Hudson Fish and Game Club opened their pond on June 6 to all licensed fishermen and their children. The Club stocks the pond with trout. On Saturday at 8 a.m. there were about 30 people fishing.
Cody Sawtomassimo, a 3-year-old, was excited to have his picture taken with a 14-inch trout.
This week Litchfield selectmen introduced their newest staff member. Linda Langille began work on Monday and is the first person to hold the newly crafted Office Manager position.
Langille has years of experience in the municipal world. She has recently been the Town Administrator for Greenville, NH, a town of 2,200, but has worked in the municipal area for years.
She was Greenville’s Town Administrator for eight years and felt that this new position was the right position at the right time. While Greenville is not an SB-2 town, she had previously worked for New Ipswich, which is an SB-2 town, so she is familiar with Budget Committees, Deliberative Sessions and all the work associated with those activities. Langille has a background in accounting and has completed a number of accounting courses, which is something that selectmen had identified as a key component for the job.
For the next few weeks selectmen have asked Langille to become familiar with the operations. She plans to report to them after she meets the department heads and becomes acquainted with the staff. At the recent selectmen’s meeting the conversation revolved around Highway Block Grant monies and even though it was her first day, Langille was already able to make a contribution.
She’s been married for 36 years, has five children and five grandchildren. She is looking forward to meeting residents so stop by and introduce yourself to Litchfield’s newest staff member.
Sometimes a discussion for which one is not necessarily prepared still turns out to be quite fruitful. Such was the experience of Hudson’s Sewer and Water Utility Committees during the June 2 Board of Selectmen workshop meeting.
Selectman Richard Maddox originally proposed the idea of speaking directly with both committees.
“These two committees control millions of dollars, service thousands of customers…I think it’s important....that we as a board can understand better, and the citizens can understand, what is involved in running a sewer and water utility,” began Maddox.
Although representatives from both committees explained that they did not know what the meeting would focus on or how to prepare, what was later termed “a healthy discussion” ensued throughout the evening.
Present from the Sewer Utility were committee Chairman Bernie Manor, members William Abbott and Craig Bailey, and Administrative Aide Donna Staffier-Sommers.
Manor began by stating that the Sewer Utility is in “pretty good shape” both financially and in terms of infrastructure, since the Highway Department has kept up with all needed repairs.
Manor agreed that communication with the City of Nashua regarding capital improvements to its sewer utility operation system, of which Hudson owns a 12 percent capacity, has been lacking. To aid in this area, a more formal meeting schedule with higher-level city authorities was suggested.
The question of allocation requests and expansion was brought to the table by Bailey, who asked the board what type of plan they would prefer in this area. The selectmen agreed that, at this point, it would be best to stick with a conservative stance, since capacity limits within the current district are already being approached.
The talk then shifted to the topic of a Vac-Con truck. Back in March, voters knocked down a proposal for a replacement Vac-Con, or drain cleaner, truck. Acting Town Engineer Gary Webster explained that the current truck, which is about 15 years old, is “really falling apart.”
Since, as Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu pointed out, ‘no means no’ when it comes to voters’ desire on this issue, the next question naturally was how to deal with the very possible scenario of this truck completely breaking down in the near future.
Webster responded that this would necessitate a rental truck, which could be “really expensive.” The option of a replacement truck purchase being placed on the ballot once again next year was therefore discussed. Selectman Shawn Jasper emphasized that if this route were to be taken, it would be wise to disseminate more information to voters beforehand.
The meeting focus then proceeded to the Water Utility. Committee members present included Chairman Leo Bernard, Vice Chairman Jeff Rider and members Ray Rowell and Dave Shaw.
Rider explained that the Water Utility infrastructure is in “fairly good shape,” pointing out that new pipes are needed in some areas to replace older fixtures. He also highlighted some recent improvements such as the new water tank and water line in the southern part of town.
Rider then revealed agenda items from Water Utility Committee meetings such as the discovery of additional water sources, a potential master plan for system line upgrades and extensions, and a possible rate increase.
The prospect of siting a new well was therefore explored since the town has funds collected from fees to potentially support the steps needed to undertake such a venture, including the establishment of test wells.
