2021 Hampstead Board of Selectmen Meetings


Hampstead Selectmen Approve Library Pavilion Proposal and Fireworks in June
By Penny Williams    4-13-21

Monday evening, April 12, the Hampstead Board of Selectmen approved the Hampstead Public Library's proposal for a pavilion to be constructed on the library's front lawn.

Library IT Director Kate Thomas presented the proposal and asked for the board's approval. She explained that the pavilion would allow the library to expand its functional space and provide the opportunity to hold more programs out of doors. She also noted the pavilion would be available for community use as well.

Thomas said the plan is to apply for and receive a grant for the funding of the pavilion. She indicated there are several possible grants and the library plans to apply for these and not need to use any taxpayer dollars for the project. Going forward she said the library will be working with the  Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer, Kris Emerson, the Planning Board, as well as abutters and consultants. No additional parking is expected with respect to the pavilion.

It was noted by Library Trustee Ronnie Shelley and Selectman Joe Guthrie that the Lion's Club will be supporting and helping with this project. The board approved the library constructing a pavilion on the town owned library front lawn.

Road Agent Jon Worthen came before the board and requested permission to sell or trade left over unused crack and seal materials. He indicated he has spoken to Petra Paving about this and he believes what he has in the garage would bring in around $1,500 in cash or as a credit for work Petra is planning on doing on Hampstead roads. The board approved Worthen working with Selectmen liaison Steve Morse to work out the sale or barter of the material.

Worthen also asked for permission to sell some small stuff such as tools and equipment. Selectman Laurie Warnock suggested he might also check into seeing if places such as Isaiah 58 NH , Working to End Homelessness Organization, might need what he is trying to get rid of and donate it if they need the items.

The board approved him selling or donating equipment no longer needed up to a value of $500.  He can do this without coming back to the board but needs to develop a list of material and equipment he wishes to get rid of and then work with Morse.

Police Chief Joe Beaudoin said the School Resource Officer (SRO) will be up for approval at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night and he wanted the Selectmen's ok to work with the School Board regarding Officer Steve Wilson. Beaudoin said he had hired Wilson, at least in part, because of his qualifications to work with children and that he would make an excellent SRO. He said the originally developed Memorandum of Understanding remains in place with only a minor change or two. One change is to require the SRO to return to the Station for 15 minutes at the conclusion of the school day. The board approved moving forward with the SRO and working with the School Board.

Fire Chief Michael Carrier has applied for a grant for the Fire Station addition/renovation project. Warnock said there were ten projects that would be granted and the fact the Hampstead Fire Station project is both shovel ready and a safety and security issue project is in its favor.

Guthrie brought up the Petition Articles that sought quicker posting of agendas and minutes saying the requests are looking for greater transparency and information. He suggested that it would be good for the board to show they are listening by getting the selectmen's agenda up and available by Thursday rather on Friday giving interested parties more time to do their own research or questioning.

Guthrie also wanted meetings broadcast over the Internet for more people to be able to connect with the meeting and the issues under discussion. Matt Gillette spoke up and said the Selectmen's board actually provides good agenda and minutes and leads by example. He indicated other boards and committees need to follow the Select board's example. It was noted that the agendas and minutes are actually regulated by RSAs.

Since there was no response for the town sought job for mowing town fields the board approved the suggestion that the two current Highway and Grounds employees be allowed to add overtime to their schedules to do that work. Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said the additional 10 hours a week estimated cost would be about $600 a week or a total around $12,000. The board approved this.

There was a discussion about the town's Fire Works Display and the Town Festival. The current date for the fireworks is June 26. The board and Howie Steadman, Hampstead Civic Club, were reluctant to put a final yes to the Festival given COVID-19 issues but the board did approve the June 26 date for the Fireworks.

The board appointed Warnock as the Hampstead Water Resource Committee intervener for the Town. The board also re-appointed many board and committee members. Christina George, who did run for re-election as a Trustee of the Trust Funds, stepped forward and volunteered to fill that vacancy by continuing for this year and the board approved.

In Other Hampstead News:

*  St. Anne's announces another event from Heaven’s Kitchen, a ministry of St Anne’s Food Pantry and St Anne’s Parish As many of you know, we have held 3 fundraising dinners this year with proceeds going to support the staffs at our local restaurants that have been hit hard this past year due to COVID-19.  We are switching gears a bit for our next dinner and looking for your support to help fund a new community garden that will support guests of St Anne’s Food Pantry and overtime, be something our community at large can participate in. We are breaking ground on the first phase of the community garden on Saturday, April 17th and expect a bountiful harvest this fall!  We will be donating all profit from this dinner to fund the various expenses associated with the community garden.  

  On Thursday, May 20th from 4:30-6:00pm we will be offering a homemade Jamaican Jerk Chicken Dinner for pick up behind St Anne’s Parish.  Meals are packed individually. Meals will Include 2 pieces of chicken, traditional red beans and rice, fried plantains with dipping sauce and Jamaican Coconut Cake for dessert.  This is the third in a series of dinners we will sponsor. 

