GOFFSTOWN — Fresh out of election season, the Board of Selectmen welcomed a new member, set goals for 2014 and appointed assignments to several boards and committees.
Newly elected Peter Georgantas was sworn in by Chairman Collis Adams at the board's March 17 meeting. Georgantas takes the seat vacated by former Selectman Phil D'Avanza, who was elected to the Planning Board this year.
Among the first tasks of the new board was re-electing Adams to serve as chairman, with Selectman Nick Campasano as vice chairman.
The board revisited its 2013 goals and listed some new goals for 2014, including developing a survey to determine why the $4.5 million fire station improvement bond did not pass voter approval on March 11.
"Our goal is to get the projects done so if we can get an understanding of what the taxpayers are feeling it would be helpful," said Campasano.
Fire Chief Richard O'Brien said the department will continue to pursue incremental improvements through funding opportunities and energy-efficiency program grants.
"If we can get it done now it would help keep the overall cost down and manageable for the voters in the future," said O'Brien. "It's always easier when you have a shovel-ready project, and there's more opportunity to look at including energy-efficiency grants for generators and everything like that. We'll explore anything we can."
The discussion also led to the future possibility of moving the fire administration into one station and changing the Church Street station to a satellite station.
Campasano said the board should also design a plan for all town facilities, starting with various department heads presenting their wish lists for expansion projects, estimated costs and timelines to selectmen.
"We need a coordinated plan looking out the next 30 to 40 years and how we're going to time these projects," Campasano said. "Sometimes it may be advantageous to combine projects. Even though the bond may be larger, you eliminate multiple bond costs and expand appeal of a project because you're doing multiple projects over 20 years."
When selectmen have a list to review, the board will have a more comprehensive plan.
"Then we can lay it out to the citizens and taxpayers saying here's our long-term needs for our community," said Adams.
Other goals include develop a uniform pay matrix for all town employee positions and grade levels; provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Business Occupancy Project; establish a Pavement Condition Index for different types of town roads; provide an update on the former Barnard Park land development for recreational fields; schedule a CIP discussion with department heads in April and discuss funding options, and meet with the School Board in May regarding CIP; discuss zero-based budgeting — starting with zero and justifying every dollar spent — with an analysis of the 2013 budget; develop online resource information for committee members; and continue quarterly meetings with the Economic Development Committee.
In addition, the board will look into the pros and cons of moving the budget to a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year, which would mean developing a one-time 18-month budget and moving the annual Town Meeting to May.
"One of the advantages is that you're dealing with a budget that you haven't gotten into yet in advance versus voting on a budget you're already three months into," said Campasano.