HAMPSTEAD – Unable to figure out how it could have happened but acknowledging the necessity for an immediate repair, the Board of Selectmen authorized Hampstead Police Chief Joe Beaudoin to replace the Police Station’s underground gas tank covers that were destroyed by snow plows over the winter.
Beaudoin said he has already replaced one at a cost of $505 but the second one needs replacement as well. He told the selectmen Monday night that he didn’t know where the money would come from for the replacements, but said Building and Grounds Department Head Steve Harms said he knew that at least one of the covers was damaged by a town plow truck driver and he knew that person’s identity. It was not clear who struck the second cover but Beaudoin said it was obviously done by a plow.
Beaudoin and Selectman Chad Bennett agreed that it was astonishing that the plow had gotten around barriers and hit the tank covers. Bennett suggested adding further barriers, such as very large rocks, before next winter.
Selectman Chairman Sean Murphy said that regardless of how it happened, the second cover, which has a slash that is allowing water to leak into the tank, must be replaced immediately. He told Beaudoin to get it done and the selectmen would find the money.
In other business Monday night:
- Beaudoin asked the selectmen to approve his hiring of Arthur Storey of East Hampstead, a retired UPS employee, to clean the Police Station. Beaudoin said he had met with Storey, and from the experience the officers have had cleaning the station themselves for the last month or so, they knew it was roughly a 12-hour-per-week job.
Beaudoin asked for the selectmen to approve offering Storey $150 a week or $12.50 an hour to spend four hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday night cleaning the station. The board unanimously approved Beaudoin’s hiring Storey.
- Selectmen’s Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault said she has filed the Emergency Operations Report with the state and has signed on the same person to work with the town in updating the overall plan as worked with the town previously.
- Theriault said a preliminary meeting took place regarding updating the town’s tax map.
- Murphy said two people have written with an interest in being part of the Town Manager Committee, Jorge Mesa-Tejada and Joe Tabbi. Murphy said their letters of interest would be reviewed and the matter would be an agenda item for the next meeting.
- The Historic District Heritage Commission’s suggestion for the placement of the proposed comfort station by the Civic Club building rather than where the old police station stood was presented (see related story page 11), and Murphy said it should be considered. Theriault said that Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Kris Emerson wanted to weigh in on the discussion, so it should be on a future agenda.
- The board asked about the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for paving of Emerson Avenue, which has been sent out. Bennett said that from a business and a liability standpoint, the same company should be responsible for the reclamation and paving of Emerson Avenue. This, however, was not included in the RFP.
After some discussion it was decided that since the RFPs are due back before the end of April, the board can review them and if it is clear that this issue isn’t being met by the responses, the board can reject all of the responses and send out a new RFP with the requirement that a single vendor be responsible for both reclamation and paving.