By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu has included the sale of the former Laconia State School property on North Main Street in his proposed budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
Sununu has directed the Commissioner of Administrative Services to sell the property without requiring the transaction to be reviewed and approved by the Long Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee. The budget directs the commissioner of administrative services to present quarterly reports to the Fiscal Committee of the Legislature on the progress of the sale.
Sununu's recommendation mirrors that of his predecessor, Gov. Maggie Hassan, who also proposed selling the selling the property on the same terms during the current biennium ending on June 30, 2017. However, while the current budget projects $2 million in proceeds from the transaction, Sununu has not specified a projected return from the sale.
The governor's budget also includes appropriations of $271,405 in each year of the coming biennium to maintain and secure the property.
Meanwhile, the Senate and the House of Representatives have each endorsed different bills bearing on the sale of the property. Senate Bill 36, sponsored by Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem, the President of the Senate, would convene a committee to consider the sale and make a recommendation to the governor by April 1. Morse, who first proposed selling the property in 2010, bristles at the annual cost of maintaining it and has repeatedly said he wants it "off the state's books."
On the other hand, Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), who has been reluctant to part with the property, sponsored House Bill 340, which would require any sale to be reviewed and approved by the Long Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee, of which he is a longtime member.
Chandler said Monday that he and Morse are scheduled to meet in hopes of reaching agreement over their two bills.
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