decided that Worthen, rather doing piece meal patch work, would do a replacement for the front walk at the library at an estimated cost of $3,833 before winter.

The board voted to have only external home inspections during this COVID-19 period since any internal improvements would have been checked when a permit was taken.

In Other Business:

*The Hampstead Water Resource Committee met last week and issued a water related warning. Hampstead and the whole of Southeastern NH are now under a severe drought which is expected to persist throughout August. The Water Resources Committee is encouraging all homeowners and business owners to cut back on watering their lawns and landscaping and conserving water as much as possible to protect the supply of water for all. An information sheet was mailed to all addresses in Hampstead with reminders on how much water is lost to leaks and inefficient irrigation and an explanation of how all the water in Hampstead comes from the same underground source. The information sheet includes information such as: The Average family uses 320 gallons of water per day, which increases up to 1,000 gallons per day in summer. The guide encourages using smart sprinklers; fixing leaks in a toilet or tap, conservative showering, and, turning off the water tap while brushing teeth. Right now ALL water in Hampstead is drawn from our underground aquifer. As this region has grown, the level of the water table has dropped and is already impacting many homeowners and businesses, with wells running dry and changes to water quality. For more information please email hwrc.all@gmail.com.

* The Hampstead Recreation Commission met on August 17 and discussed a number of issues. The commission is working on a permit to add sand to the Town Beach.   
They went over the Depot Road Field complex irrigation system repair needs and reviewed the repair plan for the coming year. The commission, to improve communication, will have a member attend future Board of Selectmen meetings. The commission with regret cancelled the Mother/Son Luau for this year but decided to continue with the Turkey Trot. scheduled for November 26, at 8 a.m.

* The Hampstead Public Library met on August 18. Al Cipriano, liaison from the Friends reported that the Friends have decided to continue with their current slate of officers until further notice. The Friends provided a sanitizing piece of equipment for the library. The Thrift Shop will remain closed through 2020. The library remains in Phase 3 with patrons visiting the library by appointment only and with curbside pick-up and printing continuing. The library's WiFi is on even when the building is empty and patrons continue to use it from the parking lot. The decking is finished and they are waiting for the rails to be delivered and installed and pavers will be put in between the decking and the garden. The library will not move to the next phase but will possibly increase the number of appointments. Trustee Charlene Flaherty said the budget is on track with many lines in good shape as a result of the lower use during this period. The Youth Services applications have gone well with more than 24 applicants. The staff is preparing to interview 2 applicants currently employed in libraries. The town has been notified that there needs to be a repair made to the front sidewalk. The library reminded schools, teachers, and administrators that they are happy to provide special resources to assist the schools and will help in any way needed.

* The Conservation Commission met on August 19 and Nathan Lindquist Boy Scout Troop 33 proposed his Eagle project to the commission. He plans to replace the benches at Shop Pond and provide a granite post and new sign for the pond. The total cost would run around $2200. The commission signed off on the project and Chair Tim Lovell said a granite post was really expensive and for Lindquist to stay in touch with him regarding this. The commission discussed the current drought impacts and the clear cutting of a lot off of Depot Road. The commission also discussed the proposed plans for the Route 111 Auto Sales that includes a self storage unit and trailer sales. The commission plans to close the additional parking are at West Road Conservation area come the fall.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Delay Opening Veterans Memorial Gym
By Penny Williams  8-11-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, August 10, and opened  bids for the Veteran's Memorial Gym roof and for the Meeting House Paving Project but decided to put off opening the gym to activities until September when they will reassess it again.

The board was asked to provide the Recreation Commission with some direction regarding opening the Veteran's Memorial Gym. The board discussed this and Town Administrator Sally Theriault said she and Recreation Director Angie Ingraham  had contacted other gyms and centers in the area to see what most were doing and  found that the majority were not open.

It was noted that activities that can be held out of doors are being held in some locations. The board after discussing the benefits and liabilities of re-opening the gym at this time decided to suggest to the Recreation Commission they put this off until mid September.

The board opened the single bid for the Meeting House Paving Project. This project was on the  Official Ballot in 2019 when $43,500 was sought for improvement to the Meeting House Parking area. It was defeated 1,499 to 720. Money was sought the following year but the $12,000 plus bid was more than was budgeted. The single bid received Monday night from R&D Paving, Franklin, was for $16,252 and was forwarded by the board to the Historic District Heritage Commission for their recommendation.

The board then proceeded to open 11 bids for doing the Veteran's Memorial Gym roof. The bids ranged from the low $30,000s to a high of $81,000. Selectman Joe Guthrie questioned whether the bids were apples for apples. Theriault said they had all been sent the same RFP to bid on. The board passed the bids on to the Building and Grounds for them to review and make a recommendation.

Guthrie brought up the suggestion from Town Clerk Patricia Curran to increase the hourly pay for ballot clerks for 2020  given there are two elections and both will be under COVID-19 circumstances. The board discussed briefly that would be an increase from $8 per hour to $15 per hour. Theriault and Selectmen's Clerk Tina Harrington said this would amount to slightly more than what has been budgeted. It was decided the amount difference was insignificant and the board approved the measure.

