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With construction bid now in line with budget, Gilford Town Hall renovation project will begin in Sept.

GILFORD — Selectmen have accepted a bid of $344,000 from a local construction company for the renovation of Town Hall scheduled to begin in September.

The board made its decision at the August 14 meeting, two weeks after learning that all three bids for the Town Hall renovation came in substantially higher than the $350,000 approved by warrant at the March annual town meeting ballot vote.

The lowest bid of $385,000 was submitted by PRB Construction and in late July, selectmen asked Town Administrator Scott Dunn to work with them to get a price that was at or below the amount approved by voters.

"We are pleased to be able to award this contract to a local company that will be buying its material from local vendors," Dunn said.

Dunn said the biggest thing that had to be eliminated from PRB's original bid is the sidewalks around the building. The other major change is the new steel roof will be installed on top of the existing roof rather than removing the shingles.
Dunn said the structure can handle the weight of two roofs.

The sidewalks will be included in a future Phase 2 project that would be scheduled for some time in 2016 or 2017 but only after the town completes its newest 10-year Capital Improvement Plan.

He said there is about $362,000 in the capital reserve fund set aside for the Town Hall repairs.

The biggest unknown, said Dunn, is the condition of the wood behind the siding.

"The roof has been leaking for 20 years," Dunn said.

He said the project budget has set aside $4.25 for 90 sheets of plywood that would need remediation if they are rotten. He said the contractor won't know if there is any rot until the siding is removed.

The scheduled start date is September 9 and the projected completion date is December 20.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 01:30

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Tilton story robbed at gunpoint

TILTON – Police were looking Wednesday night for a man who robbed a Rte. 3 convenience store at gunpoint in the middle of the afternoon.

Police Chief Robert Cormier reported a man walked into the Tilton Shop Express store at 622 Laconia Road in the Winnisquam section of town at about 3:30 and demanded money. The clerk said the robber was wearing a mask and pointed a gun right at him.

The clerk handed the clerk the money that was in the cash resister and the thief fed on foot behind the store.

The clerk described the suspect as a white male, tall and thin. He was wearing a dark colored, hooded sweatshirt, a dark mask and dark colored pants.

Anyone having information about the incident is asked to contact the Tilton Police Department at 286-4442 or the Tip Line at 855-286-6565.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 01:25

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Mention of performance-based pay gets icy reception at school meeting

LACONIA — School Board member at-large Mike Persson broached the topic of teacher performance-based pay Tuesday night by suggesting the school create a "fund" to be used to try and keep excellent educators in the district by augmenting their salaries.

Persson's suggestion was triggered by the recent departure of a "much loved" high school guidance counselor who left Laconia for Inter-Lakes Regional School District for what Persson said was a higher salary.

"I was sad to see we lost her for what amounts to money," Persson said.

Performance pay and teacher contracts have long been a battle ground between teachers' unions and school administrators. While it has been a long time since the subject of performance pay was broached openly in Laconia, it nonetheless hit a nerve with other board members and retired teacher and former teachers' union president Richard Coggon, who was in the audience.

While Coggon, who attends almost every meeting of the school board, didn't speak directly to performance pay, he was critical of the School Board for freezing teacher pay for the past three years "in order to keep the City Council happy."

"This is what happens when people go three years without a raise," Coggon told the board.

Other school board members looked uneasy when Persson made his statement during the board member comment period, which happens at the end of the meeting. Performance pay was not on the agenda.

Persson is the newest member of the Laconia School Board, elected in November of last year.

"The only thing we can do is look at slots within the (confines) of the teacher's contract," said School Board Chair Joe Cormier, who has been negotiating union contracts as a member of the School Board for 11 years.

Laconia's collective bargaining agreement with its teachers' union — typical to the industry — currently allows for only two factors to be taken into consideration when determining salary: 1. the number of years a teachers has been working in the district, and 2. the number of credit hours of post-graduate education the teacher has earned, assuming a Bachelors degree as a given.

Cormier said the wage freeze implemented over the past few years was city-wide and was not specific to the schools.

"Leaving a school is the result of freezing salaries," Coggon continued. "You liked the idea to please the City Council."

Coggon also cautioned that if the School Board was going to head down the path suggested by Persson, the should check first with School District attorney Paul Fitzgerald before "they all end up in Concord."

Cormier fired back by saying the district went through the city-wide freeze with the agreement of all three unions that represent different groups of employees within the School District.

He said employee departures are an "inherent risk" in any school districts with close neighbors because somebody always pays at little better.

Persson said yesterday that his goal is not to cut teacher salaries but for the district to have the ability to reward extraordinary teachers.


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 01:22

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Town holds $90k mortgage balance on Kimball Castle

GILFORD — The town of Gilford initially sold Kimball Castle with a 24-acre parcel of land for $116,000 in 1999.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said yesterday that the town holds the mortgage and Dave Jodoin, the president of Kimball Castle Properties, LLC, owes $90,000 on the balance.

The castle was initially sold to Historic Inns of New England and Jodoin was one of the three owners. When the company folded, Jodoin formed a new company, Kimball Castle Properties, LLC and continued paying the mortgage.

Dunn said the terms of the mortgage were $1,500 a year for the first five years, $2,000 a year for the second five years, and $2,500 a year for the remainder of balance of which there have been two years of payments. It was a 40-year loan and all of the proceeds go into the Kimball Castle Trust which is overseen by selectmen, who are advised by the Kimball Castle Wildlife Committee.

At the public hearing last week regarding the future of the castle and its immediate environs, there were differing amounts recalled by some of those who spoke.

Selectmen are reviewing a proposal by Jodoin to change the terms of the charitable gift made by Charlotte Kimball so that he can tear down the castle and make some changes to the easements. If selectmen and Jodoin reach some kind of agreement, it must be sent to the Office of the Attorney General and be approved by the Belknap County Superior Court before anything can be changed.

Charlotte Kimball gave the land to the town for wildlife observation and education and it is a condition of the charitable trust.

The town's building inspector condemned the building and ordered that it be torn down or that a fence be erected that would prevent people from entering it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 01:15

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