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Gilford sticks to position that Smith Farm is a road, not a lane

GILFORD — Selectmen this week agreed to keep the name of Smith Farm Road as the address for a lot that was subdivided off from 95 Sleeper Hill Road, despite the desire of E-911 to change it to something more distinct.

Planning Board Director John Ayer said Nathan and Carolyn Smith subdivided a 2.37-acre lot and sold it to another family. He said the sale triggered the need for the Smiths to come up with a new address as they couldn't use 95 Sleeper Hill Road any longer.

Ayer said he learned there are three or more homes off of the new road and E-911 requires the town to assign addresses for emergency responders.

In November, Ayer said he checked with both the fire chief and the acting police chief who agreed the name Smith Farm Road would be appropriate and would not cause any confusion in the event of an emergency response.

Ayer said when he advised E-911 about the new name, a data administrations manager balked and recommended it be changed to Smith Farm Lane so as not to confuse it with Smith Cove Road. The administrator said that Emergency Services Director Earl Cheney would be calling the fire chief or the town administrator to discuss it.

Property owners began clamoring for an address, said Ayer, noting the Smiths operate a maple sugar operation and need an address in order to register their products.

Since Cheney hadn't yet contacted the town, Ayer and Town Administrator Scott Dunn met and decided to recommend to selectmen to name the road Smith Farm Road.

In December of 2013, selectmen officially named the road Smith Farm Road.

Ayer said that when he sent notification to E-911, they immediately got a letter from Cheney opposing the road name and asking them to change it to Smith Farm Lane.

Ayer explained to selectmen Wednesday night that the reasons the road name should remain Smith Farm Road is because E-911 makes non-binding recommendations, the name Smith Farm Road has been used informally for years to identify the Smith's driveway and even appears on Google Maps, the local chiefs didn't find the name confusing, and in his and Dunn's opinion, Smith Farm Lane is also non-compliant with E-911 guidelines.

Dunn pointed out that selectmen do not need the approval of the state to name a town road. He also said that any road name change now could have negative effects on the Smiths and the other residents because they would have to change their addresses for a second time.

He said the Smiths have already printed materials for their Smith Farm Stand business.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2014 12:06

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AutoServ opens state-of-the-art collision center on Rte. 140 in Tilton

TILTON — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the new AutoServ Collision Center on Rte. 140 Wednesday afternoon which was attended by town officials and representatives of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Cavanaugh, fixed operations director for AutoServ, says that the center will feature the latest state of the art technology in welding, painting and auto frame repairs, including the only aluminum workshop in the area, where specialized tools and equipment will be used in making auto body repairs.
Located across Rte. 140 from Kentucky Fried Chicken, the center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and also will offer off-hour appointments.
All estimates are free and no appointments are needed unless scheduled for off hours according to Cavanaugh.
He said that other benefits available for customers include the ability to file a claim with their insurance company and have AutoServ write the estimate and follow through with the insurance company until the repair is completed.
A 24-hour towing service is available and on-site rentals are available.
''We work with all insurance companies and are the approved shop for many insurance companies which makes it a lot easier for our customers, who will have the peace of mind of knowing that all our repairs are guaranteed,'' said Cavanaugh.
He said that the company is proud that its entire facility is completely compliant with all environmental standards.
AutoServ Collision Center works with the following insurance companies to offer customers a direct repair option: MetLife, Farmers, AIG, Bristol West, MMG, Zurich, Mount Washington, AAA Insurance, Innovation Auto, 21st Century, Allstate, Ohio Mutual.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2014 01:06

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Temps running hot as county budget talks near end

LACONIA — Tempers flared and accusations flew around the meeting room as the Belknap County Convention met Tuesday evening for its second straight day of deliberations on the proposed 2014 county budget.
One of the hotly disputed issues dealt with administrative pay and an effort by County Convention Chairman Colette Worsman to adjust line items in the budget to reflect the salary of County Administrator Debra Shackett, who gets $106,720 a year and whose salary is split 70/30 between the Administration and Nursing Home budgets..
Shackett questioned the numbers Worsman was using and asked how she was calculating them and charged that Worsman was presenting the wrong information to the convention in an attempt to cut her pay.
Worsman denied that she was trying to cut Shackett's pay, but said she was basing her calculations on the $86,720 listed in last year's budget when the convention's Republican majority voted to cut the administrator's pay by $20,000. The ounty commissioners later restored the pay cut by transferring funds from other accounts.
Rep. David Huot (D-Laconia) pointed out that the convention has no control over setting salaries, saying ''we don't have the right to monkey with that.''
Other Democrats weighed in, with Rep. Lisa DiMartino (D-Gilford) asking Worsman why she was attempting to cut Shackett's pay, asking ''do you think she is overpaid?'' and Rep. Ruth Gulick (D-New Hampton) asking ''why are we going through every line and punishing people who don't deserve it?''

