MEREDITH — After seven years of austere budgeting, marked by drawing on the rainy day fund to limit increases in property taxes, Town Manager Phil Warren advised the Board of Selectmen at a workshop yesterday that "consideration must be given to increasing the amount to be raised by taxation" capital improvements, road maintenance and equipment purchases "to ensure the sustainability of our capital assets".
In a memorandum offering guidelines for the 2015 town budget Warren reminded the selectmen that this year $1 million was drawn from the undesignated fund balance to limit the increase in the amount to be raised by property taxes to $192,000. "It is clear," he cautioned, "that the continued use of available fund balance is not a sustainable practice."
Like the budgets of the prior six years, Warren said, the 2014 budget "was neither a level service budget nor a level funded budget". Instead, he noted that as in past years "services have been reduced" and major projects, like the renovation of Main Street and improvement of the town docks, have been deferred.
Warren said that despite reduced expenditures for building maintenance and health insurance and stable revenues from rooms and meal tax receipts, revenues from sources other than property taxes "have not improved significantly in the last year". In particular, revenue from motor vehicle registrations have not risen.
Warren recommended maintaining current level of service without introducing new programs or services. Once again he cautioned against adding new positions, reclassifying existing positions or automatically filling vacancies arising from voluntary separations.
Selectmen Peter Brothers welcomed the memorandum, which he described as "an excellent document", suggesting it be posted on the town website for residents to read. He agreed that "we've exhausted the fund balance for paying down the amount to be raised by property taxes" and suggested that apart from controlling expenses the Selectboard should explore opportunities for raising other revenues in partnership with its representatives in the Legislature.
"We need to modify our overall philosophy going into 2015," Brothers said. "That is the challenge and I think we have to rise to it."
NOTE: The Selectboard approved the request of Mike Faller, director of Public Works, to resurface Main Street and Waukewan Street from the crosswalk at Town Hall to the railroad crossing. "We've got to do something," he told the selectmen, explaining that the project has been deferred in anticipation of the renovation of Main Street, which itself has been deferred. He described the project as "a maintenance fix," which he expected could be completed in two days weather permitting. "It should last five to seven years," he said. "It's going to buy us some time." He proposed applying $121,000 originally allocated to Corliss Road and Livingstone Road to the fund the work. Selectmen Peter Brothers, alluding to the delay in renovating Main Street, endorsed the project as "a good step backwards."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 12:44
LACONIA — Aavid Thermalloy called Laconia its home when it opened for business in 1964 as Aavid Engineering and 50 years later is home to the corporate headquarters of a firm which has grown from a small manufacturing and engineering firm to one which literally spans the globe and is a recognized leader in devising ways of cooling high tech equipment.
It has grown from a firm with a handful of employees to one which employs more than 2,800 people, including 100 engineers, at its manufacturing and engineering facilities located in North America, Europe and Asia.
Aavid marked its 50 the anniversary at a ceremony held at its Laconia headquarters Friday night which was attended by customers and local officials which featured its global art challenge "The Intersections of Art and Engineering", tours of its manufacturing facility and the presentation of two $10,000 checks to the City of Laconia for distribution to local charities.
One of the checks came from the company itself and the other from Alan Wong, its president and CEO, who said that the company's move last year to relocate its corporate headquarters and design center from Concord to Laconia brought it back to its roots for a very good reason.
''We've been through some tough times and some really good times over the last seven years. This is the most successful plant we've ever had and the most profitable plant we have globally,'' said Wong, who cited the purchase of two homes in Laconia by he and his wife as proof the firm's commitment to the city of its birth.
He said that over the next two years the company plans to hire more people for better paid jobs at its Laconia plant and bring in more professionals to the area and show its involvement in the city through efforts involving the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School and Lakes Region Community College.
In accepting the checks on behalf of the city, Laconia Mayor Ed Engler said that the city was fortunate to have Aavid here and that it will help shape a better future for the city of Laconia.
He said that as the editor of a local newspaper he was struck by the irony that Aavid got it's name from a typographical error when it's trade name, which was supposed to be Arvid in honor of the middle name of it's founder, was registered.
