New Hampshire Town and City, May-June 2024

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May/June 2024 TownandCity NEW HAMPSHIRE A PUBLICATION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION In This Issue: I Recuse Myself............................................................................................. 8 Looking Forward to Serving You .............................................................. 12 The Road to Resilience............................................................................... 14 New Hampshire Stream Crossing Replacement Prioritization.................. 18 NRRA Recycling Resources, Your Friendly Neighborhood Non-Profit .... 20 Veteran Suicide Prevention in Your Community ..................................... 26

Beyond investing

The New Hampshire Public Deposit Investment Pool (NH PDIP) has provided public entities with investment options since 1993. NH PDIP focuses on safety, liquidity, and a competitive yield in order to meet the distinct needs of cities, towns, school districts, and other political subdivisions.

Beth Galperin

Services Group

This information is for institutional investor use only, not for further distribution to retail investors, and does not represent an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any fund or other security. Investors should consider the Pool’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Pool. This and other information about the Pool is available in the Pool’s current Information Statement, which should be read carefully before investing. A copy of the Pool’s Information Statement may be obtained by calling 1-844-464-7347 or is available on the NHPDIP website at While the Pool seeks to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money investing in the Pool. An investment in the Pool is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Shares of the Pool are distributed by PFM Fund Distributors, Inc., member Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ( and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) ( PFM Fund Distributors, Inc. is an affiliate of PFM Asset Management LLC.
1.800.477.5258 Client

3 A Message from NHMA Executive Director

4 Happenings

7 Upcoming Events

32 HR REPORT: Official Speech or Personal Speech?

35 Court Update

38 NHARPC REPORT: Getting There: Complete Streets in New Hampshire

42 Legal Q&A: Fundraising & Unanticipated Revenue

44 TECH INSIGHT: Cloud for Municipalities

49 Name That City or Town\ This Moment in NHMA History

48 Upcoming Webinars


New Hampshire Municipal Association Staff

Margaret M.L. Byrnes, Executive Director

Stephen C. Buckley, Legal Services Counsel

Natch Greyes, Government Affairs Counsel

Katherine Heck, Government Finance Advisor

Jonathan Cowal, Municipal Services Counsel

Judith Pellowe, Business Administrator

Timothy W. Fortier, Communications Coordinator

Ashley Methot, Event Coordinator

Pam Valley, Administrative Assistant

1 MAY/JUNE 2024 Contents Table of 8 12 14 18 20 26 May/June 2024 Volume LXVII • Number 3 New Hampshire Municipal Association: NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN AND CITY (USPS 379-620) (ISSN 0545-171X) is published 6 times a year for $25/member, $50/non-member per year, by the New Hampshire Municipal Association, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord, New Hampshire 03301. All rights reserved. Advertising rates will be furnished upon application. Periodical postage paid at Concord, NH 03302. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN AND CITY, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord, NH 03301. NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN AND CITY serves as a medium for exchanging ideas and information on municipal affairs for officials of New Hampshire municipalities and county governments. Subscriptions are included as part of the annual dues for New Hampshire Municipal Association membership and are based on NHMA’s subscription policy. Nothing included herein is to be construed as having the endorsement of the NHMA unless so specifically stated. Any reproduction or use of contents requires permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Address correction requested. © Copyright 2024 New Hampshire Municipal Association Production/Design Evans Printing Co. Official Publication of the New Hampshire Municipal Association 25 Triangle Park Drive • Concord, New Hampshire 03301 Phone: 603.224.7447 • Email: • Website:
I Recuse Myself Looking Forward to Serving You: NHMA's 2024-2027 Strategic Plan The Road to Resilience: Five Ways to Advance Climate Action Through Regional Transportation New Hampshire Stream Crossing Replacement Prioritization NRRA, Your Friendly Neighborhood Non-Profit for Recycling Resources Veteran Suicide Prevention in Your Community
of Pittsfield is located in Merrimack County, nestled in the Suncook Valley region of New Hampshire and is known for its beautiful landscape, farmland, country setting and the Suncook Valley Rotary Club’s well-known Hot Air Balloon Festival that takes place every August.
The Town

New Hampshire Municipal Association


Candace Bouchard - Vice Chair Supervisor of the Checklist, Concord Laura BuonoImmediate Past Chair Town Administrator, Hillsborough David Caron Town Administrator, Derry Shelagh Connelly Conservation Commission, Holderness Phil D’Avanza Planning Board, Goffstown Stephen Fournier Town Manager, Newmarket Elizabeth Fox - Chair Asst. City Manager, HR Director, Keene David Stack Town Manager, Bow Neil Irvine Town Administrator, Northwood Patrick Long Alderman, Manchester Cheryl Lindner - Treasurer Finance Director, Bow Conner MacIver Town Administrator, Barrington Judie Milner City Manager, Franklin Jim MaggioreImmediate Past Vice Chair Select Board Member, North Hampton Dale Girard Mayor, Claremont Michael Malaguti Town Administrator, Londonderry Jim Michaud Chief Assessor, Hudson Dennis Shanahan Deputy Mayor, Dover Holly Larsen Finance Director/Tax Collector, Berlin Joanne Haight Select Board Chair, Sandwich Donna Mombourquette Energy Commission, New Boston Jeanie Forrester - Secretary Select Board Member, Meredith Joseph R. Devine Assistant Town Manager, Salem Shaun Mulholland City Manager, Lebanon Bonnie Ham Planning Board Chair, Woodstock

NHMA Executive Director A Message from the Margaret M.L. Byrnes

April snowstorms aside, it really is spring in New Hampshire! In addition to being the season of mud and daffodils, it's also a time when many newly elected or appointed local officials are learning the ropes. For NHMA, that means it's one of our busiest training seasons—and we hope you can join us at one our training events over the next couple months, including:

• Local Officials Workshop on May 1 or May 7 (excellent primer for newly elected officials!)

• Hard Road to Travel on May 9

• Fostering Regional Resilience: SNHPC’s Road Adaptation Toolkit on May 15 (webinar)

• The Workings of a Planning Board on June 5 (webinar)

• Code Enforcement Workshop on June 11

• ZBA Basics on June 12 (webinar)

• Municipal Trustees Workshop on June 13

• Art of Welfare Administration on June 19

Most of our in-person events also offer a virtual attendance option, so we hope you can find a way to join us for one or more of these important training events.

In an event numbered year, spring also means the legislative policy making process is underway. Local officials from 45 cities and towns have volunteered their time to sit on one of three NHMA legislative policy committees: General Governance and Administration; Infrastructure, Development and Economic Development; or Finance and Revenue. Their charge is to review current policies and any policy suggestions sent in from cities and towns, and consider what should be revised, deleted, or added—ultimately creating a set of proposed 2025-2026 Legislative Policies. Those proposed policies will go to the NHMA membership for debate, discussion, and adoption at the September 27 Legislative Policy Conference. We hope your municipality will participate by sending a voting delegate to this important member-driven event!

Aa a final word, I want to thank all the local officials who have taken a moment to log in to NHMA’s new member portal. The portal allows you to better interact with NHMA’s services—and allows NHMA to communicate better with you— so ensuring your information is updated is critical to taking advantage of your member benefits. If you have never logged in, please take a moment to read these instructions on our website.

Coming soon: More of NHMA’s member-only benefits from the website will be moving to the portal. Stay tuned!

Warmest regards,

3 MAY/JUNE 2024
Cordell A. Johnston Attorney at Law Representing towns and cities P.O. Box 252 Henniker, NH 03242 603-748-4019


Despite Municipal Welfare Post Pandemic Spending Spike, Optimism Prevails

Municipalities throughout the state have been experiencing local welfare budget sticker shock, with many overspending their budgets months before the end of the fiscal year. Todd Marsh, president of the New Hampshire Local Welfare Administrators Association, believes the sharp increase is an anomaly and part of a post pandemic budget reset that should moderate next fiscal year.

“The increase is due to three years of rising inflationary costs, including housing costs, which were largely offset by federal pandemic federal funds, until funding ended,” said Marsh. “The post federal funding unknowns fostered a budget development challenge, as using trending recent years expended amounts were no longer a reliable budgeting guide.”

Marsh cites the New Hampshire 2023 Residential Rental Cost Survey Report, indicating a 0.6% statewide vacancy rate for two-bedroom apartments, and median gross rent for a 2-bedroom unit in 2023 increasing to $1,764, which reflects a 36% increase from 2018-2023. Also, overall increased life living inflationary costs and continued mental health difficulties, including substance use disorder as multifaceted challenges.

Local Welfare Administrators Association & Robert Waters, Shelter Administrator, Bureau of Homeless Services, DHHS.

Marsh explained how higher municipal welfare costs caught many municipalities by surprise, stating “Instead of experiencing a moderate and steady increase over the course of three years; allowing for methodical budget adjustments, municipalities went from warm budgetary waters to boiling very quickly."

According to the 2022 New Hampshire Municipal Association’s “Art of Local Welfare Guide,” the municipality’s statutory obligation to provide local welfare assistance does not end because the welfare budget has been exhausted. Thus, it is important for the welfare administrator to update the governing body when it appears that the budget as appropriated will not be sufficient to meet the caseload of eligible assisted persons. The governing body must then decide to transfer money into the welfare budget under RSA 32:10; request permission from the DRA to over-expend the budget under RSA 32:11; or hold a special town meeting to appropriate the funds needed under RSA 31:5.

The guide adds, “It is prudent practice to prepare welfare budgets based on recent trending amounts and with sufficient funds available to reasonably accommodate unpredictable circumstances. The approved budget should not dictate decisions to assist or not to assist.”

Marsh believes current and future budget planning for municipal local welfare assistance will be more reliable. Marsh is confident that continued collaborative and eclectic efforts will allow New Hampshire to lead the way toward maximum self-sufficiency for people with unique needs and cost-effectiveness for taxpayers. Proper planning and focus are believed necessary to minimize municipal local welfare costs.

EPA Starts Lead Inspection Sweep in Greater Manchester Homes built before 1978 likely to contain lead paint

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) initiative to prevent childhood lead poisoning in communities with a higher risk of lead exposure is coming to the greater Manchester, New Hampshire area. Lead is particularly harmful to children because they are more vulnerable to its effects, which include damage to the brain and nervous system.

Pictured: Freeman Toth, Housing Stabilization/Homeless Outreach Manager, Community Action, Belknap/Merrimack Counties, Todd Marsh, President, NH

The aim of the EPA's lead paint initiative is to reduce childhood lead exposure through increased awareness and improved compliance with federal lead paint requirements, in particular the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) and Lead Disclosure Rules.

“The City of Manchester is committed to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to thrive. Healthy housing is one part of that equation,” said Mayor Jay Ruais. “To that end, in 2023 the Board of Mayor and Aldermen established the Manchester Lead Exposure Prevention Commission. This Commission, which is made up of community members from various disciplines and lived experience, will be working to identify strategies to reduce lead poisoning and increase lead hazard awareness and prevention in our community."

As part of EPA's lead paint initiative in Manchester, inspectors will evaluate compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act's lead paint RRP Rule, which is applicable to renovation job sites involving housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.

Field staff will also be checking to confirm that landlords, including property management and real estate companies, are providing prospective tenants or buyers with proper lead disclosure about the presence of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. Lead disclosures are required under Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act before the lease or sale of most housing built before 1978.

These efforts will be supported by an increased focus on education, outreach, and compliance assistance in the greater Manchester area and beyond to ensure that regulated parties and the public are aware of the federal lead-based paint requirements.

SWRPC’s Tim Murphy Retires After 35 Years of Service

NHMA's Legal Services Counsel, Stephen Buckley, celebrates with SWRPC's Tim Murphy on his retirement.

After nearly 35 years of distinguished service as a regional planner, Tim Murphy recently retired in March as the executive director of the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC), where he has served since 1995.

