2022 Sandown Board of Selectmen Meetings


Sandown Selectmen Win Superior Court Decision to Deny Special Meeting
By Penny Williams   9-15-22

The Sandown Board of Selectmen met Monday night, September 12, and referenced the court decision that supported the board's decision to deny the request for a special meeting to discuss not using voting machines in the upcoming election but to hand count all ballots.

Chair Jonathan Goldman referred directly to the following review of this issue and the court's decision and asked that residents read it as it firmly supports the board's decision.

The Town of Sandown Board of Selectman have received multiple requests from a core group of citizens to call for a special meeting regarding the banning of voting machines, and hand counting all ballots in all elections in Sandown. NH RSA 39:3 allows for 50 registered voters to petition the Board of Selectman to call a special meeting. 

Chairman of the Board of Selectman, Jon Goldman said “this is all driven from the Windham elections in 2020, there is a group of people that believe the election was stolen from President Trump.” He went on to say, “This bubbled up in Sandown in August of 2021, when a group of residents and non-residents came to a BOS meeting to make their case that there were many voting anomalies in the 2020 election in Windham.”

The group spoke at length to the Board of Selectman about what they believed to be a situation so dire that all elections must be hand counted going forward.  After listening for almost two hours and asking questions, then Selectman Chair Eric Olsen requested to move the topic to a new meeting when Sandown Moderator Kevin Major could attend and speak on behalf of Sandown’s electoral process.

After the second meeting, which was contentious at times, Kevin Major produced an in in-depth analysis of Sandown’s election process, and the Board of Selectman agreed that there was no impropriety in Sandown’s Elections.

In October 2021 the Sandown Board of Selectman received a petition to call a special meeting to consider the banning of voting machines in Sandown. A special meeting would entail a deliberative session, and a separate election day and the associated costs to vote on the one question; “Should the Town of Sandown Ban the Use of Voting Machines in all elections.” The petition was denied by the Board for an invalid number of signatures at the time.

The petitioners submitted a second petition in November 2021. Sandown Resident Helen DeMarco submitted the second petition demanding the Board of Selectman call a special meeting, again to vote on whether the Town of Sandown should ban the use of voting machines. Again, the Board of Selectman denied the petitioner’s request because the request was not complete, with newly signed signatures. The petitioners attempted to transfer the original signatures to the second petition, thus it was denied.

In February of 2022, Doug Wilson of Greenland, NH attempted to file a citizen petition to be inserted into the annual meeting. It was an untimely petition, and thus was never accepted.

In May of 2022, Heather David of Sandown submitted a third petition, this time petitioning the Board of Selectman to ban the use of voting machines. Selectman at a regularly scheduled meeting, denied this petition as it was not a request for a special meeting. 

A fourth petition was submitted on June 27, 2022, petitioning for a special meeting to again consider banning the use of voting machines.  The Board of Selectman met on July 11 to listen to all sides of the argument. Due to different procedural questions and interpretation of the RSA’s that arose, the Board of Selectman requested Town Moderator Kevin Major and Town Counsel to attend another meeting to further discuss the issues.  On August 22 the Board of Selectman made the decision to yet again, deny the fourth petition.

Aside from the issue at hand not being in the purview of the voters, Kevin Major estimates an unexpected and unbudgeted Deliberative Session and Election would cost the Town of Sandown $10,000-$12,000. Such a special meeting would be advisory only as the Board of Selectman holds the authority to determine whether ballot counting machines shall be used. The Board of Selectman again denied the request.

On August 29th the Town of Sandown received notice that Doug Wilson of Greenland NH had petitioned the Superior Court to force the Town of Sandown to call a special meeting, and the case would be heard on September 1st in Brentwood NH.

Town Attorney Diane Gorrow, and Chairman Jon Goldman attended the hearing. It was unclear how a resident of Greenland NH would have standing in a court of law regarding an issue in Sandown.

 On the day of the hearing Mr. Wilson provided a list of 25 registered voters petitioning the court to order the Town of Sandown to call a special meeting. Superior Court Judge David Ruoff heard both sides of the argument, and then allowed the Town of Sandown to verify the registered voters signing the petition were in fact registered. It was determined that one of the registered voters was not a registered voter at the time of the filing.

On September 7, 2022, Judge Ruoff denied the motion to order the Town to call the special meeting citing in part; “the petitioner is not a registered voter in the Town” and lacks standing in this matter. Judge Ruoff further cited that “not all of the 25 required voters are registered voters in the Town.” Further Judge Ruoff stated that even if standing is allowed, that the petition is denied “on the merits” and confirmed in his order that “RSA 656:40 grants the Board of Selectman the authority to decide the manner of counting and tallying votes, thus any vote on the proposed warrant article would have been advisory and not binding in any way.”

The Board of Selectman is pleased with the outcome, and Goldman said “we will continue to defend our residents and voters against these frivolous matters regarding our elections.” He went on to reiterate “Sandown will not be ground zero for election form in this country, our elections are already free, and fair. Moderator Kevin Major conducts our elections with the utmost integrity. We will not allow a group of out-of-town residents to use our residents as pawns to get their way to solve a problem we don’t have in Sandown.”

The Town of Sandown has already spent over $4,000 on this matter and is aware that Town Clerk Dawn Nicolaisen along with the NH Secretary of State, and 135 other NH Town Clerks are waiting to be served in another matter regarding alleged election law violations in Federal Court. There is no telling what that case will cost the taxpayers of Sandown.

Goldman has stated “these frivolous attempts by out-of-town groups using our residents will do nothing but cost our taxpayers money, we will need to contemplate a large increase to our legal lines for 2023, at a time where our residents are already battling inflation and monetary pressures, it's just not fair, and it isn’t right.”

The board on Monday night held a Public Hearing to accept the unanticipated one-time highway funds from the state in the amount of $140,999.23 No one from the public spoke and the board approved accepting the funds.

The board approved spending up to $25,226.30 for line striping the streets proposed by Public Works Director Arthur Genualdo.

Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell went over legislative changes that Town Council recommended board members be advised about.
           
The board approved  Andrea Cairns,  Paydon Johnston, and Perla Gilman as Inspectors of Elections for the election that took place the next day, September 13.

 


Sandown Selectmen Discuss Employee Wage Increases
By Penny Williams     8-30-22

On Monday night, August 29, the Sandown Board of Selectmen began their  annual, difficult, discussion regarding employee pay raises.

Bemoaning the fact that this discussion comes up every year the members of the board discussed some of the issues relating to determining what kind of a pay increase could be offered to town employees.

The two criteria surrounding the discussion was that board members do not want to have their employees hurt by increased insurance rates and the difficulty with this exacerbated by the fact the insurance increase numbers aren't available until October.

Secondly, the board members want to make sure that increases address employee needs - that being most board members felt is that the lowest hourly pay rate employees need the biggest increase.

The board members felt the fact that inflation is roughly 9 percent needs to be considered when salary and hourly rate increases are considered. If the board sought a 3 percent rate increase the board would be looking at a 12 percent increase.

There was some thinking that those who are at the top of the matrix should get just a check - a stipend - while those at the bottom would need to get an increase.

Another approach might be to look at each salary and hourly wage position individually with the higher paid people getting less than the lower pay positions.

The board only discussed this topic but plans to come back to it at the next meeting after they look at the potential figures provided by the Finance Director Gayle Hamel  on possible costs associated with several different possible pay increase amounts.

The board learned from the Town Clerk/Tax Collector Dawne Nicolaisen that the software package the town thought they would be installing to replace the current tax system and pay on line software isn't going to happen as the company is not going to operate in New Hampshire.

Nicoliasen went over what she has learned and indicated that she has taken care of residents ability to pay their tax online through the Clerkworks program.

 In addition, she is looking into Avitar to replace the current tax system. While there is an 18 month timeframe to get this taken care of she made it clear and the board agreed that this is a priority and needs to be addressed immediately.

The board signed the CEI contract for addressing compliance of the town with the MS 4 stormwater management requirements. The cost of the contract is $20,000, $10,000 of which is budgeted and the other $10,000 is taken out of the unassigned fund balance.

The board also approved continuing to have Hartman Gas and  Electric service the town's heating oil, propane, gas, and diesel needs. The approved the proposed contract amounts even though they are higher but felt this was the more efficient and effective way for the town to proceed.

