HB 1527 – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1527
This bill allows municipalities to establish local community services and care planning boards, prescribes the method for appointment or election of board members, and establishes the duties and authority of such boards.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six
AN ACT allowing municipalities to establish local community services and care planning boards.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
678:1 Declaration of Purpose and Findings. The general court hereby finds and declares that:
I. Proper assessment of community well-being of all residents of a municipality and the development of local plans, projects, supports, and other mechanisms to increase community well-being and build community connections and a sense of common purpose enhance the public health, prosperity, quality of life, safety, and general welfare.
II. New Hampshire has a rich history of neighbors helping neighbors and residents of municipalities actively participating and organizing themselves to take care of their fellow residents and improve their communities, and it serves the public good and general welfare for the state to support, maintain, and strengthen this local history.
III. Strengthening each community’s good will and common purpose, its people-to-people connections, its sense of old-fashioned belonging, and its ability to solve local problems locally by giving it an important role in designing and strengthening its state-funded and other caring networks is sound management and planning and fosters the well-being of all New Hampshire residents. In particular, there is a wellspring of local community good will, problem-solving talent, and willingness to help that can be more fully tapped by allowing municipalities to establish a permanent municipal board that is responsible for community well-being and will have an official and significant role in developing and designing the state-funded and other basic health and human services and ensuring that they are cost effective and responsive to residents.
678:2 Establishment of Local Community Services and Care Planning Boards. Any local legislative body may establish a community services and care planning board, the members of which shall be residents of the municipality.
678:3 Definitions. In this chapter, these words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
I. “Board” shall mean a community services and care planning board established under RSA 678:2, except as the context requires in RSA 678:8 and RSA 678:14.
II. “Community building and services master plan” (CBSMP) means a community vision statement, developed by the civic planning board which provides a clear picture of the vital and meaningful community life the CBSMP seeks to achieve for all its citizens. The CBSMP may be updated and amended by the civic planning board as often as required to incorporate the evolving community consensus and understanding of the core qualities of what constitutes a successful community life as the CBSMP is implemented. These basic qualities include but are not limited to residents having a sense of belonging and being connected to others and to the community as a whole; feeling “at home,” safe, and accepted; regularly participating in community activities and events and in making community decisions on community issues; contributing talents and interests to community life; having networks with residents and neighbors on common issues and interests; and having a sense of pride in the community and ownership in its well-being. CBSMP shall include but not be limited to the following elements:
(a) A list and description of the specific improvements to community well-being, vitality, and connections in priority order the plan seeks to make in the next 5 years and the specific issues these changes address. These improvements shall be as measurable as possible and include consideration of improvements to all health and human services provided to residents and funded all or in part by the state and other public sources;
(b) How making these improvements will contribute, separately and together, to a better community as defined by the community vision statement;
(c) The community assets available and needed to achieve each improvement, the most important barriers that must be overcome to achieve each, and an assessment of the feasibility for achieving each based on assets and barriers;
(d) An overall strategy and problem-solving approach and process for achieving the package of improvements and a description of the rationale for using these; and
(e) A year-by-year plan of action steps for 5 years, with annual updates as required, which follow the strategy to achieve the improvements. These action steps shall include but are not limited to describing each step, establishing measurable objectives and benchmarks for achieving each, setting up timelines and the process and methods for achieving them, and identifying the agencies and persons responsible for accomplishing each step.
III. “Community services” means all the health and social services and supports provided and available to residents in a municipality including but not limited to those provided by charitable, for profit, and proprietary providers; individuals and groups; and agencies and other providers funded in all or part by the department of health and human services or other state, county, and governmental entities.
IV. “Community well-being index” means an aggregate measure consisting of individual measures of specific aspects of the social well-being of all residents of a municipality that is adopted by boards for use in their annual assessment and state of the community report and to develop their CBSMP. The index may include, but is not limited to, measures of the health of residents and their quality of health care; the quality of housing and prevalence of homelessness; the sense of community and belonging; participation in community events and decisions; successful mobility; safe and well-managed schools; volunteering and other contributions by residents to the community and their neighbors; children and youth thriving and transitioning successfully into adulthood; youth and adults avoiding dangerous and risky behaviors; elders and residents with disabilities living in dignity and included in community life; the breadth and vitality of community activities, institutions, traditions, and celebrations; shared vision and common purpose; and commitment to building community for the future and ensuring that fellow residents get the care they need.
