2021 Raymond Board of Selectmen Meetings


Raymond Selectmen Pick New Water Tower Site and Vote to Stop Mega-X Project
By Penny Williams   11-30-21

The Director of Public Works, Steve Brewer, presented the board with information concerning possible sites for the new water tower at the Raymond Selectmen's Monday night, November 29, meeting.

Brewer reviewed the findings regarding five possible sites and the associated estimated costs. The sites included two on Flint Hill, one adjacent to the water treatment plant, one adjacent to the High School and one on town owned land on Orchard Street.

The board asked questions regarding each site and Brewer suggested partnering with a private developer would reduce the cost through cost sharing of development. In the end the board and Brewer agreed that using the Orchard Street location would be the best benefit for the town because it would allow downtown revamping. The present water tower there is to be replaced with a new tower whose capacity would be more than 7 times as  much.

Brewer thanked the board for providing him with a direction in which to move as plans for the new water tower are being developed. The present tower has to be taken down but this site is felt to be the best for the town's water supply as the location for a new water tower.

The board agreed that ARPA funds should be used to get the engineering and design for the new water site done as ARPA funded projects must be done by 2026.

Selectman Lee Weldy speaking as a resident, said there is an ordinance from 2011 that would prevent Mega-X from any further development. Selectman Scott Campbell made a motion to Cease and Desist Mega-X from any further development and the board noted the Code Enforcement Officer would need to go down serve that Cease and Desist order the next day.

Three selectmen voted to issue the Cease and Desist Order to Mega-X; Scott Campbell, Chris Long and Lee Weldy while George Plante recused and Kathy Hoelzel abstained.

Police Chief Michael Label reported on his efforts to procure a new cruiser.  He explained that the present cruiser, a  2017 cruiser listed as cruiser number 409, has 160,996 miles on it and in addition, it needs $6,840.69 worth of repairs. Label indicated that repairing the cruiser isn't practical.

He indicated he has gotten bids for a new cruiser, both in the $38,000 plus range. He plans to swap whatever equipment he can from cruiser 409 to the new cruiser but there have been design changes even though the department is still purchasing the Ford Explorer SUV model so not everything will be able to be swapped.

The funding for the new cruiser will come from the Detail Fund  so there will be no tax impact for residents. The trade-in value is around $1,500 for the 409 cruiser but the board said he should go to Gov Deals where he would get more the old cruiser.

The board noted it supports Label's plan for the new cruiser and for the funding coming from the Detail Fund. The board told him to move ahead with his purchase plan.

The board discussed a couple of Warrant Articles they had sought more information on during the previous discussion. There was an in-depth discussion again about Warrant Article (15) Waste Disposal, but no final decision was made other than the board and the administration would continue to look at this issue and develop the article.

The board approved Article 9 Capital Improvements CIP.  Article 14, the Social Services article is all set at $40,000.

Selectman Kathy Hoelzel said the Historic District Commission wanted an Article putting the Bean Tavern  as part of the Historic District. This came in for a lot of discussion. Selectman Scott Campbell expressed concern that this would restrict sales opportunities. In the end no definitive decision on this was made.

The board was asked to appoint an alternate Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) member to a full time position to fill the vacancy on the board. Two alternates were available for that appointment, Tim Cahill and Keith Smith. The board split 2-2 on both candidates.

Smith stepped forward and said the same thing had happened at the ZBA and thus there was no recommendation from the ZBA. There was a discussion and another motion was made to appoint Tim Cahill to the position and this one passed. He was sworn in by Selectman Lee Weldy.

Resident Tina Thomas later questioned why the board interviewed and discussed this appointment in open session rather than in non-public as it has done with other appointments. The board responded only saying it was how it was brought to the board.

Brewer reported that ASAP Landscaping of Bow responded to the counter offer for them to do the two Pine Tree cemeteries mowing on a one year contract and for a maximum amount of $19,000.

ASAP is willing to do this but this would provide only 17 weeks of mowing not 21-26 weeks of  mowing. The company expressed concern about how the cemeteries might look if the paid mowing ended  and continued growth went on and left the cemeteries looking poorly maintained.

It was decided that the town could probably step in if the cemeteries looked badly after the 17 mowing events ended but Brewer noted that using town personnel and equipment to do that mowing would take attention away from other projects.

The board after a discussion approved accepting the one year, $19,000, 17 mowing contract with ASAP Landscaping for mowing the two Pine Hill Cemeteries..

The board accepted the unanticipated revenue from HealthTrust in the amount of $4,184.13 and signed the Property Tax Warrant so tax bills could be sent out. A letter from Gretchen Gott requesting to be on the Town Manager Search Committee was read. And, the board approved extending the town's maintaining Sandy Brook Drive until January as the Public Hearing for acceptance of the road can't be scheduled until the end of December but the town's agreement for maintenance runs out the end of November.

Resident Patricia Bridgeo asked the board to look into the town's well head protection plan. She said different boards have been discussing water issues and PFOAs but not working together and that documentation on this whole issue appears to be missing. She indicated she is concerned about the town's water source being wreaked.

Gary Brown added that he didn't want the state to be brought into this discussion but to keep it within the town's orbit.

Tina Thomas said she would be seeking Right to Know details regarding the performance agreement between the Town and Mega X. She wanted to know if the document ever got executed. She also wanted information from the town on where the leftover Bean Tavern money is going. She also requested that town ballots be put back into Town Reports. She asked why there was music covering a previous meeting on RCTV and when it would be corrected.

 


Raymond Selectmen Name Fire Chief Paul Hammond as Interim Town Manager
By Penny Williams   11-15-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, November 15, and one of the things they did was to approve nominating Paul Hammond, Raymond Fire Chief, as the Interim Town Manager.

There was no discussion beyond getting Hammond sworn in the next day. He will remain as the Town's Fire Chief and be the Acting Interim Town Manager for an estimated three months.

The board heard from Julie Jenks, Finance Director, about town budget updates. The previous budget bottom line was $7,775,790 which has now been reduced after receiving the SchoolCare Insurance rates to $7,759,991.

She also indicated to the board that the two bids received for cemetery care were both over the budgeted amount. After a discussion on the two bids, the lower of which concerned selectmen because it could end up with the town paying for services it didn't receive due to weather interruptions, the board decided to not accept these bids but rather to send out counter offers. The counter offer  would stipulate the price limit of $19,000 for a one year contract and ask what the companies could provide.

The board approved the Library's request for a Warrant Article for a Children's Librarian full time with a total cost of $8,995 and moved it to the ballot. Chair George Plante then went through the proposed Warrant Articles and all but two were forwarded to the ballot.

The Warrant Article concerning the CIP was tabled because the CIP would be meeting the next day to finalize their information. The other Article that deals with Waste Disposal and Fund 18 was tabled for additional information.

The board opened four bids for Municipal Residential Waste Collection. The RFP had requested companies bid on four options, one curb side pick/up and recycling, one just curbside, and two different options where the companies would contract directly with customers.

The four bidders were: Waste Management, Trash Busters, Pinard, and ELM Services. The discussion was long and complex and the numbers provided by the companies for the four options were difficult to compare and in the end the board approved sending the bids to Public Works Director Steve Brewer for his review and recommendation.

There were two bids the board opened for Emergency Life Support Ambulance Service. One was Raymond Ambulance and the other Brewster Ambulance Service.

The cost for the Raymond Ambulance Service was significantly lower but more important, board members noted that Raymond Ambulance has long served the community with dependability and caring dedication.

Selectman Chris Long said he couldn't see contracting with an out of town organization whose coverage could have delays since they serve several communities. He felt the fact that Raymond has had to provide mutual aid to Candia so often who use an out of town service, AMR, was indication enough that Raymond was much better off sticking with its own community service. The board agreed and approved accepting the Raymond Ambulance contract without further discussion.

The board discussed the proposal to add a Domestic Partner  to the Personnel Policy. Several board members objected.

Selectman Lee Weldy said he would be ok with it if the domestic partner in any contract with a town employee paid any extra costs resulting from the Domestic Partner coverage.

Long suggested that the board should be careful how it deals with this issue as the town wouldn't want to be seen as prejudiced.

Selectman Scott Campbell wanted to defer dealing with this until the town had a Town Manager to deal with it and he made a motion to that effect which the board approved.

Buster Hammond complained to the board about a proposed development on Scribner Road and the board indicated to Buster Hammond about another development that the decisions on these are not in the Selectmen's purview, according to legal advice they sought.

Patricia Bridgeo later noted she didn't agree with that saying she feels there are regulations and laws connected to the town which do in fact allow the Selectmen to have a position and opinion and input on such matters and that they should exercise it.

Kevin Woods suggested the board should take a harder look at the onetime cyclical Capital Reserve Fund Article and expressed his concerns about it. He called it a "shell game" that contains language that circumvents the taxpayers.

He also suggested the town should look into dedicating the Route 107 Field and said he was willing to do the research to determine who that should be. He said there would be no town funds involved. The board authorized him to go ahead with this and bring them the information for dedication in the spring.

Bob and Kathy McDonald both spoke briefly in favor of continuing to use ballot machines for voting.

The board approved paying the SAU the second impact fee payment for the 2021 year.

There was a discussion about reinstating impact fees but Bridgeo expressed concern that the whole system needs to reevaluated and reorganized. It was noted that the reason the previous impact fee system failed was the money wasn't used within the prescribed time limit and Raymond had to repay developers. This was an organizational issue.

Several people spoke about their concern for Intent to Cut requests. It was noted that the town doesn't monitor this, rather if abutters or residents have concerns they should contact the State Forester who oversees all intents to cut.

The winner of the raffled town tractor is Jeff Littlefield.

 


Raymond Is Without A Town Manager Again
By Penny Williams   11-4-21

On Monday night, November 1, the Raymond Board of Selectmen met and the Town Manager made a comment thanking residents for their welcome and support for him during his 3 and a half years as his time comes to a close as town manager.

Joseph Ilsley didn't openly state that he was leaving the position and attempts by the Raymond Area News to get confirmation on whether he has left the position have been met with  'no comment' responses from his office and the Board of Selectmen. However, it would appear that the town of Raymond is presently without a Town Manager as of Tuesday, November 2nd.  Once confirmation can be obtained, Raymond Area News will provide the residents with that information. Selectman Chair George Plante did respond to Raymond Area News that he would comment after meeting with the town attorney.

Update: Selectman Chair George Plante sent the following information to Raymond Area News on Friday, November 5th: "On November 2, 2021, Town Manager Joe Ilsley left his employment with the Town of Raymond.  The Raymond Board of Selectmen did not ask Mr. Ilsley to leave employment.  Instead, it expected him to continue to fulfill his duties as Town Manager.  The Town’s policy is not to publicly comment on personnel matters.  The Board will address Mr. Ilsley’s departure in the appropriate legal forum. The selectmen will be having a non-public meeting on Monday, November 8th to discuss an interim town manager." 

The board held a work session with the  Moderator Wayne Welch and Supervisors of the Checklist on the town voting process and election. Residents have been coming before the board during public comment for several meetings asking the board to end the town using voting machines to count ballots.

Plante commented before discussion got underway that it was his opinion that counting by hand often ended up with more errors than when ballots were counted by machine.

Welch and the supervisors indicated that they felt comfortable with the accuracy of the machine counts and had had no issues. They went over the process of the machines being carefully tested prior to an election. Their point was that people need to trust their election officials and that the machines are accurate.

Former Moderator Selectman Kathy Hoelzel noted that the machines used are developed specifically for New Hampshire and that she was unaware of any difficulties or inaccuracies with voting machines since the state started using them.