The board also approved a motion to allow the Town Manager in the future to open these bids thus shortening the process of getting the bids before the board for a decision.

Pam Gaudreau, Heritage Commission Chair went over why she is requesting the board consider requiring her commission be added to those who review development and subdivision plans that come before the Planning Board.

Her reason is that her board is aware of historical and ancient contact points on parcels and should be involved in recommending whether development should  happen on specific parcels. She admitted her board's review and recommendation would be advisory only but she felt it important. The board basically agreed that Planning Board plans should be reviewed by the Heritage Commission just as they are by the Conservation Commission.

The board worked on the hourly coverage of the upcoming election on Tuesday, September13. Each of the board members signed up for a coverage period and all will be on site for the conclusion of the election time and the counting that follows.

Moderator Kevin Major noted there are significant changes as to how things are going to be done this year and he will need the board members there to assist. He also said the voting machines will be tested at 4:30 on Thursday.

In Other News
* There will be a public hearing on September 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall for the board to be able to vote on accepting the unanticipated  one-time State highway funds in the amount of $140,999.32.

* High levels of EColi Bacteria at Seeley Beach so the Water Currently is not suitable for wading or swimming. High levels of bacteria have been detected in this water.  Testing will be performed again in the next 24-48 hours but please refrain from swimming and wading in this water until testing shows levels have dropped to acceptable amounts of bacteria.  

The State will continue to test waters at Showell Pond over the next several weeks.  To date, the town has not received notice of bacteria levels dropping to normal levels. Please continue to use follow restrictions until the State removes the warning.  We will post that information as soon as it is received.

* Voter registration will be held on Tuesday, September 6 from 7 to 7:30 p.m. at town hall.

 


Sandown Selectmen Deny Special Meeting Request and Hear About Recreation Department After School Program
By Penny Williams    8-23-22

Monday night, August 22, the Sandown Selectmen listened to a number of people continue to argue for a Special Meeting to ban voting machines. However, in the end when it was time for the board to make a decision the board voted unanimously to deny the request.

People put forward the same arguments provided on this issue previously at Sandown meetings and at past town meetings where small groups of citizens tried to get a Special Meeting approved to vote on banning voting machines.

After listening to the speakers and exceeding the allotted time for the agenda item, the board voted unanimously to deny the request.

The board then took up the list of town owned properties listed for sale by auction. Three properties on the list were removed and will be retained by the town at this time. The board then voted on the remaining list of properties and approved them for sale by auction.

The properties will be forwarded to the auctioneer.  Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell noted that the properties could still be removed by the auctioneer if legal issues were found to exist by the auctioneer.

Recreation Director Rebecca Thompson discussed a proposal to initiate an After School Program. The program would be held either at the Recreation Building or at the school; this aspect is still under discussion. The program would run from 3 to 6 p.m. and would be for students in grades 1 through 5. It would run 5 days a week beginning on August 29, and be re-evaluated at the end of December.  But, Thompson is hopeful it would run throughout the year. The selectmen were pleased by this plan as it is something they have been seeking for some time.

Thompson said they have seven students interested now but she would like to see 20 in the program.

She asked the board to approve moving two Summer Counselors who are seasonal employees, Amanda Mulhall and Shaye Fanning, to part time employees to work with the program at the same rate of pay they currently receive as seasonal employees. The program would be funded through the $80 per week or $25 per day for students participating in the program.

Selectman Tom Tombarello, while in favor of the proposed plan, encouraged Thompson to take a hard look at costs that would be associated with the proposed program given utilities and everything else have risen significantly.  She agreed to do that but board members were pleased to think the Recreation building would be used between 3 and 6 p.m.

The board approved making Mulhall and Fanning part time employees and moving the program forward.

The board reviewed the sealed bids from Palmer Gas and Oil, Townsend, and Hartman for number 2 heating oil; diesel; propane; and, gasoline.

Blaisdell will put the bids on a spread sheet and the board will review them again at the next meeting and vote on which bid to accept. The next meeting will be next Monday night, August 29.

The board set the budget schedule and the Deliberative Session will be held on February 4.

Blaisdell asked the board to approve submitting the application for the grant from the state to treat exotic weeds in Showell Pond in 2023. The board approved.

The board discussed requesting the developer of the homes on Hersey Road to pave the first 300 to 400 feet of the roadway. It was decided that the board would vote on this at the next meeting.

Blaisdell reminded people that construction debris is not being accepted at the Transfer Station. The vendor where construction debris is usually taken for disposal is closed at this time but expects to be back in business in a couple of weeks. When that happens construction debris will once again be allowed.

 


Sandown Selectmen  Decide on Impact Fee Amount for School District
By Penny Williams   8-9-22

On Monday evening, August 8, the Sandown Selectmen met and made a decision on how much of the Impact Fee for the Schools Fund is to be sent to the School District for reduction in taxes.

The board discussed it and approved providing Timberlane School District with $55,000 from the School Impact Fee Fund. There is $87,188.20 in the fund at the moment but the board wishes to keep a certain amount in the fund.

It was announced that the Transfer Station is not accepting any construction debris at this time. There are issues with getting rid of the construction debris from the Transfer Station and there is no capacity for any more at this time. It is hoped the issues will be resolved in a matter of weeks. In the meantime if a resident has to get rid of construction debris they can get themselves a dumpster or contact the Raymond Transfer Station and see if they are accepting construction debris.

Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell also noted there will be a Blood Drive at the Town Hall on August 19 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Blaisdell warned residents that there is a level 2 severe drought in effect in the area and they should limit watering and do everything they can to conserve water. She said reducing the watering at Ed Garvey Field and possibly the other fields is being considered. She said the board will discuss a possible water use ban at the next selectmen's meeting.

Old Home Days starts Friday August 12 with a Family Friendly Luau at the Town Hall from 6 to 11 p.m. Music will be by Bogga Ragz and Bruchetti's Pizza will be available as well as Zorvino's wine and Amoskeag beverages.

Saturday events will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. downtown, at the Timberlane Learning Center (Central School) , the library, Seeley Beach and Town Hall.

At Central School there will be bounce houses, performers, face painting, craft vendors Patchwood Farms, Steam Engine Train Ride Kona Ice, Chubbs Triple Elm. The Lions Club will  have burgers, dogs, and  sausage subs. Rockingham Church and downstairs at Town Hall  will have  cooling stations.

At the library events will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  There will be a dedication of the Hazel Marlow Learning Pavilion at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. a performance by Mr. Aaron. There will be a bounce house for those under 5 years of age, a photo booth, a ball pit and crafts area and 5 minute ice cream and games.

At Seeley Beach there will be popcorn, cotton candy and games from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a self guided Storywalk at the Sandown Town Forest.

At 4 p.m. there will be a chicken BBQ put on by the Sandown Fire Department.  It will continue until sold out with each meal costing $10.

This will be followed by events at Ed and Linda Mencis'  Sandlots on North Road with a Dixieland Band from 6 to 8 p.m., the Citizen of the Year Award and fireworks at Dusk.

The board held the second Public Hearing for the sale of town owned properties. A couple of residents had questions which were answered. The  auction company hasn't been selected as yet but there are several seeking to handle the sale.

A $1,000 deposit will be required for a purchase and a 10 percent auction fee and closing costs will be charged.  The August 22 public hearing will be the final required public hearing and the board will vote to move forward at that time. Then the process of securing the auction company will start.

One resident complained that properties shouldn't be withheld because Indian Artifacts MIGHT be found on the property. The board agreed that in the future such declarations need to be substantiated by a board making such a distinction on a parcel.

Mark Tolman was nominated by the board to continue as the Town's Health Officer. The State will make that appointment based on the board's recommendation.

The board approved the long list of election inspectors for 2 year terms to end in 2024.

The board approved a donation of $270 for the Senior Affairs Transportation Commission. Selectman Bob  Nickerson  said drivers are needed and scheduling help is needed as demands for rides are increasing.

The board approved the new contract with SeaCoast Business Machines for a new copier for the Town Clerk/Tax Collector's office. The cost will be $105. per month, down slightly from the current contract cost because they reduced the number of pages slightly.

Selectman Tom Tombarello reported that 17 dogs remain unlicensed and these owners will have to appear in court and pay the costs to the court.

