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Raymond Board of Selectmen News


Bids Come In for Raymond Water Storage Facilities Study
By Penny Williams    7-25-17

Public Works Director Steve Brewer told the Board of Selectmen on Monday evening, July 24 that four responses have been received from engineering firms concerning a Water Storage Facilities Study proposal. The chosen firm would look at the existing facilities, review Town and State inspection reports and provide information on the best path forward for the Town to address its aging and deficient water storage facilities on Orchard Street and Route 156. 

Brewer said he has an estimated cost of repair for the Orchard Street Water Tower, built in 1893, for a sum greater than $500,000, and an estimated cost of repair for the Route 156 tower, built in 1956, at greater than $800,000.

He reminded the board that the Long Hill Road Tower was built for $1 million in 2004, and the proposed study is critical to inform the Town whether it would be less expensive to repair the two existing water storage towers or to build a new, larger tower.

Brewer noted that the Capital Reserve Fund at the moment has $227,401, with the fund initially established to paint the water storage towers and in March expanded to cover other maintenance issues. The fund would cover the cost of the proposed study.

 The board opened the four study bid responses; they are: Weston & Sampson of Portsmouth,  $11,900; Underwood Engineers of Portsmouth, $12,700; Red Pierce of Topsham, Maine, $19,636; and Hoyle Tanner Associates of Manchester, $17,450.

The board asked if any of the companies had done a similar study of Raymond facilities and was told they had not, but Brewer noted that Underwood Engineers had the most history with water-related issues in Raymond. He said Weston & Sampson had also done some work in town.

Brewer said he would review the bids and return to the next meeting with his recommendation.

A pre-construction meeting was held with Kinsman Construction regarding Well #4 and time was spent reviewing the federal requirements governing the loan for the project that the Town received from New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Brewer said construction is ready to begin just as soon as the easement is received from the Raymond School Administrative Unit (SAU). The well is on Raymond School District property at the high school. The Town can't authorize the start of construction until that easement is signed and in hand, and Brewer said that as the SAU was to meet the following day, he anticipates having the signed easement this week, meaning construction could start on Monday, July 31.

He said the SAU has been very cooperative and helpful with allowing construction equipment and vehicles to reach the site via an alternate route, without having to stop work to allow passage of school buses. The construction company, he said, is anxious to get started so it can get the building far enough along to allow work to continue during the winter. They think they can get the pipe laid prior to winter. Brewer said the Town supports getting far enough along to allow the company to work through the winter.

Community Development Director Ernie Creveling asked for $4,950 for a study to update the School Impact Fee schedule for the Master Plan. He reminded the board that last year the Master Plan update was revised from taking place every year to every five years, but it was time for it happen now. He said there is only one person who does this sort of study, Bruce Mayberry, and noted that Mayberry had done the original study in 2004 and the update in 2008. As new fees were added in 2010, it is important to have the study done to set the new School Impact Fees, Creveling said.

The board approved his request for funding from the Master Plan Update Capital Reserve Fund.

Brewer told the board that the Onway Lake Road culvert construction project is on track and will be completed before school opens.

In other business:

• During public comment, resident Carol Watjus asked Town Manager Craig Wheeler why he hasn't fully responded to her 91-A requests that she submitted May 1. She outlined the requests she made and the timeframe, and said she adjusted her request concerning service contracts to deal only with Public Works. She said she has received the requested documents for only one year, 2016. Her second request was for a list of town-owned properties and lease or rental amounts, and she has received nothing.

Her third request was for information concerning outstanding bonds. She said she did not receive a description of the State’s Revolving Bond or the new bond approved at Town Meeting 2017, and also has not received her requested information regarding employee vacation, compensatory time and sick time leave.

She asked Wheeler, "What's the problem?" and did not receive a response.

• The board opened 12 funding requests from social service organizations that serve the town. Wheeler said no new service organizations responded to the Request for Proposals (RFP) that was sent out, and all those that did respond were ones that traditionally service Raymond.

The funding requests are as follows, and these organizations will make presentations to the board beginning Sept. 11: Lamprey Health, $6,500; Child and Family Services, $6,000; Richie McFarland Center, $6,000; Rockingham Meals on Wheels, $4,000; CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), $500; Senior Friends Program, $6,000; Child Advocacy Center, $2,000; SNHS (Southern New Hampshire Services) Rockingham Community Action, $36,000; HAVEN (a violence prevention and support services agency), $4,175; and Area Homecare, $4,000.

• The board learned about new New Hampshire automobile drivers' licensing requirements. If licenses are renewed online before 2020, they will not be federally approved ID cards. For those cards, residents must go to a New Hampshire Motor Vehicles office. After October 2020, a license that isn't an official Federal ID cannot be used to board an airplane – that will require an approved ID license or an updated passport.

• The selectmen learned that the Dudley-Tucker Library received a State Council on the Arts grant and will be presenting Steve Corning’s Extraordinary Variety Show at Raymond High School at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11. The free show is the finale of the Raymond library’s Summer Reading Program and is intended for Summer Reading Program participants.

The show is partially funded by a Kids, Books and the Arts grant, with funding provided by the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, CHILIS (Children’s Librarians of New Hampshire), and the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, and is supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts  and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funds administered by the New Hampshire State Library and provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

• The Town plans to ask Dragon Mosquito whether it can spray for ticks, which are prevalent this year, especially at playgrounds. Sarah McGregor of Dragon Mosquito Inc., will be asked to attend a meeting to address this.

• Wheeler will introduce the preliminary budget to the board at the Aug. 21 or 28 meeting.

• Tina McCoy, new SAU Superintendent, was introduced.

• Resident Buster Hammond said the work done on the cemeteries was good.

• The selectmen heard that a Day of Hope, with medical and other professionals available to provide free care, counseling and help to Raymond residents, will be held at New Life Church on Sept. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• National Night Out will be celebrated in Raymond on Aug. 1, with residents invited to the Raymond Police Department to meet the Police Officers and tour the building. Child ID kits, demonstrations and activities for children will be provided.

 


Raymond to Look at ‘No Thru Truck’ Regulations Downtown
By Penny Williams   7-13-17

Police Chief David Salois, speaking as chair of the Raymond Highway Safety Committee, showed the Board of Selectmen slides and provided information July 10 in support of asking the board to temporarily lift the “no thru trucks” regulation through the center of town until the controlling ordinance can be updated.

He said tractor trailer trucks would continue to be prohibited because they are not able to make the necessary turns as they pass through the center of town. The chief said police have been called to help trucks negotiate around the Town Common.

The selectmen unanimously approved Salois’s request to temporarily lift the “no thru trucks” regulation through the town center. He will return to the selectmen within 90 days with proposed changes to the ordinance.

Salois also advised the board that the Highway Safety Committee would like the selectmen to ask the state to conduct a road study to review the speed limit on Route 27 between Epping and Candia. That speed limit currently ranges from 55 to 35 miles per hour.