The board didn't discuss this issue but did state that they were not going to make a decision that night.

Ilsley went over the operating budget noting it is a slight increase. He also noted it is more than the default budget. He said the Water Department budget has a small reduction.

The board voted to accept the draft budget and to submit it on to the Budget Committee.

He recommended the board put the ARPA funds into a Capital Reserve Fund. The intention to apply the ARPA funds to the Water Tower project would be made easier and while the ARPA funds will only pay for a portion of the Water Tower project, the ARPA funds must be spent by 2026. He doubts the Water Tower  project will be finished by then so it will be important for the ARPA funds be applied to an early phase of the project. If the funds are not paid out by the specific 2026 date they will have to be returned in full.

The board opened the two bids received for lawn mowing at Old Pine Cemetery and New Pine Cemetery. One bid was from ASAP Landscaping & Design, Bow and the other from Blue Sky Landscaping, Deerfield.

ASAP offered a three year contract with a set price of $700 for Old Pine Cemetery and $400 for New Pine or a discounted single price for the three year contract for both cemeteries for a total of $24,000. This would be a savings of $4,600.

Blue Sky's price was $1,050 for Old Pine Cemetery and $600 for New Pine Cemetery for the first year increasing to $1,207 and $690 for 2023 and up to $1,388 and $793 for 2024. The bids were forwarded to Public Works Director Steve Brewer for his review and recommendation.

The board asked that the Library's request for the Children's Librarian be put into a Warrant Article.

Conservation Commission Chair Jan Kent presented the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) report on town owned properties.

They recommended that the lots at 16 and 18 Epping Street, the lot located at 165 and 169 Route 27, the parcel at the Upper and Lower end of Scotland Drive and the  property between 31 and 35 Ann Logan Circle all be retained by the town. All have benefits for water protection.

There was a discussion of the lot off Route 107/Prescott Road where an abutter who has been mowing the town owned land on the shore of the pond was concerned about putting a sign up showing this to be public land. There is already parking and direct access to the property. It was recommended that the property be allowed to grow back to a natural state.

The landowner has been mowing the parcel to the edge of the pond to keep down wildlife from reaching her property. She was asked to stop mowing on the town owned side of the fence. The town does not maintain any access to this parcel.

It was agreed to have a site walk of the property by the Board of Selectmen and ConsCom and the abutting landowner before any further decision on this parcel is made.

During the Citizen Question and Answer period, resident Gary Brown commented   about the issue of residents being unhappy with machine ballot count and was claiming the board had been gaslighted.  This quickly turned into a disagreement between Brown and chairman Plante. Brown was asked by Plante to stand down and he refused and a shouting match ensued with Plante shutting down the Citizen Question and Answer session.  Ilsley said if Brown didn't leave as asked he would call the police. Brown snarled 'call the cops' and left.  

 


Raymond Town Manager Reviews Department Budgets
By Penny Williams   10-27-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met at Torrent Hall on Monday, October 25, and the Town Manager went over the draft budget department by department.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley said his overview of the budget showed that the 2022 budget bottom line will be $7,760,439, (subject to changes) which is a $121,807 or 1.59 percent increase. As he reviewed the departments  (his slide presentation is available on the web site) he indicated that the Water Department budget will not be in the black until 2024 or 2025.

He also indicated that the increases in the majority of the departments were related to New Hampshire Retirement increased costs. In several cases he also noted the teamsters contracts were responsible for increases.

He suggested going forward the board consider implementing impact fees which he described as being critical for the town. He also indicated the board needs to consider that Recreation employee pay will be an issue going forward and the board should  expect those costs to increase.

Bottom line he warned that the Town may not be able to meet its $400,000 Unassigned Balance Fund goal. He indicated that the board will have to decide on whether to continue to mandate that amount.

Ilsley went over the Warrant Articles and recommended the Disability Exemption amounts match the Elderly Exemption and that it would be necessary to keep an eye on the Elderly Exemption given the increased COLA this year. He said the CIP and Road Revitalization Articles were 3 percent increases annually. The board approved keeping the Welfare budget the same as last year.

He asked the board if they wanted to use money from the Unassigned Fund Balance to offset the tax rate which hasn't been set yet. A motion was made and discussed to put $300,000 from the Unassigned Fund Balance to reduce taxes. The board approved this despite Ilsley's reminder that they will need to make a similar payment next year or the tax rate will shoot up.

The board approved going along with the topographical survey for Governor's Lake at a cost of $4,242. It might be possible to cover this cost from the Deed CRF fund and he would reach out to the Trustees of the Trust Fund in this regard.

The board discussed and went over the recommend list of town properties where hunting is allowed. The list from ConsCom included the following areas with the caveat that there are portions of many of the locations that are not open to hunting: Cassier Memorial Forest, Cilley Road, Dearborn, Flint Hill, Lane Road. Shattagee Road, Colonial Drive, Robinson Hill, Grout Farm Road, Morrison Road, Towle Road, Smith Pond Road. Fox Run Road needs further research.

Kirsten Corbett, Dudley-Tucker Library Director  told the board the Children's Librarian will be retiring and a new Children's Librarian will need to be hired. She and the Library Trustees recommend bringing the Children's Librarian position back to a full time position.

A full time Children's Librarian would cost $78,058.27 while a 32-hour Children's Librarian, which is in the budget, would cost $69,094.05. This is a $8,964.22 budgetary impact. She requested the board ask the Budget Committee to include a full time Children's Librarian position. The board tabled this for a non-public discussion.

The board discussed the issue of election recounts brought up by residents. Board Chair George Plante said he would like to have a work session at the November 1, meeting that would include the Town and School Moderators, the Town and School Clerks, and the Supervisor of the Check List. This issue will be discussed at the November 1, meeting and will be first on the agenda.

The board approved of removing diseased trees on the common; approved CRF withdrawals for Paving at $300,000 and $60,000 for 2021 Town Reappraisal Project. It also approved the request for a raffle from the Raymond Historical Society and the raffle for the tractor sale.

The board approved the Knights of Columbus request for a Manger Scene on the Town Common and paying the Rockingham Planning Commission is membership fee of $10,3042. It also approved releasing the impact fees in the amount of  $97,206.84 for the school district.

 


Raymond Selectmen Address Governor's Lake Issue Again and Discuss Flint Hill Water Tower
By Penny Williams   9-21-21

On Monday, September 20, the Board of Selectmen agenda had two Governor's Lake items and the issue of the proposed work on the beach area brought forward by Ed Runcie continues to be a hot topic.

At the board's June 7, meeting Ed Runcie asked the board to authorize him to continue to move forward with the State Department of Environment Services to work on correcting erosion and drainage issues at the beach on Governor's Lake. The board discussed this and since Runcie is absorbing the cost they agreed asking that he keep the Town Manager, Joe Ilsley and the Public Works Director Steve Brewer involved and informed. At the time Conservation Chair Jan Kent spoke up saying she was very concerned that the board would authorize this activity when no residents on Governor's Lake or the Conservation Commission have been apprised of the plan or seen the proposal. She indicated there will be an impact on many residents. Despite that the board said they favored Runcie moving forward with the state but requested he allow Brewer and Ilsley to monitor the project.

Monday night Brewer reported that the permit application had been denied so a more robust permit will need to be applied for which will require at least $3,000 for the development of data and information required.

The Governor's Lake Homeowners Association vice president spoke and said he has a signed petition of 63 residents who oppose the proposed work. These residents don't want to see this proposed project move forward. There was a general discussion about boat launches at public beaches with the HOA insisting the beach in question is a town public beach not a boat launch.

Selectmen Scott Campbell said the town has a liability issue here knowing that boats are allowed to be launched when it is illegal to do so. He wanted an immediate stop put to boat launches using barriers or large stones. The board agreed and approved the motion but a legal review of Campbell's motion was requested.

Kent spoke saying she is still amazed the board is allowing this action at all where residents and Conservation members oppose it and have not been party to any of the plans. She brought copies of emails that were referenced earlier by another speaker on the issue.

Ilsley and Brewer discussed the Water Tower issue. Selectmen Lee Weldy suggested the tower be located on town owned property at Flint Hill. A long discussion ensued but in the end Ilsley said he would continue to investigate the Flint Hill location, develop a strategy for that location after engineering for that layout is done and continue to pursue grant funding.

It was decided to put the ARPA money ($1,040,000) toward the water tower project. Ilsley and Brewer agreed to get the hydraulic study done for the  Flint Hill water tower location. The board approved moving forward with Flint Hill for the water tower location.

Brewer said it will take about 5 months to do the necessary engineering and design work for the Shattigee Road culvert replacement at a cost of $77,670.

The board approved putting the Pay As You Throw RFP out.

The board opened the two bids for paving markings and gave them to Brewer for his review and recommendation. One was from Markings, Inc. Pembroke, MA for $45,246.45 and the other was from  K5 Corp, Rockland, MA at $34,234.

Ilsley discussed the budget process and said he will have a draft budget for the board at the October 4 meeting.

In answer to an earlier question from Carol Watjus, he said the tax rate information has not yet been submitted yet. He went on to say that Raymond shouldn't expect excess revenue this year but he anticipates reaching his conservative prediction.

In discussing the unassigned fund balance he recommended against using it to reduce the tax impact. He noted if that is done this year it will have to be done again next year or there will be a spike in the tax rate as has come since the school side hasn't been providing the big bucks back to the tax payers.

 However, Ilsley suggested the board approve using unassigned fund balance funds to cover abatements. The board took in all his suggestions and decided to wait and make decisions at their October 4, meeting when there would be information regarding the town's revaluation. Ilsley did indicate the town is likely looking at 30 percent valuation increase.

The board approved $11,000 for the 220 tickets at $50 each for the tractor raffle.

Selectman Kathy Hoelzel asked for volunteers to step forward to fill open seats on several important committees and boards, the budget committee among these.

The board approved the CRF transfer for the Bean Tavern of $8,994.17 for expenses.

Tim Cahill and Keith Smith were approved as the Zoning Board of Adjustment alternates.

Chief Michael Labell said his department has been approved for a $15,908 law enforcement grant from the state. The board approved accepting the grant.

 


Raymond Selectmen Accept Overlook Drive as a Town Road and Approve $80,192.95 for Parks and Recreation Truck
By Penny Williams   8-31-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, August 30, and held a public hearing regarding the acceptance of Overlook Drive as a town road.

The board had discussed this previously at their July meeting. At that time Public Works Director Steve Brewer said Overlook Drive  was ready to be accepted as a town road.

There are some 26 homes on Overlook Drive, which is off of Langford Road, and the road construction has been engineered and monitored by the Town Engineering firm DuBois and King.   He further recommended the board should accept the road as a town road. If it did,  the town would be responsible for the road while the Homeowners Association would  be responsible for fire protection and the cistern as well as for drainage.

At the August Selectmen's meeting a few minor changes were made to the official Overlook Drive adoption documents so these had to be sent to Town Counsel for a review before a vote could be taken. The board was informed Monday night the documents have now been reviewed by counsel and approved.

After a brief discussion the board voted to approve the acceptance of Overlook Drive as a Town Road with the status of a public highway and deemed to be a Class V highway, subject to Raymond's responsibility for regular maintenance.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley went over several options with regard to the town's Pay As You Throw program. He noted that each option has a level of liability. He indicated that it would be necessary to find out what contractors would be willing to provide regarding the trash and recycling curb side pick-up. In order to ascertain this he recommended the board authorizing him to prepare a RFP that would include the options he outlined.

The board discussed those options briefly and asked him to move forward with preparing the RFP and getting it back before the board for their review. The board also asked that he check with neighboring towns to see how they handle waste management, recycling curbside pick-up.

