NOTES OF OCTOBER 28, 2013 RYE BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING
Revised Final Revision C – Provided by the Rye Civic League
Present: Selectmen Jenness, Musselman and Mills. Also present: Cindi Gillespie, Mike Magnant
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 6:33:24 p.m.
Congratulations to Rye Little League as State Champions (0:14 elapsed)
Selectman Mills offered congratulations. Recreation Director Lee Arthur showed a number of plaques and medals and there was discussion about the Town providing them to the team.
Announcement of Trick or Treat (4:37 elapsed)
It was announced that this will occur on October 30. A 1994 Warrant Article had established this as the date, according to Selectman Mills.
Public hearing on acceptance of $6000 for the Conservation Commission (5:11 elapsed)
Selectman Jenness read the list of donors. There was $4900 from the Rye Energy Committee and proceeds from a chicken dinner. Christine’s Crossing and Langs Corner Garage also donated funds, among others. There was no public comment. The motion to accept the donations carried unanimously.
Approval of Minutes (8:37 elapsed)
The minutes of the October 15, 2013 meeting and the non-public session on personnel and collective bargaining on the same day were unanimously approved without changes, Selectman Jenness abstaining as she was not in attendance.
New Assistant Town Clerk and discussion of tax rate setting (9:27 elapsed)
Town Clerk Beth Yeaton introduced Andrea Morrissey, who had been appointed at the prior meeting. Editor’s note: Selectman Musselman stated at the prior meeting that he did not know who she was. This was apparently the reason that she came to this meeting. Beth Yeaton stated that she would start working on motor vehicle registrations and also taxes, which are coming up.
This led into a discussion about the tax rate being set late this year. Beth Yeaton stated that tax bills normally go out on December 1, but if the rate has not been set, they must be delayed. In that case, they are typically sent out within 24 hours of the setting of the rate.
Islander Magazine (11:37 elapsed)
Editor’s note: See the minutes of the August 26, 2013 meeting. Mr. Bamberger had previously presented to the Board of Selectmen regarding a Town-wide magazine that could avoid the need for the quarterly Town newsletters.
Randy Bamberger readdressed the issue as Selectman Jenness had been absent at the prior meeting. He stated that his company could distribute this magazine without Town approval using the mail. However, they are looking for cooperation. He knows that publishing of the Town newsletter is costly. New Castle residents are currently receiving a magazine devoted to their Town. He is interested in providing a magazine for Rye as well, as the Town is beautiful and affluent.
There was a discussion about much of the content being advertising. Mr. Bamberger stated that advertising pays for the cost of producing and distributing the magazine. Selectman Musselman reiterated his earlier statement that the magazine was a fine idea, but that the Town should not be officially be involved due to the advertising content. Selectman Jenness expressed concern that Town information could be lost in the advertising. She asked about the additional work by Town employees to provide content for the magazine. Mr. Bamberger stated that the work preparing the newsletter is already being done.
Mr. Bamberger spoke about Rye Reflections and its past community associations with both New Castle and Rye.
Selectman Musselman asked Mr. Bamberger what he was asking the Town to do. Mr. Bamberger responded that he was asking for a partnership with the Town. Selectman Musselman stated that the newsletter was public information. They could put portions of it in the magazine.
The discussion ended with no commitment and an indication that Town Administrator Magnant might be back in touch with Mr. Bamberger.
Land use change, 659 Washington Rd. (30:27 elapsed)
Selectman Mills indicated that the next matter would be taken out of order so that Town Assessor David Hynes could return to Rochester. Editor’s note: According to its website, Mr. Hynes is on the Rochester, NH City Council. Mr. Hynes stated that he would not be running again.
Selectman Mills indicated that half of the funds from the land use change would go to the Conservation Commission. Cyndi Gillespie indicated that this is subject to a $10,000 annual cap. Mr. Hynes stated that most Towns provide a portion for this, but he did not realize that Rye was that extravagant. He stated that the cap could be met as a result of this single item.
Selectman Musselman indicated that the property is a large open field next to Mel Low’s house.
Mr. Hynes stated that a $24,290 land use change tax would be due from the owner. He stated that the tax is 10 percent of the fair market value, in this case $24,290 Editor’s note: See http://www.nhspace.org/cu-changetax.shtml for a description of this tax. The tax is due when the land comes out of “current use,” which means that the land had been taxed at a lower value as open space. In this case, the property in question, which is 16 acres, is assessed at $1300, according to visionappraisal.com. Mr. Hynes continued, stating that there is nothing in the law saying that the owner cannot do this. Selectman Musselman moved to recognize the change in use for map 11 lot 85. All were in favor.
