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

June 22, 2020 @ 4:00 p.m.



Selectman Wright read the following announcement into the record:  Due to the COVID 19/Coronavirus Pandemic and in accordance with Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #12, pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04, this Board is authorized to meet electronically. The public has access to contemporaneously listen and participate in this meeting by telephone by calling 978-990-5000 and entering access code 112820


The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m.  Present at the meeting was Robert Wright, Jr., Chair, William I. Curless, Selectman; Dane Headley, Selectman; Tom Schamberg, State Representative, Wally Baker and Elly Phillips, Town Administrator.  Attending by teleconference were  Robert DeFelice, Kearsarge Regional School District MBC Member/Sutton Budget Committee Chair; Emilio Cancio-Bello, KRSD School Board Member; and Betsy Anderson, Alternate Library Trustee.


The minutes from June 15, 2020 were approved as written.  The Board reviewed and approved the following manifests:


PAYROLL MANIFEST:  $ 11,142.76

VENDOR MANIFEST:  $  35,074.50


The Board reviewed and approved the following building permits:


Evan & Patricia Janovitz, Map 01-174-386, Eaton Grange Road, for a home.

John Csutor, Map 06-427-211, Main Street, vinyl siding.



Selectman Wright reported that the Sutton Old Home Day event will not be conducted this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.



Robert DeFelice provided an update on water quality at the high school and middle school.  The source of the problem was a treatment used on the athletic fields which is no longer in use.  The District has corrected the problem with a filtration system.   Concerns have been raised  regarding how this treatment might have affected the watershed.  There was a question as to whether septage from the schools was taken to the Sutton Solid Waste Facility.    At 5:00 p.m. Emilio Cancio-Bello met with the Board to discuss the KRSD budget.  Mr. Cancio-Bello advised that the State is investigating this matter and that the school has taken some well samples down field.  The District will comply with State requirements for testing and corrective action.  Mr. Cancio-Bello advised that very low levels of PFAS were detected.    The wells are located downhill from the athletic fields so PFAS were concentrated there.  Further downhill levels were negligible.  Mr. Cancio-Bello added that seasonality affected results.  Mr. DeFelice observed that droughts also have an affect on the water table.  Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that the only way to determine the extent and scope of PFAS levels was through testing.  Mr. Cancio-Bello inquired about a property on Pound Road North that has some pools on it.  Phillips will provide owner information.


Selectman Headley inquired about whether concerned abutters to the schools should take it upon themselves to get tested or whether the district would assist with testing costs.  It was noted that the test for PFAS is very expensive, approximately $600.00.  Mr. Cancio-Bello stated that he would bring it up at a future meeting and also provide information on the testing area.  Selectman Wright emphasized that the Select Board was just reaching out for concerned abutters in order to provide information on who was responsible for testing.  Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that once sampling results are available, the school will be able to determine if additional testing might be productive.


Selectman Wright asked about the recent School Board meeting and the acquisition of Chromebooks.  Selectman Wright asked who was responsible for the cost of broken units?  Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that the Chromebooks do wear out and are recycled and replaced on a periodic basis.  Some units are refurbished in-house.    Mr. Cancio-Bello said that he will check with the technology head and  raise the question at a future meeting.  Mr. Cancio-Bello added that the district was conducting additional meetings during the summer due to the pandemic.    It was noted that the original contract holds the students responsible for the units.  However, additional units are required and being provided due to the pandemic.  Mr. Cancio-Bello will check to see if there are any policy changes due to increased usage due to the education platform utilized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Selectman Headley asked whether all the students in Sutton has access to broadband? Mr. Cancio-Bello responded that TDS has been committed to providing access to all students.


Selectman Wright discussed how the pandemic has affected the budget process emphasizing the town’s focus on reducing expenditures due to the number of people who were out of work and tax impact.  Mr. Cancio-Bello acknowledged that there were changes in the amount of funds that needed to be spent for various items due to the pandemic adding that the District does not miss an opportunity to save money.  Mr. Cancio-Bello stated that the buses are not running as much which provides an opportunity for savings.  Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that there has been a reduction of utility usage (electricity, heat etc.).   The District is also looking at teacher compensation as a potential area for savings.  The District is looking at ways to address the needs of students who have individual education plans (IEP) and other special needs.  Some educators are doing double duty so there is a balance that can be achieved there.   Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that the District has an estimated-unexpended balance in the neighborhood of 1.6 million dollars which will returned to the towns.  The returns will be used to offset the 2021 tax rate.