The board approved $80,192.95 from the Parks and Recreation Capital Reserve Fund for a truck for parks and recreation. It tabled a request for payment of attorney fees and requested a non-meeting be held to look into them.

There were 10 cemetery deeds to be signed and the board approved and signed them.

Ilsley informed the board the Town has received its America Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds in the amount of $551,138.65. He indicated that the emphasis is to apply those funds to infrastructure. In Raymond's case that works as the funds can used for the Water tower project. It won't cover all the cost but would make a substantial start.

It was noted that the town's revaluation has been completed. The average increase amounts to 35 percent. Residents are warned not to try and use their 2020 assessed values going forward.

There was a continued discussion about how to market the town owned tractor. It was assessed in value at $10,000 so if raffle tickets are to be used the raffle total would have to amount to the $10,000. The board will hold further discussions on how to move forward with this.

During Public Comment periods Caroline Matthews spoke saying she approved of the proposed Hazard Mitigation Plan and encouraged residents to read it. She went on to say she does not approve of the proposed significantly changed Emergency Operations Plan, believing the town is better served when the Fire Chief is in control.

Gary Brown spoke about the reading of his letter at the previous meeting complaining that the reading being interrupted continually made the letter incoherent.

He went over his points again noting that he had made these points during the Bean Tavern Advisory Committee meetings.

Jan Kent, speaking as a resident and abutter on Governors Lake, added her two cents to the push back against the proposed work on the Governor's Lake beach and said she didn't understand how it ever was approved.

Julie Laughner asked if the board had made any decision on the use of machines for voting and whether they planned to discontinue the use of the voting machines. There was no response from the board.

 


Raymond Selectmen Revisit the Governor’s Lake Improvement Proposal and Hold Public Hearings on Hazard Mitigation Plan and Emergency Management Plan
By Penny Williams   8-26-21

The Board of Selectmen met Monday night, August 23, and among the issues dealt with was the proposal for work on beach property at Governor's Lake the board had previously approved.

Several months back Ed Runcie asked the board to authorize him to continue to move forward with the State Department of Environment Services (NH DES) to work on correcting erosion and drainage issues at the beach on Governors Lake. The board discussed this and since Runcie would be absorbing the cost the board agreed, asking that he keep Town Manager Joe Ilsley and the Public Works Director Steve Brewer involved and informed.

At the time, Jan Kent, a Governors Lake abutter, spoke up saying she was very concerned that the board would authorize this activity when no residents on Governors Lake or the Conservation Commission have been apprised of the plan or seen the proposal. She indicated there will be an impact on residents. Despite that the board said they favored Runcie moving forward with the state.

Monday night Greg Arvanitis, Governors Lake Improvement Association President, spoke to the board about this proposal. He asked the board to put a hold on the proposed work as none of the 250 homes with deeded rights were notified about this change of use. He indicated that the association and residents wish the board to step back and allow the association to come up with a better proposal for addressing the erosion issue.

Brewer reported that the plan as now proposed would require a wetlands permit. The state body that initially said they'd work with Runcie, Soak Up the Rain group, is a program that works with Homeowners and their issues on the home's property, But before any work could be done on the proposed plan a Shoreline Protection Permit would be needed. It appears the group Runcie was planning to work with is not authorized to do the work proposed. The Soak Up the Rain group was merely providing guidance. The disturbance that would be involved demands a permit by notification.

The cost of going for the permit would be  $200 and the Town would have to apply for and pay for the permit. After a discussion the board decided to move forward with the permit process and then the proposal and the information from the NH DES will be brought back to the board for them to vote on regarding what is allowed.

The board held a Public Hearing on two programs. The public comment was sought for the adoption of the Town of Raymond Hazard Mitigation Plan and the Town of Raymond Emergency Management Plan.

Several residents spoke up complaining that the reports on these issues and proposed plans had only been posted at 6 p.m. the night of the meeting. Residents complained they did not have time to review the reports therefore couldn't comment.

Theresa Walker suggested that there be a 30 day comment period for residents to review and comment on the Hazard Mitigation Plan proposed. After some discussion this was approved by the board.

Ilsley went over the significantly changed Emergency  Management Plan explaining the new and improved plan provides the town with a fully executable and functional plan.

The current plan has the Fire Chief responsible for the majority of roles in the plan as well as being the Incident Commander, meaning he might well be pulled away from an incident which wasn't a good way to go.

One change is to have the Director of Emergency Management be the Town Manager and he would have the power to purchase materials or goods needed to address an incident which authority and power the Fire Chief didn't have. This would also allow the Incident Commander, the Fire Chief , to do what he is best suited to do and that is remain at and control the incident scene.

The board decided that there should be a 30 day comment period for this proposed plan and voted accordingly.

During the Public Comment period, Attorney Jim Soucie on behalf of Patricia Bridgeo, presented her request that the Warrant Article approved by voters regarding the Bean Tavern be followed.

 Bridgeo's complaint pointed out that the Warrant Article did not authorize the committee or town to move ahead with subdividing the property but despite this she said the board moved ahead with the Advisory Committee that has made recommendations not authorized by the Warrant Article. That committee, Bridgeo noted, does not have abutters or general public as members.

The Bean Tavern Advisory Committee Vice Chair Terry Dolan gave a brief history of the Bean Tavern and said the report provides the board with a list of options, each option accompanied by the pros and cons of the option.

Board Chair George Plante read a letter regarding the report and proposals written to the board by committee member Gary Brown. His letter rambled on about the fact that the town's Commercial Development Committee and director no longer exists but that the Town Manager has assumed that role.

Selectman Kathy Hoelzel responded to Browns letter on several points clarifying where his statements were either confusing or inaccurate.

Hoelzel indicated Brown had the opportunity as a member of the Advisory Committee to have made his objections but had not done so. She called his letter negative where the committee's report was positive.

The Advisory Committee report will be put up on the web site and comments will be accepted regarding the options proposed.

The board heard four Capital Reserve Fund requests and approved three.  One for $40,000 to cover legal expenses for Public Works issues was approved.  One for the costs associated with 10 Old Fremont Road work expenses was tabled. One for $34,000 for a Police Department vehicle replacement that saved $17,000 over expected cost was approved. And finally, one for the Department of Public Works replacement truck purchase at a cost of $74,492.95, saving $20,000 over budgeted proposal, was approved.

Brewer told the board about the Proposed Water Storage Tank site MOA. He indicated the town would get an easement and purchase a small amount of land from the individual acquiring the land at 4 Epping Street. This is the solution for the water tower. The MOA would give the town the access and land for the water tower which the state has stated the town must build.

The board authorized a study at a cost of $10,000 to review this location, the MOA and the overall issue. It decided to table this matter until the next meeting.

The board approved making some minor changes to the Overlook Drive acceptance document and these will be forward to the attorney for review and inclusion in the final document. The issue will taken up at the August 30, meeting.


Residents Continue to Express Concern for Use of Voting Machines at Raymond Selectmen Meeting
By Penny Williams   8-10-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen on Monday, August 9, heard from a number of residents regarding their concerns with the Town's use of voting machines and their desire for an audit of recent results.

Julie Laughner, Virginia Ferald, Norman Bennett and Cindy Bennett all expressed their very passionate concerns over the voting machines used by Raymond to count votes. They all referenced the Windham audit that took place and all expressed concern over the continued use of voting machines. They all want the board to authorize an audit of recent voting results and want the machines eliminated from use and hand counts only be utilized going forward.

The residents all spoke with passion and noted their numbers are growing and they wanted to know what the board was doing about their requests. Chair George Plante told them the board members hear their concerns and they are being looked into. However, he said it would be September before they had any specific answers for the people. However, it was noted that the town reports are in the Library and could be looked at to determine when the use of the voting machines actually took place. It was thought it was around 2000 or 2002.

One woman, a former Canadian who just became an American citizen said she is going from town to town throughout the state to warn about the need to look at the use of voting machines and to make sure voting is being carefully monitored. She and others of the speakers expressed concern that voting issues are moving the Town away from its democratic provisions and possibly allowing the start of communism.

Tina Thomas spoke about road sign issues saying there is a problem with the Kennett Road sign and she wishes the board would authorize removal of no through trucking signs on Main and Epping streets since the town can't control this issue and trucks are continuously using both roadways. Plante said that issue should go to the Highway Safety Committee.

Thomas also asked why cars weren't ticketed or towed when parked overtime between 56 and 68 Main Street during the Town Fair when they are any other time. She also wanted the board to look into how and why a building permit was issued for a duplex at 82 A Prescott Road and to ensure this type of mistake doesn't happen again.

Cindy Bennett in addition to concerns with voting and voting machine issues said she was against the town accepting the federal money because it comes with strings attached and likely moves the town closer to communism.

Gretchen Gott asked the board to not move the board meetings to Torrent Hall as there are traffic, parking and other issues that would impact residents trying to attend meetings there. She also objected to spending money to set up an additional RCTV studio at Torrent Hall while acknowledging that a single camera coverage for an Emergency Management issue was reasonable for RCTV.

The board interviewed by phone Kera Clements for a position on the Cemetery Advisory Committee and interviewed Amy Pettengill in person. Colleen Boutin was unable to be there so the board put off her interview to the next board meeting. Pettengill said there is another person interested and asked if it too late to apply. The board told her it is not too late and the person should send a letter of interest.

There was a brief discussion about how to get more volunteers for the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) that is having difficulty holding meetings because it can't get a quorum. People were encouraged to send letters of interest for membership on the ZBA.

The next board meeting will be August 23, followed by one on September 20, both at 6:30 p.m.

 


Raymond Selectmen Hear Residents Express Election Concerns and Accept American Recovery Plan Act Funds
By Penny Williams   7-28-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, July 26, and several residents raised serious concerns about the use of the Towns election vote count machines.

The concerns raised by some residents included having no faith in the voting machines and wanting the machines removed from use and votes counted by hand.  References were made to the hearings and investigations on voting count issues and concerns that took place in Windham.

The Raymond residents pushing for this want the use of the voting machines ended and to have the voting returns audited. The residents felt the board has the authority to get rid of the machines.

It was pointed out that the board may not be the authority to get rid of the machines. It will need to be proven when the use of the electronic vote counting machines was approved and whether it was approval to purchase only or approval to purchase and use the electronic vote counting machines. If that Warrant Article approved the use of the electronic machines for voting then it will be up to the legislative body to make any change to that.

The board ask Town Manager Joe Ilsley to first determine what the Warrant Article regarding the electronic vote counting machines actually stated - to only purchase or to purchase and use and them and further to determine who has the authority to  change the use of the electronic vote counting machines.

The board indicated that these are serious issues and the proper process needs to involve the Moderator and the Secretary of State and well as getting the answers Ilsley was asked to determine.

In addition the board and Ilsley felt that a public hearing would be needed to allow residents on both sides of the issues to have the opportunity to state their position.

The board noted the serious nature of these concerns and said it would move forward looking into them.

The board held a Public Hearing to accept the American Recovery Plan Act funds. There was some discussion but the board voted to accept the funds which could amount to an initial amount of $551,138.65 and then a similar amount could be applied for.

The board authorized Financial Director Julie Jenks to be the person authorized to represent Raymond in this matter and to be authorized to sign related documents.

The board approved the Fire Department donating the old Town Computers. It was noted there is little to no value in trying to sell them.

Public Works Director Steve Brewer said he is working with Consolidated Communications in trying to get the conduit and pole license for the Washington  Street neighborhood subdivision.