The commission serves 33 communities in the Monadnock region, including Antrim, Bennington, Dublin, Greenville, Hancock, Jaffrey, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Sharon and Temple, on planning-related matters.

Under Murphy’s direction, the commission expanded its work to extend beyond land-use, transportation and environmental issues to include economic development, emergency management, brownfields, public health planning and broadband.

Murphy will be succeeded by Todd Horner effective April 1. Congratulations Tim, on your much deserved retirement, and to Todd, for your new leadership role at SWRPC.

New Hampshire Climate Resilience Funding Database

Funding is one of the largest barriers to implementing climate resilience projects. To assist cities and towns with awareness of current funding opportunities, the Climate Ready Coast - Southern Maine project team and the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup assembled the following database of federal, state, and private grant and funding programs that could be used to support all stages of coastal resilience projects, including planning, site assessment, engineering and design, implementation, land acquisition, and monitoring. For each funding opportunity, there is information about eligible applicants, goals, eligible uses, funding limits, match requirements, previously funded projects, and links to more information.

5 MAY/JUNE 2024

Under the Resources and Publications tab on NHMA’s website (, you will now find the New Hampshire Climate Resilience Funding Database. This database evolved as a resource from the Climate Ready Coast Southern Maine project and grew to include New Hampshire communities with the support of the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup. Check out the “previously funded projects” column, giving people an idea of the types of projects the grant has already supported in the region. This database will be updated periodically to reflect new grants and information.

Over 400 Turnout for Barrington Kids Vote

The Town of Barrington hosts a voting experience for kids, Kids Vote, held at their annual Town and School election in March.

Started in 2023, the goal was simple, to provide something fun and civicoriented for the kids on voting day. If the kids are excited enough, it might even improve voter turnout at the local election (2024: 41%, 2023: 28%, 2022: 24%, 2021: 13%, 2020: 32%).

In 2023, over 250 kids voted, and they decided the dog tag color (blue) and the names of two vehicles ("Rec" It Ralph and Bulldog).

This year, over 400 kids voted, and they decided the dog tag color (purple), the name of the forestry truck (Smokey Bearington), when Barrington will Trick-or-Treat (October 31st), and three sticker (I voted) designs to be used in the 2025 Town and School election.

For more details of this program, visit:

Editor's Final Footnote

Since 2016, I have held the title of “Editor-in-Chief” for this very special publication, the New Hampshire Town and City magazine. It has been a privilege and honor, but after nearly eight years and overseeing 52 issues of this bi-monthly publication, I am stepping down and slipping into retirement. Before I leave, I wish to thank the many readers for their feedback, criticisms, insights, and input into the development of this magazine over these years. I have tremendous admiration and respect for all municipal officials who strive every day to make their city or town and the state of New Hampshire a better place to live. Your public service inspires me. Thank you for this opportunity to have served you. Keep local government and democracy strong.

608 Chestnut Street

Manchester, NH 03104

Phone: (603) 622-7070

Fax: (603) 622-1452

“Experience Counts”

We want to be more than just your auditors! We know New Hampshire governments Your needs come rst at Vachon Clukay & Company PC, so we’ve structured ourselves to fulfill all of your service needs. We provide the following services:


• Government Auditing Standards (GAS) Compliance

Single Audits (Federal Compliance Audits) • ACFR Reporting

MS-535 Reporting • Agreed-upon Procedures


• Reviews and Compilations

We want to be part of your team. Contact: Jarad J. Vartanian, CPA


Upcoming Events



2024 Local Officials Workshop

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Tuesday, May 1

Free to members

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

2024 Local Officials Workshop

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Tuesday, May 7

Free to members

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

2024 Hard Road to Travel Workshop

9:00 am – 1:30 pm, Thursday, May 9

For more information or to register for an event, visit our online Calendar of Events at If you have any questions, please contact us at


The Workings of a Planning Board Webinar

Free to members; $20.00 for non-members

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Wednesday, June 5

2024 Code Enforcement Workshop

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Tuesday, June 11

$70.00 in-person and $55.00 virtual attendance. Non-member (state and school officials only) cost $140.00 in-person attendance and $110.00 virtual attendance.

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

ZBA Basics Webinar

Free to members; $20.00 for non-members

$70.00 in-person and $55.00 virtual attendance. Non-member (state and school officials only) cost $140.00 in-person attendance and $110.00 virtual attendance.

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

Fostering Regional Resilience: SNHPC’s Roadway Adaptation Toolkit Webinar

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Wednesday, May 15

NHMA Board of Directors Meeting

9:30 am – 12:00 noon

Friday, May 17

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

Memorial Day (NHMA offices closed)

Monday, May 27

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Wednesday, June 12

2024 Municipal Trustees Training Workshop

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thursday, June 13

$70.00 in-person and $55.00 virtual attendance. Non-member (state and school officials only) cost $140.00 in-person attendance and $110.00 virtual attendance.

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

The Art of Welfare Administration Workshop

9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Wednesday, June 19

Cost: $70 (in-person) and $55 (virtual)

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

NHMA Board of Directors Meeting

9:30 am – 12:00 noon

Friday, June 21

25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord

Please visit NHMA's website @ frequently for the most up-to-date event and training information. Thank you. 7 MAY/JUNE 2024

II Recuse Myself

This article, written by C. Christine Fillmore., then NHMA Staff Attorney, first appeared in New Hampshire Town and City magazine in July/August 2013. It has been updated by Stephen C. Buckley, NHMA’s Legal Counsel, where necessary.

t is generally understood that a municipal official who has a conflict of interest in a specific situation is not supposed to participate in that matter. What is less understood is how this process works and what is at stake in making that decision.

What is Recusal?

What do you call it when an official decides not to participate in something when they have a conflict of interest?

The word is “recuse.” To recuse is to remove oneself as a participant for the purpose of avoiding a conflict of interest. You could use the word “excuse” instead, but it would not be as precise.

When is Recusal Appropriate?

In general, recusal is appropriate when an official has a conflict of interest with respect to a specific matter, or when the official is biased and cannot act impartially.

One of the more troubling situations to face as a municipal official is when an angry citizen claims that the official should not have participated in a matter because of a conflict of interest. A charge of conflict of interest often implies unethical behavior, but it is not always easy to distinguish an actual conflict of interest from an unsubstantiated allegation. It is a charge that goes to the heart of the people’s trust in their government and questions the personal motives of elected and appointed officials. After all, in this context, conflict of interest involves an official who has a conflict with the public interest. Consequently, it is something that all officials should be aware of and consider carefully.

Conflict of interest has proven difficult for courts and legislatures to define in a way that applies to all situations. The circumstances and facts of each case must be factored into the determination of whether an official is disqualified from acting on a matter. However, the basic rule is that a conflict of interest requiring recusal will be found when an official has a personal or pecuniary (financial) interest in the

outcome of a matter. That interest must be “immediate, definite and capable of demonstration; not remote, uncertain, contingent or speculative.” Atherton v. Concord, 109 N.H. 164 (1968). As the Court in Atherton explained, “the reasons for this rule are obvious. A man cannot serve two masters at the same time, and the public interest must not be jeopardized by the acts of a public official who has a personal financial interest which is, or may be, in conflict with the public interest.”

A conflict also exists when an official is actually biased in one direction or the other before the information is even presented to the board. Part I, article 35 of the N.H. Constitution says, “it is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as impartial as lot of humanity will admit.” Local officials deciding matters of a quasi-judicial nature are held to the same standard of impartiality. Of course, unless an official says something in public indicating bias, the existence of a bias may not be known. However, an official who knows they are biased has a duty to the public to recuse him or herself from the proceedings.

What is at Stake?

If a person with a disqualifying conflict of interest or bias participates in a matter, the legal results will depend on the kind of matter at hand. (It is important to note here that if no one challenges the board’s decision in court the only consequences are the political ramifications of eroded public trust in their government.) A court will look at whether the board was acting judicially or legislatively.

Briefly, a judicial action is one in which officials are bound to notify and hear parties and can only decide after weighing and considering such evidence and arguments as the parties chose to lay before them. In re Bethlehem, 154 N.H. 314 (2006). Examples include a zoning board of adjustment’s decision on a variance application or a board of selectmen’s decision on whether to take private property by eminent domain. The other actions a board may take which are not judicial are generally referred to as legislative. Exam-


ples include the creation of proposed zoning amendments by a planning board or a town council’s decision regarding whether to replace a yield sign with a stop sign or traffic light. (For more information on this topic, see Chapter 13 of NHMA’s publication Knowing the Territory.

When a board acts judicially, a court will invalidate the board’s decision if a person with a disqualifying conflict participated in the matter. See Totty v. Grantham Planning Board, 120 N.H. 388 (1980) (a member who owns property abutting the property which is the subject of an application before the planning board is disqualified, and that member’s participation requires the decision to be invalidated). In such a case, the board must begin all over again without the participation of the disqualified person. This is a tremendous waste of the municipality’s money, time, and effort, which can be avoided when a disqualified person recuses him- or herself.

Where a board acts legislatively, the stakes are lower. A court will only invalidate the board’s action if the person with the disqualifying conflict cast the deciding vote. See Quinlan v. Dover, 136 N.H. 226 (1992) (a city councilor expressed bias on one side of a rezoning issue before the Council in advance of the Council’s discussion of the issue the court did not invalidate the Council’s action because his was not the deciding vote and he had no financial interest in the matter.) This lower-stakes situation may play into an official’s decision regarding recusal.

How Does Recusal Work?

The crux of the difficulty with recusal is that the person with the potential conflict or bias must make his or her own decision about whether or not to step down. No one, except a court, has the legal ability to force a recusal.

Whether the issue of a conflict is raised by a party in a case, a member of the public, a member of the board or the official him or herself, the ultimate decision is always in the hands of that member. Anyone may raise the issue. What happens next is up to the board and the member.

Members of all land use boards (planning board, ZBA, historic district commission, heritage commission, agricultural commission or housing commission) have a specific option under RSA 673:14 when a question about a disqualifying conflict of interest is raised. Any board member may request that the board take a vote to see whether they believe there really is a conflict. The board must take the vote if that motion is made, but the result is nonbinding. Again, the final decision is left to the member with the alleged conflict or bias.

Why take a vote at all if it is nonbinding? The answer is that the result of the vote may help the official make their decision. If the member does not believe a conflict exists and the board agrees, then perhaps recusal is not necessary. On the other hand, if the board believes a conflict exists and the official is uncertain, the result of the vote may make recusal seem appropriate. Of course, the member will not always agree with the board’s vote. In those cases, there is nothing anyone can do to force that member to step down.

Something for all officials to consider is that if the potential existence of a conflict is disclosed to the public at the beginning of the matter, and if no one objects at that time, the parties are deemed to have waived their right to appeal on that issue later. Taylor v. Wakefield, 158 N.H. 35 (2008); Fox v. Greenland, 151 N.H. 600 (2004); Bayson Properties, Inc. v. Lebanon, 150 N.H. 167 (2003). That settles the matter, and everyone can move along with the business of the board.

Another important idea is “when in doubt, step down.” The New Hampshire Supreme Court has made it clear that it will overturn a board’s judicial decision if a disqualified person participates. Appeal of Keene, 141 N.H. 797 (1997); Winslow v. Holderness Planning Board, 125 N.H. 262 (1984). It may not be worth taking the risk that the board’s decision will be overturned because of a conflict of interest. Conflicts usually have nothing to do with the merits of a decision, and the board’s hard work should not be put to waste. A board member can always step down if they do not feel right about sitting on the case, even if the potential conflict does not fit any of the court-created rules about conflicts and bias.

On the other hand, there are times when an applicant or other party alleges a conflict of interest to “bully” one or more members off the board because they are concerned that those members will vote against them. When no conflict exists, the officials may not wish to step down. That is their choice. It all depends on the circumstances of the situation.