The board discussed a request from the Cable Commission to be allowed to use the official town seal on T-shirts for Cable Commission employees. The board approved the request.

The board signed the Warrant for Unlicensed Dogs and will report to the state by August 31 whether all dogs have been licensed or accounted for and the fines paid.

In Other Business:

* On August 3, the Planning Board met and approved the Accessory Dwelling Unit request of Gwynne Gamache at 19 Houstons Way. The board also accepted the application for Map 14 Lot 102, Brady Lane Subdivision for a public hearing. A  motion to waive the requirements  of Section VII:1-Q to permit modification of the typical roadway was approved and  a motion to waive the requirements of Section VII: 1- H:5 to permit modification of cul-de-sac was also approved. The revised plan sheets based on granted waiver requests, and adding notes to the plan set, meant that all the conditions of approval were  met.

* The Hampstead ZBA met on Wednesday, August 5 and approved the request of
 Andrew and Gina Conti for a variance to allow a deck to be built that doesn't
meet the rear setback for the 8 Bonnies Way property. The ZBA also agreed to hear the new application from Jim Ryder for a variance to allow construction of a
garage that will be too close to the side lot of the property at 258 Kent Farm Road.
His original hearing was denied a month ago but he reworked the garage size and
the board approved his new request after determining by  a finding of fact that
the new application was materially different. The ZBA approved Ryder's variance
request.

 


Hampstead Police Chief Wonders About School Resource Officer Position
By Penny Williams   7-29-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen fielded questions from Police Chief Joe Beaudoin about whether they knew anything about the School District use of Detective Mark Conway as the School Resource Officer (SRO) at their Monday night, July 27, meeting.

Beaudoin asked the board if they had any information on the re-opening of school and the board said they did not. Beaudoin pointed out he needs the board to authorize him to advertise for another officer if Conway will continue as the SRO. He pointed out this has to start now as it will take fully two months or longer to have a new officer street ready. The board had no information but indicated they would try to find out what is planned.

Beaudoin also asked the board to approve him using $1,000 from the Police Detail Fund to purchase some needed items for the Police Department Garage such as a hose reel, a commercial vacuum cleaner, and a commercial power washer. He indicated the fund has received about $8,000 from details taking place at Hampstead Hospital that are taking place 24/7. The board approved his request.

Further, he asked the board to grant him permission to donate the old 2004 cruiser to Fire Department for their use in training. The cruiser broke down and is considered not repairable. The board had no problem with this and approved it.

Beaudoin thanked the community for its support of the Hampstead Police Department.

Joe Passanise, on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, asked for the board's permission for the organization to hold a corn hole contest and serve some food items as a non-profit fund raiser. The event would take place on the Town field. No date has been set yet as the organization wanted to get permission from the board first. The board after discussing it decided to table it until their next meeting and have the request run by Town Counsel to check to see if there is a liability issue involved.

The board opened the single bid for the 100 niche Columbarium (urn wall) that the Cemetery Trustees wish to develop. It was a warrant article that voters approved. The company, Hardy Doric, Chelmsford, Massachusetts, bid is  $32,500 for the structure. There would be additional cost for the slab and installation but $50,000 had been budgeted. The board approved passing the bid on to the Cemetery Trustees for their review and recommendation.

Richard Perrin, NH Census,  told the board he would appreciate any and all support they could provide for the Census. He said New Hampshire is at about 62 percent completion and Hampstead is at about 70 percent. He said he would provide the town with materials and brochures and signs about the importance of completing the Census. He said it is confidential and very important; it is non-partisan and there is no mention of citizenship; and, there are 7 languages available on the phone and 29 online.

Selectman Chad Bennett expressed displeasure that he had not been notified or invited to the Promotion Ceremony for Deputy Police Chief Robert Kelley. Beaudoin said he had not invited anyone specifically and it was just announced and people were welcome to attend.

Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said the Recreation Commission is trying to find funding for the Veterans Memorial Gym roof that must be repaired and for painting the bleachers. There is money budgeted for work on the drainage issue at the tennis courts and for work on the courts. If these issues don't happen that may provide funding but if their funding falls short they will have to come to the board for help. The Recreation Commission also asked the board what their position is on re-opening the gym for use for things like sport leagues and birthday parties and Home School group use. After a discussion Bennett suggested putting a hold on this until the next meeting so Theriault could check around to see what other towns are doing in this respect.

In Other Business:

* It was decided that there will be no Town Wide Yard Sale this year as Community Care Givers isn't willing to sponsor it under the current COVID-19 conditions.

* Thomas Wilson Frascone, Sandown, was appointed as Hampstead's Assistant Animal Control Officer.

* Charles Fernandez was appointed as a Library Trustee alternate.

* Julie Labranche, Rockingham County Planning Commission, had had her Storm Water Presentation rescheduled and the town's Storm Management Program was signed by Chair Darren Hudgins and is posted on the town web site so the town is in compliance.

