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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — March 25, 2008—3:30 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Joe Judd at 3:30 p.m. Other members present: John Payne and Bob Manners.

Noteworthy News:
•Selectmen Joe Judd has taken out nomination papers and will seek another three-year term.
•Fiscal Year 2007 Town Audit will begin on Monday, March 31, 2008. Hirbour & Haynes has been contracted to perform the services.

Review of FY'07 Budget:
The Selectmen began by reviewing each line of the omnibus and holding out individual accounts in need of further discussion. Those accounts were: Town Clerk's Expense, Conservation Commission Expense, APR Local Match, Land Preservation, Unemployment Insurance, Highway Maintenance, Snow & Ice, Police Department Salaries and Building Inspection Program.

Town Clerk's Expense (Beverly Neeley was present for the discussion) - Beverly's budget reflected an overall 50% increase from the previous year. The increase was due largely in part to a New England Municipal Clerk's Conference that Beverly would like to attend. The conference is a three-year program and once completed; she will have obtained her certification as a municipal Town Clerk. When asked about the possibility of a scholarship, Beverly indicated that she is aware of students who have received scholarships in all three years. Following a brief discussion, the Selectmen requested that her budget be reduced by $775 with the understanding that if she was not successful in receiving a scholarship for FY'09, then the Selectmen would revisit the matter. The Town Clerk's budget will be reduced from $2,400 to $1,625.
Capital Request - Beverly is requesting over $6,000 for the purchase of a new electronic ballot box. The electronic box presently being used by the town will be considered obsolete following the Presidential election as parts and service will no longer be available. In conversation with the Board, Beverly indicated that given the limited use of the town's machine, she is fairly confident that it will continue to function without problems next year. She also indicated that the Elections Division has yet to make a recommendation for a replacement machine that is compliant with HAVAA requirements (Helping Americans Vote across America). Following the discussion, it was decided to remove the request for the new ballot box off of the town meeting warrant.

Conservation Commission - the Conservation Commission had requested an additional $550 for the purpose of sponsoring a local youth at a two week Conservation Camp. In previous discussions with the Conservation Commission, the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen, it was suggested that a portion of the camp tuition be raised via donations and/or fundraisers. With that said, the Board decided to reduce the Conservation Commission's budget by $275; half of the cost of the Conservation Camp. Overall operating budget reduced from $1,050 to $775.

APR & Land Preservation - in keeping with past practices, and in response to the taxpayers wishes; it was agreed that both accounts would be individually funded in the amount of $5,000.

Unemployment Insurance - the Treasurer is seeking a 77% increase over last year's figure (from $4,300 to $7,594). Virginia who was present for the discussion explained that the town has no control over the percentage of increase. The State apprises each municipality of their rate on an annual basis. The formula for determining the rate is based partly on the unemployment rate across the Commonwealth. Virginia informed the Board that the assessment is only good through December 31st of each year; it could potentially go up on January 1st.

Highway Maintenance - the Highway Superintendent submitted a revised budget as requested by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee. Bob Manners explained the budget in detail. The dollar amount reflects an overall increase of 10% (from $250,725 to $274,842). Bob indicated that Pete Hillman would also like to increase the Snow & Ice budget by adding an additional $15,000 to the diesel fuel account. No decisions were made.
Capital Requests - members of the Board reviewed each of the Highway Department's capital requests (used truck, flail mower and bucket). No changes were recommended as a result of that discussion. Bob did indicate that the Highway Superintendent is in the process of obtaining estimates for the repair and/or replacement of a leaky roof.

Police Department Salaries - following the Police Department's budget presentation last week, Joe requested that the Chief reduce the overall percentage of increase to a level that would be more palatable for town voters. In response to Joe's request, the Chief submitted a revised budget that no longer included a third full-time officer; instead it included funding for a part-time office. This change reflected an overall reduction of $20,371. Joe believes that this budget proposal puts the police department on an incremental path that will eventually lead to a third officer. Police Department's Salary budget reduced from $165,980 to $145,609.
Police Study Committee - Joe asked that fellow Board members be prepared to bring names forward for the Police Study Committee whose mission will be to identify locations that would be suitable for the relocation of the police department on a temporary basis as well as on a long-term permanent basis.

Building Inspection Program - John asked some questions relative to the inspection program; no changes made.

Arms Library - the Board will ask that the Trustees of the Arms Library attend the next Selectmen's meeting on April 3rd so to get a better sense of what direction they will be taking relative to building maintenance and overall operations of the library; and whether or not they are interested in becoming a town department. Bob would also like to entertain the allocation of $5,000 to the Arms Library budget providing that it be used for maintenance-related upkeep.

Senior Center Lease - Joe reported that negotiations are moving forward with the Masons and member towns. Donna MacNicol has had an opportunity to review the document and has suggested changes. The next meeting will be held with Donna MacNicol in attendance on April 9th, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Next Budget Meeting - the Board will meet again on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. Their regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Adjournment - a motion to adjourn was made by Bob. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary