Belmont Police introduce 'drop box' for discarding unwanted prescription drugs

BELMONT — The Police Department is a one of growing number of that have added a prescription drug drop-off box to allow people to safely and properly dispose of expired or unneeded drugs.

Through a donation from CVS, the drop off box was made available to the Police Department at no cost.

Lt. Richard Mann said pharmacies are not allowed to take back certain drugs, such as pain relievers and stimulants, because they are controlled substances. Take-back days hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration are held occasionally and were only on a certain day within the year.

Our major concern, said Mann, was that our residents felt they only had one of two options for medication disposal, throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet.

Mann said a common concern with people flushing old prescriptions down the toilet that some of those drugs could eventually end up back in the water supply. Throwing a bottle away in the trash does not always mean it won't end up in the wrong hands.

A situation in Belmont earlier this year drew our attention to this issue when drugs left in a home ended up in hands of a child who, after ingesting them, was rushed to Lakes Region General Hospital and later transferred to Dartmouth Hitchcock for complications from the overdose. The child eventually recovered but it was a long and stressful event for the family.

The Belmont Police Department already has a drug collection program in place but it was coordinated with the national Drug Enforcement Agency collection effort and only saw the department doing a collection of unwanted drugs one designated day a year. That meant that in some cases residents were holding dangerous drugs in their homes for up to eleven months before they could dispose of them.

The Belmont Police Department met the multi-pronged requirements to apply for a prescription drop off box: The location must be accessible to the public; the agency must already have had the means of disposing of drugs and the box must be kept in a secure area, which is our lobby, said Mann.

Now that we have a permanent collection box our residents have the ability to dispose of medications locally as the need arises.

Residents can drop off unwanted medications without question in the lobby of the police station Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

No liquid medications or needles can be accepted in the drop off box.

The Belmont Fire Department can assist with needle collection and disposal if necessary.

If you have any questions about medication disposal please feel free to call us at the Belmont Police Department 267-8350.

City Council approves final union contract

LACONIA — The City Council this week ratified a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the State Employees Association (SEA), which represents 32 administrative, technical and clerical employees in a number of municipal departments.

City Manager Scott Myers said the agreement is the last of four to reached with unions — SEA, Laconia Professional Firefighters and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — representing city employees and was concluded after months of negotiations and mediation as well as a factfinding report, which recommended the city's proposals on the major issues of wage increases and health insurance.

The terms of the two-year agreement, backdated one year and beginning on July 1, mirror those negotiated with the other three unions. It includes cost-of-living (COLAs) of 2 percent, 2.25 percent and 2.50 percent, less than the annual 3-percent Colas sought by the union.. By failing to ratify the agreement sooner, employees will forego the 2-percent COLA in the first year, which instead will be added to their base pay in the second year, on which the 2.25-percent COLA is calculated., resulting in a COLA of approximately 4 percent.

Employees will contribute 9 percent and 10 percent to the cost of their health insurance in the second and third years together with an annual contribution of $1,000 to a health reimbursement account to defray the cost of co-pays and deductibles.. Any unexpended balance in the account may be carried forward to the following year.

Neil Smith, who negotiated for the SEA on behalf of its members, said that the membership ratified the contract by a vote of 19 to 3. "I'm happy to have this contract resolved," he said.

All four city-employee labor agreements now in force will expire at the end of June 2017.

City agrees to pay $27k assessment from Public Access television

LACONIA — The City Council this week entered into a one-year agreement with Lakes Region Public Access Television (LRPA-TV) that will provide residents and organizations within the city access to MetroCast cable television to produce and telecast pubic interest, cultural, educational and governmental programming.

In return the city will contribute $26,772.50 to LRPA-TV's operating budget, compared to the $20,000 the city budgeted for the station a year ago. The annual fees are based on the city's pro-rata share of the operating budget calculated as the number of its able television subscribers as a percentage of the total subscribers of LRPA-TV's member community subscriber base. There are 5,090 subscribers to MetroCast Cablevision in the city.

City Manger Scott Myers said that $20,000 for LRPA-TV is included in his proposed city budget for 2016-2017, but assured the council that funds were available to defray the balance of the annual fee.

City Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5), who serves on the Board of Directors of LRPA-TV, said that the station has trimmed its operating budget to approximately $100,000 and needs about $10,000 to bring it into balance. He said that Belknap County was paying for LRPA-TV to tape meetings of both the county commission and convention and several towns are paying the station for taping special meetings.

"We are hiring an office manager and developing a business plan," Hamel said. "We're moving forward."

Belmont, Gilford, Meredith and Northwood have also entered agreements with LRPA-TV.