Arthur Karageorges, Aavid's project manager, says that he has been with the company for 31 years and seen it grown from 1984, when it shipped $1 million a month in products to the point where it now ships $1 million a day.
''We've provided thermal management solutions for hundreds of customers,'' said Karageorges, who recalled that when he was first with the firm it had a warehouse facility in what is now the area of the former Laconia Shoe Company plant on Water Street occupied by Hector's restaurant, where it was all hands on deck to unload shipments of aluminum extruded bars used in the manufacture of heat sinks (devices that draw heat away from devices — like computer processors — that overheat.
He recalled that Ken St. Jacques, who formerly had run the Boulevard Drive-In, famous for its fried seafood and home made ice cream, joined the firm as a partner with Phil Johnson around 1970 and once surprised all of the workers by providing them with breakfast.
''I showed up at work and could smell bacon cooking. Ken had decided to give all the workers bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast.
Later Aavid would become famous for its generous Christmas profit-sharing bonuses, which at first included silver dollars and crumpled bills and became the bane of local banks.
One year, when the company decided to hand out $100,000 in bonuses, it hired two police officers to guard the cash overnight, one of whom was Bob Soucy of Woodland Avenue in Laconia.
He said that Soucy decided it was profitable to work for Aavid than remain in law enforcement and went to work for Aavid, where he is still employed. Sauce's son, Norm is now the company's vice president and general manager of the Global Transportation and Industrial Systems Division and served as master of ceremonies at Friday's celebration.
Aavid Thermalloy employees Julie Wescott and Norm Soucy present a check for $10,000 to Laconia Mayor Ed Engler at a celebration of Aavid's 50th anniversary held at the firm's corporate headquarters in Laconia Friday evening. (Alan MacRae photo)
Laconia Mayor Ed Engler accepts a check for $10,000 from Aavid Thermalloy President and CEO Alan Wong, right, as Brian Bryne, Aavid's vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer looks on. Wong matched a $10,000 gift to the city that the corporation made at a celebration of Aavid's 50th anniversary, held at the firm's corporate headquarters in Laconia Friday evening. (Alan MacRae photo)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 12:36
CIRCUIT COURT — Police arrested a Gilmanton woman early Friday morning after she allegedly attacked her fiance while he slept.
Police said they were called to the home by the fiance who reported Elizabeth Berry, 25, of Crystal Lake Road, was attacking him.
He left the house to call 911 at Berry allegedly retrieved a handgun from the house and went outside and pointed it at him.
When police arrived, Berry was in the driveway but she retreated when police approached. They took her into custody before she got back into the house.
The man was treated for cuts to his face and back caused allegedly by Berry's hands.
She is charged with one count of simple assault and one felony count of criminal threatening.
Police said they have recovered the gun.
Berry was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on November 6.
Gilmanton Police were assisted by police from Belmont and Alton.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:45
Belmont Middle School students will get separate grades in each class for subject mastery & behavior
BELMONT — Although parents of middle-schoolers will still see a letter grade for academic performance, behavior and effort will, going forward, be reflected in a separate grade for each class, school administrators said this week.
Administrators said that each letter grade for academic material will reflect a student's mastery of the subject matter.
For example, said Superintendent Maria Dreyer, say a third grader doesn't understand multiplication and most of his or her other classmates do. Dreyer said two components will be examined — if the student genuinely doesn't understand the concept, or if the student has behavioral issues that are inhibiting his or her mastery of multiplication.
"We take this kid by kid," she said.
She said for the student who is struggling with the concept, there will be remedial education and a reassessment once the child has demonstrated that he or she has completed the necessary formative assignments — like homework and quizzes — to gain mastery of the subject matter.
She said each student will also be graded on behavior by every teacher. Those behaviors are responsibility, work completion, participation, and respect.
Dreyer believes a grade for each student regarding behavior from each teacher will give the district insight into both the child and the teachers teaching the child.
She said the old grading system combined both behavior and subject mastery, making it difficult for a parent to understand if their child wasn't learning the subject material, or if he or she didn't want to learn the subject material, or just wasn't trying.
Dreyer said separating the two will make it easier for the teachers to work with parents to assist their children in subject mastery.
Report cards will be issued for each trimester.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:42
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