MeredithMay2017

School Board transfers money to provide raises to non-union employees

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — The School Board unanimously approved $192,840 in transfers on July 28 between salary lines so as to give non-union employees a 3 percent raise that was not approved by voters at the March annual Town Meeting.

When voters rejected the operating budget, the default budget, which was slightly lower, went into effect but didn't include the 3 percent raises but did include some money in line items that was no longer needed.

"The School Board used their power to do specifically what the voters didn't want them to do," Gilford Budget Committee Chairman Norman Silber said.

The default budget, according to state law, is composed of the previous year's budget, plus all contractual expenses and minus all one-time or nonrecurring expenses.

District Business Administrator Scott Isabelle told the board that the transfers needed to be made before the administration and the School Board could begin the process of developing next year's operating and default budgets.

During the 2016-17 budget preparation, the school district and the Budget Committee included contractual raises for all union employees of 1 percent plus a step increase, which averaged 3 percent per person.

After considerable discussion by both boards, a 3 percent raise was included in the proposed operating budget but, by law, could not be included in the default budget.

Isabelle said the money transferred came from line-item savings that were included in the default budget but not in the proposed operations budget such as the elimination of a reading teacher, an elementary music teacher who retired and was replaced by someone with a lower salary, the early retirement of a teacher in the Special Education department, and the difference between the new superintendent's salary and the retired superintendent's salary.

He said there are also savings in the retirement support line and from the salary tech coordinator line at the high school.

The transfers went to about 20 salary lines for employees who are not union members and were spread throughout the district.

Silber said that the voters specifically rejected the 3 percent increases in non-union salaries when they declined to support the operating budget and allowed the default budget to go into effect for the 2016-17 school year.

 


Fire ‘N Stone in Tilton still open and ready for business after fire

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

TILTON — Fire 'N Stone owner Angelo Farruggia said Wednesday that his company is operating, albeit for a while without a showroom.

Farruggia said they have a lot of work to do to get the showroom back in order, but the company still has a 4,000 square-foot warehouse and employees who can do all of the fireplace and related work needed.

"We're grateful that nobody got hurt, but we have a lot of stuff to do and want to get it done quickly."

He went on to say that this is one of the most important times for people to prepare for winter and that he and his staff are there to assist.

Farruggia is setting up a temporary off-site office and the company will still be reachable by the same phone number at 293-4040. He said all people need to do is call for an appointment and all of their needs will be met.

"I am also very humbled," said Farruggia, who said the outpouring of support for him and his employees from the customers and community has been overwhelming and very kind.

"People have offered us temporary office space and temporary showroom space," he said. "And we are very grateful."

"The fire was a freak accident and it escalated very quickly," said Farruggia. "But it'll be back and better than ever."

Jordan’s opening at Funspot delayed

LACONIA — Jordan's Ice Creamery, a landmark in Belmont for the past 22 years, has postponed the opening of its ice cream stand at Funspot until next summer.

Craig Jordan, who manages the enterprise begun by father and mother, said that he originally intended to open this year, but construction of the building that will house the operation has been delayed. As time has passed he said it would not be worthwhile to open so near the end of the summer season.

"We will open in the spring of 2017," Jordan said, adding that the shop at Funspot will be a mirror image of the firm's flagship in Belmont, where nearly 30 flavors of ice cream are made and served alongside sugar-free ice creams and low-fat and no-fat yogurts in cones of four sizes as well as the "belly Buster," a bucket brimming with five scoops and toppings.

– Michael Kitch

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