* Hampstead Conservation met on July 15, and discussed getting town conservation trail maps developed. The commission approved purchasing Adobe Illustrator software for $239.88. The Commission is asking that slope created at Hadley Road development be fixed to allow easier access to the Conservation area. The Pine tree that a family donated has been dropped and will be milled to create beams for use in bridge building on Conservation land.

* The Library trustees met July 21, and it was announced that there would be no Friends programs and the Thrift Shop will not be open during this year due to COVID-19 period. The plan is to open the main library for more appointments for card holders. The Trustees approved the Patron Code of Conduct. Youth Program Director Devin Van Curen has resigned and the library director, Rosemary Krol said they had already received 14 applications and would start interviewing the more promising candidates after July 31 when resumes submission ends and Van Curen is gone.

* Hampstead Recreation Commission met on July 20, and among other things discussed Joe Passanie, Knights of Columbus, request to have a corn hole tournament for Hampstead knights of Columbus. SGS Turf came out to Depot Fields. There are a lot of issues to sprinkler heads and wiring.   We will get  an analyses for Depot and Holiday Lane. The time frame for Mosely to get back the analyses to us is July 31st. Auger is cutting at Depot Road once a week and doing other work the second time that week. The  Memorial Gym roof needs to be done and cost around $30,000. It will need to go out to bid. The bid package will be ready at the end of the week. Noonan Brothers Painting could re-due the bleachers for $4500.00.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Award Paving Contract to Busby Construction
By Penny Williams    7-14-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met on Monday evening, July 13, and approved Road Agent Jon Worthen's recommendation that the paving contract be awarded to local contractor Busby Construction.

Worthen noted that his initial request for bid came back over his budget but with some tweaking and adjustments he brought the contract bid to within the budget amount with a contract cost of $374,498.

Among the paving work to be done is a portion of Kent Farm Road from the Sandown line past the Transfer Station; the roadway into the Transfer Station; the swale along the Transfer Station roadway that is to be reclaimed; and, shoulder work on Depot Road that will start on Thursday, July 16. The board approved awarding Busby Construction the paving contract.

The board discussed the Emergency Management Plan 50 - 50 grant for communication equipment that will be placed on a Derry Cell Tower which will greatly enhance inter-department communication capabilities for Hampstead departments. Town Counsel has reviewed the agreement and the $30,210 amount and the board approved accepting the grant.

The board reviewed the two bids for heating fuel from Irving Oil and Palmer
Oil, the current vendor. Irving submitted their bid by email but after a brief discussion the board decided to accept it even though it was supposed to have been sent in as a sealed bid. However, after review, the board decided to continue with Palmer since there have been no complaints and the service has been good.

Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault went over updating the Stormwater Management Plan. She noted the town is a little behind in M4 compliance but she is working with Rockingham Planning Commission Julie La Branche on documenting the work being done in Hampstead. La Branche will come before the board with a presentation on the compliance requirements at a future meeting.

The board accepted with regret and thanks the resignation of Fire Department Captain Chris Dane as the town's Emergency Management Director. Dane has agreed to remain in place until  August 31,

In Other Business:

The Zoning Board of Adjustment met on July 1, and heard 5 public hearings.

* The ZBA approved a Special Exception for a roadside sign in excess of allowed footage at 304 Sandown Road for CCE;

* The ZBA approved Paul McKinon and Kelly Hamel's request for a Variance to  allow construction of a deck too close to the rear lot line at 130 Mills Shore Drive;

* The ZBA approved the request of Bluebird Self Storage for a Variance to permit 25 parking spaces where 225 are required for property located at 664 Route 111;

* The ZBA approved Bluebird Storage for a Variance to permit a building to exceed the maximum height of 35-feet for property located at 664 Route 111;

* The ZBA denied the request for a Variance by Jim Ryder to permit construction of a garage too close to the side lot line for property located at 258 Kent Farm Road.


Hampstead Selectmen Heard from Hampstead Area Water Co. About Decontamination Change
By Penny Williams    6-23-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday night, June 22, and heard from the Hampstead Area Water Company (HAWC) about the change in their decontamination/disinfectant system for water from their wells.

Jeff Mclure, Weston & Sampson, explained to the board about the plans the HAWC has in terms of changing its decontamination/disinfectant system and why the change is being made.  The company currently uses chlorine to provide the necessary decontamination/disinfectant and this is added to the water at the well locations.

However, when the Southern New Hampshire Regional Water Project is up and running sometime after mid-July, the water that will be coming down from Manchester through Salem and over to Atkinson and up to Hampstead will be using chloramine, a different decontamination/disinfectant system.

When the two systems meet there can be an odor and sometimes a slight taste issue so to avoid that HAWC is switching its system to the chloramine disinfectant system now used in Manchester and Salem water systems.

