Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Pillsbury Memorial Town Hall
93 Main Street Sutton Mills, NH
Sutton Mills, NH 03221
Board of Selectman
June 11, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.


The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m. by William I. Curless, Chair.  Present at the meeting were William I. Curless, Chair; Dane Headley, Selectman; Robert Wright, Jr., Selectman; Robert DeFelice, Budget Committee Chair; Don Davis and Jenny Menning, Sutton Historical Society; Tom Schamberg and Elly Phillips, Town Administrator.



Don Davis and Jenny Menning met with the Board to discuss an application that the Society was making to LCHIP (Land & Community Heritage Investment Program) for the Meeting House.  On behalf of the Historical Society, Mr. Davis presented to seek  endorsement from the Board of Selectmen for the LCHIP grant application (a required component for the grant).  Due to the number of applicants and limitations on grant funding, the historical society may decide to defer application until the next funding round.    Mr. Davis explained that  LCHIP has 3 ½ million dollars in grant funding available.  However, LCHIP is anticipating 11 million dollars in grant applications from 80 different NH communities.


To date, the Historical Society has attended a required LCHIP workshop and has submitted a Letter of Intent.  After filing their letter of intent,  the historical society received additional guidance regarding issues that should be addressed in conjunction with the grant.    As these matters were not specified in the original application, they would not be eligible for inclusion in this year’s funding round.  The grant application is due June 22, 2018, and the Historical Society will be meeting to determine whether they wish to go forward with the grant.  If they do not go forward, they may seek endorsement from the 2019 Town Meeting for the next round of grant applications.


The  Board of Selectmen discussed the matter and by a unanimous decision, made the following statement in support of the LCHIP application:  “The Board unanimously supports and ratifies the decision made by the Board of Directors of the Sutton Historical Society regarding their LCHIP application.”


Mr. Davis discussed advice from Andrew Cushing, Field Representative for the NH Historic Preservation Alliance, regarding municipal ownership of historical buildings.  This arrangement would mitigate some of the overhead expenses the historical society was covering and ensure that if something happened to the historical society the Town would still own the buildings.   The Board recommended bringing the matter before the citizens through a petitioned warrant article.  There was a general discussion regarding establishing a historical commission under the auspices of the town as well as reviewing RSA’s pertinent to historical preservation.


The minutes from June 4, 2018 were approved as written.  The Board reviewed and approved the following manifests:

PAYROLL MANIFEST:   $  10,847.00

VENDOR MANIFEST:     $ 15,109.99



The Board reviewed and approved the following building permits:

Janet Duncan, Map 02-788-397, High Mowing Road, for a shed

Ronald & Marion Murray, 05-772-563, Southfield Road, for a deck expansion.

Travis and Stephanie Perkins, 05-662-500, Shadow Hill Road, for an addition.



It was noted that Lorri Himes and Elly Phillips will be attending a current use workshop offsite on Wednesday June 13, 2018.  Staff will return to the office after the workshop late afternoon.


The Board reviewed and approved a staff requesting payment in lieu of taking vacation time.  The Board  agreed to reconsider the Town’s policy on vacation time reimbursement along with a complete review of the Town’s personnel policy.  Copies of the personnel policy will be made available at the next regularly scheduled Selectmen’s meeting.


The Board noted the resignation of Chris Ashton from the Conservation Commission and received recommendations from the Commission to fill vacancies.  The Board approved the recommendations as submitted by the Conservation Commissions as follows:   Deborah Lang was appointed as a full member for a term until March 2021 to fill Chris Ashton’s seat.  Bonnie Hill as an alternate for a term until 2020 to fill Deborah Lang’s vacancy.


Robert DeFelice, Budget Committee Chair, discussed the billing and allocation of active 9-11 for the fire department.  Currently, the cost for active 9-11 is being allocated to the Fire Department’s telephone line.  Mr. DeFelice felt that this would be clearer.



The Board reviewed a draft RFP for the library ramp.  The RFP will be forwarded to Counsel for review.


The Board issued a denial of the appeal of Yield Tax Appeal re:  Manning OPER 17-439-24, Map 06-610-001.


The Board issued responses to the bidders for the Fire Department addition.  Upon further consideration of the bid and advice from Counsel, it was determined the Town’s bid package would benefit from more specificity.  Therefore, all bids submitted have been rejected.  Action on the matter has been deferred pending engineering review of the plans.


Phillips reported that a Joint Administrators Meeting with the towns of Bradford and Warner to discuss consolidation of municipal services has been scheduled


Phillips reported on zoning violations.  Two non-permitted structures have been removed.   The Board notify the Stotler’s Map 01-407-067 that corrective action will be necessary within the next ten days, otherwise the matter will be referred to Counsel.




Selectman Wright provided a synopsis of information received for LSRVNA & Hospice Community Health Needs Assessment Report based on 19 communities within Sullivan, Merrimack and Grafton counties.  Selectman Wright stressed the applicability of the study to the towns of Sutton and New London.    Selectman Wright identified the following bullet points:

·         Affordable health insurance and medications

·         Mental/Dental health access

·         Substance abuse

·         Lack of physical activity

·         Nutrition issues

·         Income and family stress

·         Access to primary health care

·         Transportation


Selectman Wright cited the following statistics compiled from a population of 25,794 (Merrimack County)

·         Chronic heart failure 9.5%

·         Alzheimer’s 9/4%

·         Arthritis 25.5%

·         COPD 9.6%

·         Depression 20.3%

·         Diabetes 21.3%

·         High Cholesterol 40.1%

·         Ischemic heart disease 18.9%


Selectman Wright noted that 60% of Sutton’s population 65 years and older are disabled with one or more disabilities (hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care).  The percentage of Sutton citizens 65 years or older is 21.6%.


The mean income for the 19 communities in the sample is $68,782.  The mean retirement income is $20,2022 (which includes social security income).


The Board expressed concern for Sutton’s aging population and reiterated the requirements for the elderly exemption to be included in the minutes.

The following are the qualifications for the adjusted elderly exemption in Sutton:

1.      The exemption only pertains if the property is your principal place of residence.

2.      You must have been a resident of the State of New Hampshire for at least five years.

3.      You must own the real estate individually or jointly, or if the real estate is owned by your spouse, you must have been married for at least five years.

4.      You must have a net income of less than $38,000, if single, or, if married, a net combined income of less than $48,000 (including Social Security); and own net assets of $80,000 or less, excluding the value of your residence.



5.      If your homesite is on land in excess of the area required by present zoning, the value of the excess must be considered an asset.  For example, if you live on a 50-acre homesite and zoning requires you to have 2 acres, you must include the market value of the remaining 48 acres as an asset.

6.      You must be at least 65 years of age prior to April 1st of the year which you are claiming the exemption.



If you are 65 – 75 years of age:          the exempted amount is $20,000

If you  are 75-80 years of age:            the exempted amount is $30,000

If you are 80 or older years of age:     the exempted amount is $100,000


The Board also discussed reviewing the asset and exemption thresholds for consideration at the 2019 Town Meeting.  It was noted that the elderly exemption is governed under State law, but the town has the authority to adopt the exemption amounts and asset thresholds.  Elderly deferrals were also discussed.  The Board also reviewed various suggestions to promote awareness of the Town’s adopted exemptions Town such as the website, and through mailings or a  newsletter.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Elly Phillips

Town Administrator