Once that license is obtained Brewer said he would work to get the street opening permit in place so the company could do the work. A Letter of Credit in the amount of $60,000 would be provided by Consolidated. The work is expected to be completed in three or four weeks.

Brewer said Overlook Drive was there to be accepted as a town road. There are some 26 homes there and the road construction has been engineered and monitored by the Town Engineering firm DuBois and King.

There were a couple of things to be aware of but he indicated the $8,000 bond should be reduced to $700. He further noted the board could accept the road as a town road and the town would be responsible for the road while the Homeowners Association would  be responsible for fire protection and the cistern as well as for drainage.

A legal review of the agreement is needed so no action was taken other than for the board to table this issue until the August 9, meeting.

 

William Nevotney  asked the board to move forward on Overlook Drive because the residents are facing real struggles with not having Waste Management allowed to come down their street because it is not a town owned road.

There was a discussion and Ilsley said if legal determines there is no liability with Waste Management going down to get the recycling and the covenants are in hand it should be approved.

Brewer asked the board to approve using $54,500 from the Capital Reserve Fund for Maintenance of the Water Tower. He indicated when Weston & Sampson was cleaning the aeration tower they found the top of the filter was fully clogged up. Material needed for the rebuilding of the tower will cost $54,500.

The tower has been locally power washed for the last 17 years but having it done professionally on an annual basis will save money in the long run, according to Brewer, so the board approved having Weston & Sampson come in do the rebuilding work using the CRF money.

The board discussed the request for money for the Police Body Cameras that would come from the CRF-PDPDF in the amount of $76,851.44 The board approved the purchase which had been discussed at a previous meeting.

The board approved the Intent to Cut on two properties owned by the same owner. Verification has been completed so the board approved cutting on Map 22, Lots 49-8 and 49-9.

The board approved two properties being taken out of Current Use. The town will receive $7,500 for one and $9,000 for the other.

The board approved two football team Land Use requests for field use. They also approved a request for the use Torrent Hall from Hill Top Inc. for a voting meeting. 

The Land Use requests would have the Land Use Fees attached to them with 50 percent of those fees going for the maintenance of the fields and 50 percent to the town's Youth Recreation programs. The board also approved allowing the School District Athletic Department Home Coming Parade to take place September 18.

Ilsley said there has been a short term solution to the Shattigee Road issues and once these are finished public works and highway departments will move forward with designing and engineering a long term solution.

Ilsley also suggested moving forward with the plan for the barn demolition at the Bean Tavern property. It was suggested a professional electrician wasn't needed to shut off the electricity. Once the line was cut from the house that would be it. Brewer was ok with that.

There has been an Algae Bloom on Governor's Lake and no swimming has been advised with notices appropriately posted.

 


Raymond Selectmen Appoint Christine Rousseau as Deputy Town Clerk and Deputy Tax Collector
By Penny Williams   7-13-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met on Monday night, July 12, and learned that the  Town Clerk and the Tax Collector both chose the same person to be their deputy and the selectmen approved the recommendation presented by Tax Collector Christina McCarthy on behalf of herself and Town Clerk Alyssa Richard.

McCarthy told the board she and Richard both recommend the board approve Christine Rousseau to be the deputy town clerk and the deputy tax collector. She requested that Rousseau be approved for each position separately so she could function in either primary position if necessary. The board approved each position separately after only the briefest of discussion.

The request to use money voted by the legislative body to purchase the Bean Tavern has been determined not available to be used to control pests. The money for pest control will have to come from another source and any unused money that was voted for the purchase of the Bean Tavern will have to be presented as a Warrant Article in March when it will either be  decided to dissolve the CRF or repurpose it. If the CRF is dissolved the funds will be returned to the unassigned fund balance.

Some pests were found and caught at the Bean Tavern barn and there is evidence of rat attempts to gain entry. They will continue with the pest control measures before tearing down the barn.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley reported that he had been in touch with the Utilities Appraiser, George Sansoucy regarding the Consolidated Communication company's abatement request. The language regarding that request didn't specifically state the abatement request should be denied. Upon checking with Sansoucy it was stated that the Consolidated Communications abatement request was not supported and the town should deny it.

The Police Department is trying to update its technical abilities in two ways: to have officers have body cameras to wear, and for the Live Scan printing machine to be installed. Both are the subject of state legislative bills and grants may be available for each.

Police Chief Michael Labell recommended moving forward with the purchase of the body cameras since the bill has been retained in committee. He acknowledged if the bill eventually passes and the town has purchased the body cameras it is unlikely the town would be reimbursed. However, he recommended moving forward now with the purchase.

The board discussed this noting the cost of about $90,000 for the body cameras had already been discussed and supported during earlier discussions. The board approved the chief's recommendation to move forward with the purchase of the body cameras.

With respect to the Live Scan machine Chief Labell recommended holding off and waiting to see what the State legislature actually does regarding this. The board voted to  accept his recommendation to wait on the Life Scan machine.

Ilsley reported that the State has decided to move ahead with the proposed  Route 27 bridge repairs and approved what the board had been told would be done at the previous meeting.

The bridges in Candia will closed down with traffic rerouted and the Raymond bridge will have one way traffic. The Department of Transportation will do the construction and traffic management and  local officers certified by the state for traffic control may be called on to assist.

Ilsley read the proposed Cemetery Charter. There is consideration of re-establishing the Cemetery Trustees. The board was asked to vote on the size and components of the proposed Advisory Cemetery Committee and the board voted to have a 7 member committee with three members from the town with four members from the community at large. There would be a Selectman, a Planning Board member, and  a member of the Historic District Commission. He indicated they would start soliciting membership of community members.

Christina McCarthy, who is the Tax Collector and Planning Technician told the board that Alyssa Welch had retained her position representing the town on the Rockingham Planning Commission but two more people are needed. McCarthy said she was volunteering to be one of the two. Patricia Bridgeo stepped forward and volunteered to be the other. The board approved their appointments.

The board received the Ethics Training presented by Gretchen Gott and Tracy  Merrill.

Patricia Bridgeo asked the board to look into the issue of trucks trying to find the Walmart Distribution Center backing onto her property and out onto Main Street. Signage might be helpful but town can't do it.

The board responded to a question regarding how residents are notified about policy and or regulation changes. Ilsley said the changes are posted on the web site, notices put up in town hall and at whatever location is involved. Changes are also noted in the town newsletter.

The constant rain has washed out the culvert on Shattegee Road and the road is closed. Ilsley indicated Public Works Director Steve Brewer estimates the cost of repair/replacement will be in the $100,000 range. West Shore Drive culvert is being monitored and arrangements have been made to ferry emergency personnel by boat should that become necessary.

He thanked the people who helped out with the July 4th Celebration. Town employees volunteered their time unpaid to the tune of 35 hours saving the town $1,004.28. The board voted to accept the donation of the unpaid time employees volunteered.

The new Radar Speed and Message Trailer has been vandalized, Ilsley reported. The $10,000 piece of equipment was destroyed and a new one will have to be purchased. He said whoever did the vandalism cost the tax payers of Raymond that additional $10,000.

The board discussed a request from Adam Kelly to be allowed to bait for deer and bear hunting in the Cassier town forest. The board didn't have a problem with the hunting but they were concerned about allowing baiting. It was decided to request a recommendation from the Conservation Commission before making a decision.

 


Raymond Board of Selectmen Discuss Cemetery Issues and Route 27 Bridges
 By Penny Williams  6-22-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen held a long meeting Monday evening June 21, and the cemetery issues were an emotional topic.

It was said that items people's families had placed on their cemetery monuments and plots had disappeared. A couple of residents indicated they felt the items had been stolen and Town Manager Joe Ilsley defended the sexton and the actions taken at the cemetery. The actions were taken to improve the appearance and maintenance of the cemetery but things didn't quite work out as planned.

Ilsley admitted that things were not done in a way that everyone had notice about but that nothing had been stolen. He complained that he was misquoted but admitted that residents have been hurt by the actions taken at the cemetery but he contended those actions were well intentioned. were noticed. and have resulted in the cemetery looking much improved.

Nevertheless, examples were given of items that have disappeared. Several people reportedly were allowed to search through bags of items that were put in storage and some items were found, others were not found.

The sexton position is basically a volunteer position who gets a stipend. The gentleman selected  was chosen because of the care he took of his own cemetery plot and he has worked hard to improve the looks of the cemetery.

Ilsley said there were notices at each cemetery entrance saying items  at gravesites would be part of the planned clean-up and should be removed by a specific date. It was said that the notice was at Town Hall but it was pointed out people didn't go into Town Hall because of COVID-19 restrictions last year. It was also pointed out that families who live out of Raymond didn't get the notices and many of the gravesites no longer have members who are alive.

It was brought up at least twice that the removal of  urns was inconsistent - some being removed and totally gone; some taken to storage' some turned upside down;  while some were left untouched. Some were located in storage but some have just disappeared. It was noted that several Angel statues have also just disappeared.

Gary Brown questioned Ilsley about the sexton and how he was hired and who he provided notice to about the clean-up. He also said that clean-up meant mowing and raking not taking away individual family items at gravesites. He suggested if the rules have changed people should know about the change and what the new rules are.

Amy Pettengill spoke on behalf of a number of people regarding the cemetery situation. She indicated she has started a Face Book page on the cemetery that has 122 members all of who are waiting for a solution to this situation. She brought a number of family complaints to the table regarding  items that have disappeared.

It was proposed that the Trustees of the Cemetery be reinstated. Before that happens it was suggested that a Cemetery Advisory Committee be appointed and that this committee draft a Warrant Article regarding Trustees of the Cemetery for 2022 and that body would be in place by 2023.

The discussion ended with the board suggesting that Ilsley come up a proposal working with Pettengill to get that committee up and running. The Cemetery Advisory Committee proposal should be brought back to the board when it is ready.

In the meantime, families looking for items that have disappeared should check with the sexton and see if they are among the items being held in storage.

There was a long discussion with representatives from the NH Department of Transportation regarding work that needs to be done to three Route 27 bridges. one of which is in Raymond and the other two just over the line in Candia.

For the two Candia bridges residents will have a choice regarding how the repair works is done by choosing to do it in one phase which would see the portion of Route 27 that is involved closed with a detour. The other option would be to do it with partial road closures thus avoiding a complete road closure. The work on the Raymond Route 27 bridge would be using a partial road closure. Construction and repairs are slated for summer 2022.

Selectman Kath Hoelzel said that before any decisions are made the State needs to hold a public hearing to get resident input on these proposed bridge repairs. She and others are concerned about the impact of small businesses near the bridges and about emergency and mutual aid calls if there is a road closure and/or a detour.

The bridge repair discussion turned to the Dudley Road bridge issue. The state has lowered the allowable tonnage from 8 to 3 tons only which should exclude trucks and allow only cars. Barrels placed making it one way.

 It was noted that this bridge is a safety and security issue and the state will not repair it and it will be shut down when it is deemed unsafe for use.

However, residents spoke up noting that the state is virtually unaware of the importance of the Dudley Road bridge to the small businesses located adjacent to the bridge and to the many users of Dudley Road and the bridge on a daily basis. The state estimates 500 cars use it daily but residents indicate that far more than that use it daily on a regular basis.

It was also noted that while a big sign was in place stopping trucks from using the bridge, trucks had virtually stopped crossing the bridge but that is now no longer the case.

The importance of the Dudley Road bridge and the short cut using Dudley Road would play a real role in any road closures by the state for the Route 27 repairs. It was also noted that a road closure forcing emergency vehicles to use a detour would add time that would have a negative impact on emergency services.