  Additionally, we are reaching out to the community to help us name the garden.  Please include your suggestion for the garden name along with your donation.  In lieu of a set cost, we ask that you donate at the time of pick up.  We encourage you to be as generous as you can at this time.  If you know someone in your neighborhood that could benefit, maybe order extras offering an opportunity to help even more people. Please place your order by end of the day Sunday, May 16th by providing last name and number of meals you would like.  Orders can be texted to 603.339.3731 or by calling the Parish office at 603.329.5886.  Please make checks out to St Anne’s Parish or you can pay with cash.

 


Controversial Conservation Parking Lot Discussion Dominates Hampstead’s Selectman’s Meeting
By Penny Williams   3-23-21

The Conservation parking lot proposed for the end of Hadley Road has been under discussion for a number of years and on Monday night March 22, residents brought it up again.

Resident Michael O'Neil a new homeowner in the Hadley Road development spoke passionately about wanting to delay the opening of the parking lot at the Conservation meeting  held March 17. He came before the Selectmen asking that they delay the opening of the Conservation parking lot by months or even a year so as to determine if it is really needed. He did admit that he had been informed about the parking lot before he purchased his property.

He accused the Conservation Commission of mixed messages and for not actually planning or preparing for the parking lot. His concern is that it will increase the traffic flow in the new development and create other issues and it isn't needed as cars can park in the Cul de Sac which the Conservation Commission claims is a security and safety risk. He was upset that the parking lot would be put on Conservation Trail maps bringing in many outsiders.

Also speaking out on the parking lot was Carl Schumacher who along with Carl Cote had previously challenged the Conservation Commission for discussing the controversial parking lot process when the board members were out at the site.

Schumacher expressed concerns about the parking lot and they way it has been handled as did Cote. Cote's wife Darlene Cote who reminded the board she and others had tried for many months to get the Conservation Commission to allow them to be involved in the planning process only to be told they weren't board members so no they couldn't be in on the discussion.

Selectman Joe Guthrie indicated he thought there was merit in holding up the actual opening of the parking lot but noted the Conservation Commission had indeed kept the selectmen and the planning board apprised of their plans which was affirmed by Chair Sean Murphy.

Murphy noted the  issues raised by Schumacher had been run by the Town Attorney. The decision from the Town Attorney was that the Conservation Commission hadn't created any liability issues but that they needed to follow the Right to Know Law. The board had charged the commission with reviewing the rules and process of the Right to Know Law which the Conservation Commission did.

Speaking for the commission Chair Tim Lovell said this parking lot issue has been discussed time and time again over the last four or more years. He indicated that the plan is to put up signs regarding safe driving and the lot would be closed all winter and when open it would be closed from dusk to dawn.

The residents suggested a gate and the Conservation members asked who was going to open and close it daily?

Conservation member Brent Ebner spoke about the need for the parking lot and the work done by the commission over the last four years to find a place that would be a safe and cost effective development for the trails on that side of town.

He said they didn't have money to do a traffic study but the commission had been told countless times by people/families using the trails that they needed and wanted a parking lot. He indicated that the commission's expectation of the number of users was based on the use of a similar parking lot next to his driveway and other conservation trail parking lots use.

The Board of Selectmen said they needed to get clarification from the Town Attorney regarding the power of the selectmen over the Conservation Commission. Murphy felt the Conservation Commission has the sole authority over Conservation land use but he was willing to get legal clarification on whether the board could slow or stop the commission from opening the parking lot.

The board reorganized as this was the first five person board meeting and Murphy was appointed chair again.

Police Chief Joe Beaudoin asked the board to raise the amount of money he charges for Details by $9 to $79 since the board had previously approved increasing the amount charged for Detail officers and cruisers to $54 from $45 to be in sync with other towns. The board approved the request, effective April 1

Beaudoin explained to the new board members about the firing range his department is trying to develop at the Kent Farm Transfer Station. He said he has a bid to do the work from Busby Construction to take care of it for $11,000 and that this was a great bid and he didn't believe he could it done for that little anywhere else. The board approved his request to use money from the Detail Fund for this.

Several people spoke during the Cable Contract Public Hearing, going over all the Cable Committee and the Cable provides to Hampstead residents. The board approved the proposed Cable Contract .

The board went through assigning board members their liaison assignments and then the board members signed off on the Police Union contract agreement.

Matt Johnson, Recreation Chair reviewed the uses of the Veterans Memorial Gym and asked the board if it would allow small groups to use it and for these small groups to be responsible for cleaning it up after each use with material supplied by Recreation for that purpose. It was suggested that a sheet be there with a list of things that need to be done to achieve the cleaning and that each group would sign off on the sheet each time. The board agreed to allow the small groups to use and clean the gym.

Road Agent Jon Worthen told Johnson he though the drainage work that was done was working and that the commission could move ahead with the tennis court repairs. He did suggest waiting until after the rains that are forecast for the weekend come and he can check and make sure the drainage is working as expected.  The board suggested Recreation should shoot for June for the tennis court repairs.

Johnson said the Town Beach needs sand to be added and that as soon as he figures out how much is needed he can bring the cost to the board for their approval. He indicated he would be working with the NHDES regarding the sand for the beach and he was fine with addressing this in the future.

No one has responded to the call for a part time employee to mow the town fields. The board discussed this and it was decided that the cost of an employee (if one could be found) should be compared to landscaping company bids so RFPs should be developed.

Al Davis was reappointed to the Rockingham County Planning Board and the board accepted with regret the resignation of Al and Carol Cipriano from the Seniors Committee.

