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Public Notice







Annual Report Update

Copies of the Dorchester Town Warrant and Financial Annual Report will be available at the Town Office beginning tomorrow, March 8. It is now ready at the printer and will be delivered today, but not before the Office closes for the day.

This mini-Annual Report includes the Town Warrant, 2016 Budget Report, 2017 Proposed Budget, 2016 Profit & Loss, and 2016 Treasurer's Report. The N.H. Department of Revenue Administration has confirmed that this Report meets the Select Board's and Town's obligations under RSA 31:5 and RSA 41:14.

The Town Warrant and Proposed Budget were posted earlier, in accordance with RSA 39:5.

A full Annual Report will be forthcoming before Town Meeting.

Thank you for your patience!

Your neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Chairman, Dorchester Select Board

Town Warrant 2017

Click here to view the 2017 Town Warrant

Sample Ballots

Sample ballots for the Town and School are available on the Town Clerk's page at www.TownofDorchester.Net

Town of Dorchester
Supervisor of the Checklist Session
Town Office 3/4/2017 from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Article 9 and Canaan's Offer to Dorchester

As residents of Dorchester surely know by now, Article 9 in the upcoming March election, pertaining to the formulation of the basis for the school tax for the Mascoma Regional School District, has been particularly controversial. The article proposes a new formula that would, in part, relieve tax pressure on Canaan, one of five towns in the District. (The others include Enfield, Grafton, Orange, and Dorchester.) Enfield's tax rate would increase under the proposal, as would Dorchester's, though only nominally in the case of Dorchester.

Residents of Dorchester had the opportunity to learn about the proposed article first-hand from Mike Sampson, town administrator for Canaan, at a public meeting at the Dorchester Town Hall on Jan. 5.

Equally controversial, if not even more so, is the offer Mr. Sampson made to Dorchester at the Jan. 5 meeting and subsequently confirmed and endorsed by the Canaan Select Board. The offer, in short, is this: If the article passes, and if Dorchester supports the article, Canaan will provide subsidized fire service to Dorchester in the amount of $4,600 per year for five years.

Pasted below is the exact language of the offer, as signed by the members of the Canaan Select Board. (Apologies for the small type. The offer was sent in the portable document format, or PDF.)

News articles and reports about this offer, as well as editorials, columns, and statements from at least one school board member and the Enfield Select Board, have focused on whether this offer constitutes a bribe for votes. Some Dorchester voters have wondered the same thing. Your Select Board sought multiple legal opinions on this matter, from the Town Attorney, Canaan's Town Attorney, and the legal office of the New Hampshire Municipal Association. They all agree: Legally, the offer would *not* be considered a bribe.

The Dorchester Select Board has chosen not to weigh in on Article 9 or Canaan's offer to Dorchester of subsidized fire service. Your Select Board trusts the voters of Dorchester to educate themselves on the issues and to make a decision they believe is best for themselves, the Town, and -- not incidentally -- the children attending schools in the Mascoma district.

Your neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Chairman, Dorchester Select Board

Click here to see the offer from Canaan.

Filings for Open Positions

Click here to see the list of filings for open offices in the upcoming elections.

Town Election and Town Meeting: March 14 and 18

Mark your calendars: Dorchester's 2017 Town Election will be held on Tuesday, March 14, and our 2017 Town Meeting will be Saturday, March 18.

More information about both will be posted here soon. Stay tuned!

Your neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Chairman, Dorchester Select Board

Public Notice - Help Wanted - Highway Maintainer

The Town of Dorchester seeks an individual with experience in Highway Maintenance and is now accepting applications for a Highway Maintainer. This is a Full Time position. Experience with heavy and light construction equipment is required, as is a history of safe operation of this equipment. Knowledge of maintaining town streets, culverts and other public works projects is a big plus. Class A or B CDL preferred. Salary is negotiable depending on the knoweledge of requirements listed above. Each candidate must provide a CORI check and a previous driving record for the past three (3) years.

