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Year-Round Library will ask Gilmanton voters for $52,500

GILMANTON — The Board of Directors for the Year-Round Public Library has decided to ask the town for $52,500 for operating costs for 2014.

Association President Anne Kirby said yesterday the board met earlier this week and decided to commit to privately raising $18,000 of the annual operating budget of $70,500.

"We want to show good faith," she said. "We thought we could raise the $18,000."

The $52,500 will be petitioned on to the annual town warrant for 2014. The March vote on the matter will be the second election for Gilmanton since the taxpayers voted in 2012 to adopt the provisions of RSA 40:13 or the Official Ballot — commonly referred to as SB-2.

In 2013, voters narrowly rejected a petitioned warrant article for $45,000 for operation expenses at the privately constructed Year-Round Library — the second time in its four-year history that the request failed. The first time was in 2009, which was the year the facility across Rte. 140 from the town school opened.

The Year-Round Library is a 501(c)(3) incorporated non-for-profit business. It is governed by an 11-person board of directors and is audited annually.

After voters rejected the warrant article in 2013, library directors and supporters mounted a fund-raising campaign and have been able to keep the library open. Kirby said they have raised enough money to stay open until March of 2014.

In an recent letter to the editor, Kirby wrote that the library won't be able to stay open without some town support.

"But the reality is, to stay open past March 2014 we need your help. It is imperative that the library be recognized as a town-supported community resource," she wrote.

There is a $125,000 endowment and a portion of that is used to offset utilities. All totaled Kirby estimated the Year-Round Library costs about $120,000 annually to operate with all by $70,500 offset by numerous volunteer labor.

Kirby said yesterday that the board of directors knows there are grants available, however the library won't qualify without some town financial support.

When asked, she said the board has had no recent official communications with the Selectboard.

She said there has been some efforts to coordinate some of their activities with the Gilmanton Library Trustees who manage the seasonal library in the Iron Works portion of town and the Gilmanton Library that is at the "four corners".

"There was an earlier attempt to come up with a joint E-books project but it was just too expensive," she said.

"My hope is that some day we can figure out a way to provide the best library services to the residents of Gilmanton," Kirby continued.

She said the Year-Round Library has become a part of the community. According to Kirby there are 1,500 card holders and 22 after-school programs for children.

So far this year, there have been 10,023 transactions and 6,448 total visitors including children, teens, and adults. One-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-seven people have participated in the programs at the Year-Round Library that include Story Time, Teen Night, a Loon Program, Bear Program and Bobcat Program, and a Food Festival. The Year Round Library offered a day care program for children whose parents attended the 2013 Town Meeting Deliberative Session.

On Thursday, because it is American Education Week, Kirby said there is a teacher appreciation reception during the late afternoon to honor staff at the Gilmanton Elementary School.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 November 2013 01:10

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Boy Scout Troop 68 club house has become target of repeated vandalism

LACONIA — Police continue to investigate at least two break-ins at the Boy Scout club house located behind the St. Joseph Church and Holy Cross Catholic School, in the parking lot.

According to Capt. Matt Canfield the first burglary and act of vandalism occurred on October 20 when it appears someone or some people entered the wooden building and sprayed the inside with the fire extinguishers.

Police said at the time some juice boxes were stolen as well as a ladder.

They were alerted to the vandalism and break-in by two adult leaders who reported it.

On November 10, police responded again to the Boy Scout club house and again found a significant amount of vandalism. Troop 68 Committee Chair Tara Shore said that incident of vandalism was "much worse" than the previous one.

Canfield said the vandals broke a window to get access and again sprayed the fire extinguishers. He said this time they even sprayed a closet.

He also said they turned over the tables and broke some plaques that were hanging on the wall. He said a tent was stolen.

Shore said yesterday that members have noticed some unusual activities at the club house that occurred during the past six month that included some missing food.

Canfield also said he spoke to Rev. Mark Drouin — the pastor of  St. Andre Bessette Parish, who told him one of  locks on a storage shed on the property were broken earlier this week but that it wasn't reported to police at the time.

Shore said Troop 68 will be celebrating its 75th year of service to Laconia and its boys and they hope to be able to hold the festivities at the club house. She said they are all working hard to repair it and get it ready for the celebration.

If anyone has any information about the burglaries and vandalism or sees any suspicious activity in the area they are asked to call 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 November 2013 01:03

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Tilton tax commitment for 2013 up just 1.1%

TILTON — The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has set the 2013 property tax rate at $18.30 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of a nickel, or 0.3 percent.

The amount to be raised taxes rose by $115,331, or 1.1 percent, from $10,246,755 to $10, 362,086, while the total assessed valuation grew by $3,073,978, or 0.6 percent, from $517,240,940 to 520,314,918.

The town tax dropped from $6.68 to $6.55 and the county tax from $1.35 to $1.29 while the local school tax increased from $7.82 to $8.02 and the state education tax from $2.40 to $2.44.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 01:56

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City Council gives final approval of School District's borrowing of $1.8 million

LACONIA — The City Council this week authorized the School District to borrow $1,828,000 in the form of a federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond, or QZAB, the proceeds of which will be applied to renovations and improvements at Laconia High School.

The vote came after a legally required public hearing was opened and closed without anyone offering testimony. The only dissenting vote came from Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) who did not speak to the issue but had registered her objections before the measure passed at a first reading on Oct. 28.

The bond, which has a term of 23 years and bears no interest, will be repaid in annual payments of $78,260 beginning in 2015. School Superintendent Terri Forsten assured the council that the debt service would be defrayed with funds from the School District's annual operating budgets. In addition, funding requires a local match of 10 percent in cash or in-kind, which Ed Emond, business administrator of the School District would be met with contributions to the capital campaign initially launched to fund the expansion and renovation of the Huot Regional Technical Education Center and reconfiguration of the high school playing fields.

The funds will be used to address health and safety issues, including installation of a sprinkler system and air handlers as well as removing asbestos and radon gas. If there are sufficient funds remaining the electrical systems in most classrooms would be upgraded, the bleachers in the gymnasium brought up to code, emergency lighting replaced with LED units and the main entrance secured.

The QZAB is the second the School District has accepted in four years. Earlier the district borrowed $6.5 million as part of the $16.8-million financing package to undertake major improvements at the high school and Huot Center.

Laconia was the only school district in the state to express interest in the QZAB, which is awarded by the federal government and administered by the New Hampshire Department of Education. To qualify more than 35 percent of the students enrolled in the district must be eligible for free or reduced lunch, a threshold Laconia, where 53 percent of students qualify, easily exceeds.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 01:41

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