If an official does recuse him or herself, how should they behave at that point? It is critical to note that simply saying “I recuse myself” is not enough. The official must take steps to make the recusal effective. Literally. The official should immediately leave their seat at the board table, and preferably, leave the room until the board moves on to the next subject. If the official remains in the meeting room, taking a seat with the general public is appropriate. These actions make it clear to all in attendance that the official is, for all purposes, no different from any member of the public in relation to this matter.

9 MAY/JUNE 2024

Of course, a person does not lose their status as a citizen when they become a local official, and a recused official may wish to be heard on the matter just like any other member of the public. In some cases, the official may be a party to the action if, for example, they are the applicant in a land use case or an abutting landowner. Parties to the case have a legal right to be heard on the application, so they may certainly participate in that capacity. In most cases, however, the official with the conflict is not a party to the case. In that situation, the better practice (both legally and for the sake of appearances, which matter in these situations) is for the official to remain quiet if they stay in the room. However, if they feel strongly about the matter, they have the right to speak during the time set aside for public comment or testimony. If a recused official does this, they should begin with a statement that they are speaking on their own behalf as a citizen and not as a member of the board. This helps solidify the understanding that the official is not participating in the board’s consideration of the matter.

In any case, if the official remains in the room, they should not act in any way as a member of the board. It would be improper, for example, for the official to ask questions of the parties (other than at times when the general public is permitted to do so), engage in discussion that is occurring only among board members, or vote on the matter. This is just as risky as remaining at the table or failing to recuse oneself in the first place. “[M]ere participation by one disqualified member [is] sufficient to invalidate the tribunal’s decision because it [is] impossible to estimate the influence one member might have on his associates.” Winslow v. Holderness Planning Board, 125 N.H. 262 (1984). It is also advisable to refrain from using body language to indicate an opinion or try to influence a decision of the board. Remember: appearances count in this situation. Officials should be concerned not only about the legal ramifications, but the political consequences of questionable behavior.

Recusal or Abstention?

There can be some confusion between recusal and abstention. Both mean that a board member does not vote, but the effect is quite different. When a person abstains from a vote, they remain “present” at the meeting for the purposes of a quorum and often participate in the discussion of an issue. When it is time to vote, they simply say “I abstain” and do not register a vote. Under New Hampshire law, a member who abstains is presumed to go along

with whatever the majority of the rest of the board does in that matter. In contrast, when a person recuses him or herself from a specific matter, that person steps off the board for the duration of that matter and does not count toward the quorum during that time. While the person remains a member of the board in general, they are treated as a member of the public whenever the board is addressing that matter

Here is an example. Imagine a five-member board of selectmen. Three attend the meeting (that is enough for a quorum to conduct business). They discuss an item of business, but when the vote is taken, one member abstains. The other two vote “yes.” What is the result? The vote is 2 yes, 0 no, 1 abstention. The person who abstained is presumed to go along with the majority vote of 2-0 in favor, and the fact that he abstained did not mean the board lost its quorum. The item is approved. The New Hampshire Supreme Court clarified these rules around abstention in Merrimack v. McCray, 150 N.H. 811 (2004).

Now imagine a five-member planning board. Three members attend the meeting, which again is enough for a quorum. A subdivision application is the next item on the agenda, and one of the three members present recuses himself because he has a conflict of interest. At that point, that person is no longer treated as a member of the board during any time when the board is addressing that application. The meeting has now lost its quorum because there are only two members sitting. On a land use board with alternates, the chair may designate an alternate to take the place of the recused member for that matter. RSA 673:11. This solves the quorum problem for those boards. However, on a board without alternates, recusal may prevent the board from acting until a future meeting at which more members are present.


It is important for all local officials to understand what it means to recuse themselves, when it is appropriate, and what the consequences may be if a disqualified person participates in official action. Not only may it result in the invalidation of a board’s actions, but defending a court challenge uses municipal resources that might be better spent elsewhere. In addition, retention of public trust is a significant factor that should play into every official’s decision when a potential conflict of interest is at stake.

Stephen C. Buckley is Legal Services Counsel for the New Hampshire Municipal Association. He may be contacted at 603-224-7447 or at

11 MAY/JUNE 2024 Concord | 603-224-7791 Hillsborough | 603-464-5578 Peterborough | 603-924-3864 Portsmouth | 603-436-7046 “All our thoughts and notions of civil government are inseparably associated with counties, cities, and towns...” STATE V. HAYES, 1881 or MUNICIPAL LAW GROUP Representing Municipalities in all areas including Administration & Finance Land Use Tax Abatements Labor & Employment Environmental Litigation Bankruptcy

Looking Forward to Serving You: NHMA’s 2024 – 2027 Strategic Plan

One of NHMA’s major initiatives for 2024 is establishing a strategic plan to guide the organization’s direction over the next several years. According to the NH Center for Nonprofits, strategic planning is “big picture thinking” about the direction the organization is taking and the way it is fulfilling its mission. Often, specific goals, objectives, strategies, and resources are included in the strategic plan as a means to deliver on the mission, and the perspective of a broad range of stakeholders is often included.

Working with a consultant—who is also the town moderator in Bethlehem!—NHMA is gathering information to answer a seemingly simple question: Where do we go from here to best serve our members?

Strategic Planning Work Group Formation

The first step of the process was to establish a strategic planning work group (SPWG). Their charge? To recommend a strategic plan to our 25-member Board of Directors, who ultimately has the authority to amend and approve the plan. The SPWG is compromised of the following board members, local officials, and NHMA staff:

1. Dennis Shanahan, Co-Chair, Member of the Board of Directors and Dover Deputy City Mayor

2. Margaret Byrnes, Co-Chair, Executive Director of NHMA

3. Steve Fournier, Member of the Board of Directors and Newmarket Town Manager

4. Laura Buono, Member of the Board of Directors and Hillsborough Town Administrator

5. Dale Girard, Member of the Board of Directors and Claremont City Mayor

6. Joanne Haight, Member of the Board of Directors and Sandwich Select Board Chair

7. Michael Branley, Swanzey Town Administrator

8. Lori Radke, Bedford Town Councilor and Hollis Town Administrator

9. Jonathan Cowal, Municipal Services Counsel of NHMA

Information Gathering & Workshopping

As of the beginning of May, when this issue of Town & City goes to print, this is where we currently sit in the process—at the information gathering and workshopping stage.

To assist the SPWG in this process, NHMA gathered information in three main ways: (1) a membership survey (sent to city/town mangers and town administrators); (2) one-onone interviews with selected municipalities and a variety of stakeholders and partners; and (3) input from NHMA staff.

Although we are still only part way through the process, here are a few themes that stand out from our information gathering:

• Our staff are knowledgeable and the services we provide are important for New Hampshire towns and cities. NHMA provides a lot of services for being a small, nine-person staff.

• More training and support are needed, such as for specific roles, newer staff, and in other areas, such as grant writing, municipal operations, and human resources/recruitment of the municipal workforce.

• Municipal challenges and issues do vary by region, and so regional approaches and regional collaboration could be improved.

• NHMA is a critical voice at the legislature, and threats to silence NHMA and local officials are of significant concern.

• Our most used services, according to the survey, are:

o Attending trainings

o Contacting legal services

o Reading the Legislative Bulletin

o Reading Town & City magazine and other educational publications

Again, this is only a snapshot of the information we have collected. NHMA members and partners have provided us with a wealth of knowledge, information, and perspective—and we are so grateful for your time!


Board of Directors Action

In May, the SPWG will present its proposed strategic plan to the board of directors. With the input of NHMA staff, the board will discuss, debate, and possibly amend the proposed plan. The final plan will go the board for adoption in June.

Publication of the Plan

NHMA will share the strategic plan with members in late summer 2024, with more information and details to

be presented at our Annual Conference on October 30 and 31 in Manchester. (We hope to see you there!)

Implementation Begins

As mentioned above, the strategic plan will be high level with big picture goals. Once adopted, NHMA staff will be working to implement, review, and adjust—if changing circumstances justify it—the goals of the plan to best serve the membership. As a nineperson organization, this will challenge NHMA to determine what we need in

order to give the members what they need.

Please stay tuned for more information on the strategic planning process and thank you for your support of NHMA!

Margaret Byrnes is Executive Director of the New Hampshire Municipal Association. She can be reached at or via phone at 603.224.7447.

* We are here!

13 MAY/JUNE 2024
January: Strategic Planning Work Group Formation February - May: Information gathering and workshopping June: Board of Directors Action July/August: Publication September: Implementation Begins

AThe Road to Resilience: Five Ways to Advance Climate Action through Regional Transportation Planning

s New Hampshire emerges from its warmest winter on record , it is becoming abundantly clear that the impacts of climate change are already here. Across New Hampshire, communities are experiencing a wide range of impacts – including sea level rise, catastrophic storms, flooding, and impacts to tourism and agriculture. When confronted by a problem of such enormous complexity and scale as climate change, it can be difficult for communities to know where to begin or what might be done.

Inland flooding is the most significant climate risk facing the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) region, which covers 14 communities around greater Manchester. The region has experienced devasting floods – including the 2006 Mother’s Day floods and the 2007 Patriots’ Day nor’easter, two 100-year flood events that happened less than a year apart and which resulted in millions of dollars in property damage.

#1 - Establish a Common Vocabulary

Recognizing that the functionality and reliability of the transportation network is a priority issue for every community, SNHPC is using the topic of roadway adaptation as a strategic entry point for bringing stakeholders together to address pressing climate concerns. Over the last year, SNHPC staff integrated desk research, data analysis, and collaborative input from local, state, and national stakeholders to produce a climate action toolkit focused on roadway adaptation, which is available for free download at https://

SNHPC’s toolkit serves as a practical entry point for anyone interested in tackling climate change through a transportation lens. While the toolkit was developed with the needs of the SNHPC region in mind, it provides a variety of resources and insights for any regional planning commission or municipality concerned about the impacts of inland flooding on transportation networks. This article highlights 5 climate action takeaways emerging from the toolkit.

Effective climate action requires bringing multiple perspectives to the table. Some individuals may be well-versed in the data and research around climate change, while others may be less familiar. Likewise, not everyone will have the same proficiency in vocabulary related to transportation planning, ecological concerns, or other local priorities. The SNHPC’s toolkit highlights key vocabulary words throughout the document, which are defined in the text where possible and included in a glossary for reference.

Chapter 1, entitled “Temperature Check: State of the Region” offers a primer on essential climate concepts and explains how warming temperatures are contributing to greater frequency of extreme precipitation events that substantially exceed normal rates. It also offers a vision for a more resilient region, where communities are surviving and thriving in the face of climate change by pursuing both climate adaptation to manage risks associated with climate change, as well as climate mitigation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emis-


sions. As regional climate planning efforts continue to evolve, this common vision can be used to inform a range of activities related to renewable energy, hazard mitigation, and more.

#2 – Take a Regional Perspective

Flooding caused by a failed culvert can be devasting to nearby property owners, yet it can also have wide ranging impacts that ripple throughout the community. From emergency repairs to travel detours, a road washout can result in fiscal, logistical, and environmental drawbacks for multiple communities. Since climate-related hazards don’t recognize municipal boundaries, it can be helpful to use a regional lens to understand impacts at the network level.

Chapter 2 of SNHPC’s toolkit provides a model for understanding roadway vulnerabilities at a regional scale. It looks at multiple types of vulnerabilities – including stream crossings, steep slopes, and flood-prone areas – and examines these overlapping challenges along each of the major corridors in the region. Notably, it introduces the concept of “aggregate stream crossing vulnerability,” which combines the vulnerability scores of multiple crossings along a single corridor to better understand the risk of failure on key transportation routes that impact multiple municipalities.

This type of analysis can complement other transportation planning and project prioritization efforts to maximize regional resilience.