He said the speed limits on Route 27 were put in place before the completion of Route 101. The Safety Committee would like to see the speed limit flattened to make it more consistent.

Salois will prepare a letter to the state for the selectmen to sign to request the review.

The Highway Safety Committee intends to look at other state roads through town as well.

Salois also said 30 mph speed signs have been placed at both ends of Long Hill Road. A sign for the Scenic Road status of Long Hill Road was created by Public Works Director Steve Brewer and displayed to the board, which suggested Town Manager Craig Wheeler arrange a contest to come up with a Scenic Road sign that would involve the community. He agreed to do so.

In other business at the July 10 meeting:

• During public comment, resident George Cottrell asked each selectman individually whether he would support a petition warrant article for Raymond to participate in a new RSA (state statute) recommendation for all veterans to receive a $500 discount on their property taxes. After hearing that selectmen supported bringing such a warrant article before the voters to decide, he announced he was going to put together the petition article.

Also during public comment, resident Gretchen Gott urged the selectmen to sponsor the warrant article suggested by Cottrell, rather than having it fall to Cottrell to craft a petition warrant article. She said a selectmen-sponsored article would carry more weight.

Cottrell returned to the microphone to say he wants to create the article, and added that “veterans are brothers to me.” Selectman Chair Jonathan Wood said that Selectman Jack Barnes, who is a veteran, would meet with Cottrell in the next week.

• Resident Gary Brown, clutching documents that he said he would later provide to the board, asked Wheeler during public comment about pay raises for Town employees. Wheeler said because the Town was operating on a default budget, no employees received raises this year; last year they received a 2.25 percent increase across the board.

Brown challenged this, and asked how one particular employee received a 15 percent increase between December and now, and a 17.837 percent increase going back to February 2016. He also questioned how this employee could use sick time to get paid overtime.

Wheeler offered to meet with Brown to discuss the issue, but Brown refused and told the board, "there's a lot more to come." He said Wheeler’s offer was an attempt to go behind closed doors rather than deal with the matter in public.

• Resident Lee Weldy said he opposed an abatement for the Leisure Village mobile home park, and noted that when he lived at a mobile home park in Exeter, if the homeowner was delinquent in paying property taxes, the park owner could remove the mobile home from the property. He added that he had seen such an event take place, and noted the park owner could take action much more quickly than the town.

He said that granting a tax abatement would create a bad precedent for the Town of Raymond.

• During public comment, resident Dana Hanson told the board she was concerned with the appointment of former selectwoman Colleen West Coates to the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Committee, where she would be party to helping determine how taxpayers are asked to spend their money. Hanson claimed West Coates raised concerns about her and her business on Facebook.

Hanson's husband later added his concern to that of his wife and suggested people should be careful what they say to selectmen. He asked the board to look into the allegations his wife had made and said there could be legal repercussions.

• Newly hired Finance Director Annmarie Gilligan reported that on the revenue side as of Friday morning, July 7, 90 percent of the taxes due had been collected and by that afternoon, the figure was up to 95 percent. From the audience, Brown asked if she knew what percentage of the collected taxes were from mortgages in which the bank pays the taxes. She said she did not know the answer but could find out.

On the expenditure side she said the town is doing well, sitting at 47 percent of the budget spent seven months into the year.

• The selectmen were told the Onway Lake Road culvert construction is progressing well, with the concrete poured July 7 and the forms removed July 10. The project is described as on target to be completed by Aug. 23, so school bus traffic won't be diverted.

• Community Development Director Ernie Creveling received the board's unanimous approval for upgrading the security levels on 10 new computer units set up in Town offices. He introduced security expert Mike Flores, who has provided solutions to security issues on Town computers, and requested the board approve $16,056 for specific individual computer security standard upgrades.

• Interim Fire Chief Paul Hammond advised that “no fires, no camping, no trash” signs had been erected on Onway Lake Island.

• The July edition of the new monthly town newsletter, Talk of the Town, has been distributed, and the deadline for the August newsletter is July 17. It can be found at Town Hall, the Dudley-Tucker Library, Recreation, and several businesses downtown, as well as online at the Town website at raymondnh.gov and at Raymond Area News (raymondareanews.com). The town meeting calendar is on the back of the newsletter.

• The selectmen heard that Executive Assistant Deborah Intonti has received her certificate as a Human Resources Trainer and is now providing services as Human Resources Coordinator to employees and department heads. She will be offering training for employees as well.

Gilligan said this was huge for the Town and a very big second job undertaking by Intonti.

• Wood said that during the Town Fair, he and others were approached by residents asking that large items such as couches and refrigerators be picked up curbside and taken to the transfer station when residents had obtained a ticket for the service. It was suggested that a specific day for this type of service be established. Wood said this suggestion would be looked into and a program developed.

• As soon as the “no smoking” signs are found, they will be put up on the Town Common and a designated smoking area marked.

• Gott told the board during public comment that in a recent court case, the judge had specifically thanked the Raymond Police Department for its work.

• Creveling introduced Rachel Marden, who has volunteered to become a member of the Business and Economic Development Team. The board unanimously appointed her to a three-year term.
 

 


Questions Raised over Raymond Fire Warden, Emergency Management Posts
By Penny Williams   6-21-17

Recently retired fire chief Kevin Pratt told the Raymond Board of Selectmen at its June 19 meeting that he took exception to a certified letter he had received from Town Manager Craig Wheeler, notifying him that with his retirement as fire chief, his jobs as Forest Fire Warden and Emergency Management Manager had come to an end and certain property in his possession had to be returned to the town.

Pratt provided the board with RSAs (statutes) and background documents that show that it is the Board of Selectmen that appoints the Emergency Management position, and that the Forest Fire Warden for Raymond is set by the State, in this case by Director of the Division of Forests and Lands and State Forester Brad Simpkins. Pratt said Simpkins told him he is still a Forest Fire Warden and would remain so until a full-time fire chief is approved in Raymond. At that time, the Raymond Fire Chief, Pratt and Simpkins would meet and discuss the position.

Neither the board nor Wheeler had any comment. Pratt said he didn't expect a decision from the board at that meeting. The board asked that the issue be put on the agenda for the July 10 meeting.

In other business:

• Public Works Director Steve Brewer said the Onway Lake bridge is heading back on schedule. He answered questions on the subject from resident Buster Hammond during public comment.

The construction was delayed by rain, which caused water and soil erosion issues that have been dealt with, Brewer said, adding that the piling construction crew will be back starting Friday, June 23. Brewer said the bridge, which replaces a culvert, should be in place and open to traffic by the end of July, and the job completed by the end of August.

• Brewer also noted that the previously announced increase in the Pay as You Throw garbage bags has been widely advertised on the Town Web site, at each of the vendors that sell the bags and via postcards sent out to 4,600 residents. The mailing cost $1,263, with $521 in printing and $742 in mailing. The price increase goes into effect July 1.

