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Suncook Valley Regional Town Assn. MInutes 01/09/2013
Meeting Date:  January 9, 2013
Minutes Prepared By:  Bruce Dyke
In Attendance:   Jim Barnard - Town of Barnstead – Selectman
                           Bruce Dyke – Chichester Town Organization Committee
                      David Jodoin – Town of Pembroke – Town Administrator
                           Gerard LeDuc – Town of Pittsfield – Selectman
                      Gordon Preston – Town of Barnstead – Resident Rep.
                        Sandra McKenney – Town of Allenstown – Selectman
                      Paul Vince – Town of Barnstead – Selectman

Location:  Allenstown Police Dept. Conference Room

Minutes Approved: February 20, 2013

1.  The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm by Bruce Dyke

2.      The draft minutes of the April 25, 2012 meeting were reviewed and comments/changes were solicited.  A motion was made by Jim Barnard to accept the minutes as presented and seconded by Sandra McKenney.  The minutes were approved without further discussion by a vote of four “for” and two abstentions.

3.      The group discussed the recently completed renewal of the cooperative healthcare arrangement with LGC and the process associated with that effort over the course of several months in 2012.  The following specifics were noted:
-       Bruce described the difficult process involved with contracting Melcher & Prescott to complete an assessment of current health plans and to obtain market quotes for alternative options beyond LGC.  The process was hindered by a number of factors which included:
i.      slow responsiveness by several of the SVRTA towns to approve/sign agreements with M&P to get the process started.   
ii.     Communication difficulties/follow-up issues between SVRTA, M&P and LGC specific to obtaining claims history.
iii.    Unwillingness and/or slow responsiveness from 2 other insurance carriers to provide quotes to M&P on behalf of our group in light of concerns over pending LGC actions to reimburse (in some fashion) NH municipalities for excessive withholding of insurance premiums. (basically, the insurers didn’t feel it was worth the effort to quote the opportunity as they felt towns would not leave LGC coverage if the overcharge re-imbursements were tied to staying with LGC coverage).
-       There was concern raised over Barnstead’s decision not to participate in the Melcher & Prescott analysis, as at least one other town felt it was unfair for a town to not participate in the exercise and still possibly yield the benefit from it.  To that end, the group discussed the need to clearly establish the expectations and “ground rules” for such issues before any similar exercise takes place in the future.
-       Bruce noted that due to the various delays and issues with the entire analysis effort, M&P did not provide a formal report and did not charge the SVRTA for the limited services they did provide.
-       The resulting renewal with LGC resulted in an average overall increase of 2.41% for the SVRTA towns, compared to an average 9.1% increase for those NH towns in LGC’s “Under 100 employee” pool that we otherwise would be in if we didn’t have the cooperative agreement.
-       There was a discussion regarding the overall total annual savings realized by the SVRTA as a result of the health insurance cooperative, which is estimated to be close to $200,000, with a total savings since the start of the arrangement being close to $1,000,000.
-       Further discussion took place regarding LGCs communication to the SVRTA that they would not allow any further towns to participate in the health insurance cooperative arrangement and whether they had the legal grounds to take that position.  On that point, the group is considering investigating LGC’s charter and applicable state laws.
-       The group is also considering submitting a list of questions to LGC’s Board of Director’s regarding their rate group, premium rating practices and associated rate history specific to the SVRTA and the other rating pools they manage in order to better understand the process and any variances.  Gordon Preston is going to draft proposed questions for review at the next SVRTA meeting.

4.      Bruce indicated that a number of wholesale electricity brokers had contacted him regarding potential savings for the SVRTA members.  Having already discussed and investigated this option with Glacial Energy over the last couple years, the group expressed little interest in revisiting this option at the present time.

5.      On the topic of police & fire department supplies of services which could potentially be purchased in bulk, the group again discussed the fact that this had been investigated in various phases over of the last couple years and no material savings opportunities had been identified.  However the issue of emergency vehicle maintenance and certification was identified as a new area for review, as the number of vendors providing such services was very limited and associated costs were substantially higher than other heavy equipment maintenance.  Aside from one vendor in northern NH it was unclear if others existed in NH.  Bruce was going to see if Mike Paveglio (Chichester’s Selectmen/former Fire Chief) would be willing to investigate and report back to the group.
6.      The group discussed future SVRTA goals and ideas for improving participation levels at meetings, follow-up on items between meetings approaches for identifying realistic opportunities for further cooperative arrangements.  The group wants to see the SVRTA continue and it was suggested that a small list of specific target topics be identified in the spring, for research over the summer and reports/follow-ups in early fall in order to get any required actions/decisions by towns completed in advance of budget creation for the following year.  One topic suggested for potentially 2014 group savings was town report printing contracts.
7.      The date for the next meeting will be determined by the end of January (most likely to be held on in late February).

8.      A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Gordon Preston and seconded by Gerard LeDuc and passed unanimously by the group.  The meeting adjourned at 8:30pm.  

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