Town Manager’s Update March 8, 2013
We are still fairly quiet in the office, that does not however keep us from staffing our local boards and committees and making sure that Enfield’s interests are heard and known both regionally and state-wide. This past week the Selectboard met and they invited Town Moderator Dr. David Beaufait to review the upcoming Town Meeting. We reviewed the order of the articles and determined who will make and second the motions, and who will present to the meeting on behalf of the Selectboard. The Board also reviewed a proposed contract from Casella Waste Management. This contract proposes to change our curb side waste/recycling disposal and pick-up to every other week. After Town Meeting we will be holding meetings to explain further and in more detail how this will impact our solid waste operations. The Selectboard will hold three public hearings at their next meeting; all of which have pertain to water and sewer operations. One hearing will be to adjust the water/sewer rates for our users, another hearing will be to address changes to our Sewer Ordinance for the new users in the Rt. 4 expansion area, and the final hearing will be to adopt a Cross Connection Ordinance. I have included the proposed rates for your review. 2013Water-SewerCharges.pdf
Wednesday night I represented Enfield as a Regional Planning Commissioner at the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC). Enfield has two representatives on this commission; Dan Kiley is the other Commissioner. The UVLSRPC is a great resource for all types of assistance, from planning and land use regulation advice, to grant writing assistance, to providing informative seminars on a wide range of topics. If you have a chance, spend a little time at their web site www.uvlsrpc.org .
Thursday night was spent with the Enfield Conservation Commission (ECC). The ECC decided to support a local residents application to the state to restore and rehabilitate the Cole Pond Trail. The trail is in need to some drainage work and trail identification. At the risk of embarrassing my children (and dog) I have included a picture of them at Cole Pond last summer. The trail is relatively easy and well worth the effort, summer or winter.
The ECC also decided to pursue a grant to assist with the creation of a comprehensive watershed plan for Crystal Lake. ECC member Shirley Greene has taken the lead with this effort. It is anticipated that the grant application will be for FY2014.
Finally, last week I spent a day in Concord attending the legislative hearing regarding HB 286. HB 286 would allow municipalities to bond, or borrow, for the construction of broadband infrastructure. As you know Enfield is an active participant in the NH FastRoads project and 1/3 of our properties will be eligible for connection to a fiber broadband network. The remainder of our community is at the whim of the private sector and what is in their best interests. We are quickly getting left behind in the digital world, and it is absolutely necessary for communities to have a robust broadband infrastructure for us to be able to keep our residents and businesses connected to the world, and one another. The telecommunication industry was represented at the hearing and they argued that it was too risky for municipalities to even consider borrowing for this type of infrastructure, and that they will eventually bring broadband to every corner of New Hampshire so this bill was unnecessary. We as municipalities borrow all of the time, and if we cannot make our case before our Town Meetings, then the project does not happen. Including broadband infrastructure to the list is not going to make what we do any more risky. Second, I have been in Enfield for over seven years and know for a fact that there are places in town that have to rely on dial-up service for their connection to the internet. How much longer do we have to wait? This is a straightforward issue of municipalities trying to provide a needed service that is otherwise unavailable. If the industry could and would provide the service, no one would be seeking this legislation. Municipalities have no interest in competing with private industry or in providing infrastructure that someone else is willing to provide; but as with so many other things, when private business cannot provide what is needed, the municipality ought to have the ability—at the will of its voters—to fill the void.
Two quick reminders: 1 – Farmers’ Market this Saturday at the Community Building from 10am to 1pm, and 2 – Town Meeting Voting on Tuesday from 8am to 7pm.
Thanks and have a great week.