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

July 12, 2021 @ 4:30 p.m.


Selectman William I. Curless, Chair, opened the meeting at 4:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Present at the meeting were William Curless, Chair; Dane Headley, Selectman; Walter Baker, Jr., Selectman; Jon Korbet, Police Chief, Cory Cochran, Fire Chief, Adam Hurst, Road Agent; Nancy Heckel, Jennifer Call and Betsy Anderson, Library Trustees; David Scott, William P. Saffian and Chelsea Noyes, New Hampshire Department of Transportation; Tom Schamberg, State Representative; Ruth Ward, District 8 Senator; Crystal Baluk, Lorri Himes, Residents and Elly Phillips, Town Administrator.



At 4:30 p.m., David Scott, In-House Design Chief, William Saffian, Senior Project Engineer and Chelsea Noyes, Design Engineer, of NH Dot, Bureau of Bridge Design conducted a Public Officials/Public Information Meeting to discuss  planned bridge deck replacements of the bridges carrying I-89 northbound and southbound traffic.  Mr. Scott stated that the project will require closure of a portion of NH 114 for up to 14 nights per bridge.   The project will involve 3 miles of I-89 from mile marker 28.7 north.  Most of the work will be performed on the interstate but the bridges spanning Route 114 in Sutton need to be re-decked.  The bridges are 121 foot free-span bridges estimated to carry 9,500 cars a day.  The bridges will be erected using concrete pre-cast concrete panels.  This will allow the re-decking to occur as quickly as possible.  The bridges will be redecked in two phases.   The project will be conducted over two years.


The contractor may choose to re-deck one bridge each year or it may be decided to replace them both in one year.  The I-89 project is slated to begin in the Spring of 2022.  Half of the bridge will remain open for traffic flow while the other half is being re-decked.  Removal of the bridge deck will take approximately 4 days and replacement will take an additional 3 days.  The project is being planned so that there is an overnight closure of Route 114 with a planned detour during both phases.  The road will need to be closed to facilitate the size and pivot area for the crane.   The detour  will be approximately 9.2 miles and take about 12 minutes.  This I-89 work is $4,000,000 NH DOT project.


Representative Schamberg asked about how this would affect emergency response and was advised by Chief Cochran that the town would alert New London through mutual aid for the northern end of Route 114.  The cranes will be relocated when the DOT is not working.  Mr. Scott anticipated that the construction will be done from 7:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m.  Mr. Scott advised that residents will experience construction noise.  Mr. Scott observed that from the perspective of facilitating traffic flow, night-time construction makes more sense.  However, he acknowledged that residents will experience noise and sought input from the audience as to the preference for daytime or night-time construction.


Crystal Baluk asked whether any trees would need to be removed and if abutters would be notified of any tree removal.  Ms. Baluk was advised that if trees were removed on State property abutters would not be notified.


Representative Schamberg asked whether the school district has been involved or informed.  Selectman Curless observed that if the project is done at night, it would have little to no impact on school transportation routes.  If the project is done during the day, Mr. Scott stated that the DOT will reach out to the schools.


Crystal Baluk, an abutter to the projected, expressed a preference to have the construction occur during the day due to bright lights and loud noises at night.  Selectman Curless said the Select Board will take the matter into consideration and express their preferences within the next few weeks.  The Board also will seek input from the school district.

Mr. Scott discussed the Municipal Work Zone Agreement noting that some Towns have laws that say that if work is occurring within the roadway of the Town, the Town must provide traffic control.  The State of NH understands State statutes to say that NHDOT is responsible for traffic control through the Work Zones of their projects.  Mr. Scott acknowledged that local police may be used for the project.  However, much of the traffic control can be accomplished with contracted flaggers.  Mr. Scott requested that the selectboard enter into a mutual work zone agreement to allow the DOT to be in charge of traffic control.  The Board agreed to discuss the agreement with Chief Korbet and get back to Mr. Scott.

There being no further comment, Selectman Curless closed the public information session.

