Selectmen’s Report December 10, 2012

by on December 10, 2012 in Selectmen, Town Government

Hello everyone,

A couple of themes come to mind for inclusion in my report today. One is roads and the other is our activities related to our preparations for Town Meeting 2013.

Perhaps everyone has noticed by now that the paint stripes, both the center lines and the fog lines, are in place on the State highway between the Tolman Pond Road and Route 9. This project was completed thanks to the initiative of Police Chief Pratt. He communicated his intentions to have the road painted to the State Highway Department and contracted the services of MARKINGS Inc., of Pembroke, Mass, a contractor used by the State of NH, when it chooses to paint its highways. Both the Select Board and the Nelson Police Department had previously complained to the State Highway Dept., on three separate occasions, that we were extremely disappointed that it could not, or would not, meet its obligations to make our State highways as safe as possible.

The total cost of this painting work is $2745. To date, Chief Pratt and others have raised a total of $2350 in pledges and donations to privately pay for this work. The Select Board has voted to cover any deficiencies, in the amount raised privately, with funds from the Town budget. With only $395 remaining to be raised this is not a great deal to ask of the Town. However, I personally oppose using Town funds to pay for a State obligation. I would be much more comfortable if we could raise the remaining $395 through additional private contributions. If you believe, as I do, that we should not use Town funds for this project and would like to contribute so that we can fund all of the cost privately, please contact me by phone at 847-3449, or by email. Thanks.

Next, we are continuing to develop guidelines and procedures for the trimming or removal of dead or diseased trees along our roadsides. We intend to conduct this activity with the cooperation and support of our property owners and our utility company. We’ve developed a notice and permission-to-cut agreement for our Highway Department to use to make sure that both they and our property owners understand which trees are to be removed. Copies of drafts of two of these documents are attached. The first is used when our Highway Department is able to cut the trees and the second is used when the trees that need to be removed are too close to the power lines for our Highway Department personnel to remove them safely.

The third participant in this cooperative endeavor is PSNH. Dave Crane, our District Aborist for PSNH will be meeting with us, at our Select Board meeting, on this coming Wednesday evening, 12/12, at 6:00 pm. Mr. Crane will explain the impact of the new State statues relative to the rights and responsibilities of utility companies in NH to maintain their power distribution lines. He will also describe the tree trimming project that PSNH has planned for Nelson next year. We, on the Select Board, want to discuss with Mr. Cranes ways that we can work together without duplicating efforts. We especially don’t want to be taking on work that PSNH already plans to do on its own. This promises to be an interesting and informative discussion and we encourage everyone, who is able, to attend.

The third road project that we are considering involves a rather short stretch of what the State calls a Class VI highway. This road is the Granite Lake Boat Ramp. An investigation of the ownership of this site is a rather interesting study. The NH Fish and Game website declares that the Town of Nelson is the owner of the boat ramp. It turns out that the ramp was built in the late 1950’s as a State/Town cooperative Road to Public Waters (RPW) project. An excerpt from the Fish and Game website and copies of the transactions that occurred and the Statues that applied, at the time the ramp was built, are attached for those who are interested. I’ve spoken with Jeff King, our NH Fish and Game Boat Ramp Coordinator, and he has told me that it’s his understanding that the State owns the ramp, but that the Town of Nelson is responsible for its maintenance. (Does that surprise anyone?)

Even before we had sorted out the ownership question, the Select Board was concerned, back in the late Summer, about the safety of the ramp as it related to swimming and boat launching that we were told was occurring in the same general area. We asked our liability insurance carrier at the Local Government Center (LGC) to inspect the site and to make recommendations for any actions that we should take. Our Safety Advisor from the LGC, a Mr. Ron O’Keefe inspected the site in the early Fall and made a number of recommendations for improving its safety and function. Among these were to smooth the surface of the ramp, to restrict parking to one side of the ramp and boat launching to the other, and to improve the warning and instruction signage relating to the proper use of the ramp. We have recently been discussing design alternatives with members of the Granite Lake Association and hope to have a plan and a budget ready for action by the Town at the 2013 Town Meeting.

So that leads me to my last topic today, our progress in preparing for Town Meeting. We have completed our first round of budget development discussions with all of our Departments, Boards and Commissions. With the input that we now have, we plan to complete our preliminary budget for 2013 at our Board meeting on 12/19. By the end of this year, we expect to have completed the development of our proposed Warrant Articles for 2013. Reports from Departments, Boards, Commissions, and Committees, that are to be included in our Town Report, are due for submission by the end of the first week in January. We are now planning to bring our proposed budget and Warrant Articles to an informal public meeting at a time in mid January. At this meeting we can share our plans with you for your review and comment prior to our finalizing them for our Town Report and our Town Meeting.

Well, that’s all for now.

Wishing everyone an enjoyable holiday season,

Dave

Supporting Documents:

Nelson Boat Launches

Notification to Cut Roadside Trees by Utility Company 11-20-12

Notification to Cut Roadside Trees by Highway Department 11-20-12

Granite Lake

Granite Lake GC

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