 In Other Business:

* Conservation Commission member David Treat said he was still taking invasive plant classes. He indicated once an invasive plants takes hold it is almost impossible to eradicate so should be controlled. The commission discussed the bridge that will be replaced of West Road Conservation trails. There was a discussion of the trail maps being developed. The commission discussed painted rocks left on the trails as well as things like pink flamingos and teddy bears. It was decided that before anyone put anything out on a trail they needed to get permission from the Commission and things could only remain out there for30 days. There was a discussion about the Hadley Road Conservation parking lot. Darlene Cote said she has collected enough plastic to get five benches for the town and the next one will be for the second for the Conservation Commission and she thought it should go to the East side where needed.

* On March 16 the Library Trustees met for the first time as a five member board. Natalie Gallo was appointed chair again and Charlene Flaherty was re-nominated as Treasurer. Library Director Rosemary Krol said  the library is now accepting appointments for patrons while continuing to do curbside and if all goes well these appointments will be increased. RFP's the library building siding have been sent out and the Administration is awaiting quotes.  There was a discussion of a Pavilion out on the front lawn but the Trustees will need to discuss this with town as well as trying to find grants for this.

 


Hampstead Election and Warrant Article Results March 2021
By Penny Williams   3-10-21

Voters passed the Hampstead Central School 60s Wing Renovation while denying the Bond for the Hampstead Central School Construction project. Voters also rejected the Fire Department Construction Bond. Other than those two denials everything on the town and school ballots passed.

Selectmen elected for three years are Steve Morse and Maurie Worthen  with Laurie Warniock elected for a one year term.

Long time Police Chief Joe Beaudoin was once again re-elected for a three year term.

Charlene Flaherty and Alfred Cipriano were elected to three year Library Trustee terms and Kristina Durocher was elected as a Library Trustee for a one year term.            

Stephen Wentworth and Kim Colbert were elected to the Planning Board for three year terms.

Timothy Lovell and Robert Weimar were elected for three year terms on the Budget Committee but the one year and two year term seats remain unfilled.

Joseph Passanise was elected to a three year term on the Cemetery Committee.

The three year term seat for the Trustee of the Trust Funds remains unfilled.

There was a write in for School District Clerk of 23 votes for Lisa Demio.

Completing its search for a new Superintendent, the Hampstead School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Robert Thompson has been selected as the district's first Superintendent of Schools for SAU55 (Hampstead School District) under its single-district status effective July 1, 2021.

Thompson has served as Assistant Superintendent in Hollis Brookline since 2019. His educational leadership experience also includes Principal of Hollis Brookline Middle School and Dean of Students at Souhegan High School. Thompson has received his Master’s Degree in Education, as well as holds an Ed. S. (Educational Specialist in Educational Administration and Supervision) degree.
 
 Educational Consultant Earl Metzler said, the Hampstead School District is excited to announce, in collaboration with Pinkerton Academy, school district staff will participate in a closed COVID vaccination pod this Sunday, March 14th.

This is a significant first step toward the district’s Safe Learning Plan goal of returning our students to full time in-person instruction. This vaccination event is part one of a two-part process. The estimated timeframe for completing the vaccination process is mid-April, which will bring the district closer to their Phase 3 plan of getting both students and staff back into the classroom.

 

 


Hampstead Selectmen Raise Some Municipal Service Fees and Look for Stormwater Committee Members
By Penny Williams   3-9-21

The Board of Selectmen met for the last time as a three man board on Monday night, March 8, and among other things voted to increase some fees that lag behind what other towns are charging for similar services.

The fees issue was brought up by Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault. She noted that the fees charged by the Zoning Board of Adjustment for applications is just $35, which she indicated is far less than what is charged by several surrounding towns.

The board discussed this and after reviewing the costs associated with a ZBA application and how other towns are handling this, voted to approve increasing the fee to $100 and increasing the individual abutter notice fee to $8.

The board discussed the current $20 fee for homeowners living across Wash Pond Road  to put docks into the lake. After discussing simply raising the fee to $50 as suggested by Selectman Chad Bennett they decided to go with Chair Sean Murphy's suggestion. He suggested raising the initial fee to $25 and then if the homeowner hadn't responded by May 1, a $25 penalty fee would be charged with the second notice. The board voted to approve this.

The board discussed the proposed job description for the Emergency Management Director  position. Fire Chief Michael Carrier said he had reviewed the proposed description which Theriault had borrowed from another town. Carrier suggested that he would like to review it again and amend it to better fit Hampstead. He also noted the Assistant Emergency Management Director position needs to be considered and decided upon and have a job description proposed for the position. He said he would provide the board with these job description proposals at their next meeting, scheduled for March 22.The board agreed to wait for Carrier's proposal at their next meeting to vote on the positions and their job descriptions.

Bennett said the Recreation Commission has been asking about the drainage decision and the tennis courts. However, he said that it won't be accurately known whether the drainage work is actually working until mid-April. He said he understood the Recreation Commission wishes to move ahead with the tennis court repairs if the drainage situation has been corrected.

It was also pointed out that there will need to be a new bid from the tennis court repair vendor since the present bid is two years old. The board put off any further discussion on this until mid-April, but recommended the commission get the tennis court repair bid updated.

