Attendees: Robert Rowan, Randy Hilman, Russ Johnson; Jamie Besecker, Leo Dwyer; Terry Miller & Molly Fuller, District Rangers with the Forest Service; Cathy Graham, Jennifer Wright.
Mr. Rowan opened the meeting at 7:30 P.M.
Minutes: Mr. Johnson moved to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2008 Selectmen’s Meeting as amended; motion seconded by Mr. Hilman, and the vote was unanimous.
Forest Service Update:
Terry Miller, Ranger with the Saco District, and Molly Fuller, Ranger with the Pemi District, provided the Selectmen with a summary of their activities and asked for any concerns or questions. Ms. Fuller is new to the area having transferred here from California.
Mr. Rowan asked if the Forest Service is at all interested in the large tract of land being sold by Webster Land Corporation. Ms. Fuller replied that she does not believe any of that land is within the proclamation boundary, but will research that further. The selling price for that tract is very high, probably too high to consider. Ms. Fuller urged that if any land is for sale in Sandwich that the Board would like the Forest Service to consider purchasing, they should make sure they write an official letter of interest; broadening the proclamation boundary needs to be brought forth by the community if interested.
Mr. Rowan asked if the Forest Service is doing any cutting on their lands in Sandwich. Ms. Fuller replied that right now in the Pemi District they are only doing an inventory, and have no plans to cut in the next few years. In the Saco region, specifically from Flat Mountain towards Ferncroft, Mr. Miller said that they would like to pursue their timber harvest plans, but are having trouble with the access to their lands. They hope to work through this issue since there has not been harvesting done in this area in many years.
The Forest Service is prioritizing its infrastructure projects, focusing on less new development and improving what they have. The $20.00 parking fee is only collected for those areas that offer facilities, and this income has significantly helped with their recreational management costs. 85% of the parking fees must be used for this purpose. Ms. Fuller and Mr. Miller confirmed that there are no plans for construction of any new campsites in their jurisdiction in Sandwich.
Mr. Hilman asked about the Mead Base facility. Mr. Miller stated that the Squam Lakes Association has one more year’s lease for that property. He said it has been great to have them there as stewards of that historical property for maintenance, security, etc.
Mr. Hilman asked what types of communication materials they issue to Towns to keep them abreast of their activities. Mr. Miller replied that typically Towns received a “Schedule of Proposed Action” for any project happening locally. If a project is considered small, the District Rangers tend to make phone calls to interested parties rather than issue a formal “Schedule.”
These District Rangers were thanked for taking the time to meet with the Board and hope to keep the lines of communication open.
Mr. Hilman reported that he and the other Selectmen worked the Primaries all day on Tuesday, January 8th. Mr. Hilman provided an authentic Tennessee BBQ supper for everyone, shipped overnight from his favorite BBQ restaurant in Tennessee. On Wednesday morning, Mr. Hilman and Mr. Johnson met both Greg Howard, a soil scientist, and David Ames, a septic designer, at a property on Metcalf Road. Mr. Howard did a soil test pit in the middle of the existing leachfield to determine if it could be replaced in kind. It was determined from this test pit that it would need to be redesigned for a new location that met our 125 foot setback requirement.
Ms. Graham and Mr. Hilman wrote up the final editorial language for the public on the two proposed zoning amendments submitted to the Planning Board by the Selectmen.
On Thursday, the Board of Selectmen attended the final Budget Committee meeting during which all members worked at trying to cut $154,000 from the proposed budget so the municipal tax rate would remain at the 2007 rate- they came close to achieving that goal. On Friday, Mr. Hilman started his work on the Selectmen’s narrative for the Town Report.
In addition to his participation in the full Board activities, Mr. Johnson stated that he and Mr. Rowan inspected a property on Metcalf Road on which an addition was built without a building permit. Measurements were taken to determine if the addition was within our setbacks. Mr. Johnson inspected a cease and desist building permit on Merriman Point Road. Mr. Johnson is running the Sandwich Central School ski program on Tuesdays with Jim Hambrook to help out the Parks & Recreation Director while she is on leave.
Mr. Rowan provided a summary of the work session that took place this morning: local downtown businesses were invited to the work session so the Selectmen could discuss future plans for Municipal Parking. The Quimby Trustees encouraged the Board to request financial support for these municipal parking projects from the local businesses since they will benefit from them. The business owners felt that this year was tough for them economically, but they offered their help in any future fund-raising campaign. The Selectmen also met with a property owner on Merriman Point Road so they could explain the building permit process, especially for those properties in the Shoreland District. He was given an approval for a permit for interior renovations for the main house on the property.
Mr. Rowan noted the e-mail that was forwarded to the Board about proposed House Bill 1223; this bill would allow grandfathered sections of gravel pits to expand their pit with an abutting land purchase without having to re-permit. Mr. Hilman moved to send correspondence to our two State Representatives, Virginia Heard and Howard Cunningham, to voice the Selectmen’s opposition to this proposed bill; motion seconded by Mr. Johnson and the vote was unanimous.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter requested that the Town include her annual summary in our Town Report. Mr. Johnson moved not to include the Congresswoman’s report in our Town Report based on precedence – our Town Report only includes local reports; motion seconded by Mr. Hilman and the vote was unanimous.
The State informed us of the new required procedures for disposal of those products that contain mercury. New bins will have to be purchased for our Transfer Station and guidelines updated.
Mr. Hilman noted that the sign at Mocha Rizing that was not in compliance with the HDC guidelines was removed per the Selectmen’s request.
A property owner asked if he could take some of the downed trees that are along the road to the Transfer Station. After discussion, the Board of Selectmen felt it best that the Town Forest Committee develop a policy for allowing property owners to harvest downed trees from Town-owned property. Peter Pohl, who is in charge of this committee, will be notified.
An employee asked if the Board would increase the vacation time allowed for someone who has worked for 20+ years. Currently the employee handbook states that an employee who works 15+ years is eligible for four weeks of vacation time. This employee was hoping for five weeks per year. The Board of Selectmen agreed that five weeks would be too much of a burden on that department, especially since there would be carryover vacation weeks added to it, and with Holidays and sick time, too much of the year would have lost time.
One of the election workers at the Primaries e-mailed the Board of Selectmen with her concerns about the new polling location. The Board expressed appreciation for her thoughts and suggestions, and decided that it would be a good idea to poll the other election workers to get their thoughts as well.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:18 P.M. on a motion by Mr. Hilman; motion seconded by Mr. Johnson, and the motion passed.