Pillsbury Memorial Town Hall
93 Main Street Sutton Mills, NH
Sutton Mills, NH 03221
Select Board

May 4, 2020 @ 4:00 p.m.


The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m. by Robert Wright, Jr., Chair.  Present at the meeting was Robert Wright, Jr., Chair; William I Curless, Selectman; Dane Headley, Selectman; Robert DeFelice, Budget Committee Chair and Elly Phillips, Town Administrator.  Present by Teleconference were:  Derek Lick, Moderator; Carol Merullo, Town Clerk/Tax Collector; and Kathleen Stowell and Glenn Pogust, Supervisors of the Checklist.


The minutes from April 27, 2020, were approved as written.  The Board reviewed and approved the following manifests:

PAYROLL MANIFEST:      $10,972.41

VENDOR MANIFEST:       $41,423.14


The Board reviewed and approved the following building permits:

Labsphere, 07-704-474, Shaker Road, temporary installation of flare mirror array.  Subject to payment of permit fees.  The temporary structure to be removed by July 31, 2020 as stipulated by the Planning Board.

Melissa Laverack Trust, 02-872-358, Foothills Road, for a storage unit.

The Board approved an Intent to Cut for Paul Hodgdon/Daniel Burgess, Map 07-200-550, Baker Road for 5 acres out of 11.2.


The Board approved a Current Use Application for Nelson Hill Road LLC, 06-614-162, Nelson Hill Road, additional 5 acres enrolled for 27.8 out of 27.8.



The Board met with Derek Lick, Moderator; Carol Merullo, Town Clerk/Tax Collector; Glenn Pogust and Kathleen Stowell, Supervisors of the Checklist to discuss a possible changed of venue for the September and November elections.  Mr. Lick sought input from the Board regarding whether or not to approach the school district regarding using one of the schools for elections.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Mr. Lick was concerned about the town hall having enough space for social distancing and parking.


Selectman Headley indicated that the Select Board was generally against changing the venue for a number of reasons.  Selectman Headley was especially concerned about voter disenfranchisement.   Mr. Pogust felt that you could advertise and post the change at the town hall and on the website.  Selectman Headley observed that there are many citizens that do not seek access to information in those places.  Selectman Curless discussed methods to develop distancing at the Pillsbury Memorial Hall.  Selectman Headley projected that there will be an increase in absentee voters resulting in a decrease of in-person voters.


Carol Merullo discussed some logistical issues associated with changing venues such as laptops, files, etc.  There was a brief discussion regarding using Sutton Central due to its proximity to the town office.  Ms. Stowell identified several areas which would make Sutton Central an impractical option.  Selectman Wright said if the Pillsbury Memorial Hall is used it would have to be solely for the purpose of voting.


Selectman Wright felt that due to transitions in the Supervisors’ makeup, a new venue would prove more challenging in regard to organization of materials.  There was a general discussion regarding historical voting trends as well as the number of anticipated voters and the number of booths required by the Secretary of State’s office.  Mr. Pogust noted that the area traditionally used by the historical society could be used to set up cardboard voting dividers.   The need to contact to District to determine if the schools were a viable option was raised.  It was agreed that various options will be explored in the months leading up to the elections.  Mr. Lick and Ms. Phillips will reach out to the schools to determine availability.  Mr. Lick will broach the issue with Emilio Cancio-Bello, Sutton KRSD School Board members .  School preference was also discussed.



The Board executed the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A).  Selectman Wright commented on the closing paragraphs and cited the following:   “In the coming years, the Town should embrace a conservative spending approach as the State of New Hampshire continues it trend of revenue reductions and down-shifting of costs to municipalities and in view of uncertain federal (to state) funding as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Department Heads must continue to exercise frugality in order to attempt to alleviate the burden on taxpayers.  Thoughtful capital planning will be necessary in order to keep the infrastructure and the tax rate stable.    Implementing cost conscious measures continues to be a priority in the years to come including close monitoring and analysis of energy costs and energy use and zealous monitoring of the operating budget.”  Although it is the goal of the Board is to retain an undesignated fund balance of 8-10%, it is unlikely that this will be achievable given the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated reduced revenues.  The Board will have to re-evaluate this during tax rate setting.


The  Board discussed a draft memo to staff requesting operating expense reductions in view of the  COVID-19 pandemic.  The Board discussed expenditure reduction goals.  Phillips was instructed to incorporate suggestions and distribute to the memo to all department heads, boards and committees.



The Board issued a Yield Tax for Benjamin and Kirstin Prime, 06-123-424 in the amount of $329.37.

The Board received a Monthly Budget Expenditure Report for review.

Phillips reviewed the 2020 operating budget review and identified line items where a reduction might be achieved.  Phillips primarily outlined areas where some contingency is built into the budget for unforeseen circumstances.  Mr. DeFelice observed that when your working with a tight budget it is difficult to make cuts.


The Board discussed the timetable for generation of the first issue tax warrant with a goal of signing the Warrant at the May 18, 2020 meeting.



The Board noted the following items of correspondence:

NH Electric Coop – Notification from VGS regarding pesticide control on power lines.

NHMA regarding Emergency Order #25 & Governor’s Call summary

Correspondence from KRSD School Superintendent remind the town that they did not have flexibility with town payments.





Selectman Wright discussed Emergency Order 25 pertaining to interest penalty for late payment of property taxes.  At this time, the sense of the Board was to look at abatement of interest requests on a case-by-case basis.



Mr. DeFelice discussed  renting goats to mow the Kings Hill Conservation area as a cost saving, and environmentally-friendly measure.  Phillips to follow up with the Conservation Commission.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:23 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Elly Phillips

Town Administrator