Candidate Uses Public Forum to Question Council Views

A Town Council candidate continued to ask questions about the Council stipend in the Feb. 17 Council meeting.

Marc Flattes, who is challenging Phyllis Katsakiores for the Councilor-At-Large seat, brought up the Council stipends in the Feb. 3 meeting. At that time he had suggested challenging candidates to forego the stipend if elected, and Chairman Mark Osborne had said that could be construed as “electioneering.”

Flattes revisited the issue during the Public Forum portion of the Feb. 17 meeting.

To Osborne’s statement that the stipend was $2,700, Flattes said he looked up the stipend on the Town Charter page of the Web site. “According to Section 11.3, the salaries as of July 1,1993 are $2,500, with an additional $1,500 for the chairman,” he said. Flattes said that those figures were to remain in place until changed by the Council pursuant to Section 5:8 of the charter.

“When was this changed?” he asked.

Osborne said he would ask Town Administrator Galen Stearns to verify either $2,500 or $2,700.

Councilor Tom Cardon said Councilors also receive $50 per quarter for nonpublic sessions.

“We will see that you get your information,” Osborne told Flattes.

Flattes also questioned the Council’s stance on mixed-use development. In the Feb. 3 meeting Osborne had polled the members to see their opinions of mixed-use development on Route 28 south, the area where town sewer and water is being extended. The Council had unanimously supported its position that 28 South not become a mixed-use zone.

Flattes questioned why Michael Fairbanks, the Council  liaison to the Planning Board, had supported a speaker from the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission coming in to speak on mixed usage. The presentation was scheduled for the Feb. 18 Planning Board meeting.

“I want people to be informed,” Fairbanks responded. “I thought the best way would be with a professional presentation on mixed uses.”