Worsman made no reply.
County Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia) stated emphatically that the convention does not have the authority to set salaries and said that the commissioners would continue to pay Shackett the salary they had agreed on.
It was the third attempt Worsman has made to cut Shackett's pay. In 2012 she attempted to cut the administrator's pay to $89,164, the same amount as County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen makes, but that motion failed on a 11-7 vote.
County Convention Clerk Jane Cormier (R-Alton) defended Worsman, saying that ''there's no way to get to the bottom line unless we do separate salaries'' prompting Huot to say that, while the administrative salaries being apportioned between departments does make for difficult accounting, that ''it doesn't make any sense at all'' to follow the procedure Worsman was using.
Later in the discussion Shackett told Worsman that she was indeed, trying to cut her salary and the audience, composed largely of county employees, broke out in applause.
Commissioners and the convention members also clashed over the legal services line item in the administrative budget. Commissioners had asked for $40,000 and that sum had been reduced to $30,000 by the convention's subcommittee. Worsman, with support of Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia,) moved to reduce that number to $10,000, with Tilton maintaining that the actual expenditures for 2013 were less than $10,000.
That touched off a discussion of the legal action that the convention has voted to take against the commissioners in their year-long dispute over line item budget authority. No legal action has yet been filed and when Rep. Ian Raymond (D-Sanbornton) asked for an update on the suit, Rep. Worsman said she wasn't prepared at this time to talk about in a public session.
Raymond said that the county has already spent $7,554 defending itself against the potential pending lawsuit.
When Worsman made the motion to reduce the legal services line to $10,000 Rep. DiMartino said that with a possible lawsuit pending ''that would be foolish'' but Tilton said that the commissioners had chosen to use funds from the contingency line to pay for legal bills rather than coming to the county's Executive Committee to to seek a transfer, so it was appropriate to hold that line to $10,000.
Commissioners pointed out that transfer requests which had been made were denied by the committee, which is why the contingency line was used.
The motion to reduce the legal services line to $10,000 passed by a 10-7 vote.
Other cuts which the convention is considering in its proposed ''working budget'' total up to $732,855 from the $26.57 million budget proposed by County Commissioners.
County Commissioner Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith) said that the cuts under consideration — which include a 1.6 percent cost of living pay increase as well as 3 percent salary-scale "step' increases for elegible employees, as well as reductions in health insurance, longevity and retirement benefits — will have a devastating affect on the morale of county employees and increase turnover.
''We're going to suffer and people won't want to come here to work.'' said Nedeau.
The convention will meet next Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Belknap County complex to finalize the 2014 budget.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:59

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Sled dogs will start running this morning

LACONIA — Jen Lyman of the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club said she expects the Laconia Classic to begin as scheduled at 10 a.m. this morning.

She said the club will likely use about 20 snowmobiles to pack down the 15-mile course and then bring a groomer in from the Belknap Snowmobile Club.

"It'll be slow going tomorrow but Saturday and Sunday will be perfect," she predicted.

Lyman said that depending on when it stops snowing today and whether or not the area gets any sleet will be the final determinant of how the trails are packed and what time today's race will begin.

The start/finish line is in the open field just north of the intersection of Old North Main Street and Parade Road, directly across the road from the entrance to the old State School property.

The six-dog race is scheduled to begin today at 10 a.m. with the three-dog race at noon and the unlimited race at 1:30 p.m.

Should the trail require some additional packing or if there are white-out conditions this morning, Lyman said the race could be delayed a half-hour or so.

She was optimistic that the bulk of current snow storm would be finished by tomorrow morning and that the trails would be ready.

On Saturday, the six-dog race would begin at 9:30 a.m., the three-dog race will begin at noon, and the second leg of the unlimited race will begin at 1 p.m.

Sunday's six-dog race begins a 9:30 a.m., the three-dog race starts at noon, a special one-dog race for juniors begins at 12:30 and the final run of the unlimited race is at 1:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Governor Maggie Hassan is expected to participate in the festivities leading up to the start of Sunday's unlimited-class race.

She said so far there are 35 entries but with yesterday's snow she is hoping for more.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:53

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