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Center Harbor tax rate goes up by 4%

CENTER HARBOR — The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has set the 2014 property tax rate at $13.73 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 54 cents, or 4 percent, over the 2013 rate of $13.19..

The total assessed valuation rose $1,134,122, or .03 percent, from $382,822,426 to $383,956,548, and the amount to be raised by property taxes increased by $218,935, or 4.4 percent, from $5,007,484 to $5,226,419.

The town portion of the property tax rate rose from $5.16 to $5.54  and the school portion from $3.92 to $4.12 while the state education tax dropped from $2.63 to $2.60 and the county tax from $1.48 to $1.47.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:29

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Gilford takes no action on funding request from LRPA

GILFORD — The Selectmen last week took no action on a held-over request for funding from Lakes Region Public Access television, after Town Administrator Scott Dunn reported that the station had yet to address the conditions the board attached to its contribution.

Dunn explained Friday that LRPA-TV has asked the town to contribute $21,393 toward the operation of Channel 25, which provides public access programming. He said that the Selectboard had asked the directors of LRPA-TV for a detailed for operating budget along with an assurance that the operations of the station have been "streamlined".

The selectmen also requested evidence that LRPA-TV had sought and obtained financial support from at least one or more of the members of the municipal consortium that negotiated the renewal of the franchise agreement with Metrocast Cablevision that have not made payments to LRPA-TV in recent years. Those municipalities are Franklin, Deerfield, Gilmanton, New Durham, Northfield and Tilton. Finally, the board asked LRPA-TV to demonstrate that it had solicited one or more corporate sponsors, in keeping with the business plan the station developed earlier this year.

Recently, the Laconia City Council agreed to pay $20,000 and the selectmen of Belmont and Meredith approved funding of $7,500 and $17,991 respectively. Alton and Northwood also made payments last year.

The board had adopted a new business model earlier this while negotiations were still underway between a consortium which represented communities which are served by MetroCast and the cable service provider on a new contract, which ended the $30,000 yearly funding that MetroCast had been providing to LRPA-TV. That model called for much lower contributions from communities served by MetroCast while seeking to raise the balance of the $129,000 budget through sponsorships and fees for service.

In October, when no municipalities had accepted the new contracts offered by LRPA-TV and the station's funds nearly exhausted, the directors convened an emergency meeting at which it decided to present to bill member municipalities based what they had contributed the year before. With funding to sustain operations until the new year, the directors are still striving to put the station on a sound financial footing.

NOTES: Police Chief Tony Bean Burpee told the Board of Selectmen that through November 14, the department had responded to 17,333 calls for service, just seven fewer it answered in all of 2013. During the same period, officers had made 465 arrests, 60, or 15-percent, more than in all of last year. He said that the 130 felony arrests fell only five shy of the number recorded in 2013. . . . . . With Selectman Richard Grenier dissenting, the Selectboard voted to recognize the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, which operates at 25 Davis Road on Smith Cove, as a charitable organization and exempt it from property taxation. The association is a non-profit corporation, which operates a youth sailing school and is developing programs to teach and enable those with physical disabilities to sail. . . . . .The work crew from the New Hampshire Department of Corrections will construct the new office at the Recycling Center at a cost of $7,600, less than half what was originally projected.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:06

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Laconia forum focuses on sustance misuse issues

LACONIA — The city of Laconia has experienced seven deaths from drug overdoses this year according to Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, who says that is the most experienced in the city since 2009 when eight lives were lost.
''It's shameful to have that many young people lose their lives,'' Adams told a crowd of about 150 people who turned out for a Substance Abuse Prevention Forum held at the Middle School last night
He said that dealing with the problem requires thinking outside of the traditional law enforcement box and doing outreach to those most in need.
Adams said that his department has 10 officers working on core issues dealing with drug abuse and that his department recently arrested seven on drug charges and expects more arrests of drug dealers shortly.
''We want to send a message to dealers coming up from Massachusetts that we're serious about protecting our community,'' Adams said.
He acknowledged that the problem extends far beyond law enforcement and that finding ways to help users rather than jailing them is of major importance.
Eric Adams, (no relation to the chief), the city's new Prevention, Enforcement and Treatment officer, said that he served for many years as an undercover narcotics officer for the state and that one of the best feelings he had about his job was ''getting those dealers off the street.'' But he says he didn't realize at that time the deep impact that drugs were having on the families of users and the communities in which they lived.
''We have to do something to break the cycle. I'm here to play a support role in this community to reach out to those dealing with substance abuse and to get them help,'' said Adams.
Clare Persson, chair of Stand Up Laconia, which organized the forum, which was preceded by an Empty Bowls dinner hosted by students, said that the growing drug epidemic in the city, largely heroin, which has claimed four lives in the past two weeks, needs action on many fronts by concerned citizens, whom she urged to get involved with organizations like Stand Up and Better Together.
''This is our town and we're not putting up with it anymore,'' she said.
Laconia High School Principal Jim McCollum and Superintendent of Schools Terry Fostern described programs being offered in city schools to help at risk students and their families cope with the challenges of drug abuse as well as the positive behavior programs available and educational efforts underway.
McCollum noted that half of the students at the high school are taking part in sports programs, which he said provide them with the kind of relationships they need to develop healthy behaviors.
Lisa Morris of the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health said that research shows that youths are 50 percent less likely to substance abuse if their parents express their disapproval and engage in regular dialogue about making healthy choices.
She also pointed out that there is cause for concern in New Hampshire where numbers show that the state is in the top 10 in the rate of marijuana use for those aged 12-20 and second in the nation in alcohol use by those aged 12-20.
Kathy Sorell of Meredith, a Salvation Army volunteer who works with homeless people in the city, said that many people showed up at an event she organized on a recent Saturday morning at Rotary Park in downtown Laconia .
''The tragic deaths a few weeks ago brought many of their friends and family members out. I really believe we're at a tipping point and people know we've got to do something. '' she said.


Eric Adams, Prevention, Enforcement and Treatment officer for the Laconia Police Department, speaks at a Substance Abuse Prevention Forum held at Laconia Middle School Thursday night. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 02:25

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Bownes off the hook for alleged assault of police officer

CONCORD — The charge against City Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2), who was scheduled to stand trial for simple assault today in 6th Circuit Court, Concord Division, has been dropped under the terms of an agreement negotiated last month.

The charge arose from an incident last May when Loudon police alleged Bownes, an attorney, caused "unprivileged contact" with Corporal Jason Fiske at an automotive repair shop on Mudgett Hill Road.

Concord prosecutor Tracy Connolly agreed to drop the charge of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and replace it with a charge of criminal trespass, a violation, alleging that Bownes entered the secured impound lot of J &D Repairs, LLC knowing he was not entitled to do so. Judge John Coughlin approved the agreement on October 24, dropping the complaint of simple assault, and and a week later filed the complaint of criminal trespass without a finding, which on condition of good behavior will be dismissed after 90 days.

Bownesrepresents clients who are being sued for their part in a road accident that claimed the life of motorcyclist. His client's vehicle was impounded at J&D Repairs and Bownes was at the lot when the attorney representing the estate of the deceased and independent experts inspected the vehicle.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 02:01

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