Selectman Wright asked about out-of-district placement costs.  Mr. Cancio-Bello expressed pride  at the District’s efforts under the leadership of Larry Elliot to bring placements in-house.   Out-of-District placements can be extremely costly, up to $300,000 for one student (includes residential/educational and medical considerations).    Some students cannot function in house and require out-of-district placement.  However, additional professionals have been brought in to meet the needs of these students so that their education can remain in-house.  The district has achieved substantial savings (100,000’s+) through providing highly specialized in-house services.  In many instances, individual educational plans (IEP) are mandated by the courts, and the District must meet stipulated standards.  Mr. DeFelice agreed that Mr. Elliott has done a phenomenal job with this program.  Mr. DeFelice noted that the District receives funding from various sources, including Medicaid, as reimbursement for these services.  Mr. DeFelice also noted that in the future the District may be able to host out-of-district  services, through use of specialized professionals on a tuition basis.  Mr. Cancio-Bello observed that some citizens have expressed concern that the district’s services were so good that it was attracting people to move to the area specifically for these services.  Mr. DeFelice noted that currently the district had lower than the average level of special needs students.


Mr. DeFelice asked whether the district would focus on expenses in the coming year noting that the Town has challenged all departments to try and reduce expenditures in response to economic uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.  Mr. Cancio-Bello said that during the recent KRSD retreat this topic was discussed extensively.  Methods to achieve savings were discussed.  Mr. Cancio-Bello discussed the school’s budget process.   Mr. Cancio-Bello noted that every year as the budget process evolves,  he looks at areas for potential reduction.  However, when you look at specific items you find very little areas to cut.


Mr. DeFelice asked whether the school could focus on reduction for this year’s budget.  Mr. Cancio-Bello advised that the school looks for savings throughout the year and saves when possible that is how the surplus (unexpended fund balance) is arrived at.  Mr. Cancio-Bello expressed concerns about long term affects of the virus.  Currently, there is no clear directive from the state on how the district is going to function in the fall.  Mr. DeFelice asked that the school be diligent in achieving savings next year in view of the fact that everyone is hurting financially right now.  Mr. Cancio-Bello acknowledged the impact.


Selectman Wright inquired about the use of operating funds when a capital reserve fund could have been utilized.  Mr. Cancio-Bello clarified that because the fund was not used, it did not need to be replenished during the budget process.  The fund referenced is only used for catastrophic or unanticipated events and has to be approved by the state.   The District uses the most economical approach possible in order to level the tax rate.  Mr. DeFelice noted that the School Board was involving the MBC in discussions regarding this type of funding.  Mr. Cancio-Bello encouraged the joint involvement of the Board’s which increases transparency and allows for good ideas to be shared.


Mr. Cancio-Bello urged the Select Board to participate in meetings and advised that the Superintendent and Finance Director would be happy to meet with the Select Board to address questions and concerns.   Mr. Cancio-Bello commended Mr. LeBouef on his accounting acumen and transparent reporting of the budget.   The Board felt that it would be productive to meet with the District representatives on a quarterly basis.


Mr. DeFelice noted that the school was acquiring plow trucks and the MBC will discuss capital planning at a future meeting.



Selectman Headley provided a preliminary report on the DES Inspection Report of the Labsphere Facility.  Selectman Headley noted that there is a requirement for Labsphere to provide notification to Sutton First Responders in town of where hazardous substances are located on site and an emergency response plan.


The Board executed a Federal Reserve Pledgee Agreement for Bar Harbor Bank.


At 5:28 p.m.  Selectman Headley made a motion to enter into non-public session under RSA 91-A:3,II(c) matters which,  of discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of this board, unless such person requests an open meeting.  Selectman Curless seconded the motion.  The Board was polled with Selectman Wright, Selectman Curless, and Selectman Headley voting in the affirmative.  Public session resumed at 5:40 p.m.    Selectman Curless made a motion to seal the minutes because it was determined that divulgence of this information would affect adversely the reputation of any person other than a member of this board.  Selectman Headley seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a unanimous affirmative vote.  Public session reconvened at 5:40 p.m.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:41 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Elly Phillips

Town Administrator