A cyanobacteria bloom has been observed on Showell Pond. The bloom is appearing as dark, almost brown water, with some dark brown clumps forming at the surface. This cyanobacteria activity was first reported 8/1/22. Samples reviewed on 8/2/22 revealed cyanobacteria (Chrysosporum, Planktothrix, and Spirulina) in concentrations up to 148,080 cells/mL from the water without the dense aggregations of material. The dense clumps of material are a mixture of a green filamentous algae, along with several types of cyanobacteria (Planktothrix, Phormidium, Microcystis, Spirulina), however they are too dense to enumerate. Advisories are issued when cyanobacteria cell concentrations exceed 70,000 cells/mL.

As a result, NHDES has issued a cyanobacteria bloom advisory for those who use the waterbody for recreation. The advisory is not based on a toxin evaluation and is intended as a precautionary measure for short term exposure. Surface blooms can rapidly change and accumulate in various locations around a waterbody. Please continue to monitor your individual shorelines for changing conditions. NHDES advises lake users to avoid contact with the water in areas experiencing elevated cyanobacteria cell conditions, also known as a bloom.

NHDES also advises pet owners to keep their pets out of any waters that have a cyanobacteria bloom. Cyanobacteria are natural components of water bodies worldwide, though blooms and surface scums may form when excess nutrients are available to the water. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that are stored within the cells and released upon cell death. Toxins can cause both acute and chronic health effects that range in severity. Acute health effects include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, tingling, numbness, nausea, vomiting, seizures and diarrhea. Chronic effects may include liver and central nervous system damage. Be cautious of lake water that has a surface scum, changes colors, or appears to have green streaks or blue-green flecks aggregating along the shore.

The cyanobacteria advisory went into effect on August 2, 2022 and will remain in effect until NHDES confirms that cell concentrations of the bloom have subsided

 


Sandown Selectmen Hold Public Hearing for Auction of Town Owned Property
By Penny Williams   7-26-22

 The Selectmen held the first of the Public Hearings related to the sale of town owned property.

There were only a couple of residents with questions. One wanted to purchase the .11 acre lot at 32 Tacoma Drive adjacent to her property but was informed that she would need to do so through the auction process.

The other question was a general how to go about it question which the board answered by saying the board would vote on August 22 regarding selling the list of properties. After that the Auction company would take over and it would very likely be October before any properties were actually auctioned off.

The board left the Public Hearing open until the close of the meeting in case there were others wanting to ask a question but there were no others.

Brian Butler, Chair of the Conservation Commission discussed his purchase and sales agreement for a parcel of land looking for the support and approval of the selectmen.

The parcel is a 15 acre parcel off Rangeway Avenue adjacent to the Wells Village Forest. It is a parcel the commission has been interested in purchasing for many years.

The cost of the parcel is $13,000 plus closing costs. It is a landlocked parcel but it will add a nice piece to the conservation lands. The board  said it was good with the Conservation Commission making the purchase of the land.

Police Chief Joe Gordon offered the board a suggestion for the remodel of the Town Hall building that would add a two story addition out to the back squaring off the building but not encroaching on the parking.

 The addition would create space for three offices on the lower floor and would move the mechanical room. It would open up the second floor and allow for an elevator.

The board will look at engineering suggestions and estimated costs for the building remodel at their August 29 meeting. The board members were more enthusiastic about Gordon's design than they were with the engineer's design but looked forward to discussing both and going over cost estimates.

After a discussion the board approved closing Sealy Beach on Tuesday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to allow a crane to be situated on the beach in order to take down a tree on Chris  Willlis's yard. Gordon suggested the police could cordon off the beach that day as a work zone.

The board was agreeable to the request on the condition that Willis produce the binder from the insurance company as well Willis and the company agreeing to repair the road if the heavy equipment should cause any damage.

Willis said he would have the binder emailed immediately and agreed that any damage to the road would be taken care of and anything put on the beach for the crane would be removed.

Nicholas Demers and the board went round and round over his complaints about the drainage issues on Meadowbrook Crossing that he claimed was caused by two homeowners closing their culverts creating a torrent of water streaming down the road made worse by the Public Works Department snowplowing. He also complained on issues and his interaction with Public Works Department Director Artie Genualdo.

Board Chair Jonathan Goldman said Demers had made the whole situation  worse by being rude to office personnel and that he needed to complete the complaint form if he wished to pursue his issues with Genualdo whom Demers claimed had created the situation and was rude and lied about his role.

As for the drainage issue and the closed culverts Goldman said that Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell and board member Eric Olsen would investigate exactly how the drainage issue came about - who had authorized the culvert closures.

If the town was involved and responsible the town would work to correct the situation. If the homeowners who closed culverts and created the drainage issues did so on their own without permits then Demers would have to deal with the situation as a civil matter.

The board approved the Old Home Day Committee request to allow the 60's Club to hold a bingo event during Old Home Day. Since there is no charge to participate and no money in the awards it is not gambling therefore the board approved the request.

The board approved the Selectmen's Meeting Procedures that had been reviewed since there were no changes.


Sandown Selectmen Make No Decision on Request for a No Voting Machine Use Special Meeting
By Penny Williams   7-12-22

On Monday night, July 11, residents again approached the Board of Selectmen with a request for a Special Meeting on the use of voting machines.

The residents used the same arguments they had used at the previous requests for a Special Meeting. They added this time that the RSA's guaranteed them a Special Meeting if they provided acceptable petition signatures which they stated they had done. If the board needed more they could easily supply three or four times as many signatures.

The board indicated their attorney had indicated they had the final say on voting machines and decision made by residents at a Special Meeting would be advisory only.

The residents who spoke claimed they merely want to ensure that their vote counts and that counting ballots by hand was the way to achieve that. They claimed the voting machines software can manipulate the votes. The machines are 'compromised," was the general statement.

The board suggested the residents put in a Petition Warrant Article for the 2023 town meeting ballot which would ensure the whole town would have a say on whether to approve the Special Meeting or not and there would be no cost associated with this. The board contended that going the route of a Special Meeting in August would not only cost money but wouldn't draw many people - generally only those on one side of the issue.

Several residents were quite vocal but the board in the end decided not to make a decision either way. The board after they failed to vote to either deny or approve the request decided to hold a meeting on the issue on August 22 when the Town Counsel, Diane Gorrow and Town Moderator Kevin Major would be in attendance to respond to questions and comments. The board did indicate that there would be a decision made by the board at the August 22 meeting.
 
The board accepted a $50 donation for the Senior Affairs Transportation Trust Fund.

Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell discussed the upcoming auction of town owned property. The Board of Selectmen will hold 2 public hearings as required by RSA 41:14-a in connection with the sale of town owned land. The parcels are currently owned by the Town of Sandown and a complete list can be viewed on the Town of Sandown website (sandown.us), at the Sandown Town Hall or at the public hearings.

The first public hearing will take place on Monday, July 25, 2022 at 6:30pm at the Sandown Town Hall. The second public hearing will take place on Monday, August 8, 2022 at 6:30pm at the Sandown Town Hall. The Board of Selectmen will vote on the sale of these parcels on Monday, August 22, 2022 at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The Auctioneer will selected once the final list has been presented through the public hearing process.

The board approved accepting the proposed Primex contract going forward for the next three years for Worker's Compensation and Property Liability coverage. The Worker's Compensation contract increases will not exceed 10 percent over the life of the contract and the Property Liability increases will not exceed 9 percent over the same period.

The board approved putting the Timber Tax for the cutting at the Wells Village Road Town Forest into the Conservation Forestry Fund rather than into the Town's General Fund.

It was noted that there has been a lot of vandalism at Sealy Park. The police have increased their patrols. The beach personnel are short handed but Recreation is doing the best it can.

In Other News

The Sandown Police Department and Sandown Police Explorer Post 2268 is sponsoring the 29th Annual Sandown 5 mile/5k road race on Saturday, August 6.

The Sandown Police Explorer Post is an official program within the Sandown Police Department whose purpose is to expose and educate young men and women to the varied procedures of Law Enforcement through classroom and hands-on training; to advance throughout the community the knowledge of the Law Enforcement field; and, to allow youths 14-21 to explore the Law Enforcement field as a possible career choice.

The Explorers serve the community through their involvement in community events acting as volunteer helpers to the Sandown Police Department. The Police Explorers place responsibility on its members, relying on the youth to assist in planning, organizing and running the events. We place a very large emphasis on youth leadership and responsibility, said Police Sergeant Rich Buco. The youth leadership program works hand in hand with the Post Advisors.

