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Why won't selectmen share lawyer's advice on private roads?

To The Daily Sun,

The public are "hardworking" folks as well, but do not have to suck up to the Board of Selectmen, or other "officials." That is not the issue.

I don't have a blog to pontificate on, nor intend to do so. Who elected you, Paul Punturieri, to be the Town of Moultonborough's conscience?

Policy #1 is a legal fiasco, as I'm sure competent legal counsel has advised.

Your comment about Page 22 Section 7.2 is more of your "fake news." It does not claim the 22 foot width that Policy #2 (not #1) does, and caused the angina in some folks. Why are you trying to confuse the two policies ... or are you genuinely confused ... again.

The widths in the Planning Board regulations are on page 23 and refer to 18, 20, 22, and 24 foot road widths with the assigned category. Policy 2 is what the Planning Board had queried to the Selectboard, and the Public Hearing was about. Policy 2 still shows 16 feet. The new recommended Policy 2 (at the top of the page on the town website) shows 22 feet. The real issue is the selectmen have no business having a policy on that. Maybe the town will have more sense, when it votes on Article 16 at the Town Meeting, and it gets rid of Policy 2.

The Prudential Affairs Doctrine gives no license to the Selectboard to act as the Planning Board. Ordinances and policies are different. I presume legal counsel has advised accordingly. There surely is no statute that does so either.

There has yet to be official "talk" about Policy 1 and the concern, that has been/is the elimination of plowing private roads, after this winter ... or are you confused about that as well? Some of us don't expect the selectmen to bring it up till after the winter. I've begun legal research on plowing private roads, and that was the purpose of my note to the chair and vice-chair of the Planning Board. It is not their actions that are confusing. It was a query to ascertain that the regulations of the Planning Board do not address plowing private roads, and get them out of the loop. The problem is with the Selectboard's policies.

I have no doubt that town counsel understands the real issue. I guess you haven't been listening or reading what has been sent the selectmen regarding the issue. Why doesn't the Selectboard waive attorney privilege, and tell the town what town counsel has advised already, about the presumptive legal stance that towns cannot legally plow private roads, with some exceptions.

Maybe you're being shortchanged. The selectmen are not volunteers. They are paid $4,000 a year, with the chair being paid $4,500 a year. It's a choice to run for office, not volunteering. Is it worth it? We'll see what the town thinks about its past choices come March. You'll still have your blog soapbox, but ...

I don't have, nor want, the audience you have. I will blind copy a lot of folks however. There's no comparison to the "exposure" you have. I don't view your comments on your bog as "electioneering," in your quest for another term. We both know that is illegal. Your disparaging comments, in the past election cycle, toward Rep. Cordelli didn't work either.

Joseph Cormier

Moultonborough

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M'borough selectmen seem determined to limit citizen input

To The Daily Sun
It was extremely troubling to see the Moultonborough Board of Selectmen go forward with the Town's 2017 statutory Budget and Warrant Hearing on February 9, after a 9+ inch snow storm where many of the towns roads were unplowed and citizens were unable to attend and present their views on the budget and 17 warrant articles.

While the chair perfunctorily raised the possibility of postponing or leaving the hearing open, the board unanimously decided that as Friday, Feb. 10 was the last day to notice another hearing (pursuant to RSA 32:5) and the unidentified printer had to have the warrant by the following Monday, "they had to hold the hearing". Of course, had the board the foresight to have noticed a contingent alternative snow date (as other town boards have done), or found a printer
who would not take some 4+ weeks to print the warrant, the hearing to approve a $7,500,000+ budget could easily have been postponed or left open for voters to properly comment.

Apparently, this board has totally forgotten that there is an important difference between a public "meeting" and a public "hearing." At a public meeting, the board is there to conduct its business and may not be required to accept public comment. However, a public "hearing" is for the government entity to obtain and consider public testimony on a noticed matter and to seriously consider such testimony before approving a proposal such as a budget or
enactment of a new law. The intent is to have a board consider the testimony before voting to accept or modify the proposal. What transpired on February 9 failed to meet those requirements, as much of the public could not attend.

I would hope that this action, combined with the Selectboard's recent policy amendment to board policy #33B,4 (mislabeled as Policy # 3 on the town web site), which further limits citizen comments to no more than three minutes during public comment periods, is not a harbinger of even further limitations on the public's input. These actions, after the selectmen's 2016 elimination of the "initial" public comment period at board meetings, represents a significant limitation on public comment and input. It foretells a dangerous pattern of governance by the board without citizen input, and an effort to stifle criticism.

Eric Taussig

Moultonborough

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