Several suggestions were made that repairing Dudley bridge would be less expensive than removing it and might lessen the cost of the other bridge repairs but the state isn't interested in repairing the Dudley Road bridge.

Resident Angela Locke suggested that the townspeople work together to repair the Dudley Road bridge but it was pointed out that can't happen as it is a state highway and bridge. But it was thought the town might be able to work with the state to make all these bridge situations more palatable and less expensive.

It turns out that the town's effort to obtain the triangle of land owned by the state on Main Street and the garage building owned by the state were issues that fell through the cracks several years ago when they were raised. The NHDOT representatives felt these two properties would be available for the town to acquire and Ilsley indicated he would start negotiations regarding them again.

The board voted to approve the Public Land Fees and the proposed growth model.

Ilsley read recommendations from Utilities Appraiser George Sansoucy regarding abatement requests from utility companies. Sansoucy recommended denying the requests for a number of reasons but made no recommendation regarding Consolidated Communication request.  Ilsley said he would get clarification regarding that rebate request recommendation from Sansoucy and bring it to the board on July 12.

The board voted to accept Sansoucy's recommendation to deny the rebate requests for Eversource, NHEC and EIP.

There were two bids opened for holding the Household Hazardous Waste Day. One was from Tradebe, Marysville, Indiana, with a set up fee of $2,400 and $28 per car. The other bid was ACV Enviro. Norfolk, Massachusetts with a set up fee of $1,995 the $31 per 5 pounds or gallons and a number of other charges.

The board approved sending the bids to Public Works Director Steve Brewer for his recommendation.

There was a discussion about the Bean Tavern.  Kevin Woods suggested at the start of Public Comment that the funds approved by voters to purchase the Bean Tavern couldn't be used for things such as rodent control or demolition of buildings.

Patricia Bridgeo expressed concern about the plan to get rid of the rodents in the old barn on the property fearing they would overrun adjacent properties. Worse, the poison would end up killing other wildlife.

 Ilsley said the plan is not to use any poison but rather to trap the rodents and this would nullify Bridgeo's concerns.

There was a discussion about whether to remove the outer buildings on the property/ Bridgeo said the garage section of the old barn is sound and should be preserved as it has value.

There was a discussion about the removal of the other buildings on the property. Ilsley said he has someone who will do the demolition for free but he needs authority from the board to move forward.

It was thought that the rodent extermination should take place first and money to do this would come from the town's operational budget and could be covered later from any surplus Bean Tavern funds if that were approved.

The board authorized Ilsley to move forward with the demolition of the other buildings on the property once the rodent issue is cleared up.

The board approved the warrant for dog forfeiture fines for unlicensed dogs.

 


Raymond Selectmen Approve All Model Growth Plans and 4th of July Volunteers Needed
By Penny Williams   6-8-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met on Monday evening, June 7, and after discussion approved all of the Town Manager's recommended department model growth plans.

The Public Hearing was held for the board to vote on Town Manager Joe Ilsley's recommended model growth plans to bring the fees per department in line. In some cases the fees had not been adjusted for almost two decades and none have been adjusted recently.

Ilsley went over the Community Development fee structure, Recreation fees noting that in order to charge out of town vendors or groups using the fields a fee structure for field use must be in place. However, the board can waive any activity or field use fee that is town sponsored or which benefits the town so local residents, teams, organizations and individuals would not be charged for field use that fits that category. He also went over the Fire Department SRF, Solid Waste, Town Copy and Print, Public Works, and the Public Land Use Fees being proposed. He pointed out that the projected exhaustion of the Water Department's $700,000 funds would occur by 2027.

The board approved all of his recommended model growth plans. He explained that it is intended to properly re-align land use request and authorization under the Board of Selectmen and to mitigate the impact to taxpayers of individual land use cost as well as generating revenue for land maintenance and upkeep.

The need for the adjustment and corrective action is due to years of the town following what Ilsley termed a "Culture of Deferment' that  he indicated has cost Raymond an estimated $861,000 in lost revenue. This means private citizens and taxpayers have been subsidizing commercial and private activities. The board will vote on the specific fee schedule at their next meeting.

The growth model plans call for a single year adjustment ranging from 3 percent to 11.6 percent with an annual adjustment of 2.5 percent in fees annually thereafter. The Fire Department SRF would have a 3 percent annual increase and the Water Department would see a 4 percent increase for four years and then 3 percent annually after that.

Ed Runcie asked the board to authorize him to continue to move forward with the State Department of Environment Services to work on correcting erosion and drainage issues at the beach on Governors Lake. The board discussed this and since Runcie is absorbing the cost they agreed asking that he keep Ilsley and the Public Works involved and informed.

Jan Kent spoke up saying she was very concerned that the board would authorize this activity when no residents on Governors Lake or the Conservation Commission have been apprised of the plan or seen the proposal. She indicated there will be an impact on residents. Despite that the board said they favored Runcie moving forward with the state but requested he allow Public Works and Ilsley to monitor the project.

The board asked the Boy Scouts to seek an alternative location for their storage trailer.

The board approved Public Works utilizing $95,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund for the construction of six new culverts associated with the proposed road work.

Ilsley and the board asked for the public's help with the Fourth of July Parade. He said at the moment only Selectmen Kathy Hoelzel and staff are working on the July Fourth celebration and he wants it to be a family fun day.

The parade is on and will step off at 9:15 a.m. and things on the common will open at 10 a.m. He pleaded with people to step forward to volunteer their time in helping with the parade, town common activities, and for businesses and individuals to help with financing the Fourth and for people to add floats and groups marching in the parade.

The board approved accepting a total of $1,150 in donations for the Fourth of July event.

Ilsley said Summer Recreation had 200 kids signed up the day registration opened but there is a shortage of instructors for the program. He encouraged parents to volunteer as instructors so more kids can be accommodated. There are six vacancies at this time and each vacancy impacts up to ten kids.

Negotiations are ongoing for lawn clippings to be brought to the Transfer Station. He indicated that at  this point it appears that there will be a $2.20 charge per lawn bag.

Ilsley said the plan is to move forward with revamping and redesigning the Highway Safety Committee. He indicated the thinking is to align the committee with the traffic safety issues that exist and to be pro active rather than reactive in nature. He will bring more information on this to the board at a future meeting.

Public comments were made by Gary Brown and Patricia Bridgeo concerned about the Land Fee language.


Raymond Board of Selectmen Proposed Land Use Fee Schedule Discussed
By Penny Williams    5-25-21

On Monday evening, May 24, the Raymond Board of Selectmen heard from Town Manager Joe Ilsley about the Town's failures regarding keeping fees up to date and his proposal to address this situation.

During the public comment period, Susan Hilchey and Christina Vogel asked about the public hearing process and whether they would be able to speak during the public hearing.  They were told they would be allowed to speak.   Susan Hilchey, Pam Turcotte, Kevin Wood and Christina Vogel all spoke during the public hearing asking questions and expressing their concern for the proposed Land Use Fee structure on local non-profit organizations.

First of all there had to be a clarification made by Ilsley because he said he had not presented the issue clearly  and many townspeople misunderstood the proposed Land Use Fee structure. People thought that he was suggesting that all land use be charged a fee, town non-profit organizations as well as out of town non-profit organizations.

What he stated was that in order to be able to legally impose a fee on an out of town non-profit for the use of a town field a fee schedule for field use has to be in place.

However, the board of selectmen would always be able to waive the fee for a local youth or legion or other town event for use of a field.

Once this concept was cleared up Ilsley said the fees are intended to help the youth recreation programs and  went over the need to bring all fees up to the point where they are covering cost. In most instances he indicated that going forward a 2.5 percent annual increase on fees would be needed to keep pace with costs. He pointed out the town has lost hundreds of thousand dollars because many fees have not been updated in years. 

In particular he pointed to the Pay As You Throw program and the Water Department. In fact, if things aren't corrected right now the Water Department will be defunct by 2027.

He told the board he reviewed each of the fees with the department involved and found 100 dormant fees and added 19 new ones. The gap between the fees and costs they are supposed to address range from 4.8 percent to 40.6 percent and the money to cover these gas comes from taxpayers.

He proposed a growth model for the fees which he recommended the board adopt. He proposed a model relating to each of the town's fees.

This issue surfaced when it was realized that tournaments, many non-Raymond non-profit organizations are using Raymond fields without paying the cost of field use, repair and clean-up.

Ilsley repeated that the intent of the proposed fee increases are to properly charge legal fees that match costs. He added that there is no guarantee future boards would approve or continue this but this is what he recommends for the town to bring its fee structure up to date and with the 2.5 percent and in a few cases 3 to 4 percent annual increases the fee structure will do what it is supposed to do, match the program costs.

All fees can be waived by the board when the public good is involved meaning that town related events and activities as well as town sponsored groups such as scouts or the Legion could have their fees waived. But, he reiterated, without the fee structure policy in place, no fees can be applied to out-of-town organizations for the use of town fields.

He noted the fees that are supposed to be building up the CRF for fire equipment purchase for example have not kept pace and will need a 3 percent adjustment each year because the gap is 37.7 percent right now.

The Water Department fees were last updated in 2013 and the town has lost $622,653 in revenue. This will take 4 years of 4 percent fee increases and then 3 percent every year after that to straighten this out.

The adoption of the proposed models will put an end to this loss and from happening again in the future. Since there were some changes to the Land Use fees he indicated they will need to be redrafted and there will need to be another public hearing for these but the board can vote on the rest of the proposed fee models at the June 7, meeting. A second public hearing on the redrafted Land Use fees would be held two weeks after that, at the June 21, meeting.

The list of all the proposed fees before the redrafting of the Land Use Fee schedule can be found with the agenda for the May 24, meeting.

The board went over an exhaustive list of correspondence received which included 19 emails addressing the fees schedule.

* Land Use - Town Common for Flag Retirement approved

* Land Use - Cammett Field - Seacoast United Soccer tournament - approved but if the fee structure is voted in the fee would be retroactive

* Intent to Excavate - Severino pit -approved

* Land Use Tax Change - approved

* Intent to Cut  Brad Reed, Giles Road approved; John Tracy, Onway Lake Condominiums - approved but the board wishes to do a walk before and following the cut to ensure Shoreline Compliance.

* MS-232 Appropriations Actually Voted Report - approved

* Requests for Raffles - (1) Town for baskets by July Fourth Committee and (2) Middle School Parent Association for Town Fair - both approved

* Appointment of Fire Fighter CJ Fitton to Lieutenant  and Lt. Adam Brackett to Captain in the Raymond Fire Department - sworn in

Three $250 donations were accepted for the July Fourth event.

Brad Reed, CIP member, appointed to the Bean Tavern Committee as well as an alter from the Historical Society.

To watch the Board of Selectman meeting on RCTV click on May 24, 2021 BOS Meeting.

 


Raymond Selectmen Fill Barnes’ Vacant Selectman Seat and Appoint Bean Tavern Steering Committee
By Penny Williams  5-4-21

Monday night, May 3, the Raymond Board of Selectmen announced they had chosen Lee Weldy to be the person to fill the Selectmen's vacancy created when Jack Barnes retired. Weldy will serve for the remaining 10 months.  The last year of Barnes term will be open to candidates for a one year seat from March 2022 to March 2023.  

Weldy, who was a selectman previously, was sworn in and immediately took his seat. He was named to the Bean Tavern Steering Committee along with Selectman Kathy Hoelzel with Selectman Chris Long designated as an alternate to that committee.

In addition, Gary Brown, Paul Brown and Terry Dolan were appointed to the Bean Tavern Steering Committee along with a member and alternate to come from the CIP and Joyce Wood, a member of the Historical District Committee.

