Legal Q & A

Legal Q&A: Of Meeting Minutes and Machines

By Paul G. Sanderson, staff attorney with the New Hampshire Local Government Center's Legal Services and Government Affairs Department

Minutes must be created to record the result of meetings of public bodies in order to comply with the Right to Know Law. However, when recording equipment is used, the issues become more complex, and other statutes become involved. In the end, some decisions need to be made by public bodies about how to record meetings, whether the recordings should be preserved and, if so, in what format. The answers are not always straightforward.

Lapse of Subdivision Performance Bond or Letter of Credit

By David R. Connell, legal services counsel with the New Hampshire Local Government Center's Legal Services and Government Affairs Department

Annual Meeting Warrants: Preparation, Voter Guides, Government Speech and Excessive Advocacy

After months of preparation, it is time to assemble the warrant, the centerpiece of New Hampshire's town meeting. Underlying this process is the fundamental rule of municipal government: municipalities may act only if there is a statute authorizing that action. Girard v. Allenstown, 121 N.H. 268 (1981). This is the key to understanding the statutes regarding the annual meeting. With that in mind, here is an update on some issues regarding the warrant.

Q. Who prepares articles and places them on the warrant?

Local Officials Making Decisions: Understanding Conflicts of Interest and Disqualifying Bias

By Kimberly A. Hallquist, staff attorney with the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s Legal Services and Government Affairs Department

Problem Patrons in the Public Library: Can Anything Be Done?

Legal Q & A: Condominiums and Land Use Controls

Condominiums have been around for several decades. By now most people understand that a condominium is not a type of apartment building, but a special system of real property ownership that includes individually owned "units" and areas owned in common by the unit owners ("common areas"). In New Hampshire condominiums are controlled comprehensively by RSA 356-B.

Fees for Municipal Services

Municipalities are entitled to charge a wide variety of fees for governmental expenses. As budgets tighten it is more important than ever to understand what fees can be assessed for permits, programs and services and how to properly charge them.

Q. I know that our municipality charges fees for many of the services that we provide, but I don’t understand who sets these fees or how they may be changed over time. Where can I find that information?

Selecting the Rules for Boards of Selectmen

It may be surprising that New Hampshire law says very little about the way a board of selectmen should operate. We receive many questions regarding the role of the chairperson and the rules that govern the board’s procedure. The lack of specificity in the law gives local boards a lot of freedom to define these things. However, this can also mean a board has very little guidance when faced with difficult situations. Here are a few of the questions that have arisen.

Understanding the Recreation Revolving Fund

By Paul Sanderson 

Tax Deeded Property: After the Collector's Deed Is Accepted

By Paul Sanderson

Part I of the discussion of tax deeded properties appeared in the October 2010 issue of New Hampshire Town and City. It addressed the process leading up to issuance of a tax deed. After a tax deed is accepted, a new set of issues arises.

Q. Assuming that the governing body has accepted the collector's deed of real estate, what happens now?