• Brewer updated progress on Well #4, saying that the background checks on the contractor are almost completed and the State is about ready to release the award, leaving just the easements to be finalized. He noted the cost came in well above what was budgeted and this is an issue, even with the $100,000 contingency fund the Town put in place. He said he is working with the contractor to identify places where cost savings might be realized, and Wheeler said he is looking for additional funds that might be used to close the funding gap.

• Brewer proposed a different way to handle the Town Auction of used equipment. He asked the board to approve using the online Web site Governmentdeals.com. This would widen the potential pool of buyers, he said, noting that in the last four auctions the average has been 10 to 14 participants, most of them local residents. The auction site carries a 12.5 percent fee per item but the town can determine who deals with this - the town, the buyer or a split between the two.

Wheeler said the Fire Department alone has 61 items for the auction.

The board unanimously approved using the online Web site for the auction and assigning the 12.5 percent per item fee to the buyers.

• Selectmen Chair Jonathan Wood raised the subject of communication with residents, and Wheeler said he has ready to go a town newsletter covering July that will be sent to those on the Town email list, with hard copies available and postings at the usual places. In addition the information on agendas and public hearings can be found on the Town Web site at raymondnh.gov.

Selectman Greg Bemis suggested getting an electronic sign to announce committee meetings, public hearings and other events. The board asked him to research such a sign, including cost and potential location, and get back to the board. The board then approved the newsletter to go out each month.

• Wheeler provided the board with an organizational chart of Town employees. The chart is on the Administration page on the Town Web site. The Town has 59 full-time employees. 23 part-time employees, 37 seasonal, one stipend, one temporary, 34 call personnel and five elected selectmen.

• Acting Fire Chief Paul Hammond sought the board's approval to erect a sign on Onway Lake Island stating that the Town owns half the island. The sign would say “No Camping, No Fires, No Trash.”

He said his department has to respond to the island for fires caused by campers on a routine basis, and always has to take police along. He said this is unsafe for the police, who must wear all their gear as well as a life jacket.

Hammond said the resident who owns the other half of the island is completely in agreement with him as far as restricting camping, fires, and trash on the island.

Wood recused himself because he often is contacted to call the police regarding island issues because people fear reprisals. Vice Chair Jack Barnes took over and the vote was 4-0-1 in favor of putting up the sign, with Wood recusing himself.

Hammond said there is not any teeth in the decision but there is a penalty in the State RSAs for lighting a fire on the island.

• Wheeler said the town budget is right on track and in some cases revenues have increased, such as increased motor vehicle registrations, increased building permits, and penalties on delinquent taxes. He noted that interest on investments is up more than budgeted, and he was notified that the Rooms and Meals Tax distribution has increased, with the Town getting a little over $100 more than anticipated.

• The board opened two bids for the Town’s Household Hazardous Waste event - one from Trade B Environmental Services of Connecticut at $1,945 and the other from Clean Venture  from Framingham, Mass., for $1,000.

• The selectmen were advised that Town employees have all completed updated ethics training and harassment training. The update was done by Primex Insurance and the Joint Loss Committee accepted the changes. Now it is time for the boards and committees to undergo the same training sessions. It was suggested that a date be set in mid-September for the training.

• Josh Mann and David Wilson were sworn in as members of the CIP (Capital Improvements Program) Committee.

• The board approved a Summer Farmers Market at the Town Common on Thursday nights along with the Summer Concert Series. It will run through Aug. 3.

• The board approved a Dog Parade to be held July 9 at 11:30 a.m. during the Town Fair.

 


Decision Due Aug. 15 on Leisure Village Tax Abatement
By Penny Williams   6-8-17

Several residents attended the June 5 Raymond Board of Selectmen meeting to speak at a public hearing on the proposed abatement of taxes for 10 vacant manufactured homes at Leisure Village that have no monetary value. Most opposed the abatement and favored working to collect the taxes.

The solution to the Leisure Park abandoned trailer problem proposed by the Board of Selectmen involves park owner Emile Bussiere Jr. underwriting the complete cost of removing the 10 vacant and abandoned dwellings if the town abates the $44,000 in taxes owed on them.

Bussiere already has the permission of five former owners to take down their mobile homes and clean up the lots where they were located. He will have to clean up all the vacated lots, put in cement pads and ensure that septic, water and power are all in good condition. His plan is to install 10 newer mobile homes, no more than 5 years old each, on those lots.

According to what Building Inspector and Health Officer David Hall said at a previous selectmen’s meeting, where he showed a video of the trailers, the cost of accomplishing the clean-up, if the town had to do everything itself, would exceed the abatement of the taxes by quite a bit, especially if asbestos were found. Just getting rid of each mobile home and taking care of its clean-up would run between $8,000 and $10,000 without asbestos complications, he explained.

Resident Gary Brown spoke up after another resident pushed hard to find out if everything had been done to collect the back taxes for the 10 vacant trailers, and was told that had been done. Brown, however, claimed the board it had not done everything.

Brown said if there were any mold in the trailers and the State was told, the State would respond and Bussiere would have to take care of it immediately on his own. Brown said if the board didn't have an inclination to call the State, he would do so himself the next day.

Brown claimed the selectmen did not have the taxpayers’ interest at heart, because if it did, it would get the back taxes from Bussiere, as well as having him remove the trailers and clean and prepare the sites for new trailers. Brown said the selectmen need better attorneys if this proposed solution was the best they could come up with.

After the hearing was closed, the selectmen were polled. Greg Bemis did the calculations and said the proposed solution would save the Town $16,000 at a minimum and he thought it was the best solution. He recommended going forward because Bussiere is cooperating with the Town. George Plante said he was against the proposed solution. Wayne Welch said the people have spoken and are asking that the board see if the Town can get Bussiere to pay the back taxes. Jack Barnes said he thought the board needed to have a lawyer provide legal advice as to what they can legally do, but the town should get the $44,000 in back taxes before it accepts any deal regarding the cleanup. Chair Jonathan Wood said this has been a problem for years and now they will be delaying a solution again. He said an absolute end date of Aug. 15 would be set and between now and then, the town would investigate alternatives to the present proposal.

The board voted to approve continuing to investigate alternatives, get legal advice and have a decision by Aug. 15.

The selectmen also heard a review of Capital Reserve Fund balances and requests for expenditures.

Town Manager Craig Wheeler read off a list of Capital Reserve Funds (CRF) and the amounts in each fund at this point:

Bridges & Culvert, $97,319; Cable TV, $15,530; Fire Department Equipment & Vehicles, $603,711; General Government Building Improvement,  $118,188; Health Insurance Expendable, $1,221; Highway Heavy Equipment,  $149,324; Highway Vehicle Replacement,  $152,996; Library Improvement,  $4,944.

