MEREDITH — A discussion of the town budget at a work session of the Meredith Selectboard Monday afternoon revealed that police detail rates are much lower in Meredith than in surrounding communities.
Board member Hilary Seeger told the board she was surprised by how reasonable her company's bill from the Police Department was for an event her company held earlier this year.
''It was half of what we paid for the same detail in Laconia last year,'' Seeger told her fellow board members. Her statement was borne out by Town Manager Phil Warren, who said that a survey of surrounding communities taken a few years ago showed that police detail rates were generally much higher in other communities compared to Meredith.
That statement prompted board member Lou Kahn to ask who the biggest user of the police detail services from the town was. Brenda Vitter, town administrative services director, said that it was the state of New Hampshire which pays its bills on time. That prompted Kahn to say, tongue on cheek, ''We're definitely billing them too little.''
Vitter gave a report on the town's fiscal situation through the first seven months of 2014 in which she said that while revenues were basically flat, so were expenditures. ''There's no significant change to where we thought we would be,'' she told the board.
She said that boat tax revenues were up abut 10 percent over what was estimated in the budget, to $33,000 to date, while revenue from motor vehicle permits was running at about the $1.2 million level of last year.
Revenue from building permits is running 20 percent behind last year, with mostly small projects being undertaken and boat launching revenues are dwn by 15 percent. Members of the board said was likely due in part to the fact that launch ramps are only manned from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. most days, and that boaters appeared to be waiting until later in the day to launch in order to avoid thec $20 fee.
Vitter said that welfare spending has been dropping and that year to date only $53,693, or about 39 percent of the $140,000 appropriated, has been spent.
That was attributed in large part to landlords no longer accepting payments from the town for rents.
''They don't want to be a vendor,'' Warren explained.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 01:05
BELMONT – A resident complained to selectmen last night about the Planning Department and her inability to get a building permit for a temporary storage container.
Donna Cilley, who is a former selectman, said she had hoped to rent a container to help out one of her relatives who is staying with her temporarily, but was told by the rental outlet that Belmont doesn't allow temporary storage containers unless they are in commercial or industrial zones.
She said she would agree to buy one and get a building permit, but was told that it would take 18 to 21 days to get one.
Cilley said there should be different levels of building processes, and said the building inspector should be able to issue building permits more quickly.
Selectman Jon Pike said he would prefer to see homeowners rent temporary storage containers because when the rental agreement on the container expires, the company that owns it comes and gets it.
He said when many people buy what they say is a temporary storage container it often ends up staying on the property forever. He said that after two years, the container should be taxed.
Pike also told Cilley that there was nothing the selectmen could do. He said she needs to take her complaint to the Planning Board.
In other business, Pike said he was not necessarily in favor of the Department of Transportation spending $6 million dollars to improve the intersection at Seavey Road and Route 106.
"Somebody's got to have a number wrong," he said. "They can't spend $6 million dollars on a two-lane road in Belmont."
Pike said his real objection is that since the DOT told the town it qualified for a federal government highway safety program improvement, the state hasn't done any paving on that section of Route 106 and that it's falling apart.
Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin explained that the improvement project has already been designed and the only role left for selectmen is to say if the town wants it or not.
The vote on the acceptance of the project was delayed until Aug. 18 because Selectman Ron Cormier wanted to weigh in on it and he was unable to attend last night's meeting.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 12:35
BELMONT – A Florida man with local ties was arrested by police early Sunday morning for allegedly stealing a pickup belonging to the Laconia School District and crashing it on Mile Hill Road.
According to complaints obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, Dennis LeFebvre, 33, of 14188 44th Court in Summerfield, Fla., was detained by Belmont Police on Dutile Road and charged with one count of receiving stolen property.
Complaints alleged LeFebvre was drunk at the time and had crashed the white 2012 Ford F-350 while on Mile Hill Road.
LeFebvre is also charged with one count of driving while intoxicated and one count of conduct after an accident for leaving the scene of the crash.
LeFebvre was ordered held on $500 cash-only bail for the felony count of receiving stolen property and $5,000 personal recognizance bail for the DWI and the leaving the scene of an accident.
As of Monday it was not known how much damage was done to the truck or if it can be repaired.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 12:48
MEREDITH — Dave and Marge Thorpe, who have lived on the shore of Lake Wicwas for the past 32 years, have been awarded the John F. Morten Award in recognition of their exemplary stewardship of the lake by the New Hampshire Lakes Association.
"I'm a little surprised and quite humbled to receive the award given all the work so many other folks have done for our lakes," Dave said yesterday. The Thorpes are the first residents of Meredith to be so honored since the late State Senator Carl Johnson received the inaugural award in 2002. Describing Marge as "more excited a nature lover than I am," Dave said that "between the two of us we make a pretty good team."
Harry Vogel, executive director of the Loon Preservation Society, called the Thorpes "the eyes and ears of the lake" and was echoed by Amy Smagula of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, who remarked "I feel comfortable knowing that Lake Wicwas is in such good hands."
The Thorpes acquired property on Lake Wicwas in 1982 and became year around residents a decade later. However, by 1984 Dave had taken responsibility for managing the water level of the lake in partnership with the town Fire Chief. He explained that the lake was created the early 1930s after being logged, dammed and flooded. Dave he volunteered to care for the dam and, as an accomplished engineer and machinist, installed a gauge to measure water levels. Thirty years later he continues to consult with Dan Leonard, Superintendent of the Water Department, about managing lake levels.
In the 1990s Dave identified structural weaknesses in the dam and suggested a new dam should be constructed, which was done with assistance of the Lake Wicwas Association (LWA) in 2006. Meanwhile, he recalled wrestling with recurrent problems caused by other engineers on the lake — beavers — more than two dozen of which were trapped and resettled.
Since they arrived on the lake the Thorpes have been mainstays of the LWA. Both have served on the Water Quality Committee since 2000 and recently arranged for students of New Hampton School to conduct water testing as part of their curriculum. Marge twice served as president of the LWA and in her first term secured a grant to acquire property placed under a conservation easement to protect Hamlin Park. The Thorpes also encouraged the New Hampshire Lakes Association to station Lake Hosts on weekends to prevent the spread of invasive species to the lake.
"The lake is in good shape," Dave said, noting that "there are no invasive weeds and we fledge a loon chick virtually every year. Although proud of sharing the award with his wife, he noted that the efforts of deserving volunteers to protect and enhance "more stressed lakes" should not be overlooked.
Tom O'Brien, executive director of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, will present the award at the annual meeting of the LWA at the Wicwas Grange on Saturday, August 2, beginning at 10 a.m.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 August 2014 12:30
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