At 5:00 p.m. Jonathan Korbet, Police Chief, met with the Board to provide a departmental update, and discuss new hires, compensation, and special duty fees.


Chief Korbet explained that he has been researching comparable wages for police officers in view of the fact that the department is down an officer.  The State average starting pay for a patrol officer is $51,000-$53,000.   Chief Korbet felt that as a small town, Sutton needed to be competitive in order to attract candidates.  Chief Korbet recommended a scale or annual step rate method of compensation.  Chief Korbet developed a scale that he felt was appropriate for Sutton.  Step 1 would be approximately 51,000 and would go up to step 12 which would be $67,288.  Chief Korbet felt that consistent pay increases would be helpful for recruitment.


Selectman Baker asked what the criteria would be for the step increases.  Chief Korbet advised the steps would be given annually based on a successful performance evaluation and typically would be a 2-3% increase.   Chief Korbet has reviewed his current budget and recommended step increases for the sergeant and chief’s position as well.  Based on the current operating budget, Chief Korbet can offer a starting rate of $58,000 for the qualified candidate.    This would be for a candidate with 5-6 years of experience.    Chief Korbet observed that many of the smaller towns are seeking to fill vacancies at this time.


Selectman Curless recommended adopting a step system for all employees that could be implemented at the annual review, adding that COLAS are just to keep up with the cost of living and do not offer an opportunity to get ahead.   Chief Korbet noted that many towns have graded systems that correlate to various positions and provide a standard to follow.  Selectman Baker felt that advancement should be linked to training and accomplishments, not just longevity.   Selectman Baker felt this would be a mechanism to retain good employees.


Chief Korbet asked for the authority to start a new officer in the range of $52,000-58,000 a year.  Chief Korbet also recommended changing the sergeant’s and chief’s wages in line with this system and indicated that his budget could support this change due to  full-time and part-time vacancies.    Chief Korbet explained that there would be no merit or step increase unless the employee achieved benchmarks at the time of employee evaluations.


Chief Korbet advised that he has not started recruiting due to the fact that he needed to establish a competitive wage.  In keeping with the scale, Chief Korbet made the following recommendations:

For the position of sergeant, Chief Korbet recommended a $1.87 increase based on 15 years of experience,  qualifications and dedication.   $33.66Hr/$70,012.80 annually  It was noted that New Hampshire Retirement costs would have to be factored in.


For the chief’s position, Chief Korbet recommended a salary of $90,000 based on a comparative pay scale which would be at a Step 4 rate.  Newer chiefs start out at $85,000-$90,000.  Chief Korbet has 18 years of law enforcement experience and has been the chief for 12 years.  The additional compensation line item would be eliminated.  The chief’s position would be strictly salaried.  Chief Korbet recommended that the sergeant remain an hourly position.


Chief Korbet felt the part-time wages and the current vacancy in the department  would cover the salary increase from part time wages.  It was noted that part-time officers do not receive New Hampshire Retirement so that those figures would need to be analyzed.  Chairman Curless suggested running the numbers for the remainder of the year to determine if the increases were within budget in order to make an informed decision at the next regularly scheduled meeting.


Selectman Headley asked for an analysis of how the steps were arrived at observing that the Budget Committee will likely be interested in the analysis.


Chief Korbet recommended revising the special duty rates based on the averages for the state.  The average for the state is $48.00/hr.    Currently, the officers receive $35.00 an hour for special duty.    The town bills out at $53.00 an hour.  If a cruiser is involved for a long duration an extra $15.00 an hour is billed.  Chief Korbet advised that the majority of the details are with the schools so he felt that the town should adopt two different rates for in-town and out-of-town.  A public hearing to increase the special duty rates will be scheduled.  Chief Korbet recommended $64.00/hr. for in-town special duty.  The officer would receive $45.00 hr. for in-town.  Chief Korbet recommended $78.00/hr. for out-of-town rates.  The officer would receive $55.00/hr.


