On Dec. 9, the selectmen came together to discuss and begin the budgeting process for 2021. After two hours or so, they closed the meeting to be restarted at their regular meeting Dec. 16.

At the Dec. 16 meeting, Rick Hiland, Glen Zeiders, and Kelley Collins were physically at the town hall. On the phone were Barbara Alkalay and Dorothy Solomon. Joe Ferris was excused, but did call in at 6:10 p.m. He explained why he was late. His house had been destroyed by fire earlier in the week. Fortunately, everyone managed to escape safely, except for their pet cat.

The selectmen continued their discussion regarding changing the auditor for the town. Kelley offered information about options as she has worked with several auditors over the years. No decision was made at the time.

Another item taken up was the replacement of old copiers in both offices (selectmen and tax collector). The discussion included leasing or replacing the copiers. The selectmen voted to purchase a new printer with a service agreement for $1,900.

As the selectmen continued, they discussed changing the time of their meetings from 5:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the winter months. This would ensure the safety of all those meeting at the town hall.

Solomon reported, as chair of the chapel committee, having attended the CID meeting and asking that $1,000 be put in the budget for the chapel. Work may still need to be done on the steeple and inside the chapel. Since the selectmen are discussing changing the heating system to propane in the town hall, she wondered if it could also be put into the chapel. Presently, the chapel is heated electrically. The cost of heating with propane would be less than heating electrically. The CIP committee is waiting to see what the legal situation is with the chapel.

Kelly brought up printing the town report for this year’s town meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that fewer people will be attending the meeting and since the town offices are generally closed to walk-ins these days, fewer people will stop by for a copy of the report. Thus, there is no need to print the usual amount. Kelley will work with Minute Man Press to get an idea of the prices. Also discussed was the possibility of moving the Town Meeting to another location. No decision has been made.

Alkalay asked how the negotiations were going with David Smolen regarding the Conway Public Library payment difference for 2020. Selectman Hiland said he had sent Smolen an email which he would forward to Alkalay. He feels, as a selectman, it is his responsibility to see that the town is spending the people’s funds prudently. From Alkalay’s point of view this problem should be brought before the town voters for input as to how to proceed. Hiland reported that he has requested a meeting with the Trustees of the Conway Library.

Selectmen feel the town is not getting all the information it needs from the library. Once the meeting with the library trustees is held, information will be posted on line.

Another issue to be dealt with is the cost of using Conway’s Parks and Recreation facilities. Hiland and Chuck Merrow (town treasurer) met with the finance director, town manager and parks and recreation director for Conway to discuss the 2020 payment. Parks and recreation is requesting a percentage of their entire budget. Hiland noted that as a member of the board he cannot support the Town of Albany paying for the cost of the Conway parks. Their conversation has been reasonable according to Hiland and it continues.

The next selectmen’s meeting will be on Jan. 6 at 4 p.m. There may be a meeting on Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. Check by going to the town’s online page. You can attend regular meetings via conference calling at (480) 660-5317 code No. 540682 or tune into townhallstreams.com.

Do you need to be tested for COVID-19? Call Memorial Hospital at (603) 356-0673 to make your appointment.

Congratulations to Ashlee McGonagle and Ronald Amaral on the birth of their son Elliott Scott born Nov. 23. He joins his siblings Veronica and Rylee.

Congratulations to Teana Stacey and David Petrie on the birth of their daughter Nevach Skye born on Dec. 15. Congrats to grandparents Kelly and Cody Harper as well.

Mary and I want to wish you all a very healthy, happy new year.

Send your news to Mary Leavitt at (603) 367-9133 or Dorothy Solomon at (603) 447-1199.

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