Anne Morrissey regarding the rent for her unit at the Parsonage Apartments (27:02 elapsed)
Selectman Mills noted that the “ball game” starts at 8:07 p.m. Editor’s note: The Boston Red Sox are in the World Series which was then tied 2-2 in the best of seven series. They won this game and went on to win the World Series 4-2.
Ms. Morrissey stated that she had called the Town of Hampton and discovered that the smallest habitable unit that could be rented there is 330 sq. ft. Her unit is 328 sq. ft. HUD has designations of efficiency, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom apartments. She is being billed for a 1 bedroom apartment and is paying $684. If the HUD efficiency unit rental rate was applied, her rent would be $587.20. She contends that her rent should be reduced to that. She has been in the apartment for 3 ½ years.
There was then a discussion about whether there was a door separating the apartment so that there was a separate bedroom. Selectman Musselman stated that he saw a door in a photograph provided by Ms. Morrissey, although it is a doorway with half of a door. Ms. Morrissey stated that she contends that it is all one room. She read from a transcript that she had prepared from the video in which Marty Chapman (the manager of the Parsonage Apartments) was directed to complete certain things by Selectman Mills. Earlier, Ms. Morrissey had stated that she had worked as a court reporter.
Ms. Morrissey pointed out that fellow resident Susan Weiss, who was sitting beside her, has an apartment of twice the size, with a door on the bedroom, and is paying the same rent. Marty Chapman will not discuss this with her, Ms. Morrissey said. Editor’s note: Marty Chapman is with MB Management, which manages the Parsonage Apartments, which are owned by the Town. He appeared at the July 22, 2013 Board of Selectmen meeting during which Ms. Morrissey had previously presented issues involving the health and safety of her unit as well as the rent. This matter begins at 6:49 p.m. on the video. Mr. Chapman appears at 7:59:20 in the video. There is discussion about the rents at 8:05:30 in the video.
Ms. Morrissey continued, stating that she does not care what Mr. Chapman says, her unit should be classified as an efficiency. Selectman Musselman asked whether this should not be a HUD determination. The Town of Rye is not a signatory to the lease. Her lease is with MB Management based on a fee structure with HUD, Selectman Musselman said. Editor’s note: The exact relationship between the Town, the Housing Partnership and MB Management is unclear. Selectman Musselman stated that there is no Town requirement as to square footage. They would be glad to help her, but he is not sure that they can. Ms. Morrisey responded that the Selectmen do help, but “they” don’t. All the work that has been done on the building has been good for the residents. Editor’s note: It appears that “they” refers to the Housing Partnership or MB Management, and that, as a result of the July 22, 2013 meeting certain actions were taken to improve the premises.
Selectman Musselman stated that he looks at the photographs and that he sees two rooms. Someone needs to determine this, but that is not the Board of Selectmen, he said. Town Administrator Magnant stated that he was not sure of this, as the unit is not considered subsidized. Ms. Morrissey stated that a lot of residents are under “section 8,” but she is not. Editor’s note: This is an apparent reference to a subsidized housing program. Selectman Musselman responded that the landlord seems to be establishing the rents based on the HUD structure. Ms. Morrissey interjected that HUD makes provisions for efficiency units.
Town Administrator Magnant revealed that 90-95 percent of the construction at the Parsonage Apartments had been completed, and it should be completed in 2-4 weeks. At that point, the Housing Partnership would like to come back in and meet with the Board of Selectmen. Ms. Morrissey’s issue could be addressed at that time. Editor’s note: This is an apparent reference to work done in response to the July 22, 2013 meeting.
Susan Weiss request for hand rails at Parsonage Apartments (66:47 elapsed)
Susan Weiss, who had accompanied Ms. Morrissey, then addressed the board and requested the installation of a hand rail. She indicated that everyone in the building was handicapped. The ice is tough in the winter, she said. Selectman Mills suggested that the issue could be addressed when MB Management comes back in. Selectman Musselman indicated that Ms. Weiss should inform MB Management so that they know that the issue is going to be raised.
Anne Morrissey stated that she did not see the parking lot on the agenda. Selectman Mills indicated that it was item D6 and would be addressed next.
