Teamsters' union contract before county convention on Monday

LACONIA — A collective bargaining agreement between Teamsters Local 633 and the Belknap County Commission which will come before the Belknap County Convention for funding Monday night will have a $14,586.67 impact on this year's county budget and will save the county more than $26,000 next year.
The two-year contract was approved by commissioners two weeks ago and ratified by a majority vote of the 23 employees covered by the contract last week.
The agreement provides for pay-scale step increases for employees, which are based on individual performance reviews, as well as a 1.4 percent cost of living increase retroactive to April 1 of this year. In return, the employees agree to move to a less expensive health insurance plan which provides an option for dental insurance.
County Commission Chairman Dave Devoy (R-Sanbornton) said that the contract reduces health insurance costs and provides flexibility for the commissioners to change insurance carriers. Employees will change to a so-called "site of services" plan which he says will help the county keep from reaching the Affordable Care Act "Cadillac tax" threshold, which is a penalty on expensive health insurance plans that is due to kick-in in 2018.
A cost summary of the contract shows health insurance costs for the covered employees dropping from $336,433 this year to $322,543, a $13,890 decline, and from $356,881 next year to $300,400, a $56,481 decline.
In March the Belknap County Convention unanimously rejected a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters local, which would have added $25,581 to the 2015 county budget.
The convention is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday evening at the Belknap County Complex. It will be preceded by a meeting of the convention's Executive Committee at 4:30 p.m. Commissioners are asking for the transfer from the Jail Planning account in the Department of Corrections' 2015 budget in order to fund a pilot program at the House of Correction which would provide assessment services to determine treatment needs of jail inmates.

Federal lawmakers salute Laconia police for Pumpkin Festival reiot help provided to Keene

LACONIA — The four members of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation congratulated Chief Chris Adams and his staff for assisting Keene Police with the disturbances at the October 18, 2014 Pumpkin Festival.

The recognition was recognized at the Laconia Police Commission meeting yesterday afternoon.

"The Laconia Police Department displayed tremendous courage during the events of October 18, 2014 when responding to the rioters in Keene," wrote Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on behalf of herself, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Annie Kuster and Rep. Frank Guinta.

"Your department's participation helped to diffuse this dangerous situation and was recognized by the New Hampshire law enforcement community when they nominated and selected your department for this award," she continued.

Various news agencies reported that students from Keene State College as well as other New England universities and colleges were drinking at gatherings in some of the off-campus housing sections of the city. Their parties spun out of control and police in riot gear responded with tear gas to quell the disturbance.

Media reports at the time indicated that 80 students were initially arrested and 16 more were identified by video cameras in the area. One-hundred seventy students were disciplined and college officials reported that two students were expelled, one withdrew, nine were suspended and many others paid fines and made restitution.

In other police business, Adams said National Night Out at Wingate Village was a great success despite the storm that blew through early in the event.

The annual Citizen's Academy is scheduled to begin on September 16 and there are openings, said Adams. Anyone who is interested should call the Laconia Police at 524-5252. The academy meets once a week for three hours for 10 weeks.

Capt. Bill Clary said about 25 people have been charged in the recent "drug roundup" conducted by police last week. He said that the department switched some schedules around and there was almost no overtime used.

After learning that three supervisors and six patrol officers were participating in a training class in Concord co-sponsored by the N.H. State Police and the Dept. of Homeland Security, Commissioner Armand Maheux said he would like some kind of accounting as to why officers go to the training and if they're getting anything out of it.

Adams and Prevention, Education and Control Officer Eric Adams are presenting their drug prevention program to the governor and Executive Council at the next meeting. Adams said there is some discussion about making Laconia's program a model for the rest of the state.

'Long day' ahead for northbound traffic through downtown

LACONIA — Main Street and Beacon Street East will soon be closed to traffic for what City Manager Scott Myers described as "a long day, from daybreak until early evening" when a water sealant membrane and two coats of asphalt are laid on the Main Street Bridge.

Although the work has yet to be firmly scheduled, Myers indicated that Monday, August 31 appeared the most preferable day to undertake the project. said that

Myers explained after the membrane, a liquid asphal product, is laid the one-an-a-half inch base course of asphalt and one-inch finishing cost of asphalt must be laid without interruption to ensure that there are no cold joints in the paving.

Acknowledging that ideally the work would be done at night, Myers said that because it is a relatively small project of approximately 250 tons of asphalt, the asphalt plant would only operate at night at a significant cost. Other expenses would include the cost of lighting the site and overtime wages. He said that neither the sate nor federal government, which are bearing shares of the cost of the project, would authorize their portion of these additional expenditures.

"We have not taken the closing southbound access to downtown lightly," Myers emphasized. He said that downtown merchants considered that closing the street on Monday, the weekday when trade is lightest, would have the least impact trade on their businesses. He said that a traffic pattern routing traffic to downtown by way of Church Street and Fair Street would be posted for the day of the closure.