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Jail committee will look at temp buildings

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners will ask the County Jail Planning Committee to look at a Plan B for dealing with crowding at the Belknap County House of Correction, which has led to the outsourcing of many inmates to facilities in other counties.
That plan would be creation of a temporary adult detention annex for as many as as 50 prisoners, which would free up program space inside the current facility, which has a capacity of 120 inmates but which has had as many as 151 on some days in recent months,.
County Administrator Debra Shackett broached the possibility of a Plan B at Wednesday morning's meeting after pointing out that there was no public support at present for moving ahead with plans for a new facility, but there were many things which needed to be done at the jail.
She said that temporary housing for 50 inmates would allow the county to bring back all of the outsourced prisoners while utilizing some of the existing space which would be freed up in the jail for programs designed to help released inmates adjust to life in the community, which could lower recidivism.
''We would need additional staff and supervision but need to look at how the county would best be served while we wait for a new facility. The situation is bad and is getting worse,'' said Shackett.
She dusted off a 30-month-old contract proposal from a Georgia firm which builds and installs temporary detention facilities for a 32-unit facility which would cost $1.26 million over three years.
The proposed contract called for $315,360 to put the temporary facility in place and for payments of $78,840 over the next 12 quarters.
''The numbers are old and outdated.'' she told commissioners Steven Nedeau and Ed Philpot (Chairman John Thomas is on vacation), who said that they were still interested in the proposal.
''Let's do a current number and get more information and get those to the Jail Planning Committee.'' said Philpot, who said that he did not see the plan in any way as ''a potential permanent solution'' but that it deserved study and would be discussed at next week's Jail Planning Committee meeting.
He said that it would be particularly important to work with Department of Corrections Superintendent Daniel Ward to obtain figures which would show the difference in costs between temporary facilities and outsourcing.
Nedeau said the plan was ''a good suggestion'' and said that there are many costs associated with outsourcing which aren't reflected in the arrangement recently reached with Hillsborough County for housing Belknap County prisoners.
Philpot said that it would be important to hear from Sheriff Craig Wiggin about additional costs that outsourcing creates for his department, especially transportation and overtime costs.
Commissioners also heard more about potential future expenditures at the jail when they reviewed a list of capital improvement projects that they will take up during budget review sessions next week.
Largest item of the capital improvements plans proposal is $ 1 million for the heating, ventilation and air condition system at the House of Corrections.
Other items listed for consideration in 2014 include $250,000 for renovation of space in the Belknap County Courthouse which would be shared by the Probate Court and the county's Department of Restorative Justice, $120,000 for replacement of the A/C unit for the administrative offices and Sheriff's Department, $100,000 for a new county complex surveillance system, $100,000 for reconstruction and repaving of County Drive and $60,000 for replacement of courthouse windows.
On tap in 2015 is $580,000 for a new roof for the Belknap County complex.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 01:03

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Belmont dealer says they didn't offer a penny for truck

BELMONT — The Seavey Road car dealership had nothing to do with the alleged attempt by Gilmanton resident Tony A. Hartford's to sell his father's truck. According to the owners of Kelso's Auto Sales, when Hartford first came to their dealership on October 25, the salesman on duty knew something was not right about Hartford and his offer to sell a 2008 GMC pickup and sent him on his way.

Relying on police affidavits filed with circuit court, The Daily Sun reported on Tuesday that the dealership paid Hartford $4,000 for the truck, which was registered in his father's identical name.

Kelso's owner John Caravona, however, said Wednesday that was not the case.  He said that a third man on the car lot that day apparently overheard the conversation between Hartford and the salesman and offered to buy the truck directly from Hartford. 

Caravona said he was not aware that any money exchanged hands but if it did, his dealership didn't participate in the transaction or have any knowledge of it.

Hartford has been charged with auto theft in Gilmanton and receiving stolen property in Belmont. He entered non-guilty pleas in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on Monday.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 October 2013 01:43

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56-year-old woman caught in Bristol drug bust

BRISTOL — A 56-year-old woman one count of possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute after police executed a search warrant at her Sugar Hill Road home.

Chief Mike Lewis said yesterday that Elizabeth French was arrested on Monday at 8:30 p.m. and appeared before Judge Thomas Rappa of the 2nd Circuit Court, Plymouth Division yesterday.

He said she is being held in the Grafton County Jail on $25,000 cash-only bail Should she post bail, Lewis said there must be a hearing to determine the source of the money.

Lewis said French's arrest comes after a lengthy investigation. He said two pound of marijuana, equipment commonly associated with packing drugs, an undisclosed amount of cash, and some oxycodone were seized. He said police also confiscated cells phones and computers.

Lewis said the investigation is still ongoing and he said French could face additional charges and there may be more arrests.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:58

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To date, Gilford has paid over $20k to suspended police chief & officer

GILFORD – It's been nine weeks since Police Chief Kevin Keenan went on a paid administrative leave and as of yesterday, town official continue to stay mum about the issue.

The Selectboard placed Keenan on leave on August 28. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Keenan is paid a weekly amount of $1,597.17.

In addition to Keenan being on paid administrative leave, Patrol Officer Holly Harris has also been on leave since the middle of September. Dunn said she is paid $24.33 per hour and the approximate amount Harris has been paid, thus far, during her absence has been $6,812.

The current police department roster, said Dunn, has 17 full-time sworn police officers and three part-time officers. In the course of their budget preparation, selectmen have approved an 18th officer although the Budget Committee has not acted yet on the request.

During Keenan's leave, Lt. James Leach has been acting chief and according to Dunn, is being paid a 5 percent differential while acting above his rank. Acting Deputy Chief Kris Kelley (also a lieutenant) is also being paid a 5-percent differential. Dunn said the 5 percent pay differential is part of the town's policy for when an employee is working a job about his or her typical pay grade.

One of the part-time officers is acting as the School Resource Officer, which is Harris's position during the school year.

Dunn also said that as of September 30, the Police Department has spent $92,281.52 in overtime. He said the budgeted amount for 2013 is $97,970.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 02:56

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