Gilford town administrator advocates for renovating town hall

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — Town Administrator Scott Dunn made his final pitch to the Budget Committee Thursday night about supporting the Phase II repairs to the town offices.

The original warrant article asked for $525,000 to complete the project but the cost is higher than what was anticipated largely because of the estimated cost of $400,000 to repair the heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Last week, the Budget Committee voted not to recommend it on the warrant.

Dunn said he reached out to a third contractor who told him the work could possibly be done for $200,000. With that new information, Dunn said selectmen would likely change the warrant article to ask for $450,000 and not $525,000.

Phase II of the town hall renovation project, said Dunn, would not only replace the entire HVAC system, but would landscape the lot, replace all of the old flooring, and change out the 30-year-old water tank to one with higher pressure.

Dunn told the committee that the project has been on the approved Capital Improvement Plan since 2012 and would be paid for from the undesignated surplus, meaning no new tax dollars would be needed.

He said that a $450,000 the town would also add an impound lot for the police department and a vault for storage back into the project. Those items had been removed because of the high costs of the HVAC system.

"My goal is to get you folks to realize we need to do something," said Dunn. "Let the selectmen come up with a new warrant article."

Budget Committee Vice Chairman Kevin Leandro said he would like to see the job completed for less than $450,000 but School Board representative to the Budget Committee Chris McDonough said he wants to see the proposal dropped by at least $200,000.

McDonough said that people need to remember that the unexpended fund balance or surplus is money that has already been raised through taxes and still belongs to the Gilford taxpayer.

"I see the value but I just don't want to overspend," McDonough said.

Dunn said he would talk to selectmen at their next meeting and if they could agree on a number, they would recommended any changes at the upcoming deliberative session of Town Meeting on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Gilford High School Auditorium.

Car backs into Laconia clinic, breaks window

LACONIA — A woman driving a 2006 Toyota Highlander backed her car into the west side of the Laconia Clinic Friday morning, breaking the glass in the reception area and harmed a receptionist sitting inside.

Police said Patsy Buteau, 56, of Moultonborough was driving the car. She was treated at the scene and transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for a minor head injury.

Receptionist Benita McCauley, 55, of Gilmanton was treated at the scene by personnel from the Laconia Fire Department for minor cuts and bruises.

Police are still investigating the crash and anyone with any information or who witnessed it is asked to call Officer Holly Callanan at 524-5252.

– Gail Ober

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Man injured when hit by car on Union Avenue

LACONIA — A 23-year-old man was treated for minor injuries after he was struck by a car near the area of Barton's Hotel on Union Avenue Thursday at 5:33 p.m.

Police said the car, driven by Bruce Wright, 62, of Gilford knocked Bryant Godin of Laconia to the ground.

Godin was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital by ambulance for treatment of minor injuries.

Police said that alcohol and speed have been eliminated as a reason for the incident. Anyone with any information is asked to call Officer Michelle Cardinal at 524-5252.

– Gail Ober

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