2020 Raymond Board of Selectmen Meetings

Raymond Selectmen Approve Amended Comcast Agreement
By Penny Williams    2-13-20

   The Raymond Board of Selectmen held a Public Hearing Monday, February 10, to consider the Comcast Agreement and a Side Letter, an addition to the contract. This hearing was on the amended Comcast contract that Attorney Kate Miller had advised Cable Coordinator Kevin Woods to retain rather than creating a new contract agreement because the Raymond Cable contract in place is particularly robust and favorable. Miller and Woods discussed the contract and side letter with the board and it can be seen on the Town Web Site, www.raymondnh.gov./rctv.

     The amendment to the contract agreement extends the current contract and the Side Letter deals with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Ruling concerning free services provided to franchise towns by Comcast must now be paid for. The letter allows Comcast to charge for previously free service drops to places such as the schools, the public safety outlets, the library, and Town Hall.

     Woods said he is working with Comcast to determine exactly where the town has operational free service drops as he doesn't believe the drops at the schools, other than one used by Cable for community meetings, are operable. He did say that he thought the Town should keep the ones in the Department of Public Works, the Dispatch, and the Fire Department. These, if there is a charge for them, would be paid for by the Cable budget money and he said he estimates that each would cost approximately $50 a month for a total of $1,800 a year.

    It was also noted that Cable Committee money would be used for the construction of the updated fiber line to the control room for improved broadcast quality that hopefully will be completed in 2020 at an estimated cost of $65,000. The High Definition line would not cost the town anything and would be in place by 2023.
     The board discussed this and unanimously approved signing the agreement although Selectman Jack Barnes was unhappy that there wasn't a full board present to do this.

In other business:

•   The board then signed off on the documents accepting the acquired land donations at 40 Juanita Drive, Lot 4 Chadwick property and Lot 15 Griset property. Public hearings on this had been held previously as required by law and the only comments had come from Conservation Commission Chair Jan Kent.

•   Town Manager Joe Ilsley reported that the Transfer Station negotiations had been finalized and that he is in the process of developing a sticker program to aid in the recycling area. The plan is to make trash and recycling two independent programs. He said that part of the negotiated agreement is that the roadway to the Transfer Station would be properly maintained.

     Ilsley said he is also meeting with Waste Management regarding trash and recycling curb side pick-up and the proposed sticker program. He said he plans to extend the Waste Management contract to match the Transfer Station contract.

•    The Water Tower Study has been completed and he said the Town owes the State a response on what the plans are with regard to the water tower issues. He said it looks like the cost of the repairs and improvements to the water towers will be in the $4,000,000 range.

     He said he had learned that 60 percent of the town's water storage is for fire suppression purposes while the rest is for drinking water purposes. This is an issue that needs to be addressed because drinking water storage is short term with turnover needed while fire suppression water is just the opposite.

    The demand for water has grown with the growth of the area and the developers should be shouldering a portion of this increased cost and impact fees would have been very useful in this area and development of impact fees will be part of the future planning.

•    Ilsley told the board he has plans to meet with the Planning Board regarding the Master Plan and will go over the 2040 planning strategy for the town he has developed.

;•   The Town Report has been dedicated to Veterans and has been sent to the publisher and will be ready for distribution on Tuesday, March 3.

•    He said the assessment of the remodeling possibility of Torrent Hall is moving along and the engineers will be there at the building to do an actual assessment of the physical building shortly as the town moves toward a decision on exactly what will be the most cost effective thing to do with the building - remodel it or tear it down.

    The next selectmen's meeting will be in March, the date not set as yet.  

 All Town Offices and Town Tax Collector 's Office will be closed for President's Day, Monday, February 17. The Second Session Voting polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.


Raymond Municipal Tax Rate Reduced by Thirteen Cents Per Thousand
By Penny Williams     1-29-20

  At the Raymond Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday night, January 27,  Town Manager Joe Ilsley went over who was going to handle which of the articles on the warrant. The board members agreed to the assignments they had accepted. Ilsley said he had reached out to the people who had submitted Citizen Petition Articles asking them to be at the Town Deliberative session on Saturday, February 1st, to explain their article and respond to questions.

     There are three Citizen Petition Articles, one from Lamprey Health, one to prohibit the use of plastic bags in the town; and one about a Scenic Road designation sign.

    Ilsley told the board the estimated tax impact for this year will amount to  a 13 cent reduction of this year's tax.

This translates to the following:
* On a $150,000 dwelling this would be a reduction of $18.90
* On a $200,000 dwelling this would be a $25.21 reduction
* On a $300,000 dwelling this would amount to a $37.81 reduction.

   The board thanked Ilsley for his hard work on reducing the budget, something that hasn't happened in Raymond for a number of years.

  The Selectmen discussed and approved two building permits.

     The first involved a requested building permit for Miendl Road, a private road submitted by Chris Evans, Tuckaway Shores Development LLC. Issuance of such a building permit requires the permission of the Board of Selectmen, a process  which is set out in RSA 674:41. It was noted this is the same process that was used in 2018 when building permits on Branch Road were dealt with by the Board of Selectmen.

     Town Manager Joe Ilsley told the board that the Planning Board had issued a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen on December 19, 2019 regarding this request that included one condition: that the Board of Selectmen vote to issue the permit and the applicant is required to sign and record an Agreement and Release Regarding Building Permit for Property Abutting a Class VI Road which removes liability from the Town in the event that the Town is unable for some reason to respond to an emergency at this property.

    The board reviewed the Agreement and Release document that would allow the owner to construct a single-family residence; owners agrees the Town assumes no responsibility for maintenance of Miendl Road and no liability for any damages arising from the use of the road; and the owner agrees to maintain access and releases the Town from maintenance of Miendl Road and from any loss, damage, or expense arising from the condition of the road including any loss from the Town not providing police, fire and ambulance services. In addition the owner will transport any school age children to the nearest school bus stop. This agreement will be recorded at the Rockingham County Registry of Deeds before the building permit is issued.

       After a brief discussion the board approved and signed the agreement allowing for the issuance of the building permit.

      The board then heard from Brian Griset about an Access Easement for Norris Farm Road requiring the board's signatures.

      Griset explained the purpose of the easement is to provide perpetual access from Norris Farm Road to and from the land owned by the  Griset family for foot and vehicle access. The easement area shall be maintained, repaired, and replaced in accordance with the terms of the Norris Farms at Flint Hill, a Conservation Development Declaration of Easements and Restrictions recorded in the Rockingham County Registry of Deeds. The easement indemnifies the Town from any liabilities claims and damages arising out of any person's use of the easement, except if such is caused by negligence of the Town.

      This easement requires the written permission of the selectmen or the Director of Public Works after consultation with the Conservation Commission which the board noted  has taken place.

    Griset explained that for some reason this agreement never got properly filed at the registry and he is trying to get it done so people can enjoy the Flint Hill conservation property.

     The board discussed this briefly and signed the agreement and it will be properly filed at the registry.



Raymond Selectmen Continue Discussing Pay As You Throw Program
By Penny Williams    1-16-20

    The Raymond Board of Selectmen and Town Manager Joe Ilsley discussed the current trash and recycling issues and explained why the previous meeting on Jan. 6, had been canceled during their Monday night, Jan. 13, meeting.

     The warrant article that had been developed on Pay As You Throw (PAYT) was to have been discussed, reviewed and approved on Jan. 6, but prior to the meeting Ilsley and board Chair George Plante agreed that the article just would make matters worse rather than resolving any current issues, so the board meeting was cancelled and article dropped.

    Ilsley said the current PAYT model, when it was first developed was a good model but today, in a world where recycling issues have drastically changed the landscape, it isn't meeting the town's needs and a new model must be developed.

     He told the board he will be meeting with Waste Management discussing that the town wants to continue supporting both recycling and curbside pick up but wants to keep these two programs separate. He indicated he would keep the board informed on what the Waste Management discussions came up with. He is still negotiating the contract with Waste Management and he hopes to have a new contract regarding the Transfer Station by month's end.

    Selectman Jack Barnes asked if Ilsley had looked at successful local town programs for clues as to what Raymond could do and Ilsley noted that most successful projects have their own operating transfer station which Raymond doesn't have any more.

       Attorney Kate Miller, Donahue, Tucker and Ciandella, spoke to the board about the Cable Franchise issue. Before she spoke  Ilsley read into the record a letter from RCTV Cable Coordinator Kevin Woods.

      Woods explained neither he nor his committee could be present but the committee has no questions regarding Attorney Miller's evaluation and recommendations on the issues. He indicated the committee favors a public hearing on Jan. 27, and moving ahead with the process.

       Miller said that in her meetings with the Cable Company it is apparent they are still trying to work out the new legislative requirements. The Raymond contract agreement is strong and she advised tweaking it rather redoing it as she feels they would never get as good a deal again if the whole contract was to be re-written.

     The issue outstanding is how the Cable Company will deal with the so-called free Cable TV services provided to towns.

     Her advice was to go ahead with the Jan. 27, public hearing on what there is in place and then hold another Public Hearing in February if significant changes are made. The Cable Company told her that they felt if things were resolved by the end of Feb. the new construction Woods wants regarding installing the fiber optic connection to RCTV could happen before year's end.