The board voted to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the town's five churches that the Town plows in return for services provided to the town by the churches.

It was brought up that there has been a suggestion to form a Stormwater Committee that would track the town's efforts for compliance with the EPA Stormwater requirements.

The Rockingham County Planning Board made the suggestion and the board decided to call for anyone interested in being on this committee to contact the  Selectmen's Office. The board also decided to add this committee to the Call for Candidates section on the Selectmen's Meeting agendas going forward.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Hear Civic Club Plans to Hold Fishing Derby
By Penny Williams    2-23-21

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, February 22, and among the topics discussed was the holding of the Civic Club sponsored Fishing Derby in April.

Howie Steadman introduced the Fishing Derby Chair Dave Heidler who explained that the club plans to hold the Fishing Derby this year. It is set for Saturday, April 24, from  7 a.m. until noon for kids ages 1 through 15.

Heidler asked the board what the club needs to do to have the board's support for the Fishing Derby, which was canceled last year. Board Chair Sean Murphy said they might need to limit the number of participants or perhaps hold two sessions for two different age groups so as to maintain social distancing. Masks would be required.

Selectman Joe Guthrie suggested the town or the Civic Club might want to take on the task of clearing out the tennis court side of the pond, which for future events would provide much more territory and allow for more social distancing. Selectman Chad Bennett suggested considering pre-registration.

The board was in favor of the event being held but emphasized that social distancing must be considered and planned for.

Melissa Denton, speaking for the Recreation Commission, gave that organization's report relative to the Veterans Memorial Gym. The board sent out requests for input from boards and committees relative to what they thought about continuing to keep repairing the gym and whether it should be taken down and replaced.

Recreation felt that after investing more than $20,000 in the roof, bathrooms, floor and eventually painting the bleachers that to consider taking it down was not warranted. So far as Recreation is concerned the only expense they foresee over the next five years might be the need to replace the heating system that was installed in 2004.  Recreation sees many years of use for the building saying it has lots of life left in it.

Selectman Chad Bennett indicated he has asked Code Enforcement and Building Inspector Kris Emerson to recommend someone who can come in and inspect the building and answer the questions regarding the building's integrity and whether it should come down or how many more years the town might be able to use it. He indicated his purpose is to be proactive and to have a plan in place when the time comes to replace it.

Murphy said the need to work on the Master Plan is what is driving this. Also he wants to avoid the town being faced with more than one big ticket item such as it is this year with the school projects and the fire department building requests. There is a need to repair or replace some siding and Building and Grounds Director Steve Harms suggests there is some rot involved in this issue. Selectman Guthrie said in his opinion it needs to be taken down and replaced with a Senior/Community Center that would provide gym space for resident use. It was noted the gym is used 7 days a week all day long.

Denton asked that any discussion about the gym include Recreation members and went on to say there needs to be better communication between the Recreation Commission and their liaison (Bennett). This led to a long discussion by Bennett about the demands of being a liaison and his claim that when asked to come to a meeting he tries to do so but Denton said that hasn't happened but it needs to.

There was a discussion regarding the board signing a Memorandum of Agreement regarding COVID-19 vaccination assistance. Members of the town's Fire Department have been asked to help give vaccinations and/or act as observers. The MOA is to set the rate of reimbursement.

It was decided that the Fire Department would use the Detail Rate the Police Department has which is $45 an hour and the board voted to stay at that rate of pay even if the Police Detail rate goes up as of the election.

The Board decided to pass on the Road Signage Program for now. Guthrie asked Police Chief Joe Beaudoin if he could provide the board with a list of where accidents happen in town and where signs might need to be placed or replaced.

Beaudoin said he could provide a list of accidents - when and where they happened but for the vast majority these are driver driven rather than having anything to do with roads, he said.

The board approved allowing employees in their pre-pay medical accounts to be allowed to carry over an increased amount but decided not to authorize any change to those regulations regarding this account that applies to employees who leave Town employment.

The board signed the agreement with Somersworth for that town to accept Hampstead septage if need be for another five years.

In Other Business:

*  St. Anne's Food Pantry Meals
Another event from Heaven’s Kitchen to “serve our server’s.”
COVID-19 has hit us hard and as a community, many of our friends and neighbors who work in the local food service industry have been affected particularly hard.
Heaven’s Kitchen, a ministry of St Anne’s Food Pantry and St Anne’s Parish continues to look for ways in which we can help our community cope and heal. 

On Thursday, March 25th from 4:30-6:00pm we will be offering a homemade classic Sheppard's Pie dinner for pick up behind St Anne’s Parish.  Meals are packed individually. Meals will Include a healthy portion of Sheppard's Pie consisting of seasoned beef, corn, carrots, peas, and fluffy mashed potatoes with a rich brown gravy.  Also included is a slice of Jim Molloy’s homemade Irish Bread, and Irish Lemon Pudding for dessert.  This is the third in a series of dinners we will sponsor.  100% of all profits will be donated to the staff at Rick’s Food and Spirits in Kingston.  In lieu of a set cost, we ask that you donate at the time of pick up.  We encourage you to be as generous as you can at this time. 