#3 - Provide Multiple Entry Points for Getting Involved

While developing the toolkit, SNHPC staff conducted a detailed scan of resources from federal, state, and local governments, academic leaders, and professional associations. This scan illuminated many different pathways for addressing roadway adaptation at all scales – including site-level concerns (like culvert design), corridor-wide issues (like maintenance practices), and systems change in the way communities and organizations operate day-to-day (such as policies that prioritize climate change concerns.)

Chapter 3 of the toolkit provides a summary of roadway adaptation approaches organized according to five key themes:

• Design & Engineering

• Nature-based Solutions

• Operations & Maintenance

• Outreach & Collaboration

• Data, Planning & Policy

Each section outlines strategies for implementation, illustrated with project examples and quotes from practitioners. The chapter concludes with

a handy checklist that offers an at-aglance summary of ways to advance roadway adaptation. Ideally, every reader will be able to envision an opportunity to get involved in a way that fits their interests and responds to the unique needs of their local community.

#4 - Compare Data to On-the-Ground Realities

Local expertise is an essential ingredient for vetting vulnerability data and putting roadway adaptation strategies into action. Chapter 4 provides a case study of a corridor in Chester, NH that illuminates how the toolkit’s data and strategies can be used to jumpstart critical conversations with local experts about adaptation priorities.

In May 2023, SNHPC staff facilitated an interactive work session with staff from the Town of Chester to examine flooding concerns on NH-102, an essential east-west corridor in the region. Representatives from planning, police, fire, and highways came together to review vulnerability data and share their on-the-ground insights about local flooding concerns. Collectively, the group was able to successfully narrow down priority sites and issues to address through future adaptation efforts.

The conversation surfaced several key insights that can be helpful for guiding roadway adaptation planning efforts:

• A collaborative corridor analysis can help call attention to potential flood risks coming from nearby sites and communities –whether it’s a red-list bridge across the town line, a privately-owned dam, or a blocked culvert on a local road.

15 MAY/JUNE 2024

• Symbiotic solutions are needed to address tensions between humans and wildlife, particularly as development pressures increase. Beaver activity is a significant challenge for Chester, as exhibited by a recent costly roadway washout resulting from a beaver dam collapse. The Town is now monitoring impoundments and installing ‘beaver deceivers,’ which are devices that use pipes and fencing to keep ponds level as beavers work on their dams.

• Staffing shortages are impacting climate readiness. Departments that are crucial for managing flooding – like high-

ways, police, and fire – are having difficulty filling positions. Since broader socioeconomic trends will take time to resolve, it’s essential to cultivate greater public awareness and enlist volunteer support where possible to help mitigate flood risks – for example, by clearing culverts in advance of an impending storm.

#5 - Integrate Climate into Planning Efforts at Every Scale

SNHPC is committed to building upon the learnings from the roadway adaptation toolkit to continue advancing climate planning efforts in collaboration with the State of New

Hampshire, fellow regional planning commissions, and local communities. Two key federally funded initiatives are currently driving key climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. US DOT’s PROTECT program has authorized billions of dollars to help make surface transportation more resilient to natural hazards, including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters. Meanwhile, the EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program (CPRG) is funding nationwide efforts to develop Climate Action Plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the pace of climate change.


Under PROTECT, a Resilience Improvement Plan (RIP) is an important next step to advance roadway adaptation projects and access PROTECT discretionary grants. SNHPC is participating in a stakeholder workgroup to help guide NHDOT’s development of a statewide RIP, and we will apply learnings from that process to inform the development of a RIP for the SNHPC region.

Under CPRG, SNHPC is contributing to parallel efforts with both the State of New Hampshire and regional planning commissions in the Greater Boston metro area. We’re engaging with local community members to understand their priorities for forthcoming Climate Action Plans that will reduce emissions and harmful air pollution through equitable, community-driven solutions.

Join the Charge!

There’s no doubt about it – climate change is already here, and we need all hands-on deck to help New Hampshire communities survive and thrive. SNHPC encourages everyone to download the new roadway adaptation toolkit and dig deeper into a topic that matters to you. By working together, we can effectively respond to an evolving climate and identify new and innovative opportunities for human and ecological systems to thrive together.

To learn more about these efforts, be sure to visit the NH Association of RPCs online at where you can find your region and take a virtual tour of the RPCs.

The Bond Bank’s Next Bond Issue will be on July 10, 2024

Check our website for interest rate results

January 2024 Bond Sale Results - True Interest Cost for:

5 year loans 2.89%

10 year loans 2.72%

15 year loans 3.09% 3.40% 20 year loans

Are you planning a capital project for 20

We can assist you with your planning by providing various scenarios based on level debt or level principal payments for different terms. Contact us now for your estimated debt schedules.

To schedule a meeting, obtain debt service schedules, or for details about our schedule, fees, Bond Anticipation Note programs, and current interest rates, please contact Tammy J. St. Gelais, Executive Director, at

Basic Loan Requirements: • Bond issue approved by governmental entity

New Hampshire Stream Crossing Replacement Prioritization

Stream crossings (i.e. culverts and bridges) play a pivotal role in connecting human and wildlife communities, with roughly 20,000 structures dotting New Hampshire alone. Many of these crossings are aged or failed, exacerbating stream fragmentation and flooding risks, yet resources to manage these assets are often limited and scattered across stakeholders. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and in collaboration with New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and the New Hampshire Stream Crossing Initiative (NHSCI), the University of New Hampshire (UNH) is pioneering the Stream Crossing Replacement Prioritization Project to develop a stakeholder-informed prioritization framework for stream crossing replacements that aims to identify win-win management scenarios that will balance road safety, ecosystem restoration, climate resiliency, aquatic organism passage, and cost. The project encompasses two components:

Stream Crossing Field Assessment

Over the summers of 2022 and 2023, UNH teams assessed over 4,000 stream crossings for geomorphic compatibility, hydraulic capacity and aquatic wildlife passage using standardized methods developed by the NHSCI. Thanks to this effort, all accessible stream crossings within the Merrimack River and Salmon Falls-Piscataqua River HUC 8 watersheds have been assessed, setting the stage for data-based decision making. Previous assessment efforts led by other entities have been limited by field personnel and supervisory capacity and typically only accomplish 100 to 300 assessments per year. The complete stream crossing dataset, which currently accounts for over 70% of New Hampshire’s stream crossings (and counting!), can be accessed through NHDES’ Aquatic Restoration Mapper.

Stakeholder-informed Prioritization

Despite a robust stream crossing data set, New Hampshire lacks a uniform and comprehensive stream crossing replace-

ment prioritization process. Conventional prioritization frameworks cannot address the diverse needs of different stakeholders and tend to inefficiently focus on individual stream crossing. However, by adopting a broader, watershed-scale prioritization approach, we can identify win-win solutions that would result in optimal ecological, economic, and societal outcomes and ultimately more benefits for all stakeholders compared to their traditional methods.

To ensure an inclusive and comprehensive prioritization framework, the second phase of this project engaged a diverse group of stakeholders at the local and state level through a survey to elicit their perspectives, priorities, and preferences. The result of this survey, which closed at the end of April, will inform the development of a stream crossing prioritization model and interactive planning tool utilizing the stream crossing assessment data. The project team has initiated analysis of the survey responses and anticipate sharing results at the end of the summer – stay tuned!

Please direct any questions to Polly Crocker, NDHES Watershed Management Specialist, (pauline.f.crocker@ and/or Koorosh Asadifakhr, PhD student at the UNH College of Engineering, (koorosh.asadifakhr@


Cisco Systems, Inc. and one of its authorized resellers, Red River Technology, would like to inform you about the many benefits of using the NVP AR3227 PA New Hampshire #8001458 contract for your procurement of Cisco solutions.

You don't need an RFP to purchase Cisco Products and Services!

• May save time & resources by avoiding bids or RFPs since the contract meets many entities’ competitively bid procurement rules.

• Pre-negotiated and pre-approved procurement terms and conditions (refer to the contract documents).

• Guaranteed minimum discounts, which may be exceeded by fulfillment partners with deeper, additional discounts.

• One-stop-shop for Cisco’s Products and Services.

Buy today with an easy ordering process:

1. Request quotes/pricing from multiple Authorized Fulfillment Partners for the contract to receive competitive pricing.

2. Select the Authorized Fulfillment Partner who offers the best value.

3. Issue the Purchase Order directly to the selected Authorized Fulfillment Partner.

4. Reference the contract #(s) on your Purchase Order.

Take the Next Step and Start Saving Time and Resources Immediately

state sourcing team in accordance with that state’s procurement

For more information or to speak with Cisco’s contract management team, please email

19 MAY/JUNE 2024

NRRA, Your Friendly Neighborhood Non-Profit for Recycling Resources

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) is the oldest and largest cooperativemodel recycling nonprofit in the country. Located in Epsom, New Hampshire, NRRA works with 90% of New Hampshire communities, helping municipalities market their recyclable materials and providing ongoing education and technical assistance. While town officials and residents may have seen the NRRA name on the Environmental Impact Report often included in annual town reports, most don’t realize the additional NRRA benefits and resources available to municipal members.

Recycling is a topic that may appear deceptively easy, but with over 180 individual transfer stations across the state – each doing things just a bit differently – recycling confusion among residents is common. Transfer station operators are not only the experts when it comes to recycling and solid waste management, having been certified by the state, they are also often the town employees that residents see and interact with the most!

To help set operators up for success, NRRA created a Recycling 101 presentation designed for residents that focuses on the basics of recycling in New Hampshire. It begins with an overview of recycling in the US, then looks at the solid waste and recycling infrastructure within the state. The presentation addresses the financial impact of a strong recycling program, such as increased revenue and avoided disposal costs, and the reason why recycling programs can differ from town to town. Finally, it covers the nitty-gritty of recycling – what happens to materials when they are recycled, myths and facts about plastics, and the unique challenges the state faces, along with possible solutions. The recorded presentation has a 30-minute run time and can be paired with an in-person Q&A session with local transfer station operators. This allows municipalities to share up-to-date recycling education with residents, while also addressing communityspecific recycling information.

Though there is a cohort of folks in every town who will happily come out to a recycling presentation, most residents will not. This is where NRRA’s customized recycling postcards and handouts can come in handy! NRRA member towns can fill out a simple form on the NRRA website and in return will receive pdfs and image files that have been customized to their community, including the town logo, transfer station contact information and hours, and the specific recyclables the transfer station accepts. This resource has been designed so that it can be printed with 2 handouts per page, double-sided, to create half-sheet handouts. Towns can also work with a local print shop to print postcards that can be mailed to all households. While printing and mailing has an upfront expense, by sharing your communities’ recycling guidelines, municipalities can expect an increase in recycling rates, a decrease in recycling contamination (throwing non-recyclable things in with recyclables), and a decrease in municipal solid waste disposal costs as more waste is diverted to recycling.

Has your town square gone digital? We have a resource for that! The NRRA Recycle Right Campaign is designed to be shared through social media and covers 1) improving recycling habits, 2) busting recycling myths, 3) providing recycling education, and 4) celebrating fellow New Hampshire communities who are recycling right. With a variety of campaign options, you can run anything from a full four-month campaign to four weeks of the “great-


est hits.” The instructions take away the guesswork so you can just point, click, and share. Municipalities are also welcome to save and reprint images and text from the campaign on town websites or printed on handouts or posters.

Beyond the video, print, and digital recycling education resources, NRRA has a variety of Waste Reduction and Diversion Toolkits and resource pages for specialized needs. For instance, the Batteries Toolkit includes video, images, and links for how to recycle or properly dispose of any kind of battery – ensuring they don’t catch fire or explode – which is helpful for residents and transfer station operators alike! The Composting and Food Waste Diversion Toolkit can help a municipality think through a variety of programs that would help get food waste out of their solid waste stream. The Recycling Education Toolkit and School Resources pages include engaging videos showing the recycling process in action and steps students can take to recycle or compost at school.

