Prouty will continue as chair, Crossman will leave town office

By Bruce Frauman
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Derry meeting 1

Clockwise from center, select board chair Steve Prouty, members Will Reed, Wayne Blanchard and Bill Wiley and resident Brian Alexander. Photos by Bruce Frauman

In another surprise personnel change, the Londonderry Select Board voted on Monday night to accept, with regret, the resignation of Assistant Town Clerk Dodie Crossman.

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala told The Telegraph, on Tuesday that Crossman’s resignation would be effective at the end of August and that the town would be looking for a new assistant town clerk in the interim.  Crossman will continue in her role as a town lister until the next election, Pajala said.

Road Foreman Duane Hart had previously announced his intention to resign in a previous meeting.

Steve Prouty was nominated to continue as chairman of the board. Prouty has been acting in that capacity since former board chair James Ameden resigned in late May for personal reasons. Prouty said he waited until there was a full board to call  for the vote. Prouty began the process by saying, “I kind of fell into this job when Jim retired and I feel that you guys should have a say if you want me to continue this or, by all means, go with someone else.” Prouty was elected unanimously.

Board member Paul Gordon announced that there is a problem with the town website.  “We are experiencing difficulties logging into it,” said Gordon, “so that there are no changes, no updates possible at this particular time.” As a result, no meeting agendas or approved minutes have been added to the website since it was last updated on July 5, but Gordon said they are available at the Town Clerk’s office. Gordon said that consultants will be called in to help solve the problem.

Clockwise from left, Bill Wiley, Brian Alexander, Duane Hart, Dick Dale, Paul Gordon, Stephanie Thompson

Clockwise from left, board member Bill Wiley, resident Brian Alexander, road foreman Duane Hart, resident Dick Dale, board member Paul Gordon and town administrator Stephanie Thompson

Despite an initial disagreement over whether an apple tree on Pond Street is in the town right of way as the board has determined, or not as Pond Street resident Brian Alexander proclaimed, the board did agree to a motion by member Will Reed to trim the tree under the supervision of Alexander. The motion also included getting a price to remove a pine tree that all agree is in the town right of way and has been dead for 30 or 40 years. Work on both trees will be coordinated by Hart.

Prouty said the board received two complaints about the apple tree, one from a land owner on Pine Hill — the road intersecting with Pond Street — and one from the rural postal carrier about the mailbox attached to the apple tree. Alexander insisted the trunk of the apple tree is on his property since Pond Street is a “2 rod road,” not a “3 rod road” as the town has determined. A rod is 16.5 feet so the width of the road would be 33 feet and not 49.5 feet. Prouty said proof of that would be in a deed of one or more landowners on the road.

The road crew replaced a motor on its 30-year-old lawn mower. Not much is known about the replacement motor, which was found in a bundle of parts. “This may be very temporary,” said Hart. A new motor would cost about $5,000. Board member Bill Wiley suggested that “we get through this season and consider getting another mower for next year.” Hart agreed, saying he had tried but failed to get the mower and the 30-year-old tractor on the town’s equipment replacement plan. “The comment that was made to me was, ‘Oh that will last forever,’ ” said Hart.

Instead, the board will do more research on the cost of contracting out the road mowing and “the price of a new machine,” according to Prouty. Hart said the tractor and mower can be used for mowing town properties such as “the Prouty land, the transfer station (and) these buy-out properties,” none of which were included in the road mowing contract proposal. In addition, Hart said the tractor is used to “till the septage field up there, we use it for York raking (and) sweeping the streets.”

Attributing the lack of road erosion to “scraping” with a grader, Prouty praised the work of the highway crew. Look at the heavy rains we have had in the last week or so, and we have had minimal loss of gravel the way we’ve been doing it and I thank you,” Prouty said to Hart, “we made some enemies when we first did it because we got up against people’ s lawns and greens, but we had to reclaim our roads and get our ditches back.” He said the ditches had been separated from the roads by as much as four feet by grass. Hart acknowledged that the scraping had become more “aggressive” in the four years he has been road foreman.

Prouty mentioned that he met with new Zoning Administrator Heather Makovec, who will meet with former interim zoning administrator Sharon Crossman to determine what permits would be needed to build a new salt shed on the Prouty land. This must be done in time for the Development Review Board meeting on July 20, though more design work is still required. Wiley expressed concern that the state Agency of Natural Resources can be “brutal,” especially since the proposed site is adjacent to the West River. Prouty said, “we’ll be meeting again” since “we got all that to go through and we have less than a year to do it.” Prouty told Wiley, “I do appreciate your input.”

Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson told the board that “Mountain Fund LLC has approached the town regarding a 500 kilowatt solar array” it is  building at Mount Ascutney Resort in West Windsor. The fund is “currently looking for ‘off takers’ of the power,” which will be offered at 12.5 percent less than current electricity pricing. Gordon and Reed asked Thompson to ask the company to make its presentation to the board at its next meeting on Monday, Aug, 1. If the board is interested in the 25-year binding agreement, it will ask its attorney to review the proposal.

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