Chief Korbet advised that one of the cruiser laptops needed to be replaced.  The laptop is five years old, and CCI recommends replacing them at 2-3 years.    The Chief has attempted to have the unit repaired under warranty, but this has not been successful.  There is a capital reserve for replacement of police department computers.  Chief Korbet requested that up to $4,000 be approved to be expended from the police department capital reserve for replacement of the computer based on a quote from CCI.   The current software can be used.  Selectman Headley was provided with the specifications for the replacement of the laptop.  Selectman Baker asked whether repairs were feasible.  Chief Korbet said that he attempted to use another unit that was replaced under warranty, but it was not compatible with the department’s system.  CCI was recommending replacement.


Chief Korbet decided not to repair the broken cruiser based on the timing of the corporal’s resignation.  Chief Korbet offered the cruiser for sale on Municibid.  The winning bid was $5,700.  The trade-in value for the cruiser if repaired was $4,500.  If the cruiser was not repaired, the trade-in value was zero.  The new cruiser is an SUV, a Dodge Durango.  Chief Korbet considered getting a Ford Explorer, but the Durango is getting better reviews for use as a cruiser.


Selectman Curless asked for feedback on the DOT using their own flaggers for traffic control during the I-89 bridge redecking project.  Chief Korbet said that he had no problem with that as the DOT flaggers would be competent.  Chief Korbet recommended doing the project at night to accommodate traffic flow and the schools.

At 6:00 p.m. Selectman Headley made a motion to enter into Non-Public Session under RSA 91-A:3, lI(c) Matters which, if 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. This exemption shall extend to include any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.  Selectman Baker seconded the motion.  The Board was polled with Selectmen Curless, Headley and Baker voting in the affirmative.  Public session resumed at 6:12 p.m.  Selectman Curless made a motion to seal the minutes as matters discussed might adversely affect the reputation of any person other than a member of the Board.  Selectman Headley seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a unanimous affirmative vote.


The minutes from July 5, 2021, were approved as written.  The Board reviewed and approved the following manifests:


                Vendor Manifest:   $43,670.60

Payroll Manifest:    $10,852.65



The Board reviewed and approved the following building permits:

Francis Esposito, Map 06-718-582, Baker Hill Road, Roof Mounted PV Solar

Dane Headley, Map 05-678-405, Shadow Hill Road, Interior renovations

Mario Abruzzese, 02-722-497, Andrews Avenue, for a garage

Douglas Hamilton, 10-003-396, Meadowbrook Road for a carport.



Nancy Heckel, Jennifer Call and Betsy Anderson were present to seek permission to expend funds from the Municipal Building Capital  Reserve for the installation of an alarm panic system, fire alarm dialer and exterior repairs.  The Board discussed the requested repairs.  The Board will include these repairs on the Old Store Museum.  The Board approved the expenditure for the alarm systems from the Municipal Building Fund.


Phillips reported that she had received a call from Gayle Burbee who is in charge of Wadleigh State Park.  The attendants at Wadleigh are having a problem with  Sutton residents who do not understand the admission policy.  The $4.00 admission fee is waived for Sutton residents but not their guests.  Proof of residency is required.  Apparently, some citizens are being very rude to the attendants when asked for identification.  The admission policy will be posted on the website notifying residents that identification is required and asking them to please be kind to the attendants.  No tax dollars are used to fund Wadleigh state park.


OHRV Permit to Access an Owner’s Property:

The Board issued OHRV Permit 2021-04 to Benjamin Bourgeois to access property on Eaton Grange Road West.  The OHRV permits issued to the Bourgeois family are four the same recreational vehicle to access their property along Eaton Grange Road.



The Board discussed the following items for follow up at a future meeting:  purchasing policy, Kezar Lake Dam, septage lagoon closure and dump stickers.


Selectman Headley praised the Highway Department for installing the new street signs throughout town noting that the new signs were a vast improvement.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:33 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Elly Phillips

Town Administrator