Buco, Explorer lead advisor, said the Explorers will be handling the entire race organization, monitoring, and running of the race. The race will benefit the local youth organizations, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Police Explorers. 
   
The Explorers have been busy doing the advance advertizing and marketing for the race and entrance forms are online. They have created and distributed flyers about the race and will be setting up and handling the water stands along both the 5 mile and 5K race routes.
   
Registration for the races starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Sandown Fire Department. The race will begin at the Sandown Central Fire Station 314 Main Street Sandown with a Kid’s 1k Fun Run stepping off at 8:30 a.m. A non-perishable donation for the Sandown Food Pantry is the entry fee for this race.
   
The 5 mile and 5k races begins at 9 a.m. with a $35 entry fee. The first 100 registrations will receive a sport towel.   

 The race is a challenging race that follows Sandown's hilly roadways but both the 5K and the 5 Mile have been measured. Race participants can look forward to prizes for both the overall male and female top three finishers, plus age category prizes for males and females, three deep as well.
    
The 5K and 5 mile races start and finish on Main Street at the Fire Station. They both head out over Hampstead Road. The 5 K will go out Hampstead Road and at a specified spot near Little Mill Road turn around and return, However, the 5 mile will continue on Hampstead Road to Little Mill Road and back on to Main Street. for the 5 mile. 

Buco said people can register on-line through runreg.com and mail-in registrations will be accepted through August 2. 
      
 Registration forms for the race can be found at the Sandown Police Department, Sandown Town Hall and Sandown Public Library. There will be same day registration as well beginning at 7:30 a.m.
    
For more information, contact Sergeant Richard Buco at rbuco@sandown.us or (603) 887-3887.

 

 

 


Sandown Selectmen Told 115 Dogs Still Unregistered and Hear Recreation Department’s Emergency Operation Plan
By Penny Williams    6-21-22

The Selectmen heard from the Director of Recreation at the Monday night, June 20, Selectmen's meeting about the Emergency Operation Plan she has developed.

Becky Thompson, Director of Recreation, reviewed her Emergency Operation Plan for her department. She has run the plan by both Police and Fire Departments and they approved it.

The Selectmen were pleased with her plan and said it is a good thing to have this on record. It will be available on the Recreation web site and Thomas said she will include hard copies in the packages handed out to Summer Camp students' parents.

Thompson and Library Director Adam Shlager discussed the naming of the Recreation Department becoming a branch of the Sandown Public Library. The reason is for the Recreation Department to be able to use the library license for showing movies. The Recreation Department building will have a shelf developed by the Library with books, games and other library materials making the Recreation building a library branch.

The joint endeavor of the Recreation Department and the Library to put on  Town Movie Nights is what triggered this cooperative effort. The movies will be shown on the newly acquired 24-foot on the diagonal screen at the field at the Recreation Department making Movie night available for many more families than if it were to be put on at the in-town library location.

Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell went over the computer replacement plan with the board. The plan is to replace all the official town computers and servers with new ones with a new five year contract. This was budgeted for and the total cost will be $88,779.

The board discussed whether to go ahead any pay for this on a monthly basis which has a lower interest rate or annually with a higher interest rate but the annual payment rate would save the town around $600.

Included in this replacement plan is new wiring for the Fire Department and having the Police Department on the same software plan as the town going forward.

The board, after a discussion, said Blaisdell was authorized to sign for the payment and the board favored paying annually because of the overall savings.

Shae-Lynn Phaneuf, Miss Amazing Teenager for the fourth time asked the board for permission to hold fund raising events on town property. The board approved her request and Blaisdell asked only that she contact the town with specific dates so as to make sure there would be no event conflicts.

 The first fund raiser will be the coming weekend at the Transfer Station so long as the Historical Society has no specific conflicting event planned at the Depot.

Selectman Tom Tombarello complained about the fact that there are still 115 unregistered dogs. He asked people to act responsibly and to call and get their pets registered before the deadline date of July 14. He said it is not a good use of the police to go after unregistered dogs and payments.

Blaisdell said there is an opening for a part time custodian at the Transfer Station.

The board approved the appointment of Joel Logiudice as a full time member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment with his term to run to 2023.

The board accepted a $175 donation to the Senior Affairs Transportation Committee.

Blaisdell told the board a resident who lives on Sealy Road which is actually a driveway, has asked for the board to take action against all day parking on the  side of the roadway. If cars park there emergency vehicles couldn't get to the pond or the homes and makes it unsafe for residents and difficult to come and go.

The board voted to approve installing 2 no parking signs along the side of Sealy Road. In addition they approved getting a third sign that would be placed on the roadway near the edge of the pond that states Town Vehicles Only.

 


Sandown Selectmen Deny Special Meeting Request to Ban Voting Machines
By Penny Williams    6-7-22

On Monday night, June 6, the Board of Selectmen met for a short meeting.

Right off the top, Chair Jonathan Goldman said the selectmen had received a request on May 27 to hold a Special Meeting to ban the use of voting machines. He stated bluntly the board had reviewed the request and denied the petitioners' request because the petition was not correct in any way.

The board then approved the hiring of three Summer Recreation Councilors at $11 an hour. 

Selectmen's Clerk Paula Gulla, sitting in for Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell, told the board that Blaisdell has met with two of the three boards she needs to discuss the sale of town owned properties with.

The Conservation Commission has submitted a letter recommending that  5 properties be eliminated from the list of properties to be offered at auction. She indicated Blaisdell has not heard from the Heritage Committee as yet and will be meeting with the Planning Board on June 21, relative to this issue.

Gulla also noted that Blaisdell has contacted two auctioneer companies and their pricing and guidelines are comparable. The board commented they are pleased this is moving forward.

Gulla then told the board the $250,000 grant for Stormwater Management had not been approved. She noted there was a possible loan available but actually the time to apply has already gone by. 

Timberlane High School has issued an invitation to board members to attend the graduation ceremony on June 11, at 10 a.m. Gulla said anyone planning on going should notify the school or she would be glad to do it for any of the selectmen who wanted to attend.

 


Sandown Selectmen Approve Cable Coverage Recording Equipment for Recreation Building
By Penny Williams     5-10-22

On Monday night, May 9, the Sandown Selectmen approved the purchase and installation of equipment at the Recreation Building for cable coverage.

The cost of the equipment and installation is $7,437.95. The consensus of the selectmen was to approve the purchase and installation. The funds will come out of the Cable fund.

Public Works Director Arthur Genualdo told the board that the ground work is in the process of being completed for the Salt Shed. He indicated he is working with the vendor to get the Sandown Salt Shed just a little higher than the one in Hampstead because a dump truck hit the ceiling in that one. Genualdo indicated that the Sandown Salt Shed will have a slightly higher peak to avoid this happening in Sandown. He said it will cost a little more but will be worth it. The town has three years to get the Salt Shed up and operating.

He told the board he has prepared a Change Order for what roads will be worked on for the Highway Improvement Plan. He indicated that Stoneford Road has been withdrawn because the development isn't ready and Ferguson Road is out because that development has issues needing to be addressed. 

Instead he said he plans to finish Odell Road and do some much needed work on Cross Road. In addition, work at the intersection of  Phillips and Fremont and at the intersection of Royal Range and Hunt Pond Roads. The change order brings the total cost of the work to be done in 2022 money to $663,958.80 He noted he will have to get about $20,000 from the Highway Block Grant money.

The board voted to approve the change order as presented. It was noted the town is extremely fortunate to be working with Busby Construction as they are still holding to 2019 figures.

The board discussed the list of parcels presented to them by Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell that can be sold at auction. After an in-depth discussion it was decided to have her shrink the list to those parcels that are unquestionably available for sale.

Blaisdell will create the shorter list and send it to the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and the Heritage Commission for their recommendations on each of the proposed parcels. Then there needs to be two public hearings and after that the board will vote on the final list. Blaisdell indicated this could happen any time between June and August depending how long the boards take for their recommendations and when the public hearings are scheduled.

Blaisdell said she has identified three options for auctioneers. The board authorized her to move forward with deciding on which to use.

The board issued the Warrant for unlicensed dogs. Selectman Tom Tombarello indicated there are 299 unlicensed dogs. With issuance of the Warrant a $25 fee for Civil Forfeiture can be applied. The Police Department will have to reach out to those who have unlicensed dogs.

The board accepted a $300 donation for the Senior Transportation Affairs Committee.