Application must be submitted to the Town Office of Selectmen NO LATER than 2:00 PM January 20, 2017. Applications may be picked up at the Town Office of Dorchester or the Town website ( Applications may also be emailed to Ana Tyrie, Town Administrative Assistant, at TownOfDorchester@Gmail.Com or you may call: (603) 786-5095 For application and/or job description

Information for Mascoma Valley Regional School District Voters

The Canaan Board of Selectmen is sponsoring a public meeting to discuss a plan that would change the funding formula for the Mascoma Valley Regional School District. This has been discussed by several town governments for several weeks. The meeting will review the reasons why the change is needed and the specific language of a proposed petitioned warrant article. All voters of the Mascoma Valley Regional School District are invited to attend. The meeting will be on Sunday, January 8 at 7 PM at Canaan Hall which is located at the Canaan Fairgrounds - Speedway on Orange Road. You can see draft language and impact examples at Call 523-4501 ext 5 for questions and more information.

Dorchester's New Road Agent

At its public meeting on Nov. 22, your Select Board voted to accept the recommendation made by the Road Agent Hiring Committee of two candidates for the position of Dorchester Road Agent. Last night, the Select Board made an offer to one of those candidates, Evan Hacker, who I am extremely pleased to say accepted. Evan's first day as our Town's new Road Agent will be the day after Christmas, Monday, Dec. 26.

From the start, your Select Board has had three goals for the effort to find a new Road Agent for the Town. One, we wanted residents to feel connected to and involved with the process. To that end, the Road Agent Hiring Committee, chaired by Monica Cox, and including Brian Sousa, Larry Walker Sr., and Larry Walker Jr. (the Select Board's representative on the Committee) was exemplary. Its meetings were all open to the public, and it considered very seriously comments made and questions raised by residents. Please know that those comments and questions were a valuable part of the process.

Two, the Select Board wanted a new Road Agent in place before this winter's snow arrived. We missed this goal -- but our roads have been kept in excellent shape in the interim by our part-time interim Road Maintainer, Paul Smith, and by Larry Walker Jr.

Third, we wanted to make every effort to find the right Road Agent for Dorchester. We knew this would likely be a long process, and it was. But the Select Board fully believes that in the end, this goal was superbly fulfilled. Evan Hacker will be a great Road Agent for our Town.

Many of you already know Evan. He grew up in Rumney (he's an on-call deputy warden for the Rumney Fire Department), and since last spring he has lived with his fiancee', Tannar Cote-Melanson, on the Conkey farm on North Dorchester Road, just up from the junction with Bickford Woods Road. He worked on road crews for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2015, and since then he has worked for the Rumney Highway Department. He brings skills, experience, a strong desire to learn everything he can, and abundant enthusiasm to Dorchester's Highway Department. And not least, he also brings a lifelong familiarity with our Town and its concerns.

Paul Smith will stay on for the time being as Interim Road Maintainer to help Evan become familiar with the Town's equipment and help keep up with the roads. As his health permits, Larrry Walker Sr. will also be a mentor to Evan.

Dorchester owes a big thank-you to Paul Smith, Larry Walker Sr., Ernie Marsh, Brian Sousa, and all the folks who helped keep our roads and equipment in great shape while we searched for a new full-time Road Agent. If you happen to see any of these people around town, please let them know your appreciation. Paul, Larry, Ernie, Brian and all the rest instituted a lot of positive change at the Highway Department and on our roads, and we look forward to more of the same under Evan's leadership of the Department.

In January, the Select Board will host a reception for Evan at the Town Hall, and every resident is invited to attend to meet our new Road Agent, ask questions, and help all of us work together for a Highway Department we will all be proud of. Details to come!

Your neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Chairman, Dorchester Select Board

Mascoma Valley Ecumenical Council

The Mascoma Valley Ecumenical Council, in collaboration with the area Scout Units, will continue a tradition started in 1974 to provide Thanksgiving food baskets for those in our community who are in need. Any person or house hold within the towns of Canaan, Dorchester, Enfield, Grafton and Orange is eligible to be referred.

