Raymond Board of Selectmen News
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.
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.
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."