There was a long discussion about life guards and the need to increase their level of pay. The board ultimately approved a $1 increase over and above the already approved 5 percent increase.

Only Selectman Jonathan Goldman objected and his objection was based on the fact the 5 percent increase has already been approved and this is a mid-budget increase setting a precedent. He said this increase means these life guards will be making more than some of the per diem firefighters which he found unacceptable.

There was a long discussion over a request from a softball team to use the parking lot for a fund raiser. The organization doesn't meet any of the requirements for use of town property but the board agreed to allow the use of the parking lot so long as the organization made a deposit for any potential damage and the building not be used and the fund raiser was considered "appropriate" by Blaisdell.

The board discussed the proposed changes to the wage matrix provided by Finance Director Gayle Hamel. While acknowledging this is only a 'guide', the board felt it is a very important document for the town especially when hiring.

The board approved the request from the Reach the Beach Race organization to use the town hall parking lot and building on September 16 and 17 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

The board learned that there is space at Miller Field that can be developed for much needed additional parking. Trees and shrubs will need to be removed and gravel will have to be added. However, the area is on the existing property which the town owns.

 


Sandown Historical Society ask Selectmen to Allow Some Old Home Day Events
By Penny Williams 4-26-22

At the Monday night, April 25, meeting of the Board of Selectmen, some of the officers of the Sandown Historical Society came before the board and
said they wanted to volunteer to save at least some of Old Home Day.

Heather Rosati, Vice President of the Society and Katelyn Whittier, Secretary, told the board they wanted to volunteer to assist with the Old Home Day Committee. They told the board they would sponsor and run the Friday Night Dance and Beer Tent as well as providing the Youth Friday Night event.

They suggested that by aligning the Old Home Event with the Fire Department Chicken Dinner, the second Saturday in August would work to have at least some of Old Home Day events upheld. They want to see if they can get the fireworks changed for that date as well.

Selectman Chair Jonathan Goldman said the Fire Department hasn't yet decided on the Chicken Dinner but he would bring it up at their next meeting and see where it goes.

The women felt if that alignment worked then possibly a few other things could be added before the 4 o'clock dinner.

The board was impressed with their volunteering for this and appointed them and Historical Society President Shayla McNally to the Old Home Day Committee. The appointment was for two years as Rosati noted they were already talking about Old Home Day 2023 as well.

Before the women left they gave a quick summary of work being done at the Depot and that they planned an Opening Event for May 7.

Goldman announced that there would be a celebration of Jim Devine at the Fire House on May 14. They were unable to hold any event at his time of passing due to COVID-19.

The board appointed John White as Sandown's representative to the Rockingham Planning Commission and appointed Colleen Donovan and Ronald Dunbar as members of the Senior Affairs Transportation Committee.

The board approved the Software Package RecDesk for the Recreation Commission. Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell said the towns that used this she spoke with were very pleased with the software and said it is a great help.

The total cost of RecDesk is $3,400. It will allow many things to be handled online and will streamline many things such as applications, sign-ups and payments. The Recreation Commission has recommended getting this software and has applied for a grant to cover the cost but have enough funds to cover the cost if the grant application fails.

The board asked that the contract be reviewed by Town Counsel and that both Blaisdell and Recreation Commission member Heidi Dyer be contacts for the software.

Blaisdell told the board that she had received the final figure for the Town Hall Building Feasibility Study. The cost will be $29,500 and there are ARPA funds for this;

The board approved Electrical Inspector and Selectmen Tom Tombarello's recommendation that in his and Assistant Inspector Dan Dube's absence that the town should contact and use Steve Councilman of Atkinson. Tombarello recommends the board use Councilman whenever needed.

There are three options in the Feasibility Study: reorganize existing offices; add an extension out to the back parking lot; and, add a second floor expansion over the one story portion of the existing building.

Police Chief Joe Gordon asked to be part of the group working on this and the board approved. Gordon also suggested that a Clerk of the Works be identified to make sure a handle was kept on costs.

The board approved the Proclamation for Alvin Joe Atkins who will turn 100 on May 26. They also approved May 26, 2022 as Alvin Joe Atkins Day. The 60 Plus Club will present him with the proclamation.

 


Sandown Has a New Recreation Director and Selectmen Learn Oil Expenses Overbudget  
By Penny Williams   4-12-22

The Sandown Selectmen met Monday night, April 11, and Recreation Liaison Selectman Darren Hudgins said the new Recreation Director has been on board for the better part of the last two weeks.

Rebecca Thompson is the new part time Recreation Director. She is looking for teenagers interested in being counselors for the Summer Program. Information regarding the camp and summer programs can be found on the town's Recreation web site. Applications for Summer Program participation can be found there as well.

Finance Director Gayle Hamel told the board they have already used more heating oil than they did in the previous year and the fill-ups that took place yesterday were double the contracted price.

She said hopefully they won't need additional fuel oil since they are already over budget. It might be a good idea to plan for 6,000 gallons next year rather than the 5,000 they contracted for this year.

Selectmen's Office Assistant Paula Gulla filling in for Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell who is on vacation, told the board the Chiefs of Police and Fire were there to explain about potential grants for Locality Equipment Purchases Program Grants for emergency services connected to COVID-19.

Fire Chief Michael Devine said he would like permission to apply for a  power stretcher and a Lucas chest pressure devise at a cost of $44,983.74.

Police Chief Joe Gordon wants to purchase vests that go over officer’s bullet proof vests and hold the items normally on an officer’s service belt.

Both departments would need to come up 10 percent of the items cost, Fire wants authorization to take $5,500 out of their  Fire Equipment line and Police would come up with $930 for their 10 percent.

After a brief discussion the board approved the departments going for the grants and to allow the Fire Department to take its 10 percent from the Fire Equipment Line.

The board thanked two Zoning Board of Adjustment members who had intended to retire for stepping up to fill two open positions for the next three years. Both Chris Longchamps and Dave Ardolino agreed to fill the two open slots.

The board approved the town's company handling their Stormwater Management issues, CEI, to apply for a Special ARPA fund grant for addressing Critical Flood Risk Infrastructure. CEI, will make application for three things and design and install them for free.

* Nutrient Source Identification Report - $30,000

* Design and Permit 3 Best Management Practices for the Shoal Pond area worth $60,000

* Construct 3 Best Management Practice for $160,000.

Gulla said the town is required to have the Best Practice Management areas in by 2024 and this would all get done at no cost to the town which is wonderful because she noted the town has to do this and it would cost the town a lot of money and here the town would get it for free.

The town needs to provide CEI with letters supporting these efforts from the Selectmen and one would come from the Director of Public Works Arthur Genualdo.

Pat Kimball handed in her letter of resignation from the Old Home Day Committee saying the other members on the committee have already resigned,  She said she  has held meetings and no one has come.

She plans to hold one last meeting on April 21 at 7 p.m. in hopes that volunteers will show up. The residents voted for Old Home Day but Kimball and the others on the committee will have all resigned. If volunteers don't show up on the April 21 meeting Old Home Day will not happen as it will then be too late to do anything.

A resident complained about the long waits at the Transfer Station because people haven't organized their things for the dump before arriving. The resident offered to pay for the signs alerting the residents to the need to get organized. The board agreed with him but felt they could cover the cost of the signs.

The Senior Affairs Transportation Committee is considering increase the per mile reimbursement from 25 cents a mile to 40 cents a mile. The board also approved accepting a donation of $65 to the Committee.

April 22-23 will be Earth Day pick-up in Sandown. Bags and signup sheets are available at the Town Office and the Library. The town will pick up the bags after the weekend.

The Fishing Derby is slated for April 30 as usual at Art Genualdo's Pond.

The Heritage Commission is holding an antique appraisal event, Treasures or Trash, at Town Hall on May 10, from 6:30 to 9:50 p.m. The Heritage Commission is also holding an event, Agriculture Told by Barns, presented by John Porter on May 19, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

 


Sandown Selectmen Discuss Searching for Town Manager Paula Gulla's Replacement
By Penny Williams    4-4-22

The Sandown Selectmen discussed how they wanted to go about starting to replace Paula Gulla, longtime Office Assistant, at their Monday night, March 28, Selectmen's meeting.

After making it clear that there will be no 'replacing' Gulla given all she knows and does for the town, the board recognized she has said she is ready to consider retiring. In previous discussions about this the board has agreed with Town Manager Lynne Blaisdell that just filling Gulla's position isn't enough - the office needs a second person probably part time, to actually make the work the office does go smoothly.