678:4 Duties of the Board.
I. It shall be the duty of every board established under RSA 678:2 to prepare and amend from time to time a CBSMP to guide the development of community well-being of the municipality and the provision of health and social services and community supports to residents that affect community well-being. A CBSMP may include consideration of any areas outside the boundaries of the municipality which in the judgment of the board bear a relation to or have an impact on the planning of the municipality. Every board shall update and amend the adopted CBSMP with funds appropriated for that purpose by the local legislative body. In preparing, amending, and updating the master plan:
(a) The board shall have responsibility for promoting interest in, and understanding of, the CBSMP of the municipality. In order to promote this interest and understanding, the board may publish and distribute copies of the master plan, or copies of any report relating to the master plan, hold public forums and meetings, and may employ such other means of publicity and education as it deems advisable.
(b) The board shall also have authority to make any inventories of community assets, investigations of community social issues, evaluations of the availability and effectiveness of health and social services and supports, assessments of community well-being, and recommendations which relate to the planning and development of the municipality’s well-being.
II. It shall be the duty of every board established under RSA 678:2 to prepare an annual state of the community report which shall be included in the municipality’s annual reports. The report shall include the community well-being index as defined in RSA 678:3, IV and information explaining all its components, how it was devised, and any other sections the board deems necessary to describe and explain the social well-being of the municipality and trends in it.
III. The board may report and recommend to the appropriate public officials and public agencies programs for the development, protection, and improvement of the social well-being of the municipality. Each program shall include recommendations for its financing. The board may consult with and advise public officials and agencies; health and human services providers and funders; civic and charitable groups, networks, and associations; schools; educational, professional, advocacy, and research groups; and other organizations. The board may also consult with citizens, for the purposes of implementing the CBSMP and making recommendations for developing the social well-being of the municipality.
IV. Members of the board, when duly authorized by the board as a whole, may attend planning conferences or meetings, or hearings upon pending municipal planning legislation. The board may by majority vote authorize the payment of reasonable expenses incident to such attendance.
V. The board may recommend to the local legislative body amendments or additions to local ordinances, services, and programs to improve community well-being.
VI. In general, the board may be given such powers by the municipality as are necessary to enable the board to fulfill its functions, promote municipal planning for building community and developing well-being, or carry out the purposes of this chapter.
678:5 Appointment and Terms of Board Members.
I.(a) In cities, the board shall consist of 9 members:
(1) The mayor of the city, or with the approval of the local legislative body the mayor’s designee, who shall be an ex-officio member;
(2) An administrative official of the city selected by the mayor, who shall be an ex-officio member;
(3) A member of the city council selected by the council, who shall be an ex-officio member; and
(4) Six persons appointed by the mayor, if the mayor is an elected official, or such other method of appointment or election as shall be provided for by the local legislative body or municipal charter.
(b) Alternatively, the local legislative body in a city with a city council-city manager form of government may establish a board with membership as provided in paragraph II.
II. In cities with a city council-city manager form of government, the board shall consist of the following 9 members:
(a) The city manager, or with the approval of the local legislative body the city manager’s designee, who shall be an ex-officio member;
(b) A member of the city council selected by the council, who shall be an ex-officio member; and
(c) Seven persons appointed by the mayor, if the mayor is an elected official, or such other method of appointment or election as shall be provided for by the local legislative body or municipal charter.
III. In towns which operate under the town council form of government, the community services and care planning board shall consist of 7 or 9 members, as determined by the local legislative body or by the municipal charter. If the board consists of 9 members, the members shall be the persons listed in paragraph I. If the board consists of 7 members, the members shall be as follows:
(a) A member of the town council or administrative official of the town selected by the town council, who shall be an ex-officio member; and
(b) Six persons appointed by the mayor, if the mayor is an elected official, or such other method of appointment or election as shall be provided for by the local legislative body or municipal charter.
