After a warm. pleasant and delightful spring day, the Nottingham Board of Selectmen (BOS) met Monday at 6:30 PM on May 17, 2021 at the Community Center for the third time this year. For the record, here is the WMUR COVID -19 report for “Nottingham: 1-4 active; 311 totals (0 new)” as of May 17, 2021. Present were members of the Board, Ben Bartlett, John Morin, Tiler Eaton, Donna Danis and Anthony Dumas, with Town Administrator Chris Sterndale. The BOS dealt with a wide variety of issues. These included Conservation Commission easement monitoring, American Rescue Plan Act revenues, health enforcement action, and town COVID protocols as well as performing its assessing duties.
After doing the Pledge of Allegiance, Chair Bartlett wanted set on new BOS meeting tradition by beginning with each session with citing an outstanding work done by a town employee. In this case, he lauded the performance of Police Officer Nate Eaton in assisting the Northwood Police in an active shooter situation. In committee work, the 300th will meet this Thursday, May 20th 7 PM at the Fire Station. Danis and Dorow last week walked the proposed Marston Farm Recreation Area trail. The tail will be 1 mile long. It was noted that there would be 2 major community clean-ups on the trail May 22 and June 12, 2021.
Town Administrator Chris Sterndale gave his report. There has been major tree removal on Gebig Road due to the ash trees" beetle infestation. There are infestations also on Lucas Pond Road and the road to the town beach. He added this was unexpected $10,000 expense for the town. The audit of the town has been completed . Tax bills will be going out soon. These bills cover half the taxes due as the town sends them out twice a year. Monday evening , June 21, 2021, has been set for an informal saying good-bye and thank you to the retired Police Chief Gunnar Foss. It has been arranged for residents to drop by, just say hello and wish him well. It will be held in the ball field next to the Community Center. He said there will be a need for BOS pre meeting before the June 8th election.
In doing it Assessing duties, BOS approved 8 permits to cuts, 1 veteran credit, 1 elderly exemption and 1 disability exemption. It also approved an abatement request which due to an administrative clerical error.
Next, BOS reviewed the town’s COVID policy. It followed recent CDC protocols for people who had been vaccinated. These said for vaccinated folks “You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” It lifted the mask mandate for staff and visitors to the Community Center and the Recycling Center. This does not apply to police and fire personnel nor to the school or library. The BOS also noted the Governor of NH has lifted some of the mask requirements.
Then the BOS took up a situation in which the Conservation Commission (CC), doing its easement monitoring, had found one property to have been in violation of the rules. It was unclear which the violations were and what the BOS should do to those infractions. The BOS determined that the CC should first be in contract with the owner. Depending on the results of that encounter, the BOS, if necessary, would hear in person from the CC.
Next , Sterndale reviewed the only just recently available guidelines for how to use the funds from American Rescue Plan Act. In one month, the town will receive $508,000 and that amount will be split over two years. And in one year, the town will get another $250,000 from this Act. The money need not be paid back until 2025. In the first round, the CARES Act, last year, the federal government gave the town $200,000. The town used that money to support public safety areas. Although details were still being evaluated, Sterndale saw 2 board ways to spend that money. The first would be for new and different areas that the town has not done before. These included payments to households and businesses directly impacted by COVID. The second would be for areas in which the town has historically done so. These included paying extra to essential workers and for storm water projects. The town has 3 years to decide how to spend the money. If the town used the money for existing activities, that might ultimately lower property taxes. One project that might fit the guideline is the proposed well at Marston. This would be a public well. And therefore, it would available to residents in a drought. He added that Nottingham did not suffer as much in lost revenue and employment than other communities. The BOS has the authority to indicate where to spend the money.
Finally the BOS had to act a health situation in a building at 278 Stage Road. The health inspector has determined that place had rats and was a junk yard. The building is currently owned by a bank. The BOS was asked to approve a possible suit against the owner to facilitate a solution to the problems there. The BOS did so. And then the BOS entered into non-public session.