Blasidell said she knows of an individual who would like to fill Gulla's position but who has no municipality experience although otherwise highly qualified. The board discussed whether it should just have Blaisdell appoint this person or go out and advertise for interested individuals for the job.

In the end it was decided that it would be a mistake to not advertise to see who might be interested as there might be someone qualified who has municipal experience. But they also said Blaisdell should include the individual she knows is interested in the interview process.

The board authorized Blaisdell to advertise for the position to replace Gulla. The second person, probably in a part time position, would be sought after Gulla's replacement is in place. The hope is to find someone for Gulla's position and get them appointed so they can work with Gulla getting up to speed to the extent possible before Gulla leaves.

The board heard from Finance Director Gayle Hamel about the cost of gas, diesel and propane for the town. Just as gas related prices have risen at the pump so have the prices the town will have to pay for these going forward. She wanted the board to be aware early on that these were going to over budget in the coming year since the town has already spent more in the first quarter than in all of last year. This relates to plowing as well.

The board asked her to track the costs and report to the board on the situation bi-weekly. They also issued a reminder to all departments to be aware of this increased cost and do all possible to address it.

The board approved appointment of Karen White to the Timberlane School Budget Committee as Sandown's representative. They also approved Chief Michael Devine as being the Chief Forest Fire Warden and Wilfred Tapley being the Deputy Fire Warden. This was just a switch in the positions held by the two men.

The board approved Ben Winter cutting a few select trees to allow his adding an expansion to the Food Pantry Building.

The board discussed how to handle the Engineering/design services study. The study would address three options for addressing the need for reconfiguration of space in Town Hall. The study, at a cost of $29,500, would detail the three options and an estimated cost.

The three options are: Add two more offices through reconfiguration; expand the existing building; and expansion by adding a second floor to the one story portion of the building.

Blaisdell wanted time to go over the report more carefully and the board told her to that and put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

There was a discussion about the issues surrounding the Cronin three lot sub-division off Hershey Road which is a Class 6 road. Blaisdell raised concerns of liability issues in allowing more development off of a Class Six road and whether what those new lot owners would need to do and agree to before a building permit could be provided had been properly addressed.

It was left that Blaisdell would discuss this further with the Town Engineer Steve Keach, Keach Nordstrom & Associates. She felt this was necessary since in the end approval for the subdivision allowing the three new lots has to come from the Board of Selectmen.

In Other News:

* The Old Home Day Committee currently has no returning members and therefore, without a committee to plan and run the event, we run the risk of not having an Old Home Day Fall Festival for 2022.  

If you have an interest or a group of you have an interest in taking on this annual community event, please contact the Selectmen's Office at townofsandown@sandown.us or call (603) 887-3646 #2.  We would be willing to assist in any way we can.  

* Sandown Fire Department
Michael J. Devine Fire Chief Sandown Fire-Rescue reports that the department has Acquired State of The Art Battery Powered Rescue Tools

Sandown Fire-Rescue have a set of hydraulic rescue tools, by Hurst called “The Jaws of Life '' that were purchased in 2007. The existing hydraulic tools utilize a gas-powered generator and are limited in distance; they can be used as the hydraulic hoses are attached to the fire engine. Due to the length of the hydraulic hoses, the tools can only be used within 100 feet of the engine. Rescue tools of this sort are often used to extricate patients from vehicles involved in accidents, or commercial/industrial machinery accidents.

The new Hurst Edraulic 2.0 tools are battery operated, and although are mounted in a piece of apparatus, they are unlimited to where they can be used as the cordless, battery-operated tools can be carried by hand to wherever they are needed. The new tools are also able to be used underwater if needed.

The Sandown Fireman’s Association raises funds each year by hosting their annual Chicken BBQ, a Rabies Clinic, and receives donations at times. These funds are used to give back to the community. Capt. Dave Farrar presented to the members of the association an opportunity to buy a “combi[1]tool” back in October. The Sandown Fireman’s Association voted to purchase the combi tool and donate it to the Town for the Fire Departments use.

A combi tool works as both a “spreader” and as a “cutter.” It allows the user to cut metal and spread metal, but as a combination tool it does not offer as much strength as a purpose-built cutting tool or spreading tool would.

Fire Chief Mike Devine simultaneously made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen to replace much needed portable and mobile radios using ARPA funds. The Board of Selectman agreed to the purchase, which freed up some money in the 2021 budget that had been allocated to buy 3-4 radios.

 Chief Devine worked with the Fireman’s Association, and their order was changed to a purpose-built cutter and the town was able to order a purpose-built spreader, allowing the Fire[1]Rescue Department to obtain both tools.

Fire Chief Mike Devine said, “Having these tools will help us a lot, and by working collaboratively with the Fireman’s Association, and the Board of Selectmen, Sandown Fire[1]Rescue has been able to purchase these tools, train on them, and put them in service in a very cost-effective manner.”

Both Chief Devine, and Captain Farrar said that the current Hydraulic tools are permanently mounted in Engine 2. The new rescue tools will also be mounted on Engine 2 allowing two sets of rescue tools to be used at once when needed.

By moving these portable tools to the ladder, Sandown Fire-Rescue will be able to provide full extrication capabilities while assisting their neighbors. The total cost of both tools was $24,680, and this was offset by $12,700 that the Sandown Fireman’s Association donated.

 


Sandown Selectmen Elect Jonathan Goldman as Chairman and Thomas Tombarello as Vice Chair
By Penny Williams   3-16-22

The Sandown Board of Selectmen met on Monday night, March 14, and took care of business by reorganizing.

Jonathan Goldman was elected Chair and Thomas Tombarello was elected Vice Chair. They discussed liaison assignments and Tombarello took Planning Board while the rest of the assignments remained the same.

Pat Kimball came before the board and said the Old Home Day committee has shrunk to 2 or possibly 3 members. While the Old Home Day Committee is very excited to begin planning this year's event it is in need of some additional members, so if anyone out there wants to help plan with our annual Old Home Day Fall Festival, please send an email to townofsandown@sandown.us, she said. 

Kimball also noted she chairs the Lions Club and she said that organization is also searching for new members and volunteers.

The board in discussing the recent election stressed that residents need to continue to support the Bridge Capital Reserve Fund.

Tombarello noted that if the town doesn't have the 20 percent of the construction cost needed when the state is ready to do the bridge the state will simply move right on to the next project and it could be years and millions more for Sandown bridges. If that should happen the bridge would ultimately need to shut down and this would cause difficult detours. So the town needs to continue to save for the bridge work.

The board voted to submit application for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services grant for the protection and maintenance of Phillips Pond and its effort to eradicate the exotic weeds. The board approved the motion to submit and accept the grant in an amount up to $21,423. The board also approved paying Solitude Lake Management $1,880 for the treatment of Phillips Pond.

It was announced that Brianna Butler was requesting the board's approval to hold the 2022 Fishing Derby on Saturday, April 30, at Sal's Pond. The board approved the request.

The interviews continue for the Recreation Director but the board noted the two head counselors have agreed to return for the 2022 Summer Program.

It was noted that Justin Silver's Boy Scout project for the Red Barn and the new cupola is on track.

 


Sandown March 8th Election Results
By Penny Williams   3-8-22

The results of the March 8th elections for board and committee seats in Sandown are as follows:

* Selectmen - Eric Olsen and Thomas Tombarello were re-elected for 3 years

* Planning Board - John White was re-elected for three years but a second 3year term seat remains open

* Planning Board - a one year term seat is open - there were two write-ins Jon Sheats and Anne McCally

* Chief of Police - Joseph Gordon was re-elected for another 3 years

* Moderator - Kevin Major was re-elected for another 2 year term

* Supervisors of the Checklist - Lisa Butler was elected for a 6 year term

* Fire Engineers - David Farrar and Mark Van Auken were re-elected for 3 more years

* Cemetery Trustee - Carroll Bassett was re-elected for another 3 years

* Library Trustee - Carol Busby and Carol Fournier were re-elected  for another 3 years

* Budget Committee - Stephen Brown and Benjamin Sharpe were re-elected for a  1 year term

* Budget Committee - A three year term seat remains open- there was a write in Dave Solomon - 47 votes

* Trustee of the Trust Fund - Arlene Bassett was re-elected for another 3 years

The residents spoke up on the 14 Warrant Articles before them on March 8th.