Steve Johnson and David Scott from the State Department of Transportation addressed the board regarding the Dudley Road Bridge. The state has had the bridge flagged as unsafe since 1990 but it has never made it on to the Ten Year Plan list. However, Johnson detailed the features of the bridge that are failing and make it unsafe and told the board the state wishes to reduce weight allowance to 3 tons and one way use.

A lengthy discussion ensued in which it was clear that the state has no plans to repair or replace the bridge  and is simply telling the town it will close it down if it remains unrepaired.  Johnson recommended the town work with the Regional Planning Commission in order to get the bridge on the State's Ten Year Plan and thus eligible for state assistance.

The discussion included Johnson stating that the bridge can't be used by emergency vehicles and only passenger cars should be allowed one at a time to use the bridge. It was pointed out by Hoelzel that this was unacceptable as it would leave many without adequate emergency coverage if the vehicles couldn't access those homes near the bridge directly using the bridge.

Hoelzel asked that the State to hold, at their expense, a public hearing regarding this so the people could express their opinions on the bridge and its future use. However, Town Manager Joe Ilsley noted that  he felt the State was not going to put any money into the bridge but would ultimately shut it down.

Johnson and Scott stated that the State isn't interested in replacing the bridge because it is not part of the essential state transportation system such as the Route 27 bridge, which he said, they would be back to discuss in June or July.

Johnson reiterated that the purpose of his visit was to request the approval of the town to restrict the bridge to passenger car (3 ton weight) use only and one way traffic. The board declined to approve anything and it is expected the state will post the bridge for passenger cars only and make it one way.

The board discussed the Cable Committee budget. Ilsley said that the sticking point previously raised by the board about committee members being paid operators of the cable was moot since the board had approved allowing Cable Committee paying technicians in 2010.

After a brief discussion the board approved the proposed $29,725 Cable Committee budget after committee member and paid technician Kevin Woods pointed out that there are operators on the committee who are paid, operators on the committee who are not paid and paid operators who are not on the committee.

Ilsley told the board the town failed to get the grant for the Water tower. He noted that larger towns and cities get the preponderance of grants and towns like Raymond are typically left out. He said he planned to talk to Concord about the inequitable distribution of funding.

He went on to tell the board that street sweeping will start soon and when that is completed the town will look at line painting. Board Chair George Plante asked if there was a state law requiring a double yellow line be painted. If not he said the proposed 15 miles of painted yellow line could be reduced to 7 miles of single yellow line at a savings for the town. Ilsley said he would check into this.

Tina Thomas read a letter into the record from residents at 5 and 6 Mark Lane about the work being done in that area saying one of the heavy duty vehicles is leaking and that they would like the town to request work not start before 9 a.m.

Buster Hammond asked about the sewer system he heard was to be put in. Ilsley explained it isn't a sewer system but a Waste Water Treatment Facility and it is needed for downtown economic development. He noted that without it the Fortune 150 company considering Raymond would not continue to look at Raymond.

 


Raymond Selectmen Discuss Mask Requirements and Interview Board Candidates
By Penny Williams   4-27-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday evening, April 26, and started off with a non-public session, followed by interviews and a discussion of whether masks should be required in town buildings.

The board was split over the masks issue with Scott Campbell and Chris Long calling for lifting all mask requirements and George Plante and Kathy Hoelzel taking a much more cautious approach.

The board voted 2 to 2 on two motions to accept the recommendation of the Emergency Management Working Group to continue the mask mandate for town buildings which meant it failed. A second attempt limiting the time for retaining the required face mask wearing for three weeks failed with the same 2 to 2 vote.

After another period of discussion a motion was made to make the wearing of masks optional and to lift the mask mandate in Raymond town buildings passed 3 to 1 with Hoelzel opposed. Town Manager Joe Ilsley asked if they wanted it effective the next day and the answer was yes. The board plans to discuss with Recreation the mask wearing mandate for outside and sports.

The board appointed Therese Thompson to the Lamprey River Advisory Committee (LRAC) and swore her in via Zoom. Members of this committee are nominated by their local governing bodies and appointed by the New Hampshire Rivers Management Advisory Committee. LRAC members represent different interests on the river, including local governing boards, river-front property owners, businesses, historians, recreationists, and farmers. 

The Board then announced that it approved appointing Kevin Woods as a member of the Cable Committee. Woods emerged from the cable room and was sworn in.

The board then interviewed five candidates for membership on the Bean Tavern Steering Committee. Those interviewed included Patricia Bridgeo, Kathy McDonald, Joyce Wood, Gary Brown and Tracy Merrill.

Chair George Plante asked the same questions of each candidate - how long have you lived in Raymond and why do you want to be on this committee. All but McDonald spoke about the historical significance of the building and the role it could play in Raymond development. McDonald indicated she felt alternative ownership needs to be sought because of the cost of upgrading the building but agreed it should remain a historical building.

The board interviewed six of seven resident candidates who have applied to fill the vacant board seat left by the resignation of Jack Barnes. The candidates included Lee Weldy, Tim Cahill, Patricia Bridgeo, Tina Thomas, Anthony Clements, and Bob McDonald. Joe Lister was not available for interview.

The candidates were asked why they were interested in the position what they could bring to the board. Weldy indicated his previous term as selectman and his involvement in town affairs made him ready to step in up to speed; Bridgeo indicated she wanted to represent the people particularly those being left out; Cahill indicated his experience with boards and issues around the state made him particularly eligible; Thomas wanted to bring greater transparency to the board; McDonald felt his business experience made him the best candidate; and Clements indicated his activism and involvement in town made him the best choice.

The board will announce at their next meeting, May 3, their choice for the Bean Tavern Steering Committee and their decision regarding who will fill the vacant selectmen's seat.

The board and community learned that grants are being sought for the Waste Water Treatment facility and for the engineering for the Water Tower. The board approved  $24,170 for an engineering study for the Waste Water Treatment facility that the town is seeking a grant for and approved $10,000 for the Water Tank citing assessment.

Ilsley told the board he is working to bring back the Blue Bag program which is residents being able to pick up free blue bags from the Department of Public Works to use to pick up trash. Previously residents picking up bags noted where they would be collecting trash and the DPW would pick those bags up in the specified areas. However, Ilsley said the DPW is so understaffed that they can't go around town collecting the filled trash bags so residents getting bags will need to return the filled bags to the DPW.

DPW Director Steve Brewer indicated that he has not completed the negotiations with Pike Paving for road improvement work. However, he said the amount of money he has will not cover all he wanted to do so they are in the process of reducing the list and finalizing the contract. However, Pike will use 2019 prices and he gave the different component prices to the board.

The tractor the town has it wants to sell was discussed with a suggestion by Ilsley to give it to the SAU which is seeking a tractor. Campbell objected and he and Long suggested that it be raffled off instead of being sold at auction. It was decided to raffle it off at the Town Fair.

Bridgeo and Thomas questioned why the Waste Water Treatment facility is being considered if the sewer overlay was removed by town vote. Ilsley explained that they are two different things and the Waste Water Facility is being considered as part of the Raymond Economic Development. It will provide a  needed component for getting companies to come to Raymond.

Ilsley told the board there is a Fortune 500 company considering put a distribution center in Raymond that is as big as the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. If Raymond is selected it could bring $200,000 for the downtown economic development as well as many jobs. He indicated that his taking Ernie Creveling's job as Economic Development Director saves the town around $130,000 and he is in a good position to do the job.

He said the plan is to upgrade the Emergency Operations Center and when all was finished there would be a place there where the board could meet.

On yard waste he said residents want a place to get rid of their yard waste and he is negotiating with Casella at the Transfer station to allow residents to do so there for a fee. He also asked for volunteers to help with the Fourth of July event. 

 


Raymond Selectmen Address Capital Reserve Fund Requests
By Penny Williams    4-14-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met on Monday, April 12, and dealt with several Capital Reserve Fund Requests.

The board approved the Police Department request for $17,625 for a LiveScan Fingerprint machine. However, it was tabled in anticipation of possible state funding a Police Department request for $76,851.44 for body cameras.

Public Works Director Steve Brewer requested  $40,000 CRF funds for Facility Revitalization design work of the old Firehouse. After a discussion the board decided to continue to table this project indefinitely until times change, saying this is not the time to be spending this kind of money.  

Brewer asked for $32,100 CRF funds for equipment purchase for the Sunhill Booster Pump Station and the board approved this. He also asked for $31,100 CRF funds for the purchase of a Coyote Tractor to replace the 1994 Kubota tractor which the board also approved.

Finally the board approved the request for $215,872 CRF funds for the purchase of the Bean Tavern to be paid to Timothy and Margaret Louis.

The board opened the bids for the Catch Basin work and the Street Sweeping. There were two bids for Catch Basin work, one from  Eastern Pipe Services, Bow, for $55 an hour cleaning only and $25 for inspection and the other from Triton Storm Water, Harrisville, R.I  with $50 for cleaning and inspection and $35 for inspection only.
 
There were four bids for Street Sweeping. The first opened was from Immaculate Power Sweeping, Pelham for a total of $24,650 at an estimated 170 hours; F.B. Hale Inc., Hudson, $13,000 with an estimated 100 hours; two bids from Telco Enterprises, Nottingham, one to do just the sweeping with a bid of between $18,750 and $21,250 with an estimated time of between 100 and 170 hours; and, seeping plus pick-up and removal (which Raymond does itself) at between $24,650 and $27,200. The bids were forwarded to Brewer.

There was a request for the use of a Town ball field by J.C. Rooney for 7 Sundays. The board heard from Rich Lessard, Babe Ruth Baseball League and RYAA, who questioned why this request had not come through his organizations. He indicated that his organizations do the field scheduling and the fact the selectmen approved Rooney's request may now make scheduling difficult at least early in April.

The board's approval required Rooney and his scheduling request to work with Lessard and his organizations. Rooney said his organization would help with upkeep and maintenance.

Brewer went over the plans for road repairs saying he recommends the board approve using Pike Paving to do the work since Pike has agreed to come back and make whatever repairs are necessary to last year's issues and because they have agreed to hold their price at 2019 levels for labor and material.

Brewer cautioned that he didn't believe he had enough money to do all the roads on his list - Harriman Hill, Langford Road, Scribner Road, and Lane Road - but at 2019 prices he thought he would be close. The board approved the request but wanted some specific pricing information and he said he would have it for them at the next meeting.

The board approved the Land Use request of the Raymond Baptist Church to hold a National Day of Prayer event on the Town Common from noon to 1 p.m. on May 6.
It was noted that the traditional Memorial Day Parade will go the whole route stepping off at 10 a.m.

Patricia Bridgeo told the board that the language they use is difficult to understand and turns residents off from wishing to participate. She also said that getting information from the town is next to impossible. She wants an organizational chart of the town boards and government structure so when someone has a question they can refer to the chart and know who and where to  contact for answers to their questions.

The board approved Chris McCarthy's Intent to Cut off of Mark Lane and the Aggregate Industries Intent to Excavate off Industrial Drive. The board suggested the Intent to Cut should bring some cordwood to the Town in payment.

Tina Thomas put her application in to fill the vacant board seat and also  suggested that the board members actually go and look at the tree cutting that will take place at the end of Mark Lane since the board approved the Intent to Cut. She added her support for Bridgeo's comments saying there is little or no transparency in meetings. Selectman Kathy Hoelzel said board meetings are business meetings and she feels they are transparent. If people have questions they need to come and ask.

Kevin Woods asked if the board had made a decision regarding his appointment to the Cable Committee. The board indicated it had not intended to make a decision at this meeting and told him there will be a decision at the next meeting. The issue is whether a town employee can be a member of a committee.

