2022 Hampstead Board of Selectmen Meetings

Hampstead Selectmen Hold Public Hearing on Warrant Articles and Budget
By Penny Williams    1-14-22

The Hampstead Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on the budget and the articles for the Warrant on Wednesday, January 12.

Chair Sean Murphy reviewed the budget and the Articles and then the board voted on their recommendation for each of the articles. Articles 5 through 17 were recommended 5-0 with the exception of Article 16, (citizen petition - regarding freezing school portion of property tax for those over 65 - an illegal article) which the board voted unanimously not to recommend

Article 5, the Operating Budget and Default Budget had corrected bottom lines. Murphy went through the budget department by department. The Operating Budget is $8,258,630 while the Default is $8,218,078. The Default amount was an amended number. With the amended figures, there is a much lower delta between the Operating and Default budgets.

During the operating budget review there was a lot of discussion led by Selectman Joe Guthrie and Resident Jaye Dimando about the salary increases of Library personnel. The changes in the default are primarily due to the inclusion of part time to full time positions and associated money in the default. However, there were no changes to the overall budget.

Article 6, the $1,745,793 cost of the Fire Department construction project came in for discussion with Guthrie trying to lower the amount to be raised from tax payers. In the end the decision was made to remove any reference in this article to monies that might offset the amount to raised.

Article 7, establishment of a Building Capital Reserve Fund for new construction, renovation and Town Building additions and the money to start this was set at $1.00.

Article 8, asks for the authority for the Town to sell the lease of Communication Tower. Any mention of a possible amount from the sale was eliminated from this article.

Article 9, asks for the transfer of $15,000 from Town Forest Maintenance to the Conservation Commission Fund. Conservation Chair Tim Lovell said this is because the $15,000 would be of greater benefit this way as it would increase the amount the commission has to purchase land. The money in the Town Forest Management Account has been just sitting there for several years unused. Guthrie insisted that there is no need for an article to do this.

Article 10, requested five town properties have a conservation easement put on them. There was a brief discussion regarding one property, the Main Street property.

Article 11, asks to add $10,,000 to the Building Repair and Maintenance Fund.

Article 12, asks that $10,000 be added to the Library Building Maintenance Non-Capital Reserve Fund. 

Article 13, asks for $6,800 to support Rockingham Community Action

Article 14, asks for $17,142 for CART.

Article 15, asks for $500 for CASA.

Article 16, an (illegal) citizen petition wants those 65 and over not to have to pay the school portion of property taxes.

Article 17, a citizen petition, seeks to have Zoning Board of Adjustment members be elected not appointed.

The articles were forwarded to the Warrant and on to the Budget Committee.


Hampstead Board of Selectmen Review Articles for Budget Public Hearing
By Penny Williams   1-12-2022

The Board of Selectmen met Monday night, January 10, and reviewed articles in preparation for the upcoming Budget Public Hearing.

Chair Sean Murphy first reviewed the open seats in Hampstead that include the following:

* Incumbent Selectman TWO, Three year terms Joseph Guthrie Laurie Warnock

* Planning Board TWO, Three year terms Charles Ashford Robert Villella

* Moderator ONE, Two year term Neil Reardon

* Trustee of the Cemeteries ONE, Three year term Stephen Wentworth

* Library Trustee TWO, Three year terms Veronica Shelley Kristina Durocher

* Trustee of the Trust Funds ONE, Three year term Maria Kuhl,  Trustee of the Trust Funds ONE, Two year term Kristina George

* Budget Committee TWO, Three year terms Lilli Walsh, OPEN SEAT

*  Supervisor of the Checklist ONE, Six year term Angeline Gorham

The board then went over a few of the proposed articles before approving them for the Warrant and the Budget Committee.

The first discussed was article  11, concerning conservation and an easement for property off of Main Street.

Conservation Chair Tim Lovell addressed one of the areas in the article this saying this property should be protected from development because it connects to Conservation Land, Cedar Swamp. More importantly, homes in this area of Main Street have had serious water issues with their wells and this property shouldn't be developed, adding further stress to water issues. It was decided to put the article forward as written.

Article 5, Operating Budget and Default. This year there is a larger than normal delta between the Operating budget ($8,258,629) and the Default ($8,085,872). There was a discussion about removing some of the items from the Default and in the end Murphy suggested that a recommendation be sought from Town Counsel regarding removing any items and the final figures were posted Wednesday on the town's Web site.

There was a long discussion on article 6, the $1.7 million 'one and done' for the Fire Station Construction.

Selectman Joe Guthrie wanted the amount reduced to $1,000,000 so it would pass but it was decided this might handicap construction if costs exceeded the amount and the other money expected didn't appear - a grant for $200,000 and money from ARPA funds. In the end the board decided to wait until after the Budget Public Hearing to determine the final amount for this article.

On article 9, (the sale of the Cell Tower lease,  and where the funds from the sale would go), was discussed and it was decided to set $300,000 as the sale amount and up to that amount would go into the established Capital Reserve Fund.

Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault told the board a new category relative to how ARPA funds can be reported  would allow them to lump all their decisions on spending into it.

The new category is Revenue Replacement Standard Allowance. There was a discussion about this and Fire Chief Michael Carrier pointed out any ARPA funds allocated to the proposed Fire Station Construction project wouldn't be able to be in that new category.

The board wanted Theriault to get further clarification about exactly what can be reported under the Standard Allowance Revenue Replacement category.

Theriault asked the board if they wanted to reduce the number of paid days an employee is eligible for if out of work because of COVID from the 10 days now allowed to 5 days, given the new CDC Guidelines. After a discussion the board voted not to make any change in their present 10-day policy.

Carrier was approved for an  submitting an application for a $49,307.46 grant for emergency relief and recovery. equipment and to be authorized to sign for accepting up to $50,000 for  the grant.











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