The only issues resulting from the change are that people using dialysis machines must be aware of this and make appropriate arrangements for the required proper filtered water; people with aquatic tanks need to use properly filtered water; and the first fill up for backyard pools shouldn't be with the HAWC water using this system but after that occasional additions of water to the pools would be fine. Other than these the only negative issue is this disinfectant system has a more negative impact on rubber gaskets and rings resulting in more frequent replacements.

Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault brought up expenses related to COVID-19 that she has sent in for reimbursement to GOEFRR noting the town received reimbursement for all she had sent in so far amounting to $4,570. She asked if the board would authorize paying for these expenses through the Towns Capital Reserve Fund rather than each department paying out of their budgets for her next submission in July.

Selectmen Chad Bennett was concerned about going this route and the board ultimately decided to simply have department budgets used and overspend those lines if need be, which could be explained at year's end.

Theriault also gave the board the policy for absenteeism and travel for town employees for review saying it has been reviewed by Town Counsel. The board affirmed that the policy would be put into place and would follow the state guidelines.

The board reviewed the request from Recreation and approved opening the parking at the beach and putting a porta potty there. However, it will continue to be swim at your own risk until a certified life guard is available. The board lifted the restrictions for the tennis and basketball courts and agreed to the removal of the closed sign on the playground allowing its use at people's own risk.

The board discussed at length whether to have Town Hall deep cleaned. Bennett felt it was an unnecessary expense so the board decided instead to try harder to find a new person to clean the town hall building.

Theriault said the open position has been advertized but there has been only one applicant. Theriault was encouraged to push to get this position filled

In Other Business:

* After non public Lieutenant Robert Kelley was promoted to Deputy Police Chief with a salary of $93,376.  effective July 5.

* The board approved Theriault negotiating an electric price with White Columns and the board will sign the contract. The Town has saved several thousand dollars on electricity costs going with White Columns

* The Hampstead Police Department lobby will officially open June 29.

* The Cable sponsored Summer Concert Series will begin July 7. It will be held only at the Town Hall field where social distancing will be enforced. There will be no inclement weather venues so if is raining or bad weather concerts will be canceled.

* Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal Committee Chair Ellen Cabral recommended and the board approved using Tradbe as the Household Hazardous Waste Day vendor for the Hampstead hosted day scheduled for October 24.

* Lost kids on the Conservation trails were found safe in Plaistow but the Conservation Commission would like to have volunteers in the three towns that have intersecting trails, Plaistow, Hampstead, and Atkinson,  identified as people to contact in the event someone is lost in the future.   

* Conservation is going to use a Trails Grant to purchase a Rokon bike, built in Rochester to have to use for trail work and to be available for any rescue efforts.

* There is a huge oak tree a family wants taken down and are willing to donate to Conservation. Conservation would be able to have boards from the tree that could be used for bridge repair work.
    


Hampstead Selectmen Postpone Fourth of July Fireworks
By Penny Williams     6-9-2020

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, June 8, and discussed with Hampstead Civic Club President Kristine Eiro whether to hold or postpone to a later date the planned  Fourth of July fireworks and festival.

The board and Eiro discussed whether there was sufficient time to get things properly planned by the current date of June 27 and in the end decided to postpone the festival and the fireworks. Hampstead Selectmen's Office Clerk Tina Harrington was able to determine that Atlas Fireworks could give the town a new date of August 1, for the fireworks event and the board approved supporting the Civic Club with making plans for the fireworks for that date if the Civic Club's executive board approved.

The board, after a brief discussion, approved re-opening the Hampstead Town Office Building as of June 15 on an appointment only status. To be decided is whether the Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault and Harrington would both be in the office but for the most part they are already overlapping in order to get work done. They have basically each taking a week to work from home while the other is in the office. The regularly scheduled town office hours would be in place. The board approved reopening Town Hall by appointment only as of June 15.

Theriault provided the board with a draft of a proposed policy that would require employees who go on vacation to tell their supervisor where they are going and their planned mode of transportation. If the trip goes out of the country or to a high risk  USA area and/or if public transportation is involved, the employee will be asked not to return to work for two weeks upon returning to Hampstead. Employees will not be paid during the two week period but they can use their personal time.

The board wanted to ensure that each employee's plans would be reviewed and decided upon on a case by case basis by the board. Selectman Joe Guthrie wants the policy to be provided to the library for the Trustees to review and decide whether to adopt the policy as well. Theriault said this was a good opportunity for the library and the town to work together with regard to adopting the same policies.

In Other Business:

* The board approved  Town Clerk/Tax Collector Patricia Curran working on getting additional help for the September and November elections due to the increase in absentee ballot use. The board approved her purchasing 30 additional single voting booths and several six foot tables to meet social distancing requirements.

* The board approved the swim lines be put out at the town beach but it is still swim at your own risk.

* The board re-appointed Neil Reardon and Steve Ungerer to the Conservation Commission and appointed James Wilkerman as an alternate to the Conservation Commission. They also reappointed Ellen Edwards to the Ethics Committee. In addition. the board accepted the resignation of Suzanne Finocchiaro from the Communications Committee with regret.