Enclosed is a copy of the Recipient Information Form and a Reminder Note for the referred to keep.....

Click here to see the form and the complete letter from the Mascoma Valley Ecumenical Council.

Road Agent Hiring Committee Minutes

Meeting minutes for September 20, 2016
Meeting minutes for October 4, 2016
Meeting minutes for October 13, 2016

Highway Department Update: October 15, 2016

In the absence of a full-time Road Agent since July 25, Dorchester has hugely benefited from the great work done on our roads and at the Highway Shed and Yard in the interim by a very dedicated team, including Larry Walker Sr., Paul Smith, Brian Sousa, and Ernie Marsh. They have filled potholes, cleared ditches, repaired a washout, removed windfall trees and branches, cleared away brush, worked on the Highway trucks and equipment, cleaned up the Highway Yard, and have, without fail, responded quickly and effectively to every situation brought to their attention.

Larry has managed this crew exceedingly well. Today, alas, is his last day in that capacity. He has work at home that needs to be finished before winter arrives. If you see Larry around town (or Paul, Brian, or Ernie for that matter), please take a moment to thank him for all his hard work this past summer and fall. Many residents have told me how pleased they are with the work Larry and his crew have performed. He certainly deserves the gratitude of all of us.

Other Highway updates of interest include:

* The Road Agent Hiring Committee (membership includes Selectman Larry Walker Jr. and residents Brian Sousa, Larry Walker Sr., and Monica Cox, who is Committee chair) continues to meet weekly in the effort to recruit and hire a new Road Agent for Dorchester. As I've stated before, it is the goal of the Committee as well as your Select Board to have a new Road Agent in place well before the snow arrives. The Committee's meetings are public, and the schedule as well as minutes of previous Committee meetings are posted on the Town website.

* In preparation for winter, gravel, sand, and salt for the roads have been ordered and delivered. There's new sand in the small shed outside the Highway Yard gate for use this winter by residents. * All the Highway Department trucks are being inspected by a certified mechanic and repaired as necessary. The road grader's rear brakes are also being repaired (a big job), and once they're done the grader will be ready for service again. The sanders will be inspected and repaired if needed; they've already been greased. The Highway Department's vehicles and equipment will all be in good repair for winter.

* Your Select Board has approved a bid from an outside contractor to replace five damaged culverts in Town -- one on Hearse House Road, one on Streeter Woods Road, and three on River Road. These culverts are collapsing, causing further damage to the roadway. The work will be done before winter. Also, a list of road contractors has been compiled in the event of an emergency (a major washout, for example).

* Bids are being gathered for work to reinforce the large garage portion of the Highway Shed. Selectman Mike Woodard has headed up this effort. He and Larry Walker Jr. have also made repairs to the staircase inside the Shed so the stairs meet safety codes and the upstairs meeting area can be safely used once again.

* The large pile of ditch-fill that had blocked a portion of the trailhead parking area at the foot of Clough Road has been removed, and the parking area is now available for the hikers, bicyclists, dog-walkers, hunters, fishermen, and, in winter, snowmobilers, mushers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers who enjoy exploring Green Woodlands.

* Selectman Larry Walker Jr. continues to drive every mile of Dorchester's roads each Friday, on the lookout for new problems and issues. If you know of a new problem (or an old one that has not yet been addressed), please fill out a Highway Complaint/Comment/Suggestion form, available in the Town Office and at every Select Board meeting. These forms are collected by the Select Board and given to the Highway Department, which makes every effort to address issues quickly. The Board members -- Larry Walker Jr., Mike Woodard, and myself -- are also available by telephone and email; please don't ever hesitate to contact a Selectman.

Please know: Your Select Board strives to be proactive, to the greatest extent possible, in managing our roads and infrastructure in the interim before a new Road Agent is in place. You have all been very patient with the Board as we manage changes at the Highway Department, and this has allowed the Board time to make informed and, the Board believes, smart decisions. Thank you. Working together with you is the surest and best way to create a Highway Department, and a Dorchester infrastructure, we will all be proud of. Let us continue in that collaborative effort.

