Meredith selectmen recommend $14.2 million operating budget

By Michael Kitch
THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — After a public hearing, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously last night to recommend a budget for 2016 of $14,168,843, which represents an increase in expenditures of $119,807 or 0.8 percent, to voters at Town Meeting on March 9.
With revenues from sources other than property taxes projected to shrink, the budget maintains current levels of service, representing a continued reduction in services from 2008, to which the total amount raised by property taxes is benchmarked.
The budget includes a 2 percent wage adjustment and merit raise for qualified employees. There are appropriations for the purchase of vehicles and equipment, including $250,000 for a tub grinder for the solid waste facility, as well as additions to expendable trust funds for replacing vehicles and equipment for the Department of Public Works and Fire Department.
Revenues from sources other than property taxes are projected to decline by $483,513, or 9.3 percent, from $5,211,813 in 2015 to $4,728,300 in 2016, leaving $8,951.293 to be raised by property taxes. With no change in the total assessed valuation of $1,749,719,547, the town portion of tax rate is projected to rise by 28 cents, from $4.81 to $5.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 5.8 percent.
Marc Abear said that “the economy is not growing at 5.8 percent, Social Security is not growing at 5.8 percent and the incomes of residents are not growing at 5.8 percent” and said it was hard to understand how to square a constant level of service with a 5.8 increase in the budget. Warning of “an ever increasing spiral,” he asked, “How do we match the income of the community with the needs of the town?”
Selectman Ray Moritz explained that the 5.8 percent applies to the town tax rate and that recommended increase in the budget is less than 1 percent, which he described as “negligible.”

Three file for re-election
The composition of the Board of Selectmen is unlikely to change with the election next. Incumbents Nate Torr, Jonathan James and Mike Pelczar were the only candidates to file for the three open seats and appear to be returning without opposition.

New boutique means to make every girl a prom princess

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — "Every girl deserves the opportunity to experience the magic of her first prom," said Kimberly Ainsworth, who in partnership with the Laconia Community Center is opening the Bip Boppity Boutique, with an inventory of donated dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories to adorn princesses for the occasion.

"I missed my own prom because of the cost," said Ainsworth, explaining that the price of a dress and shoes, along with hair styling and makeup, can easily top $200. She said that her own daughter enjoyed her junior and senior proms in dresses donated by the Cinderella Project in Dover. "She just lit up on finding the right dress and felt like a princess," Ainsworth said.

Her experience prompted Ainsworth to offer the same service to the girls of the Lakes Region. The boutique will operate on the upper level of the Community Center, where Ainsworth has decorated and outfitted four dressing rooms. She has begun soliciting donations in anticipation of opening on April 1. She said that she also hopes to arrange with local dry cleaners and seamstresses to clean and alter dresses at discounted costs and noted that both Avon and Mary Kay have contributed sample make-up products for the girls.

"It's all geared to the girls and their special day," Ainsworth said. "It's all about them having the opportunity to find the dress they feel is perfect. You want them to feel really good about themselves at that age."

Ainsworth said that donations are being accepted at the Laconia Community Center on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. until March 25 and girls may begin scheduling appointments after April 1 to select their dresses. For more information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 630-8510.

Kimberly Ainsworth has gathered prom dresses for the Bip Boppity Boutique at the Laconia Community Center for girls who have trouble affording the cost of a new dress. She is accepting donations in anticipation of the store's April 1 opening. (Courtesy Photo)

Kimberly Ainsworth has gathered prom dresses for the Bip Boppity Boutique at the Laconia Community Center for girls who have trouble affording the cost of a new dress. She is accepting donations in anticipation of the store's April 1 opening. (Courtesy Photo)

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Voters will be asked for photo ID but can vote even without it

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Voters casting ballots in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary on Tuesday, Feb. 9, will follow the same procedure that applied in the municipal election last November.

Election officials will ask all voters to present valid photographic identification. The types of identification include a driver's license issued by any state or the federal government, a non-driver identification card issued by the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles or its counterpart in another state, an identification card issued for "voting identification only" by the Division of Motor Vehicles, an identification card issued by any branch of the United States armed services, a United States passport or passcard, and a New Hampshire student identification card issued by a college or university licensed to operate in the state or a public or private high school.

In addition, the election officials may determine other forms of identification to be legitimate. However, if an authorized person challenges their decision, the voter must complete a challenged voter affidavit before obtaining a ballot. Likewise, election officials may verify a person's identity, but again, if challenged, the voter must complete a challenged voter affidavit.

Any voter who either does not have or refuses to present valid photographic identification will only be permitted after completing a challenged voter affidavit and having their photograph taken by election officials.

Voters who complete a challenged voter affidavit on election day will receive a letter from the New Hampshire Secretary of State requesting confirmation that they cast ballots. If they fail to respond within 90 days of the mailing date, the New Hampshire Attorney General will conduct an investigation to determine whether a fraudulent ballot was cast.

For more information, contact the City Clerk at 527-1265 or the New Hampshire Secretary of State at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The Presidential Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. City polling locations are as follows:

Ward 1
Belknap County Nursing Home
30 County Drive.

Ward 2
St Andre Bessette Parish Hall
31 Gilford Avenue

Ward 3
Laconia Middle School - Multipurpose Room
150 McGrath Street

Ward 4
New Covenant Church @ Memorial Park Clubhouse
31 Lindsay Court

Ward 5
Woodland Heights Elementary School - Gymnasium
225 Winter Street Ext.

Ward 6
Leavitt Park Club House
334 Elm Street

For a map defining the wards, see https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=43.550041%2C-71.470356&spn=0.084851%2C0.137501&hl=en&msa=0&z=13&ie=UTF8&mid=zR5OJUfBn7WQ.ko1jNPpQT-kQ.

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