Finally, we understand the importance of being able to fund recycling and waste reduction programs through alternate funding sources. That’s why we keep an up-to-date Grants Opportunities page with

both national and state grants focused on recycling education, equipment, and management.

Whether you are looking to better educate your residents through printed handouts or an in-person presentation, or you’re wanting to upgrade your recycling and solid waste program with a piece of new

equipment or a new waste reduction program, NRRA has a host of resources available to municipalities across New Hampshire.

For more information, check out the NRRA website: or contact NRRA’s Communications Manager, Andrea Folsom, at afolsom@nrrarecycles. org.

21 MAY/JUNE 2024
CMA pursue excellence ENGINEERS PORTSMOUTH, NH | MANCHESTER, NH | PORTLAND, ME Transportation | Water& Wastewater | Solid Waste | Structural


to New Hampshire’s municipal governments. Our online Municipal Marketplace provides a wide range of categorized municipal product and service listings that will serve as a quick source of information for municipal officials.

Auctions International

Avitar Associates of New England Inc

Benchmark Office Systems

Cartographic Associates, Inc., dba CAI Technologies



Community Heart & Soul

Cordell A. Johnston, Attorney at Law

Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella, PLLC

Doucet Survey, LLC

Drummond Woodsum

Eagle Network Solutions

Environmental Partners, An Apex Company

Freedom Energy Logistics

HEB Engineers, Inc.

Horizons Engineering Inc.

IBEW Local 490

Ideal Concrete Block Co.

JSJ Auctions, LLC


Mitchell Municipal Group, P.A.

Municipal Resources, Inc.

Municipal Technology Systems, LLC

NH Municipal Bond Bank

NH PDIP/PFM Asset Management LLC

NH Tax Deed & Property Auctions


NorthEast Electrical Northway Bank

Onsite Drug Testing of New England

P3 Advisors Strategy & Finance

Pare Corporation


R.W. Gillespie & Associates, Inc

Roberts & Greene, PLLC

Santander Bank, N.A.

Sertex Broadband LLC

TD Bank N.A.

Three Bearings Fiduciary Advisors, Inc.

Upton & Hatfield, LLP

Usource Energy

Vachon Clukay & Company PC


Vision Government Solutions, Inc.

22 NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN AND CITY Thank You! NHMA is proud to recognize our Municipal Marketplace Members! Browse online today!
Marketplace to bring greater member
provide products
has created a Municipal
attention to our supporters who
and services

By becoming a Sustaining Sponsor, businesses position themselves as patrons of New Hampshire cities and towns, earning recognition and brand trust from the community.

With tiered options offering increasing visibility and member access, joining the Sustaining Sponsors program is a strategic investment for businesses aiming to elevate their profile and contribute to the Association’s mission of serving New Hampshire municipalities.

Being a Sustaining Sponsor puts your business at the forefront of the minds of NHMA members, ensuring you the visibility, access, and awareness that will help move your business forward. We thank these businesses for their support of NHMA and local government in New Hampshire.

Providing healthcare coverage to New Hampshire public sector employees, retirees and their families

23 MAY/JUNE 2024
Gold Level Diamond Level Premier Level Become a Sustaining Sponsor Today! NEW HAMPSHIRE MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION

Guide to Effective Code Enforcement Workshop

9:00 am—12:00 pm


June 11, 2024

Building inspectors, code enforcement officers, fire chiefs, health inspectors, and various other municipal officials are responsible for the enforcement of a variety of codes, regulations, and ordinances related to the use of land. These include both local regulations, such as zoning ordinances, site plan and subdivision regulations, health regulations, and the conditions of approval that accompany many land use board approvals, as well as state law, such as the State Building and Fire Code and statutes governing junkyards. Effectively enforcing these various codes and regulations can pose a challenge to municipalities.

Join Attorneys Matthew Decker and C. Christine (Fillmore) Johnston from the law firm of Drummond Woodsum, for this half-day virtual workshop which will provide municipal officials with practical guidance on how to navigate the nuanced procedures associated with code enforcement, as well as practical advice in pursuing an enforcement action against non -compliant property owners. Our legal experts will address some of the most difficult issues under the law, including junkyards, dilapidated buildings, and health codes. There will be ample time for questions and answers on all aspects of the law.

Attendees will receive an electronic copy of the publication, A Guide to Effective Enforcement: Investigating and Enforcing Code and Land Use Violations and the 2024 Supplement. Additional materials such as the PowerPoint presentation will also be distributed electronically. No print outs of the materials or hard copy of the publication will be provided.

Member cost: $70.00 in-person attendance and $55.00 virtual attendance. Non-member* (state and school officials only) cost is $140.00 in-person attendance and $110.00 virtual attendance.

*Non-member attendance is limited to government officials who are not members of NHMA and not eligible to be members (schools and state agencies). If space is limited, priority will be given to NHMA members. Non-member village districts, counties, regional planning commissions, or other municipal entities interested in attending NHMA workshops can contact to learn about becoming a member.

Pre-registration and payment is required. If you register but cannot attend, a recording of the workshop will be provided as long as payment has been received.

Questions? Please contact our Event Coordinator, Ashley Methot at 603-230-3350 or


Veteran Suicide Prevention in Your Community

Veteran suicide prevention coalitions are being developed in your communities. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identified reaching Veterans in their hometowns extends the reach to connect with Veterans through support with our community partners. Over the last two years, VA Manchester and community partners organized eight community coalitions throughout New Hampshire and continue to seek opportunities to build more.

“Community coalitions are made up of providers, Veterans, and community members passionate about supporting Veterans and teaming up to prevent Veteran suicide,” shared VA Manchester Community Engagement and Partnerships Coordinator (CEPC) J. Justin Moeling.

“For us to have a meaningful impact on preventing Veteran suicide, we needed to team up with our community to bring those efforts to where Veterans are – beyond the walls of the medical center,” added Moeling.

Under the VA’s Community Based Interventions for Suicide Prevention program, it is vital to identify Veterans in the community to promote universal screening for suicide risk, improve care transitions, strengthen social connectedness, promote lethal means safety, and advocate for safety planning. These strategic focus areas are based on the experience and data VA has collected from nearly 2000 coalitions nationwide.

“We have built a network of regional coalitions that are connected to a ‘hub’ in the form of the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council’s Military and Veterans Committee,” stated Moeling. “This will over time support efforts to communicate events for Veterans, to build resource lists, and coordinate support for Veterans statewide.”

Coalitions raise awareness of the importance of asking everyone about military service. The next step after that question includes getting Veterans connected to services and screening for suicide risk. Within VA, every Veteran is screened at least

once a year for suicidal ideation and risk. Universal screening and regularly having a conversation about suicide helps to normalize the discussion and help those in need receive care.

Veterans enrolled in VA health care have a lower instance of suicide than those who are not—and all of us can help identify Veterans and connect them to care. At VA, we use ‘caring contracts’ to reach out to Veterans that were recently in the hospital and check-in with them. VA participates in Yellow Ribbon events encouraging Veterans to participate in our Military to VA case management program to ease that transition. Being creative in finding ways to support our Veterans at these times can make a difference.

“Change can be hard. It is less hard when we come together as a community,” stated Moeling. “This might be transition in care from the hospital to outpatient. It might be active duty servicemembers or National Guard members coming home. It might be a move or the loss of a partner.”

Suicide prevention coalitions are a great tool for increasing options for social connectedness. Veterans tend to like socializing with other Veterans. Getting together regularly is a form of suicide prevention. Suicide is often characterized by, among other things, social isolation and feeling disconnected.

The coalitions are hosting and facilitating free suicide prevention trainings, lethal means safety trainings, and military culture trainings. As an example, one coalition recently organized a free skiing outing for Veterans in their community enabling an opportunity for social connectedness.

When Veterans are in a crisis, there are multiple options for getting help. At VA, we have the Veterans Crisis Line—dial 988 then press 1. For those that wish to connect with their local resources pressing 988 will connect to the New Hampshire 988 call center. In the Granite State all of us can contact (833) 710-6477 to reach the New Hampshire call center and Rapid Response program directly. There is no wrong door in


a crisis. These numbers provide Veterans and their loved ones the help they are seeking.

It is important Veterans know that under the recent Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act, transportation to the VA or closest emergency room for emergency psychiatric care will be cov-

ered for most Veterans, and the individual should identify being a Veteran with first responders and the hospital.

“VA uses the New Hampshire ‘Ask the Question Campaign’ as an example of a best practice for finding Veterans in the community,” stated Moeling. This campaign is being reinvigorated on its 10-year anniversary. We hope to use our network of coalitions to help get the word out. VA has been able to team up with many fantastic agencies in order to use this work as a force multiplier for Veteran suicide prevention.”

Moeling shared, “Our collaboration with the Partnership for Public Health helped build a strong foundation for increasing coalition growth. These suicide prevention community coalitions are doing great work and VA is recruiting both Veterans and those passionate about supporting Veterans to connect with this program.”

Currently, there are Veteran suicide coalitions in Carroll County, Central Region (Plymouth), Sullivan County, Lakes Region, Capitol Region, Greater Manchester, Greater Nashua, and the Seacoast.

“In the past couple years, part of my job has included getting to know as many of the players within the Veteran suicide prevention community in New Hampshire as I can,” stated Moeling.

“I have seen so much passion and commitment to my fellow Veterans. It’s wonderful. I still have many more contacts to make. Hopefully, we can use our suicide prevention coalitions to help coordinate and support all these efforts so we can be successful in this fight,” said Moeling.

If you are interested in more information, please feel free to reach out to VA Manchester CEPC J. Justin Moeling at

27 MAY/JUNE 2024
VA Manchester Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator J. Justin Moeling
Drummond Woodsum labor law attorneys are available to provide legal advice on matters including Title VII, Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, employee discipline, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and age, sex and race -based discrimination. The Employment Law Hotline is available at no charge and Drummond Woodsum labor law attorneys will provide up to 1/2 hour of FREE legal advice per employment issue. Got an employment issue? Before you act, call 603.623.2500 or email at . Employment Law Hotline A Free Service to NHMA Members

Celebrating the 55th Annual Professional Municipal Clerks Week May 5 – 11, 2024

May 5 through May 11, 2024, will be the 55th Annual Professional Municipal Clerks Week. Initiated in 1969, the week is a time of celebration and reflection on the importance of the Municipal Clerk’s office. The week-long event will feature a series of activities aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of Municipal Clerks and the important services they provide for local government and the community.

Municipal clerks often receive little attention, but they fulfill such vital financial and administrative roles for their local governments. NHMA gives special thanks and recognition to all of New Hampshire’s municipal clerks for all they do for their town or city.

Did you Know There are 234 Town and City Clerks in New Hampshire?

Your Clerks have been on the move and are very involved representing the people, towns or cities, and great state that we love. Being a Town Clerk is not for the weak of heart. No two days are ever the same and our positions require us to wear many hats, and we wear each one with pride. Our positions are documented to be the oldest public servant positions on record, and we got our start in 1272 A.D. Back then we were the record keepers and peacekeepers of town meetings and other events. Now our positions have evolved and do vary somewhat, but our offices are responsible for record keeping, elections, car registrations, dog registrations, vital records such as birth,

marriage, or death certificates. Property, sewer taxes and other permits are also processed through many of our offices across the state. Your clerks work closely with our state partners at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Secretary of State's Office, Department of Vital Records, Agricultural Department, and our Attorney General’s Office. We are often referred to as the heart of our communities.

Through our New Hampshire City and Town Clerk’s Association which was established in 1926 we offer training and certification information which is required by our state partners to hold these positions. With our positions comes great responsibility, education requirements, and training. Through our association we have an Executive Board which meets monthly to discuss state issues that will and do affect our communities. Our Legislative Committee reviews and testifies on many bills at both the house and senate level. We are proud to be non-partisan.

