Pace of Construction Quickens

LACONIA — During the first nine months of 2014 — from April 1 to Dec. 31 — the city issued building permits worth $24.5 million in construction value compared to $13.3 million in 2013 and $10.6 million in 2012.

The value of new construction added during the tax year, which runs from April 1 to the following March 31, is one of two factors applied to calculate the increase in the amount to be raised by property taxes according to the tax cap. The cap limits the annual increase in amount raised by property taxes to the rate of inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index — Urban (CPIU), for the prior calendar year, plus an additional amount tied to the value of new construction, which is calculated by multiplying the value of building permits less the value of demolition permits issued between April 1 and March 31 by the prior year's property tax rate. Through November 2014 the annualized CPI was 1.7 percent.

Residential construction accounted for $20.4 million of the new value in 2014. Two projects represents more than half the total. The 24 condominium units at the North Lodge on Scenic Road, built by Southworth Development LLC accounted for $6.6 million and Rivers Edge, the apartment building on Union Avenue, built by the Laconia Area Community L:and Trust. accounted for another $5.2 million. The single largest commercial project was the conversion of the Evangelical Baptist Church to the Holy Grail restaurant at $1 million.


4 near-fatal overdoses in city over the weekend

LACONIA – There have been four non-fatal overdoses of opiates in the city since last Friday, Police Chief Chris Adams confirmed yesterday.

The Laconia Fire Department successfully used NARCAN – an inhalation-delivered version of Naloxone which almost immediately reverses the effects of opiates.

Laconia has seen an alarming number of opiate overdoses – both fatal and non-fatal, and has taken extraordinary steps to combat the problem.

In the 2014-2015 city budget, the City Council appropriated an additional $50,000 to the Police Department which appointed a drug czar whose sole job is to coordinate educational and enforcement programs with other communities, the courts, the schools, and the various agencies who are addressing drug problems.

Adams said the City Council will be evaluating the program for renewal as part of the 2015-16 budget and he said he will be asking for a full-time position for the drug coordinating officer.

One of the agencies addressing the problem head-on is StandUp Laconia – a not-for-profit program begun by some private citizens who want to help with the city's drug abuse problem. The group is meeting tonight from 5 until 6:30 p.m. at the Laconia Middle School. The meeting is open to anyone who is interested in taking a stand against alcohol and drug abuse.

In addition, there is an intensive recovery program created last year by 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division Judge Jim Carroll for admitted addicts who want to get and stay drug-free. Recovery Court in Belknap County is an all-volunteer effort by local mental health and counseling agencies, the court, the Public Defenders Office, the Laconia City Prosecutor, the Belknap County Department of Restorative Justice, the Department of Corrections and the Belknap County arm of the N.H. Division of Probation and Parole.

Last month, two people made it through the program and graduated. Both have agreed to stay with the program as mentors.