Also, Master Plan, $48,507; New Town Facilities, $34,295; Park Equipment, Vehicle, and Facilities, $92,160; Police Dispatch and Facilities, $ 141,489; Recreation Department Equipment, 72,482; Revaluation, $2,873; Sidewalks, $3,386; Scholarship, $6,965; Town Office Technology Repair and Improvement, $23,340; Vacation and Sick Days Union,  $24,801; Vacation and Sick Days non-union, $122.

And, Water Treatment, $85,799;

New Well Site Acquisition,  $51,934; Water Department Utility Vehicle Replacement,  $4,072; Water System Storage Facilities, $227,401; and Water System Infrastructure,  $22,148

Following this review, Public Works Director Steve Brewer made the following CRF requests, all of which the board approved: $16,530 for removing sediment from lagoons at the water treatment plant and disposing of it; well cleaning and pump and motor replacement for the Route 107 well at $13,379.50 and irrigation of recreation field; well #3 pump and motor replacement at $4,570, although they may be able to use the pump from well #1 and thus spend only half that amount; and purchase of one-ton Ford F550 dump truck with regular and wing plows, at $99,000, to replace the 1999 truck 14 that won't pass inspection due to significant corrosion.

The board approved all of the requests; the only significant public comment was from Brown, who asked why the trucks aren't better cared for - i.e., washed on a regular basis to get rid of the salt. Brewer said they would need a wash-bay to be able to do this but agreed it would improve the life of the trucks. He said a wash-bay would require expansion of the garage to install such a bay and the cost was deemed prohibitive by his predecessors.

Brown suggested that cost might not be accurate and it should be revisited.

In other business:

• New Finance Director Anne Marie Gilligan was introduced and will start work on June 26.

• Police Chief David Salois presented Officer Steve McPherson with an award for his 25 years of service and presented three officers with certificates of appreciation for their part in a 2015 investigation: Capt. Mike Labell, Sgt, Scott Payne and retired Det. Ray Parrott.

• Salois, representing the Rotary Club, presented the board with a check for $1,000 to help with the July 4th Celebration.

• Wheeler said RFPs (Requests for Proposals) are ready to be distributed to all social service agencies that provide services to the residents of Raymond, and are due to be returned by June 30 and come to the board for review. The board approved sending and posting the RFPs.

• The board after a brief discussion approved posting “no smoking” signs at the Town Common, with a specific designated smoking area created and posted as such.

 


Town Plans to Produce Monthly Newsletter, Onway Lake Road Completion Expected by end of July
By Penny Williams   5-23-17 

The Town of Raymond will produce a two-page monthly newsletter to detail by department what will be coming up in the weeks ahead.

At its Monday, May 22 meeting, Town Manager Craig Wheeler told the Board of Selectmen that the plan is to put out a two-sided, one-page newsletter each month that will include what each department has coming up during the month ahead. The newsletter will be available electronically on the Town Web site at raymondnh.gov. However, acknowledging that not everyone has a computer, residents can call the Town Office and request a hard copy. Copies will also be available at local stores, the Dudley-Tucker Library and the Town Office.

Wheeler told the board it is too expensive to mail the newsletter monthly to all residents but anticipates the proposed format would get wide circulation.

Selectman Jack Barnes said he hopes the newsletter will be published in the online Raymond Area News (raymondareanews.com) as well.

Wheeler also noted that the Town will send out postcards listing the new Pay As You Throw bag prices that go into effect July 1. The Town will also put up posters and signs about the cost change at trash bag vendors and other places in Raymond where residents would be likely to see them.

In other business:

• Public Works Director Steve Brewer brought the board up to date on the Onway Lake Road project. He admitted progress has slowed during the past few days after the contractor hit unexpected groundwater issues. Brewer said the contractor has sought expert advice on how to address the problem and he didn't think it would extend the anticipated completion date, which is the end of July.

He said about 33 percent of the Onway Lake project funds allocated for the work has been spent. He explained that the project, rather than being a new culvert, is actually a bridge of sorts, and is 4 feet wider than the culvert it will replace.

The board asked if he has communicated with the abutters and neighbors regarding the anticipated end date. Brewer said he had not done so but those most impacted have been in contact with the construction company, and he plans to contact everyone connected once there is a definite end date, which would also be published on the Town Web site.

Since the closure, detour signs have directed vehicles through town. Selectman Wayne Welch said the detour is sending trucks through town, where they are being stopped by Raymond Police because they are prohibited from going through town. Welch asked Brewer to meet with Police Chief David Salois and make arrangements for the situation while the detour is in place.

• Pastor Ken Bosse of New Life Church told the board his church plans to pick up the roughly $1,500 to $2,000 shortfall caused by the default budget as regards the July 4th parade and events. He said the church will donate the money to the Town to ensure that the celebration goes on as usual.

Barnes asked if the townspeople could donate to help alleviate the shortfall and Bosse said that would be wonderful. They should make checks payable to the Town of Raymond, marked for the July 4th celebration.

Barnes said he didn't think it was right that the church and its members should shoulder the burden of financially underwriting the Fourth of July celebration, and he would write a check that night to help out. He said he recognized the Town lost the $3,000 Town contribution for the celebration with the passage of the default budget, but he hoped townspeople would step up and help. Barnes thanked Bosse and the church for their support.

Bosse said the celebration will continue as usual, with everything free. He added that he sees great value in his church stepping up and doing more to make sure the celebration goes on, as he thinks events such as this one bring the community together.

Gregory Sevinsky, Walmart manager, told the board Walmart would boost its support for the Fourth of July celebration as well.

• Sevinsky told the selectmen he and Walmart are aware of the difficulties meeting the cost of Town Welfare and said it was Walmart's pleasure to present the Town with a check for $2,000 to help with the Welfare Department's financial load.

The board voted unanimously to accept the gift and thanked Sevinsky and Walmart for its continued support for the Town.

• John McDaniels gave a presentation to the selectmen about the Reach High Scholars program. McDaniel grew up in Raymond and went on to college and a successful career. He created Reach High Scholars to improve the chances of Raymond students being able to take advantage of money that is available at select private colleges and universities.

A group of volunteers led by McDaniels in 2007 continues to provide interested Raymond High School students with a chance to attend one of the top 100 colleges in the country. No taxpayer dollars are involved. The volunteer organization encourages students to strive for the best and provides the assistance such students needs to prepare for and apply to one of the top 100 colleges, he said.

McDaniels said most importantly, the program encourages students to aspire higher than they thought they could. Reach High Scholars also helps students attend summer enrichment programs offered by Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Phillips Exeter and St. Paul's Schools. Financial aid for participation in these summer programs is provided. SAT and PSAT preparatory courses are also funded by the organization and made available to Raymond students.

McDaniels said he heard at a recent meeting that Raymond schools were not very good, and he was at the selectmen’s meeting to refute that belief. He said Raymond students do exceptionally well and his program has contributed to their success. He noted that Raymond students who participate often get a college experience that would have cost their family $100,000 or more for as little as $500. The program has raised $280,000 from eight companies and corporations and 16 individuals.