In February we held a Meet and Greet Breakfast for our legislators at the state capital in Concord (see photo above). They represent our communities, and it is so important that we share information with them. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Please help us to spread the word and help celebrate Town and City Clerks throughout the New Hampshire we love during this week.

29 MAY/JUNE 2024 Does your auction company cover the costs of your auction and associated legal fees for your tax deed real estate auctions? We do! All-inclusive auction services at little or no cost to your municipality:  Promotion of the auction online, in newspapers, and with custom signage on each property  Notification of the auction to property abutters and our exclusive bidder list  Preparation of bidder materials for download and distribution  Live auction held within your municipality  Handling of bidder inquiries before and after the auction  Collaboration with law firm Sager & Smith, PLLC to conduct closings, prepare deed s, and file “excess proceeds” actions 10% buyer’s premium for most auctions N R | (603) 301-0185 Richard Sager, NH Auctioneer (License #6106) & NH Lawyer (Bar #2636) Weston Sager, NH Auctioneer (License #6224) & NH Lawyer (Bar #269463)

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31 MAY/JUNE 2024 NHMA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition is moving to Wednesday, October 30 & Thursday, October 31 this year. Save These Dates! OR ELSE! We promise you a “spooktacular” time!
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Legal Update: Official Speech or Personal Speech? U.S. Supreme Court Provides Clarity on Public Official’s Use of Social Media

Municipal employees have free speech rights just like every other American citizen. But unlike every other American citizen, many municipal employees also have the authority, under certain circumstances, to speak in an official capacity on behalf of the town or city they represent. When a municipal official posts about job-related topics on social media, it is often difficult to tell whether the speech is official or private. While the employee’s official speech is within the employing municipality’s control, the employee’s personal speech often is not. This issue, and particularly how to distinguish the differing types of speech, frequently vexes supervisors and human resources managers tasked with implementing social media and other personnel policies.

The United States Supreme Court recently grappled with this issue in the case of Lindke v. Freed . In a rare unanimous opinion, the Court provided crucial guidance to local governments tasked with finding the line between official speech and personal speech and managing the former.

By way of background, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits state and local government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment to limit the government’s authority to regulate certain protected categories of speech, while allowing greater leeway in regulating other categories of unprotected speech.

If an individual feels that their right to engage in constitutional free speech has been violated, they can sue municipal officials under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under longstanding Supreme Court precedent, municipal officials are liable under Section 1983 when they engage in “state action” in such a way that deprives an individual of their right to free speech. State action includes statements made by a public official in their official capacity. Contrast this was the same public official engaging in private speech on personal matters, which does not rise to the level of state action.

In Lindke v. Freed , the defendant, James Freed, was the city manager of Port Huron, Michigan. Mr. Freed created and maintained a private Facebook profile and was an avid user of the platform. Prior to assuming his role as city manager, Mr. Freed converted his Facebook profile to a public “page” and categorized his page as that of a “public figure.” When Mr. Freed became city manager, he updated his Facebook page to reflect his new job title and included a link to his city email address and a general link to the city’s website. He continued to actively use his Facebook page, posting primarily about his personal life, but also posting information related to his job. He posted information about city projects, highlighted communications from other city officials, and occasionally solicited feedback from the public on matters of city business.

Mr. Freed’s Facebook page garnered significant attention from city residents who often commented with questions about city policies and programs (for example, “Can you allow city residents to have chickens?”). Mr. Freed responded to questions and comments from city residents and on occasion would delete comments that he thought were “derogatory” or “stupid.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Freed’s Facebook page was frequently visited by city resident, Kevin Lindke, who was unhappy with the city’s response to the pandemic. Mr. Lindke frequently commented on Mr. Freed’s page voicing his displeasure with city policies and officials. Mr. Freed initially deleted Mr. Lindke’s comments and eventually blocked him altogether, preventing him from commenting further.

Mr. Lindke sued Mr. Freed under Section 1983, alleging that his First Amendment rights had been violated when Mr. Freed deleted his comments and blocked him on Facebook. Mr. Lindke argued that he had the right to comment on Mr. Freed’s page, which he characterized as a “public forum” and that by being blocked he was subject to impermissible viewpoint discrimination. Because only “state action” can lead to liability under Section 1983,


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the success of Mr. Lindke’s lawsuit depended on whether Mr. Freed was using his Facebook page in a “private” or “public” capacity.

To sort the personal from the official, the Supreme Court established a legal test by which municipal employers must weigh forms of speech by employees and appointed officials. The Court held that a public official’s social-media activity constitutes state action under Section 1983 only if the official “(1) possessed actual authority to speak on the State’s behalf, and (2) purported to exercise that authority when he spoke on social media.”

In its decision, the Court stressed that “actual authority” is more than just some authority. In other words, the subject matter of the social media posts and comments at issue must be traceable to the public employee’s specific duties to fall within his authority. As to the second point in the legal test, the Court stated that the context of the speech is determinative of whether or not a public official is exercising official authority. An announcement on pandemic era restrictions made by a school board president at a school board meeting, for example, is a clear exercise of official authority, while relaying the content of the announcement to friends at a backyard barbeque is not an exercise of official authority.

As for Mr. Lindke’s case against Mr. Freed, the Court ultimately remanded the case back to the lower Courts to apply the two-factor test. The lower Courts will now be responsible for determining whether Mr. Freed’s activity on his Facebook page rose to the level of state action for purposes of Mr. Lindke’s lawsuit.

The Lindke v. Freed case serves as an important reminder to municipal human resources managers of the importance of social media policies designed to clearly delineate when

an employee has actual authority to engage in official speech online and what precautions, if any, the employer requires employees to take when engaging in online personal speech (such as a disclaimer that they are speaking solely in their personal capacity). While further case law guidance will develop over time, such policies will likely be vital in subsequent cases for municipalities who are trying to demonstrate that their employees’ social media use has not created a litany of online public

forums with liability for potential constitutional violations running to their employer.

This is not a legal document nor is it intended to serve as legal advice or a legal opinion. Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon, P.A. makes no representations that this is a complete or final description or procedure that would ensure legal compliance and does not intend that the reader should rely on it as such.

Unrivaled Service Unparalleled CAMA System Unmatched Appraisal Expertise (800) 628-1013 ext. 2 ww w. vgsi . com For More Information : HR REPORT from page 32


Currently our bi-monthly magazine, New Hampshire Town and City, is published as a member benefit and distributed to approximately 1,600 municipal officials across New Hampshire.

We are pleased to continue to deliver the print edition to member subscribers, however, should you find the digital version sufficient and no longer require a print copy, please let us know at

Thank you for your consideration to move from a print edition to a digital version of Town and City magazine.

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Court Update

Now available online:

April 2024

Impact Fees Shall Have an Essential Nexus to Legitimate Government Interests and Must Have a Rough Proportionality to a Development’s Impact on Such Land Use Interests, Sheetz v. County of El Dorado, United States Supreme Court Case No. 2022-1074, 04/12/2024

Denial of Site Plan Approval Cannot be Based Solely on the Purpose Provisions of the Planning Board’s Regulations, Mojalaki Holdings v. City of Franklin, New Hampshire Supreme Court Case No. 2022-0122, 04/09/2024

Failure to Timely File a Housing Appeals Board Appeal does not Preclude Proceeding with a Timely Appeal to the ZBA since the HAB Appeal would be Premature Before the ZBA had the Opportunity to Rule on the Zoning Questions, Newfound Serentiy, LLC v. Town of Hebron, New Hampshire Supreme Court Case No. 2023-0153, 04/03/2024

March 2024

Parties May Not Negotiate Away the Public’s Right to Access Records under RSA 91-A Through Private Settlement Agreements or Confidentiality Agreements, Jonathan Stone v. City of Claremont, New Hampshire Supreme Court Case No. 2023-008, 03/20/2024

When Government Official Posts about Job-Related Topics on Social Media, those Posts will be Attributable to the State if the Official (1) Possessed Authority to Speak on Behalf of State, and (2) Exercised that Authority When Speaking on Social Media, Linke v. Freed, United States Supreme Court Case No. 22-611, 03/15/2024

35 MAY/JUNE 2024
July/August 2022
NEW HAMPSHIRE A PUBLICATION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION In This Issue: Carrying on a Civic Tradition in Rye, New Hampshire ...........................10 Taking the Mystery Out of Fund Balance Pursuing Racial Equity Through Intentional Community Engagement Recent First Amendment Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court ...........22 State House Report: A Very Good Year Legislatively ...........................24 2023-2024 Legislative Policy Process Update ........................................26
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Attendance at the Academy is free and open to governing body members from municipalities and school districts that are members of NHMA, Primex and NHSBA. Registration will open on the NHMA website this summer. Attendees must attend all courses to receive a Certificate of Completion. All classes will be provided by Zoom and run 5:00 pm 7:00 pm. with classes in September and October.

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Getting There: Complete Streets in New Hampshire

Whether you’re walking, riding a bike, in a car, truck, 18-wheeler, or futuristic hovercraft, we all want to get to our destination safely and efficiently. Not only are the ways we might travel unique, but our abilities can also vary due to age, health, and other challenges. Unfortunately, roads often do not accommodate all the different ways we might travel. Paths that were once traversed by sure-footed cows became narrow rural roads to accommodate speedy cars and trucks.

New Hampshire’s goal is to reduce the number of highway fatalities and serious injuries by half by 2035, working toward zero by 2050. However, the State has seen increases in recent years in the number of fatalities and serious injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Census Bureau, between 2011 and 2021, more than 40% of fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes happened in New Hampshire towns with populations under 10,000. To achieve the goal of safer roads, we all need to work together, from state agencies to local governments.

When asked, New Hampshirites from rural to urban communities will tell you they want neighborhoods and village centers in which their families can walk and ride a bike. So, how can we make roads safer for all users? This article provides the tools that many communities in New Hampshire and beyond have utilized to ensure roads accommodate all users. Please join us in the discovery of complete streets in New Hampshire.

Complete Streets Projects in New Hampshire

Have you experienced this: you’ve traveled to another state and discovered that the place you’re

visiting has a fantastic road network, one that has been designed for people walking, riding on two wheels, or driving behind one. You find yourself at ease as you discover the village center, and you notice all roadway users have designated space. Designing roads for all users is to deliberately construct a complete street network. It just so happens that we have some places right here in New Hampshire that have considered all roadway users in their design. Over the last decade, a number of complete streets projects have been implemented across the Granite State, from the southwest’s hamlets to the Merrimack Valley’s mills, all the way over to the historic seacoast.

Concord’s award-winning, revitalized Main Street set a high bar for the rest of the state to follow, but an array of upcoming projects will ensure the ethos of complete streets is continued into the future. One such project is Dover’s downtown pedestrian and vehicular access improvements project. This project will bring the 2015 Downtown Pedestrian and Vehicular Access and Streetscape Study into design and ultimately create construction plans. It would implement the improvements identified by the study, ensuring streets are safe and accessible for all users regardless of age, physical ability, or mode of transportation.


Making the Commitment to Complete Streets – Policies and Resolutions

Perhaps you are wondering how communities made these projects happen. It all starts with a local commitment from community staff and public officials to ensure that the local street network is safe and accessible. One way to start is to look at available resources.

Smart Growth America, a proponent of complete streets, has documented over 1,700 policies adopted throughout the country. Smart Growth America offers research, guides, examples, a rating tool and more.

A good complete streets policy will articulate the community’s vision for safe streets, the geographic extent in which the policy applies, exceptions to the policy, ability to serve underinvested communities, design guidance and of course steps and responsible parties to oversee implementation. Municipal policies should also speak to the desired level of coordination between a municipality and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT). Policies can take many different forms and shapes ranging from resolutions to departmental policies to ordinances and more. From the date of adoption forward, a complete

streets policy serves as a guide and resource to achieve safer streets for all road users – regardless of how travelers get around.