Article 2 - Residents approved the $4,924,225 operating budget 496 to 410

Article 3 - Residents voted yes on the $162,044 road improvement Highway Block Grant 775-136

Special Article 4 - Residents approved the $547,500 for the Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund 549 to 372

Special Article 5 - Residents voted yes on raising $150,00 to be added to the Bridge Capital Reserve Fund 470 to 450

Special Article 6 - Residents approved adding $10,000 to the Revaluation Capital Reserve Fund 501 to 460

Article 7 - Residents approved $54,000 for an additional per diem and/or firefighter 649 to 234

Special Article 8 - Residents voted yes on adding $10,000 to the Stormwater Management Capital Reserve Fund 534 to 389

Special Article 9 - Residents approved adding $50,000 to the Fire Equipment and Apparatus Capital Reserve Fund 616 to 311

Special Article 10 - Residents voted yes  to raising $28,245 for treatment of Phillips Pond-  Costs will be offset by grant funds and $10,000 from the Phillips Pond Association 546 to 381

Special Article 11 - Residents voted yes  to creating an Expendable Trust Fund for Phillips Pond maintenance and funding it with $500  553 to 375

Special Article 13 - Residents voted yes to raising and adding $50,000 to the Plowing Expandable Trust Fund685 to 238

Special Article 14 - Residents approved raising $8,000 to be added to the Old Home Day Expendable Trust Fund 539 to 400

Article 15 - Residents voted yes on raising $4,500 for fireworks509 to 427

 


Sandown Selectmen Name Jessica Manning as New Recording Secretary
By Penny Williams    3-2-22

On Monday night, February 28, the Sandown Selectmen said goodbye to their longtime Recording Secretary, Sue Reynolds.

It was Reynolds last meeting after more than a decade as recording secretary for the board and the board needed to make a decision regarding her replacement.

Town Administrator, Lynn Blaisdell, told the board she had contacted current recording secretaries already employed by the town. One was ready to take the selectmen's position while one declined and the third was iffy. Blaisdell added that the position is not opened up to the public as yet.

The board decided to deal with the issue after the meeting in non - public, which they did. In non- public the board decided to give the job to Jessica Manning who currently is the Recording Secretary for the Recreation Commission.

Blaisdell told the board that the eligibility calculations need to be updated for Community Assistance Guidelines. It has not been done for at least 8 years and the current amounts are not aligned with current costs. For instance the amount for apartment rent assistance is $950 when there are no apartments in Sandown that can be had for that amount.

She told the board the various assistance amounts need to be upgraded and be aligned with current costs. She said the numbers she uses for calculations need to be realistic in today's marketplace. She asked board members to review the information and they could discuss it further and make adjustments in a couple of weeks.

The board appointed George Grivas to a 3 year term on the Conservation Commission, pending receiving a formal recommendation from that commission for his appointment.

Blaisdell and Chair Eric Olsen met with the architect/designer regarding Town Hall renovations. Three scenarios were suggested:

* Keep basic footprint but put offices into the present kitchen area and perhaps reorganize the other business offices

* Construct an addition on to the side of the Town Hall

* Add a second floor over the one story portion of Town Hall

The last would be extra expensive since it would require adding an elevator. The architect/designer was asked to look at the possible solutions and determine which provided the best option as well as determining the cost of doing the design. The existing repairs needed for the building - the roof, the fire escape and the porch  - would be included in the overall cost.

The board and Blaisdell discussed the part time Recreation Director position that is open. Blaisdell indicated she had four applications and suddenly on Monday she had received 11 additional applications, a couple of which were from people not Sandown residents.

The board approved the Recreation Commission interviewing the applicants and narrowing them down to just 2 or 3 who would then come before the Selectmen.

 


Sandown Selectmen Approve Resident Installing Utilities Under Lakeside Drive and Waste Management Requests a Five Percent Increase
By Penny Williams   2-15-22

The Sandown Selectmen met Monday evening, February 14, and went over Phil Lussier's request to cross Lakeside Drive by cutting the roadway to allow for septic and water to go from his properties that sit across from each other on Lakeside Drive.

Lussier wants to be allowed to run septic, water and utilities lines under the town owned road. He would cut lakeside Drive from the frontage borders of his properties on the roadway and after placing the piping have the road repaved at his expense.

He plans to build a house on one parcel and live temporarily in the area over the garage that is located on the other side of the road during construction. The best place for the septic is behind the garage across the street from where the house will be built. While his house is being built he plans to live temporarily in a\the area over the garage which when he moves to his new house would become an office and a game room only, not a living area.

 One board concern is that down the road that area over the garage would be used as a dwelling. However, to do so it would have to come before the Planning Board and there isn't much that can be done other than in the occupancy permit to note that only a temporary permit for using the space as a dwelling is allowed.

Lussier had to get a ruling from the Zoning Board of Adjustment that vacated a covenant that was on the deed to the garage prohibiting use of the space above the garage as living space. This has been accomplished and Building Inspector Paul D'Amore indicated to the board that he has checked and all Lussier needs is a state permit signed to move on as he requests. To sign off on the occupancy permit D'Amore needs the approval of the project  by the board and the Public Works Director Arthur Genualdo.

The biggest concern was voiced by Selectman Jon Goldman and that was about liability. He is concerned that if this is allowed and an abutter has problems as the result of the roadwork would the town get sued. It was noted that the developer who does the roadwork for Lussier will have to post a performance bond for the roadwork but it would only cover the roadwork aspect of the project. Any abutter issues would be a civil dispute.

Town Engineer Steve Keach, Keach Nordstrom Associates, told Lussier so long as he paved the entire section of roadway frontage on Lakeside not just patch where the pipes actually cross he felt it was ok to do this.

The board had expressed the need for the engineering plans along with the entire scope of the work that will be undertaken for this project and Lussier has provided these..

D'Amore said he was prepared to provide the necessary occupancy permit for the temporary use of the area over the garage for Lussier to live while the new house is being built so long as the board signs off on it. Genualdo said he thought it was a go so long as everything was done right and he would monitor it.

After a lengthy discussion Selectman Darren Hudgins said he thought the board should just give its approval and let the project move forward. The board was in agreement and made a motion to approve the request subject to the performance bond or check the amount of which will be set by Keach when he sees the extent of the roadwork that will need to be done. The board voted 3 to 1 to approve with Goldman voting against it.

Pete Lachapelle, Waste Management Public Sector Representative, came before the board and asked for an interim increase in the disposal and transportation costs set in the current contract with the town. His reason is that by giving Waste Management a 5 percent increase now before the annual contract 5 percent increase that will come up in July this would ease the burden of the increased cost Waste Management is going to have to require to address their rising costs of doing business.

The board wasn't interested in discussing an increase as the budget has already been set. However, they understood Waste Managements' costs have risen and that as a result the town will see increased charges but they weren't interested in any interim increases.

They asked Lachapelle to come back and discuss this with them again in April after town meeting. The board's fear is how they would be able to meet any increase made now if the residents voted the budget down. Lachapelle agreed to come back in April and discuss the cost increases and how to manage them with the board again then.

The board discussed live stream of the Sandown cable coverage that is happening now. Chris Donnellan said putting the cable coverage out on Face Book is merely the push of a button but admitted that more people watch the video replay the next day than actually watch it live.

The board had some concerns over the issue Goldman brought up of people who pay cable costs are subsidizing those who don't but get to enjoy live stream. He strongly objects to that.

The board and Donnellan discussed this but in the end the board said Donnellan and the Cable should just continue as they have been  doing allowing the live stream on Face Book but not trying to do anything more.

The board accepted a $50 donation to the Senior Affairs Transportation Donation Fund.

The selectmen discussed the new requirements for nonpublic meeting minutes and agreed with Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell that she should make sure all departments know about the changes. It was suggested that some training on this be created for everyone who would need to address the changes that took effect January 1.

Blaisdell told the board their Department of Revenue Administration Sales Ratio for Sandown is 68.5 percent when the desired number is 100 percent. This is about as low as the Sandown ratio has been. The revaluation is coming in 2023.

The board approved keeping the current policy regarding political signs on Town property in place. Political signs can only be posted on town owned property that does not have a building on it. Signs are prohibited from town property that includes a building.