Parking lot at the Parsonage Apartments (73:42 elapsed)
Dennis McCarthy stated that a calculation had been done as to the amount of asphalt that would be needed to add 2 inches to the existing pavement. At the Bourassa Construction “hand apply” rate the cost would be $6250. Selectman Mills asked whether there was any way to say this was a safety issue, as $6000 out of the Public Works budget might be stretching at this time of year. Town Administrator Magnant stated that the lease requires that the building and premises be maintained in good condition. The matter has been sent to the Town Attorney to see what the options are, he said. Anne Morrisey stated that a lot of the residents had fallen. Most of the residents are handicapped, she said.
Road markings at the intersection of Lang Rd. and Washington Rd. (77:15 elapsed)
Police Chief Walsh noted that the “ball game” begins in 12 minutes. He described the situation at the end of Lang Rd. There are problems with vehicles pulling out at the stop sign. He suggested relocating the crosswalk closer to Washington Rd., moving the stop sign and establishing a right turn only lane. There was general agreement with the proposed course of action.
Seacoast Half marathon, Event permit November 10, 2013 (81:17 elapsed)
Police Chief Walsh described the route, which starts and ends in Portsmouth and noted that the necessary insurance and forms are in order. Chief Walsh indicated that a Portsmouth cruiser would accompany the race as that is where it ends and begins. The motion to approve the event permit was approved unanimously.
Love Lane signs (83:27 elapsed)
As Public Works Director Dennis McCarthy approached to address his issues on the agenda, Selectman Mills asked whether there had been problems with the Love Ln. signs being stolen recently. Mr. McCarthy stated that there had been problems in the past, but not recently. Selectman Mills then stated that Town Administrator Magnant had, at his request, retrieved a hacksaw that had been hanging on one of the signs. Selectman Mills then produced a rusty hacksaw, which he laid on the table. Mr. McCarthy asked whether it had been dusted for fingerprints.
Selectman Mills then noted that his wife’s name was Marcella, and that there was a “Marcy St.” sign hanging in his garage. Someone asked whether the statute of limitations had expired.
Town Hall electrical upgrades (84:21 elapsed)
Public Works Director McCarthy noted that two competitive bids had been received for electrical upgrades at Town Hall. He recommended that the Holway Electric bid be accepted as their bid was presented in the requested format. It included PUC charges which Holway had estimated. The other bid did not. While the PUC charges cannot be determined exactly at this time, based on the estimate the two bids are for approximately the same amount. Selectman Musselman stated that it was fine to award the contract to a local guy, but it still needed to be the lowest bid. The motion to approve the award of this contract to Holway carried unanimously.
Hazardous tree removal (87:00 elapsed)
Mr. McCarthy indicated that there are two trees: one by Town Hall and the other at 23 Baker Ave. With regard to the latter, he is trying to get the homeowner to pay half, because the “pin” is in the middle. Apparently the tree is right on the property line, or whether or not the tree is in the right of way depends on which of two surveys done by neighbors is correct.
There was then discussion about the budget. Mr. McCarthy indicated that there was a $10,000 budget and only one tree has been removed so far. In December, the contractor will be called in to do “high trimming” to use up whatever funds are left. This constitutes trimming to the 16 foot level to prevent trucks from hitting overhanging branches.
With regard to the tree at the Town Hall, the Selectmen agreed to defer to Urban Tree Service as to whether the entire tree or only the clearly dead portion of it should be removed.
The motion to approve the tree removals carried unanimously.
New Hampshire Public Works Employee Memorial (92:15 elapsed)
Mr. McCarthy indicated that Public Works employees had asked to place information at the Transfer Center regarding the Public Works Memorial at the Concord DOT Center. Selectman Musselman asked whether the Town could contribute funds. After McCarthy responded that the Town could, the motion to have the Town contribute $50 carried unanimously.
Rye Beach Precinct sidewalks and berating by Chairman of the Precinct (94:00 elapsed)
Mr. McCarthy stated that the matter was supposed to have been discussed at the prior meeting. Editor’s note: Selectman Musselman fell ill and needed to excuse himself, leaving only Selectman Mills present and no quorum. The work has already been done, Mr. McCarthy said. Also, he stated that the bill for the prior year had not been paid.
Selectman Mills thrust his finger in the air, pointed it at the other Selectmen and said that the Chairman of the Rye Beach Precinct, the guy who “berated them” at the Beach Use Committee would not pay. Editor’s note: This is an apparent reference to Frank Drake. See the notes of the October 9, 2013 public hearing of the Beach Use Ordinance Committee.
