NOTES OF FEBRUARY 12, 2018 RYE BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING
Final Revision B – Provided by the Rye Civic League
Present (clockwise around table): Town Administrator Michael Magnant, Selectmen Craig Musselman, Priscilla Jenness and Phil Winslow. Not present: Finance Director Cyndi Gillespie. Also present and sitting in the audience or the lobby outside: Police Chief Kevin Walsh, Fire Chief Mark Cotreau, Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy, Building Inspector Peter Rowell, Deputy Building Inspector Chuck Marsden.
Persons present from the public included: Peter Crawford, Marisa Novello (Portsmouth Herald).
Editor’s note: For ease in finding particular sections using the archived video and audio on the Town website, the elapsed time is indicated. Use the slider and the elapsed time indicated at the bottom of the video window to fast forward to the desired section. Videos on the Town website may currently be accessed at www.town.rye.nh.us by clicking on “Town Hall Streaming” at the bottom left of the screen. Follow the link for “Town Hall Live Streaming,” then find the meeting by date under “Previous.”
The video starts at 6:32:18 (0:00 elapsed).
1. A resident expressed disappointment at the late disclosure of the fact that, if the Town were to purchase the property, the TD Bank building could not be used by any financial institution for five years.
Peter Crawford expressed disappointment that the details of the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the TD Bank building were not fully disclosed earlier. When the Budget Committee met on January 11 the fact that there was a provision in the agreement that would require the Town to agree to a deed restriction preventing the building or the land from being used by a financial institution should have been disclosed. That affects the value negatively. In effect, it means that, taken with the other deed restriction, it can only be used for single residence or government use for five years. You wouldn’t be able to turn around and sell it for commercial use because that is prohibited by the 1964 deed. You couldn’t use it as a bank, which is the only permitted commercial use, because that would be subject to the TD Bank restriction, he said. Editor’s note: Click here to see the 1964 deed, and here (page 20) to see the deed restriction in the Purchase and Sale Agreement with TD Bank. Click here to see the notes of the Deliberative Session on this issue.
Mr. Crawford said that he had asked the question at the Deliberative Session. It was ignored. After that, Deb Crapo made the comment that it could be leased to a bank. Nobody corrected her on that. Finally, Jeanne Low got up and asked the question “is there any terminology that would prevent us from turning this, when we no longer needed the building, to turn around and sell it to another bank.” The Town Attorney said “yes, as I said earlier there is a Purchase and Sale Agreement. That’s not the key thing. The key thing is the deed restriction that was talked about earlier, and the deed restriction would allow the Town to sell it, or rent it, to another bank, but no other commercial use.” He was clearly referring to the 1964 deed restriction and was not responding to her question, Mr. Crawford said. He went on, later saying “they don’t need a restriction because it’s in the deed and the deed runs with the land.”
Mr. Crawford said that he has some real concerns. The three Selectmen were sitting there not saying anything. Finally, Mr. Magnant, to his credit, did suggest that the Purchase and Sale Agreement be checked. Mr. Crawford thanked him for that.
Mr. Crawford said that he would like an explanation as to how this happened and why we were not told back in January. It took me giving a copy of the Purchase and Sale Agreement to Steven Borne, having him take it up to Jeanne Low, having her read from it, before the Town Attorney finally admitted that she had answered her own question, he said.
Sealing of minutes (4:22 elapsed)
The motion of Selectman Jenness to seal the minutes of the non-public session just concluded carried unanimously.
Consent Agenda (4:32 elapsed)
Selectman Musselman said that there were four items. Items A through C were approved unanimously without discussion. Item D, a request to hold signs and distribute flyers at the Transfer Station the final three Saturdays before the election was removed for discussion. Selectman Musselman said that there was a precedent allowing all candidates and those supporting warrant articles to campaign at the Transfer Station. All were in favor of the request.
Minutes (6:32 elapsed)
The minutes of the January 16, 2018 meeting were unanimously approved with changes. The minutes of the January 22, 2018 meeting were unanimously approved with changes. The minutes of the two non-public sessions of the same day were unanimously approved without changes. The minutes of the meeting after the Deliberative Session on February 3, 2018 were unanimously approved without changes.
Building Inspector Peter Rowell and Deputy Building Inspector Chuck Marsden reported that they had been there on the 25th. Mr. Rowell said that he had done the exterior and Mr. Marsden the interior. Information was provided on the septic system. No evidence of flooding of the field was noted. The site has a fairly high water table.
Mr. Marsden noted minor issues with a crack in the sheet rock, and some minor electrical issues. There are no signs of mold, mildew or moisture or of rot. The walls looked straight and the doors worked well, he said.
Mr. Magnant said that this was the last chance to get out of the Purchase and Sale Agreement if they don’t like the inspection report. He said that there are 3 safes, one for cash and the other for safety deposit boxes, he said.
Mr. Rowell said that there had been a heavy update of the building about 20 years earlier.
Selectman Winslow said that the building was a bargain for the Town.
Salt Shed bids (24:19 elapsed)
The matter was tabled as they are still working on the details and there is no authority until after the vote.
Recycling (Northeast Resource Recovery) (24:55 elapsed)
Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy addressed. He said that this is the Town’s broker for recyclables. He said that there had been a problem in the past with budgeting as the recycling revenues were netted against the bill, which is not the way that it is supposed to be done. The way that it is done hides the true cost of the Transfer Center. NRRA is willing to change the billing process., he said
There was talk about changes in the willingness of China to accept recycling.
All were in favor of the change to the process.
Historic Structure Report RFP (31:14 elapsed)
Town Administrator Magnant said that, before the RFP is put out he wanted the Selectmen to review.
Selectman Musselman said that, if the Loftus article passes, the issue would be moot. He suggested a due date a week after the election so respondents would get a warning.
There was then discussion about the involvement of the Heritage Commission and the Historic District Commission.
The request from the Finance Director to provide raises at the two percent floor was approved, subject to approval of the budget. Town Administrator Magnant said that this was an across the board increase, with no merit increases. Editor’s note: Traditionally, the Town’s non-union town employees have gotten the same raises as union employees. Under the terms of the contracts with the Town’s unions, there is a cost of living adjustment based on inflation. However when the inflation rate is below two percent, two percent increases are required. There is also a ceiling, however this has not limited the increases in recent years.
Offshore drilling (37:19 elapsed)
A communication from the Rob Werner of the League of Conservation Voters was noted. It referred to a meeting on Wednesday, February 21, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Library. Selectman Musselman said that he was probably not in favor of that directly off the coast. He suggested that an inquiry should be made of Onassis to see how that had worked out. Editor’s note: In 1974, Aristotle Onassis had proposed an oil terminal off of the Isles of Shoals that would have been connected by pipeline to a refinery in Durham. The plan was rejected after vigorous opposition. Selectman Jenness said that history should repeat itself.
St. Theresa’s parking (39:17 elapsed)
Police Chief Kevin Walsh referred to parking issues at St. Theresas and the use of cones. Some people are parking at the Rye Beach Post Office. Selectman Winslow said that it should be impressed on the congregation that cars parked at the Post Office would be towed.
Adjournment (42:49 elapsed)
Whereupon the meeting adjourned at approximately 7:15 p.m.