New resident Phil Merrill asked why the Warrant Article for the $95,000 for police equipment didn't include maintenance costs going forward. Town Manager Joe Ilsley said maintenance costs are in the operating budget.

Ilsley told the board he believes the Town should contract with an outside source/company to handle the MS4 requirements and responses. He said it is more than anyone now in the town government organization can handle.

He indicated the town has applied for grants for a water related project and for the downtown waste water project.

Executive Councilor Janet Stevens talked to the board and told them she is always available to help the town in any way she can. The board thanked her for all she did  to get help for the victims of the Sunview Apartment Building fire.

 


Longtime Raymond Selectman Jack Barnes Retires
By Penny Williams  3-23-21

At  Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting,  March 22, Selectman George Plante read a letter from Selectman Jack Barnes announcing that he and Father Time had decided it is time for him to retire, effective as of the writing the letter.

The board appeared stunned but accepted his resignation with regret. Several spoke about all that Barnes has contributed in terms of time and effort on behalf of Raymond. The board declined to discuss filling Barnes' position, tabling it until a later meeting.

The board did swear in returning Selectman Scott Campbell and Selectman Kathy Hoelzel swore him in. The board then went on to appoint Plante as Chair and Hoelzel as Vice Chair. The board then went on to make the board member assignments to other boards and committees.

There was a public hearing held regarding acceptance of a state grant in the amount of $20,928,47 to cover the hotel costs to the town for housing the victims of the Sunview Apartments fire. No one from the public spoke and the board approved accepting the grant.

The board signed the Zoom contract as previously presented with amendments requested at the prior meeting.  The changes note that should a new computer be needed for Zoom meetings the Town will fund that and the agreement with Zoom will end when the state and board allow meetings to return to in person meetings.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley went over the Charter for handling the Bean Tavern. It was decided the Steering Committee dealing with the Bean Tavern would have as members: two selectmen members, one member from Historical District Commission, one member from the Capital Improvement Committee, and, three members from the community.

Ilsley went over the goals for handling the Bean Tavern. Among those goals are:

* Protection of the Bean Tavern through Private or Public ownership

* Defining potential Private and Public uses of the Bean Tavern

* Making sure there is no tax impact from the Bean Tavern by tax appropriation

* Balance the decisions on the Bean Tavern with those of town wide capital needs

* Develop potential financial support options

* Work with the Town Manager

* Identify the pros and cons of historical preservation

* Evaluate official designation as a historical building

* Present board with  a report and recommendations by August 1, at a public hearing.

The board voted to accept the Charter as amended and presented and to move forward with solicitation of volunteers.

In Public Comment Patricia Bridgeo questioned the Public Comment process prior to the actual agenda being addressed. She also made a pitch for meetings of residents with the board not in a board meeting venue, saying residents don't feel they have a voice or are listened to.

It was pointed out to her that Selectmen 's meetings are business meetings not focused on resident concerns brought up in Public Comment. These concerns can be brought to the Town Manager's attention and through him brought to the board's attention. 

Bridgeo also suggested the creation of an Agricultural Commission for Raymond and the board approved Ilsley looking into this.

 


The Raymond Board of Selectmen Move Forward with Bean Tavern Purchase
By Penny Williams   3-16-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday night, March 15, and discussed what's next since the Bean Tavern Warrant Article was approved by the voters.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley said since the article passed he now needs someone to tell him to go and purchase the Bean Tavern.  The board voted to close the deal and for them to accompany Ilsley for the purchase.

Ilsley asked the board to appoint the Citizen's Committee to work on what is to happen with the Bean Tavern going forward. The decision was made for the board members and Ilsley to meet at the Bean Tavern at 10 a.m. on Friday. The board asked Ilsley to develop the charge for the Citizen Committee and the board approved the purchase.  

During Public Comment Bob McDonald spoke about the issues surrounding the Protest Petition Articles. He made the suggestion that any future Warrant Article to be proposed by any board or committee that would have an impact on a property should have a list of such properties and this list be presented to the residents and be part of the Warrant Article. The board was in support of his suggestion.

Patricia Bridgeo spoke up and said she was upset by all the anger that was exhibited at the polls and elsewhere relative to this. McDonald said he has been threatened and he had traced the threat back to the fact he had spoken out on the protest petition articles.

Bridgeo said she hadn't supported the articles because she had been unable to get information regarding whose parcels would be impacted by the zoning amendments proposed. She went on to note that residents need to be able to come before the boards and ask questions and get answers but noted many are afraid to do so but are willing to use social media.

Selectman George Plante noted that the 'A Cup of Joe with Joe' discussions held by Ilsley and residents over a cup of coffee had provided such communication but during the pandemic this has no0t happened.  Ilsley did say he is working on getting the 'A Cup of Joe with Joe' discussions started again in the near future.

It was announced that a recount will be held at the Middle School on Friday, March 19, at 6 p.m. regarding Article 1 with candidate Curt Fritton requesting the recount as he lost to Scott Campbell by only 5 votes. The board then skipped over several agenda items, tabling them until after the recount takes place.

Ilsley went over the priorities for him to work on going forward which included such things as:  

- redeveloping the Emergency Operations Plan;
- the Hazardous Mitigation Plan (for which there is a grant to help with this);
- Downtown Revitalization and Economic Development for downtown;
- working with the newly reorganized Cemetery financials and updating the
    cemetery situation with regard to where they stand
     and when the town will run out of sites;
- work on the Solid Waste transition;
- work on the Cable operating budget as a town department;
- Bean Tavern decision;
- Torrent Hall uses;
- Town rates and fees;
- MS4 phase 2 ;
- Capital Improvement Plan;
- Consolidation of Capital Reserve Funds;
- Water Tower issues;
- Well 2; 
- Town Administration Building;
- Road Revitalization;
- Phase 2 of Environmental Hazards at 25 Mountain Road and 7 Lucie ;
- Update selling deeded properties; and,
- work on upgrading rental properties.

He asked if the board had other things they wanted him prioritize.

Selectman Jack Barnes said he wanted to have the board have a town location for its meetings. He wasn't happy meeting in the school building. He wanted Ilsley to start looking into a long term community center type situation. Ilsley said he was working on at least developing a selectmen's office, possibly in Torrent Hall.

Ilsley said the town had come through admirably for the Sunview Fire victims and of the 19 displaced families all but 3 have new homes. He said the town will stop taking donations after receiving between $68,000 and $72,000 in gift cards. Any further donations should be directed to the Red Cross. He asked the board to approve accepting the state grant for assistance they had received and the board approved accepting the grant.

The board approved RCTV moving forward with the purchase of the server. The lowest bid was $45,097. It was decided that should there be any increase in the amount of the server, then the line should be drawn as a not to exceed amount using the amount of the next nearest bid. The Capital Improvement Committee has approved the purchase.

Ilsley told the board about Utility abatement requests. He said he has sought information from the Town's Utility Assessor, George Sansoucy. But the thinking at this point is that the requests are not justifiable. He said no action is needed by the board now but it is being looked into.

Newly appointed to the Budget Committee Julie Laugher spoke up at the end of the meeting telling the board she trusts the town voter officials but she doesn't trust the machines the town uses, citing the Windham NH situation.

Selectman Kathy Hoelzel defended the machines saying they are carefully tested and over twenty years working on voting she has seen only a few recounts and they only showed a difference of one or two votes between hand and machine counts.

The next Selectmen's meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 22.


The Raymond Selectmen Push Getting RCTV Cable Server
By Penny Williams   2-23-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met Monday night, February 22, and Selectman Jack Barnes pushed hard for getting the RCTV Cable server.

Barnes noted that the board had been asked to reconsider their decision to deny replacement of the server and had done so two and a half months ago but nothing has happened since. Cable Chair Kathy Masso, who was running the RCTV program that night, responded that the Cable hadn't been able to go to the CIP as directed by the Selectmen because CIP was no longer holding meetings.

It was noted that the letter written about the board's decision not to approve the server replacement by Art Wolinsky played a big role in the board's reversal of their decision, which was accompanied by the requirement the Cable Committee go through the Capital Improvement Plan Committee.

This issue was quickly resolved by Town Manager Joe Ilsley emailing the CIP Committee saying he would arrange a meeting with that committee and the Cable Committee just as quickly as it could be set up. Once that meeting takes place and the CIP approves the server purchase,  the server can be ordered and hopefully will arrive within a few weeks and be installed before the current server breaks down.

Moderator Wayne Welch gave out two important phone numbers voters can call during the election day if they have questions or issues. His cell phone number is 603-490-8998 and the number for the phone his Assistant Moderator Ed French will have is 603-365-7132. Absentee ballots can be obtained up until 5 p.m. on March 8 at Town Hall or from the Web site.

Alyssa Richard, Town Clerk/Tax Collector announced that Town Hall will be open on March 9 for Planning, assessing and paying tax bills but the Town Clerk/Tax Collector's Office will be closed so there will be no vehicle registration available that day.

Steve Brewer, Public Works Director, explained about the request related to the corridor off the Ventura Drive Cul de Sac. It is owned by the town and is 50-feet wide by 300-feet long, leading to land owned by the Kelly family. A Mr. Frieda wishes to buy a portion of the Kelly land to build a dwelling and wishes to use the corridor as his driveway.

Brewer told the board the town has no future use for the corridor and they need to release the Ventura Drive Right of Way dedication that covers the corridor. It was noted that Fried has received a Variance from the Raymond ZBA for the 7 or 8 acre lot he will purchase from the Kelly's that will have no frontage.

Brewer said the board should approve releasing the dedicated right of way  and allow Frieda to do the research regarding what issues might exist with abutters and to resolve those  before a public hearing that would be held in April. The board approved moving forward with this with the stipulations handed to Frieda to resolve.

Ilsley gave a detailed explanation of what Raymond residents have come together to do for the 38 people who were forced from the 18 Sunview apartments that burned down.

He named the first responders and many Raymond people who have stepped up to the plate to help these families find new places to live, to provide support and help with temporary living and the costs associated with that as well as gathering replacement articles from clothing to furniture. He noted that Raymond Area News had helped by posting the personal Go-Fund-Me accounts on the website and owner Cheryl Killam is still helping with food support coordination to those staying at the hotel.

He asked the board to accept the $28,411.40 that has been donated in cash and the $35,171. donated in gift cards. Funds from these will be distributed to the families to help with housing and food costs and there is enough to cover up to five weeks.

The board approved accepting these amounts and he noted that general Go-Fund-Me accounts have been set up for many that need additional assistance. There was a donation of $150 from the Pawtuckaway Piercers that was accepted by the board as well.

Ilsley also noted that the swift and immediate action of the SAU -, Superintendent Tina McCoy and School Board Chair Joe Saulnier and others in getting the gym opened for the victims of the fire early that morning was a tremendous help. Welfare and Recreation and Emergency Management have all worked together and he said the Town of Raymond has set an extraordinarily high bar of help and support that has been noted throughout the state.

Ilsley told the board he recommends the release of the tax liens against a Leisure Village mobile home - taxes of $4,137.69 and a welfare lien of $750.00 - so the mobile home can be razed and the park install a new one to rent that would be paying taxes to the town. The board approved his recommendation.

Ilsley also recommended the board approve the Tax Allotment Settlement with Granite Meadows that has been mediated. He recommended the board approve the five year agreement to abate $20,000 a year starting this year. The board approved this.

