January 11, 2018WOLFEBORO — The selectmen's approval of a boat show on July 28 and a boat and car show on Sept. 15 down by the town docks, brought reminders of summer to the Jan. 3 meeting, as residents have been enduring a long stretch of cold weather. Both events will be sponsored by the New England Chapter of Antique & Classic Boat Society, Inc.
Parks and Recreation Director Christine Collins, looking ahead to summer as well, addressed the board to ask if it was interested in having her pursue the Tuftonboro's Parks and Recreation's request to consider joint life guard training. Collins said both towns have Primex insurance coverage and that costs would be reimbursed by Tuftonboro.
Collins said she has a concern about the amount of time that would be involved in driving back and forth. Also lifeguards are in short supply. An advantage could be that more hours would be opened up for the lifeguards, as they could work in either town.
Selectman Linda Murray asked if Tuftonboro would be willing to pay the legal costs of drawing up a contract. Selectman Brad Harriman noted the problem of finding lifeguards. In conclusion, the board gave Collins the go ahead to explore possible options.
In other business, the board voted to accept a $50,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Security to complete phase three of the implementation of the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake Watershed Management plan.
Bonds were approved for the Wolfeboro Public Library's renovation and expansion project and the layout, design, construction and reconstruction of Westwood Drive, subject to betterment assessments.
Board members also signed vouchers to withdraw funds from capital reserves, including: $188,870 from the Department of Public Works Vehicles and Equipment Capital Reserve Fund (CRF); $485 from the Abenaki Ski Area CRF; $4,370.81 from the Wastewater Treatment Plant CRF; $10,836.28 from the Building Maintenance CRF; and $176,246.14 from the Foss Field Replacement Building CRF.
The board reviewed the list of warrant articles and assigned members to present them for the Wolfeboro Community Television cameras on Jan. 16. Full information on each article may subsequently be viewed on Channel 25.
Murray, reporting on a recent budget committee meeting, said it had recommended a reduction of the top figure in the range to be advertised for a new town manager, changing the range from $90,000 to $120,000 as recommended by Municipal Resources, Inc., the search agency, to $90,000 to $110,000. Murray said the recommendation of $120,000, which the board supports, was suggested in order to draw a more competitive pool of candidates to meet the list of qualifications. The professional guidance indicates that it is rare for an experienced manager to make a lateral move. A $5,000 increase in salary is a more typical incentive.
"We couldn't hire Dave Owen for $110,000 if he wanted a $5,000 raise," she noted.
She reminded the board of Selectman Dave Bowers' statement in a previous meeting that the manager functions as a CEO, and in the case of Wolfeboro, is responsible for a $26 million budget, which includes four business type enterprise funds of around $13 million.
Selectman Dave Senecal said the board had made its opinion clear that it supported the top figure of $120,000. Selectman Brad Harriman concurred. Selectman Chairman Luke Freudenburg abstained from comment as he has stated his intention to apply for the job. Murray said someone on the committee had suggested that selectmen find the money somewhere else in the budget, and expressed her discomfort with advertising at $120,000 with the line in budget at $110,000.
Moving to the Town Manager's report, Owen informed the board that Wes Smallidge, the public works employee injured on the job in December when a driver crashed into him as he stood at the back of a town truck, has visited town hall using a wheelchair to get around. Owen reported his spirits to be good as he continues a likely long recovery.
He also reported that calls have been coming in from citizens asking to prepay their taxes. It just so happens that the town does not have the authority for such transactions. An article to grant that authority would have to be placed on the warrant and approved by voters.
The board agreed that it would be a good idea to invite Wolfeboro's legislators, Edie Desmarais, Steve Schmidt and Jeb Bradley to a board meeting to discuss various bills coming up this year. One of them, noted Owen, calls for elimination of the timber tax.
With the budget process underway and the budget hearing impending, Owen said that as of the evening's meeting, the budget committee had cut $56,940 from the General Fund, which reduced the percent increase to 2.85 percent, thereby meeting its goal of limiting the increase below three percent. It also made cuts to the water and electricity generation budget.
The total increase, including the Enterprise Funds and General Fund comes to 4.66 percent. Owen explained that most of that is driven from the purchase of power contract going up a million dollars next year. That is reflected already in the new electric rate.