    She posed two options for the Public Hearing - Jan. 27, or February 10 which could be moved out to February 24 if necessary.

   The board was uncomfortable going to Public Hearing in Jan. when they knew they wouldn't have all the information so decided to post the Public Hearing for February 10,  knowing they could move that back to February 24, if necessary.

     A Public Hearing was opened  regarding the sale of three properties: 40 Juanita Drive, 4 Chadwick Property, and 15 Griset Property - but no one was there for the hearing except Conservation Commission Chair Jan Kent.

     Kent reminded the board the ConsCom letters of approval for all three pieces had previously been read into the record.  She provided the board members with an article detailing the benefits of conservation land which costs an estimated .36 cents per $1,000 value for municipal services as opposed to residential property that costs $1.16 for municipal services per $1,000 value.   

      Kent asked the board to approve the Conservation Commission making Kathy McDonald a full time Conservation Commission member. Kent noted the ConsCom had voted unanimously on Dec. 11, 2019 , to recommend McDonald to be appointed as a full member to the Conservation Commission since she had been participating as a member of the public for many years and had completed the volunteer application and required meeting attendance. The board approved and McDonald was sworn in.

      Police Chief  Michael Labell brought a hiring plan to the board that he had discussed and had approved by Ilsley.

    The department is currently short one officer and is in the midst of the hiring process to fill that position and he has three candidates all at the background stage. Looking ahead, he told the board he is facing three more officers leaving the department between March and July, one to Manchester, one to Salem and one into retirement.

    His plan is to move ahead and hire the replacement officer for the current open spot and hire the another officer for an  upcoming opening. By the time the officer got through the academy and in-field training it would work out just right whereas if he has to wait for the actual open position it could take a year to get the officer actively on board.

     The department should have 17 full time officers and if the planned leaving and or retiring officers should change their minds and stay and he hired two officers now it would mean the department would have 18. That could be addressed by a reduced role for the last hire.  

    Of the 16 members,  one officer just graduated from the academy and one just started the academy so he is actually operating with just 14 officers. He said he has the money in his budget to move forward with this plan. He told the board in the last five years the department turnover has been extreme with the department losing 16 officers.

    The board discussed this briefly and Ilsley praised the plan as creative, effective, and, forward thinking management.  Since Ilsley had the authority to approve it the board simply agreed that this is a good plan.

     The board discussed the three Citizen Petition Articles for the Warrant.

* Article 24 - To see if the Town of Raymond will raise and appropriate the amount of $6,5000 for the Lamprey Health Care Senior Transportation Program.

*  Article 25 - To change Article 13 197-13.1 b Noncommercial Agriculture use
to state agriculture use of land accessory to a residential use where the lot size exceeds 1/2 of an acre in which up to six poultry can be kept.

* Article 26 -  to approve the designation of Old Fremont Road as a Scenic Road .

    The board does not recommend petition articles with no financial aspect so no action was taken with regard to Articles 25 and 26.

     However, a discussion ensued over Article 24. Selectman Kathy Hoelzel indicated she thought the amount in the article could be changed. Ilsley had Finance Manager Julie Jenks look up the RSA and said based on his reading the amount couldn't be altered.

    Board members were concerned that approval of this article will have a negative impact on the board's decision to cap the Health and Human Services line in the budget to $40,000. If this is approved and added then all the already approved requests will have to be reduced to stay within the cap or the cap amount changed.

     Barnes was for approving it this since it addresses transportation for seniors. He had been against it since he didn't believe Lamprey Health should ask for anything since they get their building tax free but when he found out the request was for transportation services he felt differently. It was confirmed that Lamprey  provides rides to seniors five days a week.

     Ilsley noted that the amount of the Health and Human Services line can be adjusted at the Deliberative. After further discussion the board voted not to recommend this article as had the Budget Committee so it will be up to the taxpayers.

    There was a brief discussion about what happens when there is an issue and the board has a conflict and can't sign a request. The board authorized Ilsley to act in the board's stead if such an occasion arises. 

    The sale of 11 Mary property has been delayed as the purchaser works out some title issues but Ilsley said the purchaser's attorney is working with the town to get this worked out.

     The state is demanding that the Town take action regarding its water towers and Ilsley said the full report on the Water Tower Study will be available in February. He added that the plan to renew and renovate Torrent Hall for Town Office space is moving forward and it will save the town 40 to 50 percent by doing this rather than purchasing the bank building. In addition, he pointed out this plan preserves a historic town building.











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Develop an attitude of Gratitude !!
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