• Wheeler reported on expenditures and revenue, noting that expenditures are a little behind where they were in 2016 but revenues are about where they should be.

• The board approved appointing Doug Vogel and Mark Vadeboncouer as alternates to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).

• Two Raymond Police Officers, Cpl. Brian Stice and Officer Ryan Stanton, will receive Life Saving Awards from the New Hampshire Police, Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Foundation.

•  Raymond Police conducted a Fatal Reality Drill in conjunction with the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, held before prom to make students aware of the consequences of drunk driving.

• Police Chief David Salois said his department has made 66 more opioid arrests than last year and he is meeting with first responders to review the changes in policies and protocols necessitated by the drug carfentanil, which kills on contact.    

• The Memorial Day parade will go on as usual at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, rain or shine.

• The Shared Resource Committee meets Thursday, May 25.

• Wheeler said the Town is working to put together a surplus equipment auction at the end of June. He said there will be an inventory and bid list and people can view the collection of items to be auctioned, ranging from bikes to old computers, and bid on them. The bids will be opened at the selectmen's meeting following the auction.

• The next board of selectmens meeting is June 5 with a public hearing on the $44,000 taxabatement request from Leisure Village owner Emile Bussiere Jr.

 


Selectmen: Pay As You Throw Bag Cost to Rise July 1st
By Penny Williams   5-19-17 

Raymond residents will be paying more for their Pay As You Throw trash bags, following a public hearing and vote by the Board of Selectmen on Monday, May 15.

Several residents attended the hearing. Public Works Director Steve Brewer summarized the reasons for raising bag prices from $2 to $2.35 for a five-pack of large bags and from $1.50 to $1.80 for the small bags. He explained that there is a shortfall of  $64,484.69 between the revenue from the bags and the cost of trash collection and disposal. The proposed increase would generate $61,190, almost covering the shortfall.

Residents Carol and Wayne Watjus spoke in favor of increasing the price but thought the money budgeted should be put into an account to fund a second truck for the town. They also suggested that the program's financial status should be publically assessed quarterly.

Resident Eileen Fitzgerald told the Board of Selectmen to find a better way of communicating with residents when issues such as this come up. She suggested announcing the matter in the On the Common town newsletter, which is published quarterly, and said people should be informed about what they should be recycling.

Following the hearing, the board discussed the question and then unanimously voted to increase the bag prices effective July 1. A postcard will be sent to all residents announcing the price increase.

The selectmen also discussed the status of Well #4. Brewer said that while seven construction vendors attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting, only two bids were received, and as this involves money from the state, it is the state that will be selecting the low bidder if that bidder is eligible.

The bids were $2,285,285 and $2,166,00 and the bidders were not named. An additional $500,000 had been requested for the project, but while Brewer thought it had been approved, he said he has not received written confirmation. In the meantime the SAU (School Administrative Unit) easement at Raymond High School and a second easement with a private homeowner are in progress for the well, and are expected to be in place before construction starts, probably in two to three weeks. The board must now look for savings to make up the difference.

In other business:

Building Inspector and Health Officer David Hall provided the board with a video of the 10 abandoned mobile homes that need to be removed at Leisure Village.

Hall said Leisure Village mobile home park owner Emile Bussiere Jr. is willing to underwrite the complete cost of removing the 10 dwellings if the town will abate the $44,000 in taxes owed. He already has permission of five former owners to take down their mobile homes and clean up the lots where they were located. Hall and the park owner are trying to find the other five owners and get permission to remove the mobile homes.

Bussiere will have to clean up all the vacated lots, put in cement pads and ensure that septic, water and power are all good. His plan is to put 10 newer mobile homes on those lots.

The cost if the town had to do everything itself would exceed the abatement of the taxes by quite a bit, especially if asbestos is found, Hall said. Just getting rid of each mobile home and clean-up would run between $8,000 and $10,000 without asbestos complications, he explained. The new mobile homes would be no more than 5 years old.

The board decided to hold a public hearing on the abatement of the $44,000 owed in taxes, and set the hearing date for June 5.

• Developer Elmer Pease said his Exit 4 easement language will be ready to go, once the attorneys and the state agree upon adding a paragraph. His plan calls for commercial development, with no residential component, and would encompass developing one or more distribution centers similar to the Walmart distribution center in town.

Pease said the facility would be an E-commerce Business Park called Granite Meadows Business Park, with distribution bays similar to Walmart. He is hoping to find a developer-owner or several distribution businesses, up to four at 100,000 square feet each. These businesses would be direct distribution from the site with delivery to homes.

Pease said he expects to have the final permit in hand within the next 30 days and then would be going to the Planning Board.

The codicil language conveys and grants a third-party right of enforcement to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) on the deed restriction for the Riverside Park parcel at Map 27 Lot 10. The property was restricted as a condition of the DES Wetlands Permit to Pease.

As a letter from Mark West, New Hampshire certified wetland scientist, dated April 27 and sent to both Town Manager Craig Wheeler and Pease states, this language is typically used where mitigation includes a deed restriction rather than a conservation easement.

“Without a third party right of enforcement, the NHDES would not have the power to provide the permanent protection of the resources protected on the site for which they are giving mitigation credit,” West wrote. “This would only be triggered if there was a significant violation of NHDES Wetlands Bureau regulations on the property. The Deed Restriction is held by the Town of Raymond….This request by NHDES is simply a way of providing some insurance of permanent protection.”

The board voted to approve adding the paragraph as a codicil to the property deed by a 3-2 vote, with Wayne Welch and George Plante opposed.

• Deputy Chief Paul Hammond, surrounded by his family, was sworn in as Interim Fire Chief for the Raymond Fire Department.

• The board received Brewer's report regarding bids for the Wight Street tannery clean-up ordered by the state. Two bids were received - one from Exeter Environmental Associates and a second from Stonehill Environmental.

The latest testing of the area, a Brownfields site caused by burial of tannery hides, detected an increase in chromium. New wells will have to be dug to monitor the groundwater at the site. While the town has already completed the remedial work required, groundwater monitoring must continue,

The board made no decision on the bids.

• Town Manager Craig Wheeler said the Town is still trying to hire a full-time Finance Director, but with the salary the Town is offering, he is not getting much response. He has also not been able to hire a part-time account clerk to assist in that department.

• Brewer said the Onway Lake culvert project is moving forward slightly ahead of schedule, but noted that work was interrupted and slowed by the recent rains.

  


Raymond Selectmen: Public Hearing Planned on Trash Costs
By Penny Williams   5-1-17

A discussion on Pay as You Throw trash and recycling costs continued Monday night, May 1 at the Raymond Board of Selectmen meeting, with a public hearing on the subject set for later this month.