Selectman Musselman stated that it was fine to do the work, but the Town should be paid. Cyndi Gillespie indicated that she would set up an account receivable and send them a bill. Selectman Musselman asked what the monthly interest rate would be. There was no response.
Selectman Mills asked whether they were getting a “deal.” Mr. McCarthy concurred, indicating that they were being charged the direct cost and nothing more.
Surplus property auction (97:37 elapsed)
Mr. McCarthy noted that an old Mosler safe from the Town Clerk’s office had been added to the list. Selectman Musselman asked why the Selectmen’s desk had been put back on the list. Editor’s note: At a prior meeting there had been discussion about making use of this in the expanded Town Hall. The desk is currently in storage.
Utility pole approval and Verizon suit over assessment (99:40 elapsed)
This matter was tabled as Public Works is still discussing a different location of the pole.
Selectman Musselman reported that Fairpoint is suing the Town over its pole assessment despite the Town having used the DRA recommended figure, which is much less than other towns. Town Administrator Magnant reported that Attorney Donovan will shortly be providing a memorandum on that issue.
Granite State Independent Living website link (101:44 elapsed)
This website link was unanimously approved. Selectman Musselman commented that this was an easier issue than the Seacoast Science Center as this group does not collect revenues.
Rockingham Planning Commission survey on Town website (102:52 elapsed)
Town Administrator Magnant reported that the survey will be taken down on November 15. The motion to approve this request carried unanimously.
Webster at Rye sign request (103:15 elapsed)
This request was unanimously approved.
Deliberative session February 1, 2014 (103:55 elapsed)
The Deliberative Session was set for Saturday, February 1, 2014, with a snow date of February 8.
Designation of Beach Club on National Register (104:23 elapsed)
A letter from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources indicated that the Beach Club is being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. Fire Chief Skip Sullivan reported that the facility was a salt bath many years ago and had been “pretty much destroyed” during the Blizzard of ’78. Selectman Jenness reported that a corner was taken off. She further indicated that bathing suits were rented there, and that Frank Drake’s mother used to sit on the porch and rent units (little cubicles).
Resignation of Keriann Roman from the Recreation Commission (106:00 elapsed)
This resignation was unanimously accepted with thanks for her service. Editor’s note: At an earlier meeting there had been confusion as to whether there was a slot open on the Recreation Commission. After investigation it was apparently determined that this resignation letter had not been received, even though Ms. Roman had not served for some time.
Nominations for 2014 CEDS Steering Committee (106:25 elapsed)
Selectman Mills quipped that economic development in Rye consists of knocking houses down and rebuilding them. Selectman Musselman suggested that Mark Galvin be contacted regarding the Regional Economic Development Center of Southern New Hampshire CEDS Steering Committee.
Little League Bake Sale at Recycling Center (107:57 elapse
This bake sale for November 9, 2013 was unanimously approved. Dennis McCarthy stated that they had had no issues after the problems that had occurred earlier with the Little League.
Health Trust Board (109:04 elapsed)
This nomination was discussed. The organization is what used to be the LGC. The position would go to a Town official.
Dow Lane closure (110:01 elapsed)
Fire Chief Skip Sullivan reported that Dow Ln. would be closed the next day for water main work. There is one business on the street, he said.
Christmas Parade, December 8 (110:54 elapsed)
There was discussion regarding this.
November 7, 2013 Town Hall public discussion (111:39 elapsed)
It was reported that this will be in the Rye Junior High cafeteria. Selectman Musselman indicated that the Recreation Commission had been invited to the November 5, 2013 meeting. He asked whether they had made a commitment to come. While there is a Recreation Committee member on the Town Hall Committee, he does not know what the others think. They need to know what the Great Hall can be used for.
Selectman Musselman stated that the architect had interviewed Lee Arthur and she did not want anything to do with the Great Hall. However, she is an employee and they are making a decision to spend Town tax dollars. A decision needs to be made as to whether one or two buildings will be built.
Non-public session (113:54 elapsed)
The Board of Selectmen voted to go into non-public session.
Skip Sullivan comment about program on History of Salt Marsh Hay (114:06 elapsed)
As people were filing out, Fire Chief Skip Sullivan indicated that he was going to try to get a tape for the Selectmen of a very interesting program on Channel 22 with Alex Herlihy and others regarding the history of salt marsh hay.