RCL notes of January 9, 2017 Budget Committee Hearing

1.  The Budget Committee engaged in vigorous discussion of the approximately $3.4 million Selectmen’s warrant article to tear down and rebuild the Town Hall (4:05 elapsed).
a.  Randy Crapo stated that he would be embarrassed to recommend this option as it does not meet the needs.  He said that he would be voting against recommending the warrant article (12:37 elapsed).
b.  Peggy Balboni referred to the dwindling school population and indicated that it may make sense to back up and look long-term (14:31 elapsed).
c.  Kevin Brandon (School District representative) stated that there will be 350 students soon between the two schools, while the capacity at Rye Elementary School is 450 students.  There is enough capacity now to combine the schools.  Rye Junior High has a number of characteristics that lend themselves to a community center, including the gym and cafeteria, he said (16:10 elapsed).
d.  Mae Bradshaw stated that, given her preservation bias, she would not be voting to recommend the article.  She cited the survey results and asserted that there where would never be 60 percent in favor of tearing the building down (26:45 elapsed).
e.  Ray Jarvis disagreed and said that the survey results do not reflect the sort of give and take discussion that is occurring here (27:25 elapsed).
f.  Paul Goldman said that the current Town Hall is non-compliant and has Building Code issues.  The building is literally falling apart.  The town has been cyclically paralyzed by analysis.  Town employees have indicated that the proposed building meets their needs for the next 50-100 years (35:00 elapsed).
g.  Chairman Paul Goldman said that they should start to draw the discussion to a close as it was symptomatic of what had gone on for five years (39:49 elapsed).
g.  Shawn Crapo spoke about problems with the Public Safety Building which had to be done by a deadline.  It was built “like a piece of crap” and had to be renovated before it could be moved into.  Townspeople are voting no on Town Hall as the Town failed on this big project.  They want to make sure that the due diligence is done on this one (40:00 elapsed).
h.    Ray Jarvis moved to recommend the article.  Selectman Craig Musselman seconded.  Those two, together with Paul Goldman, voted in favor.  Peggy Balboni, Mae Bradshaw, Shawn Crapo, Kevin Brandon, Ralph Hickson and Randy Crapo voted against.  The vote was 6-3 against recommending.  Ray Jarvis left immediately after the vote (47:40 elapsed).
2.  The three union contracts with the Public Works employees, Fire Department employees and Police Department employees were all recommended 7-1.  Mae Bradshaw voted against all three.  She explained that they provide for a 2.5 percent increase while the many people on fixed incomes in Rye are having to live with .3 percent Social Security increases (48:45 elapsed).
3.  The Town Budget was unanimously recommended (72:00 elapsed).
4.  The Heritage Commission’s $3.2 million warrant article for not recommending Town Hall was not recommended by a 7-1 vote, only Mae Bradshaw voting in favor.  She said that the Hutter bids have demonstrated that it is less expensive to renovate, contrary to what many in town had been asserting.  The survey indicates that over 60 percent want to retain town hall in its existing location and renovate, she said (74:45 elapsed).
5.  The Budget Committee voted 7-1 not to recommend a petitioned warrant article to spend $500,000 to repair the Town Hall exterior, provide handicapped access, replace and restore windows and improve the energy efficiency if the other two articles fail.  Mae Bradshaw voted in favor.  After Chairman Paul Goldman asserted that they had no information supporting the warrant article, one of the proponents present asserted that it would have been impossible to know that this article would be taken up as only the union contracts were on the agenda.  He complained about an after-the-fact requirement imposed to submit documentation along with any petitioned warrant article (88:35 elapsed).

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