Also at this point, rumors of Litchfield taking their three wells back were put to rest as Town Administrator Steve Malizia emphasized that Hudson is the “rightful owner” of a portion of those wells, which also serve Windham in addition to Hudson and Litchfield.
Regarding future expansion of the Water Utility, Jasper explained that the intention was never to expand as a municipality but only as individual developments occurred. The selectmen also agreed that a preparedness plan should be devised to address future contamination and pressure issues.
The sensitive topic of a rate increase was then broached. Pointing out that there has not been an increase in eleven years, Rider asked if the board would prefer frequent small increases or one larger increase.
“I personally don’t want to see rates go up before they need to,” answered Jasper, explaining that the current fund balance is in good shape. Malizia added, “At the rate we’re going, with the reserves we’re building up, the surplus that we’ve got, and the control of the expenses, I’m not seeing a rate increase.” Malizia further stated that any potential rate increase would likely be related to a capital improvement project and would therefore require voter approval.
On a separate subject, Coutu brought to light a question on the minds of many regarding when the current water ban would be lifted. “Most people don’t water their lawns in the wintertime,” he joked. A motion then passed unanimously, 5-0, to narrow the current water ban each year from June 1 through August 31.
In one of the final topics addressed that evening, Maddox pointed out that some portions of the collection and shut off policies are ambiguous and should be clarified.
In closing, Coutu thanked members of both committees for their time and efforts, especially since they are not paid for their work. He then stated that this workshop posed much food for thought on several issues but that the overall outlook is positive.
“I think this has been a very healthy discussion. We just want the citizens to know things are under control and we are going in the right direction,” he concluded.
The Town of Hudson recently granted the 2009 contract for the Town-Wide Paving Project to CLD Acquisitions LLC-CLD Paving of Belmont.
For this task, funds not to exceed $400,000 were originally appropriated from the town’s Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) budget under line item 5552-248 Public Works Streets-Street Overlay.
However, due to the voters’ failure of the FY10 operating budget, the default budget will be utilized. As a result, Road Agent Kevin Burns plans to put only $250,000 from this account toward town-wide paving since the remaining funds must be used to aid areas in which monies were lost.
“Because of the default budget, I need to reserve some funds to cover increased trash expenses and salt,” said Burns during the June 9 Board of Selectmen meeting.
Responding to Burns’ decision, Selectman Ken Massey stated to the viewing audience, “This is a logical explanation of why when you make votes, there are consequences and the consequence of this one was we have less money in this year’s budget than we put before the voters, so we had to make a lot of difficult choices … I think you’ve made a tough decision Mr. Burns, and I commend you for that.”
A Request for Bids yielded a total of four proposals for this project. Continental Paving, Inc. of Londonderry submitted the highest figure of $315,550 followed by Pike Industries, Inc. of Hooksett who placed a bid for $312,900. Brox Industries Inc. of Dracut ,MA, the firm selected for Hudson’s 2008 Town-Wide Paving Project, came in with a proposal of $286,000.
With an offer of $270,530, CLD Paving had put forward the lowest bid and was therefore awarded this year’s contract.
Up to this point, CLD Paving has primarily worked within the lakes region of New Hampshire. According to Burns, the company comes highly recommended by several towns in which they have worked previously.
In closing, Burns warned that the town is nevertheless in an overall situation in which future road conditions are likely to quickly deteriorate.
“We are really going down the road to very bad roads. Right now, we are on a rotation of almost 140 years between pavings ... we’re that far out … and it’s going to come back and haunt us in the not too distant future … this is something that could get very costly,” stated Burns. He further explained that the town contains 190 miles worth of road and that it currently costs about $176,000 to pave just one mile.
Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu then asked Burns whether he has contacted the state regarding availability of stimulus funds for critical road areas. Burns revealed that all stimulus funds for paving are currently being used at the state level. “The money is coming into the state but it is not coming down to the towns,” he replied.
Burns additionally pointed out that the state is doing three times more paving this year than last year. The good news here is that Route 111 in Hudson is part of the state’s current plan.
Selectmen Ken Massey and Shawn Jasper each then suggested ideas regarding how potential costs for larger scale paving projects at the town level could be handled in the long term.
For the immediate future however, Hudson’s 2009 Town-Wide Paving Project will cover approximately 2 miles of road and is scheduled to begin soon after the July 1 commencement of the new fiscal year.
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