Presently New Hampshire has no State-enacted policy; however, one is currently under development. At the community level, a total of 15 local complete streets policies have been adopted starting in 2010 with Concord. Southwest New Hampshire has the highest density of policies adopted by local officials. Since 2015, Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) has worked with a total of 10 communities to craft local policies and design guidelines. To view projects and policies across the state, check out this interactive complete streets resource map at (Please note this map is still under construction.)

One example of note is the Town of Hinsdale's complete streets policy, developed with help from SWRPC. The policy is accompanied by a design guidelines document to assist the Town with decision-making and project planning.

By adopting complete streets policies, New Hampshire towns and cities can ensure a standardized and systematic

approach to retrofitting existing roads and building new ones that meet safety and accessibility goals. Implementing complete streets design modifications will not happen overnight. Taking a complete streets approach across a road network will take years to implement, and a strong, thoughtful policy can provide a community with the compass for staying on track.

Starting with Demonstration Projects

Another method that will provide insight into creating a more user-friendly roadway is to coordinate a temporary demonstration project. North Country Council (NCC) regional planning commission hosted a week-long traffic calming pop-up in the rural town of Bethlehem in early September 2023. Despite its small population of 2,484, the town has significant traffic along its built-up Main Street that doubles as U.S. Route 302. This route is one of the most important East-West corridors in the North Country for freight, commerce, tourism, and general travel by local residents. The goal of the project was to lower traffic speeds, improve the visibility of pedestrians and cyclists for motorists, and reduce the crossing times for pedestrians.

Thanks to a successful collaborative process with local officials, community representatives, and NHDOT, all necessary approvals were given for pop-up planning elements including materials and design. Leading up to the event, NCC staff reached out to local businesses, groups, and residents with flyers, a survey, and emails with details about the demonstration event. Staff also attended the local farmers market to connect with citizens about the project.

NCC staff used a combination of temporary pavement tape, traffic cones, and flower planters to mark intersec-

39 MAY/JUNE 2024

tions and sidewalk crossings. To analyze the effectiveness of the temporary set up, staff set up three traffic counters before and during the event to study how the installations impacted traffic along the route. Staff found that there was a 6, 7, and 1 mph reduction in speeds at the three separate traffic counter locations during the event.

After the event, NCC drafted a report detailing the process, speed data, and observations during the event as well as notes on possible options and price estimates to permanently improve traffic safety. After being presented with the results of the pop-up, The Bethlehem Selectboard organized a traffic calming task force to implement the recommendations in the report. To view the report go to : https://

Traffic safety is a universal issue no matter the size or character of your community. You can probably point to a state route, high-speed stretch of road, unsafe intersection, or other fea-

ture in your community that creates traffic safety concerns. The pop-up in Bethlehem showed that even simple treatments at a few important locations can have a major impact on a community.

NHDOT’s Complete Streets Advisory Committee

The New Hampshire Complete Streets Advisory Committee (CSAC) advises the NHDOT Commissioner on policies, programs and recommendations to support bicycling, walking, and transit as safe, convenient, economically and environmentally beneficial forms of transportation and recreation. The CSAC is also envisioned to serve as a forum for exchange of information, ideas, and resources related to bicycling, walking and transit among NHDOT, other state agencies, local and regional planners, and community organizations. To learn more or to get involved, please visit: bikes-and-pedestrians/completestreets-advisory-committee

SNHPC Complete Streets Toolkit

In 2023, Southern NH Planning Commission (SNHPC) staff undertook an update of its original 2016-17 Complete Streets Toolkit, which was a multi-year effort that included pilot projects in Deerfield, Francestown, and Windham. The toolkit’s goal was to develop a resource guide for how to implement Complete Streets principles, policies, and projects for communities within the SNHPC region and beyond. The toolkit includes:

• An overview of Complete Streets – what they are, their histor y, and community examples in NH and beyond

• A review of the SNHPC regional effort to incorporate complete streets in project planning with community stakeholders

• A Planning and Policy section that includes the benefits of complete streets, policies in our region, and rural, suburban, and urban examples

• Design and Engineering examples for a variety of needs such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities, accessible accommodations, and transit

It provides a history and overview before delving into the multifaceted benefits of policies, highlighting the policies and resolutions within New Hampshire, and finally getting into the nitty-gritty of street design in various contexts including urban, suburban, and rural. The updated toolkit can be found on the SNHPC website at complete-streets.

GETTING THERE from page 39
Temporary traffic calming features in Bethlehem town center, NCC


Other Complete Streets Resources


Interested in learning more about complete streets? Here are a few more resources to peruse, including the interactive map SNHPC staff developed just for this article.

It’s our strong point

It’s our strong point

• 10 Elements of a Complete Streets Policy - Smart Growth America



It’s our strong point

It’s our strong point

• Bike-Walk Montana Pop-Up Traffic Calming Guide: (

• Small Town and Rural Design Guide (

civil & environmental engineering

civil & environmental engineering

environmental engineering

Interested in learning more about what is happening in your region to address “getting there,” visit the NH Association of Regional Planning Commissions to connect with the regional planning commission in your area.

It’s our strong point

It’s our strong point

It’s our strong point

It’s our strong point

41 MAY/JUNE 2024
& environmental engineering PROBLEM civil & environmental engineering PROBLEM SOLVING
environmental engineering
civil & environmental

Legal Q and A Fundraising and Unanticipated Revenue

Fundraising can be an important tool in a municipality’s toolbox for supplementing the budget and helping fund projects and events throughout the year. It is vital that municipalities understand the different ways in which cities and towns can accept funds throughout the year and to make sure that the funds are handled appropriately so municipalities can continue to reap the benefits of unanticipated revenue.

Q. What are the statutes that allow for municipalities to accept and spend funds throughout the year that were not known or anticipated as part of the annual budgeting process?

A. There are two ways in which towns tend to accept unanticipated revenue, RSA 31:19 and RSA 31:95-b.

RSA 31:95-b is an optional power that can be granted to select board to apply for unanticipated money from state, federal governmental or other private source. This statute is most often used to apply for and accept grants. The statute requires a public hearing if the amount is over $10,000. RSA 31:95-b is not really intended to be used for acceptance of small donations by departments, committees, etc. The language of the statute implies that this is used for a lump sum acceptance of funds specifically applied for by the select board to include private grants. It is important to remember that the acceptance of grants under this provision cannot require the town to spend additional or matching funds unless there was already an appropriation somewhere in the budget to allow for such an expenditure. Otherwise, the town needs to call a special town meeting to authorize an expenditure for the additional matching funds needed to accept the grant. Once obtained, these funds are controlled by the select board to be spent for the purposes of the granting agency. They are accepted by the select board for a specific purpose and the select board acts as the agents to authorize expenditure.

RSA 31:19 is the statute better designed for fundraising and

to accept smaller gifts and donations. This is also an optional power that the town may grant power to the select board to accept gifts, legacies, and devises made to the town throughout the year. The funds are accepted by the select board and turned over to the trustees of the trust funds. The trustees are agents to expend and must determine that any expenditure of these funds adheres to the original purpose of donation.

Finally, remember that if your town has not authorized the select board to accept unanticipated revenue, your only option may be to call a special town meeting (unless the authorizing statute permits acceptance even in the absence of adopting RSA 31:95-b)!

Q. What would the fundraising process look like if the town wanted to raise money to fund a specific project or department?

A. All fundraising by the town would result in the town receiving a gift of money. Gifts of money are accepted by the select board using the authority delegated by town meeting under RSA 31:19, II. There are a number of different mechanisms the town could use to gather in donations (i.e., 50/50 raffle, events, direction donations, etc.). These funds would be received by the select board and accepted through a motion made at a public meeting of the select board. That motion would reflect the purposes of the donation and direct the disposition of the received funds into an appropriate trust account in the custody of the trustees of trust funds. Something like the following:

Madam chair, I move the select board accept the $500.00 dollars received from the Old Home Day events intended to provide funding for the repair and restoration of the old town hall, and to direct the funds be held by the trustees of trust funds in a new trust account called the Old Town Hall Repair and Restoration Trust Fund. Disbursements to be made by further vote of the select board related to the purposes of the Old Town Hall Repair and Restoration Fund.


If done properly, the select board would be able to vote to expend these funds throughout the year if they are expended for the above-mentioned purpose.

Q. What type of accounts can be used to store donated funds? Can we place donations into a Capital Reserve Fund?

A. Capital Reserve funds never receive private funds or donations. Capital Reserve Funds are funded by public money that is raised and appropriated by the legislative body (town meeting). Expendable Trust Funds, on the other hand, are permitted to receive private donations as stated in RSA 31:19a, IV: The local legislative body may authorize the acceptance of privately donated gifts, legacies, and devises to be utilized for the same purposes as a trust fund created under this section; provided, however, that such gifts, legacies, or devises shall be invested and accounted for separately from, and not commingled with, amounts appropriated under paragraph I, and shall be subject to the custody and investment provisions applicable to trust funds accepted under RSA 31:19.

Private donations are never deposited into the town’s general fund, they are always kept separate in trust accounts in the custody of the trustees of trust funds. If a private group wants to engage in fundraising on behalf of the town, the fundraising should be handled entirely by those private groups. Then, when the private group or nonprofits wishes to make a donation to the town for a specific purpose, the select board would receive that gift in the manner described above.

Q. Can the Library Trustees accept donations as well?

A. There are two statutes, similar to those which apply to the select board, which will allow the library trustees to

accept funds on behalf of the library.

RSA 202-A:4-c and RSA 202-A:4-d allow the library trustees to accept and expend gifts, and to accept personal property on behalf of the library. Much like RSA 31:19 and 31:95-b, the town must first vote to grant the library trustees this authority. In the case of unanticipated revenue, the statue requires the library trustees to hold a public hearing if the amount is $5,000 or more.

Any town at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing the public library trustees to accept gifts of personal property, other than money, which may be offered to the library for any public purpose, and such authorization shall remain in effect until rescinded by a vote of town meeting. The acceptance of property may not bind the town or the library trustees to raise, appropriate, or expend any public funds for the operation, maintenance, repair, or replacement of such personal property. The town may choose to appropriate funds in future budgets to support a gift of personal property, but continued maintenance, for example, cannot be a binding condition.

Q. We have a generous donor who wants to remain anonymous. Are we allowed to accept funds from anonymous sources?

A. In general, it is not a good idea to accept funds from anonymous sourc-

es. As provided in RSA 31:33, “[i]n a year in which a town accepts gifts, legacies and devises for any trust created, the trustees and auditor shall print the names of the donors and the value of such gifts, legacies and devises at the time of donation in the annual town report.” This statute would apply to donations accepted by the town or library. Furthermore, the names of donors to the town would likely be subject to disclosure under a Right-toKnow request. Since the town would not be able to provide an adequate accounting of these funds if the donor remained anonymous, it is generally not considered a good practice.

Q. Someone who made a donation to the town is wondering where they can get information on any tax incentives for said donation. Where should I refer them?

A. If a donor seeks information on the tax deductibility of the donation from the town, you should direct the donor to this website: https://www.irs. gov/government-entities/federal-statelocal-governments/governmental-information-letter

Jonathan Cowal is the Municipal Services Counsel with the New Hampshire Municipal Association. He may be contacted at 603.224.7447 or at legalinquiries@

43 MAY/JUNE 2024
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Tech Insights

Cloud for Municipalities: What to Know & How to Move Forward

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing resources — including storage, workstations, servers, databases, networking, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) — via the internet. This is commonly known as Infrastructure as-aService (IaaS). It offers numerous benefits for municipalities. The four most common advantages of moving to the cloud are:

• Cost: On-premises infrastructure requires organizations to make heavy investments in hardware and software for not just their current needs their projected needs in the future. With cloud, you only pay for the resources you are using.

• Scalability: The ability to quickly spin resources up or down depending on demand is one of the biggest advantages of using a cloud service. This is particularly beneficial for proof of concepts, innovation or new regulatory requirements.