The board accepted with regret the resignation at the end of February of Sue Reynolds, their recording secretary after more than a decade. Blaisdell said she will begin the process of finding a recording secretary for the board.

 


Sandown Selectmen Vote to Unmerge a Previously Merged Town Lot and Receive Request to Run Residential Utilities Under Town Road
By Penny Williams    1-26-22

The Sandown Selectmen on Monday, January 24, worked to understand a resident's request to be allowed to run septic, water and utilities lines under a town owned road that would result in cutting and digging up the road, laying utilities and repaving the road.

Phil Lussier sought the board's approval to run septic, water and utilities lines underneath Lakeside Drive, connecting properties he owns on either side of the drive. He plans to build a house on one parcel and live in apartment over the garage located on the other side of the road during construction.

Alex Camm, Greenman-Pedersen, working with Lussier, indicated that the best place for the septic is behind the garage across the street from where the house will be built. However, Public Works Director Arthur Genualdo and Building Inspector Paul D'Amore who were both present said they had never seen this done before. Lussier claimed that another Lakeside Drive resident has done the exact same thing at 28 Lakeside Drive.

Lussier had to get a ruling from the Zoning Board of Adjustment that vacated a covenant that was on the deed to the garage prohibiting use of the space above the garage as living space.

Board members had a lot of questions but D'Amore said he hasn't received the plans or the information he needs and  the Town Engineer, Steve Keach, Keach Nordstrom & Associates has not weighed in on this proposal.

It was noted that Lussier will need to procure an easement in perpetuity regarding tearing up a town road to allow putting the encased water, septic and utilities under Lakeside Drive. This would protect the Town from any liability to damage for the lines passing beneath Lakeside Drive.

The board felt Keach needed to be involved in this discussion before making any decisions. It was also felt by some board members that an attorney needs to be involved with this as well. The board expressed the need for the engineering plans along with the entire scope of the work that will be undertaken for this project.

D'Amore said he has received nothing regarding designs or information on this proposed project. Lussier said he has not spoken to Keach as yet.

The board indicated that the designs need to be gotten to both D'Amore and Keach along with all the associated specifications.

The board requested that Lussier return to the board's meeting on February 3, and that the board wants to have more information regarding the project in hand for that meeting.

The board then took up a request to unmerge two lots merged by the Town. Kevin Hatch, Cornerstone Survey Associates, said the property at 416 Main Street is two separate parcels that were merged by the town because of being adjacent and under the same ownership. The new owner now wishes to unmerge these two lots that were previously merged by the Town for tax purposes.

Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell said the Assessor's Office has researched and reviewed the merger and the lots history and  said there is no impediment to the owner voluntarily unmerging the two parcels. New lot numbers and addresses will be needed but that is all. The board approved the request.

A second request to unmerge a Town merged lot located at 15 Reed Road was heard. Again the Assessor has researched and reviewed the process whereby the two adjacent parcels were merged by the Town and found no reason why they couldn't be unmerged by the property owner. The board approved the unmerging of the two parcels with the need for new lot numbers and addresses.

The board approved recommending the Operating Budget article (Article 2) with the Operating Budget amount of $4,924,225 and the Default Budget amount of $4,709,135.

However, one selectman was absent so they will have to hold a meeting after the Deliberative Session to have the whole board vote on whether or not to recommend this article.

In Other News

* The Heritage Commission was advised by the Sandown Town Treasurer that it can use the Commission Credit Card to make common purchases without prior approval.

Member Peter Koester volunteered to talk with Paula Gulla in the Town Selectman’s Office to update the Commission page of the Town Website with more relevant and interesting content. This will include a  description of the Purpose and Function of the Sandown Heritage Commission and its relationship to  the Sandown Historical Society and Friends of the Old Meetinghouse (which are not town-run organizations).

The Hearse House project was updated. As of the date of the Commission Meeting, it was unknown if Police Chief Joe Gordon had completed the fourth (back) wall. Koester made a motion to appropriate up to $250 for completion of the East Wall of the Hearse House which was approved..

Member Fran Rosenau informed the Commission so far no certified appraisers she has contacted are available or willing to  participate in the planned event. Chair Pamela. Gaudreau suggested Rosenau contact the Preservation Alliance and see if they can  offer suggestions or further contacts.

Rosenau reported the Commission’s current finances are $7441.64, with $6100 of that money having been earned through the Yard Sale events and Facebook Marketplace. 

She also reported there are currently six (6) copies of “The View from Meetinghouse Hill” available for  purchase from the Town Selectman’s Office of by ordering with the order form available on the Town Website.

 Koester offered to design a new Heritage Commission Commemorative Token for 2022 and will present the proposed design at a future Commission meeting.

Rosenau pointed out the current position of the Official Town Flag, is mounted on Stage Left of the  Town Hall Function Hall, but that due to installed camera angles required to record town meetings, the flag is required to be rolled up and isn't visible in its current position.

She asked for proposals for another place within Town Hall to display the flag that will allow it to be unfurled and visible and still abide by US Flag Code for display.

 The Commission discussed ideas for the local Trail Through Time proposed by member Paul Wentzel. It was agreed the priority should be designating locations to have an information kiosk installed and a somewhat standardized kiosk design.  

 


Sandown Selectmen Set 2022 Meeting Schedule and Discuss Budgets and Warrant Articles
By Penny Williams    1-12-2020

The Sandown Board of Selectmen met Monday night, January 10, and went over a number of issues including setting meeting dates going forward, finalizing warrant articles, budget, and default.

The board decided upon the following meeting schedule for 2022 which essentially is every other week.

Meetings will be held on the following dates: January 10 and 24; February 7 and 28; March 14 and 28; April 11 and 25; May 9 and 23; June 6 and 20; July 11 and 25; August 8 and 22; September 12 and 26; October 3, 17, and 31; November 14 and 28; and, December 12 and 19. These dates were selected to avoid conflicts with holiday dates.

The board went over the benefits line in the budget and approved the changes made providing a final figure of $787,038. Town Administrator Lynne Blaisdell also provided the default budget bottom line of $4,709,135 that the board approved.

The board briefly reviewed a summary of the budget and then Office Assistant Paula Gulla went over the Warrant Articles and the selectmen voted on each article's recommendation.

The board voted 5-0-0 to Recommend all the articles.

The board discussed article 10 - Phillips Pond Treatment and approved the $42,845 amount that will be offset by grant funds from the state of $21,423 and a $10,000 contribution from the Phillips Pond Association. There is also $14,600 left over from last year that is encumbered for the treatment process. This is a confusing article in that the treatment cost of $42.845  will be covered by funds the town will either have or get from the state but it still has to be presented as to raise according to Department of Revenue Administration regulations.

The board voted on changing the language of article 11 -  Phillips Pond Expendable Trust Fund, choosing to state the purpose of the fund to be to preserve, enhance, monitor and protect the water quality and natural ecology and for parking, boat ramp installation, maintenance, repairs and improvements and to initially fund it with $500.

On article 12, the Government Building Capital Reserve Fund  - the board voted to put $7,500 into it again this year, and for article 13 - Expendable Trust Fund for Plowing, to put $50,000 in it.

The board approved the articles, assigned who would speak to each at Deliberative and voted their recommendation of the articles, all to be forwarded to the Warrant and on to the Budget Committee.

Emergency 911 asked permission to update the Sandown mapping and data base, which it does without any cost to the town. The board approved this being done.

Moderator Kevin Major came before the board and discussed how the Deliberative Session (Saturday, February 5, starting at 9 a.m.) would be conducted. It was decided to hold the session in the Town Hall meeting room and the board was ok with Major's suggestion that masks be made available for people who might want one. However, they agreed there was no mask mandate but kept mask wearing optional. The Library, if it asks, will be allowed to serve food as they have in the past but it isn't known what their plan is for this year.

The Recreation Committee is working on an advertisement to be put out seeking a Recreation Director. Former long time Director Deb Brown's last day was January 3. Right now there is a committee member manning the phone and emails.

The board discussed the plans for seeking an office assistant and an Assistant to the Selectmen when the present Office Assistant, Paula Gulla retires. The plan is to add two people to the Town Administrator position for operating the Selectmen's Office. There is research being conducted on how to divide up the work that is conducted by that office. Looking at surrounding towns isn't helpful because each town does things very differently so there is no apples to apples comparison possible.

 Blaisdell said she is seeking quotes for the RFP on the Town Hall Office redesign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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