Laconia & 3 towns to cooperate on DPW projects

LACONIA — The city, together with the towns of Belmont, Gilford and Meredith, is taking the first steps towards sharing municipal resources in an effort to achieve operating efficiencies and reduce costs.
City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that on the initiative of Mayor Mike Seymour, the two met with the town administrators and selectmen from the neighboring towns to explore opportunities for closer cooperation. They agreed that public works offered the most promising partnerships and last week a second meeting, including the directors of public works from the four municipalities, led to an initial understanding.
Last night, Town Manager Phil Warren of Meredith and Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudoin told their respective selectboards of the tentative arrangements.
Warren spoke of sharing equipment, noting that the town expects to "chip seal", or lay an abrasive shim coat, on some roads, which must first be swept. Meredith does not have a street sweeper, but Laconia does. He said that to avoid liability issues, Laconia personnel would sweep Meredith's roads.
In return, Myers said that Meredith, which has many more miles of gravel roads than Laconia, may grade the city's gravel roads. He suggested said that if the arrangement of swapping equipment and service proves successful, the city could be spared the necessity of replacing its aged grader. Myers offered sharing specialized equipment, like the street sweeper and vacuum truck, for clearing storm drains, as a fruitful avenue of cooperation.
Likewise, Myer said that directors of public works Paul Moynihan of Laconia and Sheldon Morgan of Gilford were discussing a joint bid for long-line road striping — the yellow center ins and white fog lines — a prospect Beaudoin presented to the Belmont selectmen last night.
"We've had productive meetings," Myers said. "I'm pleased we got this much momentum. It's not so much regionalization as neighbor helping neighbor."