City departments making annual pitches for capital expenditures

LACONIA — The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee last night began the annual process of reviewing and ranking the capital projects proposed by city departments for the fiscal year 2016-2017, with an eye to presenting its recommendations to the Planning Board in December.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) has submitted requests with an aggregate price tag of $2,860,000, of which $1,600,000 would be applied to reconstructing and paving sections of Court Street, North Main Street, Warren Street and Frank Bean Road along with several shorter stretches of other streets. The department is requesting $75,000 to begin designing and engineering the reconstruction of Court Street from Main Street to the Belmont town line in anticipation of completing the project in 2018.

The most significant project proposed is the reconstruction of 2,200 feet of Lakeside Avenue between Rte. 3 (Endicott Street North) and Tower Street and paving the section of Lakeside Avenue from Tower Street to Foster Street. The water, sewer and drainage infrastructure would also be improved and conversion of overhead utilities to underground utilities would be considered. The estimated cost of roadwork is $985,000.

DPW is also requesting $35,000 for annual bridge repair and maintenance, $85,000 to maintain and repair fencing, guard rails and retaining walls, $45,000 to upgrade traffic signals, particularly at the junction of Messer Street and Union Avenue, $50,000 for sidewalk repairs and $60,000 to repair the deck and review the structure of the parking garage.

The department seeks $560,000 to address drainage issues throughout the city, including $300,000 to improve drainage on the northerly section of Messer Street in the vicinity of Dutile Oil Company and $200,000 to replace storm drains elsewhere in the city. $40,000. Finally, DPW has requested $190,000 to purchase a loader for its fleet.

The top priority for the Fire Department is funding for equipment to overcome the narrowing of bandwidths, which has created dead zones in radio coverage both in large buildings and particular neighborhoods as well as caused radio failures. The system of multiple repeaters placed on high points and buildings would cost about $385,000. Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the department has applied to the United States Department of Homeland Security for a grant to fund the purchase. The department seeks another $100,000 to replace its 40 portable radios, which are 10 years old and no longer manufactured.

The department also requests $490,000 to acquire a new pumper to be stationed in the Weirs Beach Station, which would replace Engine 3, which is 30 years old and serves as reserve to the frontline units. Erickson also seeks to replace the inflatable rescue boat, which he described as "unreliable," at a cost of $32,000.

The Parks and Recreation Department is requesting $313,000 in 2016-2017. The department seeks to rebuild the two tennis courts at Leavitt Park, which have been closed for three years, at an estimated cost of $78,000. The second phase of bleacher replacement at Memorial Park would be completed with aluminum bleachers at the softball diamond for $15,000 and another $15,000 would be applied to playground improvements.

To curb erosion of Bond, Bartlett and Opechee beaches, the department seeks $80,000 to design drainage improvements at all three and requests another $20,000 to design a new sewage system at Bond Beach, where the age of the existing system poses a risk to water quality.

The Parks and Recreation Department also requests $35,000 to purchase a dump truck and $70,000 to purchase a tractor.

The Police Department submitted the most modest request — $70,000 to replace two cruisers, according to its planned replacement schedule.

The CIP Committee will hear presentations from the Fire Department and Department of Parks and Recreation on Tuesday, September 29 and from the Fire Department and DPW on Wednesday, October 7 before taking public comment on Tuesday, October 20.

Planning Board recommendations in the area of capital expenditures are forwarded on to the city manager for review and his recommendation. City Council has the final word during budget deliberations.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 294

Newspapers join N.H. Supreme Court in sponsoring essay contest for middle & high school students that focuses on possible limits to 1st Amendment right to free speech

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Supreme Court and 11 newspapers are inviting students to enter the 2015 Constitution Day Essay Contest and discuss a topic that tests the potential limits of our right to free speech: dress codes and/or restrictions.

In 2004, Congress directed that Constitution Day should be observed in schools of September 17 with educational programs about the history and signing of the document. Newspapers, including The Laconia Daily Sun, have joined the Supreme Court and Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications to present an essay contest for students in grades 5 through 8 and 9 through 12.

The 2015 Constitution Day essay topic is: Schools and other public places (including government buildings and sports venues) frequently mandate dress codes or ban certain types of messages, such as those conveyed through T-shirt slogans. In your opinion, do such bans or dress restrictions violate First Amendment rights of free speech? Do such messages or choice of clothing, in fact, constitute "speech"? Are there valid reasons for such bans, such as safety considerations? Does the subject matter of a message make a difference? Who should be responsible for determining whether such messages do violate free speech rights?

Essays must be 350 to 500 works in length and be submitted to The Laconia Daily Sun (1127 Union Ave. 03246) or another participating newspapers by October 6. Other participating newspapers are: Concord Monitor, The Conway Daily Sun, Derry News, Foster's Daily Democrat, The Keene Sentinel, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Nashua Telegraph, N.H. Union Leader, Portsmouth Herald and Valley News (Lebanon). Participants must live in a host newspapers general circulation area.

Each participating newspaper will select two local winners from grades 5 through 8 and up to two local winners from grades 9 through 12. These local winners will become statewide finalists. From these finalists, the state Supreme Court will select one statewide winner in each age category.

All statewide finalists, their families and teachers will be honored at a reception at the Supreme Court building in November.

For complete rules, research links and a required entry form, please visit www.courts.state.nh.us/student/contest.htm.

 

 

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 584

Laconia Police issue warning about countefeit bills

LACONIA — Police are warning residents that there have been several incidents of counterfeit bills being passed in the city.

Most of them have been $50 and $20 bills and police said they are very good likenesses.

The LPD is working with the Secret Service (a Division of the U.S. Department of Treasury) on the matter.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 326