IV. In towns that do not operate under the town council form of government, the board shall consist of 5 or 7 members as determined by the local legislative body. The membership shall be filled by one of the following procedures:
(a) The selectmen shall designate one selectman or administrative official of the town as an ex-officio member and appoint 4 or 6 other persons who are residents of the town, as appropriate; or
(b) The local legislative body may decide, by majority vote at the town meeting, that board members shall be elected according to either the procedure in subparagraph (1) or in subparagraph (2). The official ballot shall be used on every referendum for the adoption of RSA 678:5, IV(b)(1) or (2), and every subsequent rescission of such adoption pursuant to subparagraph (c). The wording on the official ballot of any referendum for the adoption of RSA 678:5, IV(b)(1) or (2) shall specifically state which procedure for electing board members is being voted upon. Following the majority vote at town meeting, board members shall be elected as follows:
(1) The selectmen shall choose one selectman or administrative official of the town as an ex-officio member and the remaining board positions shall be filled at the next regular town election pursuant to RSA 669:17. Thereafter, a board member shall be elected for the term provided under RSA 678:7, II; or
(2) The selectmen shall choose one selectman or administrative official of the town as an ex-officio member and the remaining community services and care planning board positions shall be filled on a staggered basis at the subsequent regular town elections pursuant to RSA 669:17 as the term of an appointed member expires, until each member of the board is an elected member. The maximum number of elections to occur annually shall be as provided in RSA 673:5, II. When each board member is an elected member, such member shall be elected for the term provided in RSA 678:7, II.
(c) A local legislative body which has voted to elect board members may, by majority vote at town meeting, decide to rescind that action and have the board appointed in the manner set forth in subparagraph (a). The vote to have board members so appointed shall take effect upon adoption by the town meeting, and the selectmen shall forthwith appoint members in accordance with RSA 678:7. The board shall, however, continue in existence, and the elected members in office at the time of the town meeting vote to appoint members may continue to serve until their successors are appointed and qualified.
V. In village districts, the board shall consist of either 5 or 7 members as determined by the village district meeting. The district commissioners shall:
(a) Designate one district commissioner or administrative official of the district as an ex-officio member; and
(b) Appoint 4 or 6 other persons who are residents of the village district, as appropriate.
VI. In counties in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, the board shall consist of 5 or 9 members. The county commissioners shall recommend appointees to the board, and the appointees shall be approved by the county delegation. Board members shall be residents of the county, and shall be evenly distributed geographically throughout the county. The membership of the board shall be as follows:
(a) The chairperson of the board of county commissioners or designee shall be an ex-officio member.
(b) A member of the county convention selected by the convention shall be an ex-officio member.
(c) An administrative official of the county selected by the chairperson of the board of county commissioners shall be an ex-officio member.
(d) Two or 6 persons appointed by the board of county commissioners and approved by the county convention.
(e) One or 3 alternates appointed by the board of county commissioners and approved by the county convention.
678:6 Training. Within 6 months of assuming office for the first time, any non-ex-officio member of the board may at the member’s option complete at least 6 hours of training for the member’s respective position. The training shall be designed and furnished by the UNH cooperative extension in cooperation with the Institute on Disability and the Center for Health Policy and Planning.
678:7 Terms of Board Members.
I.(a) Except as provided in subparagraph (b), the term of any ex-officio member serving on a board shall coincide with the term for that other office; except that the term of the administrative official appointed by the mayor shall terminate with the term of office of the mayor appointing the official, and that the term of the administrative official appointed by the town council, board of selectmen, or village district commissioners shall be for one year.
(b) A city or town council, board of selectmen, or the village district commissioners may determine that the city or town council member, the selectman member or the village district commission member shall be subject to a 4 month or an annual appointment under such conditions as it determines.
II. The term of an elected or appointed board member shall be 3 years. The initial terms of members first appointed or elected to any board shall be staggered so that no more than 3 appointments or elections occur annually in the case of a 7-member or 9-member board and no more than 2 appointments or elections occur annually in the case of a 5-member board, except when required to fill vacancies.
678:8 Board Members Serving on Other Local Boards.
I. In the case of towns, appointed or elected members of the community services and care planning board may also serve on any other municipal board or commission, provided that such multiple membership does not result in 2 community services and care planning board members serving on the same board or commission.
II. In cities, appointed members shall not hold any other municipal office, except that:
(a) One of the appointed members may be a member of the zoning board of adjustment;
(b) Either one appointed member or one ex-officio member may be a member of the conservation commission if one exists in the city; and
(c) Either one appointed member or one ex-officio member may be a member of the heritage commission, or the historic district commission, or both, if such a commission exists in the city.
