Tierney named executive director of Laconia Historical and Museum Society

LACONIA — Pat Tierney, the new executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, said he realizes he has a tough act to follow in replacing Brenda Kean, who last month left the position she held for three years to become activities director of the Taylor Home.
"She did a great job and always stayed on top of new projects that got a lot of people involved,'' said Tierney, who added he will continue with the projects she had worked on to make the society more visible in the community.
A 1970 graduate of Laconia High School, Tierney went to the University of New Hampshire where he studied theater arts and worked as a professional actor with New England Repertory Company. He even spent time in Hollywood before moving back to New Hampshire in the early 1980s and joined the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth as a technical director and actor.
He retired in 2009 after 29 years as a diver for a contractors supply company and currently is a contract worker for the Actors Equity Association, a part-time position which gives him lots of time to devote to his new position.
"I'm looking to put in 25 to 30 quality hours a week, which is what the board directors tell me they want. We have a good proactive 16-member board which is really involved. It's a good team and we're going to make it work," said Tierney.
He's already brought honors to the city, having played a key role in a commendation Gov. Maggie Hassan made to the city in 2014 in connection with a research and lecture program of the LMHS dealing with the Laconia Grant of 1629 — a proclamation made during the reign of King Charles I of England which granted a large swath of land in North America to the Laconia Company with the intention of fostering a large settlement which would be known as the "province of Laconia."
The research by Tierney, a member of the board of directors of LMHS at that time, shows that the Laconia grant encompassed a large area 80 to 100 miles inland from the coast of what is now Northern New England. Tierney said the name Laconia most likely comes from Middle English and was used to designate an area containing lakes.
Tierney says that the name Laconia is emblazoned across a large part of New Hampshire and Maine in a map shown in Horace Scudder's 1884 history book "A History of the United States of America."
He said that the historical significance of use of the name Laconia seems largely lost for a long period of time and traces it in part to the English Civil War, which started in 1640 and pitted Royalist Anglicans against the Puritans and saw the beheading of Charles I in 1649 and the establishment of an English government run by Oliver Cromwell which attempted to change and suppress actions taken by those loyal to the king and during the reign of Charles 1.
It wasn't until 1660 that England reestablished the monarchy but many legal battles, which lasted until 1746, followed over the right to soil within the Laconia grant. He said that those legal battles with the heirs of the original proprietor John Mason also kept the Laconia name from common use.

Gilmanton selectboard adopts official funds balance policy

GILMANTON — Selectmen unanimously passed a funds balance policy Monday night during it regularly scheduled meeting that, in part, will codify the way the it treats any surplus money raised by taxes but not spent.

Board Chairman Rachel Hatch said yesterday that this was something the board had requested from Town Administrator Paul Branscombe. She said it was first presented about six weeks ago but the board members wanted some time to review it.

The policy, said Branscombe, is aligned with the state recommendations for surplus fund balances and with the Government Accounting Standards Board.

Basically, the policy defines five ways money can be held in a fund balance:

• Nonspendable fund balances such as trusts and non-cash items like inventories;

• Restricted fund balances such as grants, and income balances of permanent funds, and capital funds where the purpose cannot be changed;

• Committed fund balances, or amounts that can only used for specific purposes like expendable trusts, non-lapsing appropriations, and other special revenue funds not listed under restrictions that can change purpose via annual Town Meeting;

• Assigned fund balances, which are amounts intended by the governing board for specific purposes – in this case, the board may assign authority to the Town Administrator or Finance Officer depending on circumstances; and

• The unassigned fund balance, which is the surplus after subtracting all of the above items.

The policy delineates the priorities of when an expenditure is made and says that if one is qualified for payment with either restricted or unrestricted funds, the restricted funds must be used first.

When an expenditure is incurred that qualifies for payment from any of the three unrestricted funds, it is in the following order: committed funds, the assigned funds and then unassigned funds.

In emergencies, the town will follow the provisions of the Municipal Budget Law.

The town will maintain the level of unassigned fund balances between 10 and 15 percent of the general funds operating expenses as is recommended by the New Hampshire Government Finance Officers Association.

Branscombe said the current surplus is within those guidelines.

Gilmanton to consider school budget tonight

GILMANTON — The proposed $10,518,428 Gilmanton School District budget will be discussed in a Budget Committee public hearing at 7 p.m. in the Academy Building tonight.

School Superintendent John Fauci said yesterday that the proposed budget is a level-service budget and is up by 1.3 percent from a current year budget of $10,361,713.

"Our budget is up and down depending on the number of students we send to Gilford High School," Fauci said.

He said he anticipates the Budget Committee will add between $18,000 and $19,000 tonight for an new student who will attend Gilford High School next school year.

The main drivers behind the $150,000 increase are health insurance contributions and the collective bargaining agreements that contractually call for a 3.5 percent step and cost-of-living increase, he said.

Fauci said there are a couple of pilot programs, each budgeted at around $6,000 for next year.

"If they don't work out, then we won't budget for them in the future and will give some money back. If they do, then we'll consider including the money in next year's budget request," said Fauci.

Fauci said they are considering two petitioned warrant articles. The first would repeal RSA 40:13, the official ballot law, commonly referred to as SB2. If passed by a three-fifths vote, the school district will revert to the traditional School District Meeting, at which voting takes place during the meeting instead of on Election Day.

The second article would prohibit the school from employing people who have relatives on the School Board.