By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
SANBORNTON — While Fire Chief Paul Dexter's request to hire two full-time firefighters will cost taxpayers the most money, warrant articles to replace the Parks and Recreation Building, to charge a fee for picking the metal pile, and to regulate noise in public places also promise to spark some controversy.
Last year, two buildings housing the Parks and Recreation Department were demolished after Primex, which carries the town's property and liability insurance, advised that they posed a hazard. Subsequently, the Parks and Recreation board approached both the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee with a request to replace the buildings with a new structure at the town park at a cost of $98,000.
Both the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee declined to endorse the project. Dave Nickerson, who chairs the selectboard, told voters last week that the commission failed to accompany its request with specific plans for the building.
The warrant article asks voters to approve withdrawing $12,000 from the nonlapsing fund of the Parks and Recreation and Department and raising $86,000 from property taxes to undertake the project. Neither the Board of Selectmen nor the Budget Committee has endorsed the proposal.
The metal pile has been a source of controversy since last fall when, again on advice from Primex, the selectmen announced that the "swap shop" at the Transfer Station where residents collect and reuse appliances, housewares, clothing, books and so on discarded by others, would be closed. Residents easily overcame the reluctance of the selectmen to hold a special town meeting and, shortly before Christmas, voters overwhelmingly reversed the board's decision.
The metal pile, which the team from Primex claimed posed the greatest risk of liability to the town, was the most contentious component of the swap shop. However, despite suggestions to regulate access, the metal pile was reopened without restrictions. Instead, both the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee endorsed a warrant article that would introduce fees against metal removed from the pile, based on the weight of the particular item and the prevailing market price for scrap metal as established by the selectmen. The proceeds would be deposited in the general fund.
The Board of Selectmen has also recommended a warrant article affirming that it is "public policy to regulate unnecessary noise in the public highways, sidewalks, commons and other public places." The article cites two state statutes, one simply authorizing municipalities to regulate Noise and another authorizing the selectmen to regulate "public highways, sidewalks, commons and other public places." The article does not specify how the selectboard intends to define or address "unnecessary noise" other than infractions would be prosecuted as "disorderly action."
The Sanbornton Town Meeting takes place tomorrow at 7 p.m., at Sanbornton Central School. Elections take place today.
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