Andover OKs Chester service MOU, finalizing full budget, then takes up a party issue

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

ON THE COVER: Town Clerk Linda Bargfrede, far left, and the Andover Select Board. Photo illustration by Chester Telegraph. 

The Andover Select Board moved closer to a final budget for fiscal 2016/17  at its Monday, Jan. 11 meeting, and worked out a number of housekeeping items including some highway issues and the effect of a little known 35-year-old law on social events.

The board accepted Chester’s memorandum of understanding for providing emergency services. The wording of the MOU is the same as 2015/16’s with new numbers ($19,000 for fire this year with $3,000 for communications and $6,000 for ambulance coverage). With those numbers accepted, that finalizes the full municipal budget, which comes in at $798,226.75 or a 4.7 percent increase over last year.

The board considered three scenarios provided by Town Clerk Linda Bargfrede. Each showed what would happen to the municipal property tax rate — currently 37 cents per $100 of assessed valuation– if a all or part of this year’s surplus was used to reduce it.

Bargfrede said that if the entire surplus of $98,679.42 was put back into the budget, taxes would rise to 39.5 cents, while putting half of that away for future capital needs would result in a tax rate of 43 cents. Finally, using an arbitrary amount of $35,000 for tax reduction with the remaining $63,679.42 set aside for capital projects and equipment, the tax rate would stand at 44 cents.

Bargfrede told the board that the budget would need to be finalized at its Monday, Jan.  25 meeting to be included in the printed town report.

Get home before 10 if it’s snowing

Highway issues took up the most time including the question of buying a used “grizzly” for sorting stone, a snow-plowing plan that would eliminate plowing between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless it was for a large storm, adding Howard Hill Road to the 8 ton weight restriction category (along with Newton, Hilltop and Old Gulf South roads) and signing the certificate of highway mileage required by the state.

Ingersol and Willumitis appointed

Joe Fromberger told the board that with the resignation of Paul Benson from the Planning Commission, a seat was open and that Richard Ingersol had volunteered to take the position. The board appointed Ingersol to a term ending December 2017.

The board also appointed Sherri Willumitis as Health Officer.

Party of 100? Your enclosure is ready…

The strangest moment of the night came when Bargfrede asked the board if anyone had ever heard of Andover’s Public Festivals Ordinance, which she said came up when she was contacted by a woman who wants to have her wedding at her grandparents’ house on Hilltop Road in the summer.

After the woman asked about permits, Bargfrede’s research dug up a 1981 regulation that mandates that any gathering of more than 100 people – among other things – be fully enclosed by a fence, have nurses or doctors on hand, be fully lit at night, provide for potable water and for the removal of human waste and pay a $250 fee.

“It’s the first time it’s come up that I am aware of,” said Bargfrede

Saying that such a rule could include everything from the town festival to the chicken pie supper, Select Board members wondered if they should waive the ordinance or if they should amend or rescind it. Bargfrede said she would do some research to see what the board could do.

Tax bill typo

Bargfrede also saidd that a typographical error in the property tax bills listed the due date as March 1, 2015 instead of 2016. Since there will be 8 percent charge on delinquent accounts, she said if might be a good idea to send out a postcard explaining the error. The board agreed.

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