If you know someone in your neighborhood that could benefit, maybe order extras offering an opportunity to help even more people. Please place your order by end of the day Sunday, March 21st. by providing last name and number of meals you would like.  Orders can be texted to 603.339.3731 or by calling the Parish office at 603.329.5886.  Please make checks out to St Anne’s Parish or you can pay with cash.
Let us show what our community can do and help those in our community who serve us well!!  Thank you for your support.

* St Anne’s Food Pantry has been operating for over 30 years now.  During that time, it is safe to say there has never been a more challenging time than what we have experienced in 2020 and now into 2021.  We are proud that we have continued offer weekly distribution of food to those in need during this time and have enhanced and expanded our programs to meeting the changing needs of our guests during the Pandemic. 

As we move into the new year there is certainly a sense of optimism that at some point during the coming year, we expect the impact of COVID-19 will have less and less effect on our daily living and our communities will return to some sense of a “new normal”.  Even as we look forward with some optimism, it is clear the financial impact on many will continue to provide challenges.
 
St Anne’s Parish and St Anne’s Food Pantry have a well-defined mission to address food insecurity in our communities to ensure that no one is left behind.  Simply put, we want to be a community resource for anyone in need when it comes to putting food on the tables of our friends and neighbors.  No one should be left out.  To that end, we are embarking on an effort over the next couple of months to ensure we have conversations with anyone struggling to provide food for your family.  While you can contact us anytime, we will also be holding specific opportunities to meet with families and discuss ways we can help. 

We encourage anyone that could benefit from our program to help put food on tables and free up funds for other expenses to take advantage of this opportunity and schedule time with us.

 Please see the information below showing our schedule to set up appointments and as mentioned, you’re welcome to call or send an email as noted below as well.
We will provide a $100 gift card to help with your food expenses at the time we meet as an immediate way to help along with putting together an ongoing plan that will offer various options for ongoing support through our weekly distributions. 

Please consider reaching out to explore opportunities our program.  We do not require a great deal of information to register guests for our program and we commit to explore these in a private, discrete environment.  If you know of a family in need, please help them reach out to us for help.  And lastly, our communities have really come through for us over the last year and supported the mission of St Anne’s Food Pantry so a huge THANK YOU to all who have done so along with our wonderful volunteers.

Food Pantry Registration Dates:
March 13th and March 20th from 9:00am-11:00am
Location:  St Anne’s Parish, 26 Emerson Ave, Hampstead, NH Please drive to the back of the church where you will wait in your car to be called inside to complete registration.

* Conservation Commission met February 10, and there was a discussion regarding the Right to Know Law. The commission discussed getting rock and gravel for the Hadley Road, Golden Meadow and Stage Road Conservation Land entrances. The board discussed some logging issues and continued mapping efforts.

* The Hampstead Public Library plans to open for appointments if the trend in cases continues downward. After February vacation, schools are remote for 2 weeks, so they’re watching that time frame and may open for appointments soon after that, if numbers stay low. According to the treasurer's report since the  beginning of the year, the library spending has been as anticipated for the past month. Treasurer Charlene Flaherty met with Chris Adams and Ray Noel on investment earnings. She directed Ray Noel to draw down the library investments with LPL to approximately $75,000 (our original investment) in accordance with our investment policy. He sent a check to the library and it was deposited. Chris Adams at Edward Jones reported that the library earned about 11% profits/interest from our investments with them. He directed a check to be sent to the library as well.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Accept Labrador Lane as Town Road
By Penny Williams    2-10-21

The Board of Selectmen at their Monday night, February 8, meeting, held a Public Hearing and accepted Labrador Lane as a Town Road.

The board had discussed this at a previous meeting but asked for documentation and input from the Town Attorney affirming  that everything was complete and Labrador Lane could be accepted as a Town Road.

Chair Sean Murphy said that the board now has all the necessary documents in hand as well as input from Town Attorney affirming that the board can accept Labrador Lane as a Town Road. A motion was made and the board approved accepting Labrador Lane as a Town Road unanimously.

Resident Darlene Cote came before the board and said she has collected enough plastic to have gotten three benches already with a fourth about to be received. The benched from TREK, each in exchange for 500 pounds of plastic that is primarily in the form of a variety of plastic bags, will go to the East Road Conservation, Ordway Park, Recreation, and the fourth will be given to the Public Library.

Police Chief Joe Beaudoin asked for and received board approval to use $46,164.19 from the department's Detail Fund to pay for several needed equipment upgrades.

He indicated that a new mobile system for the cruisers is being installed,  a new security system at the station and a new Motorola Radio for one of the cruisers. He told the board there is $100,000 in the Detail Fund to cover these costs and he plans to be back before them to get board's approval to use money from the Detail Fund to update the department's firing range and to help with the purchase of the 2021 cruiser if necessary.

Buildings and Grounds Director Steve Harms came before the board to ask what they want to do about upkeep on the Veterans Memorial Gym. He said he didn't know what Capital Improvement Plan for it was in place but he said it is just a 'money pit.' A new roof was done recently and there is a need for some of the exterior siding to be replaced. He said he thinks Recreation has plans in place to repaint the bleachers.

The board suggested they would be interested to know how many years longer the building will be suitable for use. They asked Harms to gets a RFP out to companies to come in to do a structural examination of the building to answer that question. They asked Harms to get back to them with the results of analysis of the building.

