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Road Agent Hiring Committee Minutes

Click here to see the minutes of the Road Agent Hiring Committee meeting.

Assessing Agent

The Assessing gentlemen from Avitar is in town for the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to ask for his Identification. He will be wearing an Avitar shirt and driving a white Avitar truck.

Due to conflict of Events the Grange Rummage Sale has been CANCELED.

Highway Department Update: August 30, 2016

As you know, Dorchester has been without Highway Department staff since July 25. Many residents rightly wonder what the Select Board is doing to make sure roads and road issues are being taken care of in the absence of Highway staff.

Your Select Board is working very hard in that effort, please know.

To start, the Select Board has organized a Road Agent Hiring Committee to facilitate the search for a new Road Agent. Members include Selectman Larry Walker Jr. and residents Brian Sousa, Larry Walker Sr., and Monica Cox. Specifically, this committee is tasked with drafting a full job description for the Road Agent, creating and placing an ad for Road Agent in local publications, reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for the position, conducting background and reference checks, and, ultimately, making a hiring recommendation to the Select Board. The committee's and Select Board's goal is to have a new Road Agent in place well before winter.

The Hiring Committee will hold its first public meeting on Wednesday evening, August 31, at the Town Hall, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Your attendance, suggestions, and comments will be welcome.

In the meantime, here's what else your Select Board is doing to make sure Dorchester's roads and infrastructure are safe to travel while we conduct the search for a new Road Agent:

* Residents Brian Sousa, Larry Walker Sr., and Ernie Marsh have been addressing immediate needs, including: repairing a small washout on Streeter Woods Road, clearing clogged culverts on North Dorchester Road, and doing other needed projects. Their work has been excellent, and Dorchester owes a real debt of gratitude to these gentlemen for helping out the Town. Thank you, Brian, Larry, and Ernie!

* A list of road-work contractors available for on-call work is being created by the Select Board so that any large-scale emergency road repairs can be addressed immediately.

* Every Friday, Selectman Larry Walker Jr. makes a full tour of every Dorchester road to look for any new problems that need to be addressed. This Friday, Sept. 2, Larry and newly appointed Selectman Mike Woodard will make the tour together so that Mike is familiar with all road conditions. (This meeting will be posted.)

* Repairs are being made to the Town's road grader so that grading of Dorchester's unpaved roads can be completed before the cold weather arrives. Repairs are also being made to other Highway vehicles to ensure their function and safety.

* Larry Sr. and Ernie have made a full inventory of Highway Department vehicles, equipment, tools, and miscellaneous gear. This inventory will be an important tool for our eventual new Road Agent to have on hand on his/her first day.

* Larry Sr. and Ernie have also done some preliminary clean-up and assessment of the condition of the Highway Yard and conditions of various Highway Department equipment. Problems and issues have been documented and are under review by the Select Board.

* A full clean-up and reorganization of the Highway Yard will be scheduled with a contracted clean-up crew after a new Road Agent has been hired. The clean-up will be conducted under the new Road Agent's direction.

* Highway Department Complaint/Comment/Suggestion forms are available at the Town Office and at every public meeting of the Select Board. The information you provide on these forms is extremely useful, and is an enormous help to the Select Board as it assesses and prioritizes immediate needs. Thank you for taking the time to keep the Board informed. The Board members are also available by telephone and email; please don't ever hesitate to contact a Selectman.

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. The Board also makes every effort to be responsive to residents and to address problems that residents bring to the Board's attention. You have all been very patient with the Board as we manage changes at the Highway Department, and this has meant a great deal to the Board, please know. Working together with you is the surest and best way to create a Highway Department we will all be proud of. Let us continue in that collaborative effort.

Your Neighbor,
Steve Bjerklie
Acting Chairman,
Dorchester Select Board

New Town Forester

After an interview, the Select Board voted in non-public session on August 25, 2016, to hire Ryan Harvey as Dorchester Town Forester. Ryan brings a wealth of forestry experience to the position, and he will be a valuable resource for our very wooded Town. Among his duties will be auditing and organizing the files for properties in Dorchester presently under Current Use designation. He will also advise the Town on management of the Town Forest. We look forward to working with you, Ryan!

New Selectman

Please welcome Mike Woodard to the Select Board. At its meeting on Thursday, August 25, 2016, the two members of the Select Board -- Acting Chairman Steve Bjerklie and Acting Vice Chairman Larry Walker Jr. -- voted to appoint Mike to fill the remainder of the term of the Board position previously held by Maria Weick, who resigned from the Board in May. Mike will join Steve and Larry at the front table at the Select Board's meeting on September 8, 2016. Congratulations, Mike!

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 Clerk/Tax Collector Office Closing

The Town Clerk/Tax Collector Office will be closed on Wednesday, September 21st due to tax collecting training. The office will be open on Thursday, September 22nd from 2:30 - 5:30 pm.

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.

Flu Clinic

A flu clinic will be held on October 27, 2016 from 4-7 pm at the Canaan Hall for ages 10 and up. High dose vaccine will be available for ages 65+.

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:

Mondays 5-7 PM
Wednesdays 11 AM-1PM

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.

Selectmen's Meeting
October 6, 2016
6:30 PM

Planning Board
October 12, 2016
7:00 PM

General Election
Nov. 8, 2016
11-7 @ Town Hall

Events Happening

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