He also recommended taking care of the settlement set by the NH Board of Tax and Land Appeals  in a settlement with PSNH for the years 2014 and 2016. The BTLA set the tax abatement amount the town needs to pay for 2014 at $96,428.81 and for 2016 the amount was $85,102.36 for a total payment of $181,523.17.

This upset Barnes who complained about the role of George Sansoucy in this but Ilsley pointed out the legal battle with the utilities companies has been going on since 2004 and Sansoucy is only involved in the assessment of utilities. Barnes wanted him replaced but Ilsley recommended against that since the legal struggle is far from over.

Ilsley said the money to pay this would come from the unassigned fund balance and while this would reduce that fund considerably there would still be money in it. The board voted to approve his recommendation.

The board decided to determine fee tables during March meetings to prepare for the required Public Hearings that would be held in April and that the Ventura Drive Public Hearing be held at that time as well.

The next meeting for the board after elections will be March 15th and another on March 22.

 


Raymond Deliberative Zoning Amendment Articles Challenged
By Penny Williams  2-7-21

The Raymond Deliberative, held Saturday morning and afternoon, February 6, saw residents speak up loud and clear against some of the proposed Zoning Amendment articles.

The primary complaint was that not enough research had been done on the proposed amendments and they would have a negative impact on homeowners and not do what they purported to do, protect drinking water.

Zoning Amendment Articles 2, 3, 4, and 5, came in for the most discussion, primarily by Patricia Bridgeo and the Merrills. The articles all deal with wetlands and drinking water and extending distances and setbacks from wetlands for construction and other property changes.

The speakers said the proposed zoning amendments would diminish their property values, make doing repairs and moving things like a shed on their property both expensive and  impossible. Further, they complained that the articles don't accomplish what they are intended to do which supposedly is to protect drinking water.

Bridgeo insisted she had attended the Planning Board meetings where these articles and issues were discussed and had asked questions and had received no answers, which led her to ask how she had ended here at the Deliberative with these articles that can't be changed being proposed.

Articles 4 and 5 came with Protest Articles requiring these articles receive a 2/3 vote. The Merrils, husband and wife, asked for specific answers about what procedures these articles would force homeowners to follow.  Public Works Director Steve Brewer noted that it was his understanding that the typical building permit would be required as these homeowners are essentially grandfathered. Town Manager Joe Ilsley said that he had no clear answers for resident's questions regarding these proposed zoning amendments and their impact on homeowners but answers are needed.

The zoning amendments in Articles 6 and 7 were less contentious dealing with removing the Sewer Overlay District and seeking ADU inspections when a property changes hands.

Zoning Amendment Articles 8, 9, and, 10, dealt with issues precipitated by homeowners wanting to have chickens on their property with the property often being less than 2 acres. The articles call for best practices with regard to agriculture and livestock to be put in place and differentiation between what is a public and a private nuisance. These drew some comments but not as vehement as the initial few zoning amendment articles. Finally article 11, seeks to have a definition for Workforce housing.

There were no comments or questions regarding Article 12, the Operating Budget; Article 13, Capital Improvements; Article 14 Capital Reserve Funds Water Department; and  on Article 15, Mosquito Control, Tracy Merrill asked what the impact of Mosquito Control was on water quality and she was referred to Dragon Mosquito for an answer. A question was asked about the extra funds in the scholarship Fund that was Article 16, and Selectman Jack Barnes said it was there in the event more students would be identified for a scholarship.

Article 17, Fourth of July drew no comments but Rani Merryman proposed an amendment to Article 18, Social Services.

Merryman's amendment was to give each organization $100 for a total of $1200 rather than the proposed $40,000 that awarded differing amounts to the individual organizations. Her amendment was defeated 35 to 6. After the article as presented was moved to the ballot a request to restrict reconsideration for articles 12 through 18 was approved.

Article 19, Waste Disposal Special Revenue Fund (Fund 18) was moved to the ballot without change as were Articles 20, Shim and Overlay Special Reserve Fund,  Article 21, Road Reconstruction, and  Article 22, Establishment of a Contingency Fund.

Merryman proposed an amendment to the two articles dealing with Sick and Vacation Expendable Trust, Articles 23 and 24.

Article 23 is Non-union and Article 24, Union. As proposed $20,000 would be added to each. Merryman pointed out that the liability risks are not equal between the two funds so the input should reflect this. Ilsley added that possibly combining these two funds was something planned for the future investigation.

Merryman proposed amending Article 23, Non-Union Sick and Vacation Expendable Trust to have $35,000 added and $5,000 to be input into Article 24, the Union Sick and Vacation Expendable Trust. Both amendments passed overwhelmingly and the amended articles were moved to the ballot. A request to restrict reconsideration of articles 19 through 24 was approved.

Article 25, Elderly Exemption Adjustment due to Revaluation; Article 26, Blind Exemption Adjustment due to Revaluation, Article 27, Disabled Exemption Revaluation Adjustment, Article 28, Disabled Veterans Credit Increase, Article 29, One-Time Cyclic Procurement Capital Reserve Fund, and Article 30, Road Revitalization Capital Reserve Fund, were all moved to the ballot without challenge or change.

Article 31, Facility Revitalization Capital Reserve Fund brought a question about the unassigned fund balance status which Ilsley answered. Articles 25 through 34 have no tax impact because the money would come from the unassigned fund balance. Ilsley said there is plenty of money in the fund, more than suggested by the state and it is expected to grow despite these allocations from it.

Article 31 was moved to the ballot as presented as were Article 32, Establish a Town Vehicle and Equipment Revitalization Capital Reserve Fund, and Article 33, Establish an Emergency Management Revitalization Capital Reserve Fund.

Article 34, Establish a CRF Fund for the purchase of the Bean Tavern drew a few comments and questions.

The funds would come from the unassigned fund balance and Ilsley said once the town owned the historical building there were options - to put restrictions on the deed and sell the dwelling, move the dwelling and sell the land, for example. He said a citizens committee would be created to review and decide what to do with it if the article passes.

Some residents spoke in support of keeping the historical building while others questioned how repairs and upkeep would be paid for. Ultimately, it was moved as presented to the ballot.

Articles 35 and 36 related to correcting ages old fund errors with regard to cemetery funds for maintenance and perpetual care and expansion. Kevin Woods spoke at length describing what led to the need for the corrections and how the funds would be held going forward. Both articles were moved to the ballot as presented.

Articles 37 and 38 were Petition Articles from the Raymond Coalition for Youth and asked signs with marijuana on them be restricted from Raymond and that Raymond restrict commercialization of marijuana. The purpose of the articles are to ask Raymond residents to keep marijuana out of Raymond.

The Town Attorney cautioned that there might be liability issues and first amendment issues related to these articles and Merryman spoke against them saying she opposed any articles that might pose potential liability for the town but because they were petition articles they were moved to the ballot as presented.

 


Raymond Board of Selectmen Continue Discussion of Cable Committee Budget
By Penny Williams   1-13-21

The Raymond Board of Selectmen read into the record a letter stating its position regarding the Raymond Community TV (RCTV) Cable Budget issue on Monday night, January  11.

The premise of the letter, read by Chair Scott Campbell was, "However, as stated above, RCTV is government service that funds itself through fees imposed on our residents and therefore must be subject to the same oversight, transparency, and controls as all other governmental services”.

The letter goes on to state, it is the opinion of this Board that all governmental entities must be accountable to the residents and subject to same level of checks and balances and scrutiny in fiscal practices.

The board takes exception to the request for a 30% increase in pay through RCTV saying “in a year when so many of our residents are struggling”, they don't agree with this request.

The reason for the disagreement, according to the letter, is the "revenue for RCTV is based on a 2% fee (or tax) on our resident cable subscribers; and despite the economic realities of today of the families we all serve, the over $300,000 in RCTV’s cash reserves in the Revolving Account and a nationwide increase cable billing; there is no discussion or recommendations put forth regarding this fee and how we can provide relief to our residents while still sustaining high level of service."   

The letter then concludes by saying, however, it is recommended that the Board of Selectmen reconsider the last Capital Investment proposal from the Cable Committee after the Cable Committee submits it to the CIP Committee and the Board of Selectmen have the benefit of their recommendations.  (The entire letter can be read at the end of this article.)

Selectman Kathy Hoelzel said the letter as read was well put and should be submitted to the CIP Committee at their next meeting and then brought back to the Selectmen at their next meeting.

The names of those who sent emails to the board regarding the Cable issues were read into the record by Deborah Intonti. Letters were received from Alaya Chadwick, Deb Doda, Kevin Woods, Art Wolinsky, the Dickerson Family, Susan Hilchey, Kathleen McDonald, Pat Popieniek, Kathy Pouliot, Robert McDonald, John Beauvilliers, and Raymond Area News. Some letters can be read on the RCTV News page.

The board discussed at length the Protest Warrant Articles regarding Zoning Amendment Articles 3 and 4.

 Keith Smith submitted the Petition Protest Warrant Articles because he believes that the Planning Board's Zoning Amendment Articles 3 and 4 negatively impact 140 properties by restricting property owners rights and impacting their property's market value.

The articles concern water quality and remapping of Raymond wetlands. Specifically, Amendment 3,  is "To amend the boundaries of the Shoreland Protection area to include any area within 100 feet of any priority wetland" and  Amendment 4  is "To increase the setback from wetlands in the Conservation District from 25 to 75 feet for regular wetlands and to 100 feet for Priority Wetlands, and to relocate this requirement from Section 15.3.2 (which will be deleted) to a new section 15.1.4."

Smith collected 97 verified property owner's signatures of the 140 property owners in opposition to Article 3 and collected 96 verified property owner's signatures in opposition to Article 4. In addition he had 31  other concerned property owners in support of the Protest Petition Articles that indicate the proposed Zoning Amendment Articles are not the best way to support Conservation in Raymond.

Patricia Bridgeo prepared a power point presentation in support of the Protest Petition Articles. The Power Point presentation noted that there is a concern about using updating wetlands mapping of water sources to limit development and questions  its legality and reasonableness. While water quality is critical she questioned how the  wetlands around the dump and pig farm area were included. She also questioned the use of outdated data since much of the data in the report used by the Planning Board to develop the Zoning amendments was from 1993.

Selectman Barnes questioned why this was before the Selectman and he was informed it is because the law that states if 20 percent of impacted property owners petition it, the Protest Petition must come before the Board of Selectmen prior to the Deliberative Session.

Town Manager Joe Ilsley also noted that the Zoning Articles now must receive a 2/3 majority not just a simple majority for approval.  The board approved moving the two Protest Petition Articles forward.

Moderator Wayne Welch gave the board options regarding how  the Deliberative Session could be held. After going over the possible options the board unanimously approved moving forward with the Deliberative session being held as usual on February 6, with the appropriate COVID-19 guidelines in place.

The board approved continuing the contract for Utilities with George San Soucie since the Town is still in litigation over the utilities and Ilsley didn't recommend switching contractors mid litigation.

The board approved the building permits on private roads and approved the Intent to Cut permit requests. They accepted the donations of $200 each for the Fire and Police Departments from the Chadwick family and  $202.33 from the State for the General Fund.

 Tina Thomas expressed her concern over the inability to be able to find email or telephone  information allowing residents to directly contact many members of the different boards in town. She noted, for example,  that the Ethics Committee even has a Yahoo email address which concerned her. She complained about the inconsistency and questioned why it is this way.  Bob McDonald questioned protest petition article signer verification.

The board went into non-public and when it emerged  the board voted not to seal the minutes. The board then  approved the Social Services Agency Warrant Article in the amount of $40,000 and approved dedicating the Town Report to Frank and Page Case.

Click on Raymond Board of Selectman Letter about Cable Budget to read the entire letter.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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