Public Works Director Steve Brewer, as requested at the previous Board of Selectmen meeting, had posted information about trash costs on the town Web site. In his presentation, he explained the relationship that connects trash collection, trash and recycling disposal, and Pay as You Throw bag revenue.

The 2016 Pay as You Throw bag revenue was $321,000, of which 15 percent was for the manufacture of the bags while 85 percent was the net bag sale in the amount of $274,149.08. He said projections for 2017 call for an increase of 6 percent in the disposal tonnage and therefore a 6 percent increase in bag sales, which would render an estimated net revenue from bag sales of $297,297.80.

The 2016 trash cost was $348,038.12, of which 34 percent -  $118,502.86 – was for disposal and 66 percent - $229,535.26 – was trash collection.  For 2017, he said the total cost would increase to $361,782.42, and when net revenue is projected against the net total collection and disposal cost, there is a shortfall of $64,484.69. Given this scenario, he suggested raising the cost of the bags to meet the gap.

Brewer recommended adding 35 cents to the cost of large bags, bringing their cost from $2 to $2.35 each. For small bags, he recommended adding 30 cents, bringing them from $1.50 to $1.80. This increase, he said, would yield $61,193.00 and would almost meet the potential gap.

The board noted that there are only two options to handle the shortfall - raise the price of the bags so users pay the shortfall, or have the taxpayers cover the increased cost. Selectmen Wayne Welch and George Plante said users should cover the cost through increases in bag prices, but selectman Jack Barnes said he hated to see the bag prices rise. Selectman Chair Jonathan Wood said there has been no increase in bag cost since the program began.

The board decided a public hearing should be held on the bag cost matter and asked that it be on the agenda for May 15.

Resident Rani Merriman suggested that another solution is to push for increased recycling and asked Brewer how much of an increase in recycling would be needed to offset the gap. He did not have an immediate answer.

In other business:

• The board discussed the latest information regarding the Brownfields monitoring of the former tannery property off Wight Street, contaminated by burial of hides from the tannery. The latest testing results from the state show an increase in chromium. New wells will have to be dug to check the groundwater within 30 days, according to the state.

The company handling the monitoring for the Town estimates the cost for installing the new wells at $6,840. While the town has already completed the remedial work required at the site, groundwater monitoring is required to continue, and the rise in chromium has been identified by the Town's vendor, Exeter Environmental Co.

Barnes noted that Raymond was told the site was clear in 2013 and as far as he is concerned, the state should pay for the current deviation. The board noted that the holes will have to be drilled and the groundwater checked, but the town could seek recovery of the cost.

After a brief discussion, the selectmen decided to get a second bid on this work from Weston Environmental.

Resident Carol Watjus said the town should look to the Rockingham Planning Commission for grant assistance and more bids for the work should be sought, as well as reimbursement from the state. The board noted the work on the new wells must start quickly.

• Brewer announced that he has lifted the watering ban following the latest drought report from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. However, he cautioned residents to continue to conserve water because if conditions change, the ban could be reinstated voluntarily or by mandate.

• Brewer reported that work on the Town’s new well at the high school is moving along and a pre-bid meeting had been held, which seven contractors attended. The bids are due May 9 and then the information from them will be sent to the state, where the bids will be reviewed. The state will select the low bidder. He described the scope of the work and said he would have information on a necessary easement by the next meeting. He expects the work to begin when school is out.

• Brewer noted that the Onway Lake Road culvert replacement work has restarted. The contractor began work April 25 and has an estimated completion date for late July, but after some discussion with the contractor, Brewer said the project should be completed closer to the beginning of July. They are already getting the site ready, he said, adding he thinks the contractor had built in too much of a time cushion.

• In discussing the Town’s financial status, Town Manager Craig Wheeler addressed resident comments about the town and school district sharing the same financial director as a potential cost saving. He said the two entities use different software, which do not mesh. While a potential sharing is under discussion, they have not been able to come up with any concept on how it would work.

Merriman asked if using a consulting firm or a headhunter to hire a finance director for the town has been contemplated. She was told that going that route is expensive but had been considered.

• The board liked the idea of getting proposals from the 10 or 12 organizations the town contracts with for services for Raymond residents. The board approved seeking proposals from other vendors that could supply the same services and then selecting the best proposal from a cost-effective perspective. The board approved developing an RFP (Request for Proposals) for this.

• Merriman said she thinks the Board of Selectmen and the School Board are out of touch with the townspeople and their concerns. She questioned why a police building costing $6.8 million to $8 million was justified and said there should be a much more cost-effective way to address department needs. She claimed that across the state the average police building is coming in at $2.2 million. Voters turned down a bond request for a new police station in March.

Concerning the Lamprey River Elementary School addition, which was also turned down by voters in March, she questioned both putting an addition in the flood plain and the need for the addition, given what she called dwindling enrollment. The proposed addition site is not in the flood plain, however; the current school is in the floodplain. She suggested starting a Capital Reserve building fund.

• The Memorial Day parade will be held on Monday, May 29 at 10 a.m. Dave Peno, Vice Commander of American Legion Post 90, invited scouts, military or others who wished to march to do so but to dress appropriately. There is no rain date, and cemetery and other events will go on regardless of weather. There will be a POW-MIA (Prisoner Of War-Missing In Action) ceremony at the Town Common at the conclusion of the parade, and he encouraged all veterans to attend, saying he could find no World War II veterans left in Raymond.

Barnes noted this parade and ceremony are not political events.

• The board introduced Kirsten Rundquist Corbett, the new Dudley-Tucker Library director. New Raymond Firefighter Jackson Crosby was introduced by Acting Fire Chief Paul Hammond, and Richard Lamar was sworn in as an alternate for the Historic District Commission.

 

 


Board of Selectmen Hear About Police Detail Fund
By Penny Williams 4-24-17

Police Chief David Salois discussed the Special Detail Fund with the Board of Selectmen at its Monday, April 24 meeting, pointing out that officers’ pay, when taking part in a Detail, does not come from the taxpayers.

He explained that the hiring business or organization bears the whole financial load of the Special Detail costs, which are $72 per hour, and of which officers receive $40.25. The hourly sum includes $10 for the cruiser fee; the rest is for administrative costs, all born by the company hiring the Detail. He noted that whether an officer or only a flagger is required is determined by Town Ordinances and policies.

The money from the Details goes into a revolving fund the Police Department can use for equipment and for paying for a cruiser. Salois said the department took part in 242 separate Details last year, which accounted for 1,319 hours worked, with an average hourly rate of $43.19 for officers. He noted there is a police union-determined differential for hourly wage for officers working a Detail, depending on whether they get the hourly rate or the rate plus time and a half, and there has been no change in the rate for this year.

He added that the fund presently has a balance of $40,453.61 and has paid for the motorcycle lease this year, given the Town's budget situation.

Public Works Director Steve Brewer discussed the possibility of raising the cost of the Town’s Pay As You Throw trash bags. He said trash tonnage is rising but recycling has leveled off, and with trash tonnage increases, the cost of waste disposal for Raymond is increasing.