Boy Scout  Travis Henry showed the board a book of pictures and information regarding his Eagle Scout project that he did in conjunction with the Sunset Lake Association.

Henry said he had cleaned up the area around the life guard building at the Town Beach on Sunset Lake and painted it and then worked with the Sunset Lake Association on designing and  building a Kiosk Information Board. He asked the board to sign off on his which project which they did.

The board signed a commitment letter to the Town of Chester for Hampstead's participation in the 2021 Household Hazardous Waste Day. Hampstead hosted the day in 2020 and Chester will be the host town for 2021. Murphy signed the letter and Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said she would send it to Chester the next day so they can complete their application for a grant to help fund the event.

 


All Articles Moved to the Ballot at Hampstead Town Deliberative
By Penny Williams    2-6-21

The Hampstead Town Deliberative held Friday night, February 5, at the Hampstead Middle School Cafeteria with Don Blaszka handling the Moderator duties in the absence of Moderator Neil Reardon, was over in an hour with all the articles moved to the ballot as presented without comment or question except for the final four petition articles.

The four petition articles were submitted by Leigh Campos who was not present. However,  Laurie Warnock and Matt Gillette did speak against the proposed amendments to the articles made by the Board of Selectmen on recommendation from Town Counsel.

The reason for the amendments, all of which were approved, was that as written the petition articles assumed an authority the legislative body (town meeting) does not have to determine how boards and committees will post agendas, minutes or use zoom or other virtual means for their meetings.

Article 14 sought to mandate all meeting agendas be on the town website and that nothing would be discussed that didn't appear on the agenda. This was amended by the selectmen on advice of counsel to change the first sentence from "To mandate" to "To encourage." The amendment was approved and the amended article was forwarded to the ballot.

Article 15 sought to mandate town boards post meeting minutes on the town website. The selectmen proposed to amend this by changing "mandatory" to "encourage" for the same reasons as the previous article. The amendment passed and the amended article was moved to the ballot.

Article 16 sought to remove recommendations from the ballot. The selectmen proposed an amendment that changed removing the board recommendations from the ballot to "study whether the board recommendations can be removed." Counsel pointed out there are legal requirements that recommendations appear and the town body previously voted to have detailed recommendations appear on the ballot. The amendment was approved and the amended article was moved to the ballot.

Article 17 sought to have all meetings use zoom or other virtual means. Counsel recommended the board propose an amendment that would change "to make mandatory" to "encourage" because the use of virtual means for meetings is only because of the Governor's orders as a result of the pandemic and when these are lifted this would be illegal. The proposed amendment was approved and the amended article moved to the ballot.

There were no comments on Article 6, raising $1,350,000 for construction of an addition to the Fire Station presented by Deputy Fire Chief Will Warnock.

 There were no comments on Article 7, the operating budget of $7,502,460 with a default amount of $7,500,000.

There were none on Article 8, the collective bargaining agreement between the Police Union and the Board of Selectmen that will see a roughly 2.5 percent increase for officers with $27,576 to be raised for the current year's increases. There were no comments on

Article 9. calling for a  special meeting should article 8 fail.

Article 10, $10,000 for the Hampstead Public Library Building Maintenance Non-Capital Reserve Fund drew no comments.

There were no comments on the three social service articles, Article 11, $1,000 Rockingham Meals on Wheels, Article 12, $9,000 for Community Caregivers  and Article 13, $3,070 for Haven.

Selectman Joe Guthrie thanked the Library for returning $25,000 to the town.

 


Hampstead Selectmen Continue Discussion On Labrador Lane
By Penny Williams 1-26-21

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, January 25, and there was an in-depth discussion regarding the acceptance of  Labrador Lane as a town road that raised more questions than answers and was ultimately tabled.

The main question the board members had was why, if the easements already appear on the town maps and the deeds, were letters regarding them sent to Labrador Lane residents prior to the public hearing. All but one current resident responded they had received the notification but not all responses were complete.

Board Chair Sean Murphy said the board members need information from Town Attorney regarding the easement issue and the reason for sending out the letters to residents prior to the road acceptance hearing. However, it was noted that the Planning Board recommended the acceptance and the Town Engineer's Office had made an inspection and said everything was in order. Selectman Chad Bennett indicated he wanted a written recommendation including more information from the Planning Board.

The board asked that Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault get the information from the Town Attorney and the Planning Board and to put this on the agenda for the next meeting.

Steven Ireland, Macfarland Johnson, gave the board a brief summary of what his company could do for the town regarding their street signs.

 Road Agent Jon Worthen and the Safety Committee had suggested that the company be hired to review the town's signage as to location and status and make recommendations as to which might need to be upgraded or moved. The cost of the review would be $32,000 on top of which would be the cost of new signs and any sign location changes. Ireland did note that these aspects can be done internally at a lower cost than sub contracting the work.

Ireland said the only major change to Federal road sign requirements regard curves. The status issue is generally that a sign no longer has adequate reflection.

Selectman Joe Guthrie objected to spending any money on this saying the Town has until 2029 to be in compliance and he feels the determination about status and location of signs could be done internally.

Worthen noted that he is not an engineer but Guthrie added he didn't think being an engineer was needed. It was also pointed out that this was a single bid and Worthen needs to see what other companies do this sort of thing and get more information regarding cost.