Your Neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Acting Chairman,
Dorchester Select Board

Budget-to-Actual Financial Reports Now Available

Budget-to-Actual financial reports for Dorchester are now available here on the Town website.

Click on the "Selectmen" tab in the menu bar above. You'll see a drop-down menu, and now there's a new page in that menu, "Town Budget." This is where you'll find budget-to-actual financial reports posted. There will be two posted every two weeks, one for the general budget and one for Highway specifically.

Budget-to-actual reports tell you where we are, as a Town, financially with regard to spending. For example, for the overall budget, the July 28 report shows that there was 42% of the fiscal year remaining as of that date, and the Town had 39% of budgeted funds remaining as of that date.

Town Office Keys

The Town Office contains a lot of information about our Town, some of which is sensitive and legally private. Over the years, as Town officials came and went, keeping track of who has keys to the Town Office became difficult. In fact, there's no clear record of who had a key to the Town Office. As you can imagine, this puts the sensitive and private information in the Office at risk. In order to minimize that risk, this week the Select Board had the locks on the Town Office changed.

Keys to the Town Office are now held by the three persons who work in the Office: the Town Clerk/Tax Collector, the Deputy Town Clerk/Tax Collector, and the Administrative Assistant to the Select Board. In addition, the Town Accountant has a key, as does each Selectman.

All keys to the Town Office are now tracked, and each person with a key has had to sign for it. Each key is stamped "Do Not Duplicate."

If you are a Town official and believe you need a key to the Town Office, please contact the Select Board.

We all want to keep our Town's information safe, especially any sensitive or private information. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Building Permits

It's summer, and the building is easy -- well, at least easier than in winter! Many Dorchester residents are taking advantage of the warm, good weather we enjoy this time of year to build new garages, sheds, workshops, firewood storage sheds, decks, and home additions.

Building permits are required for these projects. The good news is that the application for a permit is easily downloaded from the Town website; click on "Building Permits" on the Town Regulations page. Completed applications may be mailed to or dropped off during office hours at the Town Office.

Please remember two important points:

One, allow two to four weeks for a permit to be processed. Do not schedule a work crew for the day (or week) you submit the application!

Two, it's very important that an application include the measurements from the property lines to the new structure. Dorchester's legal setbacks are listed on the application. If a new structure is closer to the property lines or water or road frontage than the setbacks allow, the property owner will need a variance for the structure from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Dorchester Historic District Roads Restoration

Please be aware the roads in the Dorchester Historic District surrounding the Town Common are now being restored to their traditional width of approximately 15 feet. This is somewhat narrower than these roads have been for the past few years. When driving in the Historic District on North Dorchester Road or Town House Road, take care to avoid newly loamed and grass-seeded areas, especially at the points of the Common's triangle. Thank you!

Firewood Assistance

If you need firewood assistance, contact the Friends of Mascoma via

Food Pantry

A food pantry is open now at 9 Mechanic Street in Canaan behind Canaan Hardware. The pantry is open to any resident of Enfield, Canaan, Dorchester, Orange and Grafton. Hours of operation:

Wednesdays: Canaan : 2:30-6:30 PM
Thursdays: Enfield: 3-7 PM

Proof of residence required. You can shop once a week.
Call: 603-306-7831

Town Listserv

If you wish to receive updates by email from Town Officials on Town business such as Public meetings, Deadlines for Town Activities, etc, click here to subscribe.

Dorchester Notes

A local Dorchester resident currently publishes a monthly newsletter which we are happy to share. Click here to view the latest edition.

If you wish to receive the monthly newsletter by email, click here to subscribe.

Upcoming meetings

All meetings are in the Town Hall unless otherwise indicated.

Planning Board
March 8, 2017
7:00 PM

Selectmen's Meeting
March 9, 2017
6:30 PM

Conservation Commission
March 21, 2017
7:00 PM

Events Happening

Play Mascoma Valley
The Mascoma Valley Parks and Recreation are offering spring and summer events. Click here to learn more.