Brewer said the bag sales are not closing the gap between the cost of disposal and revenue. He said what Raymond charges for the bags is about in the middle among several towns that he contacted, and suggested that an increase in the cost of the bags, perhaps raising the cost of the large bags by 10 to 20 cents, with similar increases for the small bags, might bring in sufficient revenue to close the gap.

Selectman Greg Bemis said an increase in bag prices would be a weekly reminder to people purchasing the bags of the fact that once again they are seeing increased costs.

Brewer said he would return to the Selectmen with additional information.

Resident Rani Merriman told Brewer that his information was difficult to understand and that the cost comparison between the revenue from bag sales and the cost of disposal, as well as trash and recycling information, should be posted on the Town's web site.

In other business at the April 24 meeting:

• Carol Watjus spoke out during public comment to express her views of the recent Shared Resource Committee meeting.

Watjus, chosen by the Board of Selectmen as an alternate on that committee, claimed the intent of the meeting was to learn where Raymond residents want to spend their tax money. She said the meeting was supposed to hear from the public, but noted the representatives of both the Board of Selectmen and School Board did most of the talking, and their direction was to determine how to pass warrant articles for a new police building and elementary school addition, rather than finding out what residents want to see happen. Both the police station and elementary school bond articles failed at the March election.

She said she was upset over the decision that only the core committee members could vote and said she wanted the committee to take "a fresh look at things," not arbitrarily decide that the most pressing issues are a new police station and school addition.

Watjus, who came in last among six candidates for selectmen in the March election, also said the committee should focus on how the School  Board and Board of Selectmen can share resources to save money. And she took issue with a statement from that meeting that the two boards work together successfully.

"From what I see, the School Board does not even agree with the BOS (selectmen) on this meeting," she declared.

Regarding a survey the Shared Resource Committee decided to create, she called the election's message the survey's response. "Listen to the people," she said, adding that the best solution would be for her to form a committee of residents to work things out themselves, and invited interested parties to join her.

Selectman Chair Jonathan Wood said the Shared Resource Committee on which he sits was serious about encouraging more of the public to participate and said their ideas and concerns would be taken into account.

Selectman Jack Barnes, who is also a member of the Shared Resource Committee, told Watjus he hoped that she and her husband, also an alternate to that committee, would attend the group’s Thursday, May 11 meeting. He said that although she can’t vote, her input is needed, as it is from all Raymond citizens. And he noted that 50 percent of the laws promulgated by the New Hampshire Legislature come from ideas, suggestions, and concerns brought forward by citizens.

• The board heard a recommendation from the Raymond Ambulance Company for an extension of its present contract. Following discussion, the selectmen voted to extend the contract for four years, but noted that at the next renewal, the contract should be put out to bid.

• The board approved a communications tower contract for the maintenance of the two tower areas, one at Lane Road and the other at 108 Main St. The board said the contracted cost usually runs between $8,000 and $10,000 annually. The board approved the contract and signed it.

Merriman asked if this had gone out to bid and if Raymond has a bid process. She was told there is a bid process that includes exceptions, and this is one of the exceptions, as there are only one or two firms available to do this type of work.

• The board approved a Household Hazardous Waste Day on Sept. 30, to be held with other municipalities.

• Wood announced there was to be a retirement celebration for Fire Chief Kevin Pratt on May 6 at 2 p.m. at the fire hall, at which time the Town would be making a presentation to Pratt.

• Wood announced that the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) class is concluding and a celebration would be held at 12:35 p.m. Monday, May 15. The board agreed to a proclamation for the event.

• Town Manager Craig Wheeler said he would have information regarding filling the vacant Financial Director position at the next meeting

 


‘Raymond Rapid Response Team’ to Promote Business Development
By Penny Williams 4-20-17

Raymond Community Development Director Ernie Creveling introduced to the Board of Selectmen on Monday evening, April 17 a Rapid Response Team he has put together to be available to talk with representatives of companies that show an interest in coming to Raymond.

He said the team would have the marketing skills and resource information necessary to talk with interested business and industry owners. Current members of the Rapid Response Team are Selectman Chair Jonathan Wood; Greg Sevinsky, general manager of the Walmart Distribution Center in Raymond; Brad Reed, owner of I.C. Reed & Sons, Inc.; George Vernet, owner of the Raymond Shopping Center and Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery; Town Manager Craig Wheeler; and Creveling. He said one additional citizen would be added and announced.

Creveling said the committee could respond as individuals or in pairs to inform interested parties about the advantages of locating in Raymond. He said the committee would be making quarterly reports to the selectmen.

The selectmen expressed their approval and said the team will be good for existing businesses in Raymond as well, and unanimously approved the formation and appointment of the Rapid Response Team.

In other business at the April 17 meeting:

• Public Works Director Steve Brewer said he needed to tap the Well System Investment Fund for $12,505 to clean well # 3. He said some work was done last year but it needs to be finished, and he selected the low bidder, Weston and Sampson, a firm that has done work for Raymond before. The board unanimously approved his request.

• Brewer also said there is a need for maintenance work on the aeration tower in the Water Treatment Plant. He said scaffolding will have to be erected because it is 25 feet above ground level. The company that exchanged and replaced the tubes last year will clean out the tubes and do the power washing.

He asked for $10,000 from the fund to address this project - $4,800 for the scaffolding and power washing and a contingency fund of $5,200 to cover any unexpected breaks or issues that may need to be attended to while the cleaning is in progress.

He assured the board that if the $5,200 is not used, it will be returned. The board unanimously approved this request as well.

• In an update on the Onway Lake Road culvert repair, Brewer reminded the selectmen there was an issue with the contractor last fall and negotiations on the matter have just wrapped up, providing the town with an on-site monitor of the contractor and work being done that will be paid for by the insurer.

He said the resumption of the project would now be scheduled and he thought it would require 10 to 12 weeks for completion. When he has a definite schedule, he will post it on the town website at www.raymondnh.gov. Until the work is completed, a detour remains in place for Onway Lake Road.

• Wheeler presented a summary of the Revenue and Expense report as the staff continues to work on adjusting items for the default budget. He told the board that building permits are a little ahead of last year but auto registrations and permits are a little behind.

• Concerning the vacant Finance Director position, Wheeler said 33 applications had been received, which were narrowed down to seven, with interviews for the top three. However, both of the top two candidates have withdrawn, and he is preparing to interview the third finalist.

• Rani Merriman and Douglas Vogel were appointed full members to the committee combining School Board and Selectmen with citizens. Carol and Wayne Watjus were named as alternates to that committee, which is charged with prioritizing needs of the two entities.

• Teri Welch was appointed to the Conservation Commission as an alternate and Jan Kent  was re-appointed as a full member. Carolyn Matthews was re-appointed to the Lamprey River Advisory Committee and Stephen Feher was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

• In response to a Right to Know request from resident Dana Hanson, Wheeler said Hanson had modified her requests and he had provided her with time card information of the employees driving town-owned vehicles and had informed her that the emails she wanted she could get off the town website.