The issue of the signs being in compliance and up-to-date is considered a security and safety issue and to prevent the town facing liability issues should an accident occur and a sharp lawyer note a sign contributing to it was not in compliance with federal requirements. However the board decided they needed more information and asked Worthen to see what other companies offer this service and what other owns are doing this.

The board authorized Murphy to develop a letter to be sent to the Public Utilities Commission regarding the increases in fees proposed by the Hampstead Area Water Company. The increases include a 600 plus percent increase in hydrant fees, for example. The Water Resource Committee requested the board provide the PUC with this letter.

The board heard from Haven with Julie Wiggin providing the board with a presentation. Haven is one of the service organizations that usually appears on the Warrant but as is customary several are brought out annually to be individually voted on. The Police Department considers this an important organization to support as they use it and find its services critical.

The board noted the Deliberative session will be held February 5, at 7 p.m. at the Hampstead Middle School Gym.

The board appointed Melissa Colburn to the Recreation Commission for a term to end 2024.

In other business:

COVID-19 has hit us hard and as a community, many of our friends and neighbors who work in the local food service industry have been affected particularly hard. Heaven’s Kitchen, a ministry of St Anne’s Food Pantry and St Anne’s Parish continues to look for ways in which we can help our community cope and heal.  

On Thursday, February 4th from 4:30 - 6:00 pm we will be offering a homemade braised pot roast dinner for pick up behind St Anne’s Parish.  We will offer individual and family size meals. Meals will include melt in your mouth braised pot roast and slow roasted potatoes in a rich, brown gravy.  Meals will also include roasted carrots, celery, onions, turnip lightly seasoned and a warm buttermilk biscuit.  We will finish the meal with a warm gingerbread bread pudding.

This is the second in a series of dinners we will sponsor.  100% of all profits will be donated to the staff at Jameson’s Restaurant for this event.  
In lieu of a set cost, we ask that you donate at the time of pick up.  We encourage you to be as generous as you can at this time.

Please place your order by end of the day Sunday, January 31st by providing last name and number of people in your party.  Orders can be texted to 603.339.3731 or by calling the Parish office at 603.329.5886.
 Please make checks out to St Anne’s Parish or you can pay with cash.
Let us show what our community can do and help those in our community who serve us well!!  Thank you for your support.

The Hampstead Public Library Trustees met January 19, and among other things they voted to return $25,255.06 unexpended funds to the town. The library remains with just curbside pick-up at this time. The Trustees learned from Library Director Rosemary Krol that tiles have been purchased and over the winter the custodian will install them in the book storage room. He will also finish the pavers at the end of the side-walkway come spring. The passing of Bob Nugent was acknowledged with sadness and Alternate Brian Vass brought up the suggestion that the library, with new people coming on after town meeting should revisit the active shooter emergency plan.

 


Hampstead 2021 Budget and Warrant Articles Public Hearing
By Penny Williams   1-15-21

On Wednesday evening, January 13, the Hampstead Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee held a Public Hearing on the 2021 Budget and Warrant Articles.

Chair Sean Murphy went over the election of Town Officers and the open seats.

There are 2 - three year selectmen's seats ;  1- one year selectmen's seat;
the Chief of Police seat for a three year term;  
the Planning board has 2 - three year seats ;  
the Trustee of the Cemeteries has 1 -  three year seat;
the Library Trustees have 2 - three year seats and 1 - one year seat;
the Trustee of the Trust Fund have 1 - three year seat;
the Budget Committee has 1 - one year term seat, 1 – two year term seat, and 2 - three year term seats.

Murphy then reviewed the upcoming dates for the Deliberative and Annual Town Meeting. The Deliberative will be held on Friday, February 5 at the Hampstead Middle School at 7 p.m. and the Annual Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 9, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hampstead Middle School.

Article 6, the bond article for financing the construction of an addition and renovation of the Fire Station and equipping it in the amount of $1,350,000. The expectation is that they will go for a five year bond. The Board  voted to recommended this 3 to 0 and Budget Committee did too but at their prior meeting Budget Committee members raised concerns over the proposed cost of the project but Chair Tim Lovell felt it was a good thing for the Town.

Article 7 is the Operating Budget. The amount is $7,502,460 although at the start of the meeting it was $7,512,460  with the Default being $7,500,400. The budget amount is a 2 percent increase of $139,226.80.  Murphy then went through the budget department by department.

There was a brief discussion about Code Enforcement getting a town truck and Selectman Chad Bennett discussed the town taking over the mowing of the fields from Recreation which outsourced this. He made a motion to reduce the line in Recreation by $10,000. He also made the suggestion to reduce the Highway Budget by $10,000 but the board decided to not do that. The board voted 3 to 0 to recommend and the Budget Committee voted 3 to 0 to recommend the Operating Budget of $7,502,460.

Article 8 asks voters to approve the contract agreement between the Town and the Police Union. The three year contract would ask voters to raise and appropriate $27,576 for the increases for current staffing levels in the current fiscal year. The Selectmen voted 2 to 1 to recommend and the Budget Committee voted 3 to 0 to recommend.

Article 9, authorizes a special meeting should Article 8 fail. It was recommended 3-0 by the board.

Article 10, raise and appropriate $10,000 for the Hampstead Public Library Building Maintenance Non-Capital Reserve Fund. The Selectmen voted 2 to 1 and the Budget Committee voted 3 to 0 to recommend.