III. In counties in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, the county commissioners shall determine which members of the community services and care planning board for those towns and places, if any, may serve on other municipal boards or commissions.
678:9 Organization. Each board shall elect its chairperson from the appointed or elected members and may create other offices as it deems necessary.
678:10 Term of Chairperson and Officers.
I. The term of every officer and chairperson elected by a board shall be one year. Both the chairperson and officers shall be eligible for re-election.
II. In the case of community services and care planning boards, an ex-officio member shall not serve as chairperson.
678:11 Scheduling of Meetings.
I. The board shall hold at least 9 regular meetings each year and at such other times as the board may determine
II. A majority of the membership of a board shall constitute the quorum necessary in order to transact business at any meeting of a community services and care planning board.
678:12 Filling Vacancies in Membership. Vacancies in the membership of a board occurring other than through the expiration of a term of office shall be filled as follows:
I. For an elected member, by appointment by the remaining board members until the next regular municipal election at which time a successor shall be elected to either fill the unexpired term or start a new term, as appropriate.
II. For an appointed, ex-officio, or alternate member, by the original appointing or designating authority, for the unexpired term.
678:13 Removal of Members.
I. After public hearing, appointed members and alternate members of an appointed board may be removed by the appointing authority upon written findings of inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.
II. The board of selectmen may, for any cause enumerated in paragraph I, remove an elected member or alternate member after a public hearing.
III. The appointing authority or the board shall file with the city or town clerk, the village district clerk, or the clerk for the county commissioners, whichever is appropriate, a written statement of reasons for removal under this section.
IV. The council, selectmen, or county commissioners with the approval of the county delegation, or district commissioners may for any cause enumerated in this section remove the members selected by them.
678:14 Disqualification of Member.
I. No member of a zoning board of adjustment, building code board of appeals, community services and care planning board, heritage commission, or historic district commission shall participate in deciding or shall sit upon the hearing of any question which the board is to decide in a judicial capacity if that member has a direct personal or pecuniary interest in the outcome which differs from the interest of other citizens, or if that member would be disqualified for any cause to act as a juror upon the trial of the same matter in any action at law. Reasons for disqualification do not include exemption from service as a juror or knowledge of the facts involved gained in the performance of the member’s official duties.
II. When uncertainty arises as to the application of paragraph I to a board member in particular circumstances, the board shall, upon the request of that member or another member of the board, vote on the question of whether that member should be disqualified. Any such request and vote shall be made prior to or at the commencement of any required public hearing. Such a vote shall be advisory and non-binding, and may not be requested by persons other than board members, except as provided by local ordinance or by a procedural rule adopted under RSA 676:1.
III. If a member is disqualified or unable to act in any particular case pending before the board, the chairperson shall designate an alternate to act in the member’s place, in the same manner as provided as provided in RSA 673:11.
678:15 Staff; Finances. Each board may appoint such employees as it deems necessary for its work who shall be subject to the same employment rules as other corresponding civil employees of the municipality. Each board may also contract with planners and other consultants for such services as it may require. The expenditures of the board, exclusive of gifts, reimbursements, or amounts held pursuant to paragraph II, shall be within the amounts appropriated for the purpose by the local legislative body, which may provide such funds, equipment, and accommodations as it deems necessary or advisable for the board’s work. Each board may accept and use gifts, grants, or contributions for the exercise of its functions, in accordance with procedures established for the expenditure of funds within the municipality.
678:16 Open Meetings; Records. Each board shall hold its meetings and maintain its records in accordance with RSA 91-A.
678:17 Abolishing Boards.
I. The local legislative body of a city, of a county in which there are located unincorporated towns or unorganized places, or of a town operating under the town council form of government, shall determine the manner in which the board may be abolished.
II. In all other towns, upon a petition to abolish the board, signed by 100 or more voters or 1/10 of the registered voters in town, whichever number is less, the board shall submit the proposal to the town or village district in the same manner prescribed in RSA 675:4.
II-a. The question put to the voters shall be in substantially the following form: “Are you in favor of abolishing the community services and care planning board as proposed by petition of the voters of this town (village district)?”
678:18 Transfer of Documents Upon Abolition of Board. Whenever a board is abolished, the records shall be transferred to the city or town clerk.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.