 


Raymond Selectmen, School Board to Work Together on Prioritizing Town Needs   By Penny Williams    4-12-17

A rambling discussion, punctuated by comments from residents in the audience, took place when the Raymond Board of Selectmen met with the Raymond School Board on Monday, April 3 to discuss how the two boards might work together to prioritize community needs and take advantage of efficiencies. The discussion was brought to an abrupt stop when resident Doug Vogel said he would give the boards five minutes to come up with a plan and if that didn't happen, he would form a community committee to take over the effort.

This brought the discussion to some conclusions. It was decided that both boards should have two representatives and four community members sit on the proposed committee, which should be in place by April 19. Interested residents should contact the Town Office with their letters or emails of interest in serving.

The decision was made that the Boards would meet April 20 at 7 p.m. at an as yet undetermined location to get the committee started.

Representing the Board of Selectmen on the committee will be Jonathan Wood and Jack Barnes. Representing the School Board will be Joe Saulnier and Janice Arsenault.

Numerous comments were made about what the committee should do. A previous committee met during 2015 and submitted a report but never got back together with the Board of Selectmen during 2016.

 People speaking both on the boards and from the audience said that if an effort were made, efficiencies could be found, such as sharing a finance director. Several people wanted the Town to prioritize its needs and not merely move ahead with the same projects voters have said they don't favor.

One resident asked if a space needs evaluation, such as was undertaken by the police department, had been done by the school district, to which School Board Chairman John Harmon responded that the district had been investigating the need for facilities expansion for 10 years, making improvements along the way. However, the boards basically agreed that it was unrealistic to put forward both big ticket projects - the elementary school expansion and the new police department, both defeated at the polls in March - at the same time.

Resident Gary Brown said it is time for the townspeople to tell the boards what they want. He said a new police station is necessary but the school expansion is not needed. He also questioned what has been done to bring businesses to town to increase revenue, a theme echoed by several speakers.

Resident Ed French said developing revenue-producing business is what the town should be focusing on and added that town government should be "looking outside the box."

Harmon said the focus of the committee should be on sharing resources. He said that if the focus of the committee were to look at the two building projects that were defeated in March, that was an entirely different direction and should have a separate committee.

The two boards struggled with the concept of one committee vs. two. Selectman Chair Jonathan Wood said he thought the first thing that needs to be done is for the committee to develop a list of priorities.

Several residents complained that Raymond is at fault for not collecting back taxes and that people owing back taxes shouldn't be allowed on boards and committees.

Members of the audience said waste exists and needs to be reined in. Another resident asked why the facilities bond proposal called for renovating and expanding the elementary school when it is in a flood zone.

The current Lamprey River Elementary School is in the flood zone but has never been flooded, even during the two years when Raymond had 100-year floods, Raymond School Superintendent Ellen Small told Raymond Area News. She noted that the proposed addition is not in the flood zone, and the proposed renovations include flood proofing the existing building with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) approved materials.

At the school board meeting held prior to meeting with the selectmen, school board members discussed whether to move forward with seeking voter approval of the elementary school renovation and expansion plan. Harmon said was important to have a position before the next combined meeting.

The board said that not to continue would result in a loss of momentum, and the school’s problems would not be going away. Members said the building project needs to continue but the board should prioritize what to do after further discussions with the selectmen. No decision was made on how to proceed.

After the school board members left the meeting, the selectmen said that both topics - resources, efficiencies and combined efforts, and the two defeated building projects - should be the subjects of the single committee. Barnes said, however, that the list of efficiencies and resources should be prioritized first, before the building projects were discussed.

The decision was made to start the conversation with the committee's creation at the April 20 meeting of the school board and board of selectmen.

 


Board of Selectmen Meetings 3-20-17 and 3-27-17
by Penny Williams    3-30-17

Jonathan Wood will chair the Raymond Board of Selectmen for the coming year. Jack Barnes will serve as vice chair.

Wood will also serve as selectmen’s representative to the Planning Board and the Business and Economic Development Committee, and will be alternate representative for the Highway Safety Committee and Friends of Raymond Recreation Committee.

Barnes will be selectmen’s representative to the Budget Committee, Historic District Commission and Scholarship Committee, and will be the selectmen’s representative in negotiations and an alternate to the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Committee.

Selectman Greg Bemis will represent the selectmen on the CIP Committee, Friends of Raymond Recreation Committee and Scholarship Committee, and will be the alternate for the Cable Committee, Historic District Commission and Planning Board.

Selectman Wayne Welch will serve as representative to the Highway Safety Committee and alternate for the Budget Committee and the Raymond Business and Economic Development Committee.

Newly elected selectman George Plante will be representative to the Cable Committee and Raymond Business and Economic Development Committee, and will serve as alternate for negotiations.

At its recent meeting, the board discussed an action plan for dealing with the default budget. Voters shot down the Operating Budget in March, and Town Manager Craig Wheeler said he and his staff are working to overlay the default budget over the proposed operating budget, but the bottom line is the town will have to deal with $8,300,144 ($7,468,819 for the default town operating budget and $831,324 for the water department budget), rather than the proposed $8,527,969.

Wheeler said there needs to be a painstaking effort of going line by line to see what the new line amount is under the default. He said he hoped to have everything worked out in the next two weeks, and noted that some payments would be arbitrarily delayed until fall, when the Town would have a better handle on both revenues and expenditures.

A proposed new police station was also defeated at the polls in March, and Wheeler said the committee that worked with the Police Department on the building proposal would continue meeting, with Barnes and Wood remaining on that committee.

In other business:

• Wheeler said he has received several applications from highly qualified candidates for the Town's Financial Director job. The deadline for resumes was March 31. He said he was putting together a committee to review the resumes and reduce the candidate pool to two or three persons to be invited in for an interview.

• At the board’s Monday, March 27 meeting, Police Chief David Salois gave letters of merit to Corporal Brian Stice and Officer Ryan Stanton for their handling of a suicidal incident on Election Day morning.

• Wood announced a joint meeting with the School Board will take place at the April 3 Board of Selectmen meeting. He said the School Board has already chosen two representatives who will, over the course of the year, meet with selectmen representatives in a sub-committee role to discuss and work on resolving any issues of concern. The Board decided to wait until the April 3 meeting to select its representatives.

• Wheeler said resident Dana Hanson has submitted several Right to Know requests from the town. Wheeler said her requests were for: all records for town vehicles including fuel and mileage for the year 2016 and year to date 2017, all employee time sheet records for the year 2016 and year to date 2017, and all resident emails collected by the town.

Wheeler said he plans to respond to Hanson's requests consistent with the state statute."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raymond Town Office
4 Epping Street

895-7007
Raymond NH Website

 


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