Camp Rolly and Teen Camp May Be Discontinued

For decades Rollinsford has offered summer camp for the children in Town. In 2016, when the long-time director and active Recreation Committee members were resigning at the same time, the Select Board took the opportunity to discontinue the program because of safety and liability concerns.

A number of parents who valued the program were upset that it would be discontinued and were allowed by the Select Board to recreate the program with a few stipulations:
● that the volunteers make the camp safe and reduce the known liabilities
● bring in as much in fees as it would cost to run the program
● manage the camp in such a way that it would not be an administrative burden on the Town as the administrative office was already very busy and understaffed

The first year Camp Rolly was created it operated much better than ever before. The second year, Teen Camp was added. This past summer, again both Camp Rolly and Teen Camp were offered.

This past year there were a number of liability concerns some of which can be mitigated, others may be beyond what the Town can afford to accommodate. If the Town is to offer a camp, it must accept those who register. We cannot nor would we want to discriminate and yet we need to be sure we can afford to offer a program that meets the needs of those who might apply. Whether or not the Town can do that safely and affordably is questionable.

Given the situations that came up this past summer, the Select Board’s concern for the program has increased. The Recreation Committee has been given the directive that job descriptions for each role of the Committee must be written out so that the volunteers know what they are taking on and the timeline for each part of the role. The jobs of the Committee include, interviewing staff to be hired by the Select Board, writing grants, managing the registrations, planning field trips, etc. In addition, policies and forms need to be created to ensure everything can run smoothly with limited risk.

At this point, the Committee has lost a key member. Membership of the Committee has dwindled at a time when there is a lot of work to be done. The Committee would like for the Select Board to provide the administrative support necessary to get the program where it needs to be. The Select Board is struggling with this decision because they understand the value of the program to the residents and yet it is not clear whether we can afford to operate the program at the level it would need to be. And would the residents pay an increased fee for a program with fewer field trips? What is clear is that for the program to continue, it would require a substantial amount of time of the Town Administrator and a Recreation Director would likely need to be created to manage the work to be done. Volunteers would still need to help as well. Here it is budget planning season and the additional cost is unknown. What would happen if a director position were created for an insufficient amount of time or one could not be found for the allocated amount? Would the program still be adequately improved and allowed to continue? Would it be better to take a year off while working these things out? These are the questions the Select Board is considering.

Again, the Select Board sympathizes with the families who rely on this program. It has been part of the Town in one form or another for many, many years and is known to be the most affordable option in the area. We can all agree that it would be disappointing if it were to be discontinued. However, the Select Board is charged with managing the operations of the Town. This includes expenses, revenues and liabilities.

The Select Board welcomes your feedback about how to best balance the challenges before them regarding summer programming. Please join the Select Board for a public hearing at 6:00pm on Tuesday, October 15th at the Town Hall.

Open Positions – Tree Warden, Fence Viewer and Parks and Recreation

The March vote authorized the Select Board to appoint people to these positions. Please consider sending an email expressing your interest in one of these positions. Letters will also be accepted at the Town Office.

Know someone who would be a great fit? Nominate them! Write a brief letter indicating why you or someone you know should be considered for one of the above positions. Be sure to include contact information so that we can confirm that nominated individuals are interested in serving.

Deadline for submission: Friday, April 19th

The Town Needs Your Help!

Towns provide many functions. Some of them are more visible to residents than others. Some are required and others are more discretionary. Some of the functions are provided by volunteers. Rollinsford needs more volunteers. Many of the appointments to the boards and committees are expiring in March. We will be voting to fill some of them. Others are appointed by the Select Board right after Town Meeting. Thank you to all of the people who dedicated their time in service to our community this past year. The following are boards and committees on which volunteers serve.  Please read the brief excerpts about them and consider offering your name to be considered for appointment. Each has its own level of commitment which often is not very much time per month. Come meet more of your neighbors!

Planning Board

Meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00pm. This is an essential function we must offer to property owners wishing to subdivide or develop their property, start or expand a business or change the use of a property, for example. There is typically no outside work required and meetings are typically not more than two hours. Members should become familiar with the Zoning Ordinance and other planning regulations. There are two vacancies for full-memberships and one alternate position open.

Zoning Board of Adjustment

Meets at the call of the Chairperson when there is a case to be heard (typically 3-5 times per year). This is an essential function we must offer to property owners who feel aggrieved by a land use decision made by the Planning Board, Town or planning regulations. It is a quasi-judicial body.

Conservation Commission

The group manages the conservation land along the Salmon Falls River known as Scoutland, the area beyond the community garden on Foundry Street, and discusses topics important to our natural environment. Some development requires a review by the Conservation Commission and their opinions can inform planning regulations.

Space Needs Committee

This committee worked hard for two years to determine a location for the police department. It was their recommendation to build a new facility to include the town office on Silver Street. This option was not put on the ballot this year. The Select Board will create a new charge for this group to address questions about the condition of the town hall and cost to renovate, locations for a potential police station and other ways we could potentially move forward to meet the needs of the Police Department.

Recreation Committee

These volunteers are the super heroes who recreated the summer recreation program which would otherwise have been discontinued just a few years ago. Recreation could not function without this group. They also manage the youth basketball program and are exploring options for senior programming.

Highway Safety Committee

This group only meets when there is a topic for discussion. They meet to discuss matters of public safety including, but not limited to traffic concerns. They make recommendations to the Select Board regarding roadways, when appropriate.

Stormwater Committee

This committee is necessary for keeping the Town compliant with our MS-4 permit which allows us to discharge stormwaterinto the Salmon Falls River. This is a federal permit which obligates the Town to engage in public outreach and public engagement regarding public activities which pollute waterways as well as water testing and data compilation.

Energy Committee

There are many ways in which the Town could save money with renewable energy. The specific charge of the committee has not yet been created but we know we could change street lights to LED’s or install solar panels on town buildings for example. The Select Board cannot make decisions without people presenting options and associated costs.

Historical Committee

We live in a small town with a lot of history. This group meets monthly to discuss topics of historical significance to Rollinsford and the Salmon Falls region. You don’t have to be an expert on local history to join, just interested in learning, sharing, and preserving the fascinating stories of our town. This group is flexible in making the most of each member’s strengths and interests and setting meetings to work for all members. They provide educational programs, history hikes (2 a year), and in 2019, plan to take on the first (modest!) restoration project, so handy people are especially welcome!