• Security: Cloud services are designed to meet strict security standards, making them more secure than traditional on-premises solutions. Additionally, many cloud ser vices are compliant with federal regulations such as HIPAA and FISMA, which makes it easier for municipalities to work within the framework of existing rules.

• Flexibility: Cloud solutions offer municipalities unprecedented levels of flexibility regarding where and how they can deploy. They also open doors to new technology like AI and ML.

One of the primary advantages is the ability to access cloud resources – for instance, virtual machines – on demand. This accessibility means that organizations can quickly scale up their cloud resources when needed and then eliminate the resource when they don’t.

Before cloud computing, organizations had to maintain an on-premises infrastructure, which required heavy invest-

ments in technology and staffing. Leveraging cloud infrastructure can help municipalities access the computational power they need without investing in the physical infrastructure, thereby providing cost savings and a long-term solution to growth. This provides more flexibility and scalability as an organization’s needs change and helps speed innovation and IT modernization initiatives.

Cloud Options & Solutions for Every Need

Cloud can be consumed in several ways and gives municipalities options regardless of their data volume and security requirements.

Public Clouds

Public clouds are shared environments not owned by the end user that include multiple tenants and are managed by large public cloud providers like AWS, Google and Azure. Partnering with a Public Cloud Service Provider (CSP) offloads responsibilities, such as power, cooling, maintenance, and physical security, allowing you to focus on your core mission.

Private Clouds

Private clouds are environments dedicated to a single end user, behind their firewall. It completely isolates access. Once only offered on-premises, now private clouds can be off-premises as well in rented data centers. Third party vendors can manage and maintain private clouds for an organi-


zation as “managed private clouds” or “dedicated clouds” can be established on public or private clouds – essentially providing a cloud within a cloud for additional security.

Hybrid clouds

A hybrid cloud is just as it sounds, leveraging the cost benefits and scale of public cloud as well as the dedicated resources of a private cloud in a more complex infrastructure. These environments are created by connecting several wide area networks, local or private networks. Many CSPs even offer versions of their Public Cloud technologies as hybrid options that can be deployed in private data centers. This enables the flexibility of modern deployment capability, while still granting physical access to your environment for low latency and data sovereignty. A hybrid cloud allows apps to move in and out of various separate but connected environments and can be managed by an orchestration layer.

Software as-a-Service (SaaS)

Likely, many municipalities are already leveraging the cloud. Software as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a software provider hosts applications in the cloud. This is an alternative to traditional software installation where applications have to be installed, configured and kept updated with security patches. SaaS applications are the ultimate cloud experience, allowing customers to purchase individual applications and/or collaboration platforms for a predictable subscription.

Getting Started on the Path to Cloud Maintaining Control

Many organizations are concerned they will lose control of their data in a cloud setting. In most cases, the cloud security, infrastructure and service levels are far greater than what one municipality can afford to deploy

on its own, providing greater control, access and security than would be available on-premises in a traditional storage model.

Creating a Cloud Roadmap

A cloud roadmap is a strategic plan for migrating workloads to the cloud in a manner that aligns with your organization’s goals, cost requirements and structure. It should address why you are moving to the cloud (cost savings, scalability, flexibility), how you are moving to the cloud (what migration options you have, tools to simplify the process and ensure performance) and how to support your employees in this transformation (what policy changes are required, training, etc.).

IT service providers and cloud experts can support you in developing a roadmap that is pertinent to your municipality and can bring expertise to the table, advising on how other similar organizations have realized cloud success and what pitfalls to avoid. This expert consulting can help you get into the right environment and feel confident about the short-term gains and long-term plans that meet your growth and budget goals.

How Municipalities Can Move Forward with Confidence

Your journey to the cloud doesn’t have to be all at once. Many municipalities choose to start small. Some common entries to the cloud are:

Aging Infrastructure Replacement

– When municipalities have equipment that has reached end of service

life with the manufacturer and are no longer supported, migrating to the cloud allows for a technology refresh without a big capital expenditure.

Backups/Disaster Recovery –

Moving backups to the cloud allows for protection from failing hardware. Many municipalities leverage the cloud for disaster recovery purposes for protection against not only failing hardware but physical inaccessibility of buildings.

Phone and VoIP technologies –

Phone systems are expensive and requires knowledgeable staff to maintain call routing, queues and automated attendants. Cloud contact centers are easy to stand up and maintain and allow for agents to be located virtually anywhere. They enable you to leverage AI chatbots for self-service experiences as well a chat features to communicate with municipality staff. This can decrease call volume more than 60%, thereby improving staff productivity.

Whether your municipality is just getting started or already leveraging cloud technologies, partnering with cloud experts to determine your next steps can save not only time but budget. Cloud is being used to solve numerous business and community challenges in new ways across city government and a team of experts can help you explore use cases and determine the best fit technologies to reach your goals while also addressing plans for procurement and implementation.

Amy Shambo is an Account Executive with Red River. She may be reached by email at amy.shambo@redriver. com or via phone at 603.944.0482

45 MAY/JUNE 2024

Costs: $100 in-person and $70 virtual attendance

Non-members $200 in-person and $140 virtual

Municipal trustees—cemetery trustees, library trustees, trustees of trust funds—have very important and varied duties. This introductory workshop is geared to give you the tools you need to perform your duties legally and understandably.


Introduction - 9:00 am—9:05 am

Stephen Buckley, Legal Services Counsel, NH Municipal Association

Trustee of Trust Funds Case Study Session - 9:05 am 10:35 am

Michael R. Haley, Esq., Director of Charitable Trusts, New Hampshire Department of Justice

Amy J. Nichols, CPA, Financial Research Analyst, New Hampshire Department of Justice

Can we authorize spending from the principal of this fund? What do we do if we need to change a fund’s purpose? What can we d o about a fund that is too small to generate meaningful income? Staff of the Office of the Attorney General, Charitable Trusts Unit, will lead this session to develop the skills to answer these questions and others. Learn by doing as we review sample trust instru ments, non -judicial settlement agreements, cy pres petitions and more in an interactive workshop format.

Trustees 101- Governance and Right-to-Know Law - 10:40 am 12:00 pm

Stephen Buckley, Legal Services Counsel, NH Municipal Association

Jonathan Cowal, Municipal Services Counsel, NH Municipal Association

Carrying out your duties as a Library Trustee, Cemetery Trustee or Trustees of Trust Funds starts with understanding how to c onduct public meetings in compliance with the Right-to-Know Law. The governance of your trustee committee or board also requires effective meeting rules of procedure, and an understanding of your relationship with your governing body; select board, town counc il or city council. Trustees 101 will cover these topics, along with attention paid to the special roles and responsibilities that Cemetery, Library Trustees and Trustees of Trust Funds have over gifts and other donations given in trust to your municipality.

LUNCH - 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Trustees of Trust Funds - 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

Linda Wakefield, Tax and Accounting Specialist, Three Bearing Fiduciary Advisors

Joyce Keegal, Cemetery Superintendent, Town of Brentwood

Do you ever feel unprepared for your role as a trustee? Are you not sure what the difference is between an expendable trust and a private trust fund? Would you like some tips on how to keep your records in good order, figure out the true intentions of your funds and how to use them if their purposes are no longer viable?

If you said "yes" to any of these questions, then please join Linda Wakefield, Tax and Accounting Specialist, at Three Bearin gs Fiduciary Advisors, who has been servicing municipal trustees’ needs all over the state for the past nine years. Linda will be joined by Joyce Keegal, a seasoned Cemetery Superintendent for the Town of Brentwood, who is available to discuss some of the do's and don’ts for cemetery trustees.


Please call us at 603.230.3350 or email us at


— This Moment in NHMA History —

1987 – 37 years ago…

The lack of affordable housing was a real crisis in 1987. Cities and towns began exploring moratorium, impact fees and other exactions on developers to absorb the increased service costs at the local level because of development.

NHMA’s legal services entertained over 3,000 telephone calls in 1987 from literally every member of NHMA. Members highly valued the staff’s recognized expertise in municipal law.

In 1987, the Department of Environmental Services became effective. The legislature recognized that a consolidation of four state environmental agencies under one umbrella department would lead to improved coordination, planning and efficiency.


The passage of SB 1-A in the 1987 legislative session created the Land Conservation Investment Program (LCIP) beginning one of the most unique and important public/private land conservation partnership since the passage of the Weeks Act, creating the White Mountain National Forest in 1911.

According to Wikipedia, name the town that was originally known as “Dartmouth Col lege Grant” and was part of a tract granted to Dartmouth College, sections which were sold off by the college to raise money. The first census taken was in 1830, at which time there were 88 residents. It is estimated to have 322 residents today. It was incorporated in 1853 and was renamed after one of the original buyers of the land tract.

When you have figured out the answer, email it to The answer will appear in the July/August 2024 issue.


The photo on page 51 in the last issue of New Hampshire Town and City magazine is that of the Town of Holderness.

Special thanks to Pat Moyer (Andover), Marshall Buttrick (Greenville), and Dottie Kurtz (Errol), who responded with the correct answer.

47 MAY/JUNE 2024
? ?

Upcoming Webinar s

Fostering Regional Resilience: SNHPC’s Roadway Adaptation Toolkit

12:00 noon - 1:00 pm

Wednesday, May 15 2024

The functionality and reliability of the transportation network is a priority issue for every community, and the Southern NH Planning Commission (SNHPC) has found that roadway adaptation offers a strategic path for bringing diverse stakeholders together to address pressing climate concerns.

NHMA is hosting two complimentary webinars in May and June for members of the New Hampshire Municipal Association.

For details and registration information, visit under Calendar of Events


Call 603.230.3350 or email

In 2023, the SNHPC released a Roadway Adaptation Toolkit to help communities shift from analysis into action to advance regional resilience efforts. This webinar will provide a high-level overview of select toolkit content, including:

• A corridor-scale approach to analyzing roadway vulnerabilities

• A menu of strategies that communities can use to address unique vulnerability concerns

• A case study offering implementation insights from one community in the SNHPC region

Join Suzanne Nienaber, Principal Planner, and Zachary Swick, Senior GIS Analyst, with the SNHRPC, who will provide details of this toolkit and give participants the opportunity to discuss their own roadway adaptation priorities.

The Workings of a Planning Board

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

This webinar is geared for new planning board members and alternates, as well as seasoned veterans who want a refresher course on planning board basics.

Join NHMA attorneys who will discuss what is a completed application, the timeline for planning board review, conducting meetings and public hearings, the use of third-party consultants, the zoning amendment process, scattered and premature development, off-site exactions, innovative land use controls, driveways, the Right-to-Know Law and more.

Municipal Resources, Inc.| Municipal Technology Systems 603.279.0352 | Ser ving the Needs of Ne w Hampshire Municipalities for Over 30 Year s Relevant Experience Ef fecti ve Solutions Valuable Results Fund Accounting for New Hampshire

All HealthTrust medical plans provide the resources your employees and their family members need for optimum health:

• Full coverage for recommended screenings, check-ups, eye exams, and vaccines

• Slice of Life wellness program with 78% average monthly engagement!

• Included Health for free expert second opinions and treatment decision support

• Corigen® Medication Safety Program – DNA testing to find the right medications for them

• SmartShopper – rewards for making informed choices for their medical services

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We work together with you to ensure your employees and their covered family members can use their HealthTrust coverage to achieve optimum health, and that’s a benefit that can last a

Medical and Prescription Drug | Dental | Benefit Advantage FSA and HRA Services | Disability and Life HealthTrust Well-Being Programs: Slice of Life | Medical Care Access | Expert Medical Support Disease Management | Mental Health Resources
lifetime. Empower Your Employees to Take Charge of Their Health 800.527.5001 | Periodical Postage Paid at Concord, NH 25 Triangle Park Drive Concord, NH 03301
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