Ossipee selectmen 11162020

Ossipee town administrator Matt Sawyer explains that selectmen are greatly reducing the public's access to town hall and will be transitioning meetings online. From left: secretary Angela Rizzitano, Sawyer, selectmen Martha Eldridge and Sue Simpson. (GOVERNMENTOVERSITE.COM PHOTO)

OSSIPEE — The town of Ossipee announced Monday that much of town hall would be closed temporarily because of rising COVID-19 numbers.

Town officials said the selectmen’s office, the Bub Avery Memorial Gym and the Freight House Annex (which handles some town hall functions) will be “temporarily closed to the general public” due to a “spike in local COVID-1-19 cases.” The closure effective Wednesday after Tuesday’s planning board meeting, which drew a crowd of about 20 to hear an issue about a gravel pit.

As of Wednesday, according to state data there were seven active cases in Ossipee and 28 cumulative cases. Conway has 11 active cases and 52 cumulative cases.

The town clerk/tax collector’s office is open by appointment only. Selectmen’s meetings are held on online. A drop box was placed at the entrance of town hall for people to drop off documents and payments.

Meanwhile, in Conway, town hall is in the process of being moved from Center Conway to Conway Village. Town Hall in Center Conway is open to the public but town officials would prefer people do as much as possible by mail, email, phone and online, said town manager Tom Homes.  

“We are limiting the number of parties in the hallway to six and ask that they maintain social distancing,” said Holmes. “There are social distance decals on the floor that aid in determining a recommended distance.  Masks are required to enter the building.”

The drop box is still there for people to drop off tax payments, building permit applications and so on. It is checked daily.  The Town Clerk / Tax Collector, Assessor, Town Manager and Finance departments remain in Center Conway until construction is finished.

“We are hoping to complete the move in February,” said Holmes.

Public Works/Town Engineer, Planning, Building and Code Enforcement are located at 23 Main St. in Conway Village (formerly Bank of New Hampshire). They are by appointment only; call (603) 447-3811 Ext. 223.

The mailing address will remain the same for the time being to avoid confusion during tax billing season.

Selectmen will be meet at 23 Main St. in Conway Village and the meetings are open to the public but the chairman may close the meeting if so many people show up that social distancing becomes an issue.

“For this reason, we will continue to broadcast the meetings live via a Facebook page as well as offer meeting participation through Zoom,” said Holmes. “However, we have experienced a lot of technical problems with both and are still trying to achieve problem free remote options.  In any event, the meetings are usually available on the Valley Vision website the next day.”

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