Article 11, voters asked to raise and appropriate $1,000 for Rockingham Meals on Wheels. It was recommended 3 - 0 by both Selectmen and Budget Committee.

Article 12 asks voters to raise and appropriate $9,000 for Community Caregivers. The Selectmen and Budget Committee voted 3 to 0 to recommend.

Article 13 asks voters to raise and appropriate $3,070 for Haven. Selectmen and Budget Committee voted 3 - 0 to recommend.

Article 14 , a petition article, asks to make mandatory town boards post all meeting agendas on the town web site two business days prior to a meeting and to disallow discussion of any item not on the agenda and to disallow items to be added to the agenda within  2 days of the meeting. The Selectmen voted 0 - 3  to not recommend.

Article 15, a petition article, asks to make mandatory town boards post minutes to the town web site no later than 5 business days after each meeting. The board voted 1 -2 to not recommend.
 
Article 16, a petition article,  asks to remove all recommendations from the ballot. The Selectmen vote 0 - 3 to not recommend.

Article 17, a petition article, asks to make mandatory all town meetings via Zoom or similar software. The Selectmen voted 0 - 3 to not recommend.

 


Service Organizations Speak to Hampstead Board of Selectmen
By Penny Williams  1-12-21

The Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, January 11, and heard from three of the non-profit service provider organizations the town usually supports. Each year three or four of the organizations are put on the Warrant for tax payers to reaffirm or deny support for.

Child Advocacy of Rockingham County was one of three service providers the board was to hear from. In place of a representative, Police Chief Joe Beaudoin spoke about the organization saying it is critical for his department. After a brief discussion this organization was taken off the Warrant and returned to the budget. The amount is $1,250.

Meals on Wheels representative Debbie Perou spoke about the services provided by this organization. She said the transportation portion used to be partially handled by Lamprey Health but they stopped providing this service so her organization has taken it over and partners with other transportation providers to continue the service.

Perou indicated that Hampstead residents do use Meals on Wheels. She indicated despite the issues in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this service organization has continued to provide the services and resources and it is her hope that they will be able to ramp the transportation segment back up soon. This service organization article will appear on the Warrant.

The final service organization that presented to the board was Community Caregivers of Derry. This organization was represented by Executive Director Cindi Tanuma and the Transportation Director Susanne Peace.

They went over the services provided:

* Care-giving - help with shopping,  rides to shop and medical appointments, light
housekeeping, and friendly visits

* Loaners Closet - provides needed appropriate medical items for loan

* Project Upkeep - assistance with minor home upkeep and repair  assistance

Tanuma talked about the need for more volunteers  to provide the services the organization handles. She said that more volunteers are needed from Hampstead in order for the services to them be provided by Hampstead volunteers. She specified that two Hampstead volunteers are needed for light housework chores, three volunteers for transportation and three volunteers to provide friendly visits. She indicated that the Caregivers had provided 5329 hours of support. She said the organization has kept going through the pandemic and was asking for Community Caregivers to receive a level funded amount of $9,000. This organization will appear on the Warrant.

School Board member Dave Smith gave the board and residents listening a review of the two projects slated for the Central School saying the board needs the budget and the article to pass in order for the 60s Wing of the school funding to be available.

This project is a $2,095,000 project. He explained that the  money would come from the Capital Reserve Fund in the amount of $ 1,116,000 and  $500,000 from this year's Surplus. In addition there would be money from the Maintenance line in the budget that would be allocated to the project in the amount of $200,000. Actually it will be $245,000 since $45,000 was added to the budget in the maintenance line at the school board's last meeting. In addition, encumbered funds in the amount $190,000 would come from this year's budget.

Selectman Joe Guthrie asked Smith if the full board supported this and he responded that they had voted unanimously to support it in error.

Smith went over the proposed $9.07 million project for the Renovation of the Central School designed to meet the need for additional classrooms and educational space. This would be financed by a 10 year bond.

He reviewed all the needs the school faces indicating that enrollment is going to grow and class size will be impacted. He showed the proposed construction and renovation design. He told the board the 10 year bond for this project would increase the tax rate by 75 cents and it would cost homeowners $25 a month on a property valued at $400.00.

The board discussed the possible rate increase on hydrants and other areas of the Hampstead Area Water Company (HAWC). Their planned rate increase (609 percent increase for hydrants for example) has not gone to the Public Utilities Commission yet and Hampstead's Water Resource Committee is asking that Budget Committee, the Board of Selectmen and their own committee to provide letters  to the PUC regarding what they see as an outrageous increase.

However, Budget Committee Chair Tim Lovell did say in defense of  HAWC that their recent construction and improvement work and expenditures have reduced their profit level below what they are entitled to. He feels their work has benefit for Hampstead in that it has to do with securing the water supply for the town through the state water line project connecting Hampstead to the Manchester Water supply.

The board acknowledge being in receipt of this request for a letter and voted to put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

Two of the selectmen, Chad Bennett and Joe Guthrie wanted to hold off signing off on the tentative agreement between the board and the Police Union. It was tabled until the next meeting.

The board approved appointing Kathleen Wheeler as an alternate for the Water Resource Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ~


"Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.
For, indeed, that’s all who ever have."
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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 ~