On June 4, 2018 the Seabrook Board of Selectmen heard from David Fox, a consultant with Raftelis, a firm hired by the Board (after an Request for Proposal selection process) to do a water and sewer rate study for the Town of Seabrook. Raftelis was charged with giving the Board options for future rates after conducting an overview of the current rates. The strictly “operational” subsidy from the taxpayers of Seabrook to the water and sewer funds is approximately $1.8 million (based on FY2017 data.) I had given the Board separate studies on the Water Operations for 2017, as well as the Sewer operations for 2017. I have attached those below. The Power Point presentation by Mr. Fox is also below. The Board of Selectmen will have a public hearing on water and sewer rates on June 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. The rate options presented to the Board include a one year, five year, and ten year option for closing the “operational subsidy” from the taxpayers to the ratepayers. The Board has requested that Raftelis deliver a plan that would close the gap in seven years. If you would like to submit comments to the Board on water and sewer rates you may do so electronically by sending to email@example.com
The Seabrook Fire Department was recently recognized by Portsmouth Regional Hospital for outstanding EMS Services, which highlighted a call they answered that saved a life. Chief Edwards described the call.
“The crew responded to a patient who had complained of not feeling good and was found unresponsive. When the crew arrived CPR was in progress. Crew took over CPR and Defibrillated the Patient. The Patient heart rhythm showed Ventricular Fibrillation or V-Fib with agonal respirations. So the crew continued CPR. Patient was nasally intubated and had assistance breathing with a Bag Valve Mask or BVM. Patient Airway was suctioned and Patient was transported to Seabrook ED.”
The Board of Selectmen were joined by Portsmouth Regional Hospital at their last meeting to recognize the outstanding work of Seabrook EMS, with a Board Certificate presented to the Department. The Board of Selectmen extend their congratulations and thanks to the Seabrook Fire Department, and to the Firefighters who participated in the call.
The six Firefighters were Robert Baker, Troy Coleman, Richard Curtis, Barry Sargent. Christopher Tilley, and Russell Eaton Jr.
The Beach Village District, at the June 4th Board of Selectmen meeting, presented the Board with a check for $10,000 for the Town’s 250th Anniversary Celebration. The Board of Selectmen were deeply appreciative of this most generous contribution, which will assist in making the Anniversary celebration a very special one. Beach Commission Chairman Richard Maguire, and Commissioner Joseph Giuffre were on hand to present the check to the Board. Thank you to the Beach Village District!
The Seabrook 250th Anniversary Celebration kicked off Sunday June 3, 2018 with a ceremony at the Old South Meetinghouse. Many thanks to the Seabrook Historic Society, the Seabrook Anniversary Committee, and the Seabrook Board of Selectmen for all of their work and support. Special thanks to Ollie Carter for his work, and to the legislative delegation for their help and support.
On May 17th 2018 the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services presented the Town of Seabrook Water Department and the Rockingham Planning Commission the 2018 Source Protection Award for pioneering work to protect groundwater resources in New Hampshire.
The Town of Seabrook requested that DES reclassify the wellhead protection area that encompasses the entirety of the of the town owned municipal public water supply wells to GAA from unclassified. This was a regional effort, with support coming from the Select Boards of Seabrook, Hampton Falls, and South Hampton. The initiative from all three communities authorized municipal staff to participate in the best management inspection program for the areas of the wellhead protection areas that are within their town borders. This action will increase protection for 4056 acres of the total 7039 acres in the wellhead protection area for the Town of Seabrook’s water wells.
This project was conceived back in 2014 when the Planning Board sub-committee had been examining the ramifications of future development in the Route 107 corridor. With the approval of the Seabrook Board of Selectmen the Water Department and the Rockingham Planning Commission started the application process with DES. This process entailed participation in public hearings, and Board of Selectmen meetings, in Seabrook, Hampton Falls, and South Hampton. The DES approved this application on September 20, 2017, with the Town of Seabrook water wells reclassified to GAA status from that date forward.
Water Superintendent Curtis Slayton has recommended a special commendation, and recognition, for Water Department Chief Operator/Primary Operator George Eaton, who has been instrumental in implementing the Best Management Practice inspections for the Town of Seabrook. These vital inspections play a key role in protecting the source water in the wellhead protection area which extends into four towns. This is a huge project for the Seabrook Water Department, and will help ensure the delivery of safe, clean water to the residents of Seabrook, and our neighboring communities. The Seabrook Water Department, and the Board of Selectmen, recognize, and deeply appreciates the prominent role played by the Rockingham Planning Commission in securing this project.
The Board of Selectmen recognized the Water Department with a Certificate of Appreciation at the June 4, 2018 meeting.
A great job by DPW at the beach, rebuilding an existing deck behind the welcome center at the municipal parking lot. Here are some before and after photos. Thanks to a great crew for some terrific work.
