Hampstead Board of Selectmen Finalize ARPA Funds Process

By Alex Malm

HAMPSTEAD – The Hampstead Board of Selectmen held its bi-monthly meeting on Aug.23. During the meeting Hampstead Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault gave the Board an update about the funds they will be receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act.
She explained that the Town of Hampstead would be receiving a total of about $900,000 in funds with $450,000 coming this year and $450,000 coming to the town of Hampstead the following year.
During the last meeting with the department heads she said that some of the department heads were able to prioritize what they would like to pursue the most.
“We are drilling this down a bit,” she said.
Theriault explained that the current idea is that the department heads would meet again as a group at least one more time and then work to narrow in on what projects they may want completed this year. After they decide they will bring their recommendations forward for the Board of Selectmen to take a final vote on what they will allocate the funding towards.
Hampstead Board of Selectmen Joe Guthrie said he had issues with the department heads meeting and then bringing recommendations to them before they take a vote. Instead he felt that they should have workshops with the department heads before taking a vote on the different proposals they had.
“We’re going to have almost a million dollars to spend. I think this board should determine what should be spent with those funds,” he said.
Theriault said that the idea wasn’t to have the department heads make the decisions about how the money would be spent but instead to have them do their due diligence by coming up with proposals for the Selectmen to consider.
Hampstead Board of Selectmen Chairman Sean Murphy suggested that they allow the department heads to meet again to discuss what they think is the best way to use the funds based on the research they have done and then have a workshop meeting with the Board of Selectmen.
It was ultimately decided to have the department heads meet in September to discuss their priorities for how they would like to use the funds and then have a working session with the Board of Selectmen on Sept. 27.
Also during the meeting Theriault explained that every year the assessors fill out a “MS1 form” for the department of revenue, which essentially gives them a Town wide assessment.
She said that it’s due on Sept. 1 but oftentimes they have to ask for an extension due to the fact that the utility values that are handled by a separate company aren’t done in time.
She said that the Town assessor was seeking approval by the Board of Selectmen to apply for an extension until Oct. 1, which they agreed to allow.
During the liaison reports it was announced that the fire department is currently down one per diem member due to a personal Injury and will likely be out for a couple of months.
Also during the reports Murphy said that he was meeting with the police department to interview potential candidates for their open positions.
The next Hampstead Board of Selectmen meeting is slated for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.