* The Hampstead Zoning Board of Adjustment met on June 3, and heard eight public hearings.

They denied the request of Gail Witham, 152 Emerson Avenue, for a Special Exception to be allowed to continue to have long-term cargo containers in her front and back yard;

They denied Emily Balkus her Variance request for constructing a garage too close to the side lot line at 22 Cortland St; 

They approved the requests of Michael Todesca, 24 Abbie Lane and Nicola Todesca, 26 Abbie Lane for Special Exceptions for reconstruction of dwellings;

The ZBA approved Richard Garcia's Special Exception request for his dwelling at 18 Harris Avenue be listed as a three bedroom dwelling;

The ZBA approved the Special Exception request from Richie Towne and Bruce Worthen to permit 16.07 percent lot coverage where only 15 percent is allowed at 17 Gigante Drive; and,

The ZBA continued to their July meeting, the request of Stonebrook Lane Development for a Variance to allow increased lot coverage at 15 Owens Court.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Approve Stipend for First Responders
By Penny Williams 5-28-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Wednesday evening, May 27, and addressed the state's Stipend for First Responders program that the board
tabled at the previous meeting.

Selectman Joe Guthrie apologized to Police Chief Joe Beaudoin and Fire Chief Mike Carrier for what might have appeared that he was questioning the first responders. The issue was stalled for lack of a second to the motion to approve at the time made by Chair Sean Murphy. Guthrie said he was only concerned that other town employees were also putting in appearances at hazardous jobs during this very difficult time and weren't being similarly recognized. Selectman Chad Bennett added the board had not denied the request, merely tabled it for additional information. The program would award $300 to eligible full time first responders and $150 to eligible part time first responders. The board without any further discussion approved awarding the stipend to the list of first responders provided by the chiefs.

The board decided to open the single bid for the Hazardous Waste Day company to run the event as Hampstead is the host this year. The one bid came from Tradebe Environmental, Marionville, Indiana, in the amount of $26,457.10 for the entire event. The board voted to pass this on to the Recycling and Waste Disposal Committee for their review and recommendation. Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said the amount is within the usual parameters for this event.

There was a lengthy discussion with Matthew Johnson, Chair of the Recreation Commission about what would be open and what would remain closed. It was decided that the tennis courts and the basketball court could be open but use restricted to no more than  8 people on the tennis courts and the basketball court. However, it was decided the beach would remain closed and parking for the beach area would be restricted with the larger parking lot being closed. People can access the water and swim but it is at their own risk.  Playgrounds would also remain closed as they can't be adequately cleaned between uses. People are using them but it is at their own risk. Baseball and softball will be restricted to teams of 9 players and a single coach and no porta potties will be available. The Summer Recreation Program is still up in the air awaiting further guidelines from the Governor. However, multiple scenarios are being contemplated.

Theriault said the various town boards and committees are starting to want to begin meeting and she asked the board for approval to allow the use of the Meeting Room so long as less than 10 were involved and social distancing was used. The board approved this with the condition that any users would need to follow the guidelines and clean the areas that were used during a meeting and sign off that they done so after the meeting.

The board approved allowing employees to take advantage of a proposed IRS change that would allow employees to make changes to their Health Trust Flexible Spending Accounts if they chose to or to open a flexible account but they need to do so by August 1.

The board asked that the decision on the Fireworks be moved to the next meeting. Patriotic Purposes Chair Howie Steadman said he needs to have a decision by June 12, and the board's next meeting is scheduled for June 10.

In Other Business:

* There will be a parade through Hampstead on June 7 for Hampstead Pinkerton Academy graduating students sponsored by the Hampstead Civic Club.

* The board signed off on the GOFERR grant submission.

* Board approved of Murphy resigning the Scope of Work for grant for the Water Resource Committee. The re-signing was required because of changes made to the program by the State.

* The board appointed Sara Arroyo to the Recreation Commission.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Continue Police Lieutenant Pay Discussion
By Penny Williams 5-12-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen continued their discussion of the newly promoted police lieutenant's salary at the Monday, May 11 meeting . 

  At the previous meeting Lt. Robert Kelley had lodged a request for an increase in his salary of $74,276 which, was a reduction in his pay when he was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant. He had asked that the Board reconsider this in as much as because of accepting the promotion he experienced a reduction in pay of some $8,000.

   Selectman Chad Bennett question Kelley's statement that he had learned of the reduction in pay after accepting the promotion. Bennett questioned why Kelley would expect any change be made after he accepted the promotion with the salary set at that level.

   Police Chief Joe Beaudoin joined the conversation and told the board unequivocally that he had told Kelley to accept the promotion and they would deal with the salary issue afterwards. He also stated emphatically that to give someone a promotion and cut the level of their pay made absolutely no sense. He stated that whoever did the job of proposing the wage range for the position did a very poor job. He also stated that Kelley was the only one capable of assuming the position which runs the department on a day to day basis. Kelley added that his base pay as Sergeant was roughly $82,000 and Beaudoin noted that Sergeant Rick Chambers makes more than $80,000.

