HAMPSTEAD – The Town’s ISO – Insurance Services Office – rating has dramatically improved.
That was the word from Hampstead Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Kris Emerson to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night.
Emerson explained that ISO is an insurer-supported organization with the primary mission of providing advisory insurance underwriting and rating information to insurers.
“I sat through an audit with the ISO representative in early March and was able to improve our building code effectiveness grade,” he said. “The rating is based on a 1-10 classification, with 1 being the best and 10 the worst. The last time we were reviewed was 13 years ago, before my time. The Town was previously classified as a 7 in both residential and commercial, and now I am proud to say we are classified as a 4 in both residential and commercial. There are no towns classified as 1s or 2s in the State of New Hampshire, and only two communities with a 3 rating. We are basically toward the front of the pack in New Hampshire.”
The improved classification will benefit business and residential property owners as far as their insurance costs are concerned.
The selectmen acknowledged Emerson’s role in the improved rating.
In other business Monday night:
• Road Agent Jon Worthen asked the selectmen for approval to enter into a six-year lease-to-buy agreement for a 2014 John Deere 410 backhoe. The current backhoe owned by the town is 15 years old with 6,000-plus hours on it, and is costing $4,000 to $5,000 annually to keep running.
Worthen provided the board with three options but recommended the 410 model, which will cost $18,205 per year, saying it was the best machine with the greatest capacity for his needs.
Asked if he had the money in the budget, he said that $20,000 was in the budget for the lease agreement.
While basically approving the request, Chairman Sean Murphy asked Worthen to get a quote for a seven-year lease before the selectmen approve the final agreement.
Worthen also asked the board to approve repairs to the Town Garage parking lot. He wants a 60-foot by 35-foot area removed and redone. He recommended the low bidder, Bennett Construction, who would do the job for $18,000. He told the board the money is in his budget, and the board approved the project unanimously.
Finally he gave the board the list of roads he plans to repair, but informed the selectmen that the Brox price had increased due to an escalation clause included in its contract to meet potential increases in cost of material, which has occurred. In view of the increase and because of new issues that need attention on two of the roads, Paige and Country, Worthen said three of the listed roads may not get done this year, adding that would be decided as the work went along.
• Police Chief Joe Beaudoin told the board that Detective Robert Kelley had written and received three state grants: for Enforcement Patrols – $5,923; DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Patrols – $8,077; and Red Light Patrols – $5,923, for a total of $19,995. The grants will provide overtime pay for 68 four-hour blocks of the specific patrols by his officers at no cost to the town.
A public hearing to allow the town to accept the grants is set for the May 14 selectmen’s meeting.
• The board also approved the police chief’s request to spend $4,100 from the Detail Fund for the police motorcycle lease. This year it will be a 2014 bike. The board unanimously approved the request.
The board also approved allowing Beaudoin to increase the detail pay for non-union part-time officers by $1, up to $43, to match union member pay, and to raise the detail billed amount for an officer without a patrol car to $56.