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Main Stree bridge project will be put out to bid this fall; city's share expected to be about $1M

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers announced yesterday that the governor and Executive Council have approved the agreement between the city and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) for the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge over the Winnipesaukee River.

The agreement sets the cost of the project at $3,569,1324, of which the state, through the State Aid Bridge Program, will contribute $2,055,307. Another $800,000 will consist of Federal Highway Funds, leaving the city with the balance of $713,827, or a fifth of the total cost.

However, Myers explained that the state and city would share engineering costs of between $275,000 and $300,000, with the state bearing 80-percent and the city 20-percent of the costs. In addition, the city will bear the entire cost of widening the roadway on Beacon Street as it approaches the bridge to address the so-called "pinch point," where large trucks must either ride over the curb or straddle two lanes in crossing the bridge.

Myers anticipated that these expenses would increase the city's share of the total cost to approximately $925,000 while adding some $200,000 to the state's contribution. He said that the additional expenses would raise the total cost of the project to about $4.1-million. The 2013-2014 city budget includes an appropriation of $1-million for the project, which he anticipates will meet the city's costs.

The project will be put out to bid after October 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year when the Federal Highway Funds become available. Construction would be scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014, proceed in four phases over two and be completed in 2015. Although downtown traffic will be re-routed in each of the four phases, the bridge itself will remain open throughout the construction.

Last month the City Council authorized spending up to $300,000 drawn from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Fund on improvements to the plaza at the foot of Main Street in conjunction with the reconstruction of the bridge. This project, together with other similar improvements downtown, will likely be financed by the sale of general obligation bonds, which would be serviced by the annual revenue of at least $173,000 accruing to the TIF Fund.


Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 02:45

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County eyes keeping track of employee scheduling & hours worked with biometric system

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have put off a decision on replacing the employee time clock currently used at the Belknap County Nursing Home with new biometric clocks that would allow virtually all county workers to check in and out of work by displaying their thumb.
''Time clock technology is a thing of the past,'' County Finance Director Glenn Waring told commissioners when they met Wednesday morning.
Waring proposed that the county switch to Care Systems for software and services which would see six biometric clocks installed at county facilities and suggested that the county could use a $50,000 capital expenditures line in the 2013 budget to pay for most of the projected $69,400 cost for the new system.
Waring said that the current mechanical time and attendance system is used only within the nursing home, while record keeping in other department's is basically pen and paper. He said that the current Kronos system creates an average of 20-25 percent errors weekly that require manual correction and that the system is difficult to navigate and programming changes are very costly as they are billed at a high hourly rate.
Care Systems has been used by Strafford County (Rochester) for seven years and changed a situation in which it took two days to compile time and attendance records for 400 employees to one in which the work is completed within two hours he said.
Waring said Belknap County's goal is to implement a time and attendance record for all employees which will reduce errors and greatly improve payroll processing efficiency.
He said that the Care Systems software also provides a dynamic scheduling model which takes into account scheduling for positions which require minimum qualifications/licensing in both the Department of Corrections and Nursing Home, which will improve scheduling. It will also allow remote check-ins for workers who may not report directly to county facilities, like Sheriff's Department deputies who may be serving court papers early in the day or who are called out for emergency details.
Commissioner Ed Philpot said that before committing any funds to the purchase he would like to see a list of other capital improvement priorities.
The $50,000 which was budgeted for capital improvements was slated for upgrades to the Sheriff's Department communications system. But a $197,000 Department of Homeland Security grant which the county recently received has eliminated the department's need for those funds.
Philpot also suggested that the county install the system for a trial period but was told that once the change was made there was no going back to the old system.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 02:32

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Praise directed at Laconia Police Department at accreditation hearing

LACONIA — About 15 people from local public service agencies, police departments, City Hall and the city School District spoke in support of the city Police Department becoming re-accredited at a public hearing last night.

Speaking first was City Councilor Brenda Baer who had a special thank you to the Police Department for their role in taking Wyatt Park in the South End from a place where many feared to go to a family-friendly park where people are welcomed.