  Chair Sean Murphy said the board would go into non-public to discuss this and they would notify Kelley of their decision on Tuesday.

   Murphy at that time told Bennett that he was assuming being liaison to the Police Department at the conclusion of the evening's meeting, something Bennett objected to saying he wanted to continue being the liaison to the Police Department until further notice.

   Murphy said it has been determined last year that if a liaison position decision is a question the decision would be made by the chair and as such he was making that determination and would assume the liaison position to the Police Department as the conclusion of the meeting.

   Bennett objected but Murphy and Selectman Joe Guthrie voted to accept that decision. Bennett then demanded he be given the Fire Department liaison position and Murphy said no and that was the end of the discussion.

   Bennett complained about not being part of the Police union negotiations to which Murphy responded that he had already said the entire board would deal with the police union negotiations.

   The board made the decision to award the mowing contract to Auger Property Maintenance despite Bennett's objections raised during the previous meeting. Both vendors of the mowing bids, Auger and Bennett Lawns,  responded to the questions asked by the board and the Recreation Commission continued to recommend Auger. The board voted  2 to 1 to award the bid to Auger while Bennett stepped down from the board regarding the issue.

   No one from the public spoke during the Blasting Ordinance Fees Public Hearing. Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault made one change, increasing the hourly amount for blasting inspector standby to $30 per hour. The board approved the fees with that change.

   Chief Beaudoin had asked the board to determine whether the School Resource Officer, Detective Mark Conway's hours would backfilled. Murphy indicated that in his opinion the 'summer' that was in the original contract between town and school district was in play due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore he should be backfilled.

    Beaudoin had pointed out that his department is already one officer short and he had agreed not to try and hire at this time so he needed the board's approval for the backfilling for Conway as he is working for the  department. The board approved it but also asked that it be determined whether the school district was still paying Conway under these conditions or whether the Town was.

  There was a lengthy discussion about whether the board accepted the First Responder Stipend offered by the state from Federal funds. Certified police and fire full time first responders would be eligible for $300 a week and part time certified would be eligible for $150.

  Guthrie expressed concern that this was spending a lot of money and he wanted additional information saying he thought employees in the Town Clerk/Tax Collector's office and others working in the town office building should be eligible.

  Theriault said the board was only being asked to decide if it would participate in the program and if so, did they want the payments to the first responders to be weekly or as a lump sum at the conclusion of the program.

   Murphy said he was ok with participating in the program and made a motion to participate and to have payment be in a lump sum at the conclusion of the program but neither Bennett nor Guthrie would second the motion.

   Guthrie said the program is just a "big give away." It was decided to hold this discussion and decision until the next meeting.

   The board then discussed whether the town's welfare guidelines should be modified, allowing assistance through the Community Health Services. Currently only a current month's overdue bill would be considered eligible but if guidelines were modified to allow the previous months bills to be also considered it might help  more people during this difficult period.

   The request from GOFERR (Governor's Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery) was for the board to authorize who would sign off on documents for requesting reimbursement for things such as supplies purchased or expenses relating to COVID-19 from the $206,331 allotted to Hampstead. Theriault indicated there have been no welfare requests relating to COVID-19 as yet but that could change. However, Hampstead, to get any reimbursement relative to welfare expenses relating to COVID-19  would have to have spent its entire welfare budget of $23,000, which at this point doesn't seem likely.

        The board after a discussion, approved Theriault as being the designated person to sign such documents and forms. Murphy also made a motion to modify the town's welfare guidelines for this emergency period only to include allowing a look back of 30 days and the board approved this.

In Other Business:

* Chief Beaudoin said that residents have brought tons of food to the Police Department during Police Appreciation Week and he and his officers are extremely grateful for the outpouring of contributions and support from the community.

* All Senior Trips have been canceled for the remainder of the year.

* The board approved Chief Beaudoin using money from his Detail Fund to cover the fees relating to the department's leased motorcycle, the Swat membership and training, and the additional costs related to the new cruiser that has to be a Ford Explorer rather than a Dodge Charger because there are no Chargers available.

* Patriotic Purposes Chair Howie Stedman asked the board to make a decision regarding the proposed fireworks for the Fourth of July scheduled for June 27 by June 12. He also said the Memorial Day Ceremony on May 25, would be 'virtual' only on Cable at 10 a.m.

* The board approved Theriault going out to bid for oil and gas contracts now.

* A contract has been signed with Eversource for flags to be flown on their poles between May and November.

* Theriault clarified that the Warrant Article for Veterans Exemption increase from $500 to $750 applies to all veterans.

* The board voted to change their next meeting date from May25, Memorial Day, to that Wednesday, May 27.

* The board agreed to schedule the Water Resource Committee to come to the board at a June meeting to explain about the water that will be coming to Hampstead starting from Masabesic Lake going through Windham and Salem and eventually coming to Hampstead.

