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Board mum on resignation

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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PIERMONT—The Piermont Selectboard met on the night of Jan; 6 with just two members after Ernest Hartley resigned recently and unexpectedly. Little was said about his departure during the meeting, but the remaining two members voted to accept his resignation with regrets and thanks on behalf of the townspeople.

"Both Bob [Lang] and I talked to him, telling him it was not good for the town, but he stuck to his guns and resigned," said Colin Stubbings, chair of the selectboard.

Stubbings said Hartley stepped down from the board for "personal reasons," but he did not elaborate on those reasons for the resignation. Stubbings also called Hartley an "extremely hard working" public servant who would continue to work on the town's conservation commission and "a couple of other projects" he had been working on prior to his resignation.

The two remaining selectmen voted to accept his resignation with no further discussion and moved on to other business. li is unclear whether they will appoint a replacement six weeks before the annual town meeting.

Hartley's term was not due to expire until 2017. The seat currently occupied by Stubbings will also be up for re-election this March.

Among the other items discussed at the meeting included an update on the search for a new police chief.

Stubbings said the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police had reviewed 20 applications for the position of Piermont Police Chief and "pushed forward" eight applicants to go to oral boards to be held on Jan. 28. From that, the association hopes to present to the town three finalists from which one would be selected to serve as police chief, he said.

Stubbings said he hopes to have a new police chief in place "well before town meeting" in March. Piermont's police chief Bob Garvin resigned last summer for undisclosed reasons and the selectboard began advertising the position with a starting salary of $48,000 to $52,000 in November.

In other business, Road Agent Frank Rodimon said he was pleased with the turnout of potential bidders for the replacement of the Indian Pond Road bridge that washed away in a storm last year. Rodimon listed off more than a half a dozen interested firms by name and said there were a few others that he could not identify as they didn't have names on the doors of their vehicles.

Additionally, there were at least a couple others that got specifications but did not attend the on-site viewing, opting to develop a bid just from the specifications.

"It looks like we were right to wait," Stubbings said, of the decision to delay seeking bids until offseason. Rodimon agreed and said he hoped to receive and accept a bid so work on the road could begin in the spring.

In a related matter, Rodimon said he would be seeking $63,000 in a warrant article to resurface a 2,000 foot section of Lily Pond Road from voters at town meeting in March.

"We have to do something soon or we're going to lose it," Rodimon said of the road surface. He told the board he was seeking money to add a 1 -inch shim coat of asphalt and then an additional 2 inches finish coat.

There was some discussion about falling fuel prices and how they might affect the price per ton of asphalt as it is petroleum based. Rodimon said he doubted the cost would drop significantly considering much of the expense is on trucking, machinery and labor. He said, however, he would seek bids for the work when it' s time and he' s convinced that $63,000 will cover the cost. If the bids were less, the town would save money on the project.

While on the topic of roads, Lang reported Don King, an engineer from the state highway department covering the region would be in town on Jan. 9 to discuss work on the intersection of Route 10 and Church Street just north of the village. Lang said the town would learn what might be done and whether the state had any money to do the work anytime soon.

In her report, Jennifer Collins, the executive assistant to the selectmen, said she was working on year-end items and preparing the budget for the next fiscal year. She mentioned the setting of the tax rate was delayed because of issues with the business administrator at SAU-23 in North Haverhill. That, she said, caused some additional work and delays that needed to be worked through.

Fire Chief Bruce Henry gave his report, and said the town had experienced back to back mutual aid fires on Jan. 1, one a serious chimney fire on Indian Pond Road and the other a fire in the basement on Aaron Road.

That led the chief to ask about the status of the fire pond on Mazzilli Road. Collins reported the planning board had approved the plan which had been recorded in the Grafton County Registry of Deeds. The only remaining issue was getting a signature from the landowner to finalize the plan.

In a related matter, there was some discussion about excavation work needed on a water source for fire department use on Church Street. Rodimon said he would soon do the work, which shouldn't take more than a day to complete.

The select board will meet again on Jan. 27 and again on Jan. 28 for a public hearing on the proposed town budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

Ed Ballam may be contacted at eballam@jonews.com.



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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015



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