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Suncook Valley Regional Town Assn. MInutes 09/17/2009
Suncook Valley Regional Town Association
Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date:  September 17, 2009
Minutes Prepared By:  Bruce Dyke
In Attendance:
Jim Barnard - Town of Barnstead - Selectman
Bob Blodgett - Town of Epsom - Selectman
Bruce Dyke - Chichester Town Organization Committee
David Jodoin - Town of Pembroke - Town Administrator
David Kerr - Town of Barnstead - Selectman
Roger LaFleur - Town of Allenstown - Selectman
Location:  Allenstown Police Department
Minutes Approved: TBA

  • The meeting was called to order at 7:10 by Bruce Dyke
  • The draft minutes of the July 23, 2009 meeting were reviewed and comments/changes were solicited.  A motion was made by Roger LaFleur to accept the minutes as presented and seconded by Bob Blodgett.  The minutes were approved unanimously.
  • Bruce asked for an update regarding Gordon Preston's on-going research into a possible bulk purchase arrangement for plow blade edges as discussed in earlier meetings (SVRTA towns had provided estimated edge requirements for the coming winter season).  Since Mr. Preston was unable to attend the meeting, Jim Barnard indicated he'd follow-up on the matter and ask Gordon to provide Bruce with an update which would be distributed to the group.
  • A discussion regarding road salt pricing contracts took place.  Several towns within the group who had not yet contracted for salt were able to secure discounted pricing from Morton Salt. The pricing varied for the towns in question (due to delivery distance differences, but in general was about $2 less per ton than what was quoted on the State contract.  On a related note, David Kerr noted that salt quotes need to be reviewed carefully in terms of the type of salt provided (wet vs. dry) as wet salt results in less product, due to volume (and weight) offset with water in the salt.
  • David Jodoin shared the pricing Pembroke had received for road sand from various, area vendors, which ranged between $3 and $6 per ton, depending on delivery or pick-up.  David was going to provide specific pricing to the group via an e-mail to Bruce.
  • The group reviewed a draft Police Department Operational questionnaire that had been put together based on input from the group during the July 23rd meeting.  A few changes were suggested and agreed to by the group and Bruce will make those additional edits and send the revised version to the group for final review.  The goal was to finalize the document as soon as possible and distribute it to the SVRTA town Police Departments before the end of September.  The group felt a 2-week turnaround time for departments to return the completed questionnaire was realistic.  Responses will be consolidated into a matrix and reviewed during the next meeting.
  • The topic of gasoline/diesel contract was raised and David Jodoin indicated that Pembroke recently locked-in to a rate of $1.89 and $2.34/gal respectively.  
  • David Kerr asked the group about potential group negotiations for copier lease and maintenance services.  This issue had not been raised by the group in the past, but was discussed as a potential area for review in the future.
  • A discussion also occurred with regard to contract IT support services.  Roger LaFleur noted that no towns in the area have dedicated (full-time) IT support staff and that a possible opportunity for a multi-town contracted service could yield savings.  The topic of hiring a full-time resource that could be support a few towns via a cost-sharing arrangement also was discussed.  Each town will research their respective IT support budgets for 2009 and the issue will be discussed at the next meeting.
  • Roger LaFleur requested time be provided to Allenstown's Police Chief, Shaun Mullholland to share his thoughts regarding potential collaboration and/or regionalization among area police departments.  Chief Mullholland had researched this issue extensively as part of his Master's Degree and explained that he thought maintaining individual police departments in every town was not a cost-effective and sustainable approach. As operational and equipment costs continue to rise, service levels often suffer as departments try to balance budget constraints against public safety goals.  He further commented that NH was one of the few States that had not yet seen any meaningful transition to multi-town departments or county-based arrangements.  He provided a summary of various collaborative efforts currently in place or in planning stages among area towns that included Specialized Operations (SWAT, missing persons, major event response) which consists of 31 towns, the DUI Task Force (grant funded) and an Accident Reconstruction Team (under review).  A number of questions/issues were raised among the group during the discussion relating to topics such as regional prosecutors and detectives.  The group acknowledged the often difficult political climate that can be associated with discussions involving PD consolidation and agreed that looking for initial ways to collaborate among towns wherever possible was a good starting point until conditions for more substantive changes among towns exist.
  • The next meeting will be Wednesday October 28th at 7pm.  The location will be at the Chichester Grange Hall.
  • A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Roger LaFleur and seconded by Bob Blodgett. The meeting adjourned at 9:10pm.  

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