* The board signed the Fire Warden appointments requested by Fire Chief Michael Carrier.

 

       


Hampstead Selectmen Discuss Lieutenant Robert Kelley's Pay Issue and Delay Mowing Contract
By Penny Williams  4-29-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, April 27, and the top two issues were a discussion over the newly promoted Police Lieutenant Robert Kelley and why his promotion came with a decrease in pay and the awarding of the Recreation mowing contract.
       
    Kelley was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant in February and when that happened he took a cut in his overall pay that amounts to close to $25,000 since he is no longer a union member and can't do any overtime assignments. He made the point in public session that the position of Lieutenant carries with it a great deal of responsibility since he is the Command Officer and runs the Hampstead Police Department on a day to day basis and Chief Joe Beaudoin affirmed this.

Kelley pointed out in his presentation that other employees on the Town salary matrix pay grades of 13, 14, and 15 (he is grade 14) over the last 10 years have had salary increases of an average of more than 40 percent while the Lieutenants pay has only increased 4.38 percent.

The previous Lieutenant had reached his maximum salary level on the town's then matrix many years back and had not pushed for any salary increase. The range considered for the Hampstead Police Lieutenant position by the 2019 Wage and Salary study that set the matrix considered a salary range of between $59,800 to $78,546 from other localities and the position was advertized between $72,000 and $78,000. His salary is $74,276 with a take it or leave it comment from the board. Beaudoin had encouraged him to take the promotion and they would deal with the numbers afterwards.

Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault defended the matrix study and the Lieutenant's salary amount. Bennett disputed the numbers Kelley provided regarding increases in other town employees salaries over the last 10 years adding that Kelley was well aware of what his salary would be if he accepted the promotion. Theriault noted that many factors such as education level go into the matrix placement and Kelley acknowledged he did not have a Master's Degree. But, he pointed out that 15 years of service from Patrolman to Detective to Sergeant to Lieutenant, which in Hampstead is a very different position than in many other departments given he is considered the Commander in Chief and runs the department on a daily basis, should have been considered.

Kelley felt after being employed by Hampstead Police since 2005 the promotion should have come with a better salary, more in line with the responsibility entailed and he told the board he believes the his salary should be $90,000 and that a promotion should not result in a loss of pay.

Chair Sean Murphy did acknowledge Kelley made some valid points and said he appreciated Kelley discussing this issue in public session. He also said the board would take his presentation under consideration and discuss it further in non-public and let Kelley know what if any salary adjustment might be considered. However, no decision was announced when the board exited non-public.

Matt Johnson, Recreation Commission Chair came before the board and said his commission recommended the low bidder for the mowing contract, Auger Property Maintenance, be awarded the contract.
  
     The initial bid response for the mowing contract resulted in Auger's bid being the only bid so the board asked Recreation to send out the RFP again for a second time which it did and this brought the same contract bid from Auger and a much higher bid from Bennett Landscape.

Murphy was concerned about the big discrepancy between the two bid amounts and suggested perhaps one or both didn't understand the scope of the work. Johnson said the RFP had been quite clear and he had no information why the two bids were so different for two of the fields, fields that weren't even fields that needed additional work such as dragging the base paths.

Selectman Chad Bennett stepped down from the board and offered some information indicating there had been problems with Auger's handling of the contract requirements in the past.
  

The board decided to table the decision until Johnson could contact both vendors and see why there was such a difference between the two bids and to ensure both had properly understood what the contract included.

But before the meeting adjourned Marty Auger arrived and asked to address the board. In so many words he said that with a business as big as his and with as many years as he had taken care of Hampstead fields he was able to do the work for the price he proposed - not lose money but not make much either but doing right by his community. He said he was a hometown man and provided the Town with the best possible price.

Auger also disputed Bennett's claim that there were complaints about the work he did. He said Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms checked every cut his company provided this past year and had no complaints about the work done and neither had Johnson and Recreation provided any complaints. He said he was upset because he was doing the right thing by his community and wanted the board to also do the right thing.

Murphy suggested putting off a decision until the next meeting, May 11, and Auger said that would be too late - by then the fields would be hay fields. Murphy said the board would wait until Johnson got back to them with the answers to their questions from Bennett Lawn since auger had already supplied his answers to the questions - why the price difference and did they understand the scope of work - and the board could then call a special meeting to award the contract. The awarding of the mowing bid was tabled until Johnson supplies the board with the requested  information.

In Other Business:

* The board approved allowing emergency decisions to be made by email during the Covid-19 situation when an emergency arises going first through Theriault and then to all three selectmen.

* The board approved Murphy being the designated the signer for the NHDES $20,000 grant for the Water Resource Committee for its Source Water Protection Program.

*  The board will make a decision on the opening of the Transfer Station but it appears that the employees have the necessary PPE and will be prepared by Emergency Director Chris Dane regarding practices and procedures to be followed during this COVID-19 period.

* The board approved accepting the Blasting Ordinance and appointing the Fire Department Chief, Michael Carrier, as the Blasting Administrator.

* Kris Emerson, Building Inspector and Health Officer, was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Cemetery Committee. The board approved a large number of reappointments to town boards.

* Selectman Joe Guthrie said he had attended the Library Trustees meeting. At that meeting, Tuesday, April 21, the Library Trustees reorganized continuing to have Natalie Gallo as Trustee Chair and Charlene Flaherty as the Trustee Treasurer. Flaherty reported that while the Trustee's library investments were down during this period they were so conservatively invested that Chris Adams, Edwards Jones,  said he felt they would be alright but recommended they reinvest the $10,000 for the pathway to the garden project from the money market to a CD which they approved him doing. The library staff continues to work from home but meet weekly electronically and Youth Services Librarian Devin Van Curen has been keeping the programs coming to help with distant learning. Library Director Rosemary Krol is paying as many bills as possible with the credit card so the bookkeeper doesn't have to enter the building but sends her all the information to her on a regular basis.

 

 


Hampstead Selectmen Pick Chairman and Discuss Multiple Contracts
By Penny Williams 4-14-20

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, April 13, covered several decisions with regard to contracts as well as the reorganization of the board and the liaison assignments.
  
    The board, after Selectman Joe Guthrie reiterated his recommendation that the chair rotate on an annual basis, approved Sean Murphy as Chair with Chad Bennett acting as Vice Chair. However, Bennett adamantly insisted on retaining the liaison assignment of the Police Department saying he still has conversations he wants to finish while Murphy wants that assignment. The board finally agreed to table the police liaison assignment decision to their May meeting. No other liaison assignments were changed.

The board discussed the Police Union negotiations that will be coming up and Guthrie wants to be involved. After a brief discussion it was decided that the entire board should be involved with these negotiations.

The board opened the mowing contracts, one from Auger Property Maintenance and the other from Bennett Landscaping and approved moving the bids to the Recreation Committee for their recommendation.

There were two paving contract submissions but Bennett was concerned with past performances of both companies. The board discussed whether they could wait until July to make a decision regarding which company and Road Agent Jon Worthen said the paving could even be put off until next year if necessary but he did ask for permission to do seal crack, drainage and culvert work on the roads in the meantime and get them prepared for paving if it should happen.

It was noted that if a decision on a paving contractor isn't made until later on, the town might find itself at the end of the list when the contractor would be available to do Hampstead roads.  The  board after a lengthy discussion decided to delay making a decision regarding awarding the contract until Bennett could obtain further information from both contractors and check with the contractors regarding the impact and ramifications of delaying awarding a contract until July.  It was decided to return to this at the board's April 27, meeting.

In other business:

• Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault brought up two issues. The first was for the board to approve of the legality of the closure of the Town Building to the public until further notice. which has been done by her and the Selectmen's Office Clerk Tina Harrington and Town Clerk/Tax Collector Patricia Curran  by telephone. The board approved that decision and affirmed it.

The second issue was for the board to approve allowing Theriault and Harrington to rotate weeks with one working from home while the other worked in the office to reduce the risks from both being onsite together. The board approved this and it was noted that the other departments have reduced the number of employees working and are trying to limit it to one or at most two a department. Curran, as an elected official, has charge of that department's decision and has reduced it to only one  and occasionally two in the office at a time. Worthen said they are being careful at the Town Garage to keep the number of people there down and to practice social distancing at all times as well using appropriate PPE. He said they will not be hiring any extra summer help at this point and his two employees are working mostly in the afternoon.

• Ken Richards, Chair of the Water Resource Committee introduced himself to the board and described some changes the committee is undergoing. He asked the board's approval to send out a notice to the homeowners of wells within the impact zone when the Hampstead Area Water Company (HAWC) puts the Angle Pond Well #3 well into production on  May 13th.

Richards wanted people to be aware of the well being in operation as of that date so they would carefully monitor their own wells for any negative impacts and if such an impact is found to occur for the homeowner to get in touch with NHDES immediately and to also let the Water Resource Committee know. This information will be on the Water Resource web page and on the Town web site.

He also said the committee would be receiving grant money to do mapping of the ground water and for outreach.  Richards also noted that the flyer the committee wants to mail out will be forwarded to Sandown and Danville Selectmen for them to decide whether to notify those households that are within the impact zone by sending them the flyer.

The board approved the Water Resource Committee decision to send out the flyer. Bennett suggested using Town Stationary to make it more compelling for people to read.

• Theriault warned the board that the Town would likely get a substantially lower revenue amount in the Highway Block Grant and the Room and Meals Tax this year. This would have a negative impact on the Town's budget. She encouraged people to pay their taxes on time as this impacts the actual tax rate.

• The board heard that the Elderly Exemption submission is due April 15 and that some  elderly residents are having trouble getting all their documents together. It was suggested that they file their submission request by the April 15, deadline with or without all the required documentation and they would have until May 15 to get the remainder of the documentation submitted.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Develop an attitude of Gratitude !!
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

~ Melody Beattie ~