Three vie for Gilford School Board seats, no contested races on town side in Gilford

GILFORD — There is a three-way race for two open seats on the Gilford School District School Board. Incumbents Jack Landow and Karen Thurston are both seeking re-election, while Gretchen Gandini is seeking to unseat one of them. There are no contested races on the town side.

On the Budget Committee, that serves both the town and the school district, none of the incumbents are seeking reelection. The three candidates running for the three open three-year terms are Sean Murphy, Tim Sullivan, and S. Peter Karigianis. Not running for re-election are David Horvath Sr., Geoff Beane and Bob Henderson.

Running unopposed for one three-year seat on the Selectboard is incumbent Gus Benavides, who is finishing his third term as selectmen.

Incumbent Sandra McGonagle is seeking another two-year term as town moderator; incumbent Irene LaChance is seeking a six-year term for supervisor of checklist; and incumbent Miriam York, who was appointed to the seat, has filed for the four-year term as supervisor of the checklist.

Incumbent William Chris Ray Jr. is seeking a spot of the trustee of the trust funds, and incumbent Jack Lyman is seeking a second three-year term as fire engineer.

William Day is seeking a single three-year term as cemetery trustee.

Michael Marshall and Alexis Jackson have filed for the two year-year terms as library trustee.

Election Day is March 8.

– Gail Ober

Race is on for Belmont selectman, budget committee, planning board

By Gail Ober

BELMONT — There will be a three-way race for the Selectboard this year as incumbent Jonathan "Jon" Pike faces challenges from George Condemetraky and James Spiller.

On the Budget Committee there are five candidates – Eric Shirley, Albert Akerstrom, Tracey LeClair, Donald McLelland Sr. and Ronald Mitchell – for four open spots.

There is a three-way race between James Spiller, Michael LeClair and Ward Peterson for two seats on the Planning Board.

Cynthia DeRoy is running for Town Clerk Tax Collector, Alicia Segalini is running for a two-year term as Town Treasurer, Alvin Nix Jr. is running for Town Moderator, Gregg McPhearson is running for a three-year term as Trustee of the Trust Funds, Diana Johnson is running for a three-year term as Library Trustee, and Mark Masterbrook is running for an seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustments. All are unopposed.

The candidates for the Shaker School Board are Sean Embree from Belmont and Jodie Martinez from Canterbury. The election for School Board candidates is March 4 at the Belmont High School and the polls open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. when the business portion of the meeting begins. This was incorrectly reported at the end of a story that ran on Page 15 in the Feb. 3 Laconia Daily Sun.

Talk of cuts to BEDC, Genesis, UNH and more put off by county

By Roger Amsden
LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention plowed through the proposed county budget in a two-and-a-half-hour work session Monday night before a virtually full house but put off until its next work session in two weeks any prolonged discussion of budget cuts proposed to outside agencies.
Last week, the convention's subcommittee on outside agencies recommended withholding the entire funding of $75,000 in the 2016 budget from the Belknap Economic Development Council and the entire $34,200 for Genesis Behavioral Health.
It also significantly reduced appropriations for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service, cutting the request for $152,217 by $35,000; the Belknap County Conservation District, cutting $43,000 from the $92,400 request; the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, cutting $35,000 from the $89,905 request, and Greater Lakes Region Child Advocacy Center, which saw a $550 cut in its $11,000 request. It also eliminated a first-time request for $5,000 by the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.
Representatives of the agencies affected by the cuts were at Monday's work session but were not able to speak during the meeting. Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the Belknap County Convention, said that the cuts will be discussed at the next work session of the convention which is scheduled for Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
He said the next work session will not be a public hearing but invited the affected agencies to provide more information to the members of the convention.

"It will be useful to get more detail out to us," he said, noting that summaries of the scope of the agencies' work would be useful. "It's not a public hearing, but we can ask questions," said Tilton, indicating that the agencies might be called on for comment by legislators at the work session.
Tilton said that there will be time for public comment at a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing on the budget which will be held once the convention has finalized the budget.
State Rep. Guy Comtois (R-Barnstead), the owner of Sticks and Stones Farm, said he is opposed to the proposed cut to the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, noting for every dollar the county puts in, UNH nearly triples that amount.

"It would be a huge blow to the agency," said Comtois.
A show of hands on further discussion on the Extension Service cut saw only two legislators opposed to reconsidering it with 15 favoring revisiting it. A similar show of hands on reconsideration of the cut to the Belknap County Economic Development Council showed a slim majority favoring reconsideration,
The convention adopted several budget changes made by the commissioners which included reducing a number of the group health insurance lines in several department budgets, reflecting changes in department's personnel and new insurance coverage for about 20 members of the Teamsters union who switched to a new point of service plan.
It also approved adding wages for two employees in the Sheriff's Department and wages for receptionists at the Belknap County Nursing Home.
Other changes included adding wages for converting eight part-time positions in the nursing home to three full-time positions and for changing a part-time cook's position at the county home to a full-time position.
The bottom line of the budget proposed by the commissioners calls for spending $35,235,571, $13,764,301 of which would be raised through local property taxes, some $72,872 less than last year.