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Town Organization Minutes 09/28/2006
Chichester Town Organization Committee
Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date:   September 28, 2006
Minutes Prepared By:  Bruce Dyke
In Attendance:  Paul Adams, Lou Barker, Bruce Dyke, Norm Larachelle, Allen Mayville &
                           Paul Twomey
Location:  Selectmen’s Office Conference Room
Minutes Approved:  October 12, 2006

?       The meeting started at 7:15pm

?       Draft minutes of the 9/19/06 & 9/21/06 meetings were reviewed.  The minutes of the 9/19 meeting were approved without change.  The minutes of the 9/21/06 meeting were changed with one additional comment added to the Police Dept. section, dealing with potential officer quality problems as noted by Lou Barker.  The revised minutes were then approved.

?       The issue of Committee size was discussed.  Paul Adams, who had expressed an interest in joining the committee and was contacted by Bruce in advance of the meeting, was in attendance.  In addition, Lou had spoken with Lisa Drouse who also was interested in participating in the Committee, but was not in attendance.  A motion was made by Bruce to add both Paul and Lisa to the Committee and a subsequent vote was unanimously in favor of the addition.  Lou was to inform Lisa of the vote and invite her to the next meeting.

?       A review of available external information resources then took place.  
ß       Paul T. indicated that he had received messages from all the groups he had contacted (Local Government Center, Fire Chief’s Association and Road Agent’s Association), but had not actually spoken with any of them yet.  
ß       Lou suggested that the Police Chief’s Association be added and he planned to contact them over the next week.
ß       Norm was going to try and contact an additional Fire Chief’s Association, aside from the one Paul T. had already contacted.  With respect to the FCA Paul T. had contacted, Paul intended to provide them with Norm’s contact information for subsequent follow-up, since Norm was part of the Fire Department review sub-group.
ß       Lou was also going to make contact with the Central NH Regional Planning group as well as the Office of Energy and Planning, as he had contacts in both groups.
ß       Paul A. mentioned an organization called Municipal Resources, Inc., which is located in the Lakes Region.  This is a for-profit company, but some value could be gained in better understanding what they may have already done for other NH communities and what, if any, services they may be able to offer to Chichester in the future.

?       Paul A. mentioned that some cooperative efforts that may be proposed could have RSA related implications.  The group agreed, but also felt that initial brainstorming of possible synergies shouldn’t be impeded by RSA questions at this point.  However any proposals will eventually need to be reviewed as they may pertain to relevant RSAs.

?       A brief discussion regarding the 9/21 Dept Head meetings took place.  Bruce mentioned that each area being reviewed during this project should be asked to provide a vision of where they see their respective dept. over the next 3 to 5 years.  As part of this effort, the Town’s Master Plan should also be reviewed (assuming it’s still being updated).   

?       Dave Kenneally, the Town’s Road Agent joined the meeting at 8pm in response to the Committee’s request for an initial meeting to review the groups goals and to start a dialogue with his department (the Highway Dept. was rescheduled from the 9/21 meeting due to schedule conflicts).  The following key points were covered over the 45 minute discussion with Dave:
ß       Seasonal equipment could be shared among multiple towns, however the very nature of seasonal equipment would likely result in contention for the same items (i.e. graders) during the same typical windows of usage.
ß       Informal “give/take” agreements exist between some of our abutting towns with regard to plowing, where we may plow portions of roads in other towns, while other towns will also plow portions of Chichester roads.  This primarily exists as a convenience to each respective town and their associated plowing routes.  Dave believes this arrangement works well.
ß       There are a variety of low-cost equipment items that would be shared among towns (i.e. bridge sealant sprayers, etc.) but given the cost of such items, the value of any such arrangements would be minimal.
ß       Inter-town equipment rental agreements were discussed.  While it’s an option, the issue of coordinating usage of limited equipment (especially in Chichester’s case) was seen as a potential problem.  The problem of managing repairs resulting from other town’s usage was also raised.
ß       The status of the Road Agent’s position was discussed (appointed vs. elected) with various “pros” and “cons” of each approach being debated.  Dave noted that surrounding towns are not consistent, with Loudon and Pittsfield being appointed positions and Epsom being elected.  Dave’s personal opinion regarding this matter was that an elected position makes more sense since serving at the will of the townspeople involved more scrutiny and vote of confidence every few years.   He also felt it avoided favoritism that could come into play depending on the mix of Selectmen at any given period of time.
ß       The concept of a Public Works Department was discussed, as that approach in other area towns (i.e. Bow) seemed to work well.  Dave pointed out that such an approach in Chichester wouldn’t have made sense until recently, since he now has more a real staff to potentially handle a broader scope of responsibilities.
ß        In particular, the areas of park and cemetery maintenance were discussed as potential areas where the Highway Dept. could provide service more effectively (and at a lower cost) compared to outsourced arrangements which have been used up to this point.  
ß       Maintenance of town buildings & grounds was also identified as another area of opportunity for services consolidation, although Dave did indicate that his crew already handles the plowing for all town buildings, including the school.
ß       Bruce asked if the Highway Dept. was always approached first, as an option for various tasks required by other Town departments.  While Dave couldn’t definitively say that always occurred he did feel as though his group was contacted quite often and he did cite a number of ad-hoc tasks completed over the past year.
ß       The Highway Mutual Aid Compact was discussed.  Dave has been considering the value of joining the Compact for some time, but has not made a decision as of yet.  He has concerns about potential loss of equipment (resulting from loaning to other towns) at inopportune times.  On the other hand, he recognizes some value in the Compact in the event of a major incident in Chichester.  Allen distributed a copy of a recent Concord Monitor article which discussed this topic.
ß       The existence and value of the Town’s Road Committee was discussed.  They are working on an 8-year plan based on need assessment, along with budget impact.  Both Dave and Allen had high praise for the Road Committee’s efforts and value and believe it’s function should continue indefinitely, as it’s complimentary to the Road Agent’s function and would span multiple Road Agents and/or Select Boards over time.

?       The Committee decided to postpone further discussion/adjustment regarding workgroup assignments until the next meeting in order to allow the new members to give some thought as to the area(s) where they believe they can be the value.

?       Bruce indicated that he was still working on a proposed template for data gathering and reporting, so the Committee deferred that agenda item until the next meeting.

?       The next meeting will be Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 7:15pm.  It will be held in the Selectmen’s Office Conference Room.

?       Meeting adjourned at 9:00pm

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