"They returned the park to the citizens of that area," Baer said to the two examiners from CALEA or the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation.

According to Chief Joseph Bartlett of CELEA, who is also a retired interim Police Chief in Greenville, North Carolina, there are 480 different standards a department must meet to become CALEA certified.

There are 13 policing agencies in New Hampshire that are CALEA-accredited including Laconia, Manchester, Nashua, Keene, Durham, UNH, and the Strafford County Sheriffs Department. Accreditation lasts three years and Laconia was first certified in 2010, under retired Chief Mike Moyer.

Part of the process is a public hearing.

Mayor Mike Seymour said professionalism is the word that most often come to mind when he thinks about the Laconia Police Department.

He said not only are city police officers professional and confident they are compassionate — something he said he noticed during a ride-along shortly after he was first elected mayor.

The principals of Woodland Heights and Elm Street Elementary Schools complimented them on their professionalism and visibility.

Kevin Michaud, who relocated from Maine last year said they are the best police department he has worked with since he's been an educator. He said the police are friendly, not intimidating, and "the kids want to interact with them."

Dennis Doten of Woodland Heights thanked them for their compassion and professionalism in the wake of a car accident that took the life of a Middle School student while other students looked on and in planning and coordinating emergency response guidelines following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Others speaking included Carol Pierce of the Human Rights Committee, City Manager Scott Myers, Gilford Police Chief Kevin Keenan (a Laconia resident), and UNH Chief of Police Paul Dean.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the CALEA assessing team has signed off on the 480 standards and will take their findings to the Executive Committee for a targeted fall accreditation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 02:22

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Need to cover for heroin deal gone bad said to have led to theft of guns

LACONIA — A local man who allegedly stole two shotguns from his family's home because he owed money for what he said was a heroin deal "gone bad" is being held on $10,000 cash-only bail.

Cody Ryan, 22, of 45 Sanborn St. is charged with two counts of theft by unauthorized taking stemming from the alleged theft of the guns that was reported to police on August 2.

Ryan is also charged with one count of breach of bail and one count of receiving stolen property for allegedly having his mother's credit card in his possession on August 5 when police located him in the parking lot behind the VFW Hall on Court Street.

According to affidavits obtained yesterday from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, police learned from one of Ryan's relatives on August 2 that his two guns were missing. He said he had last seen the guns at 3 p.m. and had returned home at 4 p.m. when he realized they were missing.

The relative told police that Ryan has "bought some drugs for a friend last night and the guys he bought the drugs from gave him cinnamon instead of heroin so he was saying he still owes these guys $160."

The relative also told police he had been trying all day to get money from a different family member. Other family members told police no one except Ryan and other immediate family members had been in or out of the house during the hours in which the guns allegedly disappeared.

Police issued a warrant for Ryan's arrest.

On August 5, police received another call from the family residence and were told that Ryan's mother's pocketbook had been stolen.

Affidavits said the family reported it about 30 minutes after Ryan allegedly took it, telling police that he had called and said it was in a dumpster behind the VFW.

When police went to retrieve the pocketbook, they saw Ryan in the passenger seat of a black Volkswagen Jetta. Police passed the Jetta, turn around and stopped it.

Affidavits said among other things Ryan had his mother's debit car in his wallet.
Prosecutor Jim Sawyer argued for cash only bail in court Tuesday and said Ryan is also facing charges for possession and attempted sales of heroin that date to a separate incident on July 24. Sawyer said Ryan has a history of drug abuse.

His lawyer argued for personal recognizance bail and said Ryan was seeking help from Horizons and had an appointment to see them that afternoon. She said Ryan lives with his grandmother.

Both said Ryan may be a good candidate for Recovery Court but that if he gets accepted into a residential drug program the cash bail will revert to personal recognizance bail.

He also told him to stay away from his parents house but said there could be visits as long as his parents agreed.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 02:17

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