Meredith Selectboard proposes 2015 town budget that is almost flat

MEREDITH — The Board of Selectmen will propose a town budget of $13,850,159 for 2015, which represents an increase of just $9,485, or less than 1 percent, over the total appropriation recommended in 2014.

The proposed operating budget of $11,538,371, excluding the water and sewer funds, is $188,074 more than 2014, but the increase is more than offset by a $272,859 reduction is proposed capital expenditures. This year $652,859 was appropriated for capital expenses, of which transfers to expendable trust funds, which are dedicated to funding future projects and purchases with cash, accounted for $375,000 and the remainder, $277,859, was appropriated for capital projects. In 2015, the selectmen propose transferring $380,000 to expendable trust funds and making no appropriations for capital projects.

Town Manager Phil Warren said that he anticipates some minor adjustments to the budget, but no "material" changes.

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Man charged for alleged lewd acts at city beach last summer arrested in Hot Springs, Ark.

LACONIA — A transient wanted on charges of indecent exposure and lewdness arising from an incident near the Opechee Point Beach last summer was arrested in Hot Springs, Arkansas this week.

Daniel King, a registered sex offender last known to be living in his car in or around Concord, was taken into custody by officers of the Garland County Sheriff's Department and Fugitive Task Force of the United States Marshal's Service. He faces a federal charge as a fugitive from justice and will extradited to face charges in New Hampshire.

Following a month long investigation, Laconia police identified King as the man who allegedly exposed himself to several juveniles in Opechee Park on the afternoon of September 1. King was convicted on three counts of indecent exposure and lewdness in 2006 as well as one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of felonious sexual assault, both involving a child younger than 13, in 1991.

The incident at Opechee Park remains under investigation and police urge anyone with information about it to contact the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or call the Greater Laconia Crimeline at 524-1717.

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Woman says alleged hotel rapist ried her up & threatened her

GILFORD — Complaints obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday said that accused hotel room rapist Douglas Fisher forced his way into the victim's room, tied her hands behind her back, and threatened to kill her.

Douglas Fisher, 54, of 51 Lake St. Apt. A in Gilford also allegedly stole money from the victim after allegedly forcing her to perform oral sex.

Fisher is being held on $100,000 cash bail after being arrested Wednesday and appearing the same day in court.

Police also confirmed yesterday that 51 Lake Street is a property owned by The Margate Resort, where the attack allegedly occurred.

Fisher has been on probation for the sale and possession of a drug — a charge that was initially brought forward by Lacona Police in 2011.

He also has two convictions for driving while intoxicated — one from 2012 and one from 2013 when he backed into a Laconia Police cruiser while plowing snow at The Margate.

Fisher is scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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Gilford Zoning Board declines rehearing on solar panel farm proposal

GILFORD — The Gilford Zoning Board of Adjustment again denied a request for a rehearing from a local man who wants to build a solar panel farm on his property on Kimball Road earlier this week.

The board had previously denied an appeal made by Williard Drew of the Inns and Motels of the Lakes Region on October 18, saying the appeal came more than 30 days after the decision.

In a motion for a rehearing, Drew's attorney, Phil Brouillard cried foul, saying Drew's appeal doesn't challenge the ZBA's interpretation of a zoning ordinance but rather challenges the ordinance itself.

He claims the ordinance and it application constitutes a violation of equal protection and a "taking" — in legal terms something that deprives the owner of reasonable property value by enacting a government regulation.

Brouillard also objected to the way Drew's appeal was handled.

He noted that the ZBA, the Planning Board, the Town Attorney and the Planning Department had been discussing Drew's request for 370 solar panels since January of 2014.

The Planning Board deferred the decision to the Zoning Board until July of 2014, but because neither Drew nor Brouillard had received prior notice of the motion as drafted by the Town Attorney it delayed action until August 18.

At the August 18 meeting the planning director was absent because of long-standing vacation plans and an "abnormal amount of time passed before Drew and Brouillard received written notice of the denial which was received on September 10, a few days before the deadline for the September meeting.

Brouillard said he called the Town Planner John Ayer once he got the written denial and told him he could not be ready for the September deadline but would be ready before the October 14 deadline for submissions for the November meeting.

He said that during the discussions he had with Ayer, the 30-day deadline and ZBA procedures never arose, something he considered a "reasonable expectation".

At the November meeting, the ZBA denied the appeal with no discussion because it was beyond the 30-day deadline.

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