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County Reps Split on Medicaid Plan

CONCORD — The Belknap County Delegation split largely along party lines when the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 202 to 132 in favor of the Senate plan to use federal Medicaid funds to provide private health insurance for adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $15,856 for a single person.

Ten of the 11 Republican members present voted against Senate Bill 413 when it came up for a vote last week — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, Bob Greemore and Herb Vadney of Meredith, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, and Michael Sylvia of Belmont. Reps. Colette Worsman of Meredith and Charles Fink of Belmont were absent and did not vote.

Rep. Don Flanders of Laconia, the other Republican present, joined the five Democrats in the delegation — Reps. Beth Arsenault and David Huot of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — in support of the bill. Flanders was among only a dozen House Republicans who voted for the plan, which earlier carried the Senate by a bipartisan majority of 18 to 5.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:56

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Man wanted on armed robbery charge turns self in

LACONIA - Joshua McNeil, whom police had been seeking following an incident on Sunday afternoon, turned himself in to the police on Monday evening.

Police issued an arrest warrant for McNeil, 31, with a last known address of 239 Winter Street in Brockton, Mass., on Sunday after a report of an armed robbery at 4:09 p.m. Police reports state that McNeil was riding in the back seat of a car traveling on South Main Street when he produced a gun and ordered the man in the passenger seat to exit the vehicle. When the car continued onto Joliet Street, McNeil allegedly demanded money from the driver. When the driver showed McNeil that he had no money, McNeil struck him on the head with the gun and fled on foot.

Police said the driver sustained a lump on his head from the incident but was otherwise unhurt.

After turning himself in on Monday night, McNeil was arrested on the charge of armed robbery. He refused the services of a bail commissioner and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, March 25, in fourth circuit district division Laconia Court.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 02:52

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City Manager’s budget funds new fire station, road works

LACONIA — With one-time revenues of $300,000 along with increased revenues from sources other than property taxes, City Manager Scott Myers last night presented the City Council with a 2014-2105 budget that would increase city expenditures by $973,495, while limiting the amount raised by property taxes to within the bounds of the tax cap.

Myers proposes expenditures of $22.4 million, 4.5-percent more than the $21.4 million appropriated in 2013-2014. However, $300,000 of the increase represents an increase in the outlay for street repairs — from $1.3 million to $1.6 million — funded with a one-time credit from the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource/Recovery Cooperative. Save for this windfall, Myers projects revenues from sources other than property taxes to rise by 2.9 percent, the largest annual increase since the advent of the recession.

Less the one-time expenditure for street repairs and $130,000 for membership in the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association, which for the first time was billed directly to the city rather than included in the county assessment, the increase in budgeted appropriations would be 2.5 percent.

Myers said that the budget includes funding for wage adjustments anticipated as result of new collective bargaining agreements, which are currently being negotiated with the State Employees Association (SEA) , American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Laconia Professional Firefighers and Laconia Police Association. Likewise, the budget funds the employer contribution to health insurance premiums, the increase of which will not exceed 7.22 percent.

Myers said that budget funds the addition of a third mechanic. The city once employed four mechanics, but now has only two, he explained. The hours of a part-time fire inspector, would be increased to sustain inspections, especially of multifamily buildings. The budget provides for three-quarters of the salary and benefits for the additional police officer hired during the current fiscal year as well as five weeks compensation and benefits for the four firefighters hired in May 2013 for two years with a federal grant that expires at the end of 2015.

Myers proposes appropriating $2,021,000 in the operating budget for capital projects. Apart from street repairs, these include bleachers and tennis courts at Memorial Park, sidewalk and guardrail repair and replacement, traffic signals at Court and Fair streets, repair to the deck of the parking garage and drainage improvements throughout the city. In addition, Myers recommends borrowing $4.1 million to renovate and expand Central Fire Station, $1.2 million to address contamination at the abandoned dump on Frank Bean Road and $800,000 for the city's share of reconstructing the Main Street Bridge.

Myers projects that with an increase in the total assessed valuation of $19-million, the proposed budget would add 18 cents to the city portion of the tax rate, which would rise from $8.55 per $1,000 of assessed value to $8.73. The local school tax rate is projected to increase by 27 cents. Meanwhile, the county tax rate is projected to drop by four cents and the state school tax rate by 10 cents. Consequently, Myers projects a net increase in the municipal tax rate of 31 cents, from $22.08 to $22.39.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 01:17

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Teen robbed of bicycle on Sunday night

LACONIA – A 15-year-old boy reported to police that at 10:59 p.m. Sunday someone pushed him off his bicycle while he was on Church Street and stole it.

Police said the boy was unharmed, and police recovered the bicycle yesterday morning behind the Post Office near where the boy reported it stolen.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 March 2014 11:49

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