2021 Hampstead Board of Selectmen Meetings

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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