The Town of Seabrook held the Memorial Day commemoration and parade on Sunday May 27, 2018. The Board of Selectmen would like to thank the DPW for all of their work, as well as Seabrook Fire and Seabrook Police for all of their work as well. Some special thanks to Katie Duffey, our Recreation Director, who put in a lot of work to put the parade together and make the day such a success. A big thank you to the Raymond Walton Legion Post 70 for all of their work, and for their hospitality after the Parade. We remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom, and in defense of our great country.
At the May 7, 2018 meeting I presented the Board of Selectmen with a financial report in advance of the budget season, pulling together Seabrook’s disparate financial data into one report. As part of that report I have also submitted the 2017 water report, as well as the 2017 sewer report. Those reports highlight the growing amount of the “tax subsidy” flowing from taxpayers to ratepayers. The 2017 report on the ambulance revolving fund, as well as two additional reports (Appendix A and B) are also below. I have included an executive summary, which is also reprinted in full below.
Seabrook Financial Report
The report submitted today will commence the conversation, and help to clarify some of the underlying issues, on Seabrook’s financial future. The financial data was compiled with the assistance of Carrie Fowler, our Finance Manager, and Angie Silva, our Assessor. The report looks at what factors go into setting our municipal tax rate, with the data showing us where we get our tax dollars, and where those tax dollars go. The report shows us the trend lines involved, with the goal of assisting our policy makers on the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee.
What are some of the important trends shown in the report? We see that the total dollars raised through taxation by the Town of Seabrook, in the measured period, (2014-2017) have grown by slightly over $2 million, a rate of growth of less than 2%. That makes it difficult to make the case that Seabrook has a “spending” problem. The report shows the impact that the drop in NextEra tax revenue has had, and how that drop has fundamentally changed the percentages paid by the different classes of taxpayers. In 2016, for the first time since the Seabrook Station opened, the “residential” class of taxpayers paid more in taxes than NextEra. That trend line has accelerated since then. As this trend continues it will present major policy challenges for the Town. Another trend that the report highlights is the importance of the commercial/industrial/other utility category, which has grown in the measured period by over $2 million, bringing that number to over $9 million annually. This category will likely pass NextEra as a tax contributor in the next three to five years, and shows that the idea that Seabrook could do without this tax class is misplaced. The new growth numbers are examined, and show that $2 million in new tax revenues have been derived in the measured period, and that “new growth” has been vital, financially, to Seabrook.
The report also examines where our tax dollars are going. It shows that the “town” portion of the overall dollars raised has declined slightly, with the local school portion rising correspondingly. It would appear, based on that trend, that the schools will pass the Town, budget wise, within three years. The four year increase in the total tax levy for the Town is $322,711, which is a rate of increase of less than 1/2 of a percent a year. The report looks at some of the reasons for that number, including the history of the “unexpended fund balance,” which was driven to over $9 million in 2016, allowing the Board to strategically deploy some of those resources to hold down the tax levy. The drop in NextEra payments is also reflected in that number. It is further evidence that the issues facing us have less to do with a “spending” problem than with a “redistribution” of the relative tax burden.
As we look at some of the key numbers in the report each measured year looks at “local revenues,” and points out that the dollars raised through “local revenues” reduces the need for money to be raised through taxation. Appended to the main report are the two 2017 reports detailing the subsidy from taxpayers to the sewer fund, and the water fund. These two reports show that the subsidy amounts to over $1.8 million without the inclusion of capital. If capital is included that number will exceed $2 million. Operationally that is 8.2% of the operating (non-capital) budget, and a major issue facing us going forward.
The report looks at employee health care costs, which have been relatively stable over the course of the measured period, albeit at a major percentage of the overall budget. Those costs are over 15% of our operating budget, and the report looks at what a reduction in that number would mean for Seabrook’s budget. The report looks at this number in combination with the above mentioned water and sewer subsidy, recognizing that in combination those two items constitute 23% of the operating budget, and growing. The problem that creates, budget wise, is obvious. These two items are crowding out other necessary spending, and if the trajectory continues the strain will only become more substantial. The report looks at the 2017 tax rate, and determines that without a water and sewer subsidy the tax rate increase would have gone from the actual 9.9% to 2%.
The policy issues facing the governing body and the Budget Committee are discussed in general terms. What are they?
Should services be maintained at current levels?
If services are to be maintained should they be delivered in the same fashion?
If service cuts are to be made where should they come from?
Should steps be taken to end the subsidy from taxpayers to water and sewer ratepayers?
How should we deal with the trend of lower overall payments from NextEra?
This report is not the end, but rather the beginning of the many policy issues facing Seabrook. Hopefully it will provide some tools for our policy makers as this process begins.
The Seabrook Recreation Department anti-bullying program with John Halligan, scheduled (for parents) for Tuesday May 8 at 6:30 at the Recreation Center, has been postponed.
From Town Clerk Cheryl Bowen
EFFECTIVE APRIL 19, 2018
COMPUTER GENERATED TRANSACTIONS
WILL STOP AT 3:30 PM AND THE OFFICE
WILL CLOSE AT 4:00 PM.
Between 3:30 and 4:00 You will still be able to sign up to vote. If you